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  #1  
Old 01-09-2013, 02:55 PM
Tommy Zai Tommy Zai is offline
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Default Best USB Midi Keyboard Controller for U-$100

What's the best USB Midi Keyboard Controller for under $100? I own a Launchpad, which is great for drums and arps, but I need something to bang out chords on.

I have used:

M-Audio Oxygen 8 (latency issue and never got the 8 knobs working)
M-Audio KeyStudio (too big)
Akai LPK24 (keys too small and no wheel for pitch bend or modulation)

Any suggestions?
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:17 PM
stubbsonic stubbsonic is offline
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I have two Korg Micro Keys and really like them. (if you don't mind smaller keys). They are nicely responsive and relatively well-made. (Way better than that Akai LPK24, which I also owned, but got rid of).
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:16 PM
Tommy Zai Tommy Zai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stubbsonic View Post
I have two Korg Micro Keys and really like them. (if you don't mind smaller keys). They are nicely responsive and relatively well-made. (Way better than that Akai LPK24, which I also owned, but got rid of).
I just check out the Korg Micro Keys37. They have a funky red one for $64.99 and a standard color one for $79.00. I'm not sure if there is a difference other than the color. Is that this the one you have?

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/keybo...d?src=3WWRWXGP

I don't mind the small keys, but if it's small and featureless . . . bu hao!

Last edited by Tommy Zai; 01-09-2013 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:25 PM
stubbsonic stubbsonic is offline
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As far as I know the funky red one is the same (except for the color).

The 37-key is somewhat small and somewhat featureless. There is a pitch wheel, a mod-wheel and octave up/down buttons. The mod-wheel is assignable to any controller (via config software). Mine has worked flawlessly.

I also have the 25-key version which has a joy-stick instead of separate pitch & mod. The joy-stick has an assignable push-in button as well.

The big strength (for both) is that the velocity response of the keys feels like a good quality synth keyboard (even though the keys and travel are shorter).

I found a hack for how you could install a sustain pedal to the 37-key that taps into the mod-wheel circuit. Looked relatively easy.
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  #5  
Old 01-11-2013, 06:14 PM
Tommy Zai Tommy Zai is offline
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Default Controller

Which do you prefer?
The 37 Key has two USB inputs, but I don't see what I would use that for. I mean, there might be latency issues if I put the launchpad in there.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:41 AM
stubbsonic stubbsonic is offline
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The action/response is identical between the two. I bought the 25-key because it fits in my backpack. The 37-key is preferable because of the added range, and because I prefer a pitch wheel and mod-wheel to a joy stick.

If you think you might need the range and get the 37-key (or bigger).
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2013, 08:04 AM
Tommy Zai Tommy Zai is offline
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Default Usb controller

Alesis has a couple models that have many more features for the money. I'm not sure how they compare with Korg as far as latency . . . not even sure if the controller could help or hinder that anyway.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:04 PM
jim jim is offline
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I've played a little bit with an Akai MPK Mini, and I seem to remember it having decent keys for the money.

The thing about keyboards is that to have decent action at all -- even for semi-weighted keyboards, there's quite a bit of mechanical stuff involved, thus the higher prices. Keep an eye out for deals on keyboards from the late 90s on. The nice thing about MIDI hanging around is that stuff that old (if it still functions at all) can still integrate...

Cheers,
Jim
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:19 PM
stubbsonic stubbsonic is offline
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Respectfully (of course!!!), the Korg's micro-keys response to velocity is much better than the Akai MPK series. For example, when playing quietly on the Akai, sometimes a note won't even play, and the velocity response seemed a bit hurky-jerky. The the OP might not care about that.

But it's a good point about finding a used rig. My friend recently got a mint Roland A-70 (with a built-in VE-JV1 -- a "meh" sound module) for $300. But the need for a MIDI interface enters the picture (i.e., the OP wanted a USB rig).

I had a later roland controller that was surprisingly badly built. Had to clean contacts about 5 times and when I had it open it was a mess, really bad design and quality-control. I don't think that is typical, though.

Do you want drum pads & sliders, etc?
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  #10  
Old 01-12-2013, 11:39 PM
Tommy Zai Tommy Zai is offline
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I need a mod wheel, pitch bend, and an assignable slider would be nice. I don't need a sustain pedal or weighted keys. I'm not a piano player. I'm just looking for the best USB KB controller for under $100. I prefer less than 49 keys. Otherwise I need to buy a stand too. :-).
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