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February 26, 2010 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Midi Controller Keyboard recommendations?

I'm looking for a midi controller keyboard, but google doesn't come up with very many comparisons, just generic reviews.

I'd like to use it with Reason and Logic. Most popular appear to be Axiom Pro and Novation SL MK2. I'd probably go with the 61 key versions.

There's a video review out there about comparing the two, but the guy works with Novation and appears super biased.

I've read up on HyperControl and Automap, I know about the pads on Novation being trash and the keys on the Axiom being sticky etc., but how is your experience?

And are there other controllers I should be looking at? Of course, I will eventually go down to Guitar Center for some hands on tryouts, but before I even get so far, I'd like to know which options I should be looking at.
posted by VikingSword to Technology (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
In my experience, weighted keys are awesome to have and pads aren't really useful at all if you can just use the keys.

The Akai MPK61 is quite awesome, and I've recorded some sessions in a studio using it, but I really don't think there's any compelling reason to pay extra for something with pads and sliders.

In my home studio, I use an M-Audio Keystation 61, and it works great for everything I can imagine doing with it. It has never had a problem, always works right, the velocity sensitivity is great, and it has lasted several years of use without issue. I do wish it had weighted keys, though. It's not something that anyone would ever see and covet. But it's just a controller, so reliability and usability is more important to me than sexiness.
posted by The World Famous at 12:26 PM on February 26, 2010


I'm not a keyboardist, but I know several friends have enjoyed the Novation products that feature the same knobs and sliders as that keyboard, especially with the LCD readouts above them.

Pads perhaps not so much, but the extra physical inputs (besides key) are always handy to have in Reason.
posted by Fat Elvis at 12:55 PM on February 26, 2010


I have an M-Audio Oxygen 49 which I've had for a good while and it's rock solid and eminently usable with all its assignable sliders and knobs. I'm just learning to play real piano now and so I'd like some weighted keys but when I do buy another there's every chance it'll be another M-audio based on this faultless experience.
posted by merocet at 12:57 PM on February 26, 2010


TWF - I like what I see of the Akai MPK61, but does it have an equivalent direct mapping into Logic, Reason etc. like the equivalent of HyperControl and Automap?

Also, I'll be running this with a mac computer (27" i7 iMac).

I'm not extremely hung up on the pads, cause I figure if I really want them, I can always buy a dedicated solution, since anything stuck to one of these boards will be a compromise anyway.
posted by VikingSword at 1:13 PM on February 26, 2010


I'm not sure whether the Akai MPK61 has the equivalent direct mapping. I would be surprised if it didn't, though. The setting in which I have used it has always been a Pro Tools HD system running with a Mac.
posted by The World Famous at 2:54 PM on February 26, 2010


I use the KeyStudio 49i with my MacBook Pro and Logic. It's my first piece of equipment and I'm not sure how it really differs from the KeyStations, but I've been very happy with it so far.
posted by june made him a gemini at 3:08 PM on February 26, 2010


Midi has been around long enough that, depending on what you want to do, you may be able to get an old, cheap keyboard that will do the job just fine. Right now, I'm using a Yamaha DX7 from 1982 and an 11-year old Kurzweil with Reason and Logic, and they trigger software synths and samplers just fine, using a super cheap M-audio midi to usb interface.
posted by umbĂș at 6:15 PM on February 26, 2010


I've got an E-mu Xboard 61 with weighted keys that I find quite dandy if you'd have any interest in something adequately solid and in the neighborhood of $200. It's looks like you're looking for something more professional-ish around $500, so it might be less than what you're looking for, but eh. My two cents.
posted by stleric at 9:24 PM on February 26, 2010


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