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Topic: Controller Keyboard Recomendations

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  1. #1

    Controller Keyboard Recomendations

    Hello All,

    I am looking for a keyboard/controller that will play well with GPO and JABB running in DP/Finale on a Mac. (DP 4.1.2, OSX 3.9/4)

    I mostly do compositions for theater (sort of like composing for film, but usually much shorter cues), and I am having to replace all of my gear after a fire.

    I have not used JABB yet (it's on it's way), but I understand that aftertouch will be important to making the most of it, so I assume that aftertouch would be a key feature in a keyboard. However, I also would like to get all the faders and knobs (and maybe even playback control?) that the new generation of controllers have to offer.

    Here is a quick list of what I am looking at and the pros/cons of each:

    Edirol PCR series: Pros: Price, Knobs and Buttons Cons: No Aftertouch

    Emu Xboard series: Pros: Aftertouch Cons: Only Knobs

    Novation Remote series: Looks good on paper, but haven't been able to hands on with one.

    CME controllers: Looks GREAT, but haven't seen one. Also has breath controll input which could be helpful. (I used to program winds/brass/strings using a WX5 and loved it)

    Evolution MK series Pros: Price, Knobs and Buttons. The manuals say that these have aftertouch, but all the reviews say that they don't. Any users out there that can verify?

    Sorry for such a long winded post, but I need to make a choice soon, and (obviously from my list) money is tight right now. Any feedback that the estiemed list can give would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    El

  2. #2
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    Re: Controller Keyboard Recomendations

    The CME controllers are nice for the money. They were heavily used at the NAMM show in January. We used a couple in the Garritan booths and they worked and played fine.

    Jim

  3. #3

    Re: Controller Keyboard Recomendations

    I read Yamaha has some new controllers coming out. Anyone tried those yet?
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  4. #4

    Re: Controller Keyboard Recomendations

    I like my Edirol PCR80, although the velocity response is a bit weird for live playing. I would recommend the PCR M80, which is a newer model with multipe velocity curves so that you can get a better feel.

    When it comes to JABB, I wouldn't worry too much about having aftertouch built in to your keyboard. I prefer mapping aftertouch to a slider. I've tried to "play" the vibrato with a pressure-sensitive controller, but I found it really hard to fine-tune--whereas you can easily control a slider in small increments. (Pressure sensitivity is cool for the brush stirs, but you can get the same results from a slider, or pick up a used M-Audio trigger finger for pressure-sensitive drumming, which is what I did).

    I haven't tried all of the keyboards you've mentioned, but I would definitely recommend something that has SLIDERS. Turning 1 knob occupies your whole hand, but you can control 2, 3, or 4 sliders simultaneously with one hand--this is great for JABB, where you might want to control dynamics, vibrato, and vibrato speed at the same time. With a little bit of coordination, you can have all three moving independently with one hand, while playing a line with your other, and pedalling with your foot.

    My Edirol template maps these "realtime" controllers to adjacent sliders, and uses the knobs for the set-it-and-forget-it type controls. Buttons can be assigned to keyswitches, which is a really cool feature. I posted my template in the Club JABB forum, so if you pick up an Edirol, feel free to download it.

    chris.

  5. #5

    Re: Controller Keyboard Recomendations

    I'm using a CME UF7.
    It's rock solid and works great with JABB, B4 and Sibelius,
    but I have problems getting it to control Cubase's transport functions.

    Also using a E-MU Xboard25 for easy input in Sibelius.
    Works quite allright to play single lines of "jabbing" in Cubase too.

  6. #6

    Re: Controller Keyboard Recomendations

    I like the Edirol that I have on my desk, but the only thing I don't like is the funky Roland wammy bar. For GPO I'd much rather have a conventional mod wheel. Instead I have to program one of the sliders to send mod wheel controller, which is fine, but its not as supple and smooth as an actual real mod wheel...so... I'd reccomend for GPO you find a controller with a real honest to goodness mod wheel.
    "Music is a manifestation of the human spirit similar to a language. If we do not want such things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest number of people understand their secrets" -- Zoltan Kodaly

  7. #7

    Re: Controller Keyboard Recomendations

    I tried various controllers and found all of them wanting for some reason or another so I splurged for a Yamaha Mo8 since it has a nice balanced hammer action and great internal sounds.

  8. #8

    Re: Controller Keyboard Recomendations

    Quote Originally Posted by newsound
    Hello All,

    Evolution MK series Pros: Price, Knobs and Buttons. The manuals say that these have aftertouch, but all the reviews say that they don't. Any users out there that can verify?

    Sorry for such a long winded post, but I need to make a choice soon, and (obviously from my list) money is tight right now. Any feedback that the estiemed list can give would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    El
    Hi
    Sorry to hear of your misfortune I have the Evolution MK-461C, it's a 61-key board. I like it a lot for most of what I do. I think that there's no aftertouch. (not that I can get to work anyway). I also have the M-audio 88-key semi-weighted, and it's a nice board too for the price.
    Good Luck,
    Steph

  9. #9

    Re: Controller Keyboard Recomendations

    Look for something with sliders - and also multiple inputs for foot or breath controllers. Typically you'd want an on/off pedal for sustain and a linear pedal for expression control.

    Let us know what you end of getting and what the pros & cons are after you've driven it around the block.

    -JF

  10. #10

    Exclamation Re: Controller Keyboard Recomendations

    I use the Keystation Pro 88 from M-Audio. Weighted action, 9 sliders, 24 knobs and it walks my dog when I'm away. Good luck with your search.
    MotuHari--DP 4.61, Reason, Stylus RMX, Kontakt2, VGEE, GPO, Mac B&W G3w/G4 Upgrade, Keystation Pro 88

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