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Modern Midi Controller Keyboard or Vintage Synth?

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:12 pm
by Saul
Just been trawling around the net looking for a controller keyboard...yet again, yes I know I do get through a fair few ;) and it occurred to me that there are two ways to go with this. Either get a new modern controller keyboard or go for a "classic" like the M1, SY, D50 etc.

Thing is, with a modern controller you probably have better midi implementation..after all they are dedicated to the task, you have far more real time controls although I tend not to use them that much and of course the likes of the M1 and D50 are now available in standalone and vst format with more features than the originals. Also DAW integrations will usually be spot on these days so not much in the way of setting up to do.

Contrast that with say a classic like the KORG M1, which can be had for very little money now. Better build quality? Better keybed? Built in original sounds etc. On the minus side the display may fade and need replacing, battery will probably also need to be replaced and keys may stop functioning. After all we are talking about keyboards that are generally around 25-30 years old.

Apart from the nice feeling associated with owning an original I'm starting to wonder why bother? Surely the better value lays with the brand new MIDI Controller with it's better connectivity, feature set etc?

Any thoughts on this subject?

Re: Modern Midi Controller Keyboard or Vintage Synth?

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:45 pm
by vini
Hi Saul. I got a cable last week MIDI to USB it has the usual 5 pin IN and OUT plugs an inline pod with LED's and a USB the other end. it didn't do the plug and play thing with the W7 the computer didn't see the IN side. Another enigma to sort out. I then tried the PSR E433 with a PRINTER cable. That works fine IN & OUT and I guess I could shake it all about if needed. So my experience and logical advice is get a more modern one if you want to plug and play. HTH

Re: Modern Midi Controller Keyboard or Vintage Synth?

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:31 pm
by Derek
I would say tthat he question is what do you want the controller for? If it is studio based work only and you do not have much need beyond a MOD wheel and pitch bend (I use foot controllers myself) then an old board is fine. In my studio my main "controller" in front of me when I am using Cubase is my SY99.

If you need a controller with lots of knobs and sliders that you can program then a modern MIDI controller is probably the best option.

It depends on what you want.

BTW, you can avoid all these "plug and pray" problems by avoiding USB MIDI leads and getting a decent MIDI interface. ;)

Re: Modern Midi Controller Keyboard or Vintage Synth?

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:12 pm
by Saul
Thanks Vini and Derek. I have a midi interface and I never really use the controllers on a midi keyboard. It would be almost exclusively used to play softsynths and pianos.

Re: Modern Midi Controller Keyboard or Vintage Synth?

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:22 pm
by Derek
I would get a nice vintage keyboard then like an SY77 or SY99, or D50 or Wavestation

Re: Modern Midi Controller Keyboard or Vintage Synth?

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:04 pm
by SeaGtGruff
I've been tempted to buy the new(ish) M-Audio Hammer 88. I've heard some good things about it. The main thing holding me back from pulling the trigger on it is that I don't have space for anything wider than 61 keys unless I rearrange my room-- which I did last year around this time, and that was a real bear due to an old desk that's heavier than a bear.

Re: Modern Midi Controller Keyboard or Vintage Synth?

Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:07 pm
by javelin276
I have one of each extreme, an older Yamaha DX11 and a newer Motif-XF. I really like the keyboard action on the Motif-XF. The feel of the newer keyboard is so much better I end up using it most of the time. The feel of the mod wheels is also much better on the Motif. The USB interface is also very nice, plug and play, over the midi interface and the DX11. They work equally well. The Motif takes a while to boot up, though. That's annoying.

I value the keyboard action over everything else, so I would go for a newer, semi-weighted keyboard myself.

Re: Modern Midi Controller Keyboard or Vintage Synth?

Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:31 am
by Saul
I'm still chewing this one over. No rush at the moment as I am pretty tied up with all these guitars but I will be getting back to keyboard eventually. I do think though on balance I will go for a new controller keyboard and it will "probably" be a Native Instruments S series. I would love an 88 note hammer action one but just don't have the space for it here. The guitars take up a sizeable portion of the living room at the moment but even without them I am still limited.

Of course there is a "slight" possibility I may be happy with what Casio send out...you just never know with these things ;)

Re: Modern Midi Controller Keyboard or Vintage Synth?

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:43 am
by SysExJohn
As you may recall, I had a similar requirement, something to allow me to control the various Garritan VSTi libraries that I have.
They make extensive use of loads of MIDI controls.
But it had to be able to sit beside me on a little table and be plonked on my lap from time to time for not input, expression change, etc.
The Graphite 49 suits my needs rather well.
The real bonus was that it was a very good price (currently £116 for Amazon Prime members).
The Casio PX560 sits downstairs in the lounge.
The drawback is that it is not intuitive to program but, once mastered, does the job remarkably well for me.
But I'm not, in any way, a skilled player.