Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard?

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davdud101
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2017/03/02 08:05:59 (permalink)

Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard?

My last post got no traction, but I had to change what I was searching for anyway.
I'm looking into investing in a good new weighted electric piano or MIDI controller that comes in at about $600 or less. It's got to be fairly portable, however, as I don't only use it in the home studio.
 
I'm hoping to hone my piano playing a bit more in addition to being able to use it with both SONAR and Logic. That doesn't necessarily mean that it has to have on-board sound at all, since I can always run it through a synth - it's most important that it's high-quality, portable, and weighted. It'd be a bonus if it's got a couple of DAW controls too!
 
Any recommendations from the piano guys?

 
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    JonD
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/03 23:13:26 (permalink)
    Do you mean fully-weighted, as in grand-piano type action?
     
    The vast majority of these are 88 keys.  Only one model pops up for <$600 at Sweetwater:
     
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SL88Studio
     
    Of course, there's always the secondhand market.
     
    If you accept semi-weighted, your choices open up quite a bit. (Not to mention the portability/weight will be much easier on your back).

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    CedricLawde
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/05 10:42:55 (permalink)
    I think that the "Komplete Kontrol 88" from Native Instruments is a good choice.
    #3
    JohanSebatianGremlin
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/05 16:39:26 (permalink)
     
    Yeah, like JonD said, if you want true weighted, you're looking at 88 keys. And if you're looking at 88 weighted keys, portability tends to go out the window. 
     
    For used stuff, I'd check out the Roland A-series. I still use an A80 in my studio. Its an 88 key beast that's built like a Sherman tank and weighs about the same. Its not true piano action, but the key bed feels great. Its anything but portable though. The A33 has 76 semi-weighted synth keys. I haven't touched one so I can't tell you how they feel, but before the A80, I used an A50 which had 76 semi-weighted synth keys and I was very happy with the action on it. The A33 looks very portable and it looks like they can be had for under $200. 

    On the used market, there's also the Fatar stuff. I've never owned a Fatar instrument but people rave about the feel of their key beds. 

    If you're looking for brand new, there aren't many contenders worth looking at IMO if a solid feeling keyboard is a requirement. Just about everything new I've looked at has a keyboard that feels like it was made by fisher-price. About the only exception is the Native Instruments stuff.  Their key beds feel great. Every other new instrument I've tried feels like a toy.

     
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    EdwardG
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/05 22:14:02 (permalink)
    PianoManChuck seems impressed with the Casio Privia models. Probably the best value out there. Portable at 26 lbs. Three year warranty.  They have arrangers and workstations too. At azpianonews.blogspot.com Tim quoted me a significant amount off internet prices (but I have not bitten yet). I suggest checking out the YouTube comparisons and reviews. Good luck!
    post edited by EdwardG - 2017/03/05 22:45:03

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    davdud101
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/07 06:43:31 (permalink)
    Thanks a lot for the good info, guys.
     
    It doesn't have to be "portable"per se, but I definitely don't want something that's too inconveniently large to move in an emergency situation. I won't be using it much outside of the studio, if at all, but sometimes thing DO need to move around, so a bit of portability is certainly a blessing.
     
    The keybed doesn't necessarily need to feel EXACTLY perfect, as I'm no pianist - but I want something that doesn't feel cheap, and that doesn't have a synth-like or digital-keyboard touch.
     
    The NI's and Komplete pianos look good. But they might have "too many features" for what I need... plus, they're a bit over what I'm looking to spend. My budget actually floats more around the $750-$900 range, but I'm hoping to get the best value for my money, as we all are! I'm just looking for the most basic, as this piano will be run alongside a dedicated synth-action keyboard with controls for my DAW - this one'll be for improvement of performance, as well as technique practice.
     
     
    I've played a Yamaha P115, and I liked the feel of that one quite a bit.
    I've been looking a lot into the Casio Privias,, but haven't played one... how do they hold up? My current keyboard in a Casio 6500, and it's surprisingly sturdy, lightweight, and has loads of features. Sort of avoiding the used market, since it's tough to test ALL the features of a used keyboard, especially in my situation where I don't really know what's necessarily considered good or bad.
     

     
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    JohanSebatianGremlin
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/07 13:36:04 (permalink)
    You might want to check out some of the Studio Logic stuff. Their SL88 has has graded hammer action (whatever that means) and a few controllers but not too many. Its a little pricey at $900 though. But they also have stuff that's in your budget. Check out the Numa Compact 2. Sells for about $500.
     
    http://www.studiologic-music.com/products/numa_compact2/

     
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    JonD
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/07 16:17:53 (permalink)
    I don't know why I blanked out on stage pianos (as a controller) especially since I have one myself.  There are actually quite a few stage pianos with weighted action in the $600-1000 range, including the Privia series which was mentioned.
     
    If you're in the Detroit area, there should be at least one walk-in music store where you can try a few brands/models yourself.  I strongly suggest doing that rather than buying totally sight unseen.

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    davdud101
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/07 16:48:04 (permalink)
    JonD
    I don't know why I blanked out on stage pianos (as a controller) especially since I have one myself.  There are actually quite a few stage pianos with weighted action in the $600-1000 range, including the Privia series which was mentioned.
     
    If you're in the Detroit area, there should be at least one walk-in music store where you can try a few brands/models yourself.  I strongly suggest doing that rather than buying totally sight unseen.




    Absolutely - I just wanna scope the community out and see what you guys like best. Like I said - I'm not a trained pianist, per se, but knowing that a lot of you guys here are means that I can maybe get a better perspective from someone more experienced.
    I'll definitely hop over to some Guitar Centers and stuff this weekend to see what might suit me best. Hopefully I'll see Privia there! I'd like to see how they feel / sound in-person.

     
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    Ripwolf
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/07 20:55:35 (permalink)
    I have the Casio Privia PX150 for about 2 years now and the feel on the keys is very good. Fully weighted and graded. I have it just under my desk with the keyboard out enough to play but it is light enough to slide in or out of the desk. Had to move it around a little for cleaning and reorganizing and it was no trouble. I use other controllers for DAW functions.

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    Rimshot
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/11 07:58:18 (permalink)

    Rimshot 

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    Zargg
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/11 14:54:24 (permalink)
    Rimshot
    AKAI MPK261
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MPK261?adpos=1o1&creative=55642031881&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&product_id=MPK261&gclid=Cj0KEQiAuonGBRCaotXoycysvIMBEiQAcxV0nEmJznqFezeHAdAkIBjPd2WOGFtAHIgv6pXR-D1M7bQaAolx8P8HAQ
     
    Keys are a bit stiff but well built and great dynamic response as a controller.


    I have the MPK 25, and like the keys on it.
    Not a piano player by any means..

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    davdud101
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/11 16:55:44 (permalink)
    Good recommendations on controllers, guys.
     
    In this case I'm looking for something more "piano-like" - doesn't need 88-keys, but definitely a realistic grand piano key action.
     
    If anyone has any good controllers with aftertouch though, those are welcome too! 

     
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    JonD
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/11 18:06:04 (permalink)
    davdud101
     
    In this case I'm looking for something more "piano-like" - doesn't need 88-keys, but definitely a realistic grand piano key action.



    Then you're looking at 88 keys. (There might be an odd duck model out there that's fully weighted with 76 keys, but that's not the norm).
     
    That's not to say you should rule out smaller keyboards, but they won't have a "piano-like" feel.  However, you might prefer the extra midi controller functionality they offer.  Only you can decide what features are the most important to you.
     
    Go have a visit with the keyboards at your local GC, play some weighted and semi-weighted, then come back and share your thoughts.  Until then your ideas are kinda all over the place, so the recommendations here will be just as scattered.

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    JohanSebatianGremlin
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/12 16:29:23 (permalink)
    Go play the Studio Logic stuff and the Native Instruments stuff. They have the best key beds. Even the smaller versions which don't have 'piano action' feel great. 

     
    If gear was the determining factor, we would all have a shelf full of Grammies and a pocket full of change.  -microapp
     
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    filtersweep
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/14 21:05:14 (permalink)
    I don't own a Privia but have played a bunch of them. They come at different price points,  and the action on the higher end models (still pretty inexpensive) has always impressed me.
     
    I don't have hands on with the NI Kontrol 88 key model but I own the synth weighted 61 version. Very high quality build and everything I've seen says the 88 is as well. You should be able to get one at the upper end of your budget. The big advantage over the Privia is the control you have over nks vsti. There are quite a few vsti (not just NI instruments) that take advantage of nks (Lounge Lizard comes to mind as an excellent piano example). The mouse free vsti control is fantastic, it makes the controller more like a dedicated interface for each vsti and is far, far superior to what my old Novation had. I could never really get Automap workjng consistently. To be fair, newer Novation and Akai boards might be comparable but I am not sure they integrate quite as tightly.
     
    NI boards always require that you are plugged into a computer obviously. The Privia you can just turn on and play on board sounds through on board speakers. The sounds are not up the best vsti pianos but are really pretty good. Speakers are not half bad either. Though I like that concept the flexibility of the controller route easily wins out for my purposes.
     
    Brian
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    davdud101
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/15 03:32:37 (permalink)
    filtersweep
    I don't own a Privia but have played a bunch of them. They come at different price points,  and the action on the higher end models (still pretty inexpensive) has always impressed me.
     
    //
     
    NI boards always require that you are plugged into a computer obviously. The Privia you can just turn on and play on board sounds through on board speakers. The sounds are not up the best vsti pianos but are really pretty good. Speakers are not half bad either. Though I like that concept the flexibility of the controller route easily wins out for my purposes.
     
    Brian




     
    Good lookin' out, Brian. I've semi-settled on that I'll (we'll) be buying a separate MIDI controller keyboard that'll fulfil the purpose of VST control. That's partially why I want to also have a weighted piano-type keyboard to supplement the other 'synthier' keyboard. So in case a real pianist, or someone who prefers weighted keys (like me) comes in, both types are at our disposal.

     
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    filtersweep
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    Re: Suggestions on a good weighted MIDI controller or keyboard? 2017/03/16 01:24:42 (permalink)
    Thats really ghe best option IMHO. I have the NI S6 synthweighted controller and a Kurz pc3x 88 weighted key synth, which has great on board sounds in its own right and I can jus turn it on to play thru amp or interface and monitors withoug dealing w computer if I just want to bang out an idea.
     
    Hadn't thought of it before (and I do think the Privias offer a lot for the money), but if you are willing to go used you could prob pick up a weighted synth from Kurzweil, Roland, Yamaha or Korg that will frankly blow the Privia out of the water in terms of all around capabilities AND will be at least equal, probably better, for piano. Downside being a steeper learning curve and, of course, no built in speakers but although the speakers sound pretty good, you probably woundn't use them in a studio setting or live setting.
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