Helpful ReplyController Keyboards .. which one .. thoughts & recommends

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aidanodr
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2018/09/04 17:41:45 (permalink)

Controller Keyboards .. which one .. thoughts & recommends

Hi Guys,
 
I own a small keystation Mini 32 but am looking to go for something with more programmable knobs and pads etc. Small size again so sticking to around the 25 key formats.
 
The ones I have looked at are:
- Arturia Minilab 2
- Akai MPK Mini 2
- Alesis v25
- Maudio oxygen 25
 
Price is similar across all an size .. though the Alesis & Maudio are bigger. Not much travel wise with me, it will be either at a PC or my 17" laptop around the house.
 
So .. thoughts appreciated? Especially if you use any or all of these.
 
  
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azslow3
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Re: Controller Keyboards .. which one .. thoughts & recommends 2018/09/06 12:29:41 (permalink)
How you plan to use extra controls on these devices? For Synthes/DAW/plug-ins, for live performance or mixing/editing?
F.e. Minilab has encoders while other have simple knobs, encoders are better for editing but not convenient for live performance.
 
Also all these (and other) devices have significantly different "feel" for keys and controls. It can happened you will be able to control velocity with some but not all. With pads it can be even worse, you may find them unusable. Try to find the place where you can test. That characteristics are subjective, there are people which can not play "too hard" keys/pads and people which can not play "too light" key/pads.

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aidanodr
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Re: Controller Keyboards .. which one .. thoughts & recommends 2018/09/09 13:14:15 (permalink)
Thanks azslow3

Its mainly for writing tracks on my dell 17" i5 laptop. I use Komplete and both Sonar and Ableton with odd foray into FL Studio. Do alot with samples mainly in ambient and genres like beach house etc.
 
Will be difficult where I live ( near cork city, South Coast, Ireland ) to find a place with these devices in a store. Most music stores actually closed down. Amongst other things Thomann had its impact OR any open operate on JIT and order in, not on the shelf.
 
I am sort of veering toward the Minilab for build quality and I do have the full Arturia set of vst synths.
 
 
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azslow3
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Re: Controller Keyboards .. which one .. thoughts & recommends 2018/09/09 15:49:54 (permalink)
If primary purpose is to control synthes, oriented toward that controllers is the way to go.
There is no out of the box integration with Sonar/CbB for any controllers except Nektar Impact, but it is too primitive in any case (the integration is also not too deep).
For controlling Arturia, Minilab is probably the fastest to start with.
But if you work a lot with NI, have a look at NI A25 (pre-orders are open) and if you have money S25. It can take a while till transport work in Sonar, but you get out of the box integration throw NKS.
Another option is Akai/Alesis controllers with VIP support. They are also more expensive then controllers in your list, but again you will have good integration with VSTi (throw VIP) without big effort.
 
IMHO.
When I have shortly tested Minilab (older version), I had no feeling its build quality is better then other. But as I have mentioned before, encoders have huge advantage over knobs when switching between tracks/instruments, except for live environment (and when you can make them work as desired).
 

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HeatherHaze
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Re: Controller Keyboards .. which one .. thoughts & recommends 2018/09/15 06:05:47 (permalink)
I love the Roland A-series controller keyboards.  I have the A-300 and the A-800.  They are full-featured controllers and designed to work with Sonar/Cakewalk.  They even have aftertouch, which is hard to find on the lower-end controllers.  The downside, of course, is that they're not cheap.  The A-300 isn't bad, though, and gives you 32 keys to work with.  You can probably find one for around $200.  The A-800 is 61 keys and runs about $400.  Just depends on your needs. 

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msmcleod
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Re: Controller Keyboards .. which one .. thoughts & recommends 2018/09/16 13:13:50 (permalink)
I've collected a fair few over the years:
 
Keystation Mini32  : Probably my favourite for portability, with good velocity curves, but no extra assignable controls for synths etc.
 
MidiTech i2-mini 32 : Standard mini keys (as opposed to the micro keys found on the keystation). Velocity curves are a bit harsh for my liking (it's either really quiet or really loud). Real pitchbend & mod wheels + input for sustain pedal.
 
Korg MicroKey : Good action on these. I've got the 61 key version, but they do smaller ones (25, 37 & 49). No assignable controllers tho. I suspect the 25 key or 37 key version would be a better choice than the Keystation Mini 32. Korg NanoKey is another alternative, but the keys look odd to me. Again, no extra controls.
 
EMU X-Board 25: This one has full size semi-weighted keys with aftertouch, and 16 rotary encoders. I've also got the 49 key version, which is my 2nd to main studio controller (my main one being a SL990 88 key weighted keyboard). I use the 25 key for programming sounds. This controller is fantastic in every way. It's not that small though (about the size of a laptop). No longer made, but they do appear time to time on ebay.
 
Its worth mentioning that out of the lot, only the Keystation Mini-32 (or Korg NanoKey) will actually fit into a laptop bag along with the laptop.

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HeatherHaze
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Re: Controller Keyboards .. which one .. thoughts & recommends 2018/09/17 09:42:43 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby aidanodr 2018/09/17 13:51:39
msmcleod
Korg NanoKey is another alternative, but the keys look odd to me. Again, no extra controls.



I keep a Nanokey on my desktop.  I love it because it fits right in the little space in front of my console.  I don't know of any smaller controller keyboard.  You're right that the keys are kind of funky.  I was skeptical, too, but I've found them surprisingly playable.  I mainly use this board to audition sounds, play simple lines, etc. while in front of my DAW.  If I need something more, I turn around and pick one of my six other keyboards.  But for quick tinkering, it's perfect.  It's also iPad friendly for mobile music-making, which is pretty cool.  

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fireberd
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Re: Controller Keyboards .. which one .. thoughts & recommends 2018/09/17 10:11:58 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby aidanodr 2018/09/17 13:51:35
I just bought a Novation Impulse 25.  It would appear to have everything you want.
 

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aidanodr
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Re: Controller Keyboards .. which one .. thoughts & recommends 2018/09/17 13:52:29 (permalink)
BTW .. anyone ever try the NI Maschine stuff .. eg the Maschine Mikro v3 ( new one ) or v2??
 
 
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