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Recommend a good weighted 61 controller?


kelp

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"Good" more meaning build quality. [realizing that "good" in terms of the actual weighting is highly subjective] I'm maybe looking for something to support two gigs a month. Will either drive my Kurzweil or Main Stage.

 

61 still remains the compact-car-friendly choice. :)

Nord Lead A1; Yamaha P-125; QSC K10; Cubase 11 Pro; Windows 10
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"Good" more meaning build quality. [realizing that "good" in terms of the actual weighting is highly subjective] I'm maybe looking for something to support two gigs a month. Will either drive my Kurzweil or Main Stage.

 

61 still remains the compact-car-friendly choice. :)

I think the only weighted hammer action style 61 board around is the Studiologic VMK-161 Plus.

 

The 76-key VAX77 is very compact-car-friendly because it folds, it's arguably more portable than a 61-key board. It's not hammer action, but it is weighted, and unlike most non-hammer style approaches, people generally feel it works very well for piano, especially software pianos. The keyboard is really their own unique design and people have commented on finding it particularly expressive. With something like Pianoteq, it's actually capable of more than the usual 127 gradations of velocity.

 

For build quality, the VAX77 seems top-notch. People have had varying experiences with Studiologic. As a company, I don't think I'd put build quality at the top of their list of virtues, but I don't know about that VMK model in particular.

 

The VAX77 also comes preconfigured especially for easy integration with Mainstage. It also supports polyphonic aftertouch, which is supported in many software instruments, and is also recognized by at least the PC3 series Kurzweils (even though their own boards don't provide it).

 

I don't know if there are any other highly portable boards with keys that are really that well geared toward piano. In a low budget range, the Yamaha NP-11 is probably better than most (I assume it feels similar to the NP-30), but it is not weighted, and while I think it's better for piano than most other non (or semi) weighted actions, there's a bit of "damning with faint praise" in that characterization. It's playable, but I would certainly prefer a traditional weighted board or the VAX.

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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Just got back from a "long lunch" to check out the QSC K10. Ended up playing a Motif XF8 through it. And I realized that weighted action maybe isn't what I want after all if I'm trying to cover piano/organ/synth styles. So, bring on the semi-weighted candidates!
Nord Lead A1; Yamaha P-125; QSC K10; Cubase 11 Pro; Windows 10
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The Z-Key and the Impulse (as mentioned above) are the new kids in town. If you need a lot of physical controllers and an expression pedal imput, the Z-Key isn't for you. In addition, CME has a pretty poor track record, and the Z-Key's availability date has slipped multiple times.

 

I have an Impulse 61 on order, and I hope to have it soon. The 25- and 49-key versions are starting to show up in stores here in the U.S.

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I realized that weighted action maybe isn't what I want after all if I'm trying to cover piano/organ/synth styles. So, bring on the semi-weighted candidates!

So forget the Studiologic I mentioned. The other two are still among your best choices. The VAX77 is perhaps the only keyboard around that people find well suited for both piano and organ, without feeling it's a big compromise for either, and as I said, it has Mainstage support built in. The Yamaha NP is certainly not as good as the VAX for piano, but it's inexpensive and it's as good as or better than most unweighted or semiweighted actions, and it's also fine for organ. It has no controls to speak of, though, so you'd have to have another method for calling up presets and such.

 

Other than that, 61-key controllers are available from Novation, M-Audio, Akai, Behringer, and Roland/Cakewalk. Although not every model is covered, there's good info to be found at

 

http://www.keyboardmag.com/article/advanced-keys-for-a-song/2413

 

You say you might control a Kurzweil if you don't use Mainstage, which one? Maybe a PC2R?

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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Just got back from a "long lunch" to check out the QSC K10. Ended up playing a Motif XF8 through it. And I realized that weighted action maybe isn't what I want after all if I'm trying to cover piano/organ/synth styles. So, bring on the semi-weighted candidates!

 

So in that case you may want to consider the new Kurzweil SP4-7, which is a 76 key board, but it's only 44" wide, which is not much longer than most 61 key boards (really, what is 6" worth these days :-). Most likely that board will have enough sounds within so you won't need to do much with an external MIDI box, unless there is something really specific you need. Get the OS update and the extended sounds and I bet you will be all set.

 

I recently added one to my quiver btw.

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