88 synth-action keyboard good for piano?

powerestudio

New Member
Hi,
I am looking for an 88 keyboard for general composing (piano, synths, strings, all in Logic) with a relatively good feel key action and acceptable velocity response.
Preferable with pitch/modulation wheel. I have a Yamaha cp33 which is a great piano action, but now I want to integrate it with my desk and the cp33 has a high profile.
So I am searching for a second option for this. I am not a pianist but using 30% piano, 70% rest of the instruments in my compositions.

What is your advice?
 

Hans Adamson

Senior Member
I don't have a recommendation for a particular keyboard, but I tested several synth action keyboards for velocity range and velocity resolution when I calibrated the keyboard setups for Art Vista Virtual Grand Piano. Surprisingly, the synth action keyboards fared at the very top in this aspect, also compared with the very best weighted keybeds. In reality this means that it is easier to play really soft and really loud on a synth action keyboard, and depending on your own technique, easier to differentiate the dynamics in between. The downside would be that you would have to adjust to the "feel" of a spring controlled synth action keybed if you are used to a real piano.
 
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bill5

Active Member
I'm a little confused. First you said "synth action," but then said your Yamaha has a great "piano action," which usually means fully weighted keys. Do you definitely want synth action?

Also do you want a MIDI controller or something with built-in sounds, like a "workstation" (granted that and "synthesizer" are somewhat ambiguous terms)?
 
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powerestudio

New Member
I'm a little confused. First you said "synth action," but then said your Yamaha has a great "piano action," which usually means fully weighted keys. Do you definitely want synth action?
Well, I would like a controller (no additional sounds and buttons or faders are needed). My intention is a midi controller to use all kinds of instruments with Logic, but with an acceptable key feel to play the piano.
A controller to play all the instruments, but I would not like it to be a useless keyboard to play the piano. Let´s say an acceptable keybed for piano (to play piano like a pro I have my cp33)
thanks
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
I don't have a recommendation for a particular keyboard, but I tested several synth action keyboards for velocity range and velocity resolution when I calibrated the keyboard setups for Art Vista Virtual Grand Piano. Surprisingly, the synth action keyboards fared at the very top in this aspect, also compared with the very best weighted keybeds. In reality this means that it is easier to play really soft and really loud on a synth action keyboard, and depending on your own technique, easier to differentiate the dynamics in between. The downside would be that you would have to adjust to the "feel" of a spring controlled synth action keybed if you are used to a real piano.
I’ve been testing a Keylab49mk2 and I love the construction and keybed. I’ve tested the Kontrol S49mk2 as well but prefer the Arturia.
 
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powerestudio

New Member
Keylab 88 looks great. I have read some people like to play everything and have 11cm H.
LX88+ has great options. I see some composers like it and others don´t for the piano.
 

BassClef

Active Member
I too have been looking at “88” keyboards. I’m a hacker, not a real pianist and not a synth player. The Arturia Keylab 88 and the Studio Logic SL88 Studio both use the Fatar TP/100RL weighted keybed. I’ve also read that the Native Instruments S88 also uses that, but it is unconfirmed. I have a real Grand in the house and am using a Nektar Panorma P6 (61 keys) with my pc and Logic for composition and “fun” playing. I just want 88 keys and action a little closer to a piano feel than my current keyboard.
 

bill5

Active Member
Well, I would like a controller (no additional sounds and buttons or faders are needed). My intention is a midi controller to use all kinds of instruments with Logic, but with an acceptable key feel to play the piano.
A controller to play all the instruments, but I would not like it to be a useless keyboard to play the piano. Let´s say an acceptable keybed for piano (to play piano like a pro I have my cp33)
thanks
Sorry still not sure what "be a useless keyboard to play the piano" means as that is subjective. Do you mean you want fully weighted keys like a piano? If so, that is not synth action. Or you could try for a middle ground and get semi-weighted, although that is also a vague term that diff companies interpret differently.

I don't own but keep hearing good things about Nektar units and Studiologic FWIW. I've heard more mixed reviews on M Audio and Alesis models. NI's units sound good but (like most things NI) overpriced.
 
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powerestudio

New Member
Sorry still not sure what "be a useless keyboard to play the piano" means as that is subjective
Yes, that´s the problem, we all have subjective feelings playing the keyboard.
Maybe I have to ask.... People that play CP33, what midi controller synth-action do you like?
Or if you were in a desert Island without your CP33 what midi controller would you play?
 
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the biggest problem I find with non piano beds is that the black keys are out of balance in terms of velocity.
so playing softly a piano sound in the many modes where you use combi’s of white/black keys will result in the black keys sticking out in higher velo’s.
.....and the regular ways to compensate are not like the one mentioned before like the mjalmso vi piano.

only a few vendors will have options to compensate for this, but I can’t recall which.

another option is to look for a desk that will not have problems of the hight issue you refer to.
like:

 

BassClef

Active Member
Good point on the black keys velocity. That’s one reason I am considering the Studio Logic SL88. It allows for individual key adjustments or white versus black adjustments.
 
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powerestudio

New Member
I think this is another interesting option Doepfer LMK2+ 88 GH without Case.
You can install it in the drawer with only 10/11cm
 

BassClef

Active Member
I believe the KeyLab88Mkii has the same weighted, hammer action Fatar keybed (TP100RL) that is in the StudioLogic SL88 Studio.

I also have the Nektar Panorama P6, 61 key semi weighted, which I’m replacing with the Studio Logic SL 88 Grand. The P6 is a great controller and the keybed is very good but very noisy as the keys come up. It has 5 velocity curves to choose from.
 

IFM

Senior Member
I believe the KeyLab88Mkii has the same weighted, hammer action Fatar keybed (TP100RL) that is in the StudioLogic SL88 Studio.

I also have the Nektar Panorama P6, 61 key semi weighted, which I’m replacing with the Studio Logic SL 88 Grand. The P6 is a great controller and the keybed is very good but very noisy as the keys come up. It has 5 velocity curves to choose from.
I've got the KL 88 Mk I and Mk II. The I is clunky and the II has a similar feel but not as clunky. Some reviews say it is spongy but I only noticed that initially but after a little use it feels fine. For now it will suffice but I've just started a new project so will see how it holds up.
 

bill5

Active Member
The P6 is a great controller and the keybed is very good but very noisy as the keys come up.
ugh, major pet peeve for me and why I steered away from Casio and Yamaha workstations when I was looking initially. Even if I'm only doing MIDI, drives me nuts when playing.
 

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
Arturia Keylab 88
Borrowing one right now. I can safely say...
It’s one of the worst weighted controllers I’ve ever tried. The action is just weird. I’m convinced people like it because they like the look of it with those faux wooden ends. And probably haven’t tried one. It’s one of those controllers that actually makes me rethink whether I want to do any music as the experience is so joyless.
 

BassClef

Active Member
UPdate... I received the Studio Logic SL88 Grand three days ago and shipped the Studio Logic SL88 Studio back today.

The Grand is much closer in keybed feel to my actual grand piano than the Studio model was. I like it much better. One downside is the noise of the keys as they bottom out. It is not bad at all but a little noisier than the Studio model was in this category. At this price range, there is likely NOTHING really like a good grand keyed but it's pretty close and I like it a lot.