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#2377716 - Yesterday at 06:48 PM The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller
Fripp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/07/11
Posts: 5
It will be available in 4, 6 and 8 octaves and to a low price, especially when compared to the price of the original VAX77.

It's a Kickstarter project and we'll have to wait until next year, but I like what I'm seeing laugh

Kickstarter - VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller

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#2377726 - Yesterday at 07:22 PM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
fizikisto Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 783
Loc: Hernando, MS
Very interesting!
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2377746 - Yesterday at 08:16 PM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
Dwscamel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 555
Wow, our wishes have come true!!
_________________________
Past: Yamaha P-85, Casio CDP-120, Casio PX-150 (for one week)
Current: Yamaha P-120

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#2377750 - Yesterday at 08:33 PM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 129
I watched this all the way through. It sounds like a fun DYI build. Their firmware was quite good on the original VAX, so this could be a very nice controller. I just wonder what the action will feel like. No doubt they are excited about the new sensor. But the keys will have a steel rod running through then to a hammer of sorts that hits what? I don't know that I could buy it without playing it first.

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#2377825 - Today at 01:56 AM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
doremi Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 1769
It may not be difficult to make the modular controllers stackable http://orladirect.co.uk/jamkey/ It would open up additional market segments.
_________________________
I am 'doremi' because I play scales smile
Had I progressed to playing chords,
I would be 'domisol' shocked

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#2377875 - Today at 08:39 AM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4455
Loc: Northern NJ
Watched the video. What is the sensor technology? He doesn't say.

@ 4:25 : "This is a key element of the design. Every other keyboard in the world senses the key going down, how fast is the key going? That's not right, we want to know how fast the hammer is going. Those are two very different numbers."

While I agree one is better off sensing the hammer vs. the key, he's surprisingly completely and utterly wrong concerning "every other keyboard in the world" not doing this - most DPs have the sensors located on the hammer. And the truly "right" way to sense a hammer action is to have continuous sensors on both the hammer and key (for damping).

I do like the design of the key / hammer though, that's the most innovative thing I see here (along with the continuous sensing).

If these things just fall together, why aren't they assembling them pre-shipping? I don't really get it. I'd rather not trust the general public with sensitive electronics, holding their hands through the assembly, troubleshooting, etc. Kits can be a can of worms for everyone involved, and this isn't just an Arduino shield you pick up at Radio Shack.

I can't believe they aren't offering a 76 key version, though I suppose they aren't because of the 2 octave base unit modularity.

More horsepower in there would give us a nice open platform to develop our own DP on.

But godspeed and more power to them, we need alternative and better controllers.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)
ĦIMO!

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#2377876 - Today at 08:45 AM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
Pete14 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/13
Posts: 341
I assume the continuous sensing is similar to the optical sensors used in the AvantGrands, or am I wrong?

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#2377877 - Today at 08:56 AM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4455
Loc: Northern NJ
In the video he said they looked at optical and capacitive sensing and didn't go with them. I have a feeling it's a linear Hall Effect device but that's just a guess (and there isn't much else it could be after ruling optical and capacitive out, except for maybe RF transmission).

I personally would start with an FPGA and give capacitance my best shot. Most developers start with a processor and this severely limits your choices when it comes to gobs of sensors and precision timing. An FPGA could be incredibly effective here, too bad they aren't better understood by the development community.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)
ĦIMO!

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#2377886 - Today at 09:41 AM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
Pete14 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/13
Posts: 341
Good to know, Dewster.

Optical sensors seem to work very well for the Yamahas, but perhaps the people at VAX are simply looking beyond, or at least at other, more practical alternatives.

The one thing I don't like about the AvantGrand's sensors is that under certain conditions you can see the red -optical- light. It's not a big deal, but it looks a bit like a cheap keyboard with light-up keys; just a bit. Of course, the advantages of a continuously-sensing optical 'light' far outweigh this tiny flaw; which I'm sure most people don't care about or even notice.

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#2377914 - Today at 10:55 AM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
ElmerJFudd Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 129
I am pretty sure they are offering this DYI because assembly is an area that killed them on the first VAX. Clearly building them in the US priced the keyboard way out of reach of most non-pros (or I should say people who who have difficulty justifying such a purchase without significant income from playing or a tax deduction). At this point, I would guess they have a staff of... 2 - 4 maybe 6 people? So perhaps they are trying the opposite, price it as low as possible and avoid the 6 of them sitting in the shop putting them together themselves.

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#2377923 - Today at 11:11 AM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
Pete14 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/12/13
Posts: 341
I don't see why the 6 of them could not sit in the shop and put these together. As Dewster suggested, these parts just fall in together (pre-built modules), and I'm certain that initial sales will be slow/moderate, so they can do it.

As things pick up, they can hire more people for assembly purposes. This whole "you can do it yourself" approach is a bit gimmicky. What next? When I buy a Corolla, Toyota will simply send me an assembly-kit along with the parts, so I can build it myself and feel that I'm, after all, worthy.

"I'm not worthy; I'm not worthy," said Wayne. grin

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#2377926 - Today at 11:16 AM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
PianoMan51 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/10
Posts: 23
Loc: United States
I can't help but wonder if the 'kit' of parts allows them to import their product to markets that would require expensive certification if sold as a complete unit.

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#2377928 - Today at 11:19 AM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3531
I'm intrigued by a low-cost design that minimizes pushback, which is my problem with so many actions. And based on past threads here, a lot of people looking for a small (i.e. 4 octave) weighted board are going to be happy. I'm curious about what the travel weight will be. And also, once the individual 2-octave modules are assembled, whether they can be attached/detached from each other relatively quickly and easily, which would could open up some other travel options.

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#2377967 - Today at 01:19 PM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: anotherscott]
doremi Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 1769
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
... once the individual 2-octave modules are assembled, whether they can be attached/detached from each other relatively quickly and easily, which would could open up some other travel options.

Yeah, it makes much more sense to me to make/sell pre-assembled 2-octave modules (or even 1-octave modules) that click together, along with a wheels module for the left, end cap for the right.
_________________________
I am 'doremi' because I play scales smile
Had I progressed to playing chords,
I would be 'domisol' shocked

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#2377980 - Today at 01:51 PM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: anotherscott]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4455
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
I'm intrigued by a low-cost design that minimizes pushback, which is my problem with so many actions.

Pushback is something my wife always comments on re. DP keyboards, the lack of real escapement. Outside of retrofit AP keyboards (e.g. AG) this is the only DP action I've seen that attempts to do this.

Originally Posted By: anotherscott
And also, once the individual 2-octave modules are assembled, whether they can be attached/detached from each other relatively quickly and easily, which would could open up some other travel options.

Oh, I hope not. I would think that would make 4 of them stuck together rather rickety? Or that kind of joinery done securely might significantly increase the final weight? I suppose we'll see, but their previous folding arrangement was pretty beefy and freaky looking IMO.

I guess I was thinking more along the lines of 3 case lengths to accomodate the 3 configurations, but in the video he says there is only one case, so you may be right. I assume there will exist only a single configuration of the 2 octave key module, which seems to preclude an 88 key arrangement? C on the bottom I'm betting, which my wife dislikes.

If it involves any kind of wiring or circuit board screwing down I think the potential market will be vastly smaller. E.g. PC hardware pretty much falls together these days but I'm the only one I'm aware of among my family and friends who actually assembles them. The intersection of musician and EE hobbyist is rather small. And if they just fall together why not do this before shipment rather than after? Unless, as you speculate, the key count is changeable in the field.

Ha, just saw the FAQ:

Since the cost goals require that each 2 octave module be identical in every respect, only 2 note range options exist, either from C to B or from F to E. We will try to design it so you can choose the option you prefer when you build the module.

All units are about 350 mm (14") deep and 75 mm (3") high.
4 Octave 810 mm (32") 11 kg (24#)
6 Octave 1140 mm (45") 14.5 kg (32#)
8 Octave 1470 mm (58") 18 kg (40#)


58" is +1" longer than our RD-700NX, which is quite long as DPs go due to the joystick in the keybed area. 40 lbs ain't too light. A shame there isn't a 7 octave option.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)
ĦIMO!

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#2378041 - Today at 04:12 PM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: dewster]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3531
Originally Posted By: dewster
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
And also, once the individual 2-octave modules are assembled, whether they can be attached/detached from each other relatively quickly and easily, which would could open up some other travel options.

Oh, I hope not. I would think that would make 4 of them stuck together rather rickety? Or that kind of joinery done securely might significantly increase the final weight?

I think he said the only tool you need is a screwdriver. Assuming that attaching the modules to each other is the last step, my thought was that it could be somewhere in the range of 4 to 8 screws to attach each module to the next. WIth a cordless electric screwdriver, it could only take a few minutes to disassemble the modules from each other (assuming simply screws and plug-in connectors), or to reassemble. Then you might fit three or four of the modules into a small wheeled case suitable for carry-on luggage or gigging via public transit, that kind of thing, where it wouldn't take you an unreasonable amount of time to disassemble at one end of your trip and reassemble at the other.

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#2378051 - Today at 04:26 PM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: dewster]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2273
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted By: dewster

I can't believe they aren't offering a 76 key version, though I suppose they aren't because of the 2 octave base unit modularity.


Yes that's a shame, but I could have lived with a 72 key version that started on an A, but that would mean an awkward A to Ab module. Oh well.

Greg.
_________________________
Middle-aged Top Gear acolyte

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#2378059 - Today at 04:58 PM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3531
I was hoping that the last module that goes on the left (pitch/mod wheels, connectivity) would also include a low E, to use under the F-to-E module arrangement. It would be a lot more useful for splits that involve left hand bass that way.

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#2378080 - Today at 06:28 PM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Fripp]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9877
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Wow, great to see Infinite Response and the VAX making a comeback!

It looks like they will easily breeze past their $35,000 goal too!

Wasn't there a 3-way folding keyboard/controller proposed by a different start-up a few months ago? I recall a survey to gauge interest). It will be interesting to see how this venture competes against the reputation of the VAX.

Cheers,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2378085 - Today at 06:44 PM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: anotherscott]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4455
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Then you might fit three or four of the modules into a small wheeled case suitable for carry-on luggage or gigging via public transit, that kind of thing, where it wouldn't take you an unreasonable amount of time to disassemble at one end of your trip and reassemble at the other.

For a move type situation I'm certainly ready to take a screwdriver to my DP. I can't imagine actually wanting to do that for something as minor as a gig though. And would the physical and electrical interconnects be up to this kind of repeated man handling?

Ah, whatever, with no 76 key version and the 8 octave longer than the NX, I think our studio is pretty much not the intended audience for this product. And I'm very leery of purchasing things that are basically only slightly beyond the prototype stage. This kick-start hardware/software stuff can be a double edged sword. But more power to them.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)
ĦIMO!

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#2378119 - Today at 08:34 PM Re: The new VAX MIDI Keyboard Controller [Re: Kawai James]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9877
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Wasn't there a 3-way folding keyboard/controller proposed by a different start-up a few months ago?


Ah, now I remember, it was the 'Groove Piano':

https://www.facebook.com/groovepiano

Very unfortunate to read that one of the members of their team has recently passed away.

James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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