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Realistic Keyboard Action
Last post Fri, Dec 21 2007 by Fiery Angel, 24 replies.
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Posted on Sun, Nov 04 2007 20:39
by ColinThomson
Joined on Sun, Mar 25 2007, Posts 242

I have a Kurzweil PC1x keyboard midi comtroller, and it is possible that I might be selling it and upgrading to something else. I do not really need any sounds, as it will only be controlling midi samples, and as far as midi controllers, all I need is a modulation wheel and a couple assignable knobs. The most important thing for me is the action of the keys. In my experiance, I have not yet played a keyboard that felt anything like a real piano. It seems like the technology must be there, but I haven't found it yet. They all seem much too light for me. So, do you have any suggestions on a keyboard that feels like a piano? Are they around? Thanks

Colin Thomson

Colin Thomson
Posted on Sun, Nov 04 2007 21:56
by bobulusbillman
Joined on Mon, Jul 09 2007, Posts 80
I'm using the Yamaha CP33 Stage Piano - 88 good solid weighted keys and usb connection! I think the yamaha piano action is the best you going to get personally - around £800
Posted on Sun, Nov 04 2007 22:03
by Dom
Joined on Sat, Nov 13 2004, London, Posts 224
Another thumbs up for the Yamaha CP33 - got one 2 weeks ago - love it and has mod wheel and pitchbend too. You can get it for £735. It's about 1000 times better than my previous controller (Studiologic SL-990 pro).
Posted on Sun, Nov 04 2007 22:07
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2371

I currently use a Kurzweil PC2X and the action is lighter than a Yamaha S90ES for example. There are many schools of thought about the action of a midi keyboard. Personally, I would like to keep with the PC2X but also get my old Kurzweil K2000 back for the sprung action - because you don't always play orchestral samples - could be a Hammond or synth type sounds. Therefore, with that in mind, the action of a midi keyboard when being used solely for orchestral samples could be anything. It's only when you want to play the piano sound- providing you are a trained pianist, that the action has any meaning at all.-------------- I would stick to the PC1X.----------Also, the internal sounds are very useful when it comes to writing-------you don't always need to be loading in expensive samples when you can flick around on reasonable presets for fast ideas. The PC2X has the orchestral rom and that is useful, believe me.
Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 01:07
by ColinThomson
Joined on Sun, Mar 25 2007, Posts 242

    Yes, I love the 1X. I just wanted to know if there was a keyboard with heavier action, because I would like to use it to record classical piano solos with piano sampling. Also, the piano that I practice on is a little heavy, so switching between the two is hard for me, and I like the heavier action. But if you go and try out new baby grand Yamaha, Steinway or a like piano, the difference in action between them and the 1X is, well, about the same as the $20,000 difference between the two. I wanted to know which midi controller keyboard best emulated this feel. I have a hard time playing the third movement of the moonlight sonata, or some Chopin waltzes, or the middle part of the Rachmaninoff prelude in C#minor on the Kurzweil PC1x.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Colin Thomson 

Colin Thomson
Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 01:18
by ColinThomson
Joined on Sun, Mar 25 2007, Posts 242

    Oh, and as far as being a 'trained pianist', I try to practice for about 4 hrs every week day, and have occasionally put in a seven hour day, and that is just practicing for my piano lesson, not including any playing around I might do. So, whether I am any good or not, I am certianly used to the real piano feel.

    Colin Thomson 

Colin Thomson
Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 05:10
by Nick Batzdorf
Joined on Tue, Apr 29 2003, Los Angeles, Posts 2546
Obviously the one you want is the one VSL was showing at NAMM last year. They took a real Bösendorfer action and stuck optical sensors (I believe?) on it. Forget it if you have to ask how much it is. :)
Mac Pro 5,1 12-core 3.46 GHz, 64MB RAM, latest macOS available. Metric Halo 2882 interface.

VisionDAW Windows 7 Pro i7 950 3.07 4-core, 24GB RAM. Has an RME Hammerfall HDSP9632, but I just use VE Pro. Also several ancient P4 XP slaves, rarely used.
Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 08:00
by mon_art
Joined on Sat, Oct 23 2004, Switzerland, Posts 65
Have you tried the Yamaha's Clavinova Serie? Something like the N-100. If you are used to a real piano, any controller feels like a toy anyway. The clavinovas have a more solid feel, as well as the regular three pedals. Personally I have a StudioLogic, but I'm not playing virtuosos piece on it.
Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 10:10
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2371
ColinThomson wrote:

    Oh, and as far as being a 'trained pianist', Colin Thomson 



The thing is this. If you were not in any way trained - how would know what a so-called good action is? huh? I can already tell from this thread that some here have no idea or no interest in what a good action is. And rightly so. ----- To reiterate - a so-called good piano action has no real meaning when playing around with samples. For example - what on earth does the action of a Steinway have to do with a violin? Or a french horn? If you want to record classical piano pieces - then buy a decent real piano and get some good mics. There aren't any really good virtual pianos inside a computer at this time - some are passable and it's obviously easy to record inside a computer compared to the real thing.
Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 10:25
by Dom
Joined on Sat, Nov 13 2004, London, Posts 224

PaulR wrote:
a so-called good piano action has no real meaning when playing around with samples
 

Personally I find it a lot easier to play a legato line with samples when the keyboard has a heavier action as the velocities are much more controlled. Or some staccatos with exactly the right accents where you want them. A keyboard with "good action" (doesn't have to relate to piano)  such as the aforementioned yamaha cp33 really made a huge difference in the respect. I find myself correcting velocities in the sequencer.

Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 12:14
by ColinThomson
Joined on Sun, Mar 25 2007, Posts 242
PaulR wrote:
ColinThomson wrote:

    Oh, and as far as being a 'trained pianist', Colin Thomson 


The thing is this. If you were not in any way trained - how would know what a so-called good action is? huh? I can already tell from this thread that some here have no idea or no interest in what a good action is. And rightly so. ----- To reiterate - a so-called good piano action has no real meaning when playing around with samples. For example - what on earth does the action of a Steinway have to do with a violin? Or a french horn? If you want to record classical piano pieces - then buy a decent real piano and get some good mics. There aren't any really good virtual pianos inside a computer at this time - some are passable and it's obviously easy to record inside a computer compared to the real thing.
 

 Problem is, I don't have 30K to throw into getting a 'decent' real piano, mic, and setting up a room acoustically to be able to record it and have it actually sound better than a sampled piano. Believe me, I agree 100% that sampled pianos in no way match up to the real thing, but the fact is that it is the best recording option I have right now for my budget. And I do not need the piano-like action for recording violin or french horn, but for recording piano. Also, I know that no keyboard can actually compare, I just wanted to know what came closest.

Thanks 

Colin Thomson 

Colin Thomson
Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 18:20
by RainerL
Joined on Wed, Jul 13 2005, Germany, Posts 79

though I think the right choice depends of the individual taste I suggest the Kawai MP 8 Mk II with wooden keys. Only 2 pedals, but continously variable damper pedal F20. 

Or maybe the earlier model, MP 9500.

Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 18:42
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2371
Dom wrote:
Personally I find it a lot easier to play a legato line with samples when the keyboard has a heavier action as the velocities are much more controlled. Or some staccatos with exactly the right accents where you want them.


Dominique - I have seen you play on television. You have a heavy handed technique and you like to hammer the keys!!!!!! :)))))--------Velocities are always needed to be corrected in the sequencer regardless any keyboard in my view. Remember also that a Hammond B3 organ has a good action. A good action doesn't mean the same thing to keyboard players.-------For the nearest action re: classical piano playing available in my opinion ------probably the Yamaha S90 ES although it's a little heavy. The piano sound is very good but as with a lot of other Yamaha onboard sounds, they can sound a little edgy and metallic for my ears. Not really expensive these days at around £1300.00 approx.

Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 20:22
by ColinThomson
Joined on Sun, Mar 25 2007, Posts 242

    Well, I have tried the Yamaha S90 ES, and if that is as far as technology has taken us, I guess I am better off sticking with my Kurzweil PC1X. But I will look into the other suggestions on this thread.

Colin Thomson

Colin Thomson
Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 21:32
by Dom
Joined on Sat, Nov 13 2004, London, Posts 224

PaulR wrote:
You have a heavy handed technique and you like to hammer the keys!!!!!! :)))))-
 

That's what happens when you give a flautist a piano! :)

 

PaulR wrote:
Velocities are always needed to be corrected in the sequencer regardless any keyboard

But with a good keyboard I need to do less of that, even let's say playing a oboe line for example. I certainly noticed a big improvement with the Yamaha over the studiologic (which had quite likely been hammered to pieces... it's ready for the bin now.)

Posted on Mon, Nov 05 2007 22:56
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2371
ColinThomson wrote:

    Well, I have tried the Yamaha S90 ES, and if that is as far as technology has taken us, I guess I am better off sticking with my Kurzweil PC1X. But I will look into the other suggestions on this thread.

 

 

Colin Thomson



Well I'm afraid you just about summed it up Colin - I didn't want to tell you outright. People often ask what's the best keyboard and when you say - a real piano - there is always an air of disappointment. But think of a harpsichord for a moment - a piano keyboard isn't actually much good for that is it? Or for playing Hammond organ runs. Whenever you link anything to a computer, it's all a compromise in my view. You just have to get by.---------Yes Dom - I will finish this job I started today in mid December (that is my deadline) - go and record the thing in America in February - and the chuck bloody Kurzweil in the skip. :)))))
Posted on Tue, Nov 06 2007 08:20
by mon_art
Joined on Sat, Oct 23 2004, Switzerland, Posts 65

Here's another option, but I haven't tried this controller: the CME-PRO ZCS88. "The internationally patented ZSC keys feature hammer action which is found in some famous grand pianos, providing you with real piano touch as well as reliable durability."

That's marketing bla bla, but it might be worth checking out... 

Posted on Tue, Nov 06 2007 19:01
by ColinThomson
Joined on Sun, Mar 25 2007, Posts 242

Interesting. But their pretty much saying what every other company is saying about their keyboard. Guess we can watch for reviews when it comes out, though.

Colin Thomson 

Colin Thomson
Posted on Thu, Nov 29 2007 23:55
by Jerzyk
Joined on Thu, Nov 29 2007, Posts 2
I have a Fatar Studiologic SL-990 Pro with "weighted hammer action".

Its a 88 key midi controller with a pitch bend and a mod wheel. Thats all.

Bought one for about 300 euro.

Check the Fatar site if your interested.

J.
Posted on Tue, Dec 18 2007 22:19
by jan_nic
Joined on Thu, Jun 14 2007, Cologne, Germany, Posts 1

I have the Kawai MP8. it's great! It has wooden keys and mechanical action. http://www.kawai.de/mp8_en.htm  Regards Jan-Nicolas

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