Yes, I realize this is subjective, but isn\'t everything. My wife is the keyboardist (classically trained) and would like an 88 key, midi controller to use with SONAR, Giga Studio, and our pile of midi modules, samplers and keyboards. Yesterday, we looked at the Roland RD 700 and Kurzweil PC2X. She preferred the \"feel\" of the Kurzweil. Sounds are secondary, but she definitely liked the piano.
We have owned Roland, Emu, Yamaha, and Ensoniq gear for years. Never Kurzweil.
What keyboard controllers are you folks using to get the best dynamics, particularly for orchestral arrangements? We just purchased Giga & Garritan Strings, so how it interfaces with them is important.
Thanks in advance for your insights and recommendations.
Maybe take a look at some of the newer Yamaha 88 key stuff ? I don\'t own any of it...I\'ve played a few of them and they\'re pretty ok (Motif 8, S90, S08 - I think those numbers are accurate)...that said, I\'m definitely nowhere near as discriminating as a real piano player would be...but it might be worth checking out.
If you\'re looking for a keyboard that emulates the action of an acoustic piano, then you really should check out the Kawai MP9500. It has a graded, fully-weighted action with wooden keys and has gotten rave reviews. I bought one recently and am delighted with it. One thing to note, however: it does not have aftertouch, which may be an issue when playing some sample libraries.
If you\'re liking the action on the Kurz then I concur with Aaron about the Fatar. However, if you\'re still not 100% certain, I highly recommend checking out a Roland A-90 or A-90ex.
Not only has it got a really nice feel but for me it\'s been the most full featured controller I\'ve been able to find for the last 7 years. Literally. It\'s got assignable everything and it\'s very well laid out (contrary to many of Roland\'s other design ideas). It also comes with a breath control input and can function as a 2 in 4 out midi patchbay. The A90ex model comes with built in sounds (you can choose from a couple different boards like the JV1080 series). Pretty nice pianos and vintage keys etc on the stock board. Nothing too spectacular but worth the price and immediacy.
I think my favourite thing about it is that you don\'t have to wade through menus to find what you need. Everything is exceptionally well laid out and assigning controllers is as simple as hitting the \"edit\" button and touching the controller of your choice. Very fast.
In addition to the breath control input it has:
2 expression pedal inputs
2 pedal switch inputs
separate pedal input for \"total vol\"
separate pedal input for \"hold pedal\"
comes with a really nice hold pedal
4 assignable faders
2 assignable wheels
1 assignable joystick/pitch bender
(kitchen sink extra)
believe it or not, i don\'t have any connection to Roland. this controller just happened to be one of my bet purchase decisions in the last 10 years.
heres wishing you find one that you feel equally good about!
This whole thing comes down to personal taste. And don\'t forget that over time, a controller can \"break-in\" and feel different then when it was brand new. Sometimes this is a blessing, sometimes not.
I still use a 15 year old Kurzweil Midi-Board. For me, it is the perfect combination action of piano and synth. It is no longer as stiff as a piano keyboard, but it responds well enough for piano samples. The real problem with piano action keyboards is that they make playing realistic orchestral samples very difficult. You are better off using a synth keyboard for orchestral work.
If by chance, you run across a used Kurzweil Midi-Board, jump on it. The downside is that they are huge and very heavy....(hernia alert). They have no internal sounds, but have (for me at least), the perfect combination of piano or synth feel.
I tried the new Kurz keyboards, and they are far too stiff for my taste. But I recall my Midi-Board was stiff back when it was new as well.
In any case, this is all personal taste, and based on playing style. But playing a delicate oboe solo on a piano action keyboard is very, very difficult.