49 or 61 keys?

Discussion in 'Soundgear' started by mrpsanter, Oct 13, 2021.

  1. mrpsanter

    mrpsanter Audiosexual

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    I'm planning to buy a NI Komplete Kontrol S Mk2 next month but I hesitate between the 4 or 5 octaves versions.

    Beside the obvious addition of one octave, is there any other advantage to go with the 61 keys instead of the other one?

    Is the additional octave available really useful?

    The difference in price is also not significant so this won't be a criteria to decide between both of these.

    What do you guys think?
    Any experience?
     
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  3. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

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    I'd go with 61 keys for functional/creative ease and ergnomics unless portability or space issues are a concern.
     
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  4. ih8ms

    ih8ms Member

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    I had the NI Komplete S61 MK2 and was quite pleased with it. Sold it though, and upgraded to Roland FP-10 88 key digital piano since I'm learning to play piano (classic pieces and such) and wanted a very good hammer feel to the keys. For the more "EDM" usage, pitch bend and modulation I'm using the Arturia Minilab MK2. I'd go with the 61 keys for "future-proofing"
     
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  5. MozartEstLa

    MozartEstLa Platinum Record

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    I'm using N.I. Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2 since (approx.) one month. The hardware itself is excellent, I'm loving its Fatar keybed, nice pair of readable screens, looks robust, and overall ergonomics (pots, buttons, rubber, wheels) are well designed (the "bad" is just thr on/off switch on back, badly placed IMO). The cons, the main problem is too high Komplete Kontrol software dependence! (like... Apple & its iTunes). I mean... without/outside Komplete Kontrol software/plugin, basic MIDI features are ridiculous. For example, you'll can't create MIDI layers (you may to create "splits" - upto 15 to have 16 keyzones - but it's impossible to overlay two different keyzones, so be careful for multitimbral instruments (such Omnisphere, VPS Avenger, RAPID Synth and so on) who are responding on many MIDI channels!!! Also, all nice features you can see in videos - like Scale/Arp/Chord modes (and the Light Guide) is working inside Komplete Kontrol instance (standalone, plugin) only. By this way, chords/arps are generated by software, not by the keyboard!

    The pros, however, is it have an excellent integration with some DAWs, in particular Ableton Live. Also - by installating free ReaKontrol, integration in REAPER 6 is very good! Provided with interesting software content (Komplete 13 Select).

    If the layering feature isn't too really important for you, if you've space and... money, close your eyes then go to S61 MK2, I repeat, it's a superb hardware!

    About number of keys, it's another "debate" (but it was you question), it depends mainly your playing, and the instruments you'll consider behind. I'm not a professional keyboardist (nor pianist) - just a C.M. hobbyist - but I can't imagine - for a main keyboard - a smaller keyboard than 5 octaves (61 keys). For my usage (live performance), 49-key (probably Samson Graphite 49) as secondary keyboard, is under consideration.

    Mine previous 61-key keyboards was M-Audio CODE61 (used it during 4 years and half, sold... today), and prior it was a Digital Fame KX61C (have used it during 2 years) - so I can't definitely imagine "my C.M. life" without a 61 keys.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  6. fiction

    fiction Audiosexual

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    That totally depends on your playing.
    But considering how may key switches are required to play some Kontakt libs and virtual instruments, I'd definitely go for the 61 key version.
     
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  7. clone

    clone Platinum Record

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    The only real reason to get the smaller one is space and cost. You can't have "too many keys", within reason.
    I use an S49 controller because of space, but it does not bother me it is 49key. So is my Nord Lead, and I play that often too. I'm not trying to use them like a piano.
     
  8. Tommy GASH

    Tommy GASH Noisemaker

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    Whenever I ask myself a question like that, I usually go for the bigger or better one. In the past, I've often gone for something smaller or cheaper and upgraded it later anyway.
     
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  9. mk_96

    mk_96 Kapellmeister

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    I had a Samson Carbon 61 a while back, and even then i felt i was running out of keys from time to time, the reason being some instruments/patches/whatever i was using needed some extra space between notes for them to maintain clarity, and that wasn't necesarily a whole octave, but just one or two keys below what i had. It really depends on the instrument and what you're doing with it, but you don't want to get caught in that scenario if you can avoid it.

    61 in my opinion is just enough, more is ideal. 49 is way too little unless you're okay with playing everything separately. If the prices are similar, i'd say get the 61 keys.
     
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  10. Valnar

    Valnar Producer

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    neither, 88 keys would be ideal
    unless you hate classical music so much over the entire span of your career which is unlikely
     
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  11. BEAT16

    BEAT16 Audiosexual

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    In my opinion there should only be 61 key keyboards. If you've had a master keyboard controller with 61 keys, you'll never want to get by with fewer keys again. For people who play the piano there are 76 keys and 88 keys with weighted hammer action.
     
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  12. MozartEstLa

    MozartEstLa Platinum Record

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    88-key (often true for 76-key) are:
    1/ largely more expensive than 61-key MIDI controller (same brand & product range, obviously).
    2/ needs more space in (home) studio, because they're larger.
    3/ Generally they've "heavy weighted" mechanism, but good for experimented pianists only.

    If you're not a pure pianist, it's a bad idea (IMHO) to consider 76-key/88-key MIDI controller. Also, many real pianists having space go directly to a numeric piano, instead!

    However, to make your own opinion, if possible test it first in music store (or consider possible refund) to avoid serious disapointments for this signifiant investment.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  13. MozartEstLa

    MozartEstLa Platinum Record

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    I consider (a bit) the Samson Graphite 49 as second keyboard (along my Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2), I precise my studio uses "black" elements such desktop, chair, PC case, controllers (even Arturia BeatStep Pro)... My new keyboard stand (K├Ânig & Meyer 18810 Omega... black) can be extended to host a second keyboard. For my usage (scene/clips triggering & additional faders/encoders, 49 keys will be largely sufficient. The Graphite 49 looks very interesting (and have a nice look, too), but I'm interested by your opinion (if you permit me) about Samson brand, in particular quality of their products / reputation, because it's the first time I hear about Samson. ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  14. realitybytez

    realitybytez Audiosexual

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    i would recommend the 61 keys for the primary reason of using keyswitches. the nice thing about the ni keyboards is that they will light up the keys that are associated with keyswitches in a different color. having 61 keys allows you to fit the keyswitches and 4 octaves of keys.
     
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  15. MozartEstLa

    MozartEstLa Platinum Record

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    You're partially right, because only Native Instruments plugins use the Light Guide (mainly Kontakt). But you can't create your custom "Light Guide" - except MIDI keyzones/splits in "templates", but unfortunately these templates can't are used into your... Komplete Kontrol NKS presets! ridiculous and bad policy, -1 to N.I.

    However I totally agree about 1 octave for keyswitches (left hand), and remaining 4 octaves for playing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
  16. hani king

    hani king Platinum Record

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    if you are a starting musician/producer go for 32 or 49 keys (32 keys if you are on the move or DJ with MOVING SET)
    and 49 keys if you are starting making music with less space in your room


    if you are great piano player for for 61 or 88 keys (again depends on space you have )

    if you are beat maker ,get a pad ,make dope music ,dope loops and dope mixes get dope money from 'spitify''


    here are good selection to get great MIDI keyboards
    roland fantom
    arturia mini brute
    NI - komplete
    and these 3 if you know what you are doing with midis


    if you just wanna have fun making music and using plugins like me
    then novation launchkey 49 keys is great start
    or get M audio (i would pick novation if i were you )
    and you get free plugins from novation )

    good luck
     
  17. tori

    tori Platinum Record

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    49 keys only if you have not enough space for 61 keys. You can play kinda nicely with both hands on 49 keys... But it sucks a little, 61 keys don't suck for me, you can almost play everything with both hands (unless you want to make or play piano pieces, then you need at least 76 keys, but most keyboards over 61 keys have 88 keys anyway). With 49 keys, sometimes you don't have enough keys, happens really fast that you want to go higher or lower, but you can't. I have a 49 key controller because not enough space for 61 keys and sometimes it's really annoying. And like fiction said, maybe you want to use keyswitches, and the keyswitches from some Kontakt Libraries are on really low notes...
     
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  18. Donut Nyamer

    Donut Nyamer Audiosexual

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    I would always go for bigger if I were you especially if you have the cash and your space is good for it.

    88 or 61 is the minimum I compose on but I do want a smaller midi keyboard for jot down ideas and mashing the on-hand drum pads directly in front of me without rolling my chair over to the keyboard.
     
  19. PartyShit

    PartyShit Producer

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    Launchkey 37 the best overall option
    Excellent for live performance and studio work as well
    If you are using Ableton it is the best it works with any DAW but with Ableton is the best compact overall MIDI keyboard
     
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  20. mk_96

    mk_96 Kapellmeister

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    Well, aside from the controller i've only used sound reinforcement related stuff of the brand. To keep it short, i've used (over a long period of time) the controller, a 12 cahnnel mixer, a set of dynamic mics, two wireless mics and the simplest way i can describe the brand is "Behringer with better build quality". Like seriously, these things can take a beating and still work as they should. Aside from that, it's pretty much what you would expect for the price. Never did a proper comparisson in terms of sound with other brands, i just know it works and never had a problem.

    Sorry for OT, i'll shut up now.
     
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  21. clone

    clone Platinum Record

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    that controller is about the same quality as an old M-Audio. and about the same price.
     
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