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#1164391 - 07/07/04 09:35 PM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Gus Lozada Offline
10k Club

Registered: 03/19/01
Posts: 12279
Loc: Bunda Léle Studios - Mexico
Quote:
Originally posted by Boydbob:
Thanks MJM

I already tried switching the polarity. No help.

One press turns sustain on, and a second press is required to turn it off
- or -
One press turns sustain off, and a second press is required to turn it on
- and -
when the pedal is released it stays on or off (whatever the last press did) until it is pressed again

What I want is for sustain to only be on when the pedal is held down.

Will a different pedal help (this one is a Yamaha) or can this be changed in the keyboard?

Boyd
The keyboard will automatically detect the correct polarity of the foot pedal upon power up. If you want to reverse the polarity of the foot pedal, press the pedal as you are turning on your keyboard.

It really seems it is assigned to toggle between two values and you have to change this:

Selecting a Controller for Editing

Before you can assign a MIDI CC to one of the Keystation Pro 88’s assignable controllers, you will need to select the controller for editing. There are two ways to select a controller:

1. Press the CONTROL SELECT buttons (GLOBAL CHANNEL + CHANNEL ASSIGN). The LCD will display the CONTROLLER symbol. The LCD symbol will flash to indicate the controller settings can be altered (Edit Mode). The three-digit display will
show the number of the currently selected controller.

2. Type in the number of the controller using the numeric keypad or the +/- buttons.

or Simply move a fader, a rotary controller, or press an assignable button.

Assigning MIDI CCs

1. Press CONTROL ASSIGN. The LCD will flash the CC symbol and the three-digit display will indicate the currently assigned MIDI CC number.

2. Type in a new MIDI CC value using the numeric keypad or the +/- buttons. The MIDI controller number you select will be assigned to the urrently selected controller, shown by the number on the small, two-digit display.

SUSTAIN is CC 64

\:\)
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KC Island
#1164392 - 07/08/04 11:13 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Boydbob Offline
Member

Registered: 11/08/01
Posts: 5
Loc: ,WA,UNITED STATES
Well, it works now.

I did the reset and and reasigned CC64 to the controller (#38) and it didn't change anything.

But then I tried plugging the pedal into the other sustain port (#37) which hadn't been reassigned and now it works.

I'm pretty sure I tried switching ports before with no success, so the reset must have done it.

Thanks Gus

Boyd

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#1164393 - 07/08/04 01:32 PM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Gus Lozada Offline
10k Club

Registered: 03/19/01
Posts: 12279
Loc: Bunda Léle Studios - Mexico
Quote:
Originally posted by Boydbob:
Well, it works now.

I did the reset and and reasigned CC64 to the controller (#38) and it didn't change anything.

But then I tried plugging the pedal into the other sustain port (#37) which hadn't been reassigned and now it works.

I'm pretty sure I tried switching ports before with no success, so the reset must have done it.

Thanks Gus

Boyd
Excellent!!
\:\)
_________________________
www.guslozada.com

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#1164394 - 07/10/04 02:14 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
musikman73 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/04
Posts: 23
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
This is a followup to my earlier post:

I just returned my Keystation 88 to Sam Ash...

Reasons: (which may not apply to your situation)

a) The keyboard has a bit of a bouncy/spongy feel. This actually interferes when playing 16th notes on same key situation. (I do MIDI sequencing of full ork stuff, this situation does come up..)

b) The keyboard is NOT for aggressive players.

While the keystation has 9 velocity curves, even the least sensitive hits Vel127 too easily.

Examples: A Baldwin grand piano takes 10-12 foot pounds of pressure for a "full volume" hit. A Steinway takes 14-16#. The Keystation 88 "bottoms out" at about 7-8# of pressure. This means YOU may be applying pressure for what you think is a medium strike, but the keyboard is outputting Vel127 to your modules.

NOTE: Correction from manual - The manual shows the velocity curves listed C0-C8, when in reality on the keyboard, they are C1-C9. There are also three fixed settings under the Velocity Curve setting of F1 - F2 and F3.

c) The keyboard is not consistent.

If you attempt to hit an even series of notes, say 8 eighth notes in a row, your velocity readings will be something like 84 89 76 127 88 92 103 112 (in my experience playing on it 8-10 hours a day for two weeks).

.. That 127 kinds blows up the sequence, causing you to go back and reset the velocity for that note. This can get tedious over long studio sessions.

d) The Keystation 88 has only one MIDI out.

This is a "playing out" limitation. If it had two MIDI outs, there would be enough horsepower to work with a rack of equipment. One MIDI OUT only is ok for studio/controller use, but not for performance purposes (in my opinion and experience). If I were to contact the m-Audio people, I'd recommend convert the MIDI IN to an independent 2nd MIDI OUT. On a controller keyboard, there's very little use for a MIDI IN.

e) The Keystation 88 tends to "go to sleep" if there is inactivity for a time (several hours). In my studio situation, everything is powered up 24/7, and when I'm in project mode (like I am at the moment), I'm in there 12-16 of those 24 hours.

Occasionally, the Keystation 88 will "go to sleep," and be non-responsive to playing for 20-30 seconds. In other words, nothing comes out while you bang away for 20-30 seconds waiting to get some MIDI output from the Keystation 88. This happened at least 5-6 times in the two weeks I had it in my studio.

The manual DOES say to turn it off when not in use, but I find that a non-useful requirement in the active studio environment.

THE RECAP:

Sooo, there you have it. I have a Fatar SL990, 90, and Elka MK88II here, all MIDI controllers.

The Keystation 88 falls btw the SL990 (worst) and Fatar 90 (good keyboard controller) in my opinion.

My solution?

I require a keyboard with 88 keys, MOD and PB wheels, nothing else. I have been unable to find a pure controller that is sensitive enough for the articulation and nuance that I require. Unfortunately, the new Fatar's are less sensitive (takes little muscle to bottom out the velocity even on the least sensitive velocity curve compared to earlier models), so I picked up a Yamaha S08 synth.

It has a great physical keyboard, great velocity sensitivity, and the price wasn't outrageous ($900 at Sam Ash). Unfortunately for me, I have no use for the synth, I have ONLY a MIDI cable and sustain pedal plugged into it, nothing in the audio section at all, since I have a wall full of modules. But it has a great feel, and allows dynamic work competently.

CONCLUSIONS:

The Keystation 88 is actually a very versatile keyboard, it just didn't work for my situation. If it had 2 independent MIDI outs, I could see using it for live work. The physical design of the keys themselves make is unsuitable for my "hammer hands" in the studio.

If you have "synth hands" and are used to a light touch, this is a very competent keyboard. If you're a hack like me, with 20+ years playing live on the road (I do theatre, pit orchestra stuff, technique went to hell about 1980), it may not prove to be able to articulate as well as you might like.

If you have a set of 88 keys that you like, at the price (I think I paid $480 for it at Sam Ash local store), it might even be worth it for the dials and sliders in the MIDI stream, ignore the 88 keys (except maybe to trigger sample loops or the like).

PLEASE NOTE: I did NOT test ANY of the sliders, knobs or the like. Being unable to get past the 88 key keyboard faults, I didn't pursue further features.

All my best,

Rick
http://www.bway2.com/tracks

PS: If you do have the Keystation 88 and like it, one thing I found useful was to remove the three front "bumpers" off of the bottom of the keyboard, tilting the keys in very slightly toward the player, which I find a plus in long orchestral sequencing (one orch part at a time) work. NOTE: Keep in mind, I'm using a solid surface to hold the keyboard, not a "keyboard stand" that doesn't have 100% coverage to support the keyboard. I contacted tech support at m-audio first, and they said that there is no prob doing that. The bumpers are not interconnected with anything on the main chassis.

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#1164395 - 07/10/04 06:23 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Gus Lozada Offline
10k Club

Registered: 03/19/01
Posts: 12279
Loc: Bunda Léle Studios - Mexico
Thanks Rick.
You provided very interesting information!

_________________________
www.guslozada.com

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#1164396 - 07/10/04 11:38 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
dejacky Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/30/04
Posts: 82
musikman73,
thanks for that awesome review, you confirmed a concern of mine regarding the "mushy" feel of the keys. I originally thought that this was nice because it was easier on my hands, but now I'm not so sure especially regarding the inconsistent velocity. Playing the keys, it felt like I had to be more careful how I pressed the keys because there really wasn't a consistent "bounce" or "throw" feel AND sometimes when I thought I played soft, it would be loud... so I completely understand where you're coming from. I'm just not sure if I should get one now. There's just something about being able to play with a balanced "dynamic" feel on any keyboard..and the M-Audio 88 definitely is not as dynamic as those yamaha keyboards....akht, I dunno, I might end up getting it and trying it for 30 days in the studio since it's $400..we'll see..

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#1164397 - 07/10/04 01:00 PM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Markyboard Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 2815
Loc: Springfield,VA,UNITED STATES
I may be in the market for a new controller since my current controller (Visount/Oberheim MC3000) got zapped in a storm/power outage last week and is acting flakey. It intermittently changes midi channels on me for a few notes when playing and locks up. There are also a couple of things I dont like about it such as the pitchbend wheel which skips values between 56-63 and 65-70. Dumb!

Definitely good critiques on the M-audio. However I dont think the Keystation 88 was intended to compete with the Yamaha or other high end controllers out there and people are definitely making comparisons. Think of the Keystation 88 as an effort to step up the Radium/Oxygen line that went overboard. I dont think a 20+ pianist/keyboardist looking to closely duplicate their main ax is going to find it in a $500 board.

The Keystation was never an option for me based on lack of aftertouch. I definitely agree with the 2 MIDI outputs comment and not needing a MIDI input. I'm actually looking at the Motifs/S90 as a controller. I'm not big on sample playback so it's a lot of money for what I really need. I may change my tune and need to spend more time playing with these and others. They sure do feel nice. But again...with a single MIDI output I need to rethink my current methodology /setup.

What strikes me as funny about this whole controller market is this; Yamaha and Roland produced sophisticated controller only boards years ago and then the market dried up. Now they seem to be needed again (mostly induced by the softsynth market). However other then USB, I dont see any improvement over what we had before.
Less midioutputs, less programability(aftertouch curves, velocity curves, # zones, midi filter, remote program change etc.)

Maybe NAMM will have something. Nah

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#1164398 - 07/10/04 06:34 PM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
hermanjoe Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 02/17/04
Posts: 582
Loc: USA
Just tried the m-audio pro 88 midi controller at G.C. today.
I liked the touch. As reported, the black keys are a little low, but I don;t find it that big of a deal. Best touch on a midi controller I've tried. I'll definatley get one soon.

How are you all powering them for live use?
_________________________
"Learn the changes, then forget them."

-Charlie Parker

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#1164399 - 07/10/04 08:56 PM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Gus Lozada Offline
10k Club

Registered: 03/19/01
Posts: 12279
Loc: Bunda Léle Studios - Mexico
Thanks Marky, for your comments!

HermanJoe... you would need a power supply. We sell it separatel by 10 usd at our website. maybe the music store has'em too.
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#1164400 - 07/10/04 09:21 PM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
mjm Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/15/04
Posts: 130
Loc: London, England
Thanks for the review musikman, very interesting. Especially

Quote:
e) The Keystation 88 tends to "go to sleep" if there is inactivity for a time (several hours). In my studio situation, everything is powered up 24/7, and when I'm in project mode (like I am at the moment), I'm in there 12-16 of those 24 hours.

Occasionally, the Keystation 88 will "go to sleep," and be non-responsive to playing for 20-30 seconds. In other words, nothing comes out while you bang away for 20-30 seconds waiting to get some MIDI output from the Keystation 88. This happened at least 5-6 times in the two weeks I had it in my studio.

The manual DOES say to turn it off when not in use, but I find that a non-useful requirement in the active studio environment.
This surprises me (and worries me more than a little), pro 'boards shouldn't do that. From what I've read, looks like we should have done a little more beta testing. Still it's nice to know you're happy with your Fatar.
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#1164401 - 07/11/04 01:52 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
DafDuc Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 11/20/03
Posts: 1792
Loc: Da Thumb
Hey, it's Broadway Rick! Hiya!

Quick note for you guys who don't see the point of having audio on a keyboard you use as a controller - at least two of you on this thread:

If you use virtual instruments, you're going to have some latency - this can affect what you play. I've found that my timing tightens up a lot if I monitor my controller (using a patch similar to the virtual instrument I'm controlling). I have a pair of M-Audio SP-5B's connected to my QS-8.1 - and that's what I listen to when I'm recording. Works for me...

Daf (Jay)
_________________________
I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:
"Tower of Polka."
- Calumet

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#1164402 - 07/11/04 05:34 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Geoff Grace Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/13/02
Posts: 8618
Quote:
Originally posted by DafDuc:
Hey, it's Broadway Rick! Hiya!

Quick note for you guys who don't see the point of having audio on a keyboard you use as a controller - at least two of you on this thread:

If you use virtual instruments, you're going to have some latency - this can affect what you play. I've found that my timing tightens up a lot if I monitor my controller (using a patch similar to the virtual instrument I'm controlling). I have a pair of M-Audio SP-5B's connected to my QS-8.1 - and that's what I listen to when I'm recording. Works for me...

Daf (Jay)
Jay, if I read you correctly, you're talking about listening to the outputs of a keyboard that makes its own sounds (your QS 8.1). You've come up with a creative workaround for your latency problem! Unfortunately, your concept doesn't apply in this case because it's based on the notion that dedicated keyboard controllers, such as the ones discussed in this thread, make sounds of their own. However, this is not the case. The sole purpose of keyboard controllers is to trigger and control other devices that do make sounds.

In other words, while you may be using your QS 8.1 keyboard as a controller, it wasn't created to primarily function as a keyboard controller but to function as a keyboard. The terminology is so similar that it's bound to be confusing. As long as one keeps in mind that most dedicated controllers in our industry are really just sophisticated remote control devices, then it starts to make sense. Without a way to get audio into a keyboard controller, having an audio out makes as much sense as hooking up an Audio/Video output to your television's remote control device.

So why are some posters here suggesting that M Audio's new keyboard controller should have audio outputs? Well, M Audio and other manufacturers have begun putting computer soundcards into some of their keyboard controllers, allowing these units to function as a conduit for the sound that comes from the computer. This makes a lot of sense for those who want a small portable system (such as a laptop computer and a small keyboard controller). However, it's important to keep in mind that, even in this scenario, the keyboard controller makes no sound; it merely hosts the computer's outputs.

Best,

Geoff
_________________________
Enthusiasm powers the world.

Craig Anderton's Archiving Article

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#1164403 - 07/11/04 06:01 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
musikman73 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/04
Posts: 23
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
Hey Jay, nice to see you in here..

RE: Audio monitoring

I think your confusing this product (the Keystation 88) with a synth. The Keystation is ONLY a MIDI controller. It sends data only, has no internal sounds. If you bring a Keystation only to a gig, you'll have a very quiet concert. \:\)

MJM:

Re: More beta testing

If you ever need a tester in the States, drop me a line. I have the unique ability to do things with keyboards that the designers never intended, with sometimes surprising results.

I'm also one of the few that actually reads a manual front to back before using something..

I've beta tested software for Lotus, MS and a few music progs that I'm not privvy to give out. One interesting time was a piece of software that I had inadvertantly put FOUR letters after the period in the filename, ie: file.midi instead of .mid. It blew the program to hell. lol

The ONE thing the programmers didn't error check was the result of more than 3 chars after the period, after all, programmers would never THINK of doing that, so NOONE else would either, right? (grin)

RE: Just a $500 keyboard

I was amazed at the low cost of the unit vs. the features offered.

I'll tell ya what I would love to see, is all the knobs, sliders, backlit display, WITHOUT the 88 keys. That would be a helluva product (and THIS one would need a MIDI IN!), if it had two independent outs.

This sort of add-in would allow anyone to convert any synth on the market into a true MIDI controller for all of their outboard gear.

EXAMPLE: There's some nice "digital pianos" out there that have a great keyboard, nice sounds, BUT they come without a PB or mod wheel, nor the ability to do zones and external controls. The keystation 88's electronics would be a kick-butt addition and provide all the features that a standard keyboard lacks.

The only think I would add beyond what's on the K88 would be:

1) Two independent MIDI OUT's
2) Arpeggiator (independent/clock switchable)
3) external ribbon controller (attach to user's keyboard below keys to trigger "stuff" from the K88 electonics)

I'll be the first to admit that I am FULLY ignorant of the scope of what I'm asking, nor do I have a feel for the marketplace for such a beast, but at least to this reader, man would it be nice. \:\)

But it would be a nice piece of equipment to help in the studio, but especially allow any keyboard in the world to be turned into a mongo controller. m-Audio wouldn't have to hassle with the keybed section (which is what seems to get 90+% of the comments/problem reports), but it could certainly turn into a necessity for players.

One reason I know this would be a possible hit is the ebay sales of Kurzweil ribbon controllers (the Expresionmate). They stopped making them in the '90's or so, at that time they blew them out for $199 (Sam Ash). NOW, if you want one, it'll cost you btw $300-400 JUST for a ribbon controller to add to your rig. For a USED one. I know, I got one!

If anyone at m-audio wants to make contacts, I have designs for ideas for both a full unit, and a console that would accept options, ie: arpeggiator could be a plug in option, etc..

Sorry, guys, I'm roaming far afield with my dreams of a perfect accessory to the rig. \:\)

All my best,

Rick

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#1164404 - 07/11/04 11:24 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Markyboard Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 2815
Loc: Springfield,VA,UNITED STATES
Interseting comments Rick. Being in the market for a controller I'll give my point of view on some of your points;

Quote:
That would be a helluva product (and THIS one would need a MIDI IN!), if it had two independent outs.
Why MIDI in? Would you merge the seperate keyboard data with this before going out to the module? Dedicated MIDI interfaces take care of this for you or the output of this knob controller could be merged at the keyboard. Just curious.

Quote:
If you bring a Keystation only to a gig, you'll have a very quiet concert.
Sounds like a project for John Cage (in 636 years). Manufacturers could start advertising the "warm" thump their keybed makes. :rolleyes:

Quote:
I'm also one of the few that actually reads a manual front to back before using something..
(back at you)

Quote:
I was amazed at the low cost of the unit vs. the features offered.
Definitely in agreement.

Quote:
There's some nice "digital pianos" out there that have a great keyboard, nice sounds, BUT they come without a PB or mod wheel, nor the ability to do zones and external controls.
Positioning this to effectively use the pitchbend wheels/ribbon while playing the keyboard it supplements steers my preference to the all in one.

Quote:
One reason I know this would be a possible hit is the ebay sales of Kurzweil ribbon controllers (the Expresionmate). They stopped making them in the '90's or so, at that time they blew them out for $199 (Sam Ash). NOW, if you want one, it'll cost you btw $300-400 JUST for a ribbon controller to add to your rig. For a USED one. I know, I got one!
I would say (not based om any factual evidence) that you and I(and even all members of this forum) are a small majority of the market that appreciates (buys) stuff like this.

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#1164405 - 07/11/04 11:37 PM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
DafDuc Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 11/20/03
Posts: 1792
Loc: Da Thumb
THanks to Geoff and Rick for trying to set me straight.

I'm quite familiar with the concept of remote midi control - I've owned a KX-88 since 1985, and have an Oxygen-8. The concept still applies - hook your midi out to a module and monitor that. You may get a little midi slop, but barely noticeable, especially compared to the kind of latency you can get with VSTi's.

Geoff, you're right, I wasn't thinking audio i/o, and I know I've seen these - M-Audio makes one, don't they? Or Edirol?

Anyhow, I am quite happy with my Oxygen-8, and am surprised to hear the Keystation isn't measuring up.

I would guess (and I imagine it's been said in here already, but this a LONG thread) that there are only 10 memory slots because this was developed as a DAW controller - so (in my case) you would have a Reason setting, a Cubase setting, and settings for my Pro-52, EVP-73, B-4, Moog Mod V, my Model-E, and GPO, leaving me two slots for more purchases, or maybe for deep parms on Cubase or Reason. Absolutely, for stage use - 50+ locations would be useful - I know I felt limited by the 16 settings on my KX-88. But I don't think M-A planned this as a stage controller - just turns out a lot of guys think it would make a good one.

Daf
_________________________
I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:
"Tower of Polka."
- Calumet

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#1164406 - 07/12/04 12:17 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
pygmallion Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/18/04
Posts: 46
Gus,

I have a question about using a Volume/Expression Controller Pedal with the 88.

I connect the Yamaha FC7 expression pedal to the 88, and I have having a couple issues.

1. When the pedal is all the way back in (lowest range) the 88 only shows the controller a value of 47 instead of 0. Is there a setting to adjust this down to zero?
2. It appears that when I only apply a small amount of expression, the 88 reaches a value of 127 within the first quater movement of the expression pedal instead of hitting 127 when the pedal is fully extended foward..

Wondering if there is a value adjustment for this so that I can utilize the full range of the pedal from zero to 127. It seems to jump too soon.

Thanks for any help.

-Pygmallion

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#1164407 - 07/12/04 07:25 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Mariano P Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Los Angeles
Hey everyone, I have had my keystation for about two weeks. I have to say that I am impressed with this controller. However, I do have some concerns.

Pros:
- The price of the keyboard is excellent. It is perfect for people that are on a tight budget.
- This thing has tonz of knobs to play with 
- I know some of you don’t like the way the keys feel. However, I have to say that I was only bothered by the feeling for a few days. I am a classical piano player and the keys feel fine. Now, I tried playing 16th notes on the same key because I remember reading that someone was having problems doing so. Fortunately enough, I had no problems playing 16th or 32nd notes on the same key.

Concerns:
-The lower notes seem to be very sensitive to touch. It doesn’t take a lot of pressure for the tone to hit high volumes, thus, making it difficult at times to play expressively.
-The lower notes seem to play a lot louder than the higher notes. For example, I was playing a classical tune and the melody (higher notes) was being thrown into the background by the lower notes. I tried to play the lower notes with less pressure, but as I mentioned before, the lower notes are very sensitive to pressure.

Anyway, I wonder if these issues are being created by the piano samples that I am using or if it is the keyboard? I am using the reason grand piano samples which are not that great. I tried all of the velocity curves and nothing. Are any of you experiencing this?

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#1164408 - 07/12/04 07:42 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Mariano P Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Los Angeles
One more thing, if the keyboard does lack dynamic consistency, can one fix it with an expression peddle? I love they keyboard, but if there is no way to play more expressively, I am going to have to return it . I really hope this is not the case. I saw a video on the M-audio page and the guy playing the keystation did not seem to have an issue with the dynamic of the keyboard. 

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#1164409 - 07/12/04 07:48 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Geoff Grace Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 08/13/02
Posts: 8618
Jay, thanks for your positive response. Sometimes it's hard to know each other's experience levels. ;\)

I have a friend who owns a KX-88 and he's been happy with it for a long time!

Is this the unit you were asking about?




Best,

Geoff
_________________________
Enthusiasm powers the world.

Craig Anderton's Archiving Article

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#1164410 - 07/12/04 10:17 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
DafDuc Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 11/20/03
Posts: 1792
Loc: Da Thumb
[lucyvanpelt]THAT'S IT!!![/lucyvanpelt]
_________________________
I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:
"Tower of Polka."
- Calumet

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#1164411 - 07/13/04 12:56 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
PeterBishop Offline
Member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 10
Loc: Adrian Michigan
hey all, Maybe Gus could help here but I Just wanted to say what a great idea I think the Keystation is. Very cool. Unfortunately I have gone through 4 of them at this point and can't find one that plays well enough to keep. The First one had two stuck keys and the sleep problem. Went to sleep at times and I had to restart it to get to work again. The Second one had 4 or 5 keys that played totally different than the whole rest of the board. They had no tension on them.... I would do a chromatic run or some chord form and they would slam into the bed of the board. I'm in the process of sending these two back, I had my retailer pull out a couple more and play them to find a good one and they couldn't find a single one that had any consistency across the board. They called me back tonight and said they would not send me another as they couldn't find one they were happy with or thought I would be happy with..... Bummer.... I really really wanna like this board. I can possibly forgive the black keys being lower and can get around the spongy feel in time but there seems to be some real quality control issues with the ones I've played. I don't mean this as a slam the idea is awsome and I want it to work so if Gus or anyone has ideas please feel free to respond or email me........ or I will go off into the sunset looking fro another controller.... or just using my old one... thanks

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#1164412 - 07/13/04 01:57 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
dejacky Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/30/04
Posts: 82
Thank you PeterBishop,
your VALUABLE experience of the Keystation 88 pro has convinced me NOT TO BUY IT \:\) . I wouldn't mind the spongy feel of the keys, if only they were consistent in response, etc. I think this calls for M-Audio to develop a version 2.x? of this midi-controller? peace..

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#1164413 - 07/13/04 02:59 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
musikman73 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/04
Posts: 23
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
OK, let's take this step by step:

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That would be a helluva product (and THIS one would need a MIDI IN!), if it had two independent outs.

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Why MIDI in? Would you merge the seperate keyboard data with this before going out to the module? Dedicated MIDI interfaces take care of this for you or the output of this knob controller could be merged at the keyboard. Just curious.

REPLY:

The MIDI IN was in reference NOT the Keystation 88, but my "dream add-on" controller for MIDI (ie: the Keystation 88 electronics minus the keyboard)

The reason for the MIDI IN is that with this currently non-existent hardware, you could take the MIDI OUT of any keyboard, and go into this magic box, and NOW have Zones and Splits available, which may or probably may not be available on your current keys.

In other words (I hope I'm not being confusing), you can take a (for example) Fatar SL990, and now have splits and zones available that aren't available on the keyboard. You LIKE the feel of the 88 keys, but the keyboard doesn't have all the MIDI control features you require.. This box (Keystation 88 electronics + 2 separate MIDI OUTS + optional Ribbon controller that you can mount under your 88 keys on your regular keyboard) would allow you to take virtually any keyboard on the market and turn it into an m-Audio dream machine. m-Audio doesn't have to hassle, repair or warrant the 88 keys, and electronics MINUS the 88 keys are notoriously reliable over time.

quote:
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There's some nice "digital pianos" out there that have a great keyboard, nice sounds, BUT they come without a PB or mod wheel, nor the ability to do zones and external controls.
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Positioning this to effectively use the pitchbend wheels/ribbon while playing the keyboard it supplements steers my preference to the all in one.

REPLY:

I agree an "all in one" unit would be preferrable, but I don't know about you, but I've been searching for 10 years for my dream keyboard without success. They either have 1) great 88 keys, no features, or 2) tons of features, don't like the feel of the keys, or they aren't acceptable for my usage (velocity, etc).

If you have the MIDI features available on an external box (Gus, be glad to send a design idea to you guys, not looking for money, looking for the functionality!), you can just find the 88 keys that perform to your expectations, then turn it into a mega controller with this "dream box" that contains the MIDI features.

.. or so my dream goes. \:\)

Quote:

I would say (not based om any factual evidence) that you and I(and even all members of this forum) are a small majority of the market that appreciates (buys) stuff like this.

REPLY:

My official position is: I've never met an on/off switch I didn't like.

Having said that, I will ALWAYS purchase equipment that furthers my performance, but I will NEVER purchase equipment "just" to have the latest and greatest.

Current example: I've been playing on my Fatar 90 controller for roughly 15 years. It had a great feel, touch, response and the velocity was to my needs (the hammer hands maniac that wants to sequence but NOT hit VEL127 on every note). The keys have started wearing out (lost MID C down to a VEL11 or so on every hit), and a couple of keys were sticking.. Time to find something new, but Fatar is evidently saving money these days, the SL990 is NOTHING like the feel of the 90.

While the SL990 may work GREAT for a majority of the market, it just didn't do the velocity job I needed.. Sooo, now I've found the keyboard that has a good feel/touch/velocity response, etc.. BUT it doesn't have zones, two MIDI outs, etc.. I don't NEED that for studio, but my Elka MK88II can't last forever (purchased in the 80's), so hopefully I'll find something someday before it bytes the dust, so to speak.

Incidentally (and totally off topic) the Elka MK88II (Elka is now owned by GEM), had a physical control on the back, so you could change the physical feel of the keyboard. You could adjust the "master spring," or whatever the heck it had in it, to make the physical keys easier or harder to press, to your technique and taste. That's something I have never seen on a controller before or since, and is why I baby this thing to last forever. It has 8 zones, 4 sliders, two independent MIDI outs (so you can control 32 MIDI channels out of the keyboard), PB/MOD, and EASY to program.

You can see why my "dream box" added to any 88 keys would be (at least for this ol' player) a dream to have.

I do silly stuff for theatre with the ELKA. For example, for "Sound of Music", I program the highest C to be a Church Bell tuned to E (all of the nun's songs that use the chime are in either E or A, so tuning to the E works for both). This is needed a zillion places in the show. So, I have a one key Zone that is set for the chime, giving me 87 for playing the rest of the orch stuff.

For the King and I, I set that high C to a huge gong, which is used throughout THAT show..

Having overlapping zones for Piano/Strings/Gtr or Piano/Strings/Organ with vol sliders for each zone really makes for a nice setup, with the fourth zone being the highest C for my "gadget"..

All my best,

Rick

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#1164414 - 07/13/04 03:20 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
musikman73 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/04
Posts: 23
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
One other take from a player:

Several people have commented about there not being enough presets in the Keystation 88.

This is just one player's view:

I'm not sure about how most of you guys use a keyboard on the job or in the studio, but in my setup, my ELKA (the controller I use for playing out) has like 64 presets, with a mem card for 64 more (4 banks of 16 each, there are 16 buttons on the controller).

I have found that I use only 5 of these 128 presets.

Utilizing Zones, I have:

Preset 1: Z1 Piano Z2 Strings Z3 Organ
Preset 2: Z1 Piano Z2 Strings Z3 D7/Rhodes
Preset 3: Z1 Piano Z2 Strings Z3 12 String Gtr
Preset 4: Z1 Harp Z2 Strings Z3 Organ
Preset 5: Z1 Piano Z2 Strings Z3 Harpsichord/Clav

Occasionally, I have the need for another sound, but for most of the keyboard work I do these 5 do it (and have done it for about 20 yrs).

This is NOT to say anything negative about guys that want to program their tushies off and have tons of stuff available for special situations, but in my case, this is adequate.

So, in the case of the Keystation 88's electronics, I wouldn't find it hard to use the amount of memory locations available.

HOWEVER, what I WOULD find unusable is the Single MIDI OUT. If you layer full piano, strings, and organ (for example) and start playing some pedaled stuff, you will surely run out of voices in no time, since you are actually triggering 3 of everything (due to the overlapping zones).

In my case, I have two piano modules on Ch1, giving me 64 notes for just the piano, a second module for the organ and a third (on a separate MIDI port) for strings (again 2 modules on overflow so I don't run out).

If I didn't have to incorporate full orchestra sequencing, I could "move" my strings module over to one of the 16 channels, and make it work (with a lot of reprogramming on the modules), but with two MIDI outs, it would be effortless.

Of course, being the dinosaur that I am, I'm using a few Roland modules (the 880/990) that only have 7 MIDI channels + drums on them. So, it's a pretty easy setup for me to have:

Port 1 Ch1 Piano
Port 1 Ch2-8 Roland 990
Port 1 Ch10 Roland CR80 (dedicated Drum module)
Port 1 Ch9 and 11-16 Roland 880
Port 2 Ch1-16 Emu Proteus2/Orch

.. and I'm not losing any functionality, since my modules are being used to their full multitimbral capacity. The other nice thing about several modules (I have identical setup in roadrack and studio) is that when I layer, I layer into separate modules, so I don't run out of voices because of layering..

So (for example) my preset:

Preset 1: Z1 Piano Z2 Strings Z3 Organ

Z1 is the two Kurz MicroPianos on overflow
Z2 is the two EMU P2's on overflow
Z3 is the Roland 990

And the sliders allow me to "mix" the levels of each that are used. If it's an ballad, the organ is turned off and just the pno/strings sliders are up, usually 80% piano, 40% strings, and so on.

Again, this is only for playing out. In the studio, I'm just a MIDI out to a router, and the computer with the sequencer is calling up anything I need on each track, so I have unlimited flexibility there..

Just .02 worth,

Rick

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#1164415 - 07/13/04 03:58 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
musikman73 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/04
Posts: 23
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
This is an addition note regarding the Keystation 88 slider placement.. Something I hadn't considered since I didn't play with the sliders since I couldn't get the 88 keys to work for me..

The sliders are on the wrong side!!

Most guys that I know in this biz will operate playing with the right hand, using the left for bass AND grabbing slider to adjust vols, etc..

A peek at virtually all controllers on the market with sliders for vol control have them placed either left or center.. Placing them on the right makes them pretty much unusable in a playing environment..

Just another .02 (I have unlimited pennies),

Rick

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#1164416 - 07/13/04 05:09 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Milos Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/03/04
Posts: 107
Loc: Subotica/Serbia
Quote:
Originally posted by PeterBishop:
hey all, Maybe Gus could help here but I Just wanted to say what a great idea I think the Keystation is. Very cool. Unfortunately I have gone through 4 of them at this point and can't find one that plays well enough to keep. The First one had two stuck keys and the sleep problem. Went to sleep at times and I had to restart it to get to work again. The Second one had 4 or 5 keys that played totally different than the whole rest of the board. They had no tension on them.... I would do a chromatic run or some chord form and they would slam into the bed of the board.
@Gus & M Audio:
It seems to be very much errors on the keystation pro 88.I heard that many people complainig about the stucked keys.This is hammer action keyboard an when its new, the keys shouldn't get stucked,except this is maybe some cheap rubber action.(Some guy at the forum think its Medeli action made in Hong Kong and i dont care if it is as long the keys are fully functional.)

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#1164417 - 07/13/04 08:50 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Markyboard Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 02/10/01
Posts: 2815
Loc: Springfield,VA,UNITED STATES
In response to Rick's last couple of replys and to avoid to many levels of quotes I'll sum up my feelingsw with this;

You #$%@en CONTROL freak!

\:D \:D .

I couldnt agree more with the part about there being no cotroller that meets the touch response and all the midi functionality. For me the Oberheim/Viscount A Joint Venture(love that part of the brand name) the MC3000 has/had all the functionality that I personnally use, need. And I like the feel. I dont care for the wheels in the upper left corner and skipping values centered around 64 gives up to a 1/4 step jump in pitch - bleck.

I use more program slots then you but it has over a 1000! I create programs for each synth by itself, and separate ones for each synth split with the others. Then others for working with the Logic Audio etc. etc. I like to choose what synth is being controlled from the controller as opposed to the sequencer thru port (most of the time).

Any way my MC3000 may be toast and it may not be worth fixing since they are no longer distruibuted in the US and they wont release schematics Figuring out what to use next - I've been working through Logic using it the way most people do things now where all the layer/splits is done through the software. And this is getting real interesting. So if I can deal with always having the program up I can do with a lot less from the controller. How much less still needs to be decided. BTW I'm strictly studio(uhh.. I mean private home basement where my equipment resides \:D ) these days.

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#1164418 - 07/13/04 10:24 AM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
DafDuc Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 11/20/03
Posts: 1792
Loc: Da Thumb
Well, if you can find a healthy KX-88, it's got a great feel, and setup is quite flexible. Only two zones, though.

Mine needs a rebuild, estimate was $5-600 US - so I'm holding off. If a 990 is only $299 (@ GC), it's hard to justify spending more than that just in repairs.

I actually bought my Kurz SP-88 as a KX88 replacement. The feel's weird, but I like it, it's lightweight, and having MicroPiano guts doesn't hurt. But I never got the hang of the mod/pitch ribbons... \:\(

Daf
_________________________
I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:
"Tower of Polka."
- Calumet

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#1164419 - 07/13/04 12:58 PM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Mariano P Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 30
Loc: Los Angeles
Damn! I am so disappointed. One of the keys on my keystation 88 is making a clicking sound. It sounds like it is about to break. I don’t think that I can get my money back because I misplaced the stupid manual. However, I hope that they will exchange the unit. God this sucks!

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#1164420 - 07/13/04 08:24 PM Re: M-Audio 88-key controller!
Neole Offline
Member

Registered: 07/13/04
Posts: 8
Quote:
Originally posted by DafDuc:
If you use virtual instruments, you're going to have some latency - this can affect what you play. I've found that my timing tightens up a lot if I monitor my controller (using a patch similar to the virtual instrument I'm controlling).
Daf (Jay)
Ive been looking for a good controller with inbuilt sound (just a simple piano will do) and a small speaker for a long time, just for this purpose. Something that I can switch on and play my softsynths with, using the inbuilt sound to get the timing accurate. I wish they would make something like that.

The only thing I can do this with right now is a Yamaha PSR keyboard, and I dont like the feel on those, plus they dont have those knobs and sliders which a dedicated controller has. I have a Triton too, but it doesnt have its own speakers, and since its out goes through my mixer to my monitors, it means I have to switch on both the mixer and the monitors to play a softsynth accurately.

Anyone know something I can use, a good controller with simple inbuilt sound and speaker?

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