I can't believe the poor quality of midi keyboards today

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
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KVRian
500 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Mon May 31, 2021 10:50 am

I can't believe the poor quality of midi keyboard users today.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or obligue motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

KVRist
365 posts since 14 Oct, 2006

Post Tue Jun 01, 2021 12:10 pm

midi_transmission wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 7:55 am
Kinh wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 4:51 am
Was at the music store yesterday, excited about buying a new keyboard (for the hell of it) and I was amazed at the crappy quality of the keys on all of em.

The Akai MPK261...Terrible! The keys are wafer thin, not squared off (like Impulse) and they spring back like a diving board..totally unnatural .

Arturia keylab...crap!

The Native Instruments one... also thin and tacky. There's nothing high end about this at all except it's got slightly better action than the akai.

And the bloody Novation sl mkiii, the "flagship" one, flagship my ass, the action is absolute rubbish and the build quality of the keys seems thinner than the akai. Also the keys wobble are are noisy. The Impulse's keys blows them all out of the water, it's solid as a rock, not springy, you can bang the hell out of it and the keys wont snap like these will and that was released 10 years ago! Why couldn't they make the mkiii like that? If I took this thing home I would've snapped a key in under a month. Do they come with replacement keys?

Shit, I was bitterly disappointed. And then there's the supposed "weighted" keyboards like the M-audio hammer. That's not a piano action! It's the same as old freaking church organ, slow and heavy. Id love to see someone play Flight of the Bumblebee on that.

I can only agree. I'm highly frustrated since years. They feel really bad regardless of the price. Never understood why the NI is regarded to have quality keys. But the AKAI mpk249 was not so bad from the feel of the keys. Im wondering that you dislike the mpk261 that much. I thought it was more solid and with a good amount of resistance compared to most others in the store when I checked.

I would easily pay 500$ for a simple midi keyboard with really solid and nice feeling keys and a good velocity response.

The velocity response is very bad often too you can't test this in a store. It's often difficult to get 1-127 steps reliable out of them or the curve feels wrong.
What do you find wrong with the NI keyboards?

KVRian
654 posts since 13 Feb, 2013

Post Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:21 pm

I don't like the feel of the key action, feels cheap to me. But as said, I really dislike 90% of all synth keyboard actions. I need a certain resistance, and especially a light resistance while the key is pressed and a mechanically solid feel. It's not because it's lighter than a piano, but there is a certain mechanical quality missing with most recent synth keyboards in my opinion.

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KVRAF
33437 posts since 11 Aug, 2008 from another dimension

Post Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:27 pm

Shocking
Hi-de-Hi!

KVRist
101 posts since 2 Mar, 2018

Post Tue Jun 01, 2021 4:18 pm

midi_transmission wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 7:55 am
I would easily pay 500$ for a simple midi keyboard with really solid and nice feeling keys and a good velocity response.
Assuming it also has full transport bar functionality on board (and an on/off switch...I'm looking at you Arturia), so would I, and a lot of people I suspect. Although really that should be easily do-able for less.

KVRist
135 posts since 23 Aug, 2017

Post Thu Jun 03, 2021 5:29 am

It's because they aren't really meant to be played, they are for note input and programming. The ones that are meant to be played do have great build quality, like the Roli Seaboard.

Honestly, the mouse is the best synth controller there is when you are programming in a sequencer. And MIDI is a very old and not very dynamic protocol compared to DAW automation which has much finer grained resolution and control.

KVRian
636 posts since 13 May, 2017 from Virginia

Post Sat Jun 05, 2021 4:57 am

Thanks for confirming what I suspected. I'm pretty happy with my Roland A-49 but need to upgrade to 61. I left M-Audio because it was squeaky as hell and seemed to really constrict range. At this point I'm either going to just save to upgradeo to the A-800 PRO 61. I really don't see any option. I need something pretty space efficient since my area is pretty small.

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KVRian
1440 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Sat Jun 05, 2021 5:07 am

Even if there were keyboards one could hit with a nuclear device without damage, then some human will manage to break the keys by even look at it. It is what it is.

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KVRer
14 posts since 11 Mar, 2021 from Romania

Post Sat Jun 05, 2021 11:10 am

midi_transmission wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 7:55 am
I would easily pay 500$ for a simple midi keyboard with really solid and nice feeling keys and a good velocity response.

The velocity response is very bad often too you can't test this in a store. It's often difficult to get 1-127 steps reliable out of them or the curve feels wrong.
Have you tried the Studiologic SL73 Studio (or SL88)?
Simple (no sliders, knobs, DAW controls) but high quality, lots of features and the velocity response is editable, you can have lots of user defined curves besides the built in ones.

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KVRAF
2716 posts since 5 Dec, 2003 from Harlan's World

Post Sat Jun 05, 2021 11:20 am

Having owned various midi keyboards over the past 20 years, I would argue that they have become much better. Just because the OP has specific needs for resistance and feel really does not mean that an entire product category is "poor quality". I have the S49 mkii and it's by far the best midi keyboard I've owned. It does not feel like a piano. But (shocking news, I know) it isn't a piano.

The s88 probably has more of the resistance and feel you are looking for.
My Soundcloud Too many pieces of music finish far too long after the end. - Stravinsky

KVRAF
5382 posts since 24 May, 2002 from Tutukaka, New Zealand

Post Sat Jun 05, 2021 6:19 pm

TribeOfHǫfuð wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 10:50 am
I can't believe the poor quality of midi keyboard users today.
I definitely resemble that disparagement. :oops:

My two main keyboards are:

1. Korg Wavestate - only really using that keyboard because I simply use that synth a lot, and I have this weird thing that I like using the actual keyboard of the synth that the noise comes out of (obviously not for VSTi though). And it probably says a lot that I'm using a small keyboard as anything resembling main keys...don't think I've ever owned a proper keyboard that planes can take off and land on. Need a lower note...change the octave on the OSC, or transpose my DAW midi.

2. Probably used even more than that one - is a Yamaha DX100. Used mainly because it is small enough to fit on the desk, and I'd rather spend on things that make actual sounds rather than a noiseles keyboard controller. And if anyone knows the old DX synths - the DX100 has an action that can probably be compared to a row of 12 dead seagulls lined up on the beach. No velocity control at all. No aftertouch. I probably make all my main riffs on that crappiest of all keyboards ever made. Every note is the same loudness as the one before it and every single one after it. Expression is something my face does while I make music, not my keyboard.

But...I never heard any bangin' acid choon or floor-filling trance anthem where velocity and subtle key playing made it better, even dub and ambient doesn't mostly need it...I'm never gonna be Ludwig Van B and I don't want to be. TBH I'm actually a crap musician, but it works for me. I use LFOs, mod wheels, joysticks etc far more than I ever used velocity. :clown:

KVRer
16 posts since 26 Jan, 2017

Post Sat Jun 05, 2021 9:12 pm

Hi, anyone have experience with alesis q88? it's pretty affordable, but i heard there's a problem with midi cc. actually i want to buy this midi keyboard because i want to learn piano, also for composing too, so i don't need many cc controller and i'm using touchosc for controlling cc.

i heard studiologic is very good, but unfortunately it's not available in my country.

KVRist
401 posts since 15 Apr, 2020

Post Sun Jun 06, 2021 9:26 am

I still regret I had to leave my E-Mu Xboard from like 2005 behind, since it broke after 15 years of extensive use. I bought one of the best rated current MIDI keyboards and it's not even close in reliability. If anyone would step into the market and supply affordable, but at least decent quality MIDI keyboards to the market, that company would close a total gap in the market.

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