Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)?

Posted by: WorldFx

Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)? - 11/11/12 06:17 PM

I'm looking to buy a keyboard for piano and composing with sample libraries (orchestral and piano). Although i will use samples, i still would like a good quality onboard piano sound for zero latency playing. However, I will consider pure controllers if their action is worth it. I will need 88 weighted keys and decent action as well as midi control options (i.e, modulation controllers, etc). Also, I don't like very heavy actions that require a lot of force to play.

I have tried various boards. Please help me decide which one would be the best.

Nord Stage 2 -- action is quite good, but price is high and perhaps lack of midi functionality and control (?). I am not sure I would need some of the on-board functions such as organ and synth ( i have analog synths).

Nord Piano -- lacks midi control.

Korg Kronos 88 - Action seems ok but not fantastic, but the piano sound is supposed to be one of the best in the business. However, I don't know if a workstation like this will be overkill since I intend to use higher quality samples on the computer.

Yamaha Motif XF -- I thought action was a bit spongy. Piano sound not as good as aforementioned boards.

Yamaha CP50/CP5 -- Action is nice to my taste but lack midi controllers and the sound is perhaps not the best anymore.

Akai/Maudio/etc.. not interested in these.

Kurzweil -- not too impressed by the piano sounds.

Roland -- 700NX, etc.. Action is nice but perhaps a little heavy? Midi control a question.

Doepher controllers -- could not try, good reviews.

I'm learning towards the nord or kronos so far.. however, the Yamaha and Roland boards are contenders. I'm open to other options.

If I just needed a piano it would be easier, but since I'm going to be using this to control samples, it is a more difficult decision.

Any thoughts..

Thanks
Aqua





Posted by: RafaPolit

Re: Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)? - 11/11/12 07:25 PM

Could I ask why you have labeled the RD-700NX as "Midi control a question"? What do you think it will lack regarding midi control?
Posted by: Ojustaboo

Re: Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)? - 11/12/12 04:51 AM

Deleted
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)? - 11/12/12 11:39 AM

Originally Posted By: WorldFx
Yamaha Motif XF -- Piano sound not as good as aforementioned boards.

It's personal taste, but in terms of sound, I actually prefer the the XF to the Kronos for piano. Something to keep in mind there is that each has multiple pianos to consider. The Kronos comes with its Japanese and German pianos (and there are others you can purchase). The XF comes with its CFIII and S6 pianos, and the S700 available as a free download (and then again there are others you can purchase).

Originally Posted By: WorldFx
Yamaha CP50/CP5 -- the sound is perhaps not the best anymore.

I'm surprised you say "anymore" -- These are the newest (and, Yamaha would say, best) of their pianos (at least in a portable model). The CP5 again has the CFIII and S6, but with the addition of modeling, as opposed to strictly sampling.

Originally Posted By: WorldFx
Roland -- 700NX, etc.. Action is nice but perhaps a little heavy?

Actually, it has a pretty light action, lighter feeling than most. (Or did you mean the unit as a whole is heavy, if you're going to be moving it?)
Posted by: WorldFx

Re: Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)? - 11/12/12 01:04 PM

Basically, what is the best combination of action and midi control available today under 5k? That's it, bottom line. Thanks.
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)? - 11/12/12 01:26 PM

Originally Posted By: WorldFx
Basically, what is the best combination of action and midi control available today under 5k? That's it, bottom line. Thanks.

Best combination of weighted action plus MIDI control functions... There are 7 main manufacturers of digital pianos... Casio and Nord don't have anything that really qualifies as a full-fledged MIDI controller (the PX3 and Nord Stage 2 have some of that functionality, but little in the way of actual assignable controls, if that's what you're looking for... i.e. definable sliders/knobs/buttons, pedal/wheel/joystick/ribbon controllers, whatever). In terms of control functions, then, I'd look at the best each of the remaining brands has to offer: Kawai MP6, Roland RD-700NX, Kurzweil PC3K8, Kronos, Motif XF. Assuming any has sufficient MIDI control functionality for you (and you should eliminate any that don't), it would come down to your subjective feeling about the action.
Posted by: jens4711

Re: Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)? - 11/12/12 05:01 PM


For your purpose I would consider a good midi controller with 88 weighted keys, an iPad, and the Roland Integra-7 sound module. The sounds in the Roland Integra-7 are targeted exactly at the ones you are after.
Posted by: jens4711

Re: Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)? - 11/12/12 05:07 PM

Actually maybe the Roland A-88 midi controller would be the perfect match for the Roland Integra-7.

I know I sound like a commercial for Roland, but actually I have nothing to do with them, and I don't have any Roland equipment (only Kawai), I just have a weak spot for the Roland Jupiter 80 :-)
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)? - 11/12/12 05:13 PM

As just mentioned in another thread, I think the A-88 uses the action of the FP-4F which is not generally well regarded apart from being lightweight.
Posted by: WorldFx

Re: Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)? - 11/12/12 06:58 PM

So, the nord stage or piano would not be suitable for composing with midi samples due to lack of midi controllers? Pity. Is this the same with the yamaha CP pianos?

Does the Yamaha S90 have the same action as the Motif XF?

I think i'll rule out the Kawai because of the size of the thing, also since it doesn't have one of the best piano sounds.

I wonder if the doepher keyboard midi controller has nice action..
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Best 88 keys for piano and computer samples (orchestral)? - 11/12/12 07:24 PM

Originally Posted By: WorldFx
So, the nord stage or piano would not be suitable for composing with midi samples due to lack of midi controllers?

You can compose on anything. Whether you want extensive MIDI controller capabilities on your keyboard depends on what you want to do... but none of it is strictly required for composition per se. Some of it is a matter of convenience, i.e. allowing you to do things with physical knobs, sliders, and buttons rather than manipulating things on the computer screen. Some of it is a matter of making it easier to impart expression or alternate articulations, though that might have more to do with "orchestration" than "composition." Along those lines, you might want a board with aftertouch, which hasn't been mentioned yet... IMO, it does allow you to be more naturally expressive in your recording of orchestral lines, for example.

But I don't know how much this--or any MIDI controller functions beyond simply playing parts--really matter to you. I mean, you asked about "the best combination of action and midi control" so that's what I responded to, high quality actions with extensive MIDI control, but whether you really need that much MIDI control functionality for what you are looking to do is a different question, so I don't know that you necessarily need to rule out a Nord, if that has the action or piano sound you like best. The NS2 would offer more MIDI control than the Nord Piano, though... pitch bend, mod wheel, aftertouch, and a definable MIDI control knob. Pretty minimal as controls go, but more than the Piano, and as I said, I don't know if you necessarily need more.

Originally Posted By: WorldFx
I think i'll rule out the Kawai because of the size of the thing

Actually I think the Kawai was the lightest and smallest of the ones I mentioned! I think the Roland, Kurz, Korg, and Yamaha are all heavier and wider/deeper than the MP6. (The Kawai and Roland don't have aftertouch, btw.)