I hope this is in the right forum. I am looking to buy a midi keyboard to input my compositions a lot easier than with a mouse. I've got Sibelius First and GPO4. I'm intending to get Cubase LE after Christmas too so I will do a mix of inputting into Sibelius and Cubase with the keyboard. My budget is £100 as I am only writing music for a hobby. I have looked at the Alesis QX49, the Ion Key 49, the M-Audio keyrig 49 and Oxygen 49. I assume those all have a socket for a sustain pedal and I can see they all have a mod wheel. I've decided on 49 keys size as I don't want a huge keyboard (I've already got a piano so the keyboard will just be used for midi input).I figured 25 keys could be a bit limiting as have to keep switching octaves.
I'd be realy grateful if anyone can advise me how to choose between keyboard, if anyone has personal experience using the above models with Sibelius. many thanks
Last edited by Lynne1980; 12-15-2011 at 07:23 AM.
Reason: spelling error
I totally endorse your plan to start using a MIDI keyboard instead of a mouse - Much easier, since you already play the piano.
MIDI keyboards nowadays are created pretty equally when it comes to the basics. I've looked at online info for all of the keyboards you're looking at - Any of them would do what you need, some with nice additional features. 49 keys will be fine. Up until a year ago, that's all I had. Octave shifting is so easy to use on both a keyboard and in sequencer software.
Maybe not right away, but eventually you'd enjoy having your keyboard be a more full featured MIDI controller, like the Alesis CQ49. That has plenty of controls which will be very useful once you start using Cubase.
The IOn wouldn't be as good of a choice. It's a synthesizer with sounds like classic, old school synths - and at only 8 voice polyphony at that. You'd be paying for features you wouldn't be using.
The M-Audio KeyRIg costs less than the Alesis, but doesn't have any MIDI controller knobs/sliders beyond the two wheels.
The Oxygen is the most like the Alesis unit, with plenty of MIDI controls on it. But for some reason, Sweetwater (best prices, no shipping cost in The States anyway) doesn't carry it anymore. I think it may have been replaced with a new version.
All of those are in your budget ---around $155. I would go with the Alesis.
Look online thoroughly though for specs on all of these - don't assume that features are there that you need. It looks like they all have a sustain jack, that is pretty standard - but it would be nice if they have an Expression pedal jack also - in my quick look I didn't look up all the specs. But everything you need to know about each unit is available online by looking at several sites.
It's an excellent Christmas present to yourself - Finish your comparison shopping and go for it!
I recently set up my music composition desk after moving to North Dakota and my full size 88 keyboard simply would not fit. As you mentioned, a 25-key board seemed too limiting, so I decided on a 49-key unit. I purchased an Akai professional MPK49 because it had weighted keys and more options than I'll ever use. I did want the modulation and volume wheels and it has a full range of performance controls; 12 pads, 16 assignable buttons and sliders and full recording options. At less than $250, it is an excellent midi controller for my use. From my personal experience, as well of several music friends, stay away from M-Audio boards. Incidently, an e-mail with details sent to Musiciansfriend.com will get good assistance from their staff; and more importantly they have frequent major sales on about everything.
One thing to consider, and you'll have to ask around about that, is build quality. I've heard that the some of the more recent M-Audio keyboards (one of which I own and have had no problems with so far, but it's only about a year old) may not be so great. Of course, on the internet, the amount of complaints tends to overshadow the amount of praise, so take anything you read with a grain of salt too...