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Reliable MIDI keyboards?

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  • Reliable MIDI keyboards?

    Recently I've been looking at getting a MIDI keyboard. I'm used to playing a full 88-key piano, so I've mostly been looking at the 61-88 key ones. I was looking at the Nektar Impakt LX88+ for a looks like a good 88-key keyboard, but it's so expensive...then again, I can afford it (barely).
    Maybe you all have some suggestions? The two main things I look for in a keyboard are a full range of keys (61 keys, but 88 is better,) and reliability (I want the keyboard to last a long time.)
    I have the space & funds for a decent MIDI keyboard, but I really don't want to rush into a purchase.

    Thanks AO!

  • #2
    I'm afraid that my keyboard skills are somewhat limited so I went cheap with 49 key Acorn Masterkey keyboard. I just needed something basic to allow me to improve some stuff into my DAW. No weighted keys and quality isn't that great really. But, like I said, it was cheap, and suits my needs.

    If I had an unlimited budget I think I would go for the Roland A-88... Good spec, IMO, and looks nice and compact, for an 88 key beast

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    • #3
      I have just gone with the Nektar Impakt lx49+ and am very pleased with how it works with Reaper - very easy to setup parameter controls and so on. Keyboard is a little strange in feel but as I am not a keyboard player that doesnt matter to me. It was one of the cheaper ones in my country (Australia) - about $300 US for the 61 key version


      • #4
        The new Arturia Keylab Essential series from Arturia looks good. Haven't tried one though.
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        • #5
          I think the Nektar is actually towards the lower end of the market price-wise so not sure what else you'll find out there (M-Audio etc maybe). If controls (knobs, faders etc) aren't a priority then it could be worth looking at lower end digital pianos; a friend told me the pricing seemed crazy, you can get a basic piano with a better feeling keyboard for less than a 'midi controller', I guess the latter are hipper and they can get more for them or something. Obviously make sure it has midi out though...
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          • #6
            +1 for Nektar here. I have the 49 key impact keyboard, no problems with it, plenty of faders, knobs, buttons, and pads for my needs. Quality is great.


            • #7
              Although it is an older model, I have to give props to the M-Audio Axiom Pro 61. I had my model for years, and had no complaints about its performance- and in fact, still have it, although I'm now using my Korg Kronos as a midi keyboard- it is also dependant on how good the driver is that comes with your particular model- the first thing to do when obtaining a midi keyboard is to go to the website support page and look for the latest midi driver for that model. I used Reason and Ableton Live a lot, for which the Axiom Pro driver has integrated support. If you use those, you can start and stop the track you're working on remotely from the keyboard.


              • #8
                I use The Laboratory 49 key from Arturia, which is now several generations old.

                On the plus side, it has worked without issue for more than 5 years now. It has a metal case bordered by wood with plastic keys. It has weight to it and feels substantial. I like the aftertouch. The knobs rotate smoothly.

                On the minus side, the sliders are loose and cheap feeling (but work fine). When I first unboxed it, there was a loose piece of plastic left over from manufacture that kept two keys from operating (fixed by opening it up and removing). Also, the metal bars for one of the keys was unattached (fixed by regluing). They are also on the expensive side.

                Not certain I'd give a heart-felt endorsement for Arturia hardware; but beyond the manufacturing errors, both of which were easily corrected, it's performed well and I do not regret the purchase.

                I bought my son a Novation Launchkey 49 last Christmas. It is plastic with a lighter feel, but has worked reliably. He enjoys it and the few times I have used it it seemed nice.


                • #9
                  Thanks for the advice everyone. I ended up going with the Nektar Impact LX61, instead of the full 88 key version. The keyboard is worth the money. It doesn't have aftertouch though, so if you're used to playing an acoustic piano you will have to adjust. Still, it's a small adjustment and not a big issue at all for me.


                  • #10
                    Arturia Keylab 49 Essential owner here for 10 days. Great keyboard, controller and hybrid synth with Analog Lab. It fits perfectly my needs.


                    • #11
                      My fav ones ar Arturia and Nektar. I have an Arturia Keylab 25 and an Impact LX and both are awesome!