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Bigwan

Midi controller keyboard recommendations please

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Hi folks, 

As I delve deeper into the world of home recording it's becoming obvious I could really do with something a bit less dimensionally challenged than my current 25 key Mk1 Akai MPK mini. 

Can anyone recommend a 49 or 61 key midi controller keyboard that won't break the bank? Preferably with drum pads as I quite like the idea of them on the MPK (more on that in a minute). Reviews suggest key feel can vary widely from one manufacturer to another, but having never played keys in the past I don't think I'm attuned enough to tell a good key bed from a bad one! However I'm not a fan of the drum pads on my Akai so an improvement on that front wouldn't go amiss. 

I'm using Garageband on a macbook pro if that's of any consequence. 

Edited by Bigwan

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I can't recommend one particular midi keyboard from experience, but I just bought a used Roland A-49 and it gets very good reviews. I then noticed some ridiculous deals for it on eBay. Here: <https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Roland-A-49-Black-MIDI-Keyboard-Controller-Refurbished/123502421633?epid=2255527415&hash=item1cc1516681:g:0mwAAOSw8KJb9B2R:rk:5:pf:0>. That's less than half price from a dealer with a 12-month manufacturer's warranty. I paid more than that for mine.

No drum pads though.

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If you're up for buying new the Nektar Impact LX49+ is rather nice. Good keys and a whole range of other controls. DAW integration is pretty good too. I had one for a while but moved it on only because it was too big for my desk.

You can get 'em off Amazon for £114 at the moment: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Nektar-Impact-LX49-Controller-Integration/dp/B01HZWL64O

If you've got limited space then you could get an AKAI Professional LPD8 (https://smile.amazon.co.uk/AKAI-Professional-LPD8-Portable-Controller/dp/B002M8EEW8) for drums and knobs and pair it with a Korg Microkey 37 (https://www.thomann.de/gb/korg_microkey_37_mkii.htm) or 49 https://www.thomann.de/gb/korg_microkey_49_mkii.htm. They're ridiculously good for the money, and same size keys as your MPK mini, but with a better feel. There's a 61 key version too, plus Bluetooth enabled versions...

Edited by anzoid

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Oh yeah, there's also the IK Multimedia iRig 37 Mini (https://www.amazon.co.uk/IK-Multimedia-Keyboard-Controller-cable/dp/B015QUPU9Y)

is pretty good too, not quite as nice as a Korg Microkey, but decent and you get some version or other of SampleTank 3, which if you install and register it will get you inundated with upgrade offers for the full version at reasonable prices.

I love my iRig 37 - just wish they did it as a 49 key controller...

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Thanks for the suggestions guys! I like the look of the novation and the nektar - I'll look into those in more detail.

I think the lack of pads on the roland might be a deal breaker at this point - I'm not adept enough with a keyboard to enter drums that way! I had considered the irig previously but, again, no pads. And I'm not sure 37 keys is enough of an upgrade over my Akai...

 

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you would be surprised, the difference between 25 and 37 is more than it sounds. 25 is ok for short basslines, but the problem is you have basically 2 octaves if you are in c. with 37 you have 2 octaves in any key, so you don't get that bit where you run out of notes often.

I would agree the launchkeys look good. I have a Axiom 61, and a mid-air 25, but I don't really use either of them, I tend to use what is already up, so the piano or the DS61 keyboard.

Or my new Roli 49. I recommend that heartily as the best keyboard I have ever used. It almost fits the criteria of what you want, apart from the pads, the keys and the 'not breaking the bank' part :D

 

  • Haha 2

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10 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

Or my new Roli 49. I recommend that heartily as the best keyboard I have ever used. It almost fits the criteria of what you want, apart from the pads, the keys and the 'not breaking the bank' part :D

 

While the seaboard block would be WAY beyond what I'd be looking for, the lightpad block looks VERY interesting!

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If you need any advice on the Novation stuff, just let me know :)

Si // Novation

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2 hours ago, Bigwan said:

...Damnit @Woodinblack! The Roli Songmaker Kit Garageband Edition is looking REALLY good right now...

Sorry :D

Although if you do want one, there is £60 off them if bought before 25th December, which is why i got my roli this week

 

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Roland A500 or 800 Pro... currently what I use and by far the best feeling midi keyboard out of a boatload I have owned.Overall it feels very well built... it has, among other stuff, 8 smallish but responsive pads.

 

:)

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On 19/12/2018 at 21:49, jebroad said:

Novation launch keys are brilliant. I managed to get a used launch key 49 mk1 for 50 used.

I second this,  managed to score a 61 key mk2 for £40 off a facebook group :) - brilliant controller

 

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12 hours ago, sammybee said:

I second this,  managed to score a 61 key mk2 for £40 off a facebook group :) - brilliant controller

 

If only I could find that sort of deal locally!

Edit: Just won a 61 key Launchkey for £47 plus slightly extortionate postage on ebay!

Edited by Bigwan

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