Looking for an 88-key controller

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
krank
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Looking for an 88-key controller

Post by krank » Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:26 pm

I need a full-scale midi controller with good action (yes, who doesn't?). My budget is €500. I know - I'm POOR.

I've just bought a studiologic SL-990, but although the action is nice, I simply can't stand the sight of it. Bought it on a whim, sight unseen.

Now I'm considering M-Audio's Pro Keys 88 (not to be mistaken for the Keystation 88 ). Only drawback is the lack of knobs/controls. Anyone tried this one?

Was also considering a CME-UF8. But again, it isn't a pretty sight. I need something aesthetically neutral, if not pleasing.

The Keystation 88 would have been perfect but for the fact that people scold the action. I need something that plays well.

So I'm starting to look into buying a used, regular keyboard like Yamaha S80, to get something with better action.

As you can tell, I don't really know what to do or where to look. Any advice appreciated.

rozling
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Post by rozling » Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:56 pm

Have you played a CME? I know they're fairly rank looking in pictures but I had a *very* quick bash of one recently in Sound & Drumland in Berlin -- it wasn't even turned on, I was just sussing out the action -- and it didn't look so bad in person/machine.

Out of all the keyboards in there (except the Oasys which I stayed clear of), I preferred only the Nord Stage's action to the CME. If I was in the market for an 88-key controller and action/price were my only criteria, I'd definitely go for one . cover it in glitterball!

Roz

rozling
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Post by rozling » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:08 pm

Ah - I missed the crucial line about the SL, so looks really are a big one then. It seems to me the only 88-keys out there that look good feel shite, and there aren't that many I've tried that feel good (though I'm fairly fussy about that).

If you're on a budget you may have to make some compromises...

krank
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Post by krank » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:27 pm

rozling wrote:Ah - I missed the crucial line about the SL, so looks really are a big one then. It seems to me the only 88-keys out there that look good feel shite, and there aren't that many I've tried that feel good (though I'm fairly fussy about that).

If you're on a budget you may have to make some compromises...
Hey, thanks a lot for your input.

Yes, I'll have to make some kind of compromise. You liked the feel of the CME keyboard? How about the sliders and knobs? I've read so many reports of lacking QC with them. But if I buy locally, I suppose I could always just return it to the shop.

I've also been looking at Doepfer, maybe I could pick up a second-hand unit. Anyone here using these?
Last edited by krank on Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Machinate
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Post by Machinate » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:33 pm

I had a quick tinker with the CME, also at Sound-und-Drumland in Berlin - probably the very same keyboard as Rozling, in fact.

The faders were niiiiice! Like, super-smooth, hardly felt them. Decent amount of travel (doesn't look like it in the web-pics), and I actually like the looks, the knobs were great as well. Also the feel of the keyboard itself is very pro, not like the Nord stuff, which has a plastic quality to it, I reckon.

I'd go for the big CME. If you're rocking a 12" laptop it'll even fit on it :-) And you can get a firewire audio option.
mbp 2.66, osx 10.6.8, 8GB ram.

rozling
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Post by rozling » Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:55 pm

Don't remember the faders/knobs, I'm afraid - I was trying it as a direct comparison to the Stage's action and I remember being pleasantly surprised.

Interesting that you thought the Stage was plasticky Machinate - just goes to show it's a very personal choice!

henry ford
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Post by henry ford » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:19 pm

quit being such a big girl, the cmeuf8 is the right choice. its built to last , has a fantastic action and is a bargain to boot.


'but it doesnt look nice'....pffffFFF

krank
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Post by krank » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:30 pm

henry ford wrote:quit being such a big girl, the cmeuf8 is the right choice. its built to last , has a fantastic action and is a bargain to boot.


'but it doesnt look nice'....pffffFFF
Sir, my name is Penelope Watson, I am 16 years old. I will try to take no offense this time, but please spare me from further rudeness because of my age and sex. Thank you.

Anyway, I've just looked at some more info on the CME. It really does take a lot of flak for lousy build quality, also seems to have driver issues. But I think I'll return the Studiologic for it anyway, and see how it handles.

henry ford
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Post by henry ford » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:53 pm

i have no idea what sex or how old you are , or were when i suggested you were a big girl. But penolope , you're on a slippery slope to nowhere if your equipments aesthetics concern you as a musician. quality is all you should think about. As for the driver issues , well I assume you have a midi interface...so just use it as a midi controller. As for flak concerning the build quality...id like to know where you read that.....

krank
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Post by krank » Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:01 pm

henry ford wrote:i have no idea what sex or how old you are , or were when i suggested you were a big girl. But penolope , you're on a slippery slope to nowhere if your equipments aesthetics concern you as a musician. quality is all you should think about. As for the driver issues , well I assume you have a midi interface...so just use it as a midi controller. As for flak concerning the build quality...id like to know where you read that.....
Many, many places, Sir. Most importantly CME's own forum.

rikhyray
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Post by rikhyray » Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:11 pm

Should have written month ago, I sold my CME 88 for just 340 Euro. Weight was too much to take to gigs, USB> controller part sucks, I waited patiently 6 months, then gave up, probably they will never get it right
Keys are OK- way better then Keystation or fatar but if I buy again any 88 it will be Doepfer - the keys are perfect for me.

krank
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Post by krank » Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:17 pm

rikhyray wrote:Should have written month ago, I sold my CME 88 for just 340 Euro. Weight was too much to take to gigs, USB> controller part sucks, I waited patiently 6 months, then gave up, probably they will never get it right
Keys are OK- way better then Keystation or fatar but if I buy again any 88 it will be Doepfer - the keys are perfect for me.
What sucked about the controller part?

hambone1
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Post by hambone1 » Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:18 pm

I've played around with my son's M-Audio Keystation Pro 88. It's fantastic value for money, but IMO plagued by the same issues as all of M-Audio's plastic Chinese products. Sitting in a studio would probably be OK, but I wouldn't gig with it. The whole thing feels really cheap. I guess you get what you pay for...

henry ford
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Post by henry ford » Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:24 pm

gigging with the cme8 might be a problem if weight is an issue....i use the uf5 and its heavy as fook. but i like that. i use it as a straightup midi keyboard and nothing else. i dont use the faders or the knobs...just the program change dial.

rikhyray
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Post by rikhyray » Fri Jan 06, 2006 1:04 am

krank wrote:
rikhyray wrote:Should have written month ago, I sold my CME 88 for just 340 Euro. Weight was too much to take to gigs, USB> controller part sucks, I waited patiently 6 months, then gave up, probably they will never get it right
Keys are OK- way better then Keystation or fatar but if I buy again any 88 it will be Doepfer - the keys are perfect for me.
What sucked about the controller part?

The first series had some wrong Eprom, they were changing them for free but the whole USB thing was unreliable, even with new Eprom.
I might get the 61 though, just because everything else is even worse, at least CME have decent keys. Maybe it is driver, maybe electronic, who knows , who cares ? I asked the company if they are planning keys only but there is nothing in sight.
Since 1 year they are not able to write even primitive editor, it is still Beta.
I am not much into DIY otherwise I would buy Doepfer keys (5 octaves) and build some kind of box.
Someone said CME 5 heavy? It is like a toothbrush, 88weights 4-5 times more and worse it is huge.
BTW I think M audio got better, their electric piano is not bad at all (unlike keystation that feels like splitting apart when you play it seriously, I think you can actually bend it). If it is to keep in a studio only CME is half price of anything else with decent 88 keys. Any CME is better then Triton LE, as good as Motif or triton if not better, I wish they have compact no controller versions.

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