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CME UF8 Keyboard Controller??
Old 16th July 2006
  #1
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jdjustice's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
CME UF8 Keyboard Controller??

I am a classically trained pianist. I need a new keyboard MIDI controller that has REAL PIANO-STYLE hammer-weighted action. The closer the action is to a real C7, the better.

Does anyone have experience with this controller?? I have read a few things about it that make it look interesting, however, I don't have a local dealer that carries one so I can't demo it myself.

Any opinions or suggestions re: weighted-action controllers is GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
J.D.
Old 16th July 2006
  #2
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I like mine -- a lot -- but not everyone is going to.

I STRONGLY recommend making a trip out of it, if you have to, but definitely checking it out against other 'boards before you decide. Particularly since you're a trained pianist accustomed to 'real' pianos.


I have a 111 year old upright grand -- but since I moved, it's had to live in the packed up garage. (And it needs some repair and retuning, as well.)

I've owned 'plastic' controllers for a couple decades, nothing bigger than 5 octaves, and nothing heavier than the Alesis "semi-weighted" (felt like plastic to me)... the UF8 was a HUGE jump in playability.

At times I can almost imagine I'm playing a real piano (okay, I have to be in the right mood, to be sure -- and it would DEFINITELY help if I had a proper virtual piano insturment).

I tried the M-Audio 88 in the same price range (ugh, is all I can say) and plunked on some digital pianos and controllers in the thousand plus range and I liked the UF8 best. But, really, I was only considering 'boards in the mid-3-figure range, so...

Anyhow, book an overnighter at a Best Western or Motel 6 if you have to, but do try to try out whatever you're looking at.

There's a HUGE difference between "piano-weighted" 'boards. I know I'd have been crushingly disappointed if I'd bought the M-Audio (for instance) unplayed... (and I don't think, even if the UF8 didn't exist, that I would have bought the M-Audio if I HAD played it. BUT -- and this is important -- someone ELSE might actually prefer the feel of the M-Audio. I mean, we really are all different.)


Does my UF8 feel like my 111 year old piano? Hell, no. But it does feel like it is in the general range of acoustic pianos. It feels more like a new, modern piano, to me, than my own old piano does. And, I gotta tell you, when I first got on it I kept thinking, how weird, it's all in tune (as much as any equal-tempered instrument is, anyhow.

YMMV. Test drive!
Old 16th July 2006 | Show parent
  #3
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jdjustice's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1
I tried the M-Audio 88 in the same price range (ugh, is all I can say) and plunked on some digital pianos and controllers in the thousand plus range and I liked the UF8 best. But, really, I was only considering 'boards in the mid-3-figure range, so...
...........................................................................................................................
There's a HUGE difference between "piano-weighted" 'boards. I know I'd have been crushingly disappointed if I'd bought the M-Audio (for instance) unplayed... (and I don't think, even if the UF8 didn't exist, that I would have bought the M-Audio if I HAD played it. BUT -- and this is important -- someone ELSE might actually prefer the feel of the M-Audio. I mean, we really are all different.)
Hey, theblue1, thanks a lot for responding with your opinions. I totally agree with you when it comes to the M-Audio 88.. I tried it out in a store and was almost DISGUSTED with its action; it felt NOTHING like a real piano to me and seemed cheaply made. I too would have been very unhappy to have purchased one before I demo'd it.

Currently I have an old Korg 01/WproX with 88 weighted keys as my primary MIDI controller; its action is OK but far from the ideal IMO. I will try to find somewhere to demo the CME; if it means booking a night in a hotel somewhere and making a road trip, perhaps that's what I will have to do.

Thanks again for your response. All opinions, whatever they may be, are extremely valuable to me, especially when they come from experience as yours is.

Cheers,

J.D.
Old 16th July 2006 | Show parent
  #4
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Ruudman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have to say, despite lacking nearly a billion masterkeyboard functions,
I went for a Yamaha P-140.
Why? The keys............ + sound.

I tried all Yamaha P's (except the 250), Casio PV, Kenton, CME UF8, Korg 250/300, Roland RDX before I went for the P-140.

No regrets so far. In my case, I just had to choose between feel and functions.



ruudman
Old 16th July 2006 | Show parent
  #5
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jdjustice's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruudman
I have to say, despite lacking nearly a billion masterkeyboard functions,
I went for a Yamaha P-140.
Why? The keys............ + sound.
...................................................
I tried all Yamaha P's (except the 250), Casio PV, Kenton, CME UF8, Korg 250/300, Roland RDX before I went for the P-140.
Ruudman, I understand that the action on the Yamaha is very realistic. That having been said, what were your opinions on the CME overall? I really just need a MIDI controller so the sound is not a factor. If the CME was realistic IYO then I would love to know that.

Thanks,
J.D.
Old 16th July 2006 | Show parent
  #6
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Ruudman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Aah, it hurts to say that the Yammy is miles ahead as far as realistic feel goes.
The Yamaha is tighter, too - feels more solid.
Best keys below the P250 in my opinion (ok, add one Kawai also).

But I understand you don't want to pay for sounds you don't really need.
Fatar is coming with a new range, I think.
But sure to check out the CME, though.
You might like it.

ruudman
Old 18th July 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks, for weighing in, Ruudman!

I would have felt terrible if JD had driven two days to get to a demo and then said, Geez, it's worse than the M-Audio!

If I'd had a few more bucks in my pocket I would have tried more expensive 'boards (and it would have been nice to have a good set of sounds built in... I've been using freebies and, while like Mr Ray 73 for Rhodes sim quite well (esp. for the price, free) I haven't run into anything that really gets what I'm looking for out of the acoustic piano experience and I sometimes find myself thinking that I may well end up plunking down a few hun on one of the massively oversampled piano packages... but then I think about BFD which is, obviously, a huge improvement on earlier virtual drum instruments and drum machines -- but which, even with all those improvements, is still kinda frustrating...

It's kind of like the search for the smallest particle... you're amazed when you find a new one... but then, fifteen minutes later, your postulating that the new data doesn't quite make sense unless there's a STILL SMALLER one...

... and drum machines -- and maybe virtual pianos -- are like that.

heh
Old 18th July 2006 | Show parent
  #8
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks, for weighing in, Ruudman!

I would have felt terrible if JD had driven two days to get to a demo and then said, Geez, it's worse than the M-Audio!

Now, he's got realistic expectations, knows to look at other keyboards -- and might still end up liking the CME, ya never know! heh

If I'd had a few more bucks in my pocket I would have tried more expensive 'boards (and it would have been nice to have a good set of sounds built in... I've been using freebies and, while like Mr Ray 73 for Rhodes sim quite well (esp. for the price, free) I haven't run into anything that really gets what I'm looking for out of the acoustic piano experience and I sometimes find myself thinking that I may well end up plunking down a few hun on one of the massively oversampled piano packages... but then I think about BFD which is, obviously, a huge improvement on earlier virtual drum instruments and drum machines -- but which, even with all those improvements, is still kinda frustrating...

It's kind of like the search for the smallest particle... you're amazed when you find a new one... but then, fifteen minutes later, your postulating that the new data doesn't quite make sense unless there's a STILL SMALLER one...

... and drum machines -- and maybe virtual pianos -- are like that.

heh
Old 18th July 2006 | Show parent
  #9
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Ruudman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes I agree with you, theblue1.
The main drag with all virtuals, is that they are not completely integrated with the mecanical structure of your instrument, in this case a piano/controller.
I don't think the Moog pianobar would be the ultimate solution either; after all it converts the sensors information to 128 variables. Not much, when you think about it.


ruudman
Old 18th July 2006 | Show parent
  #10
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, last time I checked, there were a few keys on my 111 year old upright that were no longer completely integrated with the mecanical structure of my instrument...

heh
Old 18th July 2006 | Show parent
  #11
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Ruudman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
thumbsup

ruudman
Old 18th July 2006 | Show parent
  #12
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kelldammit's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
definitely a bit pricier, but you may want to check out the kurzweil sp88x or pc1x or pc2 series stage piano/controllers.

insofar as soft pianos, from what i gather ivory 1.5 comes highly recommended...a bit pricey, but it's supposed to be really really good.

kell
Old 18th July 2006 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I have a strong dislike for my CME UF-8.

For a "piano player" this thing is quite poor indeed.

I did something very foolish when I bought it. I read a Craig Anderton review and thought wow he loves it, it must be good. Derrrrr... VERY SILLY OF ME.

Please get something else, or if you really want one, take mine for low money.

Very bad purchase.
Old 18th July 2006 | Show parent
  #14
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Ruudman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelldammit
insofar as soft pianos, from what i gather ivory 1.5 comes highly recommended...a bit pricey, but it's supposed to be really really good.

kell
Even if the samples are top notch, the time lag (huge or barely noticable)
affects my playing in a bad way..


ruudman
Old 18th July 2006 | Show parent
  #15
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GYang's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
From my session piano player I heard that CME UF8 is not specially good.
Studiologic with Fatar grandhammer action is his nr.1 choice (I don't know exact model), but it was some 900 bucks and he uses it as his main piano-like key controller.
With my playing experience CME is OK, but I'm bass player.
Old 19th July 2006 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
I use a StudioLogic sl880 and am happy with the feel and action. You can get various models from $400 and up.

Incidentally, the Kurzweil keyboards (including those cited above) use Fatar (now StudioLogic) keyboards. I have found them to be indistinguishable from one another.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GYang
From my session pian player I heard that CME UF8 is not specially good.
Studiologic with Fatar grandhammer action is his nr.1 choice (I don't know exact model), but it was some 900 bucks and he uses it as his main piano-like key controller.
With my playing experience CME is OK, but I'm bass player.
Old 19th July 2006 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Football
I have a strong dislike for my CME UF-8.

For a "piano player" this thing is quite poor indeed.

I did something very foolish when I bought it. I read a Craig Anderton review and thought wow he loves it, it must be good. Derrrrr... VERY SILLY OF ME.

Please get something else, or if you really want one, take mine for low money.

Very bad purchase.
JD... maybe you ought to PM Football just in case you end up liking the CME... could be a deal made in heaven.


Football, I'm curious, so that I can kind of collate my experience with others' perceptions -- and with the understanding that there is no one "right" feel for everybody, so don't hold back, I won't be offended -- what is it about the CME you don't like? Is it strictly feel or does it translate into velocity issues, as well. (Of course, you can deal -- to some extent -- with velocity curve issues in software and with the UF8's own velocity curves.)

Just so, when I tell people that I like mine, I can also say, but other folks (and maybe a lot of them? heh ) don't like it because of x, y, and/or z.


[Since this "piano player" thing came up, perhaps I should have rushed to say (earlier) that, though I've been playing pianos on and off for decades, I've only owned one, and that only for about 15 years of playing time, and, as I alluded earlier, it is, at 111 years old, not exactly like playing a newly manufactured piano. By a long, long way. Honestly, as I may have said, the UF8 feels more like a contemporary piano than my upright grand. But that STILL doesn't mean everyone (anyone but me? heh ) is going to like it. And I should probably also say that I'm not MUCH of a piano player, anyhow, though I'm enthusiastic.]
Old 19th July 2006 | Show parent
  #18
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jdjustice's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruudman
Even if the samples are top notch, the time lag (huge or barely noticable)
affects my playing in a bad way..
I recently purchased Ivory and I don't have any latency issues in PT LE; I just set the HW buffer at 128 or 256 samples. 512 and above introduces latency that to me is unacceptable. When I play the track back I increase the buffer size to 2048 samples in order to allow my plugins and other tracks to have enough juice.

J.D.
Old 19th July 2006 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Addict
 
kelldammit's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
i understand what he was saying...some players do notice even a 10ms lag. it can mess with their groove. usually i've heard of drummers having this problem though. i think i get around 5.x ms latency at 256...and fortunately, i'm not so skilled as to have this problem :D
Old 19th July 2006 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1
JD... maybe you ought to PM Football just in case you end up liking the CME... could be a deal made in heaven.


Football, I'm curious, so that I can kind of collate my experience with others' perceptions -- and with the understanding that there is no one "right" feel for everybody, so don't hold back, I won't be offended -- what is it about the CME you don't like? Is it strictly feel or does it translate into velocity issues, as well. (Of course, you can deal -- to some extent -- with velocity curve issues in software and with the UF8's own velocity curves.)

Just so, when I tell people that I like mine, I can also say, but other folks (and maybe a lot of them? heh ) don't like it because of x, y, and/or z.


[Since this "piano player" thing came up, perhaps I should have rushed to say (earlier) that, though I've been playing pianos on and off for decades, I've only owned one, and that only for about 15 years of playing time, and, as I alluded earlier, it is, at 111 years old, not exactly like playing a newly manufactured piano. By a long, long way. Honestly, as I may have said, the UF8 feels more like a contemporary piano than my upright grand. But that STILL doesn't mean everyone (anyone but me? heh ) is going to like it. And I should probably also say that I'm not MUCH of a piano player, anyhow, though I'm enthusiastic.]
The two biggest things are that the keys stick at the top (maybe in the latest models they don't but they all used to) and need a lot of pressure to get going. Once you go through all keys once or twice this gets better (but not 100% in my opinion).

Also, far worse than that, the velocity curves are extremely poor. Even when trying their various curves and also adjusting this in software, it still has a lot of trouble getting a wide range of velocities. I had a Kurzweil that was much better and believe it or not I had a Casio that felt less like a piano but did what you would hope for in velocity performance. This one downfall is a BIG deal for me.

Once again I would be happy to let this go for a song and a dance if anyone wants it. How's that for a sales pitch?
Old 19th July 2006 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
You're doing good. A very honest used keyboard salesman with flexible pricing. That might not go over so good at the big chain stores, though... heh

I've noticed the same thing as you about the initial force required... I was playing my UF8 thinking about your previous comments -- and also trying to see how much difference I could feel between the heavily played middle section and the bottom octave where I don't often go (since I play pretty ham-fistedly, durability and consistency over time are a concern for me) and I did notice that the top-of-throw stickiness/inertia thing was a tiny bit stiffer at the bottom of the range where it's much less played. (I probably should have broken the board in a little more thoroughly. I was trying to remember a friend's break-in routine when he got his new Yamaha acoustic upright. But I think I got impatient.)

That said, that inertia might be one of the things that makes it feel "piano-like" to me... right or wrong. Maybe because the action on my old piano is so loose but when I used to play newly manufactured pianos, they had a similar feel to me.

I"m starting to think I may not -- at all -- be a good testbed for evaluating piano keyboards. Too many quirks and not broad enough experience with a wide range of everyday real pianos.

So, I should probably just reiterate my earlier bottom line: JD or anyone looking should probably do what it takes to physically check out the controllers he's considering... and I've personally been very happy with my CME, particularly for the money, but everyone's different. (And I'm increasingly aware that I'm different from everyone. heh )


And on the velocity curve thing, I've done okay working back and forth between the CME's curves [mostly neutral and the number one curve for rhodes and my tinky freebie acoutstic sample sets] and velocity parameters in my software -- but, as with anything, the more control the better and if I had to go with just the velocity curves in the board I'd feel a bit constrained, myself.

So, I think this suggests that we (Football and I) are perceiving the same aspects of the 'board but just reacting to them differently. And, who knows but what, if I'd spent $1000 or more instead of $550 or possibly had a different set of 'piano experiences' to live up to, I might be dissatisfied, too. But, like I said, in my circumstance, I've been enjoying it a lot.

Everyone's mileage varies. For sure.
Old 19th July 2006 | Show parent
  #22
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andyspiller's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hi jdjustice

I own a UF8 which I bought to replace my Peavey DPM C8, rather than spend another Β£300 ($550) getting it repaired again. To be honest, the only saving grace is that it was cheap. If Peavey still made them, or Yamaha still maufactured the KX88 that would be the one for me (although the KX is a bit shallow.

The Yamahas are OK - if you are not gigging, the CVP307/309 is the best action, actually modeled on a C7, and I think the top end CLP has the same Keybed.

Unfortunately nothing will compare with the real thing, even when playing Ivory 1.5 (not so expensive at Β£160 in the UK), so good luck. . . . . .
Old 5th September 2006 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
i picked up the CME UF8.

the M-Audio one was real bad,
i didn't want to pay any extra for sounds,

so for the price, the UF8 is wonderful.
No bad keys so far.

For me, this thing is super heavy.
Old 11th September 2006 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Hey everyone, thanks for the info and advice so far.

I bought the UF8, and am having trouble getting it to work with the main two programs i use, MaxMSP and ProTools.

Let me know if any of you can help or just go over what your presets/parameters are in the programs, etc.

While I can't say I've tried everything, I'm changed the MIDI parameters and software settings for everyting that makes sense to me, trying different configurations...but I'm sure I must have missed something, because nothign works.

The computer recognizes the UF8 of course, and all the drivers installed properly, but none of the samplers or synths i have work with the thing.

Please PM me and I'll give you my phone number to call.

-mitch
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