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GAS Comes Out Of Left Field


allan_evett

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Yeah.... Been nosing around the keyboard market; again.

 

Have been looking for a 'budget' controller solution: 61, or 49 keys (shut up, Dana ;) ) , sounds-on-board optional, to drive my iPad. I attempted the two 'board, full size rig on a small stage the other weekend, and almost ended up on the pool table. So for the apparent number of increasing gigs on shrinking stages, it's become essential to revisit the 'small, 2nd tier' option. Small controller running iPad seemed the way to go, then I visited GC yesterday and played some of the lower priced controllers', also a couple of 'budget' portables / arrangers; frankly, these were a bit rough. But the built-in speaker / sounds-on-board option did get me thinking, so of course I got online and opened Pandora's box. Yep, a Yamaha PSR S750 bit me hard. From where did this monster come ? Motif, and Tyros level sounds / effects and action, audio inputs (a plus for the iPad); all kinds of practical stuff on-board. And, a clonewheel engine ?!

 

Back to reality, at least temporarily. Two of the controllers I played were ok, touch-wise; but they were about halfway to my price on the PSR (Akai MPK 61, and the top of the line Novation). An option that splits the difference is the Yamaha MX 49 / 61; built-in, great sounds, decent keybed, and a lightweight iPad controller. Or, maybe the budget option dream may not yet be dead: Anyone here play a Samson Graphite 49, or Akai Synthstation 49 ?

 

Trying to fend off this weird, new manifestation of GAS. (I will not ask for extra 'cash back' at my condo re-fi next week. I will not ask.... :crazy: )

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Small stages are an issue, indeed *). Good to have 61/49 key keyboards/keyboard controllers around. I usually pick up something used from Craigslist as giging tends to wear down MIDI controllers pretty fast, not that new controller prices are not that bad. I would personally take a look at the new LaunchKey controllers from Novation when they show up in April, good pricing and they supposedly have worked a lot on the keybeds to make them playable.

 

*)One reason I pre-ordered the Roland VR-09.

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Yep, a Yamaha PSR S750 bit me hard. From where did this monster come ? Motif, and Tyros level sounds / effects and action, audio inputs (a plus for the iPad); all kinds of practical stuff on-board. And, a clonewheel engine ?!

 

Allan,

 

Agreed, the S750 is a lot of fun and has some great sounds. Play a Tyros for a couple minutes and you might start trying to figure out how to buy one. Great stuff.

 

Greg

Kurzweil Forte, Yamaha Motif ES7, Muse Receptor 2 Pro Max, Neo Ventilator
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Knock it off Allan. You just got a Stage. Your small rig is already in your possession!

 

 

:laugh: The Stage was part of the rig that almost landed me in the pool table.

 

http://i611.photobucket.com/albums/tt198/allanevett/ShrinkingSentence_zps7bfe4766.jpg

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As I mentioned in another thread, I'm looking into the Samson Graphite + iPad combination as well. But some other options for when space is virtually nonexistant could be a Korg Microstation, or a keytar of some sort, which means you don't even have to worry about setting up a stand. The AX-Synth has 49 keys and built-in sounds, and can also trigger MIDI.

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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http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn118/RoyIII/426884_2938332010956_7962743_n_zps6119fd29.jpg

I've had good luck with a Behringer UMX610 - I use it to play NI Kontact out of a Mac. I'm not too deep into software but to use it as standalone, the programmable knobs etc are enough for me. More Behringer love.

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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The PSR-S750 is not all that tiny, as the speakers consume a lot of space on the deck. I have a PSR-S710, and it's every bit as big as my PC361, albeit much lighter.

 

I think the MX61/49 splits the difference nicely between the PSR and controller keyboards in terms of size, capability and price. Plus, you can make the iPad an optional item on the gig.

 

It depends on how tolerant you are to the feel of the keybed.

 

.

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I would play a keytar but I don't want to spend the money for a decent one.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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I've done two keytars over a 20 year period. Perhaps the new breed of them might suite me; not sure.

The keytar image is sort of like the shaved head thing; some can do it, with others it falls flat. If I shaved my head I'd probably look like a giant thumb;

I felt similar playing a keytar :laugh:

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keytar can be fun. I have done that with wireless midi hooked up to my laptop. Kind of hard to play piano stuff that way tho. You can hook up a sustain pedal but still a little awkward. Great for hammond and lead stuff tho.
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Back in the early 90's, a fellow keyboard player used to put his Lynx controller on the 2nd tier of his stand, when it wasn't in use as 'shoulder keyboard' or 'strap-on'.

 

Hmmm.... :idea: ?

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back in the early 90's, a fellow keyboard player used to put his Lynx controller on the 2nd tier of his stand, when it wasn't in use as 'shoulder keyboard' or 'strap-on'.

Yes, I've done that as well. In fact, by coincidence, the system set up right next to me at the moment, which I'm experimenting with, is a Casio 88 on bottom, a Numa organ above that, and a keytar above that. It's a very compact 3-tier system on a 2-tier Invisible stand. The Casio on bottom is not deep, and the front of the Numa organ sits right on the back of the Casio. The keytar is small enough to simply lay down on top of the Numa, which has a "top shelf" area built into its design.

 

One reason i'm playing with this is that the keytar has aftertouch, something that is missing from any two-tier rig with a lightweight, shallow 88 on bottom and a lightweight drawbar organ above. A third board is the only solution to that problem, and a board that can sit right on the organ allows me to do it without a three tier stand.

 

The fact that the stand is only two tiers and that each board sits directly on the one below it means the stage footprint and the visuals of it are not overwhelming. SInce I generally don't need to have a keytar per se, I'm also experimenting with other shallow third boards on top of the Numa, but most end up insufficiently stable unless I pull them so far forward that they block easy access to the drawbars. Some are "almost" stable enough, to the point where I might be able to address it with velcro, but I'd rather not.

 

It's also nice that the keytar itself is so small... just the visual impact of having a full length keyboard up there might make more of a "statement" than I'd like, at least for something like a wedding gig. This way the rig looks smaller, and it kind of looks more like I just happen to be resting my keytar there, it doesn't make as much of a "3 keyboards!" statement. And of course there is the bonus that I could strap the keytar on when I want to, besides.

 

For some gigs, it might be nice to have a "real" third board there. It would be nice to rig up something that could support the back of a deeper keyboard off the top of the Numa, kind of like what tonysounds did with his rig, but I don't see a way to do it.

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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If you won't be playing complex parts on it, get a microKEY 61.

 

Have thought about that one. Question is: can the keyboard be powered by an AC to USB A adapter ? The mK 61 won't power up from the iPad; not that I'd want to do that anyway, as I'm using the Apple CCK.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Question is: can the keyboard be powered by an AC to USB A adapter ?

If not, I would think it would at least be able to be powered by the insertion of a powered hub.

 

But if you're going to have access to AC anyway, I think it might be worth getting the Microstation rather than the MicroKey 61. The MicroKey does have a few advantages... cheaper, a bit lighter, octave buttons, and my preferred wheels rather than a joystick. But the Microstation has built in sounds, a jack for a pedal (typically sustain, but programmable for whatever footswitch or expression pedal function you want), and I think most significantly, you should be able to program its buttons to call up different patches on the iPad.

 

The Microstation has 384 Combis, single-button selectable in batches of 16, and you should be able to create Combis that simply send Program Change commands to the iPad... and you could get fancier by setting them to split/layer multiple iPad and internal sounds. I like having hard patch select buttons right on the board. I think this gives you a real world usability advantage over the MicroKey. Though one thing I want to experiment with is using Set List Maker on the iPad to send MIDI Program Changes to a couple of different iPad apps running in the background, using the MIDIBridge app to bring it all together. I have no idea whether this will work, though. ;-)

 

The Microstation also has 4 knobs which you should be able to map to various functions in your iPad apps as well. Between that, the pedal jack, and the patch select buttons, even as just a controller, I think it has a significant edge over the MicroKey. The built in sounds are a bonus.

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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I was just praising my Samson Carbon 49 and will again. Its tough, feels better than the price would suggest and while lacking aftertouch, its been super-solid via USB. Me likee.

 

I second the Korg MicroStation as a surprisingly capable budget synth, especially as an expander more than a playable keyboard per se. Its sample ROM is limited, so check it out and don't expect a primo solo piano from it, but its not mentioned so often for nuttin'. Its pretty robust for synth and basic EP patches.

"Weaponized kindness" is my new
    ambient drone band name.
       ~ Rob Neschizza

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Have an excellent price on the Graphite 49, and Synthstation 49. The Graphite could be worth taking a chance on, especially with a return / exchange policy.

Can also get a nice deal on an MX49 or MX61, if I wanted to go that direction; just seems like a lot to spend for what I'm trying to do.

 

daviel: How do you like the action of the UMX610 ?

 

Anyone have any experience with the Akai Synthstation 49 ?

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Have you checked out the reviews of the Graphite on Amazon?

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41-Mg1msm9L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Ooof! KLONK!

 

One 2-star revew and one 1-star review.

 

Pitiful. :(

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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One 2-star revew and one 1-star review.

 

Pitiful. :(

The 2-star review was based entirely on the fact that the knobs have a click-feel rather than a smooth feel.

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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I've stayed with an AXIOM 64, primarily for the keyboard feel which IMHO works very nicely for organs. Looked around for a better 64 key controller that was easier to program the control knobs/sliders, but software like VB3 lets you set the controls very easily, so not worth it to me to trade it up. Prices for the original AXIOMS should be pretty low given 2 (?) newer versions have come out since.

Cz... aka Chuck Czerny

 

Kurz PC-88MX, Axiom 64, Roland SD-50, Proteus 2000/B3, Legacy rack modules

Sonar Platinum, Cantabile, BIAB, VB3, Kontakt5, Tons of VST's

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Back in the early 90's, a fellow keyboard player used to put his Lynx controller on the 2nd tier of his stand, when it wasn't in use as 'shoulder keyboard' or 'strap-on'.

 

Hmmm.... :idea: ?

I used to do that with my Yamaha KX5.

I still do on occasion, though I haven't actually strapped it on in a few years now. :laugh: I did kind of like playing that way though.

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

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Back in the early 90's, a fellow keyboard player used to put his Lynx controller on the 2nd tier of his stand, when it wasn't in use as 'shoulder keyboard' or 'strap-on'.

 

Hmmm.... :idea: ?

I used to do that with my Yamaha KX5.

I still do on occasion, though I haven't actually strapped it on in a few years now. :laugh: I did kind of like playing that way though.

 

I did that on a few occasions with an AX-7. The Alesis Vortex has USB, and a pedal input; but at 37 keys is a bit limiting. Roland's Lucina is similar, but only has MIDI; so add the cost of an iRig MIDI kit for USB connection. The Roland AX Synth, with 49 keys, USB, and pedal input would be great; but its price tag is getting up there.

 

Actually discovered one of the Korg micro series 'boards - a microPIANO - out here this past Saturday; a minor miracle, considering that even regularly selling keyboards are hit-and-miss in NoCO.

That little keybed is surprisingly playable. I just might look into one of the micros for my iPad. My wife thought that the microPIANO was 'cute', and seemed tempted to take it home. Why hasn't that happened with my other keyboards ? :cry:

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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