Opinion please: Best affordable midi controller?

I think it’s about time to get involved with the midi side of Cubase. I have looked at a lot of keyboards, none of them that cost under $500 get very good reviews. And I don’t want to tie up $500 in a keyboard - not that guy.

So is there a midi keyboard or controller that is cheap, has 61 keys that any here would suggest? I have actually heard some positive things about Casio products over Yamaha from a few guys, and I also see the Alesis being dissed a lot. BUT – I am open to your thoughts, I am not biased because I really know nothing about what is good. Basically I don’t want it to fall apart in a few weeks, and I don’t want my keyboard friends who come over to play it tell me it’s worthless. Also, I am B3 oriented so I am not really looking for a weighted keyboard if that helps.

Getting back to the Yamaha product, since they own Steinberg, and Steinberg is big on midi, it seems that they should have a product out there that is a good fit… you know? But, FWIW, I really don’t see Yamaha with a controller keyboard, per se. Am I missing something? Thanks in advance

Yamaha did have the KX range of MIDI controllers. Pretty inexpensive, but (in my opinion) good quality.
I own a KX61.

Key word though: DID

They’re discontinued.

What about the M-Audio Keystation 61es? It seems dated but it looks like it has midi out and they offer Win7 64 bit drivers. All I need is midi out to drive the Cubase programs? I can pick one up for $136 delivered and that seems within budget.

It would work as a basic controller (note input, modulation, pitch bend, and sustain).
If you’re looking for simple note entry, then yeah.

Shinta215 - Ok then, this may be the one. I thank you for taking a minute to respond to me about this, I appreciate it very much. :slight_smile:

BTW, I am really not the keyboard guy, but I thought there were many people here who are - and yet you are the only one who responded. Am I to think that nobody else here is using a midi controller? Weird to think.

Is there an opinion or thought about something better from someone else? For that matter, has anybody here used or tried the 61es? They’ve been out for a few years if they are sold with an XP driver. I would have to think somebody has run into one. ??

What about ESI Keycontrol? i use the 25 keys version and am very pleased.

I personally always use light keys and I’m sure many others do too, which might be the reason the response is a little low.

Hi Mr. Roos -

I have a Yamaha Motif for my keys, which is good but not in that price range. Do you definitely need keys? If not, you could take a look at the BCF 2000, which has motorized faders, or the BCR 2000 which has a LOT of dial controllers: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan05/articles/behringercontrollers.htm . There is LOTS of info on the this floating around. The only problem with this is that it might not be possible to control the Quick Control sliders using the motorized faders.

Even cheaper, and amazingly functional for the cost and size (though without keys) is the Korg Nanocontrol, which I also have used: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar09/articles/korgnanoseries.htm . It might not pass the friend snicker test, unless you are a leader in the fashion trends of your group :smiley: .

I would recommend getting one with at least a set of faders or knobs (eight of them). With Quick Controls and the new VST instruments that have “Marco Controls” or “Quick Controls”, etc. It is really nice to be able to easily control those parameters while playing. An expression pedal and sustain pedal input is nice also.

I had the Axiom Pro 25 for several years and just got the Axiom Pro 61. I found it on Amazon.com for $429. (U.S.) (It is $699 MSRP and $559 on Musician’s Friend). I know there are a couple other controllers that have similar features but I have never used any of them. It has many knobs and faders that are all assignable to MIDI CCs, AND it can also be used in a mode (called HyperControl) where it communicates with Cubase directly to control the mixer (not using CCs, just using a software driver). The Akai MPK series and Novation SL series are similar in their features but I can’t rate them.

Quality wise, I haven’t had any problem with the Axiom Pro 25 that I have had for three years. I don’t play hard but I do use it frequently and have shipped it to myself in the mail to the middle east and back and carried it with me in a suitcase on trips as well. It is very sturdy feeling and the knobs and faders don’t feel loose, cheap, or “plasticy”.

I guess my bottom line it that I would spend a little more to get some controls and not just a keyboard. The Oxygen and Axiom (not Pro version) are lighter versions of the Axiom Pro that are worth looking at. The main differences are the HyperControl and the Displays but they still have knobs and faders.


Update. I checked Amazon.com and it is up to $471 already but I got it from J&R Music and Computer World on Amazon.com. I have been watching the 61 key version for over a year and the price does go up and down. That’s why I jumped on it when I saw it for $429.

Thank you all for the added input. I went looking for a 61es on ebay last nite, found a used one and bought it for $91 delivered. I figure I can sell it on Craigslist locally if it doesn’t work out. As to the added sliders and pads that I see on some of the keyboards/controllers mentioned, well, I guess I will see if that comes up. I really need to move into this aspect of Cubase a bit and see if it is going to be any help with song writing, that’s the point. The 61es looks like a good entry point.

OK, thanks again to all.