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Any Capable 88-key Controllers/Keyboards I'm Overlooking?


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Hi all,

 

As anyone who's been following the Hammer 88 Pro thread knows, that plan has crashed and burned. :gofish::nopity: And right while I'm being scheduled for some gigs, naturally. :rimshot:

 

So, I'm once again looking for an 88-note midi controller or keyboard with strong midi control features. I've come up with a better list of requirements since briefly owning the Hammer 88 Pro (2 of them lol) and trying to configure my rack rig. Unfortunately it's seeming next to impossible to find this feature set combination. All of these are non-negotiable. I tried setting up some stuff with KeyStage and Camelot Pro but I just don't find apps stable enough to actually handle midi data from the keyboard and pass it through without crashing. Theoretically I could use Mainstage or something on my laptop but the whole idea of going this route was to have good portability and variety of sounds without having to move my only (and expensive) MacBook around all the time. I can't go out and replace one of those easily.

 

Anyways, here's the list.

 

- 88-note hammer action - needs to be pretty fast and quick because I play a lot of jazz and ragtime. I.E. no Fatar TP-100LR or really heavy hammer actions. Plus I won't only be playing piano on it. Not super heavily graded if possible. I liked the Hammer 88 Pro action after getting used to it, GHS is fine, Kawai RH3 and Yamaha BH are better, it just can't be really heavy, slow, and preferably not particularly mushy because I need to be able to play ragtime and jazz.

 

- 9 faders - for drawbars as I'm planning on eventually getting an HX3 (:w00t:) plus they would be good for software should I go that route someday

 

- Pitch/mod wheels, preferable next to the keys but I'm kind of giving up on that ideal. No joysticks or paddles or pitch/mod sticks. If wheels are in addition to those, that's fine.

 

- 5-pin MIDI - I'm not going to be using this with a computer primarily, but rather a hardware rack setup.

 

- A selection of programmable pads or buttons that I can use for program changes.

 

- Buttons or pads MUST be able to send multiple program changes on multiple midi channels simultaneously (i.e. one program change per zone or one program change per midi channel). This is to enable switching of sounds on multiple rack modules at one time, for performing various songs. The Hammer 88 Pro it turns out can only send single program changes and is limited to either one midi channel, global midi channels, or a single zone or all zones, but it can only affect one or all with one program change per pad/button, so it's useless for my needs. This is an absolute must.

 

- Saveable presets/setups per song, i.e. performance setups or patches. The more the better.

 

- Minimum 4 zones, fully assignable and programmable

 

- Expression pedal and sustain pedal inputs minimum

 

- Under 45 lbs - I'm living on campus now and I don't want to be hauling anything heavier all over the place on foot (that's before we talk about my accident-related injuries that have complicated things and made life harder). Figure a case adds at least 20 lbs.

 

- Under USD 2,500 because I estimate I have already invested a good $2000 in a high-quality rack setup and modules and otherwise I would have just bought a standalone board. Heck, for that combined price I could have bought a Forte. The idea was to maximize portability and flexibility while having a variety great sounds. And I was *trying* to not spend as much as a flagship board.

 

 

So far the only thing I'm seeing that can actually do this is the discontinued Viscount K4EX. I can acquire a new one from Germany if need be, though that gets into fun territory with warranties (though Thomann has their own 3-year global warranty that I confirmed with them this morning). Is there anything else I'm overlooking that has all of the above features? Built-in sounds do not matter in this case.

 

 

I REALLY with the RD-88 had faders. The RD-2000 is too expensive and too heavy and I didn't care for the action, but in hindsight I maybe should have just bought one of those instead of this rack setup if this is how it's going to go lol. The Kawai MP7SE would be my dream piano machine but it doesn't have 9 faders and I have no idea about its program change capabilities.

 

Suggestions or ways to accomplish this that I might be overlooking? I prefer new if possible for repair/service reasons and I've just been burned too many times from buying used stuff. Trying to decide if it's worth ordering a keyboard from Germany. Thank you so much!

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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what are You smokin' ?

What are YOU smokin'? :puff:

 

Nothing, never have and never will. I'll put it this way...a number of controllers/keyboards can tick 7 of those boxes easily. That leaves the multiple program changes, a good number of saveable presets, and weight as the complications, and also my dislike for the Fatar TP-100LR.

 

People didn't always use laptops for everything, nor were all-in-one keyboards very powerful for a long time. Obviously there was some way it was done. While I recognize that this is a somewhat specialized need, I'm just asking if anyone knows of anything that would do this other than the Viscount K4EX, which will do ALL of it. Kurz PC4 maybe?

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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Secondhand Kurz PC3X/K8/A8 - except it's too heavy.

 

Could you go for an external device to send program changes/saveable presets? Set List Maker on a phone, for example. Or a Sipario. That reduces your requirement list to something more achieavable.

 

Cheers, Mike.

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I feel your pain because I have similar requirements but I'm simply planning to expand a keyboard via software while trying not to spend thousands on a flagship workstation. Unfortunately most plausible MIDI Hammer Action keyboards equip a Fatar TP100 :mad:

 

If you'd liked pitch/mod sticks I would have recommended a SL88 Grand + SL Mixface. They are tightly integrated and the keybed is a TP40W, reportedly much better than the TP100 albeit still a bit on the heavier side. It's also just less then a pound heavier than your limit.

 

An alternative could be an MX88 + an iPad for MIDI management and touch control surfaces. Otherwise a pure touch interface enables you to have as many buttons and features as you wish. If you got a touchscreen Windows tablet you could also connect something like a Korg NanoKontrol and get faders.

I'm thinking of going on the PC route and building some custom software for my needs, but I also read about limits in using both USB and "traditional" MIDI. Still haven't found any evidence on that behaviour, so it's all theoretical.

Yamaha MODX7 | iPad Mini 2 | Raspberry Pi 3
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I tried setting up some stuff with KeyStage and Camelot Pro but I just don't find apps stable enough to actually handle midi data from the keyboard and pass it through without crashing.

And yet people do seem to be using these things reliably. Maybe it would work for you if you took a "split" approach where you don't try to manage ALL of what you're trying to do through an app, but rather, choose hardware that comes as close aspossible to what you want, and use the iPad for just the one or two missing things. I assume that the less you ask of it, the better chance you won't run into whatever issues you were running into.

 

- 9 faders - for drawbars as I'm planning on eventually getting an HX3 (:w00t:) plus they would be good for software should I go that route someday

For HX3, they make a drawbar module. If you ever do go software, maybe they could be used for other purposes. But this also adds a different controller requirement... a place to put a drawbar module.

 

The Kawai MP7SE would be my dream piano machine but it doesn't have 9 faders and I have no idea about its program change capabilities.

...

Kurz PC4 maybe?

I believe each of the user locations can send up to 4 Program Change commands on the Kawai, vs. 16 on the PC4's multis. I haven't played the MP7SE, but the older MP7 had an especially nice action. PC4 action is just okay.

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 feel your pain because I have similar requirements but I'm simply planning to expand a keyboard via software while trying not to spend thousands on a flagship workstation. Unfortunately most plausible MIDI Hammer Action keyboards equip a Fatar TP100 :mad:

 

If you'd liked pitch/mod sticks I would have recommended a SL88 Grand + SL Mixface. They are tightly integrated and the keybed is a TP40W, reportedly much better than the TP100 albeit still a bit on the heavier side. It's also just less then a pound heavier than your limit.

 

An alternative could be an MX88 + an iPad for MIDI management and touch control surfaces. Otherwise a pure touch interface enables you to have as many buttons and features as you wish. If you got a touchscreen Windows tablet you could also connect something like a Korg NanoKontrol and get faders.

I'm thinking of going on the PC route and building some custom software for my needs, but I also read about limits in using both USB and "traditional" MIDI. Still haven't found any evidence on that behaviour, so it's all theoretical.

 

The SL88 Grand + SL Mixface was a possibility, but it occurred to me that the way that setup works is that the Mixface acts as a USB host for the SL88 Grand and then sends their combined data to a computer. There's only the USB connector on the Mixface, so I don't think there's any way to use it without a computer. If there was a way for it to work in reverse, for the Mixface data to be sent from the SL88's midi output, then it might very well work, even if I am a bit queasy about the pitch stick/mod stick setup. But that doesn't seem to be possible sadly.

 

 

Arturia Keylab 88 MkII?

 

Whoops, sorry... just saw you're looking for on-board sounds.

 

I'm actually not looking for onboard sounds. They are irrelevant. A bonus but I don't care about onboard sounds as I have a rack rig to use with this anyways.

 

I was reading up on the Keylab MKII, as I almost bought one last time around. From what I understand, while it can send program changes from pads and whatnot, it has the same limitation of the Hammer 88 Pro in that those controls are assigned to a single zone or single midi channel. So I still wouldn't be able to send different program changes on multiple midi channels. The other thing about that board is that it's a TP-100LR action, and that implementation in particular has gotten heavy criticism for being slow when playing faster music, which is a requirement for me. I've not seen one in person ever, but I've not been fond of other TP-100LR implementations.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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Secondhand Kurz PC3X/K8/A8 - except it's too heavy.

 

Could you go for an external device to send program changes/saveable presets? Set List Maker on a phone, for example. Or a Sipario. That reduces your requirement list to something more achieavable.

 

Cheers, Mike.

 

So a PC3-(x) would work...but yes, the weight isn't ideal. I'm trying to avoid the PC3 particularly because of the pitch/mod issues, which mine also has. But that is good to know.

 

I've been thinking about the external program change option. That still doesn't give me much in way of controllers or boards that would do the rest, namely because of the action and/or faders. I forgot about the Sipario - I haven't seen much in way of reports on that one. Looks quite interesting actually...

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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I tried setting up some stuff with KeyStage and Camelot Pro but I just don't find apps stable enough to actually handle midi data from the keyboard and pass it through without crashing.

And yet people do seem to be using these things reliably. Maybe it would work for you if you took a "split" approach where you don't try to manage ALL of what you're trying to do through an app, but rather, choose hardware that comes as close aspossible to what you want, and use the iPad for just the one or two missing things. I assume that the less you ask of it, the better chance you won't run into whatever issues you were running into.

That's still a possibility, though I'm really trying to avoid it.

 

- 9 faders - for drawbars as I'm planning on eventually getting an HX3 (:w00t:) plus they would be good for software should I go that route someday

For HX3, they make a drawbar module. If you ever do go software, maybe they could be used for other purposes. But this also adds a different controller requirement... a place to put a drawbar module.

I was under the impression they discontinued that. Or maybe it was just the drawbar controller that was discontinued actually. Some of the various boards do have substantial free space.

 

The Kawai MP7SE would be my dream piano machine but it doesn't have 9 faders and I have no idea about its program change capabilities.

...

Kurz PC4 maybe?

I believe each of the user locations can send up to 4 Program Change commands on the Kawai, vs. 16 on the PC4's multis. I haven't played the MP7SE, but the older MP7 had an especially nice action. PC4 action is just okay.

 

The MP7SE has the Kawai RHIII action also found in the ES8. It does win as my favorite hammer action of all time lol. Good to know. I wish there were more faders and/or space for additional units.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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What about using a USB-MIDI host box like the Kenton model? Or I suppose that would require whatever control unit I would be using to have significant programmability on its own.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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The SL88 Grand + SL Mixface was a possibility, but it occurred to me that the way that setup works is that the Mixface acts as a USB host for the SL88 Grand and then sends their combined data to a computer. There's only the USB connector on the Mixface, so I don't think there's any way to use it without a computer. If there was a way for it to work in reverse, for the Mixface data to be sent from the SL88's midi output, then it might very well work, even if I am a bit queasy about the pitch stick/mod stick setup. But that doesn't seem to be possible sadly.

Are you sure? Looking at the manual I read:

"The Controller mode allows you to use Mixface in combination with the Studiologic SL MIDI Controllers. In this way it is possible to Program all Mixface controls to manage the instrument parameters (hardware or software) assigned to each of the four Zones."

So I think that you can still use the Mixface like an "extension" of the SL rather than a host for it; on the manual I see that the zones can control a device connected via the USB Host port, via the USB Device port or via Bluetooth.

 

About the sticks: yeah, they have a short travel compared to the wheels but they are built well and are very configurable.

Yamaha MODX7 | iPad Mini 2 | Raspberry Pi 3
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For HX3, they make a drawbar module. If you ever do go software, maybe they could be used for other purposes. But this also adds a different controller requirement... a place to put a drawbar module.

I was under the impression they discontinued that.

Looks like it's still available here... https://diversi-online.square.site/product/hx3-dbc-drawbar-controller-for-use-with-the-hx3/3

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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For HX3, they make a drawbar module. If you ever do go software, maybe they could be used for other purposes. But this also adds a different controller requirement... a place to put a drawbar module.

I was under the impression they discontinued that.

Looks like it's still available here... https://diversi-online.square.site/product/hx3-dbc-drawbar-controller-for-use-with-the-hx3/3

 

Wait a second...I thought Diversi was no longer in business as per the diversi.us site...they're still operational?

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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The SL88 Grand + SL Mixface was a possibility, but it occurred to me that the way that setup works is that the Mixface acts as a USB host for the SL88 Grand and then sends their combined data to a computer. There's only the USB connector on the Mixface, so I don't think there's any way to use it without a computer. If there was a way for it to work in reverse, for the Mixface data to be sent from the SL88's midi output, then it might very well work, even if I am a bit queasy about the pitch stick/mod stick setup. But that doesn't seem to be possible sadly.

Are you sure? Looking at the manual I read:

"The Controller mode allows you to use Mixface in combination with the Studiologic SL MIDI Controllers. In this way it is possible to Program all Mixface controls to manage the instrument parameters (hardware or software) assigned to each of the four Zones."

So I think that you can still use the Mixface like an "extension" of the SL rather than a host for it; on the manual I see that the zones can control a device connected via the USB Host port, via the USB Device port or via Bluetooth.

 

About the sticks: yeah, they have a short travel compared to the wheels but they are built well and are very configurable.

 

Interesting...but can it do it from the 5-pin ports?

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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Wait a second...I thought Diversi was no longer in business as per the diversi.us site...they're still operational?

Maybe they're just closing out what they have...?

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 I had to get a controller capable board that is lighter than my Kronos or my YoMammaHa I would roll the dice on a PC4 and hope it was playable. If it would have been available I would have went with the Kronos LS because my gig is synthcentric and not much piano. But ..... I play the hand I was dealt.

 

The best action is the good YoMammaHa balanced action in the old MotifXF, S90XS and in the Montage. It"s fast crisp and feels good on synth and piano stuff ... but all that shit be heavy.

"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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The SL88 Grand + SL Mixface was a possibility, but it occurred to me that the way that setup works is that the Mixface acts as a USB host for the SL88 Grand and then sends their combined data to a computer. There's only the USB connector on the Mixface, so I don't think there's any way to use it without a computer. If there was a way for it to work in reverse, for the Mixface data to be sent from the SL88's midi output, then it might very well work, even if I am a bit queasy about the pitch stick/mod stick setup. But that doesn't seem to be possible sadly.

Are you sure? Looking at the manual I read:

"The Controller mode allows you to use Mixface in combination with the Studiologic SL MIDI Controllers. In this way it is possible to Program all Mixface controls to manage the instrument parameters (hardware or software) assigned to each of the four Zones."

So I think that you can still use the Mixface like an "extension" of the SL rather than a host for it; on the manual I see that the zones can control a device connected via the USB Host port, via the USB Device port or via Bluetooth.

...

 

Interesting...but can it do it from the 5-pin ports?

 

Answering my own question. I just spent the last hour poring over the manuals for the SL88 and SL Mixface both to actually answer this. It APPEARS that the SL88 receives midi data from a host through its USB port, and the SL Mixface provides such a host. It looks like one can link Mixface Programs and SL73/88 Programs as well from the keyboard side. There are only 99 Mixface programs vs 250 SL73/88 programs, so I'm not sure how that works. Also not entirely sure how the editing works since the Mixface's own Zone and midi information is ignored when connected to the SL73/88. However, it looks like it would do the job on 5-pin without a problem. So, the answer for sure is "Yes", it can transmit Mixface data through the 5-pin MIDI Out ports.

 

I'm kind of sad it only has four zones though - I would like a few more than that. And I'm not sure how I feel about the pitch/mod sticks. And more importantly, that TP40/Wood action is apparently bad for repetition of notes and it's heavy. So it's probably not great for someone like me who needs to play multiple instrument parts as well as fast-paced piano music. Hmm.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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If I had to get a controller capable board that is lighter than my Kronos or my YoMammaHa I would roll the dice on a PC4 and hope it was playable. If it would have been available I would have went with the Kronos LS because my gig is synthcentric and not much piano. But ..... I play the hand I was dealt.

 

The best action is the good YoMammaHa balanced action in the old MotifXF, S90XS and in the Montage. It"s fast crisp and feels good on synth and piano stuff ... but all that shit be heavy.

 

I'm curious about the PC4 too. I kind of feel bad in that I put all this money into a rack setup and might end up getting a board with full capabilities of its own after all, to control the rack setup to begin with. :/

 

Yes, the Balanced Hammer action Yamaha has is excellent. The only one that wins slightly over that for me is the Kawai RHIII found in the ES8 and MP7SE. We're a hard crowd to please I suppose. ;)

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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You can still use the rack. Kurzweil has cool specs. Plenty of pedal I/O which is something the Kronos is lacking..., But I don"t know Jack about that Medelli action.

 

I"m a Kawai fanboy also but only 4 zones is a killer if you play modern Pop.

"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 know some folks have speculated that it's very similar to the one in my Hammer 88 Pro or Hammer 88, at least design wise. But my boards didn't have the supposed "bounce" to the keys that the SP6/PC4 apparently have.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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I know some folks have speculated that it's very similar to the one in my Hammer 88 Pro or Hammer 88, at least design wise. But my boards didn't have the supposed "bounce" to the keys that the SP6/PC4 apparently have.

I think it is a very similar if not exactly the same action: Medeli K6 (without aftertouch) or a Medeli K6S (graded with aftertouch). I don't know if Kurzweil made any modifications to it.

 

There are only 99 Mixface programs vs 250 SL73/88 programs, so I'm not sure how that works

I would guess they are totally separate programs, so you would have to program those devices separately. Maybe you could send a program change from one of them to the other in order to set the configuration for the current patch?

 

And I'm not sure how I feel about the pitch/mod sticks.

It's a love it or hate it thing :D As I said, they're just a bit small and don't have much travel to finely adjusting pitch and modulation.

Ah, if someone made a dedicated MIDI controller for pitch and mod!

 

And more importantly, that TP40/Wood action is apparently bad for repetition of notes and it's heavy. So it's probably not great for someone like me who needs to play multiple instrument parts as well as fast-paced piano music. Hmm.

It's a triple action keybed, so repetition should be managed well especially for when the key is not totally lifted. The TP40W is also reportedly a bit lighter to press than the TP100 and less fatiguing. Both Yamaha GHS and Medeli K6 are obiviously lighter.

I found this review pretty helpful to compare those keybeds:

Yamaha MODX7 | iPad Mini 2 | Raspberry Pi 3
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What kind of rack modules do you have?

 

Okay. My rack rig is as follows:

 

Roland Fantom XR

Korg N1R

Roland JV-1010

Korg X5DR

Emu Proteus/1

Emu Mo'Phatt

Emu PROformance Plus

 

Future:

KeyboardPartners HX3 Hammond Module

Alesis NanoSynth

 

Not necessarily all at once - most likely setup for an average future gig is the Fantom XR + Korg N1R + JV-1010 + HX3.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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I know some folks have speculated that it's very similar to the one in my Hammer 88 Pro or Hammer 88, at least design wise. But my boards didn't have the supposed "bounce" to the keys that the SP6/PC4 apparently have.

I think it is a very similar if not exactly the same action: Medeli K6 (without aftertouch) or a Medeli K6S (graded with aftertouch). I don't know if Kurzweil made any modifications to it.

 

There are only 99 Mixface programs vs 250 SL73/88 programs, so I'm not sure how that works

I would guess they are totally separate programs, so you would have to program those devices separately. Maybe you could send a program change from one of them to the other in order to set the configuration for the current patch?

 

 

I know you can set the SL73/88 Programs to call up one Mixface Program each, so there is a link in that way. I was just thinking in terms of how many control setups on the Mixface one would need to accurately replicate any needed control setup on another keyboard that would be per program.

 

As far as the repetition thing goes, I'm aware it's triple sensor, which is why I was surprised to hear about the reported repetition problems. I suspect it's an issue of how stiff/heavy the keys are rather than any inadequacy of the sensor technology. Thanks for that video! I definitely get the impression the SL88 Grand has a rather heavy or stiff action from that.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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Being a nice weekend with free time, I spent the last few hours assembling a list of possible configurations that would do what I want, action preferences aside. Turns out one needs about $768 in external equipment :o to do the job with most boards, so that has to be taken into account and added to the cost of the base keyboard. I sure found some good tools in the process though!

 

Possible Configurations in order of ascending cost:

1. Viscount K4/K4EX. 'Nuff said. $1490 + shipping + unknown US customs amount. Fatar TP40L.

 

2. SL88 Grand + SL Mixface - gives four zones for $1199.90. If 8 zones are needed, add a Sipario for $330, bringing that to $1529.90. Fatar TP40/Wood.

 

3. Kurzweil PC4. 4000+ user Multis, which can have 16 zones and program changes per zone. Kurzweil RPHA/Medeli K6. $1999.

 

4. Roland RD-88 + Sipario + Mixface or Panorama P1 + Kenton USB Midi Host - $2067. Roland PHA-4.

 

5. Kawai MP7SE + Sipario + SL Mixface + Kenton USB Midi Host - $2467 - Kawai has 256 user setups that can transmit 4 program changes on independent midi channels/zones, 4 zone controller. Adding the Mixface gives 99 Mixface programs for 4-zone/midi channel controller setups, needs the Kenton box to connect to hardware. Add the Sipario to expand to 8 zones with 8 program changes, cc filtering, all sorts of good stuff, with 30 Performances per Scene x 40 Scenes. Kawai RHIII.

 

6. Kawai MP7SE + Sipario + Nektar Panorama P1 + Kenton USB Midi Host - gives 20 fully configurable P1 Presets with tons of controls, but on one zone. Figure it could go through the USB Host box to the Sipario's second MIDI In, and be assigned to different zones from there. Price $2567.99. Kawai RHIII.

 

 

 

I wasn't really aware of the Panorama P1 before this search, but that seems like a nice bit of kit to have, if a little expensive. Looks like it's pretty flexible. I also hadn't really paid much attention to the Sipario, but that looks like between that and a fader controller + USB MIDI host one could really hugely expand almost any board out there. But that comes to $768 or so.

 

Seeing as I'm very uncertain about the SL88 Grand's action being too heavy/stiff and also not fond of the fact that the mixface can only control one zone per bank, meaning that you can't adjust the volume of multiple zones without switching between each bank on the controller, that's out. I'm also concerned about customs with the Viscount K4EX. I've ordered multiple times from Germany, but never for anything exceeding $800, which is where US customs duty starts being assessed. Thomann has an excellent global 3-year warranty, but I would need to ship the unit back to Germany and I'm concerned that customs on either end could create a mess, plus I have no idea how much that would cost me (Thomann WILL actually cover shipping if something is defective or it's a warranty claim!!). Depending on what US customs would assess me when importing it, it could go from being the least expensive option to significantly more expensive, and I'm concerned that would be a mess. I'd for sure be paying $81 minimum in customs but it could be a ton more which would defeat the purpose.

 

 

So...I plan on ordering a Kurzweil PC4 to fix this situation. It doesn't make much sense to me to pay more for an RD-88 with the needed accessories, and the MP7SE plus accessories gets way out of line.

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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5. Kawai MP7SE

 

This is a serious keyboard instrument for sure.

 

6. ... + Sipario + Nektar Panorama P1 + Kenton USB Midi Host - gives 20 fully configurable P1 Presets with tons of controls, but on one zone.

 

MP7SE alone offers 4 zones and MIDI implementation is good enough for gigging.

Zones can be internal, external or both !

 

Panorama P1 unfortunately lacks mergeable 5-Pin DIN MIDI-In and 5-PIn DIN MIDI-Out,- and you won´t get this functionality when combining w/ Kenton USB MIDI host.

I also was disappointed the P1 lacks an expression pedal input.

 

You could buy a used, good condition Edirol PCR300, 500, 800 or (new) Roland A-800 Pro and combine w/ any other MIDI keyboard controller (MP7SE included) via mergable 5-Pin DIN MIDI-In while using the 5-Pin DIN MIDI-Out for your computer in addition !

For the Edirol or Roland, you´d have to program the desired MIDI CC maps though.

That´s easy w/ help of the software editor WHEN you know what you need.

PCR and Roland A-800 offer additional "single, dual, split" functionality w/ +/- 3 oct. transposition, AT on/off and panic-button combo,- all close to the pitch-/mod - lever !

 

Kurzweil PC4

 

If it shall be a KURZ,- today, I´d wait for the arrival of K2700 !

It might hit market summer this year.

 

In that case, you possibly won´t think about any of the above anymore,- except of the Kawai MP7SE´s triple sensor action (which in opposite to the KURZ´ Fatar TP40L, lacks channel AT unfortunately).

 

Well,- you can´t always get what you want !

 

 

:)

 

A.C.

 

P.S.:

I use the Edirol PCR300 and a JL Cooper Fadermaster Pro (which has long ALPS faders !).

I bought ´em via ebay auctions years ago ...

 

99,- for the Edirol an ... 39,- ( LOL !) for Fadermaster.

Replaced tact switches (OMRON from Mouser) on Fadermaster and since then, it´s like new.

I have both for years now and actually, the Edirol needs 1 (one) new fader (available from Syntaur).

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This thread has opened out quite a bit! I'll just throw a couple of thoughts in:

 

1. Do you really want to control your HX3 module from a hammer-action? I really like Al's suggestion of using an unweighted controller with a mergeable MIDI In to give you drawbars etc, as well as a more organ-friendly playing surface. Combine that with a SL88 Grand or Roland RD88 for a really nice rig. (Or if you're stuck on playing from the hammer-action, simply buy a 2-octave controller and ignore the keyboard, just use the faders and other controls).

 

2. Secondhand - Viscount/Oberheim MC3000 is the spiritual ancestor of the K4 (complete with 8 MIDI outs). I think it's 8-zone, 8 faders (unfortunately, but there is a 3rd wheel that could substitute?), and should be reliable. I've owned the MC1000 in both 76-key (bought from new in about 2004, sold last year) and 88-key (bought s/h about 10 years ago), no problems with either. If you can find one at a nice price, it might be worth a gamble - and at this stage in its (after)life-cycle, you can probably sell it on for what you paid if it doesn't do what you need.

 

Cheers, Mike.

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