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Midi controller or synthesizer?
Old 20th January 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Midi controller or synthesizer?

I am planning to compose some music for which I have a computer and the required software. For this a midi controller is good enough, but a midi controller may not produce any sound by itself or have a audio out jack.

3 questions

1) If a keyboard also has midi output (which i can connect to my computer) and produces sounds by itself, is there any advantage of buying a midi controller over a keyboard considering both cost the same.

2) Is there a synthesizer/keyboard available which will also do the job of a midi controller under $300.

3) Is there a midi controller that produces sound by itself.

I do not need the keyboard to produce all types of sounds (simple piano sound is good enough). I would like to play the instrument sometimes without the computer and compose music using the computer.
Old 20th January 2012
  #2
Gear Head
it depends whether you only want to send midi, or if you want advanced controls like pitch bend, sliders, rotary knobs, pads etc. Also, how many keys? There are 88 key options like the M-Audio ProKeys, but i am unaware of smaller options. Maybe a Roland Lucina Keytar? (I use one)
Generally midi controllers do not contain their own sounds, especially under $300.
A digital piano such as a Yamaha P85 can send midi to an interface, and also contains piano sounds (as well as strings, harpsichord etc)
Old 20th January 2012
  #3
Registered User
Try to get a keyboard with USB midi AND old fashioned 5 pin DIN midi. USB is so much more convenient when working with computer DAWs ... but plenty of vintage and modern stuff needs to use regular MIDI ports ...

I understand the appeal of a keyboard that you can just turn on without needing a computer ... plenty to choose from. Maybe buy two things, because they are seperate things. Maybe a large weighted piano keyboard, and a small lightweight synth key USB controller. Especially if you program drums from a keyboard ... weighted keys are nice for piano but no fun for drums or synth or organ stuff.
Old 20th January 2012
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdiggity View Post
it depends whether you only want to send midi, or if you want advanced controls like pitch bend, sliders, rotary knobs, pads etc. Also, how many keys? There are 88 key options like the M-Audio ProKeys, but i am unaware of smaller options. Maybe a Roland Lucina Keytar? (I use one)
Generally midi controllers do not contain their own sounds, especially under $300.
A digital piano such as a Yamaha P85 can send midi to an interface, and also contains piano sounds (as well as strings, harpsichord etc)
i guess i still can use the advanced controls in the software if i use a synth with a midi interface. how much advantage does one have to have direct control over the advanced controls using the midi control?
my primary objective is to compose music. i think 61 keys would be good enough for me.
Old 20th January 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
shponglefan's Avatar
Generally the advantage to using/assigning knobs on a MIDI controller to control the software is just immediacy. It's just easier and faster to tweak knobs/sliders/etc than clicking on things with a mouse.

But really, it comes down to personal preference.

The one issue I've found with MIDI controllers (at least cheaper ones) is the keybeds don't feel very good. A lot of them feel too mushy to me, whereas synth or digital pianos tend to have better keybeds. But then again, those can cost a lot more.
Old 25th December 2013
  #6
Gear Nut
 

I'm in the same boat as you... trying to decide which will be more conducive to my work flow having never owned either. The midi controller typically has the daw integration or control surface, while the synth has the immediacy and sometimes analog sounds. Some of them seem to be good midi controllers as well.

Unfortunately I've been doing searches of keyboards vs synths for quite a while and (no offense) none of the responses have been particularly helpful with regards to the features available out there and the pros vs cons in each. Right now I'm leaning towards a synth like the mini brute or ultranova (keys on the mininova WAY too small) and eventually a motorized control surface with getting a cheap roland controller in the runner up.
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