Studiologic VMK-188 Plus Master Keyboard by gaffu
So I was in the market for a keyboard with piano-like action. DAW controls were not necessarily but certainly a plus. The choice ended on the Studiologic VMK-188 plus.
The VMK-188p features 88 keys with the FATAR TP40GH keybed. The keybed is graded hammer action with monophonic aftertouch. The keys feel nice and solid but that's about where it ends.
First off; The keys.
As already mentioned the feel of the keys are great and the aftertouch works as expected. But the velocity of the keys were real disappointing. Velocity (MIDI value) 1-50 are good and pretty much all could be hit but after 50 it starts to skip. After 70 it gets horrible stepping the velocity curve by 5 (so would go 71 then 75 then 79). After 90 it skips by roughly 10. Of cause this also affects the aftertouch. Lastly to reach 127 it does require some finger strength to keep at it.
Next is the joystick that controls modulation and pitch.
The Pitch is decent stepping the MIDI value by 2 however the modulation is horrible stepping the MIDI value by roughly 8.
On to the sliders and knobs.
The knobs are not endless rotaries but they can hit all MIDI values. Sliders work as expected being able to hit all MIDI values. There is however a serious issue with both the knobs and sliders. They do not always detect changes which means when you have the slider at the bottom it might still be at e.g. MIDI value 5, then you have to move the slider up and down to make it register the bottom value. This issue is also present with the knobs. Lastly sometimes when you move them they start flickering even when you have stopped moving them which is rather annoying.
Lastly the midi controller shipped with a bunch of preset so they would easily integrate with your DAW. I'm using Logic Pro 9 and I must say that the preset set for Logic is not working (it could be for some older version of logic though). Which meant I had to configure all controls to suite logic. To reconfigure the controller was easy, just click the edit button and move a knob, slider or click a button to be able to control what information to send to your DAW, combined with Logic's learn feature it shouldn't take more than 10mins to set everything up.
The studiologic VMK-188 plus looks great on paper but it does not translate into either a very good keyboard nor controller. The velocity of the keys are horrible when you get into the higher ranges and the knobs and sliders just doesn't work properly. The Pitch was working fine but modulation was really lacking in sending MIDI values. For a beginner keyboard and the price it is OK. The unit costs around €500 which is about €200-300 cheaper than any other 88 keys graded hammer action midi controller. Just don't expect too much.
BTW: Sound quality is set to 1 as it does not contain any sounds.