has anyone have a recent overview about midi-keyboards?

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has anyone have a recent overview about midi-keyboards?

Post by mr.ergonomics » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:43 pm

just collecting information, I need a new mid-size midi-keyboard for my DAW workplace(that means the smaller the better..) with a good key action with a good velocity sensitivity (black and white keys should have the same behaviour, at my current one, my black keys are way more responsive and only recognize about 8 different velocity values....) . I guess 49 keys are fine, yeah I would prefer a cheap one if it's possible. :)

if somebody have a overview about the recent controllers and have compared them, I would be happy to get some opinions what I should consider.

thanks for the input.

PS: does anyone have experience with mini sized keyboards like the KORG MICROKEY as a master keyboard?

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Re: has anyone have a recent overview about midi-keyboards?

Post by pharos » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:33 am

Hi, first post here. I just went through this dilemma myself so I can offer some advice.

I picked up a Novation SLMkII 61 key and a Novation Nocturn 25 key over the holidays. Keybeds on both are fantastic and an absolute joy to play. The black and white keys have equal resistance and are a perfect combination of synth action and slightly semi-weighted feel. The keybeds are the same on both models, across all sizes (25/49/61).

After ordering the SLMkII blind (the reviews of the keybed sold me), I took a trip to a Guitar Center in Orlando. When I got there I tried both the Akai and M-Audio models in the same price range and was really disappointed in both.

Akai's keys were the worst I've ever touched, which is a shame because the whole controller looks so badass. The keys are incredibly spongy and very difficult to play. I have a light touch and the keys were a nightmare. Great for entering two chords on a looping bar in Ableton or something, but not for getting any kind of expressive/quick playing unless you have little hammers with steam-powered pistons attached to the end of your fingers.

The M-Audio Axiom/Pro keys were a bit better, but not by much: too springy and 'clicky'. In fact everything about M-Audio's controllers feel cheap as hell.

The SLMkII's are a tad on the expensive side, but they're fantastic and worth the investment. My advice: if key action is important to you definitely go for the Novation SLMkII or the Nocturn, but avoid the Impulse series. The Impulse keys feel like the Axioms. I would rate them SLMkII/Nocturn > Impulse > Axiom Pro > Akai MPK.

Of course, your best bet is to try these out for yourself since key action is a very subjective thing. Hope this helps.

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Re: has anyone have a recent overview about midi-keyboards?

Post by Cruster » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:53 am

I started with the Korg Nano just because it was cheap, available and something about using just my computer keyboard was just, well not doable for me. I played expensive organs and a couple of sythesizers growing up so I did reasearch for a long time looking for my upgrade to a real keyboard with controller functions. Unfortunately there are not a lot of hands on stores in Montana so I chose the Akai MPK49 Pro, based on reviews, weighted keys, forums, opinions etc, etc. It's definitely different than the cheapos with wimpy light keys I could play in the big box stores. My wife bought me one for Christmas and I am thrilled with it.

Unfortunately, Pharos is right. The Akai does great work and is well built, and looks it, but the key action is quite stiff top to bottom, but it might be adjustable, not sure yet, too new. If you are a piano player it might not be such a big deal, and I play piano too. To me, the Akai is a reasonable compromise between fast, expressive synth keyboards and a good piano, almost. And like Pharos, I recommend you put your hands on one as it's very subjective. Not too impressed with the AKAI software, but it also has 30 presets loaded you can tweak and overall I'm happy. Undoubtedly there are way better keyboards out there and the old saying is true - you get what you pay for. The Akai is OK for me for now..

You can have my Korg Nano if you pay the shipping, it's just sitting on the shelf, never to return, but it definitely got me by. Best wishes in your search....make it a fun thing.

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Re: has anyone have a recent overview about midi-keyboards?

Post by Komodovaran » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:29 pm

Cruster wrote:You can have my Korg Nano if you pay the shipping
I wish the shipping across the pond wouldn't be higher than the price of the product :x

Samaritan Sound
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Re: has anyone have a recent overview about midi-keyboards?

Post by Samaritan Sound » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:39 pm

I recently switched from the M-Audio Ozone to the Axiom 25. I haven't tried the controllers the first replier mentioned, but I'm very happy with the Axiom. Not really a piano/keys player, so their version of semi-weighted feels fine to me - much better than the synth action on the Ozone. I really dig the Aftertouch, and have been creating synth patches that take advantage of it. I love how the encoders are already mapped, which makes browsing synth presets in Reason a blast. The speed of the encoders is a bit weird, but I've gotten used to it.

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