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MIDI Keyboard for modern VI setup ?

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From one side, there is more and more interesting hardware (i was drooling so much on the Iridium that i had to clean the screen of my laptop),

and on the other side there so many software instruments (and many i already owns) that when you already own a reasonable level laptop (MacBook 13" 4 core in my

case) that is very difficult to justify buying more hardware.


I already started rehearsing and gigging with MainStage, and i am considering buying a 49 or 61 keys master keyboard well adapted to MainStage and similar setup (you

never know what you'll use on 3/4 years), to add as a second tier keyboard to my NE5HP, or to use alone in some setup.


It seems that with the current hardware synth centred market, there is not a lot of choice in the middle/high market segment: a keyboard ready for the road (for my back, actually :),

with a reasonable/good keybed, and with enough knobs and buttons to control VIs and effects.


My short list is the Arturia Keylab MK2, and Novation Impulse, Notation SL MKII (but a lot of stuff i would not use), Komplete Kontrol (but again, you cannot fully use all the goodies in a multi setup).


Other suggestions ? Opinions ?


No, 'buy a Quantum' is not an acceptable answer.



OB-6, Modx 7, Rameau upright. Too many Arturia, NI and AAS plugins.



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I'll follow this topic with great interest :) I've heard good things about the Novations... I briefly played a NI Kontrol with synth keys (I don't remember if it was a 61 or 49) and I really wanted to like it for the fancy LED functions, but the action really sucked.
It's not a clone, it's a Suzuki.
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Funny, I've had that same exact train of thought--I have some very nice VIs, an older, smaller macbook pro that has some issues (no wifi) but would be great for live use partly because it's old and beat up--and yet I still gravitate toward hardware for live use. Which these days is nothing, so I stopped my impending hardware purchase.


Depending on how complex your needs are for the sliders and buttons etc, you could also consider hardware keyboards as controllers. One advantage there would be having those hardware sounds as a backup.


One of my keyboards (modx7) has the great feature of including an audio interface--Rolands have this as well. This allows one cable to handle audio and midi and the audio gets mixed in with the hardware sounds. I would hope all keyboards would add this functionality, it's a game changer to me to not have the extra logistics of an interface. Obviously price bracket would go up although if the FA-06 has an audio interface I've seen those used for 6-800. Not a fantastic keybed though IMO, neither is my modx7--no aftertouch for one thing.


Out of the ones you mentioned I'd strongly consider that Arturia if the deal is still on where you get the V-collection 6 with it. Not that I *need* more instruments but that's a great deal! :)

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I have a Nektar T6 that should fit in your list. Good keys, usable AT, lots of knobs, sliders, buttons and pads. This has a very solid feel.


And it has some smart features to help with the frustrations of working software tools.


One mode allows the controls to directly control DAW parameters, like Logic.


One mode is traditional MIDI controller, and you can program what each controller sends.


The third mode uses the Nektarine software. I think of Nektarine as a wrapper around your VSTs. In Mainstage you choose Nektarine in your channel strip among the list of VSTs. Inside Nektarine you select the vst you want to play. The benefit is that the 8 central knobs on the keyboard each have a small display, and Nektarine allows you to program what goes in each display for each of your VSTs. You can"t forget what each knob does. And you see and select your played vst inside the keyboard screen. Once setup, this is very helpful.


But, all this goodness doesn"t solve fundamental problems in working with Mainstage, such as inability to display and select the patches in Mainstage set lists on the keyboard screen. I hope that MIDI 2.0 will provide the tools for stronger interaction.

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