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Re: Any decent Midi/USB keyboards these days? (37keys/aftertouch; Sculpture)

Well, I'm happy with both my Akai MPK49 and M-Audio Venom. You can get
some really good deals on the Venom these days. The Akai has afterouch
and the Venom doesn't. Honestly though, I'm not sure I have very high
standards in keyboards, and I've never played a Korg Trinity, so I
can't compare the keyboard actions.

On Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 10:59 AM, Buzap <buzap@gmx.net> wrote:
> Hi folks
> I'm looking for a compact yet capable midi (or USB) keyboard. Year after 
> year, I go through the same procedure: Go to a music store, try out ALL 
> available midi/USB keyboards - then go home empty handed... Sure, with a 
> 2000+ EUR/$ synthesizer, you sometimes get nice keyboard action. But usb 
> keyboard controllers?
> Once in a while, I unbox my beautiful Korg Trinity and I'm amazed how 
> musical & expressive the keyboard plays: My right hand plays a wonderful 
> (I believe Fatar) top quality keyboard with responsive aftertouch. In my 
> left hand, I have a joystick (x = pitch, y+/- = two modulations), ribbon 
> control and two switches directly available.
> I have to yet recreate that experience on a midi/usb keyboard + software 
> setting.
> As for software, Logic's Sculpture was an exciting discovery recently. 
> Can't believe I've ignored such a great physical modeling instrument for 
> so long... I love it!
> With hardware keyboards, I still have problems.
> First a word on quality/responsiveness/aftertouch:
> Is it me or do midi/usb keyboards in recent years lack the quality of 
> simple keyboards in the 90ies?
> I mean, in early 90ies, even a cheaper Yamaha/Casio keyboard would have 
> decent action. Even the crappy old Casio VL-1 from the 80ies has better 
> built quality than most laptop-sized keyboards nowadays.
> Talking about responsiveness: Hardly any keyboard seems to have 
> aftertouch. Lack thereof completely takes the life out of the virtual 
> instrument for me.
> Then modulation wheels (yuck):
> If the compact keyboards provide any modulation/pitchbend at all, it's 
> mostly wheels (vs joystick). I wonder: How do you actually manage to use 
> two (=pitchbend+mod) wheels at the same time? With a joystick, I can 
> manage more parameters easily (see above). Mod wheels? I don't know...
> Here a word on 37 keys:
> I find 2 octaves utterly useless. First, you only get real two octaves 
> when you play the note "C". For any other note, you only have one "real" 
> full octave. And for entering chord progressions, it's never enough.
> With 37 keys, you can start off in the middle octave and you can always 
> jump up/down one octave (then realign with octave buttons). For me it's 
> perfect for single handed playing. For two hands, I at least need 5 
> octaves minimum. So don't know why people come up with 25/49-keybards.
> While we're at it: Why start with the note "C"? Starting with F/G would 
> be much more useful...
> Ok, so, what are my options? My favorite being the Korg Microkey...
> KORG MICROKEY 37 (http://www.korg.com/microkey)
> + compact size
> + good keyboard action
> + pitchbend and mod wheel!
> - lacks aftertouch
> - no sustain pedal
> NOVATION SL 37 / successor?? 
> (http://novationmusic.de/midi-controllers/sl-mkii)
> + As far as I remember, action was quite nice.
> + Expressive controls (joystick, touchpad, aftertouch)
> - too bulky, faders etc. take a lot of space
> ? Not available anymore, any decent successor???
> ALESIS VORTEX KEYTAR (http://www.alesis.com/vortex)
> +/- it's a keytar! :-)
> + Has aftertouch!!
> ? Any experience playing it / or keytar advice in general???
> ?
> As always, looking forward to your feedback :)
> Buzap

Art Simon