MIDI Controller v Low End "Synth"?
These days, I'm having a hell of a time finding a decent controller board for general computer music creation. I tried (i.e. bought and returned...) a Novation Impulse, Remote SL MK II, Oxygen, Alesis board, and am currently in possession of an AKAI MPK61 and a Roland A-800PRO (the roland I decided within 5 minutes that it would go back as well, mainly based on the feeling that it is a general master controller great for stage, doesn't feel like a DAW controller to me, and it's AWESOME that it actually came with a manual, but... I'm kind of at the point where I'm not wanting a manual, I want it to work, nah'mein?)
I paid (around) 400 for each of these, so that seems to be where I'm comfortable spending. I think a digital piano is out because no pitch/mod, but I'm wondering now about other low end entry keyboards.
The Yamaha MM6 is now $500 and so is the new Casio XW-P1. I know these have no controls for DAWs, but I can tape a Korg Nano to the top of it...
Is this a reasonable solution these days? I don't want to waste 400 on a "master" controller that falls apart (or in the case of the MPK is tough on my forearms...) - but spending that much on an instrument might feel better... The roland (which feels like an instrument) is what got me to thinking this, but I don't want to spend $1000 on a Juno or even as much for a Gaia (someday I'll have a red keyboard with a wooden pitch bend, but, you know... I got a few hundred bucks...)