Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
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  • Selection of Midi controller keyboard

    Hello, I would appreciate very much if anyone could suggest a midi controller keyboard to play VSL. I'm about to buy one. I'm looking for up to £400 GBP. Thank you! Daniel

  • What kind of action do you need? Fully weighted (hammeraction), semiweighted, or synth? I use a hammeraction. I cannot reliably control velocity and rhythm on anything else, but that's just me.

    How many keys? I'd recommend 88 for VSL, but you can get away with 76 or even less depending on your workflow.

    Anything else it should have except keys? [:)] Are modwheel/pitchbend a must? Do you want sliders and knobs too?

    Most important: don't buy blind. Go to the store and test the action thoroughly before you buy anything. Tastes are very different, only you know which keybeds you like and which not.

    It's probably not much use before we have more info, but I'll recommend something simply based on what I'd look at in your pricerange (=88 keys hammeraction):

    Casio PX-150

    Doepfer Pk 88

    Studiologic VMK 18

    Studiologic Acuna

    Studiologic Numa nano

    CME UF80

  • I have one vote against the StudioLogic VMKs. I own one and can't get it to transmit midi controller info on all 16 midi channel using VEP5. I was thinking of buying a different controller but would like to hear if anyone is having luck with any one in particular. Also I have used a Kurzweil PC2x with great success but it only does 4, zones or midi channel at a time.

    Let me know your findings please


  • I've had a CME UF8 for many years which has served me well. The action was always a bit -stiff- but it had tons of knobs/switches which I used a lot---even though they are a -pain- to program. I used to have a Studio Logic which no knobs, but MUCH better action.

    A lot of guys I know -still- swear by old Yamaha KX-88s if you can find them on eBay.

    When this thing dies, I'll probably get a Studio Logic... something that -plays- nicely and then get a separate Novation auto-map controller to sit on top. Can't seem to find an 88 key controller that combines -both- in one.The only ones I see are 61 keys.

    If anyone knows of a device like that I would be MOST interested!


  • If you just want 88 keys, without a real piano action : M-Audio Keystation 88es - basic, but very cheap, does the job

    If you want piano action (and taking into account your budget) : better look for a secondhand - but not overly used - midi controller or stage piano. 

    I personally use a Kurzweil PC-88, which has a nice piano action, 4 zones, allows several pedals to be connected, and has 4 continuous controllers + some switches onboard. Both pedals and controllers can be programmed individually for each zone. I really can recommend it ! (Would like to have a Kurzweil midiboard - for the polyphonic aftertouch)

    Yamaha KX88 and the older Roland midi controllers are also nice.

    The AKAI 88 key controller is getting some very good reviews as well, but don`t know if you`ll find one that fits the budget ...

    good luck !

  • Ended up with a Kurzweil PC3K8 and it functions perfectly with VEP5. I've had both AKAI and Novation and neither functioned correctly for me.

  • I'm not a keyboard player so my advice may be not accurate.

    I've got an AKAI MPK88 and am very happy with it. Maybe it's out of your budget, but it's full sliders, encoders, pads and it's got a lot of options. Very easy to program via software (don't remember if it's included)

    Having asked "real" piano players they've said it's very comfortable, with a good sense of weight and easy with fast note repetitions.

    Whatever you may choose, an 88 keys is mandatory for a whole orchestral range (I hate switching octaves) and to have a good control over keyswitches. If you don't have external MIDI controllers, look for something that includes a few faders and/or encoders.

    Good luck [:)]

  • Thought I would chime in since I am also looking. I have an AKAI MPK88 and I would not necessarily reccomend it. First of all, it is REALLY heavy. So heavy that it has warped two of my desks. The action I feel is very stiff and I don't think it feels like a real piano, mostly because it has a very slow rebound. This can often make it tiring to play fast rhythmic stuff. I used to be really into having my keyboard have "piano" action, but I've found that's only useful if all you are going to do is program piano music. And for me, the buttons and faders are completely obsoleted by something like Lemur on an iPad which can have however many buttons/faders you want and you can program them however you want. 

    I would go with a slimmer keyboard that fits neater on the desk with at least a built-in piano sound. Then you just use Lemur and an iPad for your sliders. That's what I'm going for, at least...