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MIDI Keyboard Review: SL990XP vs. Yamaha KX8 Keyboard Controllers
Old 27th April 2009
  #31
Gear Maniac
 

Samash is selling the KX-8 new for $299 including shipping.

KX-8 mk2 coming soon?
Old 27th April 2009
  #32
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by carbon View Post
Samash is selling the KX-8 new for $299 including shipping.

KX-8 mk2 coming soon?
I hope not - I ordered mine and its arriving today!

In the UK the cheapest I could find it was for £399. Also, officially its only just due to be released, so I can't imagine they would be producing a new version for at least a year or so. I think its been on sale for a few weeks, but its a brand new product.

Don't get confused with the KX88 - that is a much, much older keyboard that's been around for years and is no longer in production. The KX8 is the new baby. The cheap keyboard you saw could well have been the KX88.

As for the other keyboards, I've heard some really bad stuff on the net about the Fatar keyboards breaking easily. One guy opened them up and was surprised to find the build quality was quite poor. He claimed to be an electrician, though I can't be sure about his credentials.

I actually started a thread on the 'Sound on Sound' magazine forum on just this topic. I asked people to send in their views of the KX8, the CME UF8 and the Fatar keyboards. Check it out if you want to see more. Essentially people liked the CME keyboard but were dubious about the company. The Yamaha seemed to get few comments, but most agreed it was a good keyboard. The Fatar was by far the most controversial: it seems that people love the keyboard despite their being a huge number of faulty units reported on the net.

A guy who used to distribute them said a lot of the problems were due to bad packaging and the units getting damaged in transit. I believe he was a genuine distributor, but I don't know that his explanation added up. All I know is there have been some real horror stories about the Fatar keyboards, including sliders working intermittently; the entire mod wheel not functioning, and the user having to open up the keyboard to install a replacement mod wheel himself; keys responding at different velocity levels when hit at identical speed; three limp keys on arrival; squeaking noises as if parts of the keys were rubbing on each other; loose screws causing a rattling sound when playing; and some other complaints that I can't now remember. No other keyboard has anywhere near this number of reported issues. In summary, people who get a working Fatar keyboard love it, but its a lottery. And I can't believe its all down to less -than-conscientious delivery van drivers.

So I ordered a KX8. Guaranteed build quality, if a little plasticky, and Yamaha support. Seems like a good all-rounder. Plus, I have a sneaking respect for Yamaha stuff. Most of the time they get their top-end gear just right. Just steer clear of their budget stuff.
Old 27th April 2009
  #33
Gear Nut
 

No its the KX8 for 300 blowout right now.

I'm tempted to get one even though I just got a KX6 last week lol(for 50 less). I like to have a weighted and unweighted both right next to me.
Old 27th April 2009
  #34
Here for the gear
 

I own the KX8 for almost half a year now. I use it almost daily and play regularly on various standup piano's. I compared it to really lots of hardware but in the end focussed on hardware that
- didnt cost too much
- would setup just once and never moves
- would have a (graded) hammer action keybed

I don't care about aftertouch and feature overkill and only about the feel. I already have some other non 88 key controllers for that. The light touch that a synth has suits perfect for certain VST's but a hammer action keybed won't suit those applications.

In the end I compared it with the CME, M-Audio and Fatar. Play tested them several times at different dealers and came to the following conclusion before buying.
- M-Audio feel is rubbish! Only buy this if you need lots of (or rather too much) sliders and knobs :-)
- Fater 990's feel is ok but pretty short action. Most piano's have much wider range when hitting a key before the hammer hits the strings.
- CME VX8 feel was quite good but it made loads of noise and I felt too cheap.
- Yamaha KX8 feel is very nice. It sure has the best feel of these board compared to real piano's but a real piano is a real piano.

Now, months later after purchasing I have no regrets at all! The only regret I have is that it is now somewhat cheaper :-)

- The feel of the keybed is still the same (I think).
- No bad keys
- I use it as my 'piano' master
- The sequencer keys and patch selection keys are used quite often
- The velocity curve setting keys are used all the time. While practising I use the "soft" setting and when I play for real I tend to use the "normal" or "hard 1" setting to play with much more dynamics and emotion.
- I don't use the modulater controller at on on this board. I leave that to my 66 note aftertouch controllers.

Some people complain that it has no expression pedal input. Well, a normal piano doesn't have one either. Again, use a normal synth like controller for such stuff. If that is your primary usage then the KX8 is not your best buy. If your looking for a graded hammer action board purely for piano like play then this is - no doubt about it - the best board you can buy for its price range.

If you want to use it on gigs then this isn't the best purchase either as it is very light and uses lots of plastic so I think the casing would be damaged very soon. But then again you are then probably looking for an all in one board like the expensive Rolands or Kurzweils which are more robust and intended for that kind of usage.

Again, this is my opinion/review. I have experience with a range of real piano's and those too feel very different from each other as also the sound. That is why it is also worth mentioning is that your 'experience' will be very influenced by the other DAW components like your computer, its souncard abilities and the VST's that you are using! Make sure that your budget allows for a decend ASIO soundcard and speakers (or headphones) and a good piano VST like Pianoteq or Truepianos. For an indication, I have a modest PC with a cheap but ASIO supporting creative x-fi extreme gamer, use fruityloops and cubase ai 4 (bundled with the kx8) and use various VST's. For piano I use pianoteq 2 as it sounds very good with headphones. I use the ASIO4ALL drivers instead of the Creative drivers and have a latency of 3ms.

So it you don't have such a hardware/software setup yet (at minimum) then don't buy such a master keyboard either as you will not be able to use it as intended.
Old 4th May 2009
  #35
_rd
Lives for gear
 
_rd's Avatar
 

Is it really that cheap now?

Wow.

USD $300 for the Yamaha KX-8? Absolutely a no-brainer.
Old 29th May 2009
  #36
Gear Head
 
GENX's Avatar
 

USD $300 for the Yamaha KX-8? Absolutely a no-brainer.

That's what I said as I logged on and bought the durn thang.....
Old 30th May 2009
  #37
Lives for gear
 
dan p's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by carbon View Post
Samash is selling the KX-8 new for $299 including shipping.

KX-8 mk2 coming soon?
****! I just bought a kx8 new from sweetwater for $700 a few months back.Works great actually but has no expression pedal input,so you cant use volume pedals.I may go back to my pc88 for a controller.Its like throwing money away.


Dan P
Old 10th June 2009
  #38
Here for the gear
 

does anyone know if the yamaha fc-3 pedal works with the kx8? Sold off my fc-4 for the fc-3 and now i couldn't get the fc-3 to work.
Old 11th June 2009
  #39
Gear Nut
 

Also does anyone have any RELIABLE information if a KX-8 MK2 is coming out, and if so when?
Old 11th June 2009
  #40
Gear Maniac
 

.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony smyth View Post
Also does anyone have any RELIABLE information if a KX-8 MK2 is coming out, and if so when?
Sorry about even mentioning the "KX-8 mk2" idea. It was a slightly tongue-in-cheek remark just based on the blowout pricing of the KX-8 to $299. Seems quite frequently when a steep price drop happens a manufacturer has an updated model coming out. Although it can happen when a manufacturer just wants to end a product line altogether.
Old 15th June 2009
  #41
Gear Nut
 

Just a quick follow up to this: I went into one of the main Yamaha shops in Tokyo today and to Rock On, one of the better music stores here. Both have no knowledge of a new KX-8 coming out, though their price for it has dropped about 10% compared to last year, and as I told them prices had dropped in Europe and America Rock On seemed willing to drop the price further.

New version not til at least autumn methinks. It just needs aftertouch and an expression pedal jack.
Old 9th July 2009
  #42
Here for the gear
 

Hey guys! My name is Izzy--I'm new to the forum. I love this discussion--you guys seem very knowledgeable and insightful. I'll give my opinion on the two midi keyboards.

I just purchased the Fatar XP today and I LOVE it.

I'm a classically trained pianist but I love writing and playing pop/rock music. I've played $100,000 Steinways, Bosendorfer Imperials, and Yamaha C7's...the Yamaha is my favorite--not necessarily sound-wise, but because of it has a very easily played keybed--it's much softer and doesn't require as much force as a Steinway D, for example.

The Studiologic reminds me SO much of a Yamaha C7 grand...and I've never played a MIDI controller that felt so comfortable. I tend to sometimesdo piano rock (kind of like Keith Green/Billy Joel style stuff) where it requires verrrry quick, articulate playing of arpeggios and chords--on most weighted action keyboards, it's extremely hard to do this (because the keybeds are actually much harder to play than an actual piano)...but on the Fatar XP, it's SO easy to do very complex arps without worrying about hitting extra notes. I simply love it. And I did try out the Yamaha KX88--it felt much better than other controllers I've tried out (such as the M-Audio Keystation Pro--BEWARE, it REAKS of plastic and cheapness!), but it still didn't have that Yamaha C7 feel like the Fatar does.

My advice to anyone looking for a MIDI controller--go out and try them out. I LOVE the way mine feels because I love Yamaha C7 grands...there are lots of people who enjoy the feeling of a Steinway more (and even some who enjoy non-weighted keys), you have to try them out and pick out which one feels the best to you.

Both the KX88 and the Fatar are GREAT Midi controllers--either one is an excellent pick and you can't go wrong with either--I would try each of them out, though, and decide based on YOUR preference which feels the best to YOU. :]
Old 14th July 2009
  #43
_rd
Lives for gear
 
_rd's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Izzy View Post
And I did try out the Yamaha KX88--it felt much better than other controllers I've tried out (such as the M-Audio Keystation Pro--BEWARE, it REAKS of plastic and cheapness!), but it still didn't have that Yamaha C7 feel like the Fatar does.
If you were in the market for - and trying out - vintage MIDI controllers, why didn't you try the Roland A-80?
Old 15th July 2009
  #44
Here for the gear
 

anybody have the kx-8 controlling logic? just recently got a macbook and am definitely interested in the yamaha. i messed around on the m-audio stuff and was not impressed, but i figured that was the quality for my price range. perhaps not...
Old 7th September 2009
  #45
Here for the gear
 

KX8

3 Months ago i walked into guitar center to buy a Akai MPK49 and wound up putting a used CME-VX8 on layaway for 600$, I came back to pay it off and they had lost the adapter, I picked up a MPK49 as a loaner board untill they could order me another PSU from CME, I got a call about a month ago that the PSU was in so i came in and before i took it out the door i plugged it in and behold the PSU didn't even work, something was wrong with the board now, i had already exchanged the MPK49 back in that day so i could take my VX8 home, so after a boat load of free in store gear and them paying for the warranty on my CME and offering to personally drive it down to me when it is ready they offered me another "Loaner board". I wanted to take home a fully weighted GHS controller and didnt feel like taking the MPK49 home again so i felt the keys on the M-Audio keystation Pro and was not really thrilled, then I saw the KX8 and felt it and the difference was evident, Its no motif but the keybed was better then any other midi controller in there save my VX8 which it fell just short of, I walked back over to my CME VX8 and played around on it then came back to the KX8 and after a few times I decided to take home the KX8 as my new "loaner" until my VX8 is in working order. Well I looked at the price tag and it read 249.99$ USD, I mainly looked just for the fact of if it snapped in half or something crazy happened how much would it cost me.
Well after taking it home and plugging it in I played around in reason with it and checked some reviews online, I think I stole it, I mean 249.99??? This board is worth every penny, I am almost tempted to keep it, I just may. First off I scratched it and went ooh crap!! then felt the scratch with my finger and as my finger brushed across the casing the scratch disappeared, some sort of scratch resistant case, every scratch i ever have seen i wipe my finger over it and poof its gone. The action is great, I have never played a 88 key midi controller (except in the stores), I have played a few pianos I'm by far not a trained pianist. The 49 key Akai mpk49 i just came off of had semi-weighted keys which in comparison are uncomparable , semi-weighted plastic makes it feel like a toy, the KX8 feels like a piano, they keys are a bit lighter then the CME-VX8 but not even close to as light as the M-audio series fully weighted keybeds, you can feel the weight in the grade on the KX8 and the keys do bounce a bit, the glossy keys are a bit slippery at first but after a few weeks they feel great on my fingers, I can play for hours and not be rubbed raw on my fingers on the sides or tips like with M-Audio boards i have played, even the Mpk49 wore on my fingers after a couple of hours, the Flat/sharp keys are glossy as well which on the VX8 they are not but it does make it harder to "catch" the edge of one while playing. Also I have set a 22" Lcd monitor on it and it is stable and steady still with plenty of room for another lcd. It does make a bit of noise when i bang on it but it is very solid. I was really in love with the CME having the emulated mackie control on board and the motorized faders and such but for over almost 400$ less i may just keep this and pick up a 61 key synth action with some faders and pots to make up for it and have a second set of keys. I called last night to see what the labor day sale price on the KX8 was at GC they promptly replied "$299.99" so im glad i got it a few weeks back on that blow out price. even at 300 its not a Bad board at all, I wish there were faders and more then 4 pots but hey, can i really complain? nope! not one bit. Hope this helps somebody out there.
Old 28th December 2009
  #46
Gear Nut
 

There's very little information on the web about the KX8. Do a search and you pretty much find these Gearsluts forum posts. I mention this because I'm sure there's many people looking for that 'piano' feel controller like myself, who need something to compliment their piano instrument (Ivory, VST, Rack, Etc).

I have been actively searching, trying out, and researching 88 note controllers (weighted, semi, graded, etc) for over a year, and got to physically test all the ones ranked as affordable and generally well regarded, both new and vintage.

I won't list them all, but if you do your research it usually boils down to Fatar, CME, or Yamaha in the under $1,000 category. I got to try the sl990, the VMK, KX8, and pretty much every 'new' synth and controller just for comparison value, since I wouldn't have minded spending more if I thought I was getting something superior in the function and feel department.

And I settled quite happily on the Yamaha KX8. It's almost impossible to find a KX8, and I almost bought the SL990 just because I didn't think I'd be able to get try the Yamaha and I'd been in piano shops religiously for the last 6 months. There finally came a used one (Jim called me because I was on the 'lists' for any that they'd get in the store) and once I tried it I was shocked in all the right ways.


I had a fairly consistent way of testing every keyboard played over the last year, and I'm not an emotional buyer – I'm practical. As I played for the better part of an hour I tested each key on a variety of rack pianos and software ones. Was there any inconsistencies in velocity or feel/resistance while playing a variety of styles? Did it reflect my soft ballads, medium toying and hard rock as I'd expected? Don't get me wrong, I don't care about “pounding it out” as any board can be played medium or hard with expected results – I'm all about softer subtle play and that was my primary focus. For example, try playing a soft ballad on any Keystation board it's almost Impossible. M-Audio's so-called weighted action will force almost every note at a minimum of around 40 (did I mention I'm even more technical in my practicality – my tests also involved watching the recorded velocity numbers in the software DAWs.). But I'm not trying to trounce other boards, I know people quite happy with keystations – I just want to show I've done my homework and hope to help those now in the same situation I was in.


Anyway, I played the KX8 and did my tests, decided it was likely the board for me and took it home to be safe (They have a 15 day return on used items, so I had nothing to lose). However, I didn't allow myself to emotionally like it until I took it home and tested it on Ivory. And now that I've been playing for a few days I'm immensely glad I managed to find and buy one, and am stunned as to why they discontinued them. I can only suspect that they didn't market it well, especially seeing the lack of info on the board.


The KX8 undoubtedly has the most enjoyable action of any board I've tried in the last year, including many of the high end ones. I grew up with a piano, but have been playing synths in the studio for 20 years. I didn't think I'd miss or benefit much from the more true piano action (in a studio) but I certainly am glad to say I was wrong. I still have synths for anything a piano action cant do which isn't much, just mainly pure note speed.


So now you have another review of the KX8 with some indication of testing methodology, and I hope it helps others in the quest for their controller. Now I'll just throw a few statements down:


  • The Fatar SL990 has a nice action, but it was most definitely more in line with a traditional resistance synth. Imagine a synth with a nice resistant, slightly graded feel and that's the SL990. It's not the truer piano feel the KX8 has, it's in the middle of the synth and piano action. But this isn't a bad thing, I can see where people would prefer this if they weren't used to the piano. The only complaint I had about the Fatar action was I felt the softer velocities were harder to work the way I wanted. For instance, if I was playing a low-medium velocity top(melody) and a very low velocity bottom(bass), it was harder to pull off. I'm sure experience with the board would nullify this, but I am quite used to synth and piano actions.


  • Some older Sustain pedals did not work. Most are 'open' by default and close on depress. You need the reverse for the KX8 and it doesn't auto sense. So you'll need a newer one or one with a polarity switch which is usually new anyway.


  • The transpose is 1 octave and is not a problem in my book. I can transpose via software quite easily, and this won't be used in a live environment.


  • 4 programmable knobs and a separate DAW control make this the perfect amount of control most could reasonably use. I use Reason often enough, and I rarely need more than a few controls, especially since I micromanage riding controls.


  • The constant flashing tempo light is my only gripe, a constantly flashing tempo light just doesn't add anything to this board. I have since covered it with bluetack (This doubles as a tip if it annoys you too!).


The KX8 is hard to find, but its out there. I've seen several online but have not bought because I wanted to try it myself, even though I was fairly certain it was what I was looking for. If I was unable to find one local to play, I would have wished to read something like I just wrote to help me feel comfortable going for it. I hope this has helped, trying to give back a bit as I've been helped while reading these forums.
Old 15th February 2010
  #47
Here for the gear
 

Updated FEB 2010

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blessed2Process View Post
3 Months ago i walked into guitar center to buy a Akai MPK49 and wound up putting a used CME-VX8 on layaway for 600$, I came back to pay it off and they had lost the adapter, I picked up a MPK49 as a loaner board untill they could order me another PSU from CME, I got a call about a month ago that the PSU was in so i came in and before i took it out the door i plugged it in and behold the PSU didn't even work, something was wrong with the board now, i had already exchanged the MPK49 back in that day so i could take my VX8 home, so after a boat load of free in store gear and them paying for the warranty on my CME and offering to personally drive it down to me when it is ready they offered me another "Loaner board". I wanted to take home a fully weighted GHS controller and didnt feel like taking the MPK49 home again so i felt the keys on the M-Audio keystation Pro and was not really thrilled, then I saw the KX8 and felt it and the difference was evident, Its no motif but the keybed was better then any other midi controller in there save my VX8 which it fell just short of, I walked back over to my CME VX8 and played around on it then came back to the KX8 and after a few times I decided to take home the KX8 as my new "loaner" until my VX8 is in working order. Well I looked at the price tag and it read 249.99$ USD, I mainly looked just for the fact of if it snapped in half or something crazy happened how much would it cost me.
Well after taking it home and plugging it in I played around in reason with it and checked some reviews online, I think I stole it, I mean 249.99??? This board is worth every penny, I am almost tempted to keep it, I just may. First off I scratched it and went ooh crap!! then felt the scratch with my finger and as my finger brushed across the casing the scratch disappeared, some sort of scratch resistant case, every scratch i ever have seen i wipe my finger over it and poof its gone. The action is great, I have never played a 88 key midi controller (except in the stores), I have played a few pianos I'm by far not a trained pianist. The 49 key Akai mpk49 i just came off of had semi-weighted keys which in comparison are uncomparable , semi-weighted plastic makes it feel like a toy, the KX8 feels like a piano, they keys are a bit lighter then the CME-VX8 but not even close to as light as the M-audio series fully weighted keybeds, you can feel the weight in the grade on the KX8 and the keys do bounce a bit, the glossy keys are a bit slippery at first but after a few weeks they feel great on my fingers, I can play for hours and not be rubbed raw on my fingers on the sides or tips like with M-Audio boards i have played, even the Mpk49 wore on my fingers after a couple of hours, the Flat/sharp keys are glossy as well which on the VX8 they are not but it does make it harder to "catch" the edge of one while playing. Also I have set a 22" Lcd monitor on it and it is stable and steady still with plenty of room for another lcd. It does make a bit of noise when i bang on it but it is very solid. I was really in love with the CME having the emulated mackie control on board and the motorized faders and such but for over almost 400$ less i may just keep this and pick up a 61 key synth action with some faders and pots to make up for it and have a second set of keys. I called last night to see what the labor day sale price on the KX8 was at GC they promptly replied "$299.99" so im glad i got it a few weeks back on that blow out price. even at 300 its not a Bad board at all, I wish there were faders and more then 4 pots but hey, can i really complain? nope! not one bit. Hope this helps somebody out there.
pdate: 2-15-2010
The CME VX-8 Was Doa when it came back from repairs.
I decided to keep the KX-8, after 5 months of use it still feels like the first day. Scratches still disappear after a swipe of the finger. I clean the keys with rubbing alcohol before a serious session and it actually makes them not slippery / not sticky just perfect, cleans the oils off and gives the keys a brand new feel. The one thing that It lacks that i wanted are more pots and some faders because of the extensive library of refills i have for Reason 4, Tweaking sounds by hand is not too terrible though for recording just lacking for Live play. I am contemplating getting a KORG PadKontrol to set on this beast and a Korg NanoKontrol for the Faders. In the end I am happy with my accidental find and saving 500 dollars off my other board was just upright awesome. Happy hunting -
Old 5th October 2010
  #48
Here for the gear
 

help!

someone I know is willing to sell me sl990xp for 250. Is this a good deal? and also how do I use it with fruity loops? I saw a 5$ cord on ebay thats midi to usb. Is that legit? or do I need an mbox or something
Old 21st December 2018
  #49
Here for the gear
Just got a mint KX8 for 100bucks. I think that’s a pretty good deal.
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