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April 12, 2007 11:04 AM   Subscribe

What's the best ~25-key Garageband-compatible sub-$100 USB musical keyboard?

As far as I know, I just want something to play bass lines, some chords and tap out drum patterns. But any advice that includes features I don't know I need is appreciated. I think I would like a pitch-bender thing to do hilarious 70s-era Dr Who effects.

All things considered, smaller and cheaper is better from a pleasing-the-wife standpoint.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed to Technology (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a fan of my Oxygen 8. It says $179 MSRP, but you'd be a fool to pay that. I got one for $100 used. 25 keys, a pitch wheel and a mod wheel, plus a small bank of faders. It's pretty fantastic.
posted by god hates math at 11:10 AM on April 12, 2007

I don't know. You can get a 49-key for well under €100 now (I got this one). Surely you can find this one Stateside as well?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:16 AM on April 12, 2007

FWIW, that one comes with pitch and modulation wheels, octave + and - buttons, velocity slider and a sustain pedal jack, outputs MIDI via standard 5-pin DIN (cable not included) or USB (cable included), and can be powered via USB (easy!) or power adapter (not included, I'm guessing it's 9V but not sure).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:19 AM on April 12, 2007

Bam, €44. And other candidates.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:22 AM on April 12, 2007

I'd like to second the notion that you should be able to pick up an Oxygen-8 for less than $100, plus they're cool as hell, and easy to set up.
posted by drezdn at 11:48 AM on April 12, 2007

Another vote for the Keystation 49e. It'll set you back somewhere between $80-$100 depending on where you get it. I had originally wanted a ~25 key unit as well, but ended up not finding one for as cheap.
posted by hsoj at 11:51 AM on April 12, 2007

I have the 49e and wish I had a 25-key model so that it was less obtrusive. But I am a terrible pianist, so two-handed playing isn't the most important thing in the world to me. But I also sometimes wish I could just through that thing in a laptop bag.
posted by mzurer at 12:11 PM on April 12, 2007

I deliberated between the Oxygen 8 and the O2, went with the O2 because it's thin and light and more portable, and they're both basically decent models. But I think the Oxygen 8's control set is definitely better.

Both these smallish keyboards feel a little funny to me, though. The semi-weighted action of the larger models is really nice.
posted by weston at 1:26 PM on April 12, 2007

I have a Radium49. It's like $20 above your price-point and flimsy plastic without aftertouch, but it's a decent basic keyboard and it has the USB interface built in. The Oxygen25 might be closer to what you want, but I have no experience with it.
posted by Alterscape at 5:56 PM on April 12, 2007

Please do let us know how it worked out.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:15 PM on April 14, 2007

Response by poster: I bought the oxygen 8, and have been reasonably satisfied with it. Haven't had enough time to devote to all the features, yet. My biggest complaint, for which there may well be an easy solution, is that the velocity is too sensitive -- I have a hard time playing at a constant level. Seems like it might be a good problem to have, down the line.

I like having the small keyboard on my desk while working, if I'm reading email or something like that I can plunk out little melodies. That wouldn't work with a bigger keyboard, at least with my desk.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:08 AM on May 31, 2007

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