The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Synths for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Recommend me a Midi controller with polyphonic aftertouch Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 8th February 2010
  #1
Lives for gear
 
terrytee's Avatar
 

Recommend me a Midi controller with polyphonic aftertouch

Ok so am in the market for a new midi controller, sold a novation remote sl mk1 last year and regretted it. A 61mk1 was on the top of my shopping list but then it just struck me, i would really like to use polyphonic aftertouch. I blame watching all those CS-80 videos that have been posted recently. Ultimately i would prefer a controller with lots of assignable pots and or faders like the remote has.

Any suggestions? BTW i want to stay within a reasonable budget, ideally less than $600 if possible.
Old 8th February 2010
  #2
only ones i know of are, this ancient big thing:




and, reportedly, the new VAX77... with the unfortunate folding option..




there were alos some synths from late 80s/90s form Ensoniq that had poly after touhc, but they aren't controllers per se.


i'd love if someone came out with a modern style controller a la novation and akai, but with poly after touch. well me, and zillion of other ppl, but so far it didnt happen.
Old 8th February 2010
  #3
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Hi,

I think you may need to get a keyboard, and separate control box (maybe a merger as well?). There aren't many options for poly aftertouch.

The ones I'm aware of:

Kurzweil MIDIBoard - weighted action
Roland A80 - weighted action, may need a resistor mod for good response
Roland A50 - as A80, but non weighted action
Ensoniq ESQ-1 - Weighted action, a bit clacky
Ensoniq SQ-80 - Updated version of ESQ-1
Ensoniq VFX - Similar heritage to ESQ-1/SQ-80, but with digital filters, and I think non weighted action

I also want to pick up a poly aftertouch keyboard some time, mainly for controlling soft synths.
Old 8th February 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
terrytee's Avatar
 

Thanks! keep the suggestions coming lets see if we can get a definitive list of them to choose from. Did a search and found this link TIPS it seems that the Ensoniq ASR-10 and TS-10 fit the bill.

So far the choices are as follows.

VAX77
Kurzweil MIDIBoard
Roland A80
Roland A50
Ensoniq SQ-80
Ensoniq VFX
Ensoniq VFX-SD
Ensoniq ASR-10
Ensoniq TS-10
Sequential Circuits Prophet-T8
Yamaha DX1
SynthAxe
General Music GEM S Series workstations
Edirol PCR-800/-500/-300
Elka MK88 Master Controller

Last edited by terrytee; 8th February 2010 at 08:39 PM.. Reason: removed esq-1, added more to the list.
Old 8th February 2010
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Which videos are they?

And, let me just add that, it will be real hard to get any replacement parts for any of the above keys, except the new VAX77. (Why fold-able? Better to take a few hundred dollar off? Can't understand why they did that when there is no similar product in the market. And it does not look very inspiring either. Must be engineers thinking...)

They all have moving parts and they has to be very sensitive (you know if you are a keyboard player). And every each key has to work with right sensitivity, otherwise, at least for me, gets really on your nerve. And that can only means soon or later adjusting / repairing / replacing will be necessary. And all of them, except that freakish VAX77 and maybe GM ones, was made some 20 years ago and used since.

Roland does not make new parts and have no new parts, and Ensoniq does not even exist anymore. I don't know about the Kurzweil or others. If you happen to find out, let us know.

I thought that was something you might want to put into your consideration.

I think poly-aftertouch is very nice, and personally love it, but the effect / result maybe just too subtle when is played alongside of other instruments. Maybe that is one of the reasons why it disappered from the market.

But, nevertheless, happy hunting!

By the way, can we verify that ESQ-1 comes with aftertouch? I like to consider one for myself if so.
Old 8th February 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Derp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Djames View Post
By the way, can we verify that ESQ-1 comes with aftertouch? I like to consider one for myself if so.
Former ESQ-1 owner here: There is no aftertouch on that board.
Old 8th February 2010
  #7
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
Former ESQ-1 owner here: There is no aftertouch on that board.
Hi, thanks for the correction. Sorry for putting that one forward. I thought it had the same keys as the SQ-80.
Old 8th February 2010
  #8
Polyphonic Aftertouch Controller

Hi!

I recently got an Edirol PCR-800 which has both channel and polyphonic AT -not a weighted keyboard, but I find the feel is fine for my style of playing. The 800 has 61 keys and cost about $US 370. Of course you need a soft synth or hardware synth (remember those?) that can respond to polyphonic aftertouch. One such synth is the Arturia CS-80V (about $US 200). I have enough trouble playing channel aftertouch properly, so I haven't yet attempted poly aftertouch!

Good luck on whatever you choose.

Sound-Guy
Old 8th February 2010
  #9
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sound-Guy View Post
I recently got an Edirol PCR-800 which has both channel and polyphonic AT...
Are you sure there is poly aftertouch on that model? Is this a later revision? I just had a look at the Roland US website, and it only mentions channel aftertouch in the specs. If it really does have poly aftertouch, that would seem to be a very well featured controller.
Old 8th February 2010
  #10
Here for the gear
 

Just checked its MIDI implementation chart in the manual. It transmits both! Very unexpected.

But, to be 100% sure, we need a video demonstration from Sound-Guy.

Sound-Guy, how is the aftertouch feels? Too light or too heavy? Or very even? Tell Us!

But the looks ain't moving.
Old 8th February 2010
  #11
Edirol PCR Series

Hello!

The newer PCR series (300, 500, 800 as opposed to the previous 30, 50, 80) have selectable channel or polyphonic key pressure, and even enable both full value range (0-127) or specified upper and lower limits. And there are four aftertouch curves available, as well as 12 (!) velocity curves for the keyboard.

Even the the 18 touch pads have aftertouch! And the touch pads have four velocity curves and four afertouch curves, although as some people have described, the pads are pretty small (and difficult) to use as drum controllers (I use my HandSonic 10 when I need drum pads).

I agree there is a lot of confusion on these new PCR controllers -- not sure Roland has all the right info on their web site yet, but the manual clearly describes these capabilities. I've only used channel aftertouch on the keyboard -- I use the pads just for switches along with the faders and knobs. I run Sonar 8.5 which recognizes the PCR series almost "magically" and automatically maps various PCR controllers to the controls in track view and the console view, as well as to any plug-in synths and FX modules.

I had the Edirol PCR-30 before, and the new series is much better both as a controller and as a keyboard. If you don't use Sonar, there are some other controller keyboards from other companies that may provide a better controller interface, but I don't know of any with the aftertouch flexibility of the new PCR series.

Sound-Guy
Old 8th February 2010
  #12
Fast Replies

Hi DJames,

You got in there before my last reply, but it's late here (in Colorado, USA) and I had to let the dog out for a run (in the snow) before his bedtime. I'll be looking into the PCR some more this coming week since there are tons (tonnes?) of features in there I haven't tried. I just set up the new PCR a month ago and have been traveling (all last week in Vail, a little ski village in the Rockies). And I am just getting Sonar 8.5 set up (and have a pile of new tools to learn).

I'll try verify what the PCR can do with aftertouch, though I don't know if any of my synths can respond to it -- I can at least record data and see what shows up in the MIDI details. May be a few days -- I've got other projects to address. Never enough time!

Sound-Guy

PS -- quite a coincidence -- my first name starts with a D and my middle name is James!
Old 8th February 2010
  #13
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sound-Guy View Post
I'll try verify what the PCR can do with aftertouch, though I don't know if any of my synths can respond to it -- I can at least record data and see what shows up in the MIDI details.
MIDIOx is good for this kind of thing.
Old 8th February 2010
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
Metzger's Avatar
 

I recommend the Kurzweil MIDIBoard all the way. I have 2 of them, love it that much. You can even things on top of the controller. The poly after touch is fantastic with full sliders for sensitivity.

You can purchase them from 400-600 bucks. Built like a tank.
Old 8th February 2010
  #15
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metzger View Post
I recommend the Kurzweil MIDIBoard all the way. I have 2 of them, love it that much. You can even things on top of the controller. The poly after touch is fantastic with full sliders for sensitivity.

You can purchase them from 400-600 bucks. Built like a tank.
I like the look of these things, but they don't seem to come up for sale too often, specially in Australia. I think shipping would be costly too.

The Ediroll PCR kit is looking interesting though. It will be good to learn if the sensitivity is set up well. I think quite a few keyboards are a bit lacking in this regard.
Old 8th February 2010
  #17
Old 8th February 2010
  #18
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers View Post
SY99?
I didn't realise that had poly aftertouch. Is the action good?
Old 8th February 2010
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli View Post
I didn't realise that had poly aftertouch. Is the action good?
i don't know if it has poly A.T. or not.

it has a very nice long keyboard, feels great. not weighted tho.
Old 8th February 2010
  #20
Lives for gear
 
terrytee's Avatar
 

Hey thanks for the great suggestions, for my money i think the PCR-800 is the best bet as its the closest thing to a novation remote but with the added poly after.

BTW here is confirmation by Roland that the PCR-800/-500/-300 all have poly aftertouch

Look for the end of the first paragraph. The link to the source is below.

Roland U.S. - Insider - PCR-800/-500/-300



BTW here is the PDF manual for the PCR-800/-500/-300
http://www.ediroleurope.com/manuals/..._e2%5B1%5D.pdf
Old 8th February 2010
  #21
Gear Addict
 

I think we need a definitive answer on the Edirol PCR stuff. Poly AT has historically been v expensive to implement (hence it's rarity). I'd be VERY surprised if Roland have implemented it on their consumer range. Difficult to tell from the advertising blurb.
However, if they have....
Old 8th February 2010
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
keyboardman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers View Post
i don't know if it has poly A.T. or not.

it has a very nice long keyboard, feels great. not weighted tho.
I could be mistaken but I believe the SY99 had a "zoned" aftertouch. Something like 4 zones. So it was technically polyphonic but realistically only 4-way.

If that makes any sense.

It did have a nice feeling synth action keyboard though.
Old 8th February 2010
  #23
Lives for gear
 
wax808's Avatar
 

I have an Axiom 61. It has Poly aftertouch. Best controller I've ever used. Lots of knobs and sliders too.
Old 9th February 2010
  #24
Lives for gear
 
terrytee's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wax808 View Post
I have an Axiom 61. It has Poly aftertouch. Best controller I've ever used. Lots of knobs and sliders too.
I have looked into it but all the reports on the net, all i found so far say negative also i can't find it in the online manual. If you have not had Poly after touch running on a particular soft synth or HW keyboard using the Axiom you can check its abilities with MIDIOx.
Old 9th February 2010
  #25
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveman View Post
Poly AT has historically been v expensive to implement (hence it's rarity).
Yes and no. The Yamaha CS-80 was the hard way to do it.

There are cost-effective ways to implement polyAT. MIDIBoard and Ensoniq have cost effective polyAT but they are patented. AFAIK the patents are still valid.

It's a rare feature because Creative Labs (who acquired Ensoniq) won't license the patent. Kurzweil doesn't own the patent (it was licensed for the MB) and I don't know what has become of the holder of that patent.
Old 9th February 2010
  #26
Lives for gear
 
wax808's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrytee View Post
I have looked into it but all the reports on the net, all i found so far say negative also i can't find it in the online manual. If you have not had Poly after touch running on a particular soft synth or HW keyboard using the Axiom you can check its abilities with MIDIOx.

I must have misunderstood your question. I was thinking poly-aftertouch just meant that pressing down harder on multiple keys would allow you to send a CC of your choice via MIDI. That is exactly what the Axiom does.



Edit: I get it now. I did a bit of self-education. The difference between channel aftertouch and polyphonic aftertouch

Now that I know the difference I will have to try it out and see.
Old 9th February 2010
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
Metzger's Avatar
 

There was a huge discussion on the Yahoo CS80 usergroup list about great controllers to simulate the poly after touch that the CS80 has. If I remember correctly the Ensoniq was the worst. Kurzweil Midiboard was considered the best for poly aftertouch. I have tested the Midiboard with the midi installed on my CS80, and it is as good as it gets.

I think the Axiom is only mono after touch. I might be wrong though.
Old 9th February 2010
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metzger View Post
midi installed on my CS80
You sir, are a lucky man. There are precious few of those around.
Old 9th February 2010
  #29
Gear Head
 

A little off the topic - I remember playing a Yamaha polyphonic keyboard (don't remember the model) in the early 70s (way before MIDI) that created vibrato manually by a left/right movement of the keys. It was the coolest thing! You basically pushed down on a key and moved your finger to the left and to the right and the pitch would follow your finger. It was such a trip.
Old 9th February 2010
  #30
Oli
Lives for gear
 
Oli's Avatar
 

Roland have had a poly aftertouch design for a while, though they haven't made it available on many boards, as far as I know.

The A80 and A50 were known to be a bit insensitive to pressure, which received quite a few complaints. There was a resistor mod to change the sensitivity. I don't recall reading any reviews of how the keys handle post modification.

I would be quite keen to have a try with the PCR range, to know how they feel.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Tubthumper / So much gear, so little time
2
sleepwalker / Electronic Music Instruments and Electronic Music Production
10
smudged / So much gear, so little time
1
barbaroja / So much gear, so little time
4
celebritymusic / So much gear, so little time
3

Forum Jump
Forum Jump