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Old 05-20-2011, 11:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Please help me find a MIDI keyboard...

Hi there! Please bear with me as I am not a musical person. However, my boyfriend is, hence this post. His birthday is coming up and I know he wants a midi keyboard (is that what they are called?) that he can connect to his pc to write songs with. Currently he works stuff out on guitar and then manually clicks each note in which is a chore, plus a keyboard would give him more flexibility when working bits out. So. This may not make sense. It may not even be a midi keyboard that I mean - it may be a midi input, or output, or something like that. I'm hoping with the below info some lovely musical person will be able to tell what he needs and perhaps even point me to something that'd good. I don't have a big budget. Right. So.

He uses Ableton to write and record. Sitting at his desk I can see he has a I-ONIX u42s audio interface and a pair of KRK Rokit 8 speakers. I add this in case there is some magical equipment that will go with some of this.

Umm. So, if that makes sense maybe someone can recommend something? Was wondering about this but don't know what is good or where to start:
Cakewalk A-500PRO: MIDI Keyboard Controller (can't post a link as first post)

I know 49 keys is minimum.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the rambling writing.
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Old 05-20-2011, 04:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It is, sadly, rather an expensive choice, however my personal keyboard is a Novation SL49 MKII. It has a bunch of controllers, interfaces with ableton very easily, but its primary advantage over most other Midi keyboards, is that it comes with automap.

What automap does, is it automatically detects what your DAW (Ableton) is doing, and provides you with realtime control of just about everything in it, from the keyboard. This is REALLY useful in ableton, because it can record as you play, whatever you change about what you're doing. Not just the midi notes themselves, but if you use one of the controllers to say, change the sound of a synthesizer in a cool way, then back again, you can RECORD that change live, rather than recording the notes and adding the data for the change afterwards, which is what you have to do with most other MIDI keyboards.

There *are* a number of cheaper options, but if the budget stretches to this, I couldn't think of a better choice.
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Old 05-20-2011, 07:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurendo View Post
Hi there! Please bear with me as I am not a musical person. However, my boyfriend is, hence this post. His birthday is coming up and I know he wants a midi keyboard (is that what they are called?) that he can connect to his pc to write songs with. Currently he works stuff out on guitar and then manually clicks each note in which is a chore, plus a keyboard would give him more flexibility when working bits out. So. This may not make sense. It may not even be a midi keyboard that I mean - it may be a midi input, or output, or something like that. I'm hoping with the below info some lovely musical person will be able to tell what he needs and perhaps even point me to something that'd good. I don't have a big budget. Right. So.

He uses Ableton to write and record. Sitting at his desk I can see he has a I-ONIX u42s audio interface and a pair of KRK Rokit 8 speakers. I add this in case there is some magical equipment that will go with some of this.

Umm. So, if that makes sense maybe someone can recommend something? Was wondering about this but don't know what is good or where to start:
Cakewalk A-500PRO: MIDI Keyboard Controller (can't post a link as first post)

I know 49 keys is minimum.

Thanks in advance and sorry for the rambling writing.
Does he just need the piano-style keys, or does he also need a ton of buttons for other things? If he just needs the 49-key piano-style keys, you can go pretty cheap without really sacrificing anything, especially if he's just using it as an alternative to clicking in note data in his sequencer. But if it's for actual performance, you want something with weighted keys with a focus on playability and performance.

Something cheap and simple that could meet his needs, would be:
Buy CME M-Key 49-Key USB MIDI Controller | Keyboard Controllers | Musician's Friend

If he needs more buttons:
Buy M-Audio Oxygen 49 - USB MIDI Controller | Keyboard Controllers | Musician's Friend

If he's worried about key quality and playability and high-end performance, you'll probably be a bit out of your price range.
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Old 05-21-2011, 05:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you! I might go for the Novation. The automap looks very handy. My local music shop does interest free credit so I could possibly just about afford it. I'd be stretching myself a bit but hey, I love the boy! Thank you for your help and if anyone else has any ideas please let me know. Can't believe how quick responses were
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Take stock of what freebase said by the way. The novation keys aren't weighted, meaning they don't have the same feel as a piano keyboard, they feel just like any other cheap plastic keyboard. Great for sequencing, where you can remove or alter any fluff notes yourself afterwards, but its not what you want for live performance, really.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Get one at a garage sale or go to Guitar Center and get one used.
They're honestly all the same when you're looking at the low end of the price range.
Get one that works.
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