What's your preferred MIDI controller keyboard?

Tim Clarke

New Member
Hi friends! I'm having loads of trouble with my current controller (M-Audio Axiom 61). Time to upgrade and not look back. I'm looking for a 61 key synth feel for my home studio (no live use).

What are you liking these days? I'm tempted by the Roland A-800 Pro series; I've always liked Roland (had an A-50 that was great back in the '90's), but the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol looks great, as does the less expensive Arturia Keylab mkII.

BTW - for anybody considering M-Audio Axiom series keyboards, I've personally witnessed around 10 of these (various models) suffer from various issues, most often related to faulty pitch-bend wheel design, where you constantly get pitch bend data (not the value you want!) sent to whatever tracks you have highlighted in your DAW! Royal PITA!

Looking for advice in case there are any issues like that pitch bend issue with the Axioms...man, I do not want to go down that road again.
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
I personally would be inclined to look at synths with sounds I can use rather than 5-octave unweighted controller keyboards. They're the same price range and offer no disadvantages.

88-key controllers are a different matter, although my controller is also a "workstation" (Kurzweil K2500).
 
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Tim Clarke

New Member
Good point--any particular synth come to mind right away? Due to my space limitations I can't use a big Kurzweil unfortunately!
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
To be honest, I haven't looked at the hardware synths that are available right now.

But I also know that a lot of people like the instruments you mentioned, so that's an argument against what I'm saying.
 

bill5

Active Member
Hi friends! I'm having loads of trouble with my current controller (M-Audio Axiom 61). Time to upgrade and not look back. I'm looking for a 61 key synth feel for my home studio (no live use).

What are you liking these days? I'm tempted by the Roland A-800 Pro series; I've always liked Roland (had an A-50 that was great back in the '90's), but the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol looks great, as does the less expensive Arturia Keylab mkII.

BTW - for anybody considering M-Audio Axiom series keyboards, I've personally witnessed around 10 of these (various models) suffer from various issues, most often related to faulty pitch-bend wheel design, where you constantly get pitch bend data (not the value you want!) sent to whatever tracks you have highlighted in your DAW! Royal PITA!

Looking for advice in case there are any issues like that pitch bend issue with the Axioms...man, I do not want to go down that road again.
I've been window shopping for awhile now and from what I've seen and heard, Roland is probably a best bet if you're willing to spend the extra money...I'm a cheapskate so have been looking at less :) The Nektar LX and GX seem to have a lot of happy customers and would probably be my choice for a synth action. The Novation Launchkey is another option, but haven't heard much on it. Finally the little-known Swissonic controllers intrigue me and appear to be well thought of...and the 88 key version has aftertouch, which is hard to find these days at any price point for a MIDI controller (or any keyboard at all for that matter, unless you spend crazy amounts of money).
 

hbjdk

Member
I have a Roland A-49, it's a nice keyboard. Keys are good, same with build quality, but it comes with Roland's infamous little joystick instead of a separate pitch bend and modwheel, so make sure you can live with that.
 

bill5

Active Member
Live with? I love that and hate the wheels. Hell that's a big reason why I'd opt for a Roland. I wish to God companies would at least start making that modular so we could choose. The only thing I don't like about the joystick is it looks like it was designed for Lilliputians. Why they're so silly tiny I'll never know...
 

hbjdk

Member
Live with? I love that and hate the wheels. Hell that's a big reason why I'd opt for a Roland. I wish to God companies would at least start making that modular so we could choose. The only thing I don't like about the joystick is it looks like it was designed for Lilliputians. Why they're so silly tiny I'll never know...
I actually like it too, I just can't use it very well (tennis elbow etc.), just thought I'd mention it so OP was aware of it. Many people absolutely hate the joystick and yeah it's kinda small!
 

LudovicVDP

Member
I have the first version of the Nektar LX88 (They have a 61 key as well if I'm not mistaken)
Awful to play with if piano is your thing
BUT!
You're not looking for a piano feel. :)
And for all the rest: price, size, integration with Cubase (only one I have experience with so can't judge with other DAWs), support (very fast and helpful) -> It's excellent.

If it should die on me, I'd probably buy another one immediately.
 
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Tim Clarke

New Member
Just to circle back with anyone interested in this topic: I ended up getting the Native Instruments A61 at my local Guitar Center. I got a floor model at the sale price that ended a week or two ago - $209. I actually prefer a mod wheel (which I remember the old Roland A-50 having!), although I was ready to buy the Roland based on how much of a workhorse the old A-50 was.

They didn't have the 61 key Roland, and I need at least 61 keys. The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol system is pretty interesting (if a bit frustrating). More importantly, it plays with Logic Pro X nicely, automapping the controls without any effort, so I can use the onboard transport etc.
 
Just to circle back with anyone interested in this topic: I ended up getting the Native Instruments A61 at my local Guitar Center. I got a floor model at the sale price that ended a week or two ago - $209. I actually prefer a mod wheel (which I remember the old Roland A-50 having!), although I was ready to buy the Roland based on how much of a workhorse the old A-50 was.

They didn't have the 61 key Roland, and I need at least 61 keys. The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol system is pretty interesting (if a bit frustrating). More importantly, it plays with Logic Pro X nicely, automapping the controls without any effort, so I can use the onboard transport etc.
How do you like the A61? I’m thinking about picking that up myself
 
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Tim Clarke

New Member
I've only had it a few days now but so far I love it. Price wise, it's way cheaper than the older s series and I actually like the simpler stripped down approach . You still get the Komplete Kontrol features and enough onboard controllers to make a difference in workflow . I have a separate MIDI fader box (Korg Nanocontrol Studio) so I don't want faders on my controller...