Doepfer LMK4 overrated?

Gerhard Westphalen

Scoring Mixer
The keyboard doesn't make any more noise than comparable keyboards. In fact, it has been the quietest of my fully-weighted keyboards.
I think that depends largely on where you put it since it doesn't have a case to absorb those impacts. I had one directly on a metal stand and you could feel the thumping on the floor. If you were to build it into a hefty desk I imagine it could be near silent.


KSP Wizard
@EvilDragon +1 for RD2000. Keybed action great. But I may be being abit dense but have been unable to assign the faders to multiple CC values. Spoke to Roland UK and they couldnt help. Would love to hear how because it seems crazy to have those faders and only able to assign to all the same CC value. Hopefully it is just me.
They don't seem to be assignable to separate CC values for each zone. That's something that Kurzweils do.
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Senior Member
As to the title of this thread, it depends what you are looking for in your master keyboard. I guess Doepfer are popular because people see them being used at Remote Control. If a sturdy case is the most important point for you in your masterkeyboard, or an easy dissassembly, a Doepfer is a good choice. If the actual keys are most important to you, they are not. You can buy the exact same mediocre keybed at half the price of a Doepfer. It will come in a cheaper, less sturdy case, but the keys are identical. And you can buy vastly superior keybeds (superior in the sense of closer to a real piano feeling) for the same price as a Doepfer.


Julien Duc
For any reason the m-audio oxygen 88 is overlooked although it's a more than decent keyboard at a very good price point.


Senior Member
You can buy the exact same mediocre keybed at half the price of a Doepfer. It will come in a cheaper, less sturdy case, but the keys are identical.
You know, I've read this in many places but it's the whole thing that matters. I don't care about the cost at this actually low price range (spent much more on my old Kurzweil than on the Doepfer). It's the overall quality and flexibility that matters for someone working daily.

I'm not saying the Doepfer is the only one out there -- a number of great-looking keyboards have been released since I bought mine. But really I could hardly believe how few were, overall, acceptable for anyone trying to work even at an amateur level.

Overall acceptability defined as:
  • programmable (velocity curves, zones, sliders / wheels all can be assigned the way you like),
  • solid hardware,
  • multiple CC controls
  • repairable
I tried a lot of other keyboards in stores in Los Angeles and I was shocked at what garbage many of them were.

"Garbage" defined as:
  • random cc signals coming from one or more wheels or sliders;
  • controllers like pitch bend or joysticks not returning to zero and / or loose;
  • uneven action (keybeds, including some of the Fatar ones I tried, are not always uniform from one octave to another);
  • rattling or loose-feeling controls and keys.
The RD-2000 looks great; not sure when it was first released but don't remember hearing of it during my own search some years back. It costs more than I paid for the Doepfer, though the price wouldn't have been a barrier, considering that the last keyboard worked for almost 20 years. The Roland offers far more buttons than any Doepfer, so that's nice, though the mod wheel looks a bit of a reach. And I have always liked their keyboards. The manual also is very clear, a big plus.

So I would certainly look at the Roland if I were in the market today.


Senior Member
@chimuelo was loving the Physis K4 a year or so ago. Might check it out; there's a K5 as well. Tons o' buttons, and comparable in price to the Roland.


Active Member
@JohnG The RD2000 was only released in April this year so is pretty new. It works for me but then I use it away from the studio too. However, each to their own and you can only work that out if you try the action IMHO. As for the Roland manual - I'm not impressed TBH. One of the (smaller) reasons I bought this was so I could use the sliders for CC work but as I've not been able implement that I've made do with having the 2 mod wheels do what I need for now. One serious bonus though - and this is mostly going to be irrelevant if you're not after a stage piano - is that the piano sounds are a joy to play to the extent that I don't keep rushing to load up Ivory everytime I boot up.


Star Of Stage & Screen
I use the semi weighted action since the gigs I do require lots of Zoning in real time with occasional Piano.

The Physis K4 is more of a Master MIDI Controller.
2 x MIDI In, 8 x MIDI Out.
8 x Continuos CC Pedals.
2 x USB In, 4 x USB Out.
128 Performances, 4 Scenes each.
8 zones, hardware transport for DAW using, MMC or CC.
4 x banks of 9 buttons, 9 faders, 9 knobs.
Each scene gets all above reassigned.

Nothing else comes close, but guys wanting to play Piano all night.
The RD2000 is pretty sweet. Much lighter than the Kawai MPs.
But a cheap alternative is the Casio PX-5X.
Nice 4 zone layout, decen5 action, lightweight and size..

Nathanael Iversen

Active Member
The RD-2000 has a wonderful weighted action. Best that I've played recently. If you want it to be close to a real piano, I don't think you can do better except maybe the Kawai MP-11 (which is massive, heavy, and doesn't have the controllers...)


Uk Computer
I'll be in the market for a new 88 note soon since my early 90's SL880 is slowly coming to a halt. It's been great although the keys are a but too big for me compared to my Challen upright and they now really clunk about. I've taken it apart every year and given it a clean up and I was looking at the Doepfer LMK 4 as an alternative. I've looked at the NI 88 too but too many wizzy bits on it for me, I just need a nice weighted feel, I have a set of faders for everything else.


Senior Member
As for the Roland manual - I'm not impressed TBH
If you want to feel better about your Roland manual, check out the Doepfer manual. It's accurate, but the transliterated German and layout is enough to make you want to find alternative employment. I actually posted my "alternative" instructions for a few things on the forum here in the past.


Uk Computer
What I find most un-natural about a lot of keybeds is the height. Compared to a real piano some are twice the height, I'm looking for something with low keys. Mod whell, Pitch, 88 note, aftertouch and zones plus a nice feel keybed. Any suggestion? Based on Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL and Christian Henson I've seen the Doepfer in all their studios at some point and just assumed that would be the obvious choice.


Senior Member
Based on Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL and Christian Henson I've seen the Doepfer in all their studios at some point and just assumed that would be the obvious choice.
My experience is that the Doepfer is serviceable, but not a dream come true.

If I were buying today, I'd look at recent offerings including those from Native Instruments and Roland's RD-2000 and the Physis K4. Mind you, I haven't looked at those, so I can't recommend them and am not recommending them, but I wouldn't get stuck on Doepfer.


Uk Computer
Thanks for the info John, I guess I just need to try them and whittle them down to a few to choose between. I have other Doepfer gear and it's made well in my opinion so just thought maybe that would extend to everything they made.


Uk Computer
Just wanted to add, these are far more than just midi controllers and probably overkill for what I need. Not looking for anything onboard, just a nice keybed to play my samples and midi units.

My search continues