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My next midi keyboard?
#3015180 08/18/20 11:28 AM
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Hi friends!
So my 2-year warranty for the StudioLogic SL88Grand will expire next August, and I'm thinking of possibly upgrading to a better midi keyboard. I need your help!
What I'm looking for:
1. action, this is key! But I don't want any internal sounds.
2. on-board controllers, like mod wheel, pitch bend, or other controllers if and when available. I benefited largely from the 3 joysticks on the StudioLogic SL-88Grand. If I have to purchase a separate piece of hardware with nobs and such, I hope they can be simply set on top of the keyboard and they would not come off, as I'm totally blind and sometimes if I'm not careful, I might nock things over.
3. a USB connection to my computer.
4. No touch screen interfaces.
5. The size can be a bit bigger than my SL88Grand, but I don't like the kind of piano style furniture cabinets. This is to be in my bedroom, so we need something that saves a bit of space.
Do you have any options for me? I've heard Kawai keyboards have received lots of love on this forum, but I'd like to see if they are indeed what I'm looking for.
Thanks everyone!
David

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Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3015189 08/18/20 12:02 PM
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Sure sounds like the perfect keyboard for you is the StudioLogic SL88

Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3015218 08/18/20 12:58 PM
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If you don't want another SL88, to meet your requirements, you might need to get something with sounds, even if you don't use them.

Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3015242 08/18/20 02:23 PM
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Hmmm, maybe Roland A-88 MKII? Whether it feels better than the SL88 Grand is probably a matter of opinion...

Re: My next midi keyboard?
anotherscott #3015243 08/18/20 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
If you don't want another SL88, to meet your requirements, you might need to get something with sounds, even if you don't use them.

Right, I'm not sure if I want another SL88 since I feel like the keys don't go down deep enough, and also, after having one torn rubber key contact, I believe that the action can be fragile. I don't mind one extra piece of hardware, just don't let it fall over (like use magnets to let the keyboard and new piece of hardware go together or whatever). I'm not sure if paying for extra sounds is worth it because:
1. Those are not on par with VST instruments yet;
2. I would paying extra for speakers and stuff, while I have a good speaker system already, so I don't think it's worth the extra thousands of dollars.
That's all! smile

Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3015290 08/18/20 04:46 PM
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Have you taken a look at Kawai VPC1?


Piano: Yamaha N3X
VST(preference in order): VSL Synchron Pianos, Vienna Imperial, Garritan CFX, VI Labs Modern U, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq
Re: My next midi keyboard?
Harpuia #3015450 08/19/20 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Harpuia
Have you taken a look at Kawai VPC1?

I wish I could try it out! But can you add hardware on top? And make it stay, too? smile

Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3015475 08/19/20 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by David Lai
Originally Posted by Harpuia
Have you taken a look at Kawai VPC1?

I wish I could try it out! But can you add hardware on top? And make it stay, too? smile

Before I got mine I read many comments regarding that curved surface... Well, yes, it is curved, but radius is large so you can put some soft material, as a rubber piece, to supplement that difference. I plan to build a flat surface adapted to that curve so I can safely put a keyboard (still deciding which) over the VPC1, to add some spice to my piano playing when I get creative grin

I will post some pictures on the VPC1 owners club thread when I do it.


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Re: My next midi keyboard?
EB5AGV #3015635 08/19/20 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by EB5AGV
Originally Posted by David Lai
Originally Posted by Harpuia
Have you taken a look at Kawai VPC1?

I wish I could try it out! But can you add hardware on top? And make it stay, too? smile

Before I got mine I read many comments regarding that curved surface... Well, yes, it is curved, but radius is large so you can put some soft material, as a rubber piece, to supplement that difference. I plan to build a flat surface adapted to that curve so I can safely put a keyboard (still deciding which) over the VPC1, to add some spice to my piano playing when I get creative grin

I will post some pictures on the VPC1 owners club thread when I do it.

Nice! Good luck in building the flat surface, and I will keep the VPC 1 as one of my options. Thanks! smile

Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3015694 08/19/20 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by David Lai
I'm not sure if paying for extra sounds is worth it

You might not be. Here in Aus the Roland A-88 MKII sells for around $1.5K, while the FP10 (same PHA-4 action) is around $750. You could get an additional (DAW) controller with the money saved. I'm guessing it's largely related to sales volume.

Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3015749 08/19/20 11:00 PM
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Most midi keyboards with a hammer action and hands on control use a Fatar action similar to what you already have in your SL88 Grand. If you want to expand your options beyond the Kawai VPC1 and Roland A-88 I think you need to consider keyboards with built-in sounds.

You could use an entry level digital piano (Kawai ES-110, Korg D1, Roland FP-10, Yamaha P-125) and secure a separate midi controller on top (perhaps with doubled sided tape?). The Korg D1 could be a good choice because it has a flat, albeit very narrow, surface to put a small controller like the NanoKontrol2. However, if you find the SL88 Grand to have shallow keys the D1 may not be a good choice. I think the RH3 action in the D1 is a little shallow compared to an acoustic piano.

You could also use a separate midi controller with a mid-priced digital piano like Yamaha P-515 or Kawai ES8, but at that price point I think the VPC1 is the better option since you don't need the internal sounds.

High end stage pianos like the Roland RD-2000 and Yamaha CP88 have a high quality action and hands on control, but they also include a lot of extra features and sounds and have a very busy, crowded interface.

Last edited by 88snowmonkeys; 08/19/20 11:01 PM.
Re: My next midi keyboard?
88snowmonkeys #3015840 08/20/20 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 88snowmonkeys
Most midi keyboards with a hammer action and hands on control use a Fatar action similar to what you already have in your SL88 Grand. If you want to expand your options beyond the Kawai VPC1 and Roland A-88 I think you need to consider keyboards with built-in sounds.

You could use an entry level digital piano (Kawai ES-110, Korg D1, Roland FP-10, Yamaha P-125) and secure a separate midi controller on top (perhaps with doubled sided tape?). The Korg D1 could be a good choice because it has a flat, albeit very narrow, surface to put a small controller like the NanoKontrol2. However, if you find the SL88 Grand to have shallow keys the D1 may not be a good choice. I think the RH3 action in the D1 is a little shallow compared to an acoustic piano.

You could also use a separate midi controller with a mid-priced digital piano like Yamaha P-515 or Kawai ES8, but at that price point I think the VPC1 is the better option since you don't need the internal sounds.

High end stage pianos like the Roland RD-2000 and Yamaha CP88 have a high quality action and hands on control, but they also include a lot of extra features and sounds and have a very busy, crowded interface.

Thanks for your reply! Yes, I do find, on continued working and practice with the SL-88Grand, that the keys seem to be a bit on the shallow side, doesn't go down as much as, let's say, a concert Steinway. Though the firmness of the keys and the over all perspective of the action is quite pleasing to play. I would love to improve my set up in the near future, hopefully along those lines of a midi keyboard controller with no internal - built in sounds, as I have my VST's, and they are quite enough for me. Thanks for your detailed reply! smile

Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3021926 09/06/20 09:38 AM
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Hi friends! If you wouldn't mind me resurrecting this thread about keyboards, due to me having a couple of problems with my current StudioLogic SL88Grand that now I can’t help noticing.
 First is that when I try to play the black keys, I find that they are shorter than the white ones. This especially becomes problematic when I have one certain passage in a Liszt composition where I have a chromatic run in octaves. I find the left hand, which handles the black keys, have little space to move above the right.
 Another thing is the shallow keys themselves. I’m not sure when I get to an actual acoustic again, if the shallow vs deeper key difference would effect my playing.
What do you all think of these questions? Should I try to invest in a better keyboard now that I’m preparing for 2 recitals at school? Many thanks!

Last edited by David Lai; 09/06/20 09:41 AM.
Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3021999 09/06/20 12:26 PM
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Only you can say how much these issues are bothering you. But you are a very advanced player and I think it would be a good idea to invest in a high quality keyboard that you really like that will serve you well into the future.

I posted my thoughts a few weeks ago, but I just want to throw out another idea that may be helpful. Whatever keyboard you decide to get, you could use a 2 tier keyboard stand or a 2 tier desk setup where you have a separate midi controller mounted on the 2nd tier above your keyboard. This would give you all the hands on control you need mounted securely in place. With this setup you can focus on getting the best keyboard action for your VSTs without limiting your options to keyboards with knobs and levers.

Re: My next midi keyboard?
88snowmonkeys #3022012 09/06/20 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by 88snowmonkeys
Whatever keyboard you decide to get, you could use a 2 tier keyboard stand or a 2 tier desk setup where you have a separate midi controller mounted on the 2nd tier above your keyboard. This would give you all the hands on control you need mounted securely in place. With this setup you can focus on getting the best keyboard action for your VSTs without limiting your options to keyboards with knobs and levers.

Oh, I love this arrangement! That would give the person who eventually gets my current keyboard the stand, which should look like a pretty good bargain. Now we are talking! smile I guess then the option is clear, get a great keyboard with a great action as close to an acoustic grand piano as possible, and then get a separate controller that has knobs and other physical controls, and then get a stand to fit them all in an accessible manner!

Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3022022 09/06/20 01:03 PM
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I have been working over the weekend on my Kawai VPC1 setup. As you can see, it is a Kawai VPC1 with some add-ons over it smile (I have just added some extra soft plastic bumpers on the rear bottom of the items over the VPC1 so they sit perfectly on the rounded VPC1 surface)

[Linked Image]

Incidentally, at its right there is a dual tier setup of other two keyboards, as show on next picture. But for piano use, and DAW (Cubase on my case) and VST control, the VPC1 setup could be more than enough:

[Linked Image]


Yamaha U3H
Kawai VPC1
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Re: My next midi keyboard?
EB5AGV #3022096 09/06/20 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by EB5AGV
I have been working over the weekend on my Kawai VPC1 setup. As you can see, it is a Kawai VPC1 with some add-ons over it smile (I have just added some extra soft plastic bumpers on the rear bottom of the items over the VPC1 so they sit perfectly on the rounded VPC1 surface)

[Linked Image]

Incidentally, at its right there is a dual tier setup of other two keyboards, as show on next picture. But for piano use, and DAW (Cubase on my case) and VST control, the VPC1 setup could be more than enough:

[Linked Image]

Sorry, as a blind person, my screen reader can't handle your pictures. But I asked a friend to help me with it earlier, so I think I know what you are going for.
Wow, that does look quite professional! I think if I'm going for the VPC1 perhaps that's what I'll be doing as well.
Your images are an inspiration to me that this can be done ... with much consideration, that is. smile
I'd like to know more about the relationship between the black and white keys (in particular the black keys) and how they compare with an acoustic grand piano. My black keys are really short on the SL88. Will the VPC1 resolve this?
Thanks! smile
David

Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3022122 09/06/20 04:05 PM
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Hi David,

Glad to be of some help. Well, I can compare it to my Yamaha U3 and would say they are pretty similar. I don't find any size difference when I play both, although they are not side by side.


Yamaha U3H
Kawai VPC1
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Re: My next midi keyboard?
David Lai #3022188 09/06/20 06:23 PM
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I was watching some Spitfire Audio videos and they all seemed to be using Doepfer Keyboards. The AKAI MPK ROAD 88 seems to get good reviews too. I don't know much about these products though or what keybed they have.

Re: My next midi keyboard?
MartF #3022195 09/06/20 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by MartF
I was watching some Spitfire Audio videos and they all seemed to be using Doepfer Keyboards. The AKAI MPK ROAD 88 seems to get good reviews too. I don't know much about these products though or what keybed they have.

Well, the Doepfer 88-key keyboard use a Fatar action, the TP40GH. Not sure if this is a few generations removed from TP40W, which is the current one I have.
Not sure about the other keyboard you mentioned, but since I can't be able to try it, I'm not sure if the key lengths and the over all feel of the action can be comparable to an acoustic grand piano.

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