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Who currently uses and swears by a Doepfer controller?


magronbass

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There's always been a mystery around the Doepfer controllers. Whenver someone asks for the "utltimate controller" on a random froum, someone suggests LMK2 or some other Doepfer keyboard. But in many occasions, the person ends up returning it because of the notorious "black keys more sensitive than white keys" problems, or "some keys sending wrong velocity" problem. Both of which are fatal for a keyboard controller.

 

But what really throws me off is that some people end up falling in love with the touch, and swear by it.

 

Another issue that complicates this even more is that if the keybed problems come from fatar's quality control problems, that perhaps kurzweil pc2x and maybe some the Studiologic controllers would have the same problems. Well, Studiologic boards have been known to have similiar problems, but pc2x seems very solid. I just went and played one at the store, and the velocity response seemed very unified and not broken.

 

I'd like to hear some first hand experience with these controllers.

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I think the Doepfer uses the same high-end action as the Studiologic VMK188plus that I am expecting any day now. But the overall construction is better, and it has more controllers and I think a long ribbon strip like Kurzweil keyboards (I don't at the moment have at hand a quick and easy link for good pictures of the unit).

 

It is insanely expensive in the US due to import fees, the ever-weakening dollar, and its high price out the door even in local currency. But everything I've ever read about it over at KVR and other Euro-centric forums rates it even better than the Kurzweil MIDIboard and Yamaha KX88.

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I owned the LMK4+, and it is definitely the best 88 weighted action I've ever played. They do not have a ribbon controller. They have an assignable (per patch) knob, as well as pitch and mod wheels, and foot pedal and foot controllers.

 

However, as I've posted elsewhere on this forum, they have some very strange glitches that were unfixable. Within 30 seconds I can get one to hang notes, without using sustain pedals, whether broadcasting on one or 8 zones. Had 3 shipped to me, they all did it. They claim nothing's wrong. Had a friend drive to a gig and bring his (he recommended this in the first place), and I could get his to hang too, which really bothered him! My playing is not all that unique, although he said I'm a little harder and faster than him, but nothing out of the ordinary. I've run MidiOX and sent the results to Herr Doepfer, as well as Analogue Haven, who had the audacity to charge me a 15% restocking fee because they couldn't fix the problem.

 

I'll never buy Doepfer or Analogue Haven again. Stay away.

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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...the notorious "black keys more sensitive than white keys" problems...

 

But what really throws me off is that some people end up falling in love with the touch, and swear by it.

 

Another issue that complicates this even more is that if the keybed problems come from fatar's quality control problems, that perhaps kurzweil pc2x and maybe some the Studiologic controllers would have the same problems.

 

I never tried a Doepfer, so I can't tell, but I tried most of the well-known ones. To me, nothing surpasses my MIDIboard v3. Zero problems in 18 years of almost daily use. No Fatar keybed will ever come close in terms of precision and reliability. Of course, keyboard feel is personal.

 

Also, since the Kurz PC2 series use Fatar keybeds, you can sometimes fall on a Fatar with the black/white velocity discrepancy. My PC2XL had this issue. I fixed it myself.

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hmm, so I guess the verdict is a no-go? Seems time tonysound's situation is already bad enough to prove that there's some strange issues with Doepfers. Either that, or there' to much risk to even try one because of the mandatory 15% restock fee.

 

MIDIboard does get brought up a lot too, just not sure if I can find one in good condition.

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Heh, I'm currently in between keyboards...

 

I bought a Kawai CA-X. The action was amazing, the electronics were junk. They are replacing it with an MP8II, which has basically the same action, apparently improved. I'm just waiting for Kawai US to get them in stock.

A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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Thanks to "tonysounds" for the heads-up. Very sorry to hear of your frustrations, and so far I've only had good experiences with AnalogueHaven. Bought DSI's PEK from them and the Fatar keyboard on it feels and reacts perfectly :)

I read through the Owners Manual of the LMK4 and finally decided that having all the controls on the far left side seemed oddly placed and too difficult for me to use as a master midi-controller. Now, the PC3x Kurzweil is looking more and more useful !

"Musicians are magicians"...W.Carlos
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I've been using a PK88 for years without any problems. But it is the simplest of controllers - just 88 hammer action keys, single zone on channel 1. I'd describe the action on mine as a little on the heavy side, so my experience has been quite different than kanker's. They've been making this board for a very long time so perhaps they've used different Fatar keybeds over the years....

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I'd describe the action on mine as a little on the heavy side, so my experience has been quite different than kanker's. They've been making this board for a very long time so perhaps they've used different Fatar keybeds over the years....
I wish mine had played heavy. The actual feel of the mechanics was very pianistic, I really felt like there was a decent piano action inside. The problem was it had less resistance or weight than a MiniMoog. I literally had to play at top speed at all times in order to control the keys. You should have heard the one gig I played it on. Art Tatum would have wondered who the hell was playing, my fingers were flying that fast. It was the most tasteless I've ever played in my life, and that really is saying something. The ergonomics of the thing are so great, I wanted it to be perfect, but man was the action light. If I could guarantee that I would get one with fairly heavy action, I'd definitely give it another go.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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hmm.. yet more confusion. I dunno, this hit or miss thing is very risky. I saw George Duke pounding away on a LMK2+ on a demo video for NI Akoustic.. so that was what initially spurred my interest.

 

I've been saying this all over the place, but the form factor and size is what's really nice about the doepfers. I was surprised though, that they weren't quite as light as I thought they'd be.

 

I'm leaning towards Nord Stage at the moment for a light weighted solution. It's just so strange that the fatars are all over the place (different keybed models I guess) and yet there's such a big inconsistency in quality. And now it's even down to one feeling light, and another feeling heavy? Not really sure what's going on. The Doepfer problem never gets easier.

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While I would stay away from them, these keyboards are VERY light. The LMK4 was a very maneable 40lbs, but it is evenly distributed, easily handled with one hand, and is built into its own case. It feels fantastic to play, is very easy to move (it is light, trust me)....too bad it doesn't WORK.
Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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  • 1 year later...

Hello everyone,

 

My StudioLogic keyboard has this same 'black keys too sensitive' problem. Is saw 'Finale's posting that said he had fixed his Fatar keyboard that had the black keys that played too loud relative to the white keys. I'm hoping he (or anyone else who has fixed this problem) can respond and provide some insight.

 

Could you please let me know what your solution was? Can these units be opened up and have their sensitivity adjusted with tools? (If so, where's my screwdriver?!! :deadhorse: ) Or does this require a custom per-key velocity curve in software? I'd rather 'fix it right' by adjusting the mechanics, if that is possible, but any fix that really works will do.

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide! :thu:

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  • 9 years later...
Hello everyone,

 

My StudioLogic keyboard has this same 'black keys too sensitive' problem. Is saw 'Finale's posting that said he had fixed his Fatar keyboard that had the black keys that played too loud relative to the white keys. I'm hoping he (or anyone else who has fixed this problem) can respond and provide some insight.

 

Could you please let me know what your solution was? Can these units be opened up and have their sensitivity adjusted with tools? (If so, where's my screwdriver?!! :deadhorse: ) Or does this require a custom per-key velocity curve in software? I'd rather 'fix it right' by adjusting the mechanics, if that is possible, but any fix that really works will do.

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide! :thu:

 

Sorry to resurrect such an old thread, but I have to confirm that my Doepfer PK88 bought in late 2014 still has the black keys problem, they are louder than the white keys. Other testimonials? I was thinking of selling it because this issue, unfortunately it hasnt the lmk2 or 4 controls, those two have a black key volume reduction setting.. guess why. It is unacceptable that I have to program in my DAW a workaround for this, it is still a 800 silent keyboard.

 

So how to solve? thinking about switching to a digital piano as a master keyboard, someone suggested me even the cheaper Casio px160, it should has better keybed than the fatar GH40

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