Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
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  • Is there a simple USB 88-key keyboard out there?!


    I'm looking for a fairly simple master keyboard with a USB output, modulation and pitch bend wheels, and 88 easy-to-play / lovely-to-touch weighted keys.
    But NO fader, NO display, NO X/Y pad, NO sequencer template, NO integrated audio, NOT even a proper midi in/out/thru.

    Has anyone come across such thing? ... Alright, I could deal with a little bit gadgetry if there's no other option.

  • How about M-audio Keystation 88es? When I tried it a while back I quite liked the feel of its keys, but some people aren't too fond of it. Matter of preference really. Mihkel

  • The m-audio keyboards have aweful touch response. I would go with a CME UF8 (NOT the new UF88 or VX8!) - it's a little old school, but it looks classy and the keys have a heavy but pleasant response if that's your thing (I don't like playing piano patches on heavy keys, but for some reason, they're awesome when playing string sections). While it has a bunch of faders and a display, they look oldschool. A lot of people swear by the studiologic fatar boards, and while I've never tried one, you could always look there. Get an older one if you don't want all the faders and display. Above all, however, I'd recommend getting an upright piano with midi. Yamaha makes some lovely ones. You need a usb midi interface with it, but nothing even comes close to the touch response (except for midi'd bosendorfers, but that's sacrilege!). They weigh a *ton*, but if you play piano anyways, it's perfect. That said, they do cost a fair amount.

  • Well normally I would have suggested something along the lines of CME or Fatar aswell, but the original post did specifically ask for something with no extra faders and pads and screens, hence my reference to the keystation. As for response, their models range from pretty bad to quite decent, so I wouldn't exactly label them all unsuitable for any work at all. You'd need to try it out for yourself just to be sure the model in question fits your needs. Mihkel

  • Hi. Quite liked the look and specs of the UF8 but I believe they are no longer produced. That besides there seemed to be a lot of technical problems with CME products- just take a look at their user forums, not many Companies would allow the criticism that was levelled at them on their own site! I have a Studiologic SL990 Pro and it plays quite nicely but lacks an input for an expression pedal and no USB. If you don't require aftertouch there are quite a few to choose from and can only suggest you visit some retailers websites to check the varying specs and try a few out down at the shop. Cheers...Colin.

  • Thanks for your answers.

    I read so many bad things about CME, their products and their customer service, that I'll stay away from this brand.
    Same thing about M-Audio's products (nothing against their customer service though).
    The StudioLogic VMK-188 Plus seems nice enough, but I'm not a joystick fan (why not put a simple wheels combo??)
    So I'm still undecided... I wish I had a bit more cash to put into it and would go for a Kurzweil.

  • Hi Denis. Agree with you re the VMK. Would buy it myself if it wasn't for the joystick. Not very handy when it comes to changing articulations in VSL. I don't know if the ESI K.ON has too many bells and whistles for you but you might want to research it. I'm struggling to find the right controller keyboard for myself and can only hope something new that fits the bill comes along shortly....Colin

  • Here's the one I would buy:

    Doepfer LMK2+

    It comes out in January 2009 with USB connection. Lists for $999, which I believe is cheaper than what I paid for my Fatar SL1100 ten years ago (which I don't recommend - it has rather inconsistent action).

    I have my keyboard on a sliding shelf under my desk, and the Doepfer would be perfect for this:

  • Hi John. Checked the Doepfer out but it might be just a bit too expensive for me personally. Also, it appears that the volume pedal socket is non-assignable. Did like your desk though!..Colin

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    last edited

    @john_1332 said:

    Doepfer LMK2+

    With a USB port, the LMK2+ is probably the one I'll go for. Unfortunately, its price is 999 euros, not dollars...

  • My mistake. in California sells them in the U.S., and the price is $1,425.

  • The Studiologic VMK188plus  is the best keyboard I've ever owned, over a 26 year period. That says a lot, but everyone's touch is different. I need to be able to do fast-repetition notes for certain jazz andd latin styles, and the only other keybed that has fast enough escapement besides the VMK is the CME series, which I owned prior but sold due to such a poor MIDI implementation (including bugs and run-time power cycles and other things that I could not live with at a gig as reliability comes first).

    This series is available as a weighted keyboard in four sizes, down to 49 keys (though that one is hard to find). It is very well constructed but not terribly heavy. I don't like joysticks either, but everything else makes up for it. A heavier action than most, but it has good response overall (better than anything in the controller market currently), and textures white and black keys that prevent slippage and make for a confident touch.

    The aftertouch on the CME series is arguably slightly more usable, as far as that goes with a weighted keybed (aftertouch is tricky with heavier keys). The Studiologic is much quieter to play, with no sideways key motion or clickage. It seems better constructed overall, and is simpler.

    Its one drawback is that it doesn't allow for multiple MIDI zones. Thus, you need to set up your target sounds to deal with keyboard splits, etc. This is my preferred way of working anyway, as I find it too confusing to master everything from one keyboard. I also find it to be a more modular setup, to already have the target sounds setup for splits, so that I can use different keyboards depending on the size of a gig. 

    For studio use, none of these concerns would be likely to matter. The reliability factor and the more complete MIDI spec of the Studiologic series, as well as its more natural velocity curves, are likely to benefit you immensely when using Vienna Instruments. 

  •  Studiologic TMK-88 is the one I use.

    It's very light and only 3 inches tall, so it fits very conviniently on a sliding shelf under the desktop of my workstation.


  • Just noticed after checking the specs on some Studiologic keyboards that the SL990Pro has 2 midi outs and sustain and volume pedal inputs.

    I own an SL990Pro and have only 1 midi out and a sustain pedal input. Where's the rest of it gone? 

    If anyone out there's got 3 midi outs and 2 volume pedal inputs on their SL990Pro, let me know!