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Old 12-07-2019, 11:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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midi keyboards?

SO doing some shopping for the pre-Christmas sales or to spend the gift money on.
I've been tinkering with FL Studio here and there, figure that would be a lot easier with a keyboard.
The Akai MPK Mini looks promising, but I'm comparing.
The only things I demand are some trigger pads (I do like the arrangement on the MPK Mini) and some knobs (probably don't need eight, but too many is better than too few) and the ability to get everything working smoothly with FL. Cheap is good (I'm a dabbler, nowhere near professional) and more keys are probably better but I might not need the full 88.
Anyone with good suggestions?
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I’ve had two M Audio Oxygen 8 keyboards of different generations and they both developed the same issue so I’d say don’t buy M Audio.

These days I’m pretty happy with stuff from Arturia. I’m sure they have something along those lines. I’d recommend that.

These days I’m using a Roland A-49 keyboard controller and when I want knobs I use additional hardware, although I rarely use software synths anymore due to how often making music on a computer causes me to scream at the program. Now I just reach for the knob on the actual thing.
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you are considering mini keys i'd go with the arturia keystep. It has cv/gate output + actual midi din. The sequencer is fun on hardware and can be synced to midi clock. I personally only use hardware these days, but when I still did DAW based production I preferred to program with a mouse.
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Also, for $200 or less you can get a used Korg Monologue which outputs note and midi CC from knobs with a pretty good sounding monosynth built in. The LFO goes up to very high frequencies so audio rate FM and wave shaping is plentiful. The sequencer is fun and records knob movements as well as note and slide.
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Alright, going to start inspecting those.
Really, by midi I meant so it would output to the piano roll in my DAW. Right now I'm married to that for various reasons, and don't expect to change that in the foreseeable future.
I still fully intend to use my mouse a lot, but for brainstorming and the like I find instruments more intuitive. Just less thinking, more doing.
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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^ Yes both the keystep and monologue will immediately output midi notes (by playing the keys) to piano roll either by USB or midi din. They will also output pitch bend and you can map the keysteps mod ribbon to whatever you'd like. You might just have to enable the device under the midi settings tab in FLstudio.
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think if you just want to use software then the Arturia Minilab is probably closer to what you want. If you have zero keyboarding skills and donít need actual keys then you may want the Beatstep Pro which is actually a stand-alone sequencer but works the same over USB MIDI. It has quite a few cool performance tricks and it makes for a great workflow. Itís generally useful but for sure had a more dance music centric design. Not in a a bad way, but it is a machine for the four on the floor. You can play it as a keyboard but obviously thatís not ideal if you want to play something significant.

IMO the hardest thing to do is use real hardware with soft synths. Nowadays I use no computer at all, even my recording and mastering is standalone. I can also see the merits of using just Logic or some other software. Getting it together though...Iím already getting mad at my computer just thinking about it.

Arturiaís soft synths are AMAZING by the way and you usually get something for free when you buy their stuff.
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SignOfZeta View Post
IMO the hardest thing to do is use real hardware with soft synths.
I totally agree, the benefit though is when you become sick of messing with plugins you are left with an actual synth or sequencer.
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Originally Posted by SignOfZeta View Post
Nowadays I use no computer at all, even my recording and mastering is standalone.
That is cool, I still multi track into DAW and do some final touches there before exporting. I've looked into direct recording to tape but to reel to reel world seems heavily inflated price wise and not worth it at this time. I haven't seriously explored any other mediums. I have had some success bouncing tracks to VHS though, adds a lovely aesthetic depending on the tapes condition.
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Stuff to think about, yes.
I do need USB support. The computer doesn't have a literal midi jack and I don't plan on buying an interface for something I do so rarely. I'm attached to the DAW because I use plenty of sampled sounds and, so far, always include things you could get from a Super Nintendo. And it's much easier to sample those or adjust waveforms in DAW than any but really expensive keyboards.
And, no, I don't have much keyboard experience. But I can play just about anything by ear just well enough to make it smoother, mentally, getting ideas down. It's easier to fart something out and then move everything around than it is to learn a new instrument.
Especially percussion. That's just more of an intuitive thing by ear than by staring at a roll, to me.
But at least DAWs have gotten a lot better about integrating with things, now.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:17 PM   #10 (permalink)
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^ well if you plan on running some decent plugins (and multiples of them at the same time) You are likely going to need an audio interface/external sound card. Nearly all of them will include midi din I/O.
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