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#1040559 - 11/10/00 04:44 PM MIDI Controller Keyboards
Erik Norlander Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/16/00
Posts: 152
Loc: Placerville, California
Okay, so here's a request for advice to the community at large. I need to make an improvement in my live rig. I am seeking a 76-note unweighted or semi-weighted, ruggedly built, good feeling keyboard to use as a MIDI controller to play primarily string, brass and woodwind sounds from an external sampler and/or analog synth module. Weighted piano-style action is right out for this application.

I need the keyboard to have "traditional" pitch bend and mod wheels (not the weird Oberheim to-and-fro levers nor the Korg / Roland side-to-side levers) and obviously it needs to be velocity sensitive. I don't need aftertouch. It needs to send program changes in a fairly efficient manner (i.e. one button push only), and a program increment / decrement button and incrementable footswitch control would be ideal. Not required, but it would be nice if I could split the keyboard into different zones per patch, and it would also be nice if patches could send out on different MIDI channels (MIDI channel transmit info contained within the patch as opposed to globally). A simple dual or triple 7-segment display for patch number would be sufficient, although I certainly wouldn't complain about a bigger one.

Continuing from Dave's "The Bed Thread", my favorite keybed is the nice semi-weighted solid Fatar keyboard that appears in the EIV Keyboard, the Waldorf Wave, the Virus KB and apparently the General Music S3. From my experience, the keybed should be mounted on wood and not metal for the best feel.

I don't need the thing to generate sound, although I am willing to buy one that does if that's what it takes.

I am definitely willing to pay for quality.

Currently I see my best option as the old Yamaha KX-76 (did I say old?), which is well-built and feels great but is a bit underpowered featurewise. Of course, there are numerous boxes out there that can add whatever MIDI functionality I need, but it sure would be nice to find it all in one package. Maybe there's some magic product out there of which I am unaware.

Anybody have any ideas? TIA!



KC Island
#1040560 - 11/11/00 01:43 PM Re: MIDI Controller Keyboards
marino Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 10/20/00
Posts: 8088
Loc: Rome, Italy
I think the Roland A-70 has the keyboard you are talking about. I know Roland is supposed to make their own keyboards, but I happened to play a concert with the E-Synth and the A-70 side by side, and they felt and looked exactly the same. The A-70 also has a very complete MIDI implementation, with lots of zones, processing, real-time control, etc.. I'm not sure about the left-hand controllers, but I'm afraid it has the dreaded Roland paddle (you should check that; it could have wheels as well, can't remember at the moment).
For an alternative, check the Fatar Studiologic 760 or the new Oberheim 1000, 76-key version. The MIDI is much more primitive, but maybe enough for your needs. They both have wheels, and the Fatar also has a numeric display.

Hope this helps


[This message has been edited by marino (edited 11-11-2000).]

#1040561 - 11/11/00 04:15 PM Re: MIDI Controller Keyboards
Dave Bryce Administrator Offline
KCFFL Champ '14,'16,'18
10k Club

Registered: 09/24/00
Posts: 19998
Loc: Thousand Oaks,CA,UNITED STATES
Originally posted by marino:
I think the Roland A-70 has the keyboard you are talking about.

Nice call, Marino! I had forgotten about the A70. I'm pretty sure that you're right, and it does have those same sealed semi-weighted keys as the E-Synth et al.

It does have the dreaded Roland paddle where the wheels would normally go, but it also has separate pitch and mod wheels higher up the front panel on the left hand side a la the Alesis QS synths, and four additional programmable sliders. Also, I believe that it has 4 independant MIDI outs, and I'm pretty sure that you can drop at least one expansion board into it as well.


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#1040562 - 11/26/00 05:26 PM Re: MIDI Controller Keyboards Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/14/00
Posts: 138
Loc: Toronto, Ontario ,CANADA
Roland A70 has already been mentioned.

You might also want to try to find a used Roland A50. That was the 76-key version of the A80. I have one, and it is a very nice controller. It has a few drawbacks, but it also has a lot of great features, depending on your needs. For instance, it generates poly aftertouch, one of the few boards that can do that. And it has 4 controller inputs, which can act as either switches or continuous controllers. All of the controller sources are available to each of four zones, and can be assigned to any midi controller number. The same controller can do different things in each of the four zones.

By the way, it has both the paddle controller for pitchbend/mod, and also a pair of wheels (pitch bend wheel / mod wheel).

[This message has been edited by (edited 11-26-2000).]


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