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Help me pick a keyboard

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Tim Cole, Jan 6, 2005.


  1. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Looking to get something to use with the roland PK-5 foot midi controller I am buying. Here is what I need, and hope to spend 400 or less, used. I have no idea if I am out of my mind or not for the money, as I really know zero about them. What I need.....

    Must have midi in, to use with the midi controller I have
    Somewhat easy to use
    Decent array of sounds built in
    Able to quickly changes patches on the fly
    Either a 3.5 or cd rom to load new patches
    Sampling capabilities (not nescessary, but would be nice)
    Looking for something in the $400 range, used.

    Any and all suggestions would be much appreciated.....but not interested in analog synths at this time, due to options I mentioned above.
     
  2. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    The ability to sample will be difficult to find in the $400 range. Same goes for the ability to load sounds. In addition to loading sounds via 3.5 or CD, you can also load sounds via a PC interface (serial,USB) or use PCMCIA cards.

    Does the number of keys matter?
    Do the keys have to be velocity sensitive, or weighted?
    Do you want other features like a builtin sequencer or arpeggiator?

    You might want to check out the Alesis QS6 I have for sale. It might be what you are looking for.

    If you can live with a 61 key keyboard, you'll definitely have alot more options at the $400 range.
     
  3. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Number of keys doesn't matter at all, as I plan to use this with a foot controller. I doubt I'd ever even use the hand board, but never know I guess. Loading sounds by computer would be fine (what format do you load these in?)....but sampling is definitely something I would like.
     
  4. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    If you're not using the keyboard itself, and not the sounds, then a rack synth might be the ticket. It'll sure be easier to carry to gigs.

    As far as loading sounds, some synths have a USB port. Mine has a serial port. Typically the sounds are imported using .wav format.

    Another thing to consider is to use a laptop if you have one. You can purchase a USB MIDI interface relatively cheap, and you can use software like gigasampler or something like that to play samples that are controlled from the foot controller. Plus you'll have access to a ton of other features depending on the software to use. You can trigger a sequence, or play a pattern that you can change using the controller, or play chords, etc.
     
  5. Ditto.

    But if you do think you'd find the keyboard itself useful, I think I know of just the keyboard for you...

    The Alesis QS6 (but not the new QS6.2)! On Ebay it runs anywhere from $100-$200, but if you want it new, you can get it for $400.

    Let me hype it for you:

    It's 61 semi-weighted keys (velocity, release velocity, aftertouch sensitive), and sports the best pitch wheel I've ever used (it also has a few other controllers on it, too).

    The coolest part about it is its expandablity. Besides having 512 preset instruments and 128 user-configurable presets, 400 mix presets and 100 user-configurable mixes, you can plug in PC cards (PCMCIA) containing 128 more presets, 100 more mixes, samples, and sequences, even. The cool thing is that the sampler uses WAV files and the sequences are MIDI. I have used both and never had a problem. The other cool thing is that when you plug in the PC card, everything is loaded instantaneously, whereas some more expensive synthesizers usually take a while (I've heard of stories where it took 45 minutes to load the sounds!).

    I find that even with my 88-key fully-weighted synth, I've been bringing along to gigs and rehearsals my Alesis QS6 just because it's so flexible and cool.

    If you'd like to hear the Alesis QS6 used in recordings of my band, check out http://www.pyrotones.com and go to the MP3 section.

    Although that is a really good idea, I know many people who have problems with laptops during performances. It's a pity.

    EDIT: Not to say you shouldn't try laptops. There are many people who have good experience with using them at gigs.
     
  6. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Alexandria,VA
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Thanks for the plug, that's what I'm selling is a QS6, but I haven't run across one for $100. Mostly they have been $200-$300. If you're going to go Alesis, I advise against the newer x.2 models. They actually have less features than the old ones. A pity because in the MIDI world, rarely is anything older better.

    I agree with you about the laptops. They are great in concept, but execution is another thing. Even Bill Gates had his crash on him during a demonstration.
     
  7. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Thanks guys!

    Jive, you have PM.