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Buying a 61 key midi controller for organ. Recommendations?


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I'm looking to purchase a midi keyboard for two purposes. The main purpose is to connect it via midi out (5 pin) to my PX-5S and use some organ sounds from the piano itself while using the controller to play them. The second purpose is that I'm also thinking of purchasing a clonewheel organ in the coming months and would like the controller to act as my second manual since whichever one I buy will be a single manual board. That's basically the reason I need it to be 61 key, otherwise I would have gone with a 49. Based on this, are there any suggestions on which midi controller would be best for this?

Kawai MP7SE ::: Yamaha CK-61 ::: Novation Launchkey 61 ::: Roland CM-30 Speaker ::: Ipad Mini 5 with a lot of apps for live playing (Hammond B3-X, PianoTeq 8 iOS, Korg Module, Thumbjam, etc.)

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I have never played the Studio Logic controllers.

 

Of the controllers I have found in stores here in Chicagoland, the most preferable ones I've played (in terms of action) are the Novation SL MkII Controllers. Second place would go to the Akai MPK 261.

 

The Novations have Fatar keybeds, I believe.

 

All of these are designed largely for use with software instruments, and are loaded with assignable knobs, sliders, pads, etc.

Michael

Montage 8, Logic Pro X, Omnisphere, Diva, Zebra 2, etc.

https://linktr.ee/michael.piano

 

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Based on this, are there any suggestions on which midi controller would be best for this?

 

honestly there aren't any great organ style midi controllers. The Studiologic one referenced is OK but the action is so-so. Depends how fussy you are I guess. Many of us here (myself included) are fussy. Might be better to get an older clone used than a new midi controller.

:nopity:
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Frankly, you should just buy the clonewheel, and use the PX5s for the lower manual (unless you're looking for a separate dual-manual rig without the PX5s). Not sure if you've considered that, but it would be a good setup (used by many others already).
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Frankly, you should just buy the clonewheel, and use the PX5s for the lower manual (unless you're looking for a separate dual-manual rig without the PX5s). Not sure if you've considered that, but it would be a good setup (used by many others already).

 

This. I use a PX5s midied to a Hammond XK-1C. I even have drawbar control of the lower manual from the Casio's sliders.

Moe

---

 

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What's the consensus on the Numa Organ 2 at $1299.95?

 

I just bought a B-stock Numa Organ 2 from Kraft Music for $1K & change for the sole purpose of using it as a controller for VB3 when bringing the Hamichord M-C3 isn't practical. It works great!

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Would you say that a dedicated clonewheel like the Numa Organ 2 or the Hammond XK-1C would be better than just getting a controller? My idea was to not have to carry 2 boards back and forth every Sunday to church, just leave the controller there and connect it every week to the PX-5S. It doesn't need to be anything too complex either in terms of features. I'm just using it primarily for that. And I discarded the idea of a 2 manual clonewheel because I'm just going to be accompanying at church. The organ is not the main instrument in the music we do, so one manual is more than enough.

 

Edit: davinwv, what are your impressions on the Numa? Is it worth it for the $1300 price? How is the action and the sound?

Kawai MP7SE ::: Yamaha CK-61 ::: Novation Launchkey 61 ::: Roland CM-30 Speaker ::: Ipad Mini 5 with a lot of apps for live playing (Hammond B3-X, PianoTeq 8 iOS, Korg Module, Thumbjam, etc.)

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I have tried out the Korg cx3 (ver. 2, digital) and now have a Roland VR-700. Both have fantastic action IMO, very light easy to play. By comparison, the nord electro and hammand sk1 (especially the nord) require a bit more force, not saying that is bad at all, and I know that what is more realistically organ-like depends on which organ you may have played!

 

All of those are better than any controller I've tried, and the price for a used one is probably similar to a new studiologic controller. I got my VR700 with a case for $700. Unfortunately I've never actually seen a studiologic waterfall controller, but from a few reviews I was pretty skeptical of build quality. I personally needed the sound generation too for live use, but I use my VR700 as a controller. One thing I haven't yet worked out--and frankly I haven't yet given it much effort--is how to get the drawbars to send midi. This might be a showstopper if you are doing a ton of organ. The cx3 seemed to have a very nice midi implementation for drawbar messages...I only returned it because it had a double-trigger issue.

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Edit: davinwv, what are your impressions on the Numa? Is it worth it for the $1300 price? How is the action and the sound?

 

I've only played the internal sound engine through headphones a few times. It doesn't sound nearly as convincing as VB3, and there are some weird, almost filter sweepy, noises when changing speeds on the internal Leslie sim with certain drawbar settings (low drawbars make it sound worse, and high drawbars mask it a little). I've updated all panel and sound generation firmware, but the noise persists.

 

Again - for my purposes (using it solely as a controller), it works great! The action actually feels a bit more console-like than the Hamichord.

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Have you considered a hammond module?

 

Roland VK8m

Ferrofish 4000+

Voce V5 /w Vent

Hammond XM2/XMc2

 

You could connect these MIDI and play from the PX5s. They weigh about 2 pounds and connect in about 1 minute.

57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil Forte7 & PC3; M-Audio Code 61; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini & Burn

Delaware Dave

Exit93band

 

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The Ferrofish is newer, the others are all pretty old technology though they don't sound that bad. The Ferrofish is around $500.

 

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

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I have a VK8M that I got off eBay for $400.00 a while back & run it through a Vent. Got a Ferrofish4000+ recently because I thought the newer technology would bump the the old but side by side the VK8M held it's own. Threw the fish back... it's a good unit but I think any of the ones mentioned above ( with some personalized tweaking ) would work fine.
You don't know you're in the dark until you're in the light.
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I had not, Delaware Dave. I didn't even know about this. Which module would you recommend?

All of them will do the job. I paired a Neo Vent with the Voce because the Voce is a hammond only unit, so you need a Leslie simulator to go with it; the other three are hammond/leslie combined simulators.

 

 

Audio/Video examples:

 

Voce V5+ through a real leslie: http://media.speakeasyvintagemusic.com/2007/04/roadbox-iii-voce-v5-demo/

 

Hammond XM2:

 

Roland vk8m:

 

Ferrofish 4000+:

 

 

I have both the Voce V5+ coupled with a Neo Ventilator (leslie simulator) and also have the Hammond XM2/XMc2. This allows me to use one keyboard on smaller gigs and still get the quality organ/leslie without having to carry a 2nd keyboard.

57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil Forte7 & PC3; M-Audio Code 61; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini & Burn

Delaware Dave

Exit93band

 

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What's the consensus on the Numa Organ 2 at $1299.95?

 

I just bought a B-stock Numa Organ 2 from Kraft Music for $1K & change for the sole purpose of using it as a controller for VB3 when bringing the Hamichord M-C3 isn't practical. It works great!

.

.I've only played the internal sound engine through headphones a few times. It doesn't sound nearly as convincing as VB3, and there are some weird, almost filter sweepy, noises when changing speeds on the internal Leslie sim with certain drawbar settings (low drawbars make it sound worse, and high drawbars mask it a little). I've updated all panel and sound generation firmware, but the noise persists.

 

Again - for my purposes (using it solely as a controller), it works great! The action actually feels a bit more console-like than the Hamichord.

 

davinwv, thanks for this feedback. I am considering this keyboard for exactly the same use, as a midi controller for VB3, and other synth sounds using Mainstage. It will sit above a weighted controller in my live setup.

 

can you comment a bit about the midi implementation? Do all the knobs and buttons send midi commands, is it configurable in any way? How do you go about sending program changes to your PC? The black keys at the bottom, can they be used as normal midi keys when using as a midi controller? When velocity is off, do the keys trigger note-on at the top or the bottom, if you know what I mean, do you have to press the key all the way down or can it be configured to only have to press the key down a little bit to trigger sound like a real hammond? For that matter, is the velocity off mode a global feature or is there some way to save that with a preset of some kind? How is the feel of the keybed for non-organ sounds? How does it compare to Nord's, Hammond SK or XK series keybeds? The drawbars I assume send some kind of CC that can be used for other purposes over midi?

 

I thought about a Fatar VMK 161 Organ, but read too much not great reviews about it and its quite old technology by now also. I am definitely wanting waterfall keys as I keep snagging my hand on my Novation 61SLmk2 trying to do palm smears and stuff like that. But I want to know I can do more than just organ with it.

 

 

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... I use my VR700 as a controller. One thing I haven't yet worked out--and frankly I haven't yet given it much effort--is how to get the drawbars to send midi. This might be a showstopper if you are doing a ton of organ.

 

I figured it out with some MIDI monitoring software so I could use the VR-700 to control the drawbars in the Korg Kronos CX-3 engine. It's sysex, and might need translating to CC or different sysex depending on the target sound engine:

 

upper: F0 41 10 00 00 42 12 10 00 12 xx yy zz F7

where

xx = db num (0-8)

yy = position (0-8)

zz = checksum

 

lower: F0 41 10 00 00 42 12 10 00 12 xx yy zz F7

where

xx = db num (9-17 hex)

yy = position (0-8)

zz = checksum

"If you can't dazzle them with dexterity, baffle them with bullshit."
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I use the StudioLogic VMk-161 Organ above my Yamaha S89XS. I use the VMK to control VB3. The setup was very easy. The keybed is quite nice as well, better than any other unweighted board I tried. I am sure that a Hammond Purist might not like the sliders as they aren't Hammond Style. But for me it is working, and was the best alternative at the price point.

Yamaha S90XS, Studiologic VMk-161 Organ

Small/powerful (i7, 32GB, M.2 SSD) PC controlled by 10" Touch Screen

Cantabile, Ravenscroft 275, Keyscape, OPX-II, Omnisphere 2, VB3, Chris Hein Horns, etc.

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