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Need help choosing midi keyboard for both studio and performance Keyboard Controllers
Old 15th September 2018
  #1
Gear Head
 

Need help choosing midi keyboard for both studio and performance

Hey all! I've been having some trouble picking out exactly which midi keyboard would be best for me. I'm looking for 61 keys, most likely with aftertouch and semi-weight action. It also needs midi out so I can connect to a synth module. This would be used for both studio time as well as live playing - thus I'm looking for a good balance of usability with portability. I would like it to have a few knobs so I can make some parameter changes in real time, but I definitely don't need the whole 8 knobs/8 slides/8 pads sort of deal. With that in mind, I would like a keyboard that is as small/light as possible while still fitting most of those requirements. I would prefer to spend under $200, but could stretch if necessary.

So far I have been looking at the Behringer U-Control UMX610, which seems to fit my needs fairly well, except that it has synth action rather than semi-weighted. Not sure how much difference this will make, as I don't have much experience with playing different types of actions, but I don't want to sacrifice expressiveness.

I was also looking at the Alesis V61, which I thought was going to be perfect, until I realized it doesn't have midi out, only usb. Am I right in assuming that this wouldn't be usable with synthesizer modules?

I'm also seeing some older M-Audio Axiom 61 for around $130 used. It's bulkier than I would like and has more controls than I need, but it does have semi-weighted keys, midi out, and fits my price range.

Can anyone recommend me any midi keyboards or weigh in on the ones that I have looked at already? Thanks!
Old 15th September 2018
  #2
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CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
I was also looking at the Alesis V61, which I thought was going to be perfect, until I realized it doesn't have midi out, only usb. Am I right in assuming that this wouldn't be usable with synthesizer modules?
No, your are not right. USB transmits MIDI data. The 5Pin MIDI connections are outdated and old technology
Quote:
xcept that it has synth action rather than semi-weighted. Not sure how much difference this will make, as I don't have much experience with playing different types of actions, but I don't want to sacrifice expressiveness.
You need to actually go and feel them with your fingers and hands and see what action you prefer. We all have different preferences. Do not go by what someone else likes or prefers. go with what feels best for you. What feels best for you may not be what is best for other.

My 2 cents, try them out and get the one that fits YOU.
Old 15th September 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vonshu View Post

I was also looking at the Alesis V61, which I thought was going to be perfect, until I realized it doesn't have midi out, only usb. Am I right in assuming that this wouldn't be usable with synthesizer modules?
Depends on the modules. I have a pair of them from the 90s that I got recently that only have DIN MIDI and not USB MIDI. Some newer gear only has USB MIDI. Some has 1/8 jack MIDI with adapters to DIN.

If you get one that has both DIN and USB then it should work with everything. If you're certain you don't want older gear, then just USB is probably sufficient (but even then, for example, the Make Noise 0-Coast is only 1/8" with a DIN adapter).

Another option is to buy a synth and use it as a controller. That might or might not be a good option, depending on your goals. I use my Moog Sub37 as a controller for my two modules. Works well for my purposes.
Old 15th September 2018
  #4
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
No, your are not right. USB transmits MIDI data. The 5Pin MIDI connections are outdated and old technology
Quote:
Originally Posted by piper View Post
Depends on the modules. I have a pair of them from the 90s that I got recently that only have DIN MIDI and not USB MIDI. Some newer gear only has USB MIDI. Some has 1/8 jack MIDI with adapters to DIN.

If you get one that has both DIN and USB then it should work with everything. If you're certain you don't want older gear, then just USB is probably sufficient.
Okay, so I guess I am a little bit confused how that would work. Say I buy a midi keyboard that only has a USB type B (the square shaped plug, as opposed to the more rectangular shaped one) connection. How would I connect that to say a Digitone or a Deepmind 12? In terms of USB connections, those synths (and any other modern synth that I have looked at, for that matter) both only have a USB type B connection as well, and I've never seen a type B to type B USB cable. Would I need some special sort of adapter to make that work? Or am I missing something obvious here?
Old 15th September 2018
  #5
Lives for gear
 

" So for USB MIDI peripheral devices you need a computer, smartphone or tablet in the system to control and initiate USB communication."

Basics of USB-MIDI -
Old 15th September 2018
  #6
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by piper View Post
" So for USB MIDI peripheral devices you need a computer, smartphone or tablet in the system to control and initiate USB communication."

Basics of USB-MIDI -
Ahh sorry I should have been more clear - I would definitely like the option to be able to control hardware via a midi keyboard without the use of a computer/phone/tablet. Sometimes its nice to leave the computer at home if I just want to jam or perform without having to deal with the extra device. So I guess in my case it seems like I do need a 5 pin midi out?
Old 16th September 2018
  #7
Lives for gear
 

You can get a USB MIDI Host which will convert one USB MIDI Keyboard (or whatever) into DIN MIDI:

Kenton MIDI USB Host |
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