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I'm looking for a MIDI controller that is able to squeez off all the capabilities of PTQ.
While searching, I've found out that it's a trickier matter than what I expected, since there are some models that don't send the netire range of "note-off" and also there are some others that don't support "continous pedaling" etc...
Keybed matters the most, it needs to be playable and accurate at sending MIDI data.
I know an MP11 or some similar models would do that all, but my aim is to get the best deal at the lowest price possible, not that I'm on budget but the piano will serve as a temporary solution, already have my CA97 as a regular one.
As a little background it's for a trained pianist although not a professional.
David, as you may suspect, I think a lot of budget DPs have MIDI limitations that aren't clearly documented.
For example, I've heard off-hand that the Yamaha P-45 only supports sending 4-5 values of sustain depth for half-pedaling. While I don't know if it's really important to have more than that, it's clearly a limitation that not all DPs share.
It may not be easy to get a list of all of these differences, but a few of the things I've heard of discussed over the last few years:
1. Does the DP output a full (or close to full) note-on value of 0-127? 2. Is there a velocity/sensitivity setting that adjusts the above (e.g., heavy does 0-80, light 20-127)? 3. Is it triple sensor? 4. Does it support variable note-off velocity? 5. Does it support all effects on MIDI-In, such as pedal/hammer noise/resonance (do you need this?) 6. Does it support full 3 pedals? 7. Does it support full range half/partial pedaling for sustain? 8. Do you need mod/pitch wheels? 9. Do you need other controller features for PTQ support, such as VST volume control?
I have a Roland LX-17 permanently at home. As a temporary solution when traveling over the summer, I use a 61-key Arturia Keylab midi controller, mainly due to portability. The action is a stark contrast to the PHA-50 action on the LX-17, but at least, it allows me to continue to take my online piano lessons with my instructor, to practice daily, to learn the right fingering and to gain complete fluency of the pieces at hand. Paired with 5” studio monitors, I am stoked with the sounds which makes up for the sucky action. When I return home, it only takes me a day or two to get used to the nice action on the LX-17. But I understand practicing on a springy action (Arturia Keylab) is not for everyone.
I read a comment a while ago on YouTube by Phil Best (super Pianoteq fan) indicating that he only uses Roland digital keyboards or pianos as he felt they pair and work best with Pianoteq. Both companies are fully based on a modeled technology at their core, so maybe there’s something to it.
Between Roland FP-10 and FP-30X which feature the nice PHA-4 action, if you’re only going to be using headphones to listen to the sounds generated by PTQ, the FP-10 is all you need. But if you would like to connect directly a pair of studio monitors to fill your room with music, I don’t think you will be happy using the headphone jack on the FP-10 as your only output to connect studio monitors. The FP-30X, on the other hand, has integrated L/R 1/4” TRS speaker outputs which to me would be worth the upgrade. Now, if you are in North America, I believe the FP-30X might be your only choice if buying new at this time.
The Cadillac of all midi controllers is the Kawai VPC1, if money is no object. As others have indicated, it also works well with PTQ. But, given its price point , this is what I would personally want to have as a permanent digital piano replacement or long term temporary solution (i.e., at a second home spending several months a year).
I have also read great things about the action on the StudioLogic SL88 Grand Hammer and the reviews are positive even on their SL Studio 88 which is also quite lightweight. These two for $1,000 and $500 USD respectively, I think they’re worth considering as pure midi controllers.
if you want to be absolutely sure, take your iphone, install midi trace or any other midi app and go to the nearest music store. plug a usb cable into the keyboard and see if all midi data is sent. i saw it myself at a customer in our music store. the sellers were also interested in the result.
RD 2000 , VSL BI,Garritan,Noire,Modern U , Grandeur , Bechstein Digital, Addictive Keys, Pianoteq , Ravenscroft, Ivory 2 ACD , Production Voices Grand 2
After reading a lot about MIDI controllers I came to the conclusion that an FP10 or an PX160 would make the best option ot use with PTQ.
I'm a bit concerned about people claiming the PHA4 not to be a good action (slugish etc...) while I've tried the FP30 in a store and liked the way it felt, was able to play trills and to perfectly express although the keys were somewhat noisier than those in a higher end piano lineup.
OTOH I didn't like the action on the PX160 at all, it felt more like a toy despite all the apraisal that's got among VST users... also noisy keys like in the FP10.
I don't know which of those are better in terms of MIDI signal, more accuracy/stability.. Also whether both of them support full range NOTE-OFF MIDI (not On/Off value or something inbetween like a 0/64/127 like in some cheap slabs).
Maybe there're some more options I'm missing out in the comparison.
I've also seen that there's a sexy thing that STUDIOLOGIC has just released (X Piano) provided with the TP400W also present in the VIVO S9 and H10... I know it's OFF-TOPIC but I'd be considering something like that if it really made a good MIDI controller in the first place (price tag in the US 2000$).
I'm not much into second hand (like some fella suggested), and I would avoid a KAWAI (MP11/VPC1) unless it's provided with the GF3. Also not sure about the SL88 Grand (TP40W) since there's such a big controversy among its owners...
You may want to consider if the controller supports continuous pedal (FP10 and PX160 half- only).
> I've also seen that there's a sexy thing that STUDIOLOGIC has just released (X Piano) provided with the TP400W also present in the VIVO S9 and H10... I know it's OFF-TOPIC but I'd be considering something like that if it really made a good MIDI controller in the first place (price tag in the US 2000$).
The GX competes with the PHA50 RD2000 and the 88 with RD88 and MP7SE, and that there are about zero user reports on the differences of TP400W vs TP40W and TP110 vs TP100 or others. Revised stripped-down controllers with these actions haven't been announced yet. Roland also has the A88 MKII controller, but it doesn't seem to be much cheaper than the RD88.
Hi David! Read the YouTube comments from this user of a Lachnit MK22, a very expensive controller. He seems to favor these days the Roland A88 MKII. He’s done some testing. Hopefully his comments will point you in the right direction. Please keep us posted as you narrow further your choices. I am following. Thanks!
As far as I know the FP10 only supports three pedal values: off, half, and full pedaling (something like 0, 63, 127). The FP 30 supports continuous and very precise pedaling.
And again: the MIDI support for the PHA-4 (or at least my FP-30) is excellent, ranging from 0 to 127, precise and reliable across the whole range. And trust your impression: I don't have any problems playing trills with the FP-30. I am perfectly able to play on the Bechstein Grand of my teacher after practicing on the FP 30.
Bonus: If you get a FP-30X you could send the Pianoteq sound output through the Speakers of the FP30 by simply selecting it as the output in the settings in Pianoteq and turning the local control off.
Edit: I also felt the best connection and feedback (If this makes an sense to you) between the FP30 and Pianoteq. It just works so good. As mentioned before, I bought and returned (MP11SE) or sold (VPC1) these more expensive Kawai Pianos and imo they don't match the perfect match between the PHA-4 and pIanoteq. I liked the longer pivot of the MP11SE, it was really noticable. But the overall feeling of the action, the feedback and response you feel in your fingers and the combination with Pianoteq was better with the FP30.
Thank you for the enlightening answers, I've checked the video and read all comments, seems like the guy didn't really like the much expensive LACHNIT and winded up he preferred both the A88 MK2 and VPC1 which he bought again after he had sold his old unit...
The reasons are sort of delays and strange timings at sending MIDI data, looks like there's some "substantial" difference in how each DP sends MIDI out, and by the sound of it looks like the A88 MK2 (950€) is pretty good at this.
Thank you Eddie too for pointing out that the FP10 doesn't support continuos pedaling, that alone is a turn off so I'm now considering the FP30x instead.
OTOH I've read somewhere else in the forum that the 3 pedal unit from Roland KDP70 that's normally sold separately doesn't support continuos pedaling, which made me wonder how would then the FP30X do? I just doesn't make any sense, so I wanted you to please check on PTQ and confirm whether that's true
Funny enough, while searching the price for the FP30x I've seen there's a bundle (original support + pedal unit) and it made roughly 1000€ which didn't feel like it's little money.. I could actually get the same complete bundle of the FP90x for twice as much, now the thing is I neither find the PHA50 would be that big leap over the PHA4 as the LACHNIT fella said in some of his comments he found the PHA50 to be failing at quick repetitions etc Not that I'll be playing repetitions only but for that money I'd expect some more "complete" action..
The comments from the Lachnit user re: FP90 were on the previous generation. My understanding is that the FP-90X (released earlier this year) contains a faster processor than the previous model. Hopefully that makes a difference. Having said that, if you don’t need the internal speakers, the A88-MKII seems to be better designed to take advantage of VST capabilities, which is exactly what you’re after. The PHA-50 on the 90X is a sweet action but I don’t know if there’s a significant difference to the PHA-4 which is also considered to be very good.
He seems to not have been thrilled on the VPC1 several years ago, but his most recent comments (from more testing), point to having a much better opinion. It’s true that the VPC1 has not been updated in many years, but it still performs really well with many huge fans.
The PHA-50 on the 90X is a sweet action but I don’t know if there’s a significant difference to the PHA-4 which is also considered to be very good.
Of course there is a huge difference. The PHA-50 is Roland's current PHA action, while the "PHA-4 Standard" is their current low cost model (previously sold under lots of other monikers like "IvoryFeel G", "PHA Alpha II"), which doesn't have anything to do with their real PHA actions, just as Yamaha's "GHS" doesn't have anything to do with their renowned GH action variants.
The FP-30 is a good match for Pianoteq, it’s “good enough” for daily practice. I’ve owned it for around 4-5 years and transferring between different acoustic actions and back is very smooth.
The FP-30x is a good upgrade to the original. The updated onboard sound/dynamics/response is quite good with better dynamics and the new I/O ports/features make it preferred over the original.
Re: Actions I agree the PHA-4 is a slow action - slow to return, but it’s very usable and even more so in Pianoteq when using the default velocity curves. I prefer the default velocity that’s rounded upwards (vs. flat or downwards like a hammock). This makes the keys more sensitive to velocity and feel “quicker” and more responsive.
Re: vs Casio actions I feel that Roland’s actions are more “authentic” while Casio’s actions are more “fun” to play. For practice and finesse pieces I prefer the Roland, but if I’m entertaining and trying to get the place jumping, I prefer the Casio actions. But then I don’t obsess over actions, I just play the one that’s in front of me as best as I can.
We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams.
I'm fine with the PHA4 action although I'd have liked it a bit more quiet, still not as loud as to really bug me so it's ok. Also, the PHA50 felt fantastic and felt more solid, it's definetely different to the PHA4 but both are playable and "realistic" enough.
I think I can narrow the options down to the FP30x and the A88 MK2, both slabs use the same action PHA4 but looks like the A88 MK2 is provided with a USB 2.0 connection that presumably better handles MIDI output plus it's got 3 pedal connectors which allows me to use a RPU‑3 unit which is more "piano-like" than the single sustain pedal on the FP30x (I'm from those freaks that like to use the soft pedal sometimes)
Not sure if any thought in this regard guys? Also if anyone could confirm that those models handle "contiuos pedaling" and not "half pedaling" only like I've seen while reading the description of the RPU-3 unit, they used the "half pedaling" term which got me confused about the capability to send continuos signal...
Also, I'm not completely ruling out the FP90x althoug it's in a completely different price bracket but it still could be an option if I could justify the difference in price.
Based on the above post (I’ve not read the whole thing; sorry), it seems like you’re bent on Roland, and you’re ‘not completely ruling out the FP90X’.
Might I recommend not ‘ruling out’ the P-515?
Incidentally, this P-515 is a lot cheaper than the FP-90X, and since you’ve implied that money is an issue, “completely different price bracket”, it might just fit the bill.
Of course, if you’ve already tried the P-515 and it’s not what you’re looking for (‘heavy action’, etc), then by all means accept my apologies; on the other hand, if you’ve not played the 515 in person and you’re basing your decision on what you’ve read ‘round here, then I’d say, go on, take the 515 out for a spin.
When I say ‘take the 515 out for a spin’ I’m speaking metaphorically, as in taking a car out for a spin; but the truth is that even when applied to a car the term is at most symbolic; this is, unless, people literally mean they’re going to take a car out and instead of driving normally they’re going to whirl the car around quickly (spin) for a few minutes and then bring it back to the dealer.