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Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by johnchop
I wish controller manufacturers could sort out a form factor that puts knobs above sliders while still keeping the buttons below the sliders.
Arturia Keylab Mk II, Akai MPK261, Nektar Panorama P, Viscount K4/K5, Kurzweil PC4/PC4-7

side note: arturia's design choice to put faders on the right and drum pads on the left is irksome for what otherwise looks like a decent line of controllers.

[Linked Image from medias.arturia.net]

So true ! Why they did this ? It's a beautiful controller and very high quality but they had to reverse the pads and the sliders ! Maybe on MK3 ?

Last edited by lvercaut; 03/23/21 08:10 PM.
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Originally Posted by lvercaut
Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
Originally Posted by AnotherScott
Originally Posted by johnchop
I wish controller manufacturers could sort out a form factor that puts knobs above sliders while still keeping the buttons below the sliders.
Arturia Keylab Mk II, Akai MPK261, Nektar Panorama P, Viscount K4/K5, Kurzweil PC4/PC4-7

side note: arturia's design choice to put faders on the right and drum pads on the left is irksome for what otherwise looks like a decent line of controllers.

[Linked Image from medias.arturia.net]

So true ! Why they did this ?

Possibly because they are software- and hardware developers and not players.
I can imagine they sit in front of screens all day programming.
Playing organ ... WTF is that ?

Originally Posted by lvercaut
... they had to reverse the pads and the sliders ! Maybe on MK3 ?

I can imagine you´ll find the wheels to the right then !

LOL

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And a wood composite (MDF) bottom.

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Those Medeli actions turn out to be pretty good, particularly the K6S in Kurz’s PC4 (and now in M-Audio’s Hammer 88 Pro). Never been a fan of Fatar actions myself, not even the T40/L.

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Just ordered one of these. Should be here next week. Let me know what kinds of questions y'all have. smile


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I’m wondering if it indeed has an MDF bottom.

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Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
Just ordered one of these. Should be here next week. Let me know what kinds of questions y'all have. smile

1.) Is it well packed ?
2.) Does it work ? grin
3.) MIDI CC values consistent and accurate across their range when moving knobs and faders ?
4.) Is channel - AT at least usable or does it break fingers before something happens ?
5.) How´s the action,- does in feel different from KURZ PC4 ?
6.) What´s your impression of overall build quality ?

It ticks a lot of boxes for a DAW controller for me and since I decided against all of the small synth action ones.
My old Edirol PCR300 is good enough for that purpose,- just only needs 1 new pot and 1 slider,- and there´s my KURZ PC361 ...

smile

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A.C., I won't be able to answer the 2nd part of #5 - I've never laid hands on a PC4 (or SP6), because we don't have any Kurzweil dealers anymore in my state or the surrounding states.


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Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
A.C., I won't be able to answer the 2nd part of #5 - I've never laid hands on a PC4 (or SP6), because we don't have any Kurzweil dealers anymore in my state or the surrounding states.

No biggie ! smile

I´d like to read about your impressions in detail nonetheless.
So, alternative #5 question/ 2nd part would be:

Do the keys bounce back several times when released ?

Is it easy to play repetitions or almost impossible ?

Does it bottom out hard or softer,- (very) loud or (very) low noise ?

A.C.

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It's arrived. Keep the questions coming. smile


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Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
It's arrived. Keep the questions coming. smile

summary:

1.) Was it well packed ?

2.) How do knobs and faders feel ?
Nice resitance or wobbly ?
MIDI CC values consistent and accurate across their range when moving knobs and faders ?

3.) Is channel - AT at least usable or does it break fingers before something happens ?
4.) What´s your impression of overall build quality ?

5.) How´s the action ?
Do the keys bounce back several times when released ?
Is it easy to play repetitions or almost impossible ?
Does it bottom out hard or softer,- (very) loud or (very) low noise ?

6.) MIDI editor software: Is it stable and works as expected ?

7.) Is it "class compliant" or does it need a driver ?
The M-Audio product page has no info about as also doesn´t Thomann product page.
And WHEN it needs a driver,- which OS versions are supported ?

smile

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Originally Posted by Fleer
I’m wondering if it indeed has an MDF bottom.

It does not. The bottom is made of the same heavy-duty composite as a lot of the rest of the board. The top panel is metal of some kind (most likely aluminum).

Originally Posted by Al Coda
1.) Was it well packed ?

Yes, I think it was packed well enough. Styrofoam end caps and middle supports on top and bottom, wrapped in a cellophane bag. That inside a good box.

Originally Posted by Al Coda
2.) How do knobs and faders feel ?
Nice resitance or wobbly ?
MIDI CC values consistent and accurate across their range when moving knobs and faders ?

The knobs are firm feeling. They seem to have a nice tension and don't wobble; made out of a hard plastic, no complaints at all. The faders don't seem to wobble much at all; they have a good resistance, rather significant compared to, say, my Motif XF. They actually wobble less and have more resistance than the Motif! They seem well-made as well. They don't seem particularly fragile or flimsy.

While I will have to do some more testing, my initial impression is that the knobs skip every other value or two, resulting in an increase of 2-3 instead of 1. The faders seem to be consistent with some increments of 2 instead of one here and there. I'll have to check more thoroughly.

Originally Posted by Al Coda
3.) Is channel - AT at least usable or does it break fingers before something happens ?

As above I'll want to play it some more to get a better feel, but it's usable in my opinion. It is SIGNIFICANTLY more difficult to engage than on my Motif XF8, but that board in some ways triggers rather easily. I notice that it takes more pressure to trigger the aftertouch on the Hammer 88 Pro if you are playing multiple keys, while it doesn't require as much effort if you're playing a single note. Definitely not a finger-breaker, but it's probably not going to come on accidentally either. One note - it DOES take a lot of pressure to get the AT to 127, but you can get a good range of CC values that way. But getting to 127 takes significant pressure. The initial aftertouch engaging is much easier.

Originally Posted by Al Coda
4.) What´s your impression of overall build quality ?

I'm actually impressed, particularly as it's an M-Audio product. The top panel is metal, and the rest of the board is some type of heavy-duty composite textured plastic. It definitely feels roadworthy. It's a solid piece of gear. Nothing feels loose - the knobs, faders, pitch and mod wheels are all firm with no play or wobbling. The buttons seem well-seated, no real complaints there other than that the plastic is quite hard, but that's hardly a complaint really. The display doesn't show much of anything honestly, primarily CC values, preset names, and a few menu options, depending on what buttons or controllers are pressed/used. But it's nice to have and I'm guessing it does more than that once a person dives in.

I will say that whatever plastic composite they used is hard to get a grip on. The long, shallow shape also contributes to that, thanks to its ergonomics and weight distribution (and I have a large arm span). It's a challenge to move because of that. Weight-wise it's great, a good 20 lbs less than my Motif. wink

Originally Posted by Al Coda
5.) How´s the action ?
Do the keys bounce back several times when released ?
Is it easy to play repetitions or almost impossible ?
Does it bottom out hard or softer,- (very) loud or (very) low noise ?

I'll have to check repetitions more, but the keys do not bounce back several times from what I see. They come back once and stay put. They bottom out without a lot of noise - there's more noise when they're released and the hammer mechanism hits the bottom of the chassis (or whatever it is inside), but it's not especially loud. It does vibrate back to your fingers. The feel of the bottoming out is really soft. I wouldn't want to call it mushy (i.e. Korg Kross/Krome 88 action [NH]), it's more that it doesn't have a hard bottom really. It's different than anything I've really played honestly. Velocity control is good, though I personally think the velocity curve out of the box is a little on the soft side (i.e. higher velocities are reached sooner with lighter playing). I haven't adjusted any settings yet. It is definitely not the fastest hammer action I've played; the return is a little slow. It sort of reminds me of the action on the Roland RD-2000 IIRC. But I've also been using a semi-weighted keyboard mostly lately so my senses might be skewed for a few days. One thing to note - the edges of the white keys are surprisingly sharp. I'm not necessarily concerned about them cutting me, but they don't feel great when doing an organ gliss. Even the inside edges aren't that smoothed out. You definitely feel it. Woody from Woody's Piano Shack (konaboy) noticed that on the original Hammer 88. It isn't very heavily graded - there's a very small difference in weight from the left to the right, but it's very minute IMO. Not enough to make it hard to play, say, left hand bass. The trigger point seems to be nice and fairly high (organ triggers nicely).

Originally Posted by Al Coda
6.) MIDI editor software: Is it stable and works as expected ?

I haven't done anything with a computer yet, so I'll have to come back to this.

Originally Posted by Al Coda
7.) Is it "class compliant" or does it need a driver ?
The M-Audio product page has no info about as also doesn´t Thomann product page.
And WHEN it needs a driver,- which OS versions are supported ?
As above, I haven't used it with a computer yet, but it's supposed to be class compliant on MacOS and iOS. No idea about Windows yet. OS versions are supposedly High Sierra on up on the Mac side (I don't recall the Windows specs but I'll check). Although I have to say that class compliant on MacOS is from CoreMIDI implementation, so I don't see why it wouldn't work with something older - maybe it's the included software that they're referring to as only being compatible with 10.13.6+.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 03/31/21 07:42 AM. Reason: Added more action details

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I put a video up on YouTube; just a first impressions video, recorded live including opening it up ("unboxing") etc so people who want to know about how its packed etc can see that. If you can stand me talking. If not, skip around.



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Whoa, a 40 minute video! Thank you for your review!

I have a few more questions though:
1) Is there a soft case with a side pocket for this keyboard?
2) I know it's heavier than most controllers, but is it an easy lift still? I'm wondering how the weight is distributed, because I think it's mostly affected by the case itself.
3) How would you compare the keys to the Yamaha GHS (if you tried one; the Motif XF you mention has a different action AFAIK)

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Originally Posted by GianfrixMG
Whoa, a 40 minute video! Thank you for your review!


Originally Posted by GianfrixMG
1) Is there a soft case with a side pocket for this keyboard?

There are a few cases that fit it fine. I ordered an SKB SC88NKW Narrow case (it's a soft case with a wood frame) but it hasn't come in yet. Sits around 20 lbs but it has wheels. But you have to go off of inside dimensions. There isn't a factory dedicated case for that model or the regular Hammer 88 per se. Its depth is shallow so some of the slim cases work, you just have to make sure that the inside length is sufficient (>56 inches). Some of the slim ones are shorter inside.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

Originally Posted by GianfrixMG
2) I know it's heavier than most controllers, but is it an easy lift still? I'm wondering how the weight is distributed, because I think it's mostly affected by the case itself.

The actual lift isn't an issue. It is a little unusual in weight distribution, because of how shallow it is relative to its length. The composite used for most of the case is textured, but I find it slippery and hard to get a good grip on. So weight-wise it's not bad at all, especially for someone who's accustomed to hauling around a 63.5 lb Motif XF8 (plus a 35-lb hardshell case). It's just a little odd with ergonomics since it's so long but shallow and slippery.

Originally Posted by GianfrixMG
3) How would you compare the keys to the Yamaha GHS (if you tried one; the Motif XF you mention has a different action AFAIK)

I'm quite familiar with that action (I've played the P45, P115, P125, MOXF8, MODX8, and MX88 a fair bit each). That action has a faster return time IMO than the Hammer 88 Pro's action, which is nice for fast playing. It feels a little more plasticky than the Hammer 88 Pro's action, but the GHS is a little faster overall I think. Right now I'm not sure which I prefer...the speed is an advantage on the GHS.

Edit: For a general-purpose action, the GHS is better in my opinion. The Hammer 88 Pro action is not bad, but it's less of a compromise action than GHS. It's not as light or fast.

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 03/31/21 11:53 PM.

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Originally Posted by Mighty Motif Max
...

Wow,-
Thanks a lot for all your answers an time investment !!!
That´s all better news than I expected.
I appreciate AT doesn´t trigger too early and keys don´t bounce back even being a bit slow when return to their initial position.
I also hoped for it not being too heavy graded because I prefer balanced weighted actions up to now.
The sharp edges of the keys seem to be the main "issue" for the time being ...

B.t.w.,- I think it´s class compliant also under Windows because I couldn´t find any driver-download on M-Audio site,- and when it weren´t,- there should be drivers on the additional software/media discs.

I´ll watch your video when I have time.
Unbelievable you did that long vid !


Thx again

cool

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Yeah, thanks a lot, Triple M!
Great review indeed.

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I still can’t stop wondering if it has the Medeli K6S action.

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Thank you for the thorough answer!

Quote
Originally Posted by GianfrixMG
3) How would you compare the keys to the Yamaha GHS (if you tried one; the Motif XF you mention has a different action AFAIK)

I'm quite familiar with that action (I've played the P45, P115, P125, MOXF8, MODX8, and MX88 a fair bit each). That action has a faster return time IMO than the Hammer 88 Pro's action, which is nice for fast playing. It feels a little more plasticky than the Hammer 88 Pro's action, but the GHS is a little faster overall I think. Right now I'm not sure which I prefer...the speed is an advantage on the GHS.

Edit: For a general-purpose action, the GHS is better in my opinion. The Hammer 88 Pro action is not bad, but it's less of a compromise action than GHS. It's not as light or fast.
Yeah, I was just looking for a general purpose action for a single keyboard setup and maybe the GHS is better for that. I would also hate those sharp edges laugh

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aaaaaaNNNNDDDD...I've submitted my first bug/support ticket. freak

Initially I had some odd issues with individual notes sometimes sustaining indefinitely, but I thought maybe it was my sustain pedal, which had half-damper functionality, so I changed it to a momentary sustain pedal. Then it happened again, but only with one piece of equipment, so I figured that there was something wrong with that unit. Now, however, I'm experiencing this with multiple pieces of equipment, and I've taken everything else (midi routers, iOS app, etc) out of the equation. I have my Hammer 88 Pro connected via 5-pin midi to some sound modules. When I am playing, random notes will randomly sustain indefinitely. Only some notes, and re-triggering the sustain pedal doesn't change anything. Neither does powering off the sound module(s). Initially it only happened on Midi Channel 1, but now it is for sure happening on Channel 2 as well, whether I have individual zones activated or if I'm just using the Hammer 88 Pro on one channel, as it comes out of the box. I also tried unplugging the sustain pedal and replugging it back in, and that makes no difference. The rest of the notes respond to it just fine. It's just that some notes will randomly get "stuck". Oddly enough this last time (shown in the video linked below) I didn't touch the sustain pedal when it happened. I was using a synth and string layer and using the expression pedal (CC11) to adjust the volume back and forth a few times in a fast motion. I put the pedal to full and discovered that some notes from a previous chord I had played were stuck. And that affects multiple sound modules, regardless of power cycles on them etc. Random keys as well, as it's different keys each time. This has happened 7-8 times since March 30th, when I received the unit.

This is the end result that just happened when connected to two modules on two different channels (NOTE: The audio briefly cuts out for some reason, but that didn't happen in person):



Hopefully they can come up with something, because I've narrowed it down to the Hammer 88 Pro and I don't have any odd settings or anything, plus it happened briefly the first day I had it with factory settings, but I assumed it was my sustain pedal.

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 04/06/21 06:10 PM.

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Arrrghhh ... stuck notes ...the worst I can imagine during performance !

Deal breaker !

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Originally Posted by Al Coda
Arrrghhh ... stuck notes ...the worst I can imagine during performance !

Deal breaker !

A.C.

Tel me about it. smile


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grin

thu

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M-Audio hasn't responded to my support inquiry yet, but I called up Sweetwater and they decided it's defective and are sending me a replacement overnight. They've sold 70 so far and have had three support tickets including mine, but the others were things like software installation directions etc, so mine is the first report of a keybed issue. Hopefully this replacement unit won't have any problems. I am kind of wishing I had remembered that the Physis K4EX existed (Thomann still has a few in stock it appears) - I would have gotten one of those right off the bat instead of dealing with this. poke

It's now ALSO occasionally activating the octave shift buttons when I'm playing on its own.

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 04/08/21 06:40 PM.

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Sounds similar to my experience when I bought the brand new (at that time) Roland XP50. The keybed crapped out on the first gig. I forget the specifics, either double-triggered or non-sounding notes. I bought it as soon as it was released so I got an early model. The store shipped me a new one and it was fine for the entire time I owned it. Moral of the story might be to wait a little while after a new product is released for the kinks to be straightened out. Kinda the same thing they say about v1.0 software too! Good luck with the new one.

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Right. That's why I usually refuse to be a guinea pig. The issue was that I needed 88 notes for some upcoming gigs and I didn't have anything that would work, and I truly dislike Fatar's TP100-LR. I was kind of hoping that this was largely based on the Hammer 88, which has been around for a few years.

Something disappointing I've found about the Hammer 88 Pro's capabilities: the pads can indeed be used to send program changes to modules, but they can only send one program change and on one midi channel. So one is NOT able to press a pad and have multiple racks change to different sounds for a song. I was assuming it could since it could handle program changes.

That K4EX is looking better by the minute. But I have zero idea of what the keybed (TP40L) is like.


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While I'm awaiting my replacement unit, I figured I'd check out the preset/midi editor for the Hammer 88 Pro. Turns out that while there is a manual available for the program, there is no preset editor available yet! So much for that. So I can't comment on the software usability.


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So, I got my replacement Hammer 88 Pro today. Guess what?


It literally does the exact same thing! This was #55 from the stock order, with the previous one being #88. Got it set up, and I kid you not, within five minutes it was hanging notes just like the unit I just shipped back. I'm letting SW know when they open tomorrow so we can get this one returned. I'm done with this experiment. What a joke.

Two in a row, more than one production number difference. I'm thinking these have a serious problem. Maybe other folks have been lucky, but two in a row having the same exact problem? SW said the issue was likely mechanical when I talked to them yesterday. That means this first production run must have issues. I hope M-Audio can get this under control somehow.



Now I have to find something else that will work. Good luck with that since I dislike TP-100LR and I need 9 faders and the ability to send multiple program changes from one button press (i.e. to multiple modules on different channels). Which BTW the Hammer 88 Pro cannot do - its pads and controllers are either assigned to a single midi channel, global, or assigned to a single zone or all zones (using whatever midi channel that zone is on). One assignment per control. So no multiple program changes from one pad. One could get around that with an iPad or Mac/PC and software, but the whole idea here was to not need that. I don't like having apps crashing and disrupting communication between my keyboard and my rack, nor do I have the budget to have a second $3000+ computer to run all sorts of stuff and haul around to gigs. laugh

It can do program changes however - just only one per pad or controller if applicable.

I don't get how an upgraded Hammer 88 with an excellent build quality and solid controllers selling for $799 can get out of the factory with this kind of issue. I'd think it was a fluke were it not for two in a row doing it! I'm really disappointed.

Last edited by Mighty Motif Max; 04/10/21 01:29 AM.

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Typical M-Audio quality.


Moe
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"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

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Originally Posted by mate stubb
Typical M-Audio quality.

I had hoped they had gotten better. Their cheap $20 sustain pedal lasted me 6 years or so before having a wire connection issue, which still happens with fancier pedals and isn't a hard fix. That's why I'm surprised this thing was so well built yet has this issue.


Motif XF8/YS200/CVP-305/CLP-130/YPG-235/PSR-295/PSS-470
Proteus/1/PROformance Plus/Mo'Phatt
JV-1000/JV-1010/Fantom XR
Krome 61/N1R/X5DR
PC3-76
Casio CT-370
Pacifica 112V/Line6 M13/Pod HD300/Joyo JF-14
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