Need 25 to 49 key "portable" keyboard- need opinions

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
koolkeys
KVRAF
16120 posts since 2 Dec, 2003 from Nashville, TN

Post Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:27 pm

So I have my Arturia Keylab88 which is amazing, best controller keyboard I've ever owned. But I'm needing something more portable to take with me. Not necessarily to the coffee shop or anything (though you never know), but more to the living room or dining room table, lol. I tend to overthink all this. I've played piano for about 30 years and owned lots of keyboards, but it's still a tough choice, lol.

I have a couple of requirements:

1. Must have mod and pitch wheels. I am NOT sure if I want to go with the mod/pitch 'strips' that some keyboards have. Anyone have a preference between the two?

2. Don't want more than 49 keys, but would go as low as 25.

3. Trying to spend less than $130, but can stretch to $150 if needed.

4. I prefer larger keys and not the "mini" keys (I have an Akai LPK25 and the keys are just too tiny).

5. I would like drum pads, the closer to the left side the better, as I would like to map them as keyswitches.

So I've considered a couple of models:

Alesis V25 or V49- full sized keys, actual mod and pitch WHEELS, drum pads to the left of the keyboard. But I've heard the feel is a bit tight on the keys.

Arturia Minilab MK2- apparently the keys are larger than some mini keys, but are not full sized, and it has mod/pitch strips instead of wheels. But I'm a big fan of the Arturia stuff after using my Keylab88, and the style would match exactly :-)

Nektar Impact LX25- cheapest option, but has real wheels and drum pads (though they are on the right side, which isn't ideal).

Any experience with these? Other options I should consider? I've looked at a TON of models online and on videos, but those are the three that keep hitting me the most.

NOTE: I mostly do library-based "real" instrument music, such as orchestral and pop/rock and other acoustic styles. No 'beatz' or EDM or anything, so I don't need a keyboard to accommodate those things.

Thoughts?

Brent
My host is better than your host

Passing Bye
KVRAF
1653 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:45 pm

I don't think you will find anything better than Nektar one for that kind of money.

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JoeCat
KVRian
1453 posts since 19 May, 2011 from North Carolina

Post Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:05 pm

Novation Launchkey 37 - New I think (and a little above your price range) - but a lot of features.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... controller

I actually prefer mini keys for these to save space, but having the 8 knobs are awesome. Obviously, this is a great option if you're using Live, else it's still a good piece of kit, and has the advantage of wheels that are above the keys (saving width). It's also programmable.

koolkeys
KVRAF
16120 posts since 2 Dec, 2003 from Nashville, TN

Post Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:27 pm

JoeCat wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:05 pm
Novation Launchkey 37 - New I think (and a little above your price range) - but a lot of features.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... controller

I actually prefer mini keys for these to save space, but having the 8 knobs are awesome. Obviously, this is a great option if you're using Live, else it's still a good piece of kit, and has the advantage of wheels that are above the keys (saving width). It's also programmable.
I did see that one as well. I don't remember why it wasn't a top consideration, but I'm open to it. Looks like I can get the 25 key Mk2 version for about $30 less (making it fit in the $150 limit), and it has the wheels to the left instead of above. I'm ok with that and probably more used to it. That also brings the drum pads further to the left on the MK2. I wonder if there are any other major mechanical differences (as it seems to have functionally what I need)? I really like the idea of the extra octave, which puts me between the 25 and 49 I was looking for. Hmmmm.....

Thanks for bringing that model up! I had forgotten about it!

Brent
My host is better than your host

koolkeys
KVRAF
16120 posts since 2 Dec, 2003 from Nashville, TN

Post Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:22 pm

Passing Bye wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:45 pm
I don't think you will find anything better than Nektar one for that kind of money.
That was the one I was originally leaning towards, but heard a lot of things about very noisy keys, and the pads are pretty far to the right. NOT a dealbreaker, but those were my reservations.

If the Arturia Minilab had either larger keys or actual wheels instead of strips, that one would be higher as well. So all of them have a drawback or two, lol. Like I said, I'm too picky :hihi:

Brent
My host is better than your host

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antic604
KVRAF
5710 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:45 pm

Bitwig 3 // Reason 11 // Studio One 5 Pro @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604

chk071
KVRAF
24918 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:48 pm

Get this thing, it's very good: https://www.native-instruments.com/de/p ... ntrol-m32/

The pitch and mod strips work fine (actually, the pitch strip is much better than on the Arturia Minilab, because there isn't a dead zone in the center), it has mini keys, but, don't be fooled. Just like on the Arturia Minilab, those are really good, not like the cheap synth action keys of other manufacturers. Especially for portable, I'd rather opt for something small.
Plugins and a DAW. On a operating system. Which runs on a computer.

CodeMonkey
KVRer
11 posts since 25 Jul, 2020 from Munich

Post Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:57 pm

i have an M-Audio Oxygen 49 Mk 4. price was about 130 euros, probably roughly the same in dollars.
size of the keys is the same as a roland jd-xa (not roland jd-xi, which is the small one).
comes with wheels, faders, knobs and pads, and some extra buttons for record and play etc.
i think it is ok. personally, i wouldn't go down to 25 keys, unless i travel a lot.

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