school me on midi controllers

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Deeve, Dec 12, 2019.

  1. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Welp - it's finally happened, I've been encouraged, by my metal-head nephew, to try recording into a PC

    So, I got a tower format PC w/ a big SSD and 16gig RAM and something called Toontracks (what he's using, apparently) and some other "plug ins" through Reverb.com

    As I stare into the screen and see the infinite array of choices, I nearly shut down.
    It looks like I can use the interface to plug in my guitar, and a vocal mic - okay.
    And it looks like about 128 varieties of piano in there "virtually" and all manner of effects and flavor changers, but I can't imagine using the mouse to click in all the keyboard parts, so how about a controller?
    My old Wurli 64 isn't set up for midi out, so I'm seeing a vast array of midi 'boards on CL at "bargain prices" -

    WHAT SHOULD I AVOID - seems like a more reasonable question than "What's Best?"

    Peace - Deeve


    mods - while this may also belong in "recording" I started w/ the BDC as I recognize some of the regular posters here, and I don't think I've ever wandered into the sub-forum on recording. Relocate it if you must.
     
  2. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    They all work pretty well. The Arturia Keystep is really good at a great price. It has after touch, which is a good feature not available on most budget MIDI keyboard controllers.
     
  3. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Most modern controllers have USB outs that you can plug straight into your computer-no mucking about with MIDI cables or interfaces with traditional MIDI jacks.
     
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  4. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    New info (to me)

    Local CL offered midi controllers that looked like Casio toy keyboards from $20 - 50 and more space-ship looking things in the $150 range

    I'm imagining the poor dood @ music store facing a mom who wants a guitar-shaped object instead of something Junior can take to his Arena gig, shortly after mastering A, D an E.
    "step away from that Esteban, ma'am. . . "

    Peace - Deeve
     
  5. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I have two controllers, a small, 49 key M-Audio that is reasonably decent and ran about $70 new, and an Akai with a full 88 weighted keys. I use the Akai most of the time as I really like the action on it, the small one is mainly used when noodling ideas into my laptop while sitting on the couch.

    The Akai has a lot of knobs and sliders that can be assigned to control things in the DAW, but I never use any of that stuff.
     
  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Don't go with the bottom of the line Akai LPK25 like I did. I'm a certified cheapskate and got a used one for dirt cheap. It works. It does the job, but the USB connector is crap and 25 keys just isn't enough for using EZDrummer2 very easily. It is also very small and light and tends to get knocked off the desk too. Go at least one step up in quality.

    Oh, and there are always some at pawn shops that look like they were never used. I'm going with the Korg 37 when I find a used one for dirt cheap.
     
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  7. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    are you looking for a keyboard controller? if you are the editrol and oxygen 8 are really inexpensive and good
    I have a number of controllers that are not necessarily keyboards from midi faders and rotary knobs to a midi clarenet so you are not limited to just a keyboard type controllers, some of the newer units are fairly mind blowing with capabilities , but this all depends on how far you want to delve into the midi pool
     
  8. bluzkat

    bluzkat Tele-Holic

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  9. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    I have a MIDIMAN or was it M-Audio Oxygen and Arturia keystation 32 (mini keys). I don't really "play" keyboards and I am just as likely to use the mouse to put notes in.

    Yeah I realized this happened to me because I thought I had to use everything. I'd recommend starting real simple. Also spend more time putting notes in than adjusting the reverb settings (I keep telling myself).
     
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  10. MarkieMark

    MarkieMark Tele-Meister

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    Hey Deeve-
    Being overwhelmed by options and possibilities is a common cause of getting very little actual progress in the modern home studio setting.
    I agree with the advice to start simple. Focus on the bare bones basics to do what you want to do!
    ToonTracks makes some good products with huge potential, but similarly, they can be complex or you can stick to utilizing some basic functions.

    The "hub" of your rig is going to be the DAW software. Most are extremely complex and often expensive. Others are far more basic and intuitive. Either way, learning to set up your rig and use the DAW is key, and takes time.
    Choosing a DAW and exploring it is the first major hurdle IMO. If you have someone experienced to guide you it helps a great deal here.

    As to your specific question, choosing a controller-
    The first question is are you a keyboard player, or do you just need something to input data?
    A keyboard player is going to care more about "feel" and such, where for others it wont matter very much.
    I agree with the previous advice about size- 25 keys is good for mobility and perhaps those with very limited space, but its a shortcoming otherwise. You may want something bigger that covers another two octaves at least.
    I'd also agree that starting out, extra knobs and such are probably unnecessary. The good news is that most are relatively inexpensive if you decide you want more stuff later. And like most things, you probably will.
    Good news. Two is good.:lol:

    Bottom line- it depends on exactly what you want to do. No definite answer.

    Best tips- start slow, learn the basics, and dont be tempted by every on sale add-on "new trick" you will be bombarded with.
    Like other things you may relate to, its about practice and gaining experience, not collecting hardware or software......

    Let me know if you have further questions on any of this.:cool:
     
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  11. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    First you need to figure out what your budget is. I've had a couple of the small keyboard ones 25 keys. Now I have a https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005M02VNW/?tag=tdpri-20 I've found it way better than the smaller ones. The more keyboard & synth plugins you get the more keys the better to take full advantage of the PI's. I'm not a keyboard player by any means but seem to find what fits my needs. As MarkieMark mentioned the whole computer recording is a learning curve like any instrument. Over the years the two big improvements to my setup besides the computer was my interface (Apollo twin Duo) and power monitors (Yamaha 8"). What DAW are you using? I big fan of Logic Pro at $199 it's hard to beat. Also, YouTube has great videos on digital recording also Face Book has some really good groups for recoding, TDPRI has recording in progress it’s good also.

    Anyway it’s whole new addiction but fun enjoy
     
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  12. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    Deeve....

    I bought this one about 3 years ago:
    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=606607

    It replaced my Roland JV30 Keyboard/controller which finally died but served me well for 23 years.
    I use it with my Midiman 4 port midi patch bay.
    It triggers my Roland XV5080 - Roland MBD-1 - Roland MVS - 1-Proteus FX....works perfectly/no issues or complaints on my end.

    I don't fancy myself as a keyboard player but I know enough to track my own keyboard parts on my originals.

    Hope that helps.....carry on.
     
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