I'm currently looking for a new keyboard controller, and since I'm hoping to eventually invest in the Garritan Stradivari library, I need to go ahead and future-proof my purchase.
So my question is: What keyboard controller do you recommend that satisfies all the requirements for the Stradivari library, namely a six octave range, pitch pheel, mod wheel, sustain pedal, channel aftertouch and expression pedal. I've been shopping already for a keyboard to use with Ivory (fully weighted), but neither of the two Yamahas that I'm leaning towards (P90 and P250) seem to have aftertouch. If I have to purchase two separate boards, that's okay I guess, but getting all the features I want on one keyboard would be really nice.
So my question is: What keyboard controller do you recommend that satisfies all the requirements for the Stradivari library, namely a six octave range, pitch pheel, mod wheel, sustain pedal, channel aftertouch and expression pedal.
I have a Korg Triton Le. I wouldn't recommend mine to anyone for GPO or the Strad - since it is the joystick variety (where both modulation data and pitchbend are manipulated with a single joystick that springs back to "middle" position when not used. BUT with some practice and patience, I have become quite adept at using it with success, but COUNTLESS times I have wished for the standard two-wheel setup.
MacBook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5ghz 4GB Ram OSX 10.5.8
Korg TritonLe & MAudio Oxygen 8
T3, Logic 9, DP7, K2, GPO4, Strad, Gofriller, C&MB, Finale 2010
I use a Kurzweil MIDIBoard, mainly for the keyboard feel, but it also has completely programmable wheels, sliders and buttons - as well as several jacks for pedals and footswitches. I don't know if there's an exact parallel, but I'd look for a controller that has aftertouch, a few extra jack inputs for something more than sustain - and good quality pitch and mod wheels.
Speaking of the joystick vs. the two wheel job, has anybody here mastered playing both wheels at once? I generally think about one or the other, but I start doing stupid things if I try messing with both. Then again, I've never really practiced for it.
I use a Kurweil PC-88. It has weighted keys and aftertouch, lots of inputs for controllers, and nice wheels. For the Strad I'd recommend a non or lightly weighted feel. I'm not happy with the PC-88's aftertouch either. It's not very linear/controllable. You press and nothing happens, then all of a sudden it's halfway up the scale. After that it's really heavy, and doesn't do too much more. It seems to work okay on some of the built-in bass guitar patches though. Some add vibrato and others a slide down. But it's not like a bass guitar is a finesse instrument the way that a violin is.
I would be really, really surprised if the PC-88 *didn't* have some way to calibrate the aftertouch response in software or hardware... the MIDIBoard can scale the response with a physical slider and then set a lin/log curve of choice.
Yes, there's a software adjustment for offset, gain, sin/cos/lin, but I find that the hardware just doesn't have enough range to be useful for much more than on/off with a soft entry. By the time that you've given it enough pressure to start to react, you're about out of room. It's like having a mixer with 1mm of travel on the faders. Software just won't fix it for you.
Then again, maybe that's as good as aftertouch gets. I've never auditioned other keyboards for their aftertouch, since I'm kinda jaded on it.
Sounds like your settings are out of whack - can you re-default them? You should start with a linear response and then lower the offset to get the AT to kick in sooner. If you can't lower the offset to get AT values during the initial keystrike (more or less continuous from the onset), then there's a hardware setting out of calibration - probably some 3/4 turn pot on a circuit board underneath the pitch and mod wheels.
I consider aftertouch to be a critical component of modern synth/keyboard playing. The MIDIBoard not only has channel aftertouch, but it also has polyphonic aftertouch, which sends AT messages on a key-basis. It makes a huge difference in synths that respond to that controller - especially with mixing sustained pads with live instruments.