Can you help me identify a MIDI controller please?

I’ve done a bunch of looking, and haven’t found one that has all my boxes checked (to introduce myself, I’m a self taught piano player who’s always had a Steinway upright acoustic wherever I’ve lived my whole life, and I’ve *never used a MIDI controller).

Here’s the seemingly impossible set of criteria I’d like my controller to have:
-61 keys, full “real piano” width

  • piano- like key action (hammer, weighted)
    -at least 8 pots, 8 faders, some decent pads would be OK, but not necessary
  • Good Cubase integration (in practice, not just advertised to be so, In looking at many comments about *you, Nektar Panorama T4/6!)
    -Is *not a workstation (waste of money in my use case)

Is that an impossible combination of criteria and I’ll have to jettison some, or is there a beautiful jewel out there just waiting for me to buy it?

Thanks for any thoughts!

To my knowledge only 88 keys are sold with ‘hammer action’.

What do you want/expect or mean with this?

Cubase has this MIDI remote capability that allows virtually any keyboard to communicate through MIDI.

I could list the models I know of, but I think you already did your research …
There is a 73 key hammer action Clavia Nord Piano 5 but it has no real Cubase integration.

I am afraid you will have to choose between 61 keys or Hammer action. (but let us know if you find the perfect combination :wink:

Good luck anyhow!

1 Like

Agreed that “real piano” action usually comes with 88 keys.

Food for thought:
Don’t try to get everything perfect in 1 unit.
First select a good piano (prob. 88 keys…), I prefer by far the Roland keybeds, PHA4/PHA50.
Then pick a small ctrl with a all the pots/faders/pads you like. There are many to choose from (my fav.: Akai), from $50 to $500.

Everything in 1 unit: RD-2000… but mucho $$.

Final advise - The most expensive gear I bought has always been the one I had to replace after 1-2 years because I started too cheap…

Great keybed, no faders, but 8 pots:
https://www.roland.com/global/products/a-88mk2/
For faders, add a Behringer X-touch, or Korg nano-something, or Studiologic mixface, or etc., or even an iPad with the right software, depending on your needs/preferences.

1 Like

As hinted by previous users, I don’t think you’ll find one that will tick all those boxes.
I have never seen a 61 key keyboard with weighted keys.

If you only ever played real pianos, I would strongly recommend you visit a music store. The feel and weight of the keys from different manufacturers differ quite a bit and in my book, the feel of the keys is top priority. Personally I gravitate towards Yamaha from experience.
If the feel of the keys are not a priority, you could look at keyboards from Native Instruments, Nektar or Arturia which all have some form of Cubase/DAW integration.

Yamaha’s flagship stage pianos has a 73 key version as well—CP73, but no DAW integration.

1 Like

Thanks for your thoughts and recommendations, @Fantom , @Y-D , and @mlib .

I decided on an 88 key unit because as predicted by you guys I could not find fully weighted action in units with less keys.

Disappointed: Trying a few out at Sam Ash and Guitar Center, in two major US cities, made me understand a few things:

  1. I will have to decide what keyboard to buy without having a chance to get my fingers on all the major players. These stores just don’t want to have these units on the floor. I really want to get my hands on a Komplet Kontrol S88 MK2, but I don’t know how to, shy of buying one online and having it delivered (which I might do anyway,
    and return if it doesn’t fit the bill, as below ).

  2. The key action I like best of the ones I’ve tried is not the one pretty much universally described as being better. My favorite is the Ivory Feel-G in the Juno DS88, I like it so much better than the PHA 4 keys in the Roland R88, or whatever is used in the Arturia Keylab MK2. The latter two seemed so stiff to me, much harder to do trills, etc compared to the Juno DS 88. I like the action on the Juno DS88 about as much as on the Roland RD 2000, a much more expensive unit with a PHA 50 keybed that seems to get great kudos from reviewers!

I’ve heard the Komplet Kontrol S88 MK2 keys are pretty stiff - that’s why I’m not buying it sight unseen!

Thanks for sharing.
Just one thing:
Electric keyboards, as good as they are now, never have the same feeling as a real piano.
A real acoustic piano has a ‘live’ that I never found on a electric piano. ( I have a grand piano and a Yamaha Clavinova, and this is my personal experience )

The advantage of the Komplete Kontrol is that you will be ‘buying into their eco system’ and at present there are some nice discounts.

1 Like

I had an Ivory Feel-G kb just before this one, and totally understand you could prefer it, it’s a great pick!
KB preference si sooo personal!
Some prefer completely unweighted, but 1000s players (like Fantom above) prefer the Yamaha, while others cannot play with it… and some (like me) prefer Roland’s PHA50 or PHA4.

I cannot comment on the KK S88 feel, but I’m not a fan of their bu$ine$$ model… again largely a matter of preferences hard to debate objectively.

Some prefer vanilla ice cream, some prefer chocolate, or strawberry, pistachio… :wink:

1 Like

@alexis, I can give you my opinion on Komplete Kontrol keyboards from NI.

I purchased the Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2 keyboard on November 16, 2021. It was the keyboard key I was looking for as a non-pianist. It worked very well for a year and 3 months. In February 2023, the device was dead, total Black Out. Nothing. After performing the tests suggested by the NI support team, we came to the conclusion that the device should be sent to the repair service for possible repair or replacement. The warranty being limited to one year, it cost me $179 USD to carry out this so-called refurbishment… (if your retailer offers you an extended warranty, you should think about it, because nowadays, nothing doesn’t seem durable…)

In March 2023, the device left the province of Quebec-Canada for California, or so it was planned, but it was finally found in New Jersey, the closest place to check the device and repair or replace it. It is currently June 8, 2023 and I still have no news regarding the outcome of this repair or replacement.

This product from NI is for me a very very big disappointment and I have very very little confidence in its durability after the refurbishment. When this device is back, how long will it be functional. I paid once for a refurbishment, I won’t do it twice.

Take your time to choose a keyboard that will suit your needs, but find out about the quality of the product and the issues associated with it. No device is perfect, but today everything seems to be of questionable quality.

I wanted to share my experience. If it can help you.

1 Like

Well, I wound up getting a Roland Juno-DS88 - it had the best feeling keyboard action of the only 3 or 4 keyboards I could get my fingers on, looking in two major US cities :person_shrugging:.

Significant teething problems re: MIDI remote, but that’s another thread.

I’m happy and excited :slight_smile: