Composing : Keyboards by Ian Hudson

Ian Hudson


Hi guys. This question is for the pianists out there. What keyboard/digital piano do you prefer using with your DAW? I've been using my Casio Privia (PX-150) but have been really disappointed in the touch response. There are 3 different settings on the keyboard, and neither one seems to work well. Some notes come through louder than others, and some barely come through at all. I thought it might be the piano patch I was using, but 8dio says it's the hardware. So, what do you use? Basically I'm looking for an 88 key, fully weighted keyboard with a realistic touch response. I found a Yamaha P-45 I might try, but I wanted to get your opinions first. Thanks!

Ian Hudson

Thanks Brandi. Those were the ones I initially looked at before I realized they weren't fully weighted. However, they are cheaper than what I'm looking at now, so I may have to suck it up and get one.

Ian Hudson

Yes, it is a personal preference. I find it easier to play on a fully weighted keyboard and I feel it allows for more dynamic range and better expression.

Matt Milne

hardly ever use a controller, analogue input is so slow.

Joel Irwin

Ian - there are two ways to use fully functional keyboards - as a midi input device or generating audio output (often through standard stereo RCA jacks which will generate a WAV file that you input as a track in your DAW). You would do the later if you have a 'sound' (or as you say 'patch') that you like for which you do not have samples. Aside from my first couple of years, I have been doing the former. I started with a Yamaha P-80 which you know is a fully weighted full 88 key keyboard. But I wanted to generate midi from my keyboard instead of the actual WAVs, so I went searching for a sampled keyboard to substitute for the Yamaha P-80 and found it at The 7CG Jr. which I am currently using is currently sellling at half price $24.50. All their piano and in fact all their samples are great. In the studio I use a Edirol (Roland) PCR-800 keyboard. It is 5 octaves and I can shift the keys 2 octaves either way which is fine since I am not performing on it and don't need to shift while I am playing. When I travel I use a great 3 octave Korg Microkey. It is barely wider than my laptop. I have been composing on planes with it, in my tight regular economy seat for hours at a time on medium to long flights. The 3 octaves are more than enough for those scenarios. And it is USB and everything (including my mouse and professional sound card) all have enough power to draw off USB even when I have to use battery (not all economy flights have outlets). See: I actually do live scoring as you can see with Silbelius and then generate an electronic version from it as well. As you can see Sibelius also allows me to watch and sync to the film while I score. This particular video was shot on a United flight in regular economy with no power outlets going from Newark to Houston. I am using my studio Dell Latitude i7-based Windows 7 laptop using a professional Echo Indigo iOx professional sound card with a native ASIO low latency driver (not ASIO4ALL). The thing to remember is that Sibelius does not support simultaneous sound from the film and the sampler with ASIO and so during scoring I switch to a higher latency MME driver and then go back to ASIO to render.

Carl David

Ian, I have been using a Korg Triton Extreme 88 for several years now and have still not outgrown it. The possibilities are endless; I have written, composed and recorded about 10 ballads to date. More than 3000 voices and sounds and combinations to play.

Nicolas Laget

According to my research the best one on the market in terms of realistic piano feel is the Kawai VPC1.

Matt Milne

having said that, I currently use the m-audio keystation 88, for piano practice.

Samuel Estes

I went through over 8 controllers. I still like the Doepfer the best, but it's an arm and a leg for what it does, but it's solid. I kept with my Yamaha CP33, If I don't feel like turning on my rig and just want to play a piano for a bit, it fulfills that purpose. Is it great? No... But I've tried M-Audio, Novation, Korg, Rolad, CME, Akai... with little luck for the midi accuracy and "feel". Only think I don't like about the Doepfer (besides the $2k price tag) is that it's semi-weighted - but it's rock solid and is super accurate.

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