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Topic: CME Keyboards

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  1. #1

    CME Keyboards

    I have an 88-key keyboard controller with a
    good, "acoustic piano feel." What I don't have
    is a keyboard that supports AFTERTOUCH and
    some other things needed for the proper playing
    of the Stradivari and Gofriller.

    So, with the piano solo (88 keys) problem solved,
    I was looking for a small MIDI keyboard with Volume
    pedal port, AFTERTOUCH, Mod Wheel, and Pitch Bend to
    key in the Garritan solo string products and perhaps more
    in the near future.

    I looked at the CME UF50 and it looks like it might solve
    my problem (for $329.95 with free shipping plus no tax).

    Has anyone used CME keyboards with Garritan products?
    If so, I would like your assessment of the instrument and
    any disadvantages you have encountered.

    Thanks,

    Jack
    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 2014.5, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.5, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  2. #2

    Re: CME Keyboards

    This one has come up a few times, so you might benefit from doing a search, but here's my 2 cents' worth.

    I have the old CME UF80 (before the motorized sliders). THe action on the keys is terribly clunky; they put up a lot of resistance, so that, if you play gently, they don't go down to the sensors, and if you push enough to overcome the resistance, they suddenly produce a velocity value of 50+. It's nearly impossible to play with the whole velocity range. Most people have reported that playing a few glissandi up and down the keyboard loosens the keys up, but they soon go stiff again. They also make more noise than the keys on any other keyboard I've played.

    In my opinion the driver is poorly written. I say in my opinion, because a CME forum moderator nearly had a fit when I dared to simply say that the driver is poorly written - told me I was very unhelpful, and that I couldn't speak for other systems than my own. The simple fact, though, is that my PC loses sight of the keyboard on a very regular basis, and only a complete reboot will get them to talk again - it's an experience that hundreds of users complained about, but CME ignored, fobbing us all off with the idea it may be down to other components. Many users who had this problem decided to use the keyboard's MIDI output, and reported that this was rock-solid, but I've recently read a few users saying that they find the MIDI output flaky and the USB output more reliable.

    I've only just started using the aftertouch, and I have to say it's one aspect I'm quite pleased with. Given the clunkiness of the initial key response I wasn't expecting much, but the aftertouch actually gives a full range, and responds sensitively. I just got the SonicCouture GuZheng (sorry, I know we're in the Garritan forum), where pitch bend is handled via aftertouch. I found I could not only do a one-off pitch bend, but a fairly convincing vibrato, using the CME aftertouch.

    One problem I encountered, and I don't know whether it applies to the smaller CME keyboards, is that the breath controller input is poorly mounted. It's like they tested the keyboard without a backplate on, mounted the jack socket, then slapped a 1/4'' backplate behind it, with a hole that's too small for the plastic part of any known jack plug to fit through - so the plug stops a 1/4'' short of being in properly. I enlarged the hole through the backplate, and things work fine, but it was a shame they couldn't have thought it through a little better. I haven't used the volume pedal input, so I couldn't comment on whether they made the same blunder.

    Finally, I've heard reports that the refresh rate of the keyboard is remarkably slow. I don't know about technical stuff; but the manufacturer of another plug-in saw that I mentioned I was using this keyboard with his product, and emailed me to ask if I was having problems? He says the keyboard has a very slow MIDI refresh rate, and they suspected it was behind some glitching they were experiencing.

    Reading back over this I realise all I've done is list problems. Sadly there is nothing outstandingly great that I can name to redress the balance. Their keyboards are indeed very cheap for the range of features they tend to include, but I'm starting to think it wasn't worth it. It's all very well offering all kinds of extras, but first the thing has to work. I've owned $100 keyboards that had the key-action and USB driver sorted better.
    David

  3. #3

    Re: CME Keyboards

    I think Pingu has given a fair overview of his experience. I saw the thread on th CME-PRO site he was speaking of and it was unfortunate. That being said, I think the UF80 owners have had a different experience than the 70 and 60 owners. I have a UF70 and am very happy with it. There were a few issues that needed a driver to fix them and CME was *very* slow in getting the new firmware out (version 2) but now that it is here I am a happy camper. I use a Yamaha breath controller with the board and it works well. The jack for the 1/8 inch plug is flush so there is no issue with inserting the breath controller.

    One thing to make sure of is to purchase a compatible expression pedal. Not all pedals work with all keyboards. I picked up a VP 26 Universal Volume Controller and it works like a charm.

    I've not tried using the transport controls, I have no use for them. I have used the sliders and knobs and they work as advertised.

    One other thing to note. The UF Brain software that allows you to set up templates and assignments is *still* (after over a years wait!) XP only with the Mac version `forthcoming'. I'm not holding my breath. I just Boot Camp into XP and then use the Brain.

    CME is by no means perfect, especially their firmware and driver updating. But overall I love the keys and the control the board gives me. To emphasize, I would *never* buy an 80. Just a 70 or 60.

    -Kevin
    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  4. #4

    Re: CME Keyboards

    Thanks Pingu and Kevin.

    WOW, Pingu, and I was thinking of buying a UF80. The
    salesman at Sweetwater said it was a good board. I
    guess the economy will put words where they don't belong
    sometimes.............lol

    Now, I'm back to square one. I need a SMALL 25-49-key
    keyboard that has AFTERTOUCH, Volume pedal port, Mod
    Wheel, Pitch Bend Wheel and whatever else I can get as
    long as the aforementioned parameters are in place.

    Thanks again for your help. Just what I needed.

    Jack
    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 2014.5, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.5, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Central Illinois
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    Re: CME Keyboards

    Hi Jack, I think everyone would like to have the same. Don't know if it exists or not. I'm using an old warhorse Roland A-90 controller that weighs a ton. They don't make 'em like they used to.
    Are you certain you need to control the vibrato and expression in real time?
    I have never gotten adept at playing the solo strings and being able to handle all the pedals and wheels at once. I'm finding that editing the cc# 1 and 11, and aftertouch in the piano roll view of my sequencer is giving me greater control of these parameters. There is a good thread in which member Hannes gives some examples of how he achieves results with the Strad. Evidently, he is using Pad2midi which gives him an XY axis where he controls expression and vibrato, and vibrato speed at the same time. There are several midi contraptions that enable one to program whichever cc function to a slider or knob that you could add to your existing keyboard.
    Here's the link to Hannes post:
    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ad.php?t=58465

    Good luck in your quest, John

  6. #6

    Re: CME Keyboards

    Hi John:

    Thank you so much for responding and giving me some
    more "food" for thought. I will read Hannes post and
    probably will learn more about what I have to do at the
    present time (using "post" parameters for vibrato speeds
    and volume control.......CC11).

    Thanks again,

    Jack
    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 2014.5, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.5, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    South of the Ohio River
    Posts
    555

    Re: CME Keyboards

    Jack,
    The Edirol PCR series of controllers has Aftertouch. Can't vouch for all the other that you need but these are relatively inexpensive and might suit your needs.
    Jerry
    Dayton, Kentucky
    Personally, I'm waiting for caller IQ.

  8. #8

    Re: CME Keyboards

    Hi Jack,

    Just my own two cents...

    I've used an M-Audio Axiom 25 for the past few years. It does have aftertouch and velocity sensitivity with different velocity curves available for different styles of playing. The key action is very comfortable and natural, considering. It's been rock solid all the way around (drivers included) and I've been very happy with it, using it between home and work. You may want to check it out on the M-Audio site.

    Danny

  9. #9

    Re: CME Keyboards

    Yeah, the Axiom keyboards are great keyboards. You get aftertouch and both sustain and expression pedal jacks.

    -Kevin
    We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
    24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM

  10. #10

    Re: CME Keyboards

    Jack,

    John (bigears) is right,

    it is not possible to accomplish the same delicate results in real time as it is to record each controller separately one at a time. Then edit the data to make the instrument sing the best it can.

    I would recommend using whatever controller you are comfortable with slider/fader, modwheel, then in DP's mixer,... in the midi track, insert "Reassign Continuous Data". This will allow you to use any controller of any of your keyboards to control any aspect of the Stadivari or Gofriller. Once you have the data recorded, you would highlight that data in the midi track, and from the "Region" menu choose "Reassign Continuous Data". The data that you recorded will change color to the color of the data that you wanted to record in the first place.

    In other words.... for the Gofriller, you want to record in real time (for obvious musical purposes) expression which is cc11. Your keyboard has a modwheel which feels and works nice. You enter overdub mode and use the modwheel to record your expression, but first, you need to insert the above info I provided. This way, DP will record modwheel data (orange), but in real time, the inserted plugin will reassign the data so the modwheel will cause the Gofriller to respond to expression.

    Again, the data recorded into the midi track will be orange modwheel, but you need to highlight all that data, and reassign it from cc1 to cc11. The data will change color from orange to purple. After that, you can edit the data to more intimately control the instrument.

    No need to buy another keyboard.

    Dan

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