Fatar has a poor rep for quality, and the user reviews for Studiologic at Harmony Central have too many reported problems for me. But a friend is looking for a board with a heavy action, and years ago I had an Alesis DG-8 with, I think, a TP-30 action. Played like lead, but may be right for this guy.
Fatar, like Roland and others, uses the conductive paint + conductive rubber slug switches. Makes for no water immunity, relatively short life and rotten feel. Even the weight of the key action doesn't cover up the sponginess.
I wish everyone would go to the Yamaha action. I don't care if it clacks. After years of service my SY99 keyboard with leaf switches works perfectly and is much better than the one on my PC88mx even though the PC88mx is a lot newer and didn't have to survive being drowned in a house fire.
Unfortunately, the "rubber" switches are a fact of life. As an engineer, a repairman and a gigging musician, if I can ever convince the guys who came up with that concept to meet me in a dark alley ...
Last edited by ohernie; 04-15-2005 at 02:38 PM.
Reason: changed word for clarity
Well, I've had some experience of Fatars. Here's what I can tell you:
1. I have a Studiologic SL880. The action is pretty good, I reckon, as piano actions go (I'm a pianist). Not absolutely realistic, but nothing is. It's fairly heavy, so might suit your friend.
This machine has been absoluely reliable, but then I've never gigged it, only used it at home. The casing is SLIGHTLY plasticky and loose - I wouldn't be afraid to take it out, but let's just say I'd want it in a good quality flightcase. I recently upgraded to an Oberheim MC2000 and really notice the difference - it's solid metal and built like a tank.
But all in all the Fatar has served me well. I've only replaced it because I wanted a more advanced MIDI spec for my live rig.
2. I recently bought a bunch of the smaller, cheaper SL161s for the school where I teach. BIG MISTAKE. These things look, and feel, like they came free in the bottom of a cereal packet. The casing is wobbly as hell. The power supplies fit loosely in the sockets. The switch-on mechanism is woeful and half the time you have to fiddle it and switch on and off a few times to get the instrument to initialise properly. Two of the keyboards have been damaged just in ordinary use - the plastic that joins the keyboard mechanism to the case is incredibly brittle.
3. I've read similar reports about the cheap 88-key controller that they recently brought out. TMK something-or-other? Can't remember. But after my experience with the SL161s, I would advise anyone thinking of buying a Fatar to have a good look at it first, from the point of view of build quality. I don't know whether they still make any "quality" models, at least of the quality of the SL880. My impression is that the SL990, which supposedly replaced it (at a lower price point) again involved compromises in this area.
I've had two Studiologic SL990 Pros in the past 16 months and they've both gone bad - keys stop working, wierd behavior. The one I bought this past December just died and dealing with their support is a nightmare - you have to send it to a local service center and then WAIT. I paid extra for a Rush service and it's still out after 3 weeks. Never again will I buy one of these pieces of junk. I mean the action is pretty good but the reliability just isn't there.
I just tested their new keybed Fatar TP400 at Musikmesse two weeks
ago and I must say that I was impressed by the touch. They had a
showroom with all kinds of their different keybeds (TP8, TP9, TP10,
TP20) and everything else paled in comparison...
Unfortunately they don't have any webpresence and not even an
email-address (at least officially - they say they don't need any ;-)
Find one of those monster Peavey controllers.....They are feature rich , and the action is very heavy indeed ....The action was heavier than any keyboard I have ever played, but the problem was the actuall keyboard was also very heavy ....Beautifull instrument though !!.....Jim
Getting slightly off topic here... but does anyone know of a midi keyboard that actually has a real hammer action rather than these simulated.. weights? In times long past, Roland had a funky half piano half keyboard electric piano instrument that had real hammers (and strings!), but this predated midi....
Most weighted keyboards just make me angry.. having a dull resistance is nothing at all like the feel of a piano's hammer action...
Of course the ideal solution would be one of those midi enabled Bosendorfer grands, but.... I don't have the.... space for it.... yes thats right... the space...