88 Note Keyboard

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SteveGriffiths
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2014/06/26 01:30:11 (permalink)

88 Note Keyboard

Hi, I am using Sonar X3E and I ma happy :).  I also have a Korg Microstation.  It doesn't play very well (Korg thing) but I can use it.  I am looking for a weighted 88 key keyboard (not just controller).  I am torn between Korg Krome, Roland FA-08 and Kurzweil PC3LE.  My goal it to use it to play and record it's own sounds, and use it as a controller for the little korg, and for vst synths.  Usig the knobs etc on the keyboard in act would be a bonus but not a priority.
 
Is anyone using any of these with Sonar?  
 
Cheers
 
Grif
#1

24 Replies Related Threads

    robert_e_bone
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 03:24:44 (permalink)
    I have played piano since I was 5, but find I prefer a semi-weighted feel, because it allows me the flexibility to play in a traditional piano-like manner, as well as giving me the speed with which I can play leads and fast note sequences much faster.  When I try to do that on a fully-weighted keyboard, it bogs down and limits how fast I can play something.  Like real mushy when trying to play fast.
     
    The other thing I found was that by and large, I get WAY better bang for the buck using sound modules (soft-synths) and a midi controller or simple home-piano/controller rather than on-board sounds.
     
    A full synth is a compromise between features and cost, and many times it comes at the expense of sound quality.  
     
    For example, I have 24-bit sample-based piano instruments in Kontakt that are MASSIVE, where each note was sampled for a full 30 seconds at multiple velocities, where even the OVERTONES are present in as natural a form as possible (except for sympathetic vibration of other strings).  One preset may be more than a GB in size.
     
    A piano sample on a keyboard synth instead is made of artificially generated note length (looped), and often is only sampling maybe 1/3 of an octave and then generating the in between notes.  They do this to save on the amount of storage and memory required for storing and playing that piano sound, and it just does not sound as good as my computer-based piano samples from Kontakt.  A piano preset on a keyboard synth may only be a few MB in size, WAY lower in quality than my Kontakt piano sounds.
     
    Additionally, the keyboard synth technology is a fixed technological 'snapshot' at the time of its creation, while soft synths can be fully reworked or swapped out for different ones, so the sonic capabilities of computer-based soft synths are literally endless, while a keyboard synth will always be limited to whatever sound producing level of technology it was designed with.  You may spend 2-3 thousand for a good keyboard synth, and for that same money you could buy a top of the line controller (or a couple of them), AND several top of the line collections of top of the line sounds, like Komplete, or East West Strings, or other high-end sounds.
     
    I have an Axiom Pro 61 controller for playing leads on, and for a 2nd controller I use a simple $250 Yamaha 76-note portable digital piano.  That allowed me to purchase a $1000 microphone and Komplete 8 Ultimate, for less money than I would have spent on a traditional keyboard synth.
     
    If you have your heart set on one of those traditional keyboard synths, then have a blast - I only offered all of the above comments to suggest you consider what you are really getting for all of that money, versus going the route of a controller and computer-based soft synths.
     
    In any case, I hope you find great pleasure and endless inspiration with whatever route you end up choosing to go with.  :)
     
    Bob Bone
     

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    #2
    Mystic38
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 06:21:13 (permalink)
    Given that a quality weighted keyboard controller is well up towards $1000, it does make sense to buy a board such as what you are looking at.
     
    All of those you mention have a decent soundset (each in their own way)... But the one thing you are deciding on is the most important.. the keybed and its feel. As far as use, I don't know of any synth/workstation/stage piano that wont play well with Sonar. Some boards are better than others as a master keyboard based upon your prejudice and preference.
     
    Make every attempt to play these first hand, and You could also add any of a used workstation, Yamaha Motif ES8, XS8, Fantom X8, G8 or one of a number of stage pianos to the mix... for example, I use a S70XS, as I find 76 keys more than enough, but checkout Roland RD series as well.

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    #3
    azslow3
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 07:26:50 (permalink)
    For weighted keys, you can check pianoworld.com forum. I am not professional, but from what I know (and tested) the best action under 1500 € (in Europe) is Kawai VPC1 (in fact the only one with full length wooden keys in that price range). But as Bob has mentioned, that make sense only for playing Piano. For other "instruments" good weighted action is a disadvantage...
     

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    #4
    Splat Chat O'samplemashy
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    🕓 2014/06/26 07:46:25 (permalink)
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    post edited by Bash von Gitfiddle - 2018/10/09 23:20:59


    #5
    Jeff Evans
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 07:58:01 (permalink)
    The Kurzweil has the superior sound to everything else. Is there anyway you can get into the PC3K8 by any chance. You won't need another synth. (sorry, I see it's double the price!) All the sliders on the PC3K8 can be use to control external VST's etc and it has a weighted action.
     
    BTW recently a friend of mine from another state here in Australia purchased a second hand Kurzweil PC2X in the city where I live. I picked up it for him and was able to live with it for a while before I sent it to him. It was one of the nicest 88 weighted actions I have ever played in a long time.
     
    I guess (hope) the PC3LE would be similar. Give it a good test. It still has many PC3 engine sounds so the quailty will be up there just not as much as the PC3K8.

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    #6
    Splat Chat O'samplemashy
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    🕓 2014/06/26 08:13:23 (permalink)
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    post edited by Bash von Gitfiddle - 2018/10/09 23:21:09


    #7
    Splat
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 08:20:35 (permalink)
    Addictive keys with a cheap PC setup and a Novation keyboard (or Casio or something) would sound better. Or get a real piano.

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    #8
    robert_e_bone
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 08:44:29 (permalink)
    I am being given an only 18-year old mint condition Kawai grand piano in September from my mom, who is now 83 and not playing it anymore.  It is a beautiful instrument, and although I haven't played it in more than 15 years, I can STILL feel every nuance of how it feels to play on its action, the feel of the keys, looking at its soundboard with the top slightly raised, and its beautiful graceful curves.  (I have to drive from DC to the outskirts of Chicago to retrieve it, but that is insignificant to my getting it back here and tuned up after its trip).
     
    BUT, for the other TENS OF THOUSANDS of sounds I have, I would much rather trigger them through one of my controllers, which are NOT fully weighted.
     
    Bob Bone
     
     
     

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    #9
    musichoo
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 09:41:12 (permalink)
    I am using Krome 88 which has a very good piano sound (2.8 Gig with 8 velocity layers). It has 4 knobs that can be used for cc control. Pitch bend that can bend in 4 different direction. I am using it with Sonar X3. It can connect to a DAW via usb and used with an editor librarian but I think it is limited to 32 bit only.
     
    If you need a keyboard for both both live Gigs and DAW work then I would say you should look into Krome. You can also visit their user forum to find out more about users responses towards Krome. http://www.korgforums.com/forums-frame.htm
     
    I can't tell you about Kerzweil. The latest Casio does have MIDI ports but they use USB instead and I haven't tried that yet.

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    #10
    azslow3
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 10:11:46 (permalink)
    I have no problem with my 50 € guitar, but any DP under 1500 € is "no go" for me...

    The Casio Digital pianos seem to set the mark for lowest price for a weighted keyboard.

    "A weighted keyboard" is like "a guitar". There are several completely different type: light-weighted, normal-weighted, normal-weighted wooden, normal-wighted authentic wooden. Light weight does not mean "bad", the keyboard can be really light then (good for transporting). But the difference when you play it is not subtle. The difference between normal weighted types is not so obvious for novice piano player.

    The Kurzweil has the superior sound to everything else.

    But not everyone likes Fatar actions.

    The thing to keep in mind about a best sounding $3500 digital piano is that the sound still sounds kinky compared to a relatively inexpensive VST like Synthogy Ivory.

    For DP (unlike workstations) the price comes mostly from the action. It may be possible to "produce" better sound with Novation + VST, but it is not possible to "play piano" with such combination. And the only reason to have wighted action is to play piano (and only piano).
     
    Also sample vs synth sound generation war is not ended yet. Relatively short samples in most expensive DPs is not the result of saving $5 for additional memory.

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    #11
    Jeff Evans
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 10:21:36 (permalink)
    Funny thing in some circumstances the opposite is true. I have some great sounding VST's and some great sounding hardware.  It takes a load off.  When it comes down to tracking parts, when you do record the PC3K8 it can sound a lot better than a VST, often.  It sits in the mix in a rather effortless and extraordinary way.
     
    Piano is not the only thing the Kurzweil can do. It can do tens of thousands of other things and often better than a lot of current VST's. The piano is pretty cool anyway, extremely usable, very convincing especially when the music is good. Listen to the demos. The hardware can just sometimes sound a little fatter and bigger and more convincing than many VST's doing the same sort of job. (bread and butter sounds, eg the Kurzweil doing say a smooth orchestral string legato patch compared to Kontakt doing the same thing)  I like the current sound of the new wave of strange and unusual VST's (like Prism etc, Alchemy) They sit with the Kurzweil doing all the heavy basic stuff very well.
     
    Recently on the 96K thread I was talking about an additive VST like Prism sounding so good and it does. But recently I picked up cheap a Kawai K5000 hardware additive synth in mint condition and I cannot believe how huge and fat it sounds compared to my best additive VST. It records so well. I also use a top of the line EMU hardware sampler system and it also sounds incredible. Lastly I use a Roland JD800 and that is fat beyond belief. Most of the time I am carving the excess energy away with the hardware and with the VST's I am often having to fatten them up to keep up with the others.
     
    Two actions are better than one. Sometimes the weighted action allows for some more expression. I was amazed and quite surprised how much my other hardware instruments opened up (with many of their sounds) and produced a wider range of everything when controlled by the PC2x keyboard instead of its own.  (Drums!, sorry, weighted not for piano only, everything!) It is the low very soft end of the dynamic range where the weighted excels. I also feel the semi or lighter synth action can also be better too for lots of things. I actually grew up on it and like it best, but I did like having that weighted keyboard around. It was enough to convince me that I will get one permanently one day. Having the octave range is nice too. No transposing.
     

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    #12
    JayCee99
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 10:23:45 (permalink)
    I noticed that you didn't list the Yamaha MOX8 or MOXF8, but I have a MOX8 so I wanted to suggest that you take a look.  The sounds are great and it has a great feature where it handles audio and MIDI through a single USB cable.  So for example my setup is quite simple. . . I have a computer hooked up to my keyboard via USB.  Then my monitors are hooked up to my keyboard.  I can record audio through that cable, control things through the MIDI knobs, and play back audio from the computer through the MOX.  It even has a separate volume control for the audio coming back in from the computer.  Plus it has an additional input for something like a microphone or guitar.  The keys are weighted but they're a little bit lighter than a piano so you can play a little faster.  Overall I think the MOX8 was a great buy.  Now the newest one is the MOXF8 which I think also allows you to load additional samples down the road.  Definitely worth a look.
     
    My only criticism of the MOX are that the interface can be a bit confusing.  Simple edits like increasing reverb or EQ'ing are quite easy because there are dedicated knobs for that .You wouldn't want to do in-depth sound tweaking or sequencing on the keyboard in my opinion though without doing a whole lot of studying and practice.   But it comes with editor software for that.  Honestly I don't tweak the sounds all that much. . . if I'm going to get into that I just use a software synth.
     
    The suggestions of getting a controller to control a software synth are also good IF you want to only use it at home with your computer.  I kind of like having the additional sounds on the keyboard in case I want to take it somewhere.  That's another bonus of the MOX. . . it's very light.

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    #13
    Cactus Music
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 10:25:36 (permalink)
    Some good answers and it does boil down to this: 
     
    Are you a piano player or a synth player. 
    I find it very hard to use a piano for a synth or organ. 
    You can meet the 2 half way with a lot of controllers. 
    Do you play live with it or is this just a studio controller 
    If it's just for the studio, why waste money on built in sounds?

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    #14
    Splat Chat O'samplemashy
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    🕓 2014/06/26 10:27:55 (permalink)
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    post edited by Bash von Gitfiddle - 2018/10/09 23:21:20


    #15
    Splat Chat O'samplemashy
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    🕓 2014/06/26 10:33:39 (permalink)
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    post edited by Bash von Gitfiddle - 2018/10/09 23:21:30


    #16
    Splat Chat O'samplemashy
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    🕓 2014/06/26 10:35:43 (permalink)
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    post edited by Bash von Gitfiddle - 2018/10/09 23:21:40


    #17
    robert_e_bone
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 11:05:25 (permalink)
    My bottom line is to go with the choice that makes sense to YOU.  Anything I offered up was merely additional things to consider when deciding what you want to do.  :)
     
    Bob Bone
     

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    #18
    SteveGriffiths
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 11:06:31 (permalink)
    Great answers, and the hardware vs vst argument is a good one.  I will be using vsts also - waiting for Sample Tank 3 before I decide which on a sample library.  The reason that I want hardware is because i I play a  live out of my house each night, (I am primarily a guitar player / singer) playing over tracks / loops I have previously recorded.  I much prefer to be DAW free when I am performing.   When I record backing tracks I will use vsts, but will also use the hardware sounds for certain parts for consistency - I am no trying to record a pristine studio project but rather an emulation of a live performance - it is a interesting difference.  I am leaning towards the Kurzweil PC3 LE.  I like the extra pads, it has the same Fatar keybed as it's big brother.  The Krome is a close 2nd.  I like the sounds a lot, but i already have most of them on the microStation.  I agree about the weighted vs non-weighted Piano / Synth dicussion, but i would like to become a decent piano player, and I also have some smaller controller kicking around.
     
    Thanks for the great responses.
     
    Grif
     
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    #19
    FuddyDuddy
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 13:30:56 (permalink)
    CakeAlexS
    Addictive keys with a cheap PC setup and a Novation keyboard (or Casio or something) would sound better. Or get a real piano.



    Ditto for the Addictive Keys and Novation.  Novation Impulse that is...

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    #20
    Splat
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 14:16:29 (permalink)
    This is the only keyboard that gives me a slight boner nowadays, but I probably wouldn't buy it...
    http://www.synthtopia.com...iew-looks-beyond-midi/

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    #21
    mettelus
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 17:50:30 (permalink)
    I am definitely with Bob on the weighted key comment (especially the "speed limit" with weighted keys). Semi-weighted with the ability to tailor the velocity curve is more versatile. I started out playing piano, but have readily shifted to soft synths and a MIDI controller. This is obviously a matter of personal preference and playing style. 

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    #22
    backwoods
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2014/06/26 17:56:11 (permalink)
    Go to the store and play a bunch of keyboards.
     
    I bought Kurz PC3x on impulse and regret it. I do not like the Fatar action. I am going to sell it and get a Kawai VPC1
    #23
    Fleer
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2018/10/09 23:12:18 (permalink)
    Old thread.
    New keyboard.
    Got myself a MODX8.

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    #24
    chris.r
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    Re: 88 Note Keyboard 2018/10/10 00:04:55 (permalink)
    Lovely bit of instrument... huge sound... does have GHE action or Balanced?
    #25
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