Doepfer LMK4+ LMK2+ user feedback?/ my 6 controllers review

FrankIV

New Member
names frank, new here, first post. primarily into film composing.

Question:

im looking for some feedback from owners of Doepfer LMK4+ and LMK2+ keyboards, ive already scoured every forum i could find. for a controller used by so many top composers, the internet is void of deep discussions on them. i bought one briefly a couple months ago but a key was damaged so i sent it back. During that time i noticed the keybed was one of the the noisier ones ive played. i understand this is because the fatar tp/40GH keybed is directly installed into the flight case, though i dont see why its any different than a normal case. it wasn't a deal breaker but a bother. anyone here experienced in removing the case? Regardless of velocity adjustment, the keys always seemed either too jumpy or fighting to get the velocity up, but i think that may be a varying factor from vst to vst and people should look into the vst's for farther velocity adjustment. velocity setting number 2(i think?) wasnt too bad. i just couldnt get it perfect. Have other owners experienced this? im considering buying it again but i need to be sure this time because the restocking fee is like $300. Maybe my last one was damaged on the way to me? i hear some people are really happy with them, usually LMK2+ owners, i wonder if there is some correlation there? i did love how the actual keys felt, very light and sturdy like an actual piano. the flight case frame looked awesome.

Overall im looking for a new masterkeyboard to fill the studio. i just want an excellent keybed, and a flat top to keep my fadars, qwerty keyboard, touch screens close. the gimmicky in board pads and stuff just get in my way, thats what drew me to the doepfer.

ive purchased and returned:

-Akai MPK88 *updated* the mpk88 was the first one i bought and i was immediately dissapointed. "weighted keys" . they didnt feel weighted at all, just very hard to push like they had really strong springs under them. its like you gotta shove the keys down, makes it so hard to play soft or just normal if your'e playing something like a piano patch etc. when the keys would hit they were pretty loud, sounded like little steel mallets haha. Literally every board i played after was more preferable. the drum pads were crap too. dont be mistaken, this is not part of the MPK2-- series of which they did not make an 88 for. i have an MPK249 that works nicely for what it is, drum pads work much better than the MPK88's did.

-Doepfer LMK4+ loved the frame, fit perfectly parallel to my desk so i could keep all my equipment right in front of me, keys had a very light feeling, like that of my real upright piano, but were (themself) pretty loud and could not seem to get the velocity adjustment right, not bad, just not perfect. maybe downloading the software editor will work better than the inboard settings?

-Kurzweil PC3K8 USED even though it uses the same tp/40gh keybed as doepfer it felt way harder, a stuck feeling like it has honey in the keybed, though it was used so maybe that was just my model. all the buttons just got in the way, and slanted surface was annoying for my mouse, additional tools, etc.

-YamahaMONTAGE8 USED *updated* Nicest uniform weighted keybed ive ever played. one of the keys were bent an inch upward on arrival, like i said, it was used. amazing peice of tech, but for the money it just wasn't ment to be used as only a midi controller. all the on board buttons and controls were just in the way of sitting my own equipment on it. plus the MONTAGE8 doesnt really support any DAW interaction. you can make it happen, its just not really designed for it. its better purposed for live usage of the tons of inboard sounds and awesome synth distorting controls which were a joy to just sit and play with.

-RolandA88 *updated* it was just very basic compared to other boards at its price. the keys felt odd, like a rubbery mushy cushioned feeling when you'd push down. almost like they put too much padding to quiet the keys. i also didnt like that you couldnt change the velocity curve (as far as i could tell), all my vsti's were playing really quiet, unless i reeeally hit the keys. also the d-beam worked horribly but that was just a gimmicky inclusion anyway, i dont think anyone was buying it for that hah. and ive just never been a fan of the spring lever mod/pitch joystick thing. the only thing i did like was it had a flat top with no controls on it, so i could align it with my desk and keep my other equipment right there in front of me. or tuck the keybaord right under the desk. but the doepfer can do that too, with much more pro's to it, so.

-Studiologic SL88 Grand *updated* fatar tp/woodGH keybed very quiet, had veeery slight sticking on black keys but not bad/ joice stick controls annoying because they were so small, but doable. nice easy computer interface software, very nice being able to draw my own custom velocity curves and set any cc control you could want to any stick or pedal. its also worth stating that you can adjust the black keys response RATIO to the white keys. this is different than just reducing the velocity on the black keys from 127 to say 117. both the white and black keys stay with their full 127 range, it just wanes how hard you need to push to reach it. midi signal would sometimes randomly shoot off too loud or quiet, sometimes very hard to get any velocity variance at all. i think it was a faulty model. if you buy one pay attention to the slight resistance the keys have when you go to push during softer playing. its very slight, but enough that you'll notice it in the black keys. it personally annoyed me, but it might have just been my model, because mine was also sending strange velocity volumes here and there. after contacting the company they told me it was not a common problem with these boards. so id try for yourself and see.

-tested a couple other workstations and digital pianos at local guitar center, though i cant comment on their computer DAW cooperativeness.

- NI Komplete Kontrol havent bothered trying it because it has the lesser quality fatar tp/100L keybed which ive heard negative things about, and though it is flat and thin, the knobs are right in the middle of the board where a damn qwerty keyboard should rest hah. plus the touch mod and pitch supposedly go bad, and according to many reviews the DAW communication is horrible with anything other than an NI or Komplete Kontrol integrated VST and the support team is terrible.

today i saw the Kawaii VPC1. would have been great if it didnt have that ridiculously giant back part attatched to it. its too tall to place parallel with a desk without the keys being way to low to play. id remove it from its case but i dont know how, or if itd make a difference. keybed quality looks perfect according to some reviews. though some people complained about uneven key spacing. wish it at least had a pitch wheel but its fine.

if youd like me to elaborate on any of these boards just ask.
so, where are my Doepfer people at?
 
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munician

Member
Alright, I'm here, I'm here...

I'm using a LMK2+, and this is my second one. The first one I gave up on because the key contacts were giving up on me, but it was a different keybed, so it doesn't apply...

My current one I've had for many years. Yes, it's noisy, but I've gotten used to it, the action feels good - I'm not a pianist, though. But I have played enough keyboards to know that I want it to be close to a real piano. I don't gig with it and never move it. Except for taking it to the shop...

The small size is great, the velocity curves work - for me, that is - the fancier stuff like the splits I never use, I do it in Logic.

Unfortunately I keep having problems over the years that keep me thinking about a different master keyboard - the most annoying one being some keys not outputting MIDI properly. Like yesterday - C#2 , a note I desparetely need for my Fminor thing...
so I guess I'll unplug the thing, get out the screwdriver, take it apart, unplug the cables inside - while remembering well which one goes where - a mistake well made before - take the keybed out, take the bad key off and the neighboring ones as well, curse a little because those little springies jump all over the place and wiggle that rubber protection cap of the key, maybe apply a little canned air. Then put it back together, takes me about an hour, including coffee break.
It's not that I really know what I'm doing but it has always worked. For a while.
I did take the thing a couple of times directly to Doepfer since I live half an hour from them - they are really nice people and repaired it well but it keeps happening...
So - I've also been looking for a different master keyboard and haven't really found one I like. The closest I've come - also sizewise - were some digital pianos but I need the wheels...I'd be grateful for any ideas.

Now that I've written this I think I'll transpose that Fminor thing...
 

Greg

Senior Member
I've had the LMK4 and the SL990. I really dislike the clunking noise from the LMK4 too. Will probably take it out of the case soon. I kinda expected the LMK4 to be the perfect master keyboard, but I think there is room to improve on the feel and response.

SL990 was okay too but slightly worse velocity curve. Seemed like it had very little response range. But it was quiet and cheap, $250 used.
 
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FrankIV

New Member
Alright, I'm here, I'm here...

I'm using a LMK2+, and this is my second one. The first one I gave up on because the key contacts were giving up on me, but it was a different keybed, so it doesn't apply...

My current one I've had for many years. Yes, it's noisy, but I've gotten used to it, the action feels good - I'm not a pianist, though. But I have played enough keyboards to know that I want it to be close to a real piano. I don't gig with it and never move it. Except for taking it to the shop...

The small size is great, the velocity curves work - for me, that is - the fancier stuff like the splits I never use, I do it in Logic.

Unfortunately I keep having problems over the years that keep me thinking about a different master keyboard - the most annoying one being some keys not outputting MIDI properly. Like yesterday - C#2 , a note I desparetely need for my Fminor thing...
so I guess I'll unplug the thing, get out the screwdriver, take it apart, unplug the cables inside - while remembering well which one goes where - a mistake well made before - take the keybed out, take the bad key off and the neighboring ones as well, curse a little because those little springies jump all over the place and wiggle that rubber protection cap of the key, maybe apply a little canned air. Then put it back together, takes me about an hour, including coffee break.
It's not that I really know what I'm doing but it has always worked. For a while.
I did take the thing a couple of times directly to Doepfer since I live half an hour from them - they are really nice people and repaired it well but it keeps happening...
So - I've also been looking for a different master keyboard and haven't really found one I like. The closest I've come - also sizewise - were some digital pianos but I need the wheels...I'd be grateful for any ideas.

Now that I've written this I think I'll transpose that Fminor thing...

Thats actually my biggest fear with the doepfers, is the keys becoming unresponsive after a time. i live in the USA, and when i received mine from germany it had an unresponsive mushy feeling top key. that was why i sent it back. doepfer blamed UPS's shipping (ups is really rough on keyboards most of the time), but ive seen a couple people complain about unresponsive midi problems just like you have. i really wish doepfer would just update their boards again. you know if they did some updates to the keybed they could have a board that far exceeds the other brands again. not trying to sound like im hating on them. after all this is the board at the top of my consideration to buy over the others.
 
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FrankIV

New Member
I've had the LMK4 and the SL990. I really dislike the clunking noise from the LMK4 too. Will probably take it out of the case soon. I kinda expected the LMK4 to be the perfect master keyboard, but I think there is room to improve on the feel and response.

SL990 was okay too but slightly worse velocity curve. Seemed like it had very little response range. But it was quiet and cheap, $250 used.
would removing it from the case reduce the noise? ive been considering buying it to remove it from its case as well, maybe into a custom desk tray, though ive never removed a keybed before. i thought maybe the loud knocking of the keys is from it resonating right against the hollow case.

something ive also theorized just form studying the fatar tp/40gh in the doepfers, against the fatar tp/40wood, the wood one seems to have little felt pads at some of the contact points, where the tp/40gh does not. the StudiologicSL88 Grand had the tp/40wood and it was the most quiet keys ive ever hit, i just really didnt like the slight sticking of the balck keys when i go to play lightly on them. maybe if i just opened the case to insert some felt pads it could fix the noise. only problem is it might cause issues to the distance the key needs to travel for a correct velocity response. though i did read the tp/40GH uses rubber contacts. so maybe just take out which ever rubber points are causing noise, and replace them with felt?
 
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FrankIV

New Member
i did get this response from doepfer's keyboard department. though, at the time i was simply asking if removing the foam at the top of the keys and replacing it with foam would reduce noise. so this response is unrelated to my last comment on here.


"When designing the LMK4+ our primary objective was low weight and small dimensions for easy portability. To achieve this, the keybed and electronic components are built directly into the flight casewithout any second inner case. The structure-borne sound, caused by direct mechanical contact of the keybed frame with the wooden case, cannot be reduced with foam or felt. The only solution would beto build a new cabinet from massive wooden panels which would increase the total weight dramatically. For custom builder we sell the keybed and midi electronics even without flight case.


The LMK4+ editor software is not a Döpfer product but it was programmed by one of our customers, Michael Reukauff. Unfortunately his website is only in german language. An englisch site is unknown tome.


Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Kind Regards

Matthias Marass"
 

Maestro1972

Active Member
Wow! this is an eye-opener! :sad: I have been seriously considering either the LMK2 and LMK4 because my MPK88 is so clunky...sounds like I would have regretted that decision...one clunky noisy keyboard to another.
 
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FrankIV

New Member
Wow! this is an eye-opener! :sad: I have been seriously considering either the LMK2 and LMK4 because my MPK88 is so clunky...sounds like I would have regretted that decision...one clunky noisy keyboard to another.
i should clarify. the LMK4+ felt waaay better than the mpk88 in my opinion. the mpk88 was the first one i bought and i was immediately dissapointed. its like you gotta shove the keys down, makes it so hard to play soft or just normal if youre playing something like a piano patch etc. And yea when the keys would hit they sounded like steel mallets haha. Literally every board i played after was more preferable. im considering the LMK4+ again because it had one of the best light balanced feelings in the keys. and as i said in my original comment; the doepfer LMK4+ and the Kurzweil PC3k8 both use a fatar tp/40GH keybed, but the kurzweil was sticky and hard to push, totally different feeling (though, mine was a used board). im a very hard critic on keybeds as you can tell.

if you have easy access to a doepfer i would absolutly try one. if not, other than the doepfer my favorite was the StudiologicSL88 Grand. make sure its the GRAND version because thats the one that uses the fatar tp/Wood keybed. it was super quiet. i just think mine may have been a faulty model.
 

5Lives

Senior Member
Disappointing to hear your thoughts on the Roland A-88. I am trying to decide between the SL88 Grand and that. Or perhaps a Doepfer?
 
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FrankIV

New Member
Disappointing to hear your thoughts on the Roland A-88. I am trying to decide between the SL88 Grand and that. Or perhaps a Doepfer?
it really all depends on your needs. the roland wasnt too bad honestly. it was just very basic compared to other boards at its price. the keys felt odd, like a rubbery cushioned feeling when you'd push down. almost like they put too much padding to quiet the keys. i also didnt like that you couldnt change the velocity curve (as far as i could tell), all my vsti's were playing really quiet, unless i reeeally hit the keys. also the d-beam worked horribly but that was just a gimmicky inclusion anyway, i dont think anyone was buying it for that hah. and ive just never been a fan of the spring lever mod/pitch thing. the only thing i did like was it had a flat top with no controls on it, so i could align it with my desk and keep my other equipment right there in front of me. or tuck the keybaord right under the desk. but the doepfer can do that too, with much more pro's to it, so.

i would totally go for the doepfer or SL88 Grand instead, but the keybed thing really comes down to preferred feel.
 
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FrankIV

New Member
ive mentioned the Studiologic SL88 Grand a couple times so ill just state:

if you buy one pay attention to the slight resistance the keys have when you go to push during softer playing. its very slight, but enough that you'll notice it in the black keys. it personally annoyed me, but it might have just been my model, because mine was also sending strange velocity volumes here and there. after contacting the company they told me it was not a common problem with these boards
 

bc3po

Member
Haven't gotten the velocity settings on the LMK2 or LMK4 correct. Plus, for whatever reason, the black keys register velocities hotter.
 
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FrankIV

New Member
Haven't gotten the velocity settings on the LMK2 or LMK4 correct. Plus, for whatever reason, the black keys register velocities hotter.
ive noticed the black key problem too. the doepfer site actually states its somewhere. there is a setting on the doepfer LMK4+ that allows you to reduce the black keys velocity range to account for the problem, i dont know if the LMK2+ has it. example: 127 reduced to 117. though, personally it just kind of felt like a velocity max volume cutoff more than a response reducer. i just updated my review on the studiologic sl88 grand on my origional post up there, id read it. it actually has a black to white key ratio adjuster

let me know if adjusting the black keys on the doepfer made a difference for you, because it's been a couple months since i played it and id like to know if the experience is the same for you.
 

bc3po

Member
ive noticed the black key problem too. the doepfer site actually states its somewhere. there is a setting on the doepfer LMK4+ that allows you to reduce the black keys velocity range to account for the problem, i dont know if the LMK2+ has it. example: 127 reduced to 117. though, personally it just kind of felt like a velocity max volume cutoff more than a response reducer. i just updated my review on the studiologic sl88 grand on my origional post up there, id read it. it actually has a black to white key ratio adjuster

let me know if adjusting the black keys on the doepfer made a difference for you, because it's been a couple months since i played it and id like to know if the experience is the same for you.
Ah... Interesting. Do you remember the setting?
 
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FrankIV

New Member
Ah... Interesting. Do you remember the setting?
i dont have the manuel anymore, but off my memory im pretty sure you hit the 'split' or 'CTR' button. then under one of those two menus, hit either button 4,5,or 6, on either the 'Bank' or 'NR' lane. Pretty sure it was on the 'bank' lane. but youll see in the little digital read out, itll say something like "blk key lvl". then use the big knob to turn it down from 127 to whatever you like.

afterwords, pay attention to if it feels like the volume of the note youre playing is either harder to play, or if it just suddenly hits a volume ceiling that doesnt let it go any higher
 
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Greg

Senior Member
RE: Removing the Lmk4 from its case

It's definitely possible to do without a replacement case of some sort. I did it with the same keybed in my SL990 and the steel frame for the keys rests perfectly on my Z type keyboard stand. It has to be positioned right to avoid clanking but it works great.

Heres what it looks like under the keys if you're curious
https://goo.gl/photos/cyfXUn3wJdAWZdfS7

However, I think the lmk4 key bed needs the felt pads to reduce the clunking sounds, doesn't look like it contacts the case at all.
 
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FrankIV

New Member
RE: Removing the Lmk4 from its case

It's definitely possible to do without a replacement case of some sort. I did it with the same keybed in my SL990 and the steel frame for the keys rests perfectly on my Z type keyboard stand. It has to be positioned right to avoid clanking but it works great.

Heres what it looks like under the keys if you're curious
https://goo.gl/photos/cyfXUn3wJdAWZdfS7

However, I think the lmk4 key bed needs the felt pads to reduce the clunking sounds, doesn't look like it contacts the case at all.
I appreciate the picture man! I can see what you mean, it would sit perfectly flat on a desk tray. Do you need to regularly air spray it to stop dust from damaging it, being that it is so exposed? thats my only concern with removing it.

so since the keybed doesn't seem to be hitting any part of the casing directly, technically adding felt to certain contact points in the keybed and patching it all back up in the case would probably be the best way to quiet it?
 

Greg

Senior Member
I appreciate the picture man! I can see what you mean, it would sit perfectly flat on a desk tray. Do you need to regularly air spray it to stop dust from damaging it, being that it is so exposed? thats my only concern with removing it.

so since the keybed doesn't seem to be hitting any part of the casing directly, technically adding felt to certain contact points in the keybed and patching it all back up in the case would probably be the best way to quiet it?
I haven't had the dust problem and I've used it that way for 4 years. The contact points to the circuit board look pretty enclosed with a plastic bit. It would take either some disassembly or inventiveness to install new felt strips yourself. Seems like it will be an awkward but not impossible job.

Felt strips picture
https://goo.gl/photos/AS1A5y7FPKy9k2ax9
 
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FrankIV

New Member
I haven't had the dust problem and I've used it that way for 4 years. The contact points to the circuit board look pretty enclosed with a plastic bit. It would take either some disassembly or inventiveness to install new felt strips yourself. Seems like it will be an awkward but not impossible job.

Felt strips picture
https://goo.gl/photos/AS1A5y7FPKy9k2ax9

ah i see. i hadn't noticed that its very felted up already. i guess i should just remove the keybed and install it right into a custom built desk tray like i was originally thinking. still i wonder if that would have any effect on noise reduction. according to mr. marass at doepfer it might, because the keybed would be anchored on a thicker, more stable surface. and this guy from another forum seemed to have the same claim.

"As for LMK4 keys being rather loud, the way to get rid of that is to buy it without the case and build it into a desk yourself, this way you can have some dampening material under the keyboard and silence the mechanic."
 

Greg

Senior Member
"As for LMK4 keys being rather loud, the way to get rid of that is to buy it without the case and build it into a desk yourself, this way you can have some dampening material under the keyboard and silence the mechanic."
I'd agree with that solution too. :)