Need new keyboard looking at Akia Max49? suggestions!

Bought Cubase artist 7 about a month ago and found I need a keyboard to record halion sonic se. I am planning on learning syth and will probably take lessons at a music school for it. So I started looking at midi controller keyboards and so far started looking at a cheap $99 rig but talked to a friend that does syth and he recommended a 49 key with semi weighed keys. This got me looking at M Audio, M-Audio Axiom 49 (2nd Generation)for $349 witch are supposed to be pretty good started keyboards from what I have read. Then I looked at AKAI MPK61 - USB/MIDI Performance Keyboard for for $499 but after looking at a youtube vdeo about one I was not impressed with the quality. When the guy hit the keys, buttons and knobs there was that old syth sound to it, kind of loud. Also the pads are real bad with lots of bad reiews.

I kind of settled on the AKAI MAX 49 - USB/MIDI/CV Keyboard Controller for $499 kind of steap but the options look good and has good build quality the thing is metal with excellent pads.
49 semi-weighted keys with Aftertouch for complete musical expression
Built-in step sequencer for detailed track construction
Expanded arpeggiator with latch and time division controls
Included AkaiConnect software automatically maps to VST plugins
12 backlit, real MPC pads with MPC Note Repeat and MPC swing
Eight backlit LED touch faders for gradual or instant parameter value changes
Four pad banks & four fader banks provide a total of 80 assignable pads & faders
CV & Gate outputs for use with vintage analog synths (1V/Oct)
Large, centrally-positioned transport controls & rubberized pitch and modulation wheels
Mackie Control & HUI modes provide instant compatibility with many DAWs

I am thinking of spending a little more now and having something better for later on This keyboard is at my limit. Anyone have any suggestions or compatibility issues with Cubase?

I would say the more keys the merrier. If you want to learn playing keys I’d say 5 octaves is minimum.
As for feel: weighted/semiweighted/hammeraction etc, just depends on what you prefer. I would really suggest you go to a store and play the different keyboards, that’s the only way to find out.
I personally prefer really light keys, but even then there’s a big difference between different brands. I find Roland’s keys too spongy for example, Yamaha’s are more direct, clicky, which I prefer.

I have no experience using pure MIDI keyboards, it always seemed a waste of space to me if you could fit a whole instrument in the same formfactor :wink:. If you want to work with just software though, then by all means get a midi keyboard.

Love the Novation Impulse line. I have a 49 but would like a 61 even better.

Suppose there are three aspects here

1] Learn synth - really this is about learning hw to control filters envelopes and different VSTs, though there are still some dedicated synths around. A lot of synth sounds are pad sounds these require little keyboard skill.

2] Buy a controller keyboard - the more buttons the better. I have had the axiom 61 and now have the Novation SL MKII frankly I am not impressed by the build quality of either, the axiom has rather shakey faders. In terms of set up the Novation puts wrappers around your VSTs. Honestly, I can see why they had to do this to get the automapping, but I would rather my keyboard did not do this. I can’t remember about the Axiom software as it simply gathered dust. If there is better around than the Novation, then I don’t know it. A lot of people like the Automap feature.

3] If you really want to learn keyboards, then at least a sixty one note and consider getting a weighted keyboard.

You can begin on a semiweighted, I did, but the finger muscles develop differently, and working a weighted keyboard will feel like a trudge (until you play it for a few months).
Weighted keyboards are not so good for fast repetition, as in cymbal patterns.

Id be interested in how these touch faders on the akai max preform ???
Novation slmk11 for me all the way , the keys are good enough (fatar) and the automap does what it says on the tin IF you install it correctly (never had an issue with it ) and it will learn to map nearly all plugin’s you want to use but it’s like any thing it takes time to learn and program for the best results and if you look on the novation forum you will see there is hardly anyone complaining about automap and cubase ,FACT :wink:

Thanks for the replies. Doing a lot of research on whats available. So far looking at a few options. I could get a basic cheap $100+ keyboard to play around with but down the road will need something more advanced and end up spending more money. Same problem with Akai keyboards except the max49 witch is pretty advanced. So not sure get a cheap one for now or spend a bit more and get something more useful later on. This also covers 49 or 61 keys, more now for what I need later on.

So far looked at the m audio axiom series, the akai npk and max. Also found the Nektar Technology Panorama P4 - Keyboard Controller whcih is getting full Cubase 7 conroll integration in a few months whcih is heavy on the conroll side, weighed keys etc.

Problems I am having and why I posted, I am on a “mild” disability so money is hard to come buy but doable if I save up very month so a Keyboard is a huge investment for me. I am planning on taking Music Theory 10x2 hour interest course at a coledge in a few months. I would like to have a keyboard to practice what I am learning. As for keys not sure on 49 or 61, though I would like to learn piono like stuff in the future my main interest right now Is making music and tones for samples and tracks and modding them with vst plug ins to make my own samples. Currently interested in making dance, techno, drum and base, electronica and dubstep like tracks.This will probably expand as I learn as my music interests span many genders. I am also planning on getting a 16x pad in the future and am originally interested in pads on the keyboard to trigger the halion sonic se pads. I am more into editing mastering production right now than playing a hole song but want to learn keyboard and 16x pads also.

i had a carillon (basically rebadged m-audio) keyboard. didn’t last too long (flimsy usb connector). now I have a little novation impulse 25. great for tapping in ideas and the knobs are good for plugin control. it has drum pads but i’m used to the keyboard. I also have a 76 key roland but if I needed a 49 or 61 it would be another impulse. ed