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CME Z-Key, anyone...?


Ashville.Guru

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Any experiences/reports of this?

http://www.cme-pro.com/en/download/image/ZKey/Z-Key76.jpg

 

 

I've read the horror stories about the previous CME controllers, and there was a thread discussing this a couple of months ago. But as D-Bon pointed out, this is a new model, debuted at NAMM.

Moreover, the major issues reported were mostly about the OS, if I'm not mistaken. The Z-key is minimalistic - no display, no controls - so I'm hoping the OS *shouldn't* cause too much issues... :whistle:

 

From the website:

  • 49/61/76/88 Zenith keys, weighted action with velocity and aftertouch
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels
  • Data Dial
  • Just 1 sustain pedal input :(
  • adjustable velocity and aftertouch curves
  • I couldn't make sense of this: "Unlike keyboards with integrated keys, each key on Z-Keys is individual so can be adjusted individually for touch and response"

 

Pricing: 61,76 and 88 keys are online for $339, $449 and $549, respectively.

 

BTW, not too bad on the eyes, either....

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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Looks kinda interresting. Are you sure they're released yet?
Nord Stage 3 sw73, Yamaha CP88, KeyB Legend Live, Kurzweil PC3K7, EV ZXa1 + sub. K&M stands, Hammond E112, Leslie 3300, EHX V256, Roland SE-02, Yamaha EX5R & TG77, Novation Nova desktop & much more...
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Looks kinda interresting. Are you sure they're released yet?

Saw them online, on MusiciansFriend.com. Just went back to the site, and oops, still in pre-order stage... :blush: :

"Our Supplier has informed us we will receive our next shipment of this model the week of 7/15/11"

 

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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I wonder if Use Audio (as in Plugiator) is still in business - I see no European dealer who longer have Plugiators or ASX boards in stock.
Nord Stage 3 sw73, Yamaha CP88, KeyB Legend Live, Kurzweil PC3K7, EV ZXa1 + sub. K&M stands, Hammond E112, Leslie 3300, EHX V256, Roland SE-02, Yamaha EX5R & TG77, Novation Nova desktop & much more...
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Doesn't look like they support the ASX Plugiator or FireWire boards, shame, as the OS in the UF series isn't bug-free.

Actually, b3boy, I'd see this as a big plus - for the very same reason. In the past, CME seemed to screw up on the 'electronics implementation' side of things. So the less circuitry, the less things that can go wrong, and the more trust I have in their products... at least for now. Decent action + aftertouch in an ultra-portable package - apart from the Studiologic VMK series, there's nothing out there that fits the bill.

 

 

 

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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But as D-Bon pointed out, this is a new model, debuted at NAMM.

I was talking about the UF80 Classic, not the Z-Key. Anyway, I haven't been able to view the CME website since that time, despite trying multiple browsers. That tells me all I need to know.

 

:snax:

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I was talking about the UF80 Classic, not the Z-Key. Anyway, I haven't been able to view the CME website since that time, despite trying multiple browsers. That tells me all I need to know.

Oops.. sorry for the misquote, D-Bon. Incidentally, I've not had any problems accessing their website - tried Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

Their forums, however, are permanently down. Intentionally so, I guess - they made for some sad reading when they were up... :eek:. Could your antivirus have been blocking the site?

 

In any case, even when fully functional, the CME website is not exactly... confidence-inspiring. Case in point, check out the individual-key whatever "feature" that I've quoted above :freak:.

 

But then, aren't we way past the point where we can judge them based on their website..? I thought they dropped that ball long time ago (and hence this thread - this is where I'd look for reliable info :) ).

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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From the pics it looks more like a Fatar semi-weighted.

Just came across this review, which says that it's definitely semi-weighted (unlike what is claimed), but expressive and playable, being a nice compromise between organ and piano.

:snax:

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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I like that the 76 key version goes from A to C. The lack of an expression pedal input is unfortunate.

 

The site (at least now) does clearly say that it is semi-weighted. They point out the deep pivot point, which should help it work better for piano than some other unweighted actions. I like the clean empty surface over the rear of the keys, too.

 

I wonder what they weigh?

 

The VAX77 has a clever feature where you can use a pedal to do octave shift, that would have been nice, instead of having to use a hand to get to the button.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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  • 1 month later...
I've got a Z-Key 61 on pre-order from Sweetwater. My sales rep says they are not shipping until early August. I'll let you know what I think when I get it.

IF you get it. Musician's Friend has pushed the release date from yesterday to 9/28.

 

:snax:

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IF you get it. Musician's Friend has pushed the release date from yesterday to 9/28.

 

Yeah, noticed that. GC, however, has the "Ship to Store" option available, under which it says "Usually arrives in 3-5 Days" - clonk. Not sure what this means, though - any clues?

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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Not sure what this means, though - any clues?

CME has lousy distribution.

Maybe - or maybe not. My question was not about CME - I was hoping for an interpretation of the Guitar Centre status message, since forumites in the States would have much more experience in dealing with GC. Does it mean that the item is in stock/shipping? Unlike Musician's Friend, this info is missing from the GC site.... :idk:

 

EDIT: Just got an (astonshingly quick) reply from GC. The online store has the same expected date as elsewhere - end of September. Individual stores apparently have separate inventories. So that's that.

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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Bad bad idea to try to buy one of these. Bad.

LOL - that sounds like an ominous prophecy, from a stock character in the first 10 minutes of a B-grade horror movie. :laugh:

 

Any specific reason, Moe? I'm all ears...

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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Geez, do I really need to elaborate?

 

Terribly buggy products, no forthcoming fixes, no support network, no distribution network, vaporware announcements, continually shifting delivery estimates...

 

Do you really want your musical instrument to be a cheap commodity product, even if you overcome all the obstacles previously mentioned?

Moe

---

"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

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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Terribly buggy products, no forthcoming fixes, no support network, no distribution network, vaporware announcements, continually shifting delivery estimates...

I guess you've missed my post on the other thread, which deals with most of these issues.

Do you really want your musical instrument to be a cheap commodity product, even if you overcome all the obstacles previously mentioned?

Good question. If I overcome all the obstacles mentioned - and if my instrument allows me to express my music to the max, and connect with my audience - then it doesn't matter how the company that produced it is perceived, by the handful of people who've even heard of it.... :).

 

Moe, I get where you're coming from. Our instruments are not mere... utilities made of plastic and electronics - we honour them as living, breathing extensions of us. We're passionate and we love them. We don't want to see them like, for example, the computer keyboards we type on- cheap devices that serve a purpose.

 

But it's also all too easy to be blinded by brand prejudice. It's sometimes easy to be stuck with where something comes from, and not see it for what it is.

 

Case in point - wasn't there a time, when a Casio keyboard meant cheap toys sold in Wall-mart equivalents, with a thousand useless tones and auto-accompaniments? I guess a lot of folks back then would have been happy to bring out the tar and feathers, and hound the company out of the keyboard business... much as you'd like to do with CME now ;).

 

At least, that's the perception I had a few years ago. It's on this forum that I learnt that Casio had produced a respectable range of digital pianos. Granted, they may not be in the league of an AvantGrand, or even a CP5. But pros on this forum are touring with Privias, enjoying making music, and entertaining the folks who come to listen. There is a certain quality here, which I would have missed had I not been a bit more open.

 

And 'cheap price' doesn't always mean 'cheap quality' - a lot of pros here actually prefer Privias to more expensive stuff.

 

I actually don't expect the Z-Key to be CME's Privia, or any less disappointing than other CME products. But I'm willing to give it a chance; until fellow keyboardists get their hands on it and a consensus emerges, I'm not writing it off. Rather hard for me to try it out myself, my little corner of the planet - hence my interest in this thread.

 

 

 

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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Terribly buggy products, no forthcoming fixes, no support network, no distribution network, vaporware announcements, continually shifting delivery estimates...

I guess you've missed my post on the other thread, which deals with most of these issues.

Do you really want your musical instrument to be a cheap commodity product, even if you overcome all the obstacles previously mentioned?

Good question. If I overcome all the obstacles mentioned - and if my instrument allows me to express my music to the max, and connect with my audience - then it doesn't matter how the company that produced it is perceived, by the handful of people who've even heard of it.... :).

 

Moe, I get where you're coming from. Our instruments are not mere... utilities made of plastic and electronics - we honour them as living, breathing extensions of us. We're passionate and we love them. We don't want to see them like, for example, the computer keyboards we type on- cheap devices that serve a purpose.

 

But it's also all too easy to be blinded by brand prejudice. It's sometimes easy to be stuck with where something comes from, and not see it for what it is.

 

Case in point - wasn't there a time, when a Casio keyboard meant cheap toys sold in Wall-mart equivalents, with a thousand useless tones and auto-accompaniments? I guess a lot of folks back then would have been happy to bring out the tar and feathers, and hound the company out of the keyboard business... much as you'd like to do with CME now ;).

 

At least, that's the perception I had a few years ago. It's on this forum that I learnt that Casio had produced a respectable range of digital pianos. Granted, they may not be in the league of an AvantGrand, or even a CP5. But pros on this forum are touring with Privias, enjoying making music, and entertaining the folks who come to listen. There is a certain quality here, which I would have missed had I not been a bit more open.

 

And 'cheap price' doesn't always mean 'cheap quality' - a lot of pros here actually prefer Privias to more expensive stuff.

 

I actually don't expect the Z-Key to be CME's Privia, or any less disappointing than other CME products. But I'm willing to give it a chance; until fellow keyboardists get their hands on it and a consensus emerges, I'm not writing it off. Rather hard for me to try it out myself, my corner of the planet - hence my interest in this thread.

 

 

 

You're a true guru, amen! :D

"The purple piper plays his tune, The choir softly sing; Three lullabies in an ancient tongue, For the court of the crimson king"
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Did you deal with those issues, or merely turn a blind eye? ;)

 

Saying "I don't care if 50% of the functionality is broke, as long as it just puts out note information" is short sighted IMO.

 

CME is like the local f#$kup garage band who will play for $10 and thus the market for decent bands is depressed. If we don't demand more from our instrument makers, then the crappy busted stuff of CME's ilk will someday be all that is available.

 

I would not equate Japanese manufacturers with Chinese manufacturers. Completely different philosophies!

 

I have put my hands on CME controllers in GC. They felt HORRIBLE. Since I've made my feelings known ad nauseum, I'll shut up now.

Moe

---

"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

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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If I overcome all the obstacles mentioned - and if my instrument allows me to express my music to the max, and connect with my audience - then it doesn't matter how the company that produced it is perceived, by the handful of people who've even heard of it.... :).

+1

 

Well said.

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Did you deal with those issues, or merely turn a blind eye? ;)

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

 

I have put my hands on CME controllers in GC. They felt HORRIBLE.

Let's put things in perspective: you haven't put your hands on this CME controller, which has a new action. Seemingly no one in the U.S. has, so why not reserve judgment? Innocent until proven guilty? Yes, the company has a horrendous reputation to overcome, but given the price, and with a good return policy, what's the harm in ordering one? If it turns out to be a POS, it gets returned. No big deal.

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