Looper's Delight Archive Top (Search)
Date Index
Thread Index
Author Index
Looper's Delight Home
Mailing List Info

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Any decent Midi/USB keyboards these days? (37keys/aftertouch; Sculpture)

Hi folks

I'm looking for a compact yet capable midi (or USB) keyboard. Year after 
year, I go through the same procedure: Go to a music store, try out ALL 
available midi/USB keyboards - then go home empty handed... Sure, with a 
2000+ EUR/$ synthesizer, you sometimes get nice keyboard action. But usb 
keyboard controllers?
Once in a while, I unbox my beautiful Korg Trinity and I'm amazed how 
musical & expressive the keyboard plays: My right hand plays a wonderful 
(I believe Fatar) top quality keyboard with responsive aftertouch. In my 
left hand, I have a joystick (x = pitch, y+/- = two modulations), ribbon 
control and two switches directly available. 

I have to yet recreate that experience on a midi/usb keyboard + software 
As for software, Logic's Sculpture was an exciting discovery recently. 
Can't believe I've ignored such a great physical modeling instrument for 
so long... I love it!

With hardware keyboards, I still have problems.

First a word on quality/responsiveness/aftertouch:
Is it me or do midi/usb keyboards in recent years lack the quality of 
simple keyboards in the 90ies?
I mean, in early 90ies, even a cheaper Yamaha/Casio keyboard would have 
decent action. Even the crappy old Casio VL-1 from the 80ies has better 
built quality than most laptop-sized keyboards nowadays.
Talking about responsiveness: Hardly any keyboard seems to have 
aftertouch. Lack thereof completely takes the life out of the virtual 
instrument for me.

Then modulation wheels (yuck):
If the compact keyboards provide any modulation/pitchbend at all, it's 
mostly wheels (vs joystick). I wonder: How do you actually manage to use 
two (=pitchbend+mod) wheels at the same time? With a joystick, I can 
manage more parameters easily (see above). Mod wheels? I don't know...

Here a word on 37 keys:
I find 2 octaves utterly useless. First, you only get real two octaves 
when you play the note "C". For any other note, you only have one "real" 
full octave. And for entering chord progressions, it's never enough.
With 37 keys, you can start off in the middle octave and you can always 
jump up/down one octave (then realign with octave buttons). For me it's 
perfect for single handed playing. For two hands, I at least need 5 
octaves minimum. So don't know why people come up with 25/49-keybards.
While we're at it: Why start with the note "C"? Starting with F/G would be 
much more useful...

Ok, so, what are my options? My favorite being the Korg Microkey...
KORG MICROKEY 37 (http://www.korg.com/microkey)
+ compact size
+ good keyboard action
+ pitchbend and mod wheel!
- lacks aftertouch
- no sustain pedal
NOVATION SL 37 / successor?? 
+ As far as I remember, action was quite nice.
+ Expressive controls (joystick, touchpad, aftertouch)
- too bulky, faders etc. take a lot of space
? Not available anymore, any decent successor???
ALESIS VORTEX KEYTAR (http://www.alesis.com/vortex)
+/- it's a keytar! :-)
+ Has aftertouch!!
? Any experience playing it / or keytar advice in general???

As always, looking forward to your feedback :)