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Cheap band keyboard advice


stevie
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2 minutes ago, stevie said:

I'm afraid the Stevie household is Microsoft-based. 😊

 

Well, there are plugins for windows. I have windows PCs but don't use any of them for music so I can't really say, I am sure others will chime in with what they use.

No iPad lurking around?

 

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9 minutes ago, stevie said:

No iPad, I'm afraid not. iPhones only.

 

Well, surprisingly enough, even the iPhones will work here. Get yourself an apple camera connection kit (a plug from USB to lightning) and most of the synths will work on it, just as well. If you have an iPhone with headphones, run that to line out and you would be impressed. 

Obviously it is a bit smaller and harder to see!

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39 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

 

Well, surprisingly enough, even the iPhones will work here. Get yourself an apple camera connection kit (a plug from USB to lightning) and most of the synths will work on it, just as well. If you have an iPhone with headphones, run that to line out and you would be impressed. 

Obviously it is a bit smaller and harder to see!

The later iPhones are more than powerful enough.

To be clear, if you are using a controller that is also an interface, just a single USB cable will do it all. 

I used to run an organ app called VB3m on my iPhone. This was connected to my MODX with a USB cable. Both midi and audio signal go down the same cable, so the audio from the phone came back in to my MODX, and then wen tout its main output. Pretty neat.

I sometimes take a small keyboard controller and my iPhone over to a mates house, and i have a very high quality organ and piano on it. 

If you don’t  have the interface in the controller then yeah, the camera connection kit and a cheap hub is all thats needed. You wont even need a hub with headphone out, just a standard USB to headphone jack (£7 off Amazon) will get the audio out to a mixer etc.

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The only thing I would say with using a phone of tablet for the sounds is that the consumer grade connectors these devices sport (lightning, USB-C or other mini USB, mini-jack), are not really suitable for a gigging environment.

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37 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

The only thing I would say with using a phone of tablet for the sounds is that the consumer grade connectors these devices sport (lightning, USB-C or other mini USB, mini-jack), are not really suitable for a gigging environment.

 

Depends I guess - I have done over 100 gigs using the jack out on my iPad without issues.

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Posted (edited)

I think I need to do some research on this. I loved the DS61 but also like the idea of using the midi keyboard with plugins. We have a Roland A-49, which seems to have a good reputation and has midi and USB sockets. Computer-wise, we have the choice of a (fast) Windows laptop, an iPhone or a fairly recent Samsung Galaxy tablet (Android). I've also got a small USB mixer that could be pressed into service. Amplification isn't a problem.

 

The big question is the software. I had a listen to VB3m and it sounds amazing. My impression is that a fully-featured DAW could be a bit overwhelming for live work and that something simple (with high quality plugins) would suffice. My lad is doing A level music and can probably get hold of software through the school. 

Edited by stevie
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Android is terrible for music apps as the OS doesn't give MIDI/audio data the priority it requires and there may well be noticeable latency.

 

If you decide to use the Windows laptop, don't use it with a DAW unless you also require the audio and/or MIDI playback facilities. Instead have a look at Cantabile along with whichever virtual instruments you decide to use. You may however also need to invest in an audio interface rather than rely on the laptops built-in sound card. 

Edited by BigRedX
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2 hours ago, BigRedX said:

Android is terrible for music apps as the OS doesn't give MIDI/audio data the priority it requires and there may well be noticeable latency.

 

If you decide to use the Windows laptop, don't use it with a DAW unless you also require the audio and/or MIDI playback facilities. Instead have a look at Cantabile along with whichever virtual instruments you decide to use. You may however also need to invest in an audio interface rather than rely on the laptops built-in sound card. 

 

Or frankly invest in a basic second hand iPad from the last few years which won't cost much, and then the world is your musical oyster.

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2 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

 

Or frankly invest in a basic second hand iPad from the last few years which won't cost much, and then the world is your musical oyster.

+1. This is far more practical these days, as Android seems to be a second runner when it comes to mobile music apps. 

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Posted (edited)

OK - Android is out. Thank you.

 

Cantabile for Windows looks really good. What would be the equivalent for an iPhone or iPad?

Edited by stevie
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Id go for a digital piano if you just after some quality piano and hammond organ sounds.

 

Far less mucking about

 

I had the M audio one and it also doubled up as a midi controller if i wanted to use vst synths 

 

https://www.promenademusic.co.uk/m-audio-hammer-88

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/334352897685?hash=item4dd8fc5695:g:-fcAAOSwOPxiIzNc

Edited by skidder652003
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Thanks, Skidder. Thing is, you're a bit limited with just piano and Hammond. It would be good to have the usual popular synth sounds as well. We're going to be experimenting with the various items of recommended software this weekend.

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  • 2 months later...
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Posted (edited)
On 04/03/2022 at 16:38, stevie said:

What's a decent and cheap piano/keyboard that's band-capable? Preferably used and not requiring a degree in electronics. Thanks!

 

We went very budget and got a used Casio CT-X700 off eBay for £120. I think they're around £185 new. It's actually proved to be the best value bit of kit any bandmate in any of the various bands I've been in has ever got - had a more positive impact on our sound than any bit of bass gear I've bought over the years!

 

Weighing less than 10 lbs makes it easy for our keys player to take it as a one hand carry in a soft case. 

 

Here's a little clip of it in action:

 

 

Key limitation is not being able to independently set volumes where the keyboard is split into two for each half of the keyboard.

 

Edited by Al Krow
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On 04/03/2022 at 20:18, Woodinblack said:

I would go for a Roland DS if you want easy with generally good sounds, or a Roland VR09 if you want to do a lot of organ stuff

I had a play on a VR09 at the weekend. First time I’ve seen one used in a band context. Will be getting mine at the end of the month to replace my iPad set up as my second keyboard (or maybe my first). 
The band’s keyboard player was using just this, and other than the acoustic pianos I loved the organ/strings and brass (which being Roland are very good). 
He said he got it for £300 used (for a recording project, so immaculate).  

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7 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

If you can get a VR09 for £300, jump on it, I have wanted one for years. Its organs are brilliant and the others are also pretty useable.

Yeah, im keeping an eye for one now. The fact that it also runs on batteries is a big plus as well. 

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I've got a Casio CTS-1 on the way as we speak. I'd have loved a Roland DS but it was too expensive. The software solutions suggested were also excellent but a bit fiddly, although they could be an additional option with the Casio (as I did get as far as buying the Apple adapter lead).

The reviews of the Casio are glowing, and it has a wide variety of high quality sounds. The only downside is that the keys aren't weighted and it's not built like a tank. We'll have to see how that goes.

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7 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

But would you really want to play keyboards in a cheap band?

 

" do you want to join a small band?"

 "only if you think I'm small enough!"

Spike Milligan.

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