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

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
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KVRAF
5418 posts since 17 Aug, 2004 from Berlin, Germany

Post Tue May 11, 2021 10:11 am

I've seen the NI keyboards in use with some of the better known names... that's not proof that these controllers are good, of course, but apparently good enough.
Otherwise it seems to be really difficult. Unfortunately, the build quality is often really rubbish. I still have an M-Audio Axiom where the keyboard plays reasonably well, but one key has already failed. So it's also crap.
When it comes to master keyboards with 88 keys, Doepfer is often at the top of the list at well-known sellers like Thomann.

KVRian
1372 posts since 2 Jul, 2007

Post Tue May 11, 2021 10:25 am

Companies pay Artists to promote their hardware/software, always have and always will. That doesn't mean the quality is good, and that you'd want that gear under your fingers while playing. For example, some of the controllers don't produce correct velocity settings,wrong aftertouch ,a list of issues.
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KVRAF
6707 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Tue May 11, 2021 10:29 am

It actually makes sense from the manufacturers' points of view. I have no idea what the percentage is, but I'm sure it's a pretty heavy majority of their customer base that consists of novice and untrained "producers" who aren't very discerning when it comes to keyboard action/feel, and just want something cheap to get by. That's not meant to be an insult, just an observation that MIDI controller manufacturers are going to cater to the biggest share of their market. So, that isn't the problem to me. The problem, as I see it, is that there aren't enough options for higher quality MIDI controllers for those of us who are experienced players and have specific wants/needs. I personally have very specific wants in the physical aspects/layout of my controller (e.g., high quality Fatar keybed with aftertouch, separate mod and pitch wheels both located to the left of the keyboard, not above it, no XY pad or combined joystick for mod & pitch, etc etc etc), and there just aren't a lot of options out there for me. My NI KK mk2 and Kurzweil PC3X have worked out great, though. :party:

KVRist
267 posts since 14 Oct, 2018

Post Tue May 11, 2021 10:45 am

The OP said the NI KK was crap as well. Isn't it a Fatar keybed?

KVRAF
28822 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Tue May 11, 2021 11:54 am

canadian_moose wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 10:45 am
The OP said the NI KK was crap as well. Isn't it a Fatar keybed?
Guess he meant the A series keyboards. The S series have Fatar keys indeed.

I doubt that the A series have bad keyboards for the price though. As mentioned, I had the M32, which had nice keys, and, I doubt the A keyboards have worse.
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KVRist
499 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Tue May 11, 2021 12:00 pm

Both my Nektar controllers are of fine enough quality. P4 and Impact XL25+ .Semi weighted keys. Instant mapping of tons of VSTIs and REs. Reason integration. Hard plast build quality. I couldn't aks for more atm, thanks.
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.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

1658 posts since 26 Aug, 2012

Post Thu May 13, 2021 3:02 am

chk071 wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 11:54 am
canadian_moose wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 10:45 am
The OP said the NI KK was crap as well. Isn't it a Fatar keybed?
Guess he meant the A series keyboards. The S series have Fatar keys indeed.

I doubt that the A series have bad keyboards for the price though. As mentioned, I had the M32, which had nice keys, and, I doubt the A keyboards have worse.
Im pretty sure the one I tried was fatar. It was $1000 with the display and $300 without (61 note) and thats AU. The action wasnt quite like a piano, it was much lighter but at least the keys didn't spring back too fast like the akai. imo, it was no where near as good as the impulse but the main problem was the keys were really thin and not very well reinforced... they weren't squared off. If you play aggressive styles like funk and you're a proper musician, play for hours etc this would be unsuited. The keys just wouldn't stand the test of time. I had a korg synth with similar quality keys and had to send away for replacement keys once every couple of years cause they kept snapping.

I dont mean to discourage any would be buyers, Im very aggressive at the kb and I get pissed off sometimes when i make music but Ive had the impulse for about 10 years and Ive really beat the hell out of it and all the keys are still in tact.

KVRAF
28822 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Thu May 13, 2021 3:52 am

I guess you're just subjectively disliking the keys then.

As mentioned, I like the Impulse's keys as well, but, I'm under no illusion that there is much, much better. Which, of course, is usually much, much more expensive as well.

Fatar is generally considered as good. I'm sure there are differences between different keybeds, but, it's commonly known as a good brand.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

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KVRian
1440 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Thu May 13, 2021 4:16 am

One of the main reasons I go for the Uno Pro instead of the Wavestate is its Fatar keybed.

KVRist
364 posts since 14 Oct, 2006

Post Sat May 15, 2021 10:46 am

I think key feel is subjective. I have the NI KK 61 mk2 and I think it has the best key action of any midi controller $800 and below. I've tried the Impulse and to me it felt lighter which I didn't like.

I don't bang on my keyboard so I'm unsure about long term quality of the NI controller though I've heard some have had issues with it. I've had it for over 2 years with no issues.

KVRian
964 posts since 3 Oct, 2011 from Christchurch, New Zealand

Post Sat May 15, 2021 12:21 pm

4damind wrote:
Tue May 11, 2021 10:11 am
When it comes to master keyboards with 88 keys, Doepfer is often at the top of the list at well-known sellers like Thomann.
The doepfer is using a fatar tp/40gh - which should be the same as in the studiologic sl88 Grand. NI use a tp/100lr in their 88mk2 - the doepfer/studiologic is a good couple of steps up from it, but also a lot dearer.

roland use their own hammer action in the a88mkII - but the only way to get their top action is to buy it in a rd2000 :-(

KVRian
964 posts since 3 Oct, 2011 from Christchurch, New Zealand

Post Sat May 15, 2021 12:28 pm

Kinh wrote:
Thu May 13, 2021 3:02 am
If you play aggressive styles like funk and you're a proper musician, play for hours etc this would be unsuited. The keys just wouldn't stand the test of time. I had a korg synth with similar quality keys and had to send away for replacement keys once every couple of years cause they kept snapping.
for that kind of use I’d be trying a nord stage compact (their semi-weighted model) - has the right feel if you’re wanting clav/hammond and is built like a tank.

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KVRAF
9076 posts since 3 Feb, 2003 from Finland, Espoo

Post Tue May 18, 2021 11:54 am

This is definitely a completely subjective opinion from the OP (and all of us commenting here).

Personally I found the keybed on the Novation Impulse absolutely horrendous. I thoroughly dislike it and was one of the main reasons I never got one.

I really like "clickety" kind of keys for my synths and proper weighted if it's trying to be piano action. Thus my absolute favorite still is the Yamaha lineup from the 80's and 90's (DX7 II, SY series) and some of the older Kawai keyboards for piano style action. I also really like the Nord Piano action (only tried the previous version.. which I think was version 3?).

I also really like the keybed in the older Novation SL range. Those are some quality keys. This is why I have the SL MK2 61 in the studio.

At home I got the AKAI MPK261 mk2 or whatever the latest version of it is and it's "meh.." at best but at least it has quick action and mediocre consistency, so I can play on it. For piano style keys I have a Roland FP-30 which is imho the absolute best bang for the buck if you want full keybed of piano style keys. It's definitely not as good as top of the line stuff but for the money it can not be beat.

Due to working at a local music institute I naturally have access to the absolute cream of the crop pianos including multiple steinways (one of them being pretty old with the real ivory keys still!) so every time I have the possibility to sit down and play on those I get a harsh reminder of what things should feel like to play. :)

Still, for basic synth playing, I prefer very fast springy action type of keybeds. Where I do agree with OP in general is that I feel the consistency of keybeds quality has gone down, even if it's fatar or not. There's always that one or two random keys that don't seem to be properly calibrated which could either be a firmware issue or a mechanical one.. but it gets annoying fast. I have found at least 6 keys on the MPK261 that do not respond or feel the same way as the majority of the keys. Quite annoying.
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KVRer
5 posts since 11 May, 2021

Post Tue May 25, 2021 5:58 pm

I really regret selling my Dx7-II purely because the keyboard was so good and thing was built like a tank

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KVRAF
2360 posts since 31 Jan, 2003 from Ghent, Belgium

Post Thu May 27, 2021 12:47 pm

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.
Can you list a couple of more keyboards that you like? (Other than the Impulse) Just anything, not only controllers...

The keyboards that I have: Novation Remote SL49, Bass Station II, Kawai K1, DSI Pro2
They're all perfectly fine, for what I'm concerned.

I've only had one (in the past) that I really disliked: the 'keyboard' on the Korg MS20 usb controller.

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