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

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
KVRAF
1654 posts since 26 Aug, 2012

Post 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.
Last edited by Kinh on Tue May 11, 2021 5:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

KVRist
267 posts since 14 Oct, 2018

Post Tue May 11, 2021 4:56 am

Depends where you are coming from I suppose. I'm not a pianist. I really like the action on my SL MkIII.

My previous controller was the Alesis VI 49 and I have to say, I thought the key quality and action was the best I have had on a midi controller.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

1654 posts since 26 Aug, 2012

Post Tue May 11, 2021 5:01 am

canadian_moose wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 4:56 am
Depends where you are coming from I suppose. I'm not a pianist. I really like the action on my SL MkIII.

My previous controller was the Alesis VI 49 and I have to say, I thought the key quality and action was the best I have had on a midi controller.
Trust me, it's not. For the price, it's really not a good buy. Yes you can do a lot of things on it but kind of defeats the purpose if the keys are made like a child's toy.

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addled muppet weed
80545 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Tue May 11, 2021 5:01 am

when was the last time you played flight of the bumblebee? :lol:

school was the last time i did. gcse, on guitar :band:
admittedly very badly.
(copied from the manowar tab!)

KVRist
267 posts since 14 Oct, 2018

Post Tue May 11, 2021 5:10 am

Kinh wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 5:01 am
canadian_moose wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 4:56 am
Depends where you are coming from I suppose. I'm not a pianist. I really like the action on my SL MkIII.

My previous controller was the Alesis VI 49 and I have to say, I thought the key quality and action was the best I have had on a midi controller.
Trust me, it's not. For the price, it's really not a good buy. Yes you can do a lot of things on it but kind of defeats the purpose if the keys are made like a child's toy.
Ill take your word for it, but as I said. I like it. I have an SY85 here as well from 1992 and I would say the keys on the SL are better than those on the SY85. I didn't have a problem with those keys either.

Nice to be easily pleased sometimes.

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KVRist
477 posts since 3 Jul, 2016

Post Tue May 11, 2021 5:16 am

Have you got a keyboard hardware synthesiser you and trying to find a similar key action midi controller?
I sold panorama p6 as I didn't like the keys there, preferred X station 61 keys and even the one on jx 305 my fav so far..
M audio 49 were too lightweight etc.
Nord keys are great but obviously its not a midi dedicated controller they have on offer. BUT I guess if you want high quality you need a keyboard synth...
FANTOM 6:-)).
Thinking...maybe kurzweil ...there is one there...or 2...

KVRAF

Topic Starter

1654 posts since 26 Aug, 2012

Post Tue May 11, 2021 5:33 am

AcrossTheSky wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 5:16 am
Have you got a keyboard hardware synthesiser you and trying to find a similar key action midi controller?
I sold panorama p6 as I didn't like the keys there, preferred X station 61 keys and even the one on jx 305 my fav so far..
M audio 49 were too lightweight etc.
Nord keys are great but obviously its not a midi dedicated controller they have on offer. BUT I guess if you want high quality you need a keyboard synth...
FANTOM 6:-)).
Thinking...maybe kurzweil ...there is one there...or 2...
But the point is, why mark up the price on these things if the quality is what it is? A midi keyboard is just that, it doesn't have it's own sounds. There's nothing really special about it, other than a slight convenience (with the higher end ones) of maybe selecting presets on a screen, the sequencers aren't really useful or impressive, the drum pads are terrible, you would think the selling point would be the action and build quality of the keys in the same way as say the Maschine pads are. I just dont get it. As I said, there's only 1 keyboard out of all of em that shines, the Impulse. So that's 1 in how many?

KVRian
832 posts since 10 Jan, 2010

Post Tue May 11, 2021 5:47 am

Had the same experience a few months ago, did not like the feel of anything in the store, even things people say are fantastic. But I also tried an mr76 (i wanted a zr76 just for the keyboard feel a long time ago) and it was also somewhat disappointing (was a bit ragged out though). Ended up with an sl61 mkii which isn’t horrible but definitely isn’t that nice. Maybe I am just remembering the past as better than they were but many of my old keyboards felt better than any of the new ones I tried (i am somewhat limited by only having room for 61 keys now though.... almost bought a different zr76 but just can’t fit it in here...)

KVRian
535 posts since 23 Dec, 2011

Post Tue May 11, 2021 5:53 am

My SL MKIII has ok action. I have an older Arturia "The Laboratory", which spoiled me, with fantastic aftertouch. Back to current controllers.. The SL MKIII is considered premium, because of features. Independent Arps / 8-track Sequencers (per session/song), and the templates, which allow for quickly pulling together sessions with pre-built tracks. It has some shortcomings, and therefore isnt perfect - but close enough for me. I have mine controlling 4 hardware synths/workstations, three soft-synths, and a Strymon BigSky. I think part of what you pay a premium for, is the connectivity (there is a crapload I dont use there) and built-in software.. which I use a bunch.

KVRian
1372 posts since 2 Jul, 2007

Post Tue May 11, 2021 6:04 am

I completely agree with the OP, modern controllers are mostly crap,especially if you have any real hands on experience with workstations, and synths. Don't buy them! Back in my days,we wanted quality over quantity,and thats why the older controllers from the 90's still have great actions ( Roland A70,A50 with Poly AT) etc..

I'd rather buy an older synth,or workstation or as mentioned a midi controller from 3 decades ago then to buy any of this crap they push off to the younger generations as music equipment.
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KVRist
363 posts since 10 Apr, 2010

Post Tue May 11, 2021 6:38 am

I dusted off an old cheap Studiologic controller I bought 12 years ago (VMK 88+) and was surprised to discover that (a) it still worked and (b) felt better to play on than any of the synths with keyboards I bought last year (a few Behringers, Hydrasynth, Prophet Rev 2, Minilogue XD, Wavestate).

I may buy what looks like their modern equivalent of it, the Numa, and see how that is.

Is Studiologic the same company as Fatar? Because companies always seem to boast about having Fatar keyboards.
Last edited by Torchlight on Thu May 13, 2021 4:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KVRian
1340 posts since 1 Aug, 2006 from Italy

Post Tue May 11, 2021 9:37 am

Studiologic is the “outlet brand” under which Fatar sells finished keyboards (and also controllers) instead of just keybeds.

I love when an instrument has a quality keyboard like Fatar’s.

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KVRAF
6698 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Tue May 11, 2021 9:47 am

sin night wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 9:37 am
I love when an instrument has a quality keyboard like Fatar’s.
Same! I have to agree and disagree with the OP. I agree that the vast majority of MIDI controllers these days have cheap, sh*tty keybeds that are basically toys. However, I do like the Fatar keybeds, particularly the ones in my NI Komplete Kontrol 61 mk2, Access Virus, and some of the older Novation SL's that I previously owned. These are great for synth action controllers. I'm also a formally trained pianist (not a great one, though) and I love the keybed in my Kurzweil PC3X 88-key (weighted).

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KVRAF
30148 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Post Tue May 11, 2021 9:53 am

I think the build & key quality on the original ReMote SL's and X-Station is better than anything on the market today. Hence, I still use my 15 year old ReMote 25 SL. I picked up a Keystation a while back, mainly for the sequencer, but for mini-keys it feels & plays pretty well.

KVRAF
28781 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Tue May 11, 2021 9:59 am

Kinh wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 4:51 am
The Impulse's keys blows them all out of the water
Interesting... I have an Impulse 49. Never struck me as super high quality. The keys feel good to me, but, I'm sure there's stuff out there which is much better. (Of course, there's stuff which is much worse as well... the M-Audio Axiom 2nd gen I had before it definitely felt worse in terms of the keys. They had kind of a "stiff", unnatural feeling.)

Actually, the Arturia Minilab and Keystep both have nice keys, although they're cheap, and, they're mini keys, of course. NI's Komplete Kontrol M32 had similar keys.

If you want something better, you should rather look at the 500 € plus keyboards.

Know what bothers me more than the keys on the low cost controllers? Lack of Aftertouch. The Impulse is the only relatively low cost controller which has it, apart from the M-Audio Oxygen Pro (I don't think very highly of M-Audio though...).

In the end, if your Impulse isn't broken, I don't see much of a point in replacing it. At least that's how it is for me. I don't see any comparable keyboard in that price region.
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