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Better to get MIDI Keyboard, Drum Pad or Controller, or Combo?
Old 24th April 2013
  #1
Better to get MIDI Keyboard, Drum Pad or Controller, or Combo?

Max budget is $150 for used or new. (Please still include rigs that cost more new, but could have street price around $150).
Yeah I know it's probably not going to get me much, it's just that I am new and spent just about all my money for recording gear, now I just realized I need something to make my own beats.

I'm using PC running Windows 7 Home Premium.
My DAW for now is Ableton Live LITE 8 or 9 (came with my Focusrite Scarlett, still have not used it).
Genre is Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae and Rap, so would need to be able to make sounds that are typically in those genres.

First of all, I pretty know squat on what I really need and what the machines actually do. I tried researching, but still am unclear and don't even know what keywords to look up.

So if you could briefly explain how each works/does. Keyboard, MPC, MPD, etc.
And the pros and cons of each. (I know specific units vary in features)

So besides that, which would you suggest is best for my needs.
I don't want the smallest/cheapest to start and find myself upgrading very soon. I want something decent for the money.

Someone is offering to sell me their M Audio Axiom Gen 2 49 Keyboard with 8 pads for only $100. I know this is a good deal, but is it a good quality one?
Also there is a Korg padKontrol for $75.
And a couple Akai MPD 18 for $60.
Like I said I have no idea.

Just let me know your recommendations and why you would suggest those over others similar to it.
Old 24th April 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Started View Post
Max budget is $150 for used or new. (Please still include rigs that cost more new, but could have street price around $150).
Yeah I know it's probably not going to get me much, it's just that I am new and spent just about all my money for recording gear, now I just realized I need something to make my own beats.

I'm using PC running Windows 7 Home Premium.
My DAW for now is Ableton Live LITE 8 or 9 (came with my Focusrite Scarlett, still have not used it).
Genre is Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae and Rap, so would need to be able to make sounds that are typically in those genres.

First of all, I pretty know squat on what I really need and what the machines actually do. I tried researching, but still am unclear and don't even know what keywords to look up.

So if you could briefly explain how each works/does. Keyboard, MPC, MPD, etc.
And the pros and cons of each. (I know specific units vary in features)

So besides that, which would you suggest is best for my needs.
I don't want the smallest/cheapest to start and find myself upgrading very soon. I want something decent for the money.

Someone is offering to sell me their M Audio Axiom Gen 2 49 Keyboard with 8 pads for only $100. I know this is a good deal, but is it a good quality one?
Also there is a Korg padKontrol for $75.
And a couple Akai MPD 18 for $60.
Like I said I have no idea.

Just let me know your recommendations and why you would suggest those over others similar to it.
You probably wont do any better than that for the budget you're working with. Just make sure the Axiom you are getting is in good working order. If it's not too much of a financial stretch, I would say pick up the Korg padKontrol as well. I don't use one anymore, but I still remember it as having some of the best feel of any pad controller I've used. Its pads are very sensitive and feel comfortable for drumming fast on. $175 and you have a great midi setup at your disposal.

Most importantly though, you need to spend time reading up and learning about all this. Check out sites like tweakheadz.com for basic info to get you up and going with the knowledge you need to take things further.
Old 25th April 2013
  #3
Thanks for understanding and respecting the budget of the poorer folks. I will get the Axiom, I can always resell it if I don't like it, so I am not taking much of a risk. It's in great condition, he's only selling it because he is moving and he is willing to help me out since I am new to pro audio.
Might get the Korg padKontrol if I can scrape together some more cash.
Thanks for your help Petty. I really appreciate it.
Old 25th April 2013
  #4
Gear Addict
 
mintyfreshbeats's Avatar
 

Skip the PadKontrol.

If you already have pads on the Axiom, you don't need it.

I wouldn't get too concerned about pad feel unless you are going to be performing live with it. (And even then you can usually upgrade the pads with a $15 kit from eBay, just search for your model).
Old 26th April 2013
  #5
Just bought the Axiom. It's in like new condition and works fine. I just gotta figure out how to set this up and make some sounds. Haha. Off to do more research. I think I will hold off on the padKontrol until I figuer out what I am doing and am I ready to upgrade. Thanks guys.
Old 26th April 2013
  #6
Oh I just saw some more stuff for sale.
Novation LaunchPad for $75.
Akai APC20 for $100.
Akai MPK Mini, 25 keys w/ 8 pads for $50.

I probably will only keep one. I just bought the Axiom for $100, but I can resell it right away if any of the others are better for what I need.
I have no idea which is good and what unit is best for me, so your recommendation is much appreciated.
Thanks.
Old 26th April 2013
  #7
I used an Axiom 61 1st Gen for 3 years. Yesterday it stopped working. I got an bluescreen on my device. Windows doesnt recognize it anymore. But I gotta say it has been working like a charm all these years.

I just ordered an Nektar p6 now, lets see how long it will do its thing.
Old 26th April 2013
  #8
Here for the gear
What he said.... a lot of the axioms have pads on them already. I really never use mine anyway.
Old 26th April 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
 
jbrown1music's Avatar
Akai lpk25. Best budget controller for me. Doesnt have pads but has akai note repeat
Old 26th April 2013
  #10
Gear Addict
 
mintyfreshbeats's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Started View Post
Oh I just saw some more stuff for sale.
Novation LaunchPad for $75.
Akai APC20 for $100.
Akai MPK Mini, 25 keys w/ 8 pads for $50.

I probably will only keep one. I just bought the Axiom for $100, but I can resell it right away if any of the others are better for what I need.
I have no idea which is good and what unit is best for me, so your recommendation is much appreciated.
Thanks.
Just stick with what you already have and start working.
Old 26th April 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
 

i would just stick with the axiom too, its nice that the keys are semi weighted and it has some nice feeling drum pads too!
Old 26th April 2013
  #12
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Michael E's Avatar
Axiom's pads just sucks.
Very poor velocity response, I have much better results with keys.
Old 27th April 2013
  #13
Lives for gear
 
KevWest's Avatar
 

Take that Axiom you are being offered
Old 27th April 2013
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbechristos View Post
I used an Axiom 61 1st Gen for 3 years. Yesterday it stopped working. I got an bluescreen on my device. Windows doesnt recognize it anymore.
Hey sbechristos, just a heads up. While I was researching the axioms, I found that the first gens commonly have the blue screen of death. Well some people have said that it is the USB malfunctioning, so they say if you use your axiom with the external power supply that it should work fine. Maybe you can also try just using another USB cable?
Try it out.
Old 27th April 2013
  #15
Thanks for the replies everyone. I will just learn off the Axiom for now and maybe upgrade in the future when I have a better understanding and skills. Thanks!
Old 27th April 2013
  #16
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael E View Post
Axiom's pads just sucks.
Very poor velocity response, I have much better results with keys.
The selection of velocity curve settings for them leave something to be desired, but they function fine enough for laying down quick ideas. Still, they aren't a good replacement for an actual drum pad controller. The M-Audio Trigger Finger, which shares the same style of pads, was probably one of my least favourite drum pad controllers of all time.

I've had my Axiom gen 1 for almost 7 years now, and use to take it around with me on gigs. Still looks in great shape, and still functions in perfect working order. They're built to last.
Old 27th April 2013
  #17
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Started View Post
Hey sbechristos, just a heads up. While I was researching the axioms, I found that the first gens commonly have the blue screen of death. Well some people have said that it is the USB malfunctioning, so they say if you use your axiom with the external power supply that it should work fine. Maybe you can also try just using another USB cable?
Try it out.
I experienced having only a blue screen show up once, and it was because I forgot to plug in the power updater for my USB hub. The Axiom needs to be fed enough power in order to function properly.

If you still have access to getting the korg padkontrol at the price you mentioned, I suggest you jump on it. That controller has more features to offer to you than just more pads to drum on, and will serve as a good production learning tool along with your Axiom. Not to mention, if you find that you like working on pads for laying down all your drums and percussion, having access to a set of 16 pads at one time will be less of a limitation and annoyance.
Old 28th April 2013
  #18
Thanks for the replies Petty,
I might pick the padKontrol up, but then again maybe another time, when funds are more flexible. I think the Axiom will be a good start for me, should be fine for now.

Also I heard a keyboard can essentially do the same things a pad controller can do?
Not sure exactly what they ment, but I assume the keys can be assigned the same sounds as pads can have? Or is it just the same on pressure/velocity sensitive keys?
Hah I'm new so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Thanks for the help guys. I will just use the Axiom for now. Might stumble upon more deals on pad controllers later if I decide to upgrade.

Edit: Oh and just to clarify Petty, would you suggest the Korg padKontrol over the Novation LaunchPad? or Akai pad controllers? All stock, no upgrades. I'm new to the gear, so I don't think pads matter to me as long as they are sensitive and fast responding. I don't think the feel would matter too much to me?
Old 28th April 2013
  #19
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Started View Post
Thanks for the replies Petty,
I might pick the padKontrol up, but then again maybe another time, when funds are more flexible. I think the Axiom will be a good start for me, should be fine for now.

Also I heard a keyboard can essentially do the same things a pad controller can do?
Not sure exactly what they ment, but I assume the keys can be assigned the same sounds as pads can have? Or is it just the same on pressure/velocity sensitive keys?
Hah I'm new so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Thanks for the help guys. I will just use the Axiom for now. Might stumble upon more deals on pad controllers later if I decide to upgrade.

Edit: Oh and just to clarify Petty, would you suggest the Korg padKontrol over the Novation LaunchPad? or Akai pad controllers? All stock, no upgrades. I'm new to the gear, so I don't think pads matter to me as long as they are sensitive and fast responding. I don't think the feel would matter too much to me?
Essentially, you can use either one to lay down drums and percussion just fine. Some people just prefer to finger drum rather than press keys. I believe velocity to a certain extent is also easier to control when finger drumming on pads versus pressing keys. Some pad controllers have features that you can use to enhance your drumming as well, like the MPDs that have Note Repeat and a 16 Levels function for velocity, or the PadKontrol with its X-Y pad.

The Novation Launchpad in my opinion is better suited as a midi triggering device for live performances done with Ableton. For finger drumming, you're better off working with full sized pads laid out in a 4x4 type of grid. I like the Akai MPD32 best at the moment, with the PadKontrol coming in at a close second. They both feel really different from each other, but I have no problems drumming on either one. Once you get deep into using these equipment on a daily basis, thats when feel will start to matter a bit more. For now I doubt it would really make a difference.
Old 28th April 2013
  #20
Wait on the Minilab I just sold my keyrig 49 and think this will be great for travel and studio use alike
Old 28th April 2013
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Maudio axiom 49.
Had one for 5 years and It does what it does very well.
Extremely programmable if you decide to go there.
Great for drums and keys, I don't use the pads just the keys.

I have a pad kontrol and love it.
Don't use it much though because I use the axiom for everything.
The only downfall is the programming. Mine might be a lil jacked but I can't go thru the full 127 midi notes on the pad kontrol.
And in general its been a pita to program for my workflow.
But the pads are super sensitive and the xy pad is awesome.

Why would you need to use the all 127 midi notes you ask?
Well i usually fill a sampler patch with as many snares or kicks, etc. as I can.
That way I can just click the next patch and play snares til I find the right one.
Cuz I hate scrolling thru samples on a computer screen.

Anyway.
The axiom will benefit you a lot more than a drum pad.
A drum pad would be a nice lil addition later on IMO.
Old 28th April 2013
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Vanilla_Dutches's Avatar
 

Yea...id +1 the minilab....

I preordered a Keylab 61

The new Arturia controllers look FTMFW
Old 28th April 2013
  #23
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnevz View Post
Maudio axiom 49.
Had one for 5 years and It does what it does very well.
Extremely programmable if you decide to go there.
Great for drums and keys, I don't use the pads just the keys.

I have a pad kontrol and love it.
Don't use it much though because I use the axiom for everything.
The only downfall is the programming. Mine might be a lil jacked but I can't go thru the full 127 midi notes on the pad kontrol.
And in general its been a pita to program for my workflow.
But the pads are super sensitive and the xy pad is awesome.

Why would you need to use the all 127 midi notes you ask?
Well i usually fill a sampler patch with as many snares or kicks, etc. as I can.
That way I can just click the next patch and play snares til I find the right one.
Cuz I hate scrolling thru samples on a computer screen.

Anyway.
The axiom will benefit you a lot more than a drum pad.
A drum pad would be a nice lil addition later on IMO.
That's why I preferred the MPD32 over the PadKontrol. Out of the box, the MPD is pretty much setup to do what most people would want to do with it. The PadKontrol in comparison, required me to set up different programming for it to serve for certain functions. I don't remember having any problems setting up the things you mention, but that was part of what put me off from the controller, the fact that I had to bother doing any programming at all. The MPD line of controllers cost more, but IMO you get more for that money you're spending.
Old 28th April 2013
  #24
Gear Head
 
3nterprise's Avatar
 

I have the m audio 49 key midi and it's awesome
Old 29th April 2013
  #25
Hi guys, thanks again for the info.
Someone just offered to sell me their Maschine Mikro for only $100. But it does not come with anything, but the unit and cable, no discs or anything else.
Is this still usuable? Should I get it right away? It's way better than the rest of the pad controllers in my price range right?
Old 29th April 2013
  #26
Lives for gear
 
PettyCash's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Started View Post
Is this still usuable? Should I get it right away? It's way better than the rest of the pad controllers in my price range right?
Is the seller going to transfer the license for the software to you after you purchase the Mikro from them? If the answer is no, pass on the offer.
Old 29th April 2013
  #27
Thanks for the info Petty.
I heard great reviews of the maschine, so is it still good as a stock controller using other sound kits I can download?
I don't really need it, but if it's really a good deal I shouldn't pass up, then I can get it.

Um, and I just ran across a M Audio trigger finger for $40.
I am uncertain if it comes with software or not.

So....?
Old 30th April 2013
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Started View Post
Thanks for the info Petty.
I heard great reviews of the maschine, so is it still good as a stock controller using other sound kits I can download?
I don't really need it, but if it's really a good deal I shouldn't pass up, then I can get it.

Um, and I just ran across a M Audio trigger finger for $40.
I am uncertain if it comes with software or not.

So....?
I've heard good things about the maschine controller as well.

I would try out the Mikro first if you can.
I would try any controller before I bought it if possible.
Bought the trigger finger and pad kontrol both off eBay quite few years ago w/o playing them though.
The trigger finger is decent.
Not as responsive pads as the pad kontrol. You don't need any software except for maybe a driver which is downloaded for free from maudios site.
The maschine controller is really the only other controller I've heard of that's near as responsive as the pad kontrol.
Petty cash mentioned the MPD which some people love.
Haven't played those personally.
I Have heard that to get those pads on the mpd really responsive you have to replace piece underneath the pads with an aftermarket peice.

I'd google search and see if I know what I'm talking about with the mpd. I might not know what the hell I'm talking about.. Like I said haven't played it.

Tbh having really responsive pads isn't necessary as editing the midi can be done later of course.
But for hi hats and percussion it tends to make things go a lil quicker if your one of those people that really plays it out and doesn't quantize the velocity.
Old 30th April 2013
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PettyCash View Post
That's why I preferred the MPD32 over the PadKontrol. Out of the box, the MPD is pretty much setup to do what most people would want to do with it. The PadKontrol in comparison, required me to set up different programming for it to serve for certain functions. I don't remember having any problems setting up the things you mention, but that was part of what put me off from the controller, the fact that I had to bother doing any programming at all. The MPD line of controllers cost more, but IMO you get more for that money you're spending.
Yeah the pad kontrol is a pita to program.
And when I program it directly from the device I lose my settings as soon as I go up an octave.
It feels so close to perfect just a couple of things I pretty much hate.
Looking at getting a maschine controller but I'll look into the MPD too.


Thanks
Old 30th April 2013
  #30
Gear Nut
 

i would recommend a keyboard over a pad controller simply because its much more versatile playing chords and stuff.

and you can drum very good on the keys too. besides the note-roll function some pad controllers offer but you can note roll in your DAW manually too with editing or plugins.

basically you dont need more than ableton and a keyboard to make some good stuff. Ableton offers lots of tools like sample editing in the way an MPC does.

you may find yourself beeing limited with your ableton version one day but for the beginning you will absolutely fine with this setup.

the miditech keyboards are cool and offer good price. or check out M-Audio.



the Maudio axiom 2gen is a reallly good controller and also good quality! im absolutely loving the axiom keys they are the best in this price range i think. you should get the Axiom 49 2cnd gen from all mentioned above.
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