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Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) #2624272
03/16/17 12:35 PM
03/16/17 12:35 PM
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MikeRoePhonics Offline OP
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Hi, this is my first post here! I'm looking to buy another MIDI controller/digital piano. I only use virtual instruments (VSTi) so on-board sounds aren't necessary. My main instruments are Kontakt, Vienna Symphonic Library, Omnisphere, Trilian, Keyscape, Stylus RMX and Toontrack drum libraries. So my MIDI controller will get used to play basically any kind of instrument you can imagine.

I've done very extensive research on keybeds, action, 2 vs 3 sensors etc. I've narrowed my search for a MIDI controller/digital piano down to a few boards. Hopefully the following requirements will help narrow the search even more.

What I need in a MIDI keyboard above all else:
- Durability for many years of use

- 88 key hammer action (wood or plastic is OK)

- Fast repetitions possible (Comfortable 16th notes at 90BPM. 2-sensor is fine as long as I can accomplish this. 3 sensors preferred.)

- Key travel depth of 1/2 inch (Roland Feel-G travel depth on Juno DS88 is too shallow for my tastes.)

- Keys bottom out softly (Yamaha MOXF8 is too hard when keys bottom out. Juno DS88 has an odd, rubbery feel when keys bottom out. Something with softer felt is strongly preferred.)

- Lighter than Casio PX-5S pressure, which is too heavy for me. The heftiness of the keys makes fast repetitions uncomfortable.

- Pitch Bend (Roland's Pitch/Mod lever will suffice. I like it on the Juno DS88.)

- Free position Mod wheel with no springs (or a MIDI CC slider in case of Roland's Pitch/Mod lever) This keeps both hands free for the keys!

Optional features:
- Channel/Polyphonic Aftertouch (Polyphonic AT is a BIG plus, but I don't see it on anything other than the VAXMIDI controller, which isn't released yet.)

=============================

Keyboards I'm considering:
- Roland RD-800 (PHA-4 Triple Sensor with Escapement)
- Kawai MP10 (RM3 Grand Double Sensor with Let-Off/Escapement)
- Kawai VPC1 (RM3II Triple Sensor with Let-Off/Escapement. No pitchbend nor mod, but if it's good enough action...)
- Studiologic SL88 Grand (Triple Sensor, Channel Aftertouch)
- Studiologic SL88 Studio (Triple Sensor, Channel Aftertouch)

I heard the RD-800 can broadcast CC#7 from its slider, which I can convert in my computer software to any CC#, so that would suffice. Can it be programmed to send other CC#s?

Can a pedal be attached to the VPC1 which can be used to send a MIDI CC# with all values from 0 to 127 (such as CC#1 Modulation?)

=================================

Regarding the two Studiologic boards...

Can anyone confirm whether or not the Fatar hammer action keybeds use grease to lubricate the keys and hammer tips? If you look at the below cross-section diagrams for the Fatar TP/100LR and TP/40 WOOD keybeds, you can see a vertical nub on the underside of the key, which appears to press down on the hammer. I'm guessing grease is required to allow the key to glide against the hammer tip.

See here:
http://fatar.com/Pages/TP100LR.html
http://fatar.com/Pages/TP_40WOOD.htm

I haven't found any pictures on the web of the above Fatar keybeds with the keys removed, so I have no idea if they require grease for the hammer tips. However, I ran across these next links for replacement hammer weights for the Studiologic SL-990 (all Studiologic keyboards use Fatar keybeds.) These look JUST LIKE the hammer weights in my M-Audio Keystation Pro 88. Note the top of the weights. They appear to be rubberized, which means they will wear down as the key grease dries out, like on my Keystation Pro 88! Not good!!

SL-990 Black Key Hammer Weight:
http://syntaur.com/Items.asp?Item=5492
SL-990 White Key Hammer Weight:
http://syntaur.com/Items.asp?Item=5493

In the following link of an unknown keybed, the keys press against felt which is attached to the top of the hammers. At first thought, this seems to be a better solution to rubber, as the key is cushioned against felt, protecting the top of the hammer from heat generated by the key movement:
http://homerecording.com/bbs/equipm...yboard-clean-help-268410/15/#post3649381
Is the above link a Fatar keybed?

But then again, perhaps the felt ISN'T a better option, as seen here on a Fatar keybed:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-...996-help-fix-fatar-keyboard-squeaks.html

Here's a FATAR TP10 hammer action keyboard (using felt for key/hammer connection):

Working FATAR TP10 (from Kurzweil SP88X):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kvJTFrSKhM

Here's a key pivot for the SL-990. It looks EXACTLY like the key pivots for my M-Audio Keystation Pro 88, except mine are white:
http://syntaur.com/Items.asp?Item=4797

I am virtually 100% certain the M-Audio Keystation Pro 88 uses a Fatar keybed. So as far as Fatar is concerned, maybe they're simply prone to breaking down, unless newer designs have done away with the felt/grease design. I'd love to see the inside of a Studiologic SL88 and SL88 Grand to look for weaknesses in their design. I'd love even more to not find ANY weaknesses but I won't hold my breath after the research I've done on their keybeds...

Sorry that Fatar rant went on so long but I haven't seen any discussions on the web regarding the hammer weight "grease/rubber" issues.

Thanks for reading. This forum has been very helpful in my research!

Mike

Last edited by MikeRoePhonics; 03/16/17 12:39 PM.

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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2624297
03/16/17 02:10 PM
03/16/17 02:10 PM
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Morodiene Offline
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Welcome to the forum!

I think that finding one action to accommodate all of those different criteria is going to be difficult. Most of us have two: one for a more piano-like action and another that is semi-weighted which may be better for strings, brass and winds.

I'm curious why you list the MP10 and not the MP11? I think the MP11 is a far better action - although the MP10 is good. I do think the VPC1 would be too heavy for what you are looking to get. I use my MP11 for everything, even though I have an MOX6 (semi-weighted) that I could use for strings. I'm a pianist, so I just like the feel of piano and I find the weight helps with control. The VPC1 will work with external MIDI devices for controlling, but I think unless you are looking exclusively for a piano, the MP would be better.

BTW, there are 4 programmable knobs on the MP11 that I use for other CCs. Very simple to use, but sometimes I just put in the CC info by hand afterwards rather than worry about playing. Still, it can be done live.

Some like Fatar, but really not a great piano action. Some people love the SL88. I think it may be something that you have to try out for yourself.

Regrading aftertouch, I find that to be cumbersome. I think one can get far more control with a Mod wheel for expression/dynamics. Just my personal opinion, though. wink I've heard breath controller is the best for brass and winds, but I haven't invested in one yet.


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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: Morodiene] #2624572
03/17/17 12:57 PM
03/17/17 12:57 PM
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MikeRoePhonics Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Morodiene

Most of us have two: one for a more piano-like action and another that is semi-weighted which may be better for strings, brass and winds.


I should have mentioned that I have a Studiologic SL-161 synth-weighted MIDI controller which has a nice synth feel. Do you think the VPC1, MP10/11 and Roland RD-XXX series may be too heavy for non-piano sounds? I'm concerned about depth of travel as well as return speed of the keys, as those factor into maximum comfortable repetition speeds. 1/2" travel feels
nice on my Keystation Pro 88, and it returned quickly enough to perform 16ths @ 90BPM (prior to the grease/rubber problems.)

Originally Posted by Morodiene

I'm curious why you list the MP10 and not the MP11? I think the MP11 is a far better action - although the MP10 is good.


The MP11 is a little expensive for me. I hear it has an excellent keybed. I also hear its sounds are very nice but my main focus is MIDI controller capability so the extra sounds, although nice, are costly bonuses for my needs. I'm pretty much a VSTi user (Kontakt, Vienna Symphonic Library, Spectrasonics, Toontrack.) By the way, Spectrasonics Keyscape is AMAZING! The Yamaha C7 and Rhodes are exquisite.

Originally Posted by Morodiene

I'm a pianist, so I just like the feel of piano and I find the weight helps with control. The VPC1 will work with external MIDI devices for controlling, but I think unless you are looking exclusively for a piano, the MP would be better.


I agree about weight and control. That's exactly why I prefer weighted keys in general. Synth action is nice for percussion sounds but there's something about having that little bit of heftiness in a weighted key.

Originally Posted by Morodiene

BTW, there are 4 programmable knobs on the MP11 that I use for other CCs. Very simple to use, but sometimes I just put in the CC info by hand afterwards rather than worry about playing. Still, it can be done live.


That's very good to know! Too bad the Roland RD-800 only sends CC#7 (Volume) from its faders (as far as I've heard.) Is this accurate? Being able to send ANY MIDI CC# from any fader, knob and button is a huge plus. The A-800 Pro does this well with its free editor. I wish more manufacturers took this into consideration.

Originally Posted by Morodiene

Some like Fatar, but really not a great piano action. Some people love the SL88. I think it may be something that you have to try out for yourself.


I may end up getting the SL88 Grand or SL88 Studio but at this point, I'm rather concerned about the build quality of their hammers, as I detailed in the first post. A few users have reported the LCD screens stop working. Not good.

Originally Posted by Morodiene

Regrading aftertouch, I find that to be cumbersome. I think one can get far more control with a Mod wheel for expression/dynamics. Just my personal opinion, though. wink I've heard breath controller is the best for brass and winds, but I haven't invested in one yet.


I've considered a Yamaha WX5 before but find the modwheel is usually enough. Aftertouch is nice because it allows you to keep both hands on the keys, as opposed to using one hand to control the modwheel. Spectrasonics Omnisphere and Trilian use the modwheel for many of their patches, and I use it often on those.

The problem I have with Roland is that their lower priced models don't have a free-position old school style modwheel. They have it in their pitchbend/modwheel lever. The problem with that is the modwheel axis uses a spring, so if you want to keep CC#1 (Modwheel) at a value of 127 (all the way up), you have to keep your left hand on it, which means you can't play the keys with that hand. The RD-2000 has TWO assignable modwheels in addition to the pitchbend/modwheel lever, which is great but the machine also costs $2,500. These requests are not unreasonable. Old school modwheels are nice and allow subtle control if designed well.

Thanks for the help!

Last edited by MikeRoePhonics; 03/17/17 01:12 PM.

Virtual Instrument Junkie, Spectrasonics, VSL, Toontrack
Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2624578
03/17/17 01:19 PM
03/17/17 01:19 PM
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interesting thread - I too am looking for a similar controller

fancied a RD2000 but if I'm not really going to use the internal sounds much (except maybe for the kids instead of them having to boot the PC) - it seems a bit of a waste

VPC1 would be perfect with a mod-wheel

I too have a 2nd keyboard - a MOXF6 in my case - I guess I could use the mod-wheel on that but its a bit more faff setting up each VST/DAW than having it all on one keyboard - and normally requires no config

I was tempted with a Roland A-88 - but I believe no mod wheel ?

one to look at maybe the Casio PX-5S - I just would pay more for a bit better keybed - I think I read nearly all the sliders etc are all transmitted on midi ?

Last edited by Buckster; 03/17/17 01:23 PM.
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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2624620
03/17/17 03:59 PM
03/17/17 03:59 PM
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The sliders of the Casio PX-5S are very programmable, can be set up to send any MIDI message, or none whatsoever.

Last edited by TheodorN; 03/17/17 04:01 PM.

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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: Buckster] #2624955
03/18/17 05:42 PM
03/18/17 05:42 PM
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MikeRoePhonics Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Buckster

fancied a RD2000 but if I'm not really going to use the internal sounds much (except maybe for the kids instead of them having to boot the PC) - it seems a bit of a waste


It looks great, especially with the 2 additional wheels, 8 knobs and 8 faders, but for a VSTi user like myself, the additional cost due to its internal sound development isn't worth it to me. However, I hear its PHA-50 keybed is very nice.

Originally Posted by Buckster

VPC1 would be perfect with a mod-wheel


I really wish Kawai would add pitchbend and modwheel to the VPC2 if they ever make one. I really don't see the lack of it as a selling point. If a pitchbend and modwheel are enough to distract a player, then what's stopping a dust mote passing through a sunbeam from doing the same?

Originally Posted by Buckster

I was tempted with a Roland A-88 - but I believe no mod wheel ?


It has two potentiometers in the "pitch/mod" lever. One for pitchbend and one for modulation, but the modulation axis is spring-loaded so you have to keep your hand on it if you want to keep it in a non-0 CC value position. There are two knobs which can be assigned to any MIDI CC# which is fine unless you want to use a fader or actual old school modwheel for CC modulation, etc. Knobs generally require two fingers for control whereas a fader requires only one finger.

Originally Posted by Buckster

one to look at maybe the Casio PX-5S - I just would pay more for a bit better keybed - I think I read nearly all the sliders etc are all transmitted on midi ?


You may like/love the PX-5S but I played a Privia 160 at Guitar Center, which has the same action. I found the keys to be too heavy, and don't come back up quite quick enough. Also, the texture on the tops is too exaggerated for me and feel strange. Personal preference as always. Many people love the PX-5S.


Virtual Instrument Junkie, Spectrasonics, VSL, Toontrack
Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2625539
03/20/17 08:52 PM
03/20/17 08:52 PM
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After reading your requirements, there is absolutely no doubt what you need.
#1 absolute best choice: Komplete Kontrol S88.
#2 choice would be Roland A-88.

And that's it, I made your decision very easy. Two choices. And both are easy to sell when you are done with it because unlike digital pianos these are not seasonal. Kontrol S88 is the obvious superior choice.

Forget any digital pianos if you are not going to actually play digital piano. And yes you will need adjustment period for weighted keyboard... most non-piano sounds will sound off for first few months.
Also don't get distracted by shapes and characteristics of mod wheels and pitch bends. There is very few sounds in a real-life production that require either of them being played live.

P.S. you can thank me later especially if you go with Kontrol S88.

Last edited by oscar1; 03/20/17 09:12 PM.

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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2625566
03/21/17 01:34 AM
03/21/17 01:34 AM
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T71 Offline
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Just ordered the Studiologic SL88 Grand. Piano Man Chuck has a couple of useful reviews on YouTube.

Regarding durability, the keybed at least, is good enough for the Physis H1, and appears to be fast:


The tp40wood hammer tip uses what appears to be a dry thermoplastic or teflon cover for lubrication: tp40wood video (Edit: The thread associated with this video says the hammer tips are lubed. Regulating Fatar tp40wood )

Steer clear of the SL88 Studio and the Komplete Kontrol S88. The tp100lr keys are sluggish, shallow, bouncy and noisy/clicky. Also, the pivot point is way too close to the keybed playing surface.


Last edited by T71; 03/21/17 04:45 AM.
Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2625738
03/21/17 03:34 PM
03/21/17 03:34 PM
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MikeRoePhonics Offline OP
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Originally Posted by oscar1

After reading your requirements, there is absolutely no doubt what you need.
#1 absolute best choice: Komplete Kontrol S88.
#2 choice would be Roland A-88.


The S88 uses a Fatar keybed, however NI refuses to disclose which exact keybed they use. Also, I'm very concerned about what the top of Fatar hammer weights is made of. See my comments in the first post in this thread regarding this. Also note T71's previous comments regarding the hammer tips and lubrication. I am nearly certain my M-Audio Keystation Pro 88 uses a Fatar keybed with a similar design to the Fatar TP/40 WOOD keybed. I'm in the market for a new keyboard/controller because of the breakdown of the rubber tips on my hammers and not finding a reliable lubrication compound for them. I've tried Teflon, white lithium grease and a few others. Nothing worked and I gave up on the keyboard.

The A-88 has the same keybed as the Roland Juno DS88 (with the addition of escapement on the A-88.) I bought and returned a Juno DS88 because I didn't like the action. It's depth of travel is too shallow, transfers too much energy back into the hands on keystrokes and can't perform fast enough repetitions, which is possibly due to having only 2 sensors. Personal preference but I don't like it that much after spending time with the unit.

Originally Posted by oscar1

Forget any digital pianos if you are not going to actually play digital piano.


I'm getting the impression that if you want a quality hammer action keybed, they're generally to be found in stage pianos, workstations or digital pianos such as those made by Kawai, Roland and Yamaha. There's always personal preferences so this isn't an absolute rule, but I have been researching this for about a month now and I see this pattern recurring over and over throughout various threads, forums and reviews.

Originally Posted by oscar1

And yes you will need adjustment period for weighted keyboard... most non-piano sounds will sound off for first few months.


I agree with this. Your hands need to develop muscle memory for any new instrument.

Originally Posted by oscar1

Also don't get distracted by shapes and characteristics of mod wheels and pitch bends. There is very few sounds in a real-life production that require either of them being played live.


While that may be true for the pitchbend wheel in some cases (except for synthesizer sounds), the modwheel is a different matter. I rarely use the modwheel for applying a pitch modulation LFO to a soundsource, but I DO use it for things such as:
- adjusting filters, amplitude envelope attack/release time, (Omnisphere, Trilian)
- switching between various articulations such as crescendo and diminuendo (VSL)

The modwheel has many more applications beyond what its name implies. It depends on how the sample library/virtual instrument developer programs their patches to respond to MIDI CC1 messages.

Originally Posted by oscar1

P.S. you can thank me later especially if you go with Kontrol S88.


I appreciate the recommendations, however I looked into the S88 a while ago and got the impression that its action is not what I'm looking for. I'm a heavy Kontakt user so it's unfortunate because the key lights are a really cool idea. Perhaps an S88mkii will have a different non-Fatar action but that's purely speculation.

Originally Posted by T71

Just ordered the Studiologic SL88 Grand. Piano Man Chuck has a couple of useful reviews on YouTube.

Regarding durability, the keybed at least, is good enough for the Physis H1, and appears to be fast:



Did you receive your unit yet? A user on the REAPER forum got back to me saying his SL88 *Studio* can reliably perform 16th notes at 90BPM. Do you find the same to be true for the SL88 Grand?

Originally Posted by T71

The tp40wood hammer tip uses what appears to be a dry thermoplastic or teflon cover for lubrication:


This is what I had feared. My M-Audio board uses this type of design and the keys now stick and are useless. The problem is the convex design as opposed to concave design found on Roland hammers (tiny "cups" holding key pink key grease.) The grease can sling off the M-Audio/Fatar tips. On Roland, it's contained in its "cups."

Originally Posted by T71

Steer clear of the SL88 Studio and the Komplete Kontrol S88. The tp100lr keys are sluggish, shallow, bouncy and noisy/clicky. Also, the pivot point is way too close to the keybed playing surface.


Thanks for this information. I'm staying away from Fatar keybeds from now on. I hate opening up keyboards, even after their warranty period has expired. It's time-consuming and takes away from time I could otherwise spend PLAYING the instrument.

I'm probably going with the Kawai MP7. Between that and the VPC1, Kawai James, Piano Man Chuck and others have recommended the MP7 as the best balance for an action appropriate for both piano sounds and other sounds.

Thanks for everybody's advice and keyboard recommendations!

- Mike

Last edited by MikeRoePhonics; 03/21/17 03:42 PM.

Virtual Instrument Junkie, Spectrasonics, VSL, Toontrack
Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2625794
03/21/17 07:14 PM
03/21/17 07:14 PM
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T71 Offline
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I haven't received my SL88 yet.

FWIW, the Keystation Pro doesn't use a Fatar Keybed. It uses cheap plastic hammers with butyl rubber blocks on the tips. Rubber is a really bad choice as it degrades, hardens and cracks over time: Keystation Rubber Hammer Block

The Fatars use a molded thermoplastic sheath which should last the life of the keyboard. It's a good, durable design. You will find many a late 90's Kurzweil with this Fatar design which are still in service.

Regarding the NI S88, it has been confirmed after a teardown that the keybed is indeed the significantly compromised tp100lr.

Last edited by T71; 03/21/17 08:00 PM.
Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2625799
03/21/17 07:48 PM
03/21/17 07:48 PM
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Calmando Offline
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I've owned a Keystation Pro and an NI KS88. I certainly wouldn't recommend either.

I eventually bought a Doepfer LMK2+, which has a graded Fatar keybed with aftertouch, plus mod/bend wheels.

The action is useable but not outstanding. The mod/bend wheels are unimpressive because the on-board processor is too slow, so faster pitch bends jump from pitch to pitch instead of bending smoothly.

Then I bought a Kawai CA67, which scratched the piano action itch but - of course - has no wheels. I use an Arturia Keylab 61 now as a synth controller, and the CA67 remains a piano.

The MP7 is probably your best choice in the circumstances. But IMO all weighted action controllers are a compromise with various limitations and/or reliability problems. (I was going to buy an MP11, but I didn't particularly like the action, and a dealer told me a number of sales had suffered from reliability issues.)

I'm not sure it's possible to build a stellar action into a portable unit. It's certainly possible to build a useable action into a portable unit, but there's always going to be some distance between keys that are primarily used as a substitute for a high quality piano, and keys that are optimised for synth playing.

Last edited by Calmando; 03/21/17 07:48 PM.

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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: T71] #2625801
03/21/17 08:13 PM
03/21/17 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by T71
The Fatars use a molded thermoplastic sheath which should last the life of the keyboard. It's a good, durable design. You will find many a late 90's Kurzweil with this Fatar design which are still in service.
Not in my case. Years ago, I ordered a Kurzweil PC2X without trying it beforehand as no store had them in my area. The sounds were excellent but it was a very costly mistake as I disliked the cheap feel of the Fatar keybed from day one. I kept it a few years for the sounds and sold it before the action would fall apart - and I mostly play with a soft touch.

When I opened it to fix velocity problems on a few keys, I saw how cheap were the parts for this particular keybed. I especially disliked how the key stop material felt as hard as concrete when I was playing any f to fff passages, almost hurting my finger joints.

On the other hand, my old MIDIboard from 1989 still plays perfectly since day one and I can play it four hours a day without finger fatigue (just like my grand piano). Totally different league in terms of design and quality.

So for anyone thinking about buying a controller with a Fatar keybed, I strongly recommend you try it carefully before deciding. YMMV

Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2625803
03/21/17 08:23 PM
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The PC2X uses a lower end compact-hammer Fatar design, the tp10, so I'm not surprised. Fatar TP10

Fatar do make some poor designs, like tp100 and tp10, but the tp40, tp40wood and tp400 models are good designs.

Last edited by T71; 03/21/17 08:38 PM.
Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: Calmando] #2625823
03/21/17 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Calmando

The MP7 is probably your best choice in the circumstances. But IMO all weighted action controllers are a compromise with various limitations and/or reliability problems. (I was going to buy an MP11, but I didn't particularly like the action, and a dealer told me a number of sales had suffered from reliability issues.)


Of all the MP7 reviews I've read online, there are about 6 or so poor reviews where the main complaint is that keys exhibit a clicking sound and in some cases the keys do not respond correctly to touch and worsen with time. Of course the question is whether these problems were the result of shipping damage, but if not, what percentage of MP7s sold worldwide have inherent problems. These poor reviews are from 2015 in most cases. I haven't come across these types of complaints in the active MP7 thread in this forum, so perhaps the poor reviews are isolated incidents.


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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2629152
04/01/17 04:33 PM
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I bought a used Studiologic SL-990 XP and received it earlier this week. i'm already experiencing problems with it.Namely...

1.) Pitchbend and modwheel send out data when at rest
2.) If I hold a very specific set of notes (am F and a G+G# an octave above that F) it very very rapidly sends note_on messages for the *A* above the G#. Cool trick, huh? I thought so.

So I'm going to return this thing to Guitar Center. Too bad, because I actually like the keybed action. It's a little heavy but I like the control it provides with the heft.

Back to the drawing board!


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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2629162
04/01/17 05:11 PM
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Sorry, I thought I had responded before to your questions.

It may be a good idea to try out an MP7 or MP11. Since I play piano, I have no problem with a piano action playing other sounds. I'm just used to it, and I've heard the same from other pianists who also work with software instruments for strings, brass, etc.

Definitely try them out, though, to see what you think of the action. As for bad reviews, I think you find those with anything that gets widely distributed.


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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: Morodiene] #2629206
04/01/17 08:13 PM
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I just returned the Studiologic SL-990 XP to Guitar Center. It's really too bad. I love its action but the glitchy notes simply cannot be tolerated. It makes the entire thing useless. The sales rep at the store was truly baffled when we hooked its MIDI output into a Roland Juno DS88 to confirm my claim that it sent out an A as described in my previous post.

I might just have to bite the bullet and buy an MP7. The MP11 is too much for what I need, which is just a controller with a nice keybed, pitchbend and modwheel.

The search goes on...


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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2629220
04/01/17 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeRoePhonics
The A-88 has the same keybed as the Roland Juno DS88 (with the addition of escapement on the A-88.) I bought and returned a Juno DS88 because I didn't like the action. It's depth of travel is too shallow, transfers too much energy back into the hands on keystrokes and can't perform fast enough repetitions, which is possibly due to having only 2 sensors.


The A88 is capable of very fast repetition, see
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2629173/Re:_Recommend_a_Lightweight_DP.html#Post2629173

Third sensor is more about repeating a note softly than it is repeating a note quickly, see
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2627461/Re:_comparing_Kawai_ES110,_Cas.html#Post2627461

That said, for your purposes, I think you're probably on the right track with the MP7.

Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2629224
04/01/17 10:34 PM
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I have roland FA-08 that has the same ivory feel-g keyboard with escapement like the A88.
The keyboard needs a bit of adjustment period but it really grows on you. This is very solidly build keybed. At first you may find it to be "slow" but really it isn't, just maybe a bit different way the keys return (with more hesitation?). If I compare it with my PX-860 the Ivory Fell-G is much more solid, refined and feel more hefty and "real" underneath even if the casio in fact may have harder action. Also it is just amazing to the touch with the matte feel ... But I had been using it for some time and yes it did grow on me a little and now I compare it to everything else.
It would not be obviously in the MP11 level of best piano emulation - but I wouldn't discount the roland as being any less of a professional keybed.

Last edited by oscar1; 04/01/17 10:35 PM.

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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2629230
04/01/17 11:04 PM
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I frequently play an RD-300NX with the Ivory-Feel G and I agree, it's really quite nice, despite the fact that it has a lot of "budget" specs (double sensor, extra-short pivot length, sensors actuated by key rather than hammer movement). What it really has going for it is a nice, matte finish on the white keys that is truly the most non-slip I've ever felt.

I know the Ivory-Feel G doesn't get a lot of love here, but I wouldn't mind playing it every day (not that I'd trade my GF action DP for it).


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai NV-10, MP11
Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2629529
04/02/17 07:36 PM
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Yes, comparing specs do not work well with Roland vs others as they went their own way doing stuff. Even their polyphony is a bit different beasts as the supernatural engine eats 4 poly per single key pressed.
Indeed even my PX860 does emulate piano keyboard more, but it doesn't mean it is more pleasure to play. The roland is what a good keyboard in workstation should be IMHO and that doesn't mean copy accoustic piano keyboard to the Z. After all 90% of the sounds are non piano related.

Last edited by oscar1; 04/02/17 07:37 PM.

Casio PX-860, PX-150, Casio XW-P1, Roland jd-xi
Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: MikeRoePhonics] #2629794
04/03/17 01:31 PM
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I just did a quick test with my Roland and Casio. The Roland need just a little key return to repeat note. Casio needs more key to return until you can get another sound of it so I believe that Roland would be superior for quick repeats. Also what could people surprise at first on the roland could be the escapement that may feel as if there is higher resistance on the way down, with the little release at the bottom of a stroke. Maybe that's why they feel deceived as if the quick repeats need to go above the escapement bump, and that gives impression of "slow" keyboard, but it isn't so in practical terms, quite opposite, the escapement really does not affect the sensors, it is just for the feel.


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Re: Searching for a MIDI controller/digital piano (March 2017) [Re: oscar1] #2629828
04/03/17 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by oscar1
I just did a quick test with my Roland and Casio. The Roland need just a little key return to repeat note. Casio needs more key to return until you can get another sound of it so I believe that Roland would be superior for quick repeats.

That's consistent with what I posted above, about quick repetitions on the Roland vs. Casio. Again, see http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2629173/Re:_Recommend_a_Lightweight_DP.html#Post2629173


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