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Any experiences with the playabillity of Studiologic SL88 Studio, NI KK S61, Yamaha P45, Roland A800

BGM

New Member
Any experiences with velocity-sensitivity and playability of Studiologic SL88 Studio (or other boards with Fatar TP100LR), Yamaha P45, NI Komplete Kontrol S61, and Roland A800 Pro, for use as a MIDI controller for orchestral VSTs?
Can you control velocities from piano to forte easily on them, or do you often accidently end up playing notes louder or softer than you intended?

I went to another city around 100 kilometers away to try out these keyboards, but I didn't get a chance to test all of them.

The key action on Yamaha P45 felt good, was silent, and there was no difference in the feel and velocity of black and white keys. It felt like I was playing a real instrument and not a plastic toy (which is how I felt about some MIDI controllers).

To get the highest velocities, I had to lift the hands off the keyboard and slam the keys. I don’t know whether other digital pianos and acoustic pianos have such a heavy action, and whether I would like or dislike this in the long term (I have never played piano or keyboards before, so I haven’t yet formed preferences on this).

I tried some Casio digital pianos, but without them being plugged into electricity. Their keys maybe felt slightly better than Yamahas, but they were noisy, and I have read that they often become even noisier after several months.

I didn’t find Studiologic SL88 Studio in the stores (it is available for ordering online). A clerk in a store gave me to try out Kurzweil Forte instead, saying that it has the same Fatar TP-100LR key action, but when I later checked on the Internet I saw that Forte actually uses Fatar TP-40L.

-The action on that Kurzweil Forte was a bit noisy, but not so much to be annoying. I was able to hit the highest velocities simply by pressing the keys harder. No slamming needed as on Yamaha P45.
-This TP40L action might be a good compromise between heavier actions, as that of Yamaha P45, and softer actions of synth/semi-weighted keyboards.
-But one thing that I didn’t like about it is that, at least in this Kurzweil Forte, the black keys seemed to be more velocity-sensitive than the white ones, and often produced a louder sound than the white ones played with the same force.

However, Kurzweil Forte and other boards with TP-40L are outside of my budget of 450 EUR, so I am not considering them, but I would like to hear your experiences with Studiologic SL88 Studio or other keyboards with Fatar TP-100LR action, and how they compare with TP-40L and Yamaha GHS.

I didn’t get to try out Roland A800 Pro, but I have read that it is supposed to have one of the best synth-action/semi-weighted keybeds among today’s MIDI controllers, and that it is quite playable. Any experiences with this model and on how it compares with the other three keyboards I mentioned? Can you hit the velocities you intend with it?

I tried NI Komplete Kontrol S61 without it being connected to a computer, so I can judge only the feel of its keys, but not how that translates to sound. Its keys, together with those of Nektar Impulse 61, felt the best among synth-action/semi-weighted ones that I got to try out.

However, on KK S61 I noticed a different feel when pressing white and black keys, but I didn’t see this mentioned in any user reviews, and I don’t know would it result in different velocities when pressing black keys.


The other synth-action/semi-weighted boards I tested mostly had a poor feel, and I am not considering buying them.
-Some were mushy and felt like they have a sponge under the keys (M-Audio Oxygen 49 and 61), some felt too stiff and springy (some Akai 25-key model, forgot which one it was since I wasn’t interested in it).
-Nektar LX61+ didn’t feel that bad, but it its keys had a lighter and cheaper feel than those of KK S61, and they had a bit of sideways movement. Also, I have read, at least for the old LX (non +) model, that it has uneven velocity response of black versus white keys.
 
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DynamicK

Senior Member
I upgraded my old VMK 176 to a SL88 Studio last year. Really liking the feel, although I am not a pianist by any stretch of the imagination. It is readily customizable, with keyboard splits, presets, and user defined velocity curves. Also the price was right. Maybe buy from a retailer that offers a 30 day money back guarantee if you can't get to the store ( a lot of UK dealers offer this )
 
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BGM

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I upgraded my old VMK 176 to a SL88 Studio last year. Really liking the feel, although I am not a pianist by any stretch of the imagination. It is readily customizable, with keyboard splits, presets, and user defined velocity curves. Also the price was right. Maybe buy from a retailer that offers a 30 day money back guarantee if you can't get to the store ( a lot of UK dealers offer this )

Thanks for the reply. Are the keys on SL88 Studio a bit stiff and springy (I saw this complaint in some reviews)?

How is the action compared to your old VMK 176 – is it lighter or heavier? Do you need to slam the keys to get the highest velocities? And is there a difference in the velocity-sensitivity or feel of black vs white keys?
 

DynamicK

Senior Member
I haven't found the keys stiff at all. The action is much better and lighter than the VMK 176. I'm not a pianist as I said, but with the SL88 Studio I can do a crappy trill on one key, which wasn't possible on the 176. I suppose it depends on the velocity curve whether I have to slam the keys for high velocities. To me black and white keys are the same. If the SL88 was bad I would have sent it back.....I had the 30 day option. In fact I won't buy any hardware that I haven't tested, without the 30 day no quibble return policy, which a lot of online retailers are offering nowadays.
 
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Thanks for the reply. Are the keys on SL88 Studio a bit stiff and springy (I saw this complaint in some reviews)?

How is the action compared to your old VMK 176 – is it lighter or heavier? Do you need to slam the keys to get the highest velocities? And is there a difference in the velocity-sensitivity or feel of black vs white keys?

I would agree with this, they are a little stiff & I was somewhat disappointed at first but have grown used to it over time. I've also got an old SL990 Pro & the action on that is much, much better - nice & fast for writing percussion parts, ostinatos etc. but still loads of feel for piano writing. Can't argue with the price of the SL88 Studio though & the form factor - it's nice & shallow so will easily fit on a shelf under a desk.
 
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passsacaglia

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Have the vmk-188, really like it but if it'd been a little lighter it'd feel like a grand piano/piano. Will see if I can try the SL88. Considered the Oxygen88, liked the feel. But got the VMK for a good price.
 
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