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Midi controller with a good keybed under 1000$
#2264053 04/19/14 11:55 AM
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Hi,

i'm looking for a good midi controller with realistic keys for under 1000$.

I'll be using it just as a controller, not for the sound. I'll be using it with various virtual instruments but mainly with a virtual piano (Ravenscroft), so i'm looking for something that can resemble a real one.

A full digital piano would be ok too, but the whole sound part would be wasted, so i was thinking i could get a better deal with a controller.

Since i'm using it for other instruments too, some must have are:
  • Pitch/Modulation wheel or joystick (mappable to other CC)
  • Split over differents midi channels
  • Expression pedal

In addition aftertouch would be nice, but i consider a good keyboard far more important.

I'm not a professional musician but this is just a hobby, so i don't require extreme realism.

For the moment i'm leaned toward the Roland A-88.
The Kawai VPC-1 is out of my budget, plus it doesn't have the features that i've previously mentioned.
Another candidate would be the Akai mpk88, but the keyboard doesn't seem at the level of the Roland.

I know that the best option would be to try them, but i live in an area where that is not feasible, so i have to rely just on what i read online.

What do you think about the Roland? What other controller would you suggest me?

Re: Midi controller with a good keybed under 1000$
Ov3rload #2264087 04/19/14 01:16 PM
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Hi Ov3rload,

Based on your stated requirements, I think you've identified the two best choices. If you wanted to consider buying an 88-note weighted keyboard _plus_ a separate MIDI controller, you'd have more options, but otherwise, the two boards you mentioned fit the bill.

But for its lack of expression pedal inputs, the Casio PX-5S stage piano would make a great MIDI controller, with the bonus of an extremely powerful sound engine. You could use an external box like the MIDI Solutions pedal controller to deal with the pedal issue, if you could tolerate some additional cost and inconvenience.

I've spent a little time playing the A88. I think Roland's Ivory Feel-G action is okay but not great.

If you are willing to increase your budget a little bit or look for a high-quality used instrument, I bet you could find a Kawai MP6 stage piano for a little more than USD $1,000. It has recently been replaced by the new MP7, but there's still some new MP6 inventory out there. It makes an excellent MIDI controller, and IMHO the Kawai's action is better suited to use as a piano controller than the Roland Ivory Feel-G.

Kind regards,

Ben

Re: Midi controller with a good keybed under 1000$
Ov3rload #2264261 04/19/14 07:16 PM
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Another vote for the PX-5S - incredible instrument for the money.
A used MP6 would be my second recommendation.

Cheers,
James
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Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Midi controller with a good keybed under 1000$
Ov3rload #2264308 04/19/14 09:07 PM
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Thanks a lot for the suggestions.

I liked the Casio PX-5S a lot except the fact that none of the pedals support continuous detection. Unfortunately i will be also using it for instruments like strings, where an expression pedal is a must and if i have to add an external foot controller (which are surprisingly expensive for what they are) i'll go out of budget.

Thanks again for the help.

Re: Midi controller with a good keybed under 1000$
Ov3rload #2264463 04/20/14 05:13 AM
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My personal opinion. Unlike most people on this forum, I find Ivory feel G more realistic than the action found on MP7 (I have tested it in the ES7). In my opinion the action on the ES7 felt too light and cheap. So I would go for Roland.


Roland FP-4F, Korg Kross 61, iRig Keys Pro, HD58X, HD598, Focal Spirit Pro, Shure SRH240A, RME Babyface, M-Track Plus, Roland DuoCapture, Presonus Eris E5, iLoud micro monitors, iPad Pro, HP Elite X2, Ivory II ACD, Korg Module for iPad, Vienna Imperial, Galaxy Vintage D, Ravenscroft, Kawai-Ex Pro
Re: Midi controller with a good keybed under 1000$
Ov3rload #2264591 04/20/14 02:28 PM
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You could also consider an older product such as a Yamaha P250 or CP300. They were built like tanks and had a very good playing action. They also have modulation wheels, pitch bend and all the facilities to accept expression pedals etc. I still have a Yamaha P250 and it's a great instrument despite its age. These particular models have powerful built in speakers which is sometimes useful too. They are large and heavy keyboards but if you are just using them to be a controller rather than gigging then that's not a problem.


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