Which 6 or 7 octave synth action keyboard?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
Eclectus
KVRist
108 posts since 1 Dec, 2013 from Belgium

Post Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:58 pm

I am looking for a MIDI keyboard with 6 or 7 octaves, so I can play splits easily, and have easy access to the full spectrum of a synths sounds. I also play AAS Lounge Lizard in a band, and in that case I also find that I need more than 5 octaves to express my grooves. I find most weighted keyboard actions too heavy for synthesizer or sampler work, so I am only looking for synth action. My most favourite keyboard action for synth work is on the Roland A-800 pro, if that was available with 73, 76 or 88 keys I would go for that without hesitation. Alas, all the 76 or 88 keys Roland has at the moment seem to have either a synth or a virtual keyboard built in, which I will never use. Also, I would like to keep the price down.

So, my options seem to be very limited. At the top of my list is currently the Nectar Impact LX88+, but I haven't been able to try that out in a store and I seem to find only conflicting reviews, mostly concerning build quality. Same goes for the M-Audio Keystation 88 MkII. I just found out about the Icon iKeyboard 8X, which could be another contender. But same story there: conflicting reviews and concerns about build quality. I have trouble choosing between these. Does anyone here have useful input for me?
Last edited by Eclectus on Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

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BertKoor
KVRAF
10639 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Re: Which 7 or 8 octave synth action keyboard?

Post Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:19 am

I don't think you'll find keyboards with synth action over 5 octaves.
8 octaves is typically something for full-weighted piano action.

Why not get two smaller keyboards and a proper stand to support them both atop of each other?
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KVRAF
4553 posts since 22 Jan, 2005 from Sweden

Re: Which 7 or 8 octave synth action keyboard?

Post Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:12 am

As I found most keybeds that claim to be semiwheighted keys does feel like synth keyboards and better for that than piano stuff.

Semiwheighted will be different than typical synth by just a little - but more ok than fully weighted keys. So don't be alarmed by semiwheighted specs.

I had a Casio keyboard, WK1800 or something, that were very synthy keys - 88 keys and all. I'm sure you can get similar very cheap. It has sounds and speakers as well, but not that expensive used.

But a bit like BertKoor suggested - get two laptop stands - and you can put one keybed, A-800, on desk and one on a pair of those. If you got 45-50 cm depth or so on desk it would work, I think.

I bought 6 of these, two I use for getting a floorboard with pedals up a bit. Useful for many things.
https://www.thomann.de/gb/millenium_laptopstand.htm

Two I put on top of my piano and ready for another synth etc.

chk071
KVRAF
17025 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: Which 7 or 8 octave synth action keyboard?

Post Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:38 am

I think the obvious choices have already been mentioned in the OP. At least, if you want to go with synth action keys. Of course, those are rather entry level keyboards, but, i doubt you'd find many synth action keyboards for a higher price, in that size.

Eclectus
KVRist
108 posts since 1 Dec, 2013 from Belgium

Re: Which 7 or 8 octave synth action keyboard?

Post Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:30 am

Thanks for the replies. I have more reasons to go for a 6 or 7 octave keyboard instead of multiple 5 octave ones, I will update my OP. One of these reasons is that I often play AAS Lounge Lizard, sometimes in a band. In those cases I really miss the ability to go from groovy basslines to high solo registers in one go. The other reason is that I program synths, and (with FM for instance) sometimes the real gems are hidden in the lowest or highest registers. Having to use octave buttons in both cases spoils the fun for me. Also: minimalism. I used to have two big stacks of hardware synths, but got overwhelmed by the massive look of such a setup...

I had forgotten about Casio. Good call, I'm going to look into them!
Last edited by Eclectus on Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

JCJR
KVRAF
2345 posts since 17 Apr, 2005 from S.E. TN

Re: Which 7 or 8 octave synth action keyboard?

Post Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:16 am

Discouragingly, many of the least-expensive consumer semi-weighted pianos have dropped DIN MIDI ports, offering only a USB MIDI port, if that would matter.

Kurzweil and maybe others made some semi-weighted 76 and 88 stage pianos that might be cheap enough if you could find one used..

Though the "master controller" features are crude and bass-ackwards by modern standards, the venerable Yamaha KX76 has reputation of being one of the best-feeling synth-weighted keyboards ever, and they like their weighted big brothers KX88 are seemingly near-indestructible. If you happened to find a real good price somewhere on a used one. A friend has a KX76 bought new in the 1980s and he still totes the thang to gigs, never had a spot of trouble from it. My KX88 is still kicking just fine, but its mostly stayed at home over the decades. The main likely maintenance would be a battery replacement.

I know you said you don't want any sounds in the keyboard, but maybe look at Numa Compact, which is 88 fatar "semi weighted" synth action. I studied on that one a couple years ago. Piano players usually hate playing piano on synth actions but several "credible" piano player reviewers said sure its a light keyboard but surprisingly easy to play piano on it. Which to me implies a light action that might have good control/responsiveness. To my heavy ham-handed playing, many synth-action keys are too fiddly for stuff like piano or EP, too hard to avoid accidentally playing notes louder or softer than intended. Just sayin, if the Numa Compact will play piano purt good on a light action, then it will probably control other synth sounds purt good as well.

The original Numa Compact I think it had a new USA street price around $399 so maybe new old stock or used could be had affordable enough. There is now a Numa Compact 2 and a Numa Compact 2x which probably have the same keyboard and similar features, but more/better features, at USA street prices $500 and $700. But if you don't even want any sound at all in the box, then probably the original Numa Compact would be just as good a controller, and cheaper if you can find one.

I like weighted keys and been purt happy with a Studiologic SL88 Studio which costed about US$ 500 and plays easy to me, and has good midi controller features for my taste (I don't want a keyboard covered with knobs switches and sliders, but do want full control of zones, midi channels, program changes, etc). Now they also have an SL73 Studio, same key layout as a Rhodes 73 and same SL88 midi controller features, which is just cute as a bug, but it is weighted as well.

Eclectus
KVRist
108 posts since 1 Dec, 2013 from Belgium

Re: Which 7 or 8 octave synth action keyboard?

Post Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:32 am

Those Studiologics look good to me, and I can probably find them in a store in my country. Time to investigate! Thanks for the suggestion.

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Tj Shredder
KVRian
1259 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: Which 7 or 8 octave synth action keyboard?

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:00 am

The M-Audio is cheap, yes. I bought one for my daughter second hand for less than 100 bucks. If it breaks buy another one, still cheaper than a more "road worthy". Its light, which is an advantage. It acts like all the other light 5 octave keyboards, so you are familiar with the action already...
If you read reviews take into consideration what the reviewer expects, I guess any Piano player would give a bad review about it for its lack of weight...

JCJR
KVRAF
2345 posts since 17 Apr, 2005 from S.E. TN

Re: Which 7 or 8 octave synth action keyboard?

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:55 am

That is a good point.

Eclectus
KVRist
108 posts since 1 Dec, 2013 from Belgium

Re: Which 7 or 8 octave synth action keyboard?

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:11 am

I need it to be affordable, but not at the cost of build quality. I do not want to support companies that care too little about durability, or even plan the obsolescence of their products. There's already enough plastic soup and toxic electronic waste, and I worry about it enough to let it be a factor in my purchases.

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