Buying a small MIDI keyboard

Discussion in 'Studio' started by Backtired, Jun 10, 2022.

  1. Backtired

    Backtired Audiosexual

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    Hello,
    Today I'm going to sell my Impact LX49 (I don't even remember how much I spent on it) at a used shop here in the city. It's too big for my desk and in any way I keep moving around changing house so it's not a feasible solution. Do I need a midi keyboard? No, I don't even know how to play well. Do I want it? Yes, it's really nice to play around and not use the fucking mouse everytime. Also, the knobs and the faders are always useful.

    I was looking at the various options. First of all, 25 keys is enough, 37 is ok but it already starts to get way too large, besides as I said I don't know how to play.

    AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3
    88€. 25 keys. 8 knobs, 8 pads, and 1 joystick for pitch bend and modulation (I don't understand one thing: can the joystick be used for both at the same time? Or it's just X/Y axis, but they're locked?).
    Loads of functions I don't need at all: arpeggiator, software included, etc.
    Perfect size.

    Novation Launchkey Mini MK3
    85€. 25 keys. 8 knobs, loads of pads which I don't need, but it has both wheels for modulation and pitch bend (not a joystick...).
    Multiple functions I don't need.
    A bit bigger than the other.

    My question to the experts: I need a compact keyboard for production (no performance, no live, nothing). Most of the keyboards have functions that are useless for me. I was thinking of buying a "launchpad", but that thing has no keys and I don't understand it, it looks artificial. Maybe it's fun to play with it.
    Do you know of other alternatives? I'm probably going to grab the AKAI, but I'm unsure about the joystick, I want to be able to play around with both mod and pitch wheel at the same time. I simply don't know how it works.

    Thanks, bye, have a good weekend

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Pinhead12

    Pinhead12 Ultrasonic

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    Hi!
    I can recommend the Arturia - MiniLab MKII - USB MIDI Keyboard. Loads of knobs, drum buttons and very good quality overall.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. SpyFx ✪ ✓

    SpyFx ✪ ✓ Audiosexual

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    Hello @Backtired :bow:
    I have a Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 & I mainly use it with Ableton Live.
    I think you are an Fl studio user(correct me if I'm wrong) so you should definitely look at the Fl studio edition of this keyboard :
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/FLkeyMini--novation-flkey-mini-25-key-keyboard-controller
    What I like most about this mk3 version is the velocity resolution of the keys : it is really good :wink:,by this I don't mean velocity curves but the actual velocity resolution values you can get out of playing on it :bow:,another thing I love is the strumming you can do with the modulation touch strip & the fact that you can connect a sustain pedal.
    I have owned in the past Akai mpk 25s & the MPK Mini MK3 has upgraded more quality keys :bow:,you should definitely also have a look at :
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...ygen-pro-mini-32-mini-key-keyboard-controller
    Now all this been said if you are actually looking for a quality keybed then look no further :
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...ia-keystep-37-37-key-controller-and-sequencer
    ^ yes it is more expensive,but the keys are so good & when you get better at playing you will enjoy the bigger range of keys :bow:
    You can also have a look at the https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...struments-komplete-kontrol-m32-micro-keyboard ,good quality keys for its price, comes with a nice software bundle, but be aware this is meant to work with komplete kontrol mainly.Last but not least,there are a lot 25 keys keyboards with large/normal keys :bow:
    Hope this helps you a bit, cheers ! :wink: :bow:
     
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  5. BigM

    BigM Guest

    Agreeeeee.

    This is fine, keys are not that great. I personally don't like the joystick approach. But pads will be better.

    From reddit,
    This is sweet, a better choice if you use ableton live. not much bad to say.
     
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  6. ilovepresets

    ilovepresets Noisemaker

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    6 months ago I bought the Novation MK3 because I use Ableton so I thought it'd be the best option. I just sold it to buy an AKAI MPK Mini 3 because i tried out my friends and i like it way more. Not only are the knobs endless, but they also feel much better quality than the novations and are almost double the size. The AKAI is a bit heavier than the novation, which to me makes it feel a little less tacky/flimsy and higher quality overall. The pads are bigger and much better quality (just less of them of course). One of the things with the novation that annoyed me was that accidentally hitting one of the pads would change something in ableton, even if it was just the screen i was on, and this seemed to happen a lot. There were also times where the controller wouldnt respond properly, a fair bit of unplugging and plugging back in. Im on windows 10 and every time i plugged it in it would open folders and show me that it had been plugged in or whatever.. this annoyed me a lot too and doesnt happen with the AKAI. Definitely recommend the AKAI over the novation especially if youre not doing live stuff. Cant answer the question about the joystick, keen to find out though.
     
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  7. luckyLuke7

    luckyLuke7 Ultrasonic

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    I think the main factor is which DAW you'll be using it.

    Novaiton launchkey mk3 HID so you can use it on all daws plus has some more features for logic and cubase out of the box. The last update added so many features. Off course if you use ableton just grab this cause you can use the device function and it maps to your first 8 macros so it ridiculous the integration you get you'll be flying on ableton.

    Lauchpad is good if you don't play keys they feel a bit strange but they are really cool specially using drumracks so if you play keys and know your scales then you have to kind of relearn the wheel in there.


    Akai I think it lags behing the novation although it looks cool.

    Arturia if you have plenty of hardware and use cv outs then it's a plus. For daw only I would not pick it up but the keys feels a bit more solid built.

    That's my 2 cents! Go on youtube watch reviews read manuals of all of the gear you in the market for so you won't have any surprises.
     
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  8. BEAT16

    BEAT16 Audiosexual

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  9. synths4grins

    synths4grins Producer

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    Here's something a little different. If you don't need to really play, but rather noodle around, try chord progressions, and be expressive, the QuNexus is really cool. Watch the videos of people playing with them.
    https://www.keithmcmillen.com/products/qunexus/

    "QuNexus is a powerful MPE keyboard controller and three track arpeggiator/step sequencer. Its 25 touch-sensitive keys detect velocity, polyphonic aftertouch, and per-key tilt, giving you unprecedented control and musical expression. Each of the three arpeggiator/sequencer tracks can be programmed with up to 32 steps, 10 selectable arpeggiator patterns, and can be independently assigned to USB, MIDI, and Eurorack outputs. Blue and white LEDs illuminate the keys during arpeggiations, step sequences, and playback.

    QuNexus can control MIDI hardware using the included MIDI Out cable or our optional MIDI Expander (sold separately). You can connect to modular synthesizers via the gate, three CV outputs, and two CV inputs, all of which can be assigned using the QuNexus editor which is compatible with Windows and MacOS."

     
  10. phumb-reh

    phumb-reh Guest

    If you use any Native Instruments stuff, take a look at A25 or M32 from them. Solid build and the whole "using a mouse" thing just goes away.

    I mean you can do your own mappings, of course, but it really benefits from premade NKS mappings and of course everything NI is already tagged or mapped.

    *edit:* I've only used this w/ Ableton Live and Studio One, both of which accept this as a controller straight out of the box so you can navigate/record to your clips and tracks using the 4-way button. Easy as it does, and that doesn't require the Komplete Kontrol software (though you will gain a lot in using it).

    But apart from those it's a basic MIDI keyboard, so don't expect magic unless it's supported.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2022
  11. DonaldTwain

    DonaldTwain Kapellmeister

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    I have the Mk2 which has the same joystick. The axis (axes?) aren't locked so unless you're extremely precise you'll get some pitch bend with your modulation and vice versa. I'd prefer to get one with wheels/sliders for those functions if I could, but finding one which also includes the pads and the other buttons seems to be rarer than hen's teeth. My current workaround is to assign modulation to one of the knobs instead (I don't have a need for pitch bend) and that's satisfactory.
     
  12. recycle

    recycle Guest

    if you are a one-finger player you can even use computer keyboard to play VSTs keys, no need to buy any controller.
    If you really need a midi controller you should ask yourself some questions before choosing anything:

    VST only? Are you planning to use it also with gear?
    The difference will be to have midi out on the controller (DIN or minijack)

    Do you need standard keys or you are fine with minikeys?
    Minikeys are useful when looking for a keyboard with a small footprint, but obviously keys are small: piano players hate them

    Drum programming?
    Playing drums on pads is more effective than doing it on keys: better choose a keyboard controller with pads added.

    Synth programming?
    Lazy musicians just use VST presets, good musicians prefer to shape their own sound while playing: having at least 8 knobs on controller is useful for this purpose

    Transport buttons?
    Having rec/play/stop buttons on controller is handy, especially when controller is far from computer

    Mixing volume?
    Many controllers have cursors controlling volumes : it is useful to have a rough mix while keep focus on playing

    Weighted keybed?
    There are keybeds that emulate the piano behaviour: keys will need more energy to be pressed, just like the piano

    Aftertouch?
    Yes, you need it

    Launchpads?
    They are very useful for ableton scene launch, but they are definitely uncomfortable to play as a regular keyboard, I dont recommend to use as main midi controller
    ---------
    Take also into consideration the personal feel with the controller: it happens that despite the specs are perfect for your needs, you could find the keybed to be too plasticky, knobs too weak to turn, ecc. Best option is to test the controller in a shop before buying it
    I agree with @phumb-reh : NI heavy user should choose a Native controller: it helps a lot in the workflow. Lately Arturia also is implementing bi-directional features between the controller functions and their VST collection. This means that if you are an Arturia player you should choose one of their controllers.


    A crazy keyboard I tried some time ago is the Roli 25keys: small and with a lot of expression, it is an interesting concept and its rubber has a really nice feel at touch (unfortunately too expensive)

    [​IMG]

    https://roli.com/products/seaboard/rise2
     
  13. Atlantis84

    Atlantis84 Platinum Record

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  14. Atlantis84

    Atlantis84 Platinum Record

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    it will work perfectly with bitwig right ? i dont need to download any drivers?
     
  15. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

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    That guy sold two of his fingers to be able to afford the Seaboard. It better be kickass.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. boingy99

    boingy99 Kapellmeister

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    I've owned two Akai's, the MPK mini (mk2 I think) and a smaller one, maybe LPK something. Both failed within 18 months and both the same way - the USB connector became dodgy. I persevered with the MPK for a while by using a book to apply constant downward pressure on the USB connector to keep it working but eventually I binned it and went for the Launchkey mini, which I love. Many people rave about the Akai but I will never buy another product from them. If I bought another keyboard it would probably be an Arturia Keystep, but that's for the sequencing which you probably don't want.
     
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  17. Moleman

    Moleman Platinum Record

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    go for AKAI, skip on novation (trash)
     
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  18. BEAT16

    BEAT16 Audiosexual

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  19. twoheart

    twoheart Audiosexual

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    I use an AKAI MPK mini MK3 together with Cubase. What I stumbled on the integration in Cubase 12 at the beginning quite stupid: You have to switch on the CC key on the MPK every time so that you can use the Cubase transport commands, otherwise only MiDi notes are transferred.
    I don't use the pads, thus I can use them as transport shortcuts. And because I am so forgetful, I made myself stickers for the pads (Cubase 12 standard MiDi remote), maybe someone can use them as well.
     
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  20. Alina Rose

    Alina Rose Newbie

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    Be Careful About this. It will work perfectly?
     
  21. Xenon

    Xenon Producer

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    korg nanokey studio

    [​IMG]
     
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