Tried the new NI S88 Mark 2. Keyboard still doesn't feel good.

Lee Blaske

Senior Member
FWIW the VPC1 has pedal inputs and it comes with a three pedal unit with half damper function. It also has MIDI in/out connectors and USB. What it doesn't have is any knobs of faders.
Yes, it has the traditional three pedal piano setup (to be used with the triple pedal they designed). It doesn't have a pedal input for controlling expression/volume, or pitch bend/mod wheel, or as you said, any knobs or faders. It's really designed to be like an acoustic piano, and that's it. Really does that job well, though.
 

spacepluk

New Member
It definitely does, I’m super happy with mine :) I have a separate controller on top (kk s61 mk2) for the knobs, expression pedals, etc. and that’s a really good combination imho.
 

Lee Blaske

Senior Member
It definitely does, I’m super happy with mine :) I have a separate controller on top (kk s61 mk2) for the knobs, expression pedals, etc. and that’s a really good combination imho.
That sounds like a good combination. I've thought of adding some MIDI Solutions products to mine. There's also that Palette Gear stuff.

I have to admit that I got a ridiculously good deal on my Kawai VPC1. It was listed on eBay as freight damaged, for parts only, untested with broken keys. When I got it, I quickly saw that all that was wrong with it was that it had been dropped on the front key edge. Ordered a new one from Kawai for around $70, and I had essentially a brand-new, mint condition VPC1 for about $250. I've actually seen a lot of them come up freight damaged on eBay, but most of them are damaged more severely. Kawai really needs to rethink their shipping container.
 

Levon

Active Member
It definitely does, I’m super happy with mine :) I have a separate controller on top (kk s61 mk2) for the knobs, expression pedals, etc. and that’s a really good combination imho.
I do have concerns about the build quality of the NI SS88 which is what is delaying my purchase of it. I'm considering a 2 keyboard alternative, with the Roland A88 and the NI SS49 to give me access to the NKS functions.
 

emilio_n

Active Member
I haven't tried one yet, but you might want to take a close look at the new Roland A88MkII, if the size fits your work setup. MIDI 2.0, so it's future proof. And, the construction and action of it is getting rave reviews (they're actually using wood!). About $1k, like the S88MkII, but most of the money you're paying for the Roland is actually going into the keyboard action, NOT the display screens.

Again, I haven't tried it, and I haven't had one apart to look at the construction, but I have a better feeling about the larger companies that have the deep pockets to really design and manufacture their own action, rather than buy an inexpensive Fatar or Mendeli action and shoehorn it into their product.
The New Roland A-88 Mk2 looks very nice choice. I think I can live without the NKS if the keys are better. My only concern is the mod wheel for dynamics. What do you think?
 

Lee Blaske

Senior Member
The New Roland A-88 Mk2 looks very nice choice. I think I can live without the NKS if the keys are better. My only concern is the mod wheel for dynamics. What do you think?
Personally, for pitch bend and adding LFO vibrato, I'm fine with either wheels, or more of a joy stick. The drawback, though, is if you want to use a mod wheel (that doesn't have a spring return) to set Expression (#11) and leave it at a certain position. If the control is spring loaded and snaps back, you can't set it to a specific expression. On the A88Mk2, though, you could use one of the rotary controls to do that. Or, use a foot pedal controller (personally, I've played a lot of Hammond B-3, so controlling volume for me with a foot pedal is pretty natural for me). But then, you'd have to decide if you just wanted to control Expression #11, or Expression #11 and Volume/Dynamics #7. For me, it depends on the VI. With some, I only want to control expression. With others, I might like to control both. One quite unique thing about that A88Mk2 is that it has a sustain pedal input, but then, it has not one but two additional controller inputs. So, you could conceivably use two variable foot pedals. One for MIDI #11, and one for MIDI #7. Adding wind control with a TECControl would also be another option. Lots of ways to get things done. I guess that's why there really is not MIDI keyboard controller that everybody is using. We've all got various tastes and preferences.

I will say, when it was working, the touch strip on the S88MkII was handy for specifying vibrato amount.

OTOH, I've discovered that a joystick that isn't spring loaded (like the additional one on the Kronos) is really idea for vibrato control with instruments that can control speed and depth. You can set speed on one axis, and depth on the other, and really get a handle on things with a single control.
 

emilio_n

Active Member
Personally, for pitch bend and adding LFO vibrato, I'm fine with either wheels, or more of a joy stick. The drawback, though, is if you want to use a mod wheel (that doesn't have a spring return) to set Expression (#11) and leave it at a certain position. If the control is spring loaded and snaps back, you can't set it to a specific expression. On the A88Mk2, though, you could use one of the rotary controls to do that. Or, use a foot pedal controller (personally, I've played a lot of Hammond B-3, so controlling volume for me with a foot pedal is pretty natural for me). But then, you'd have to decide if you just wanted to control Expression #11, or Expression #11 and Volume/Dynamics #7. For me, it depends on the VI. With some, I only want to control expression. With others, I might like to control both. One quite unique thing about that A88Mk2 is that it has a sustain pedal input, but then, it has not one but two additional controller inputs. So, you could conceivably use two variable foot pedals. One for MIDI #11, and one for MIDI #7. Adding wind control with a TECControl would also be another option. Lots of ways to get things done. I guess that's why there really is not MIDI keyboard controller that everybody is using. We've all got various tastes and preferences.

I will say, when it was working, the touch strip on the S88MkII was handy for specifying vibrato amount.

OTOH, I've discovered that a joystick that isn't spring loaded (like the additional one on the Kronos) is really idea for vibrato control with instruments that can control speed and depth. You can set speed on one axis, and depth on the other, and really get a handle on things with a single control.
I think using the foot pedals is the best way. Just I will need to practice a lot before I can do it properly!
 

dcoscina

Senior Member
The New Roland A-88 Mk2 looks very nice choice. I think I can live without the NKS if the keys are better. My only concern is the mod wheel for dynamics. What do you think?
Yeah that lever is annoying. My work around was to assign one of its 8 programmable knobs today Cc1. Using their software you can also program the backlit light color on the knobs and pads. Very cool.
Conversely there is enough room for a Korg NanoKontrol above the keyboard. I tried that too.