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> Gas. Midi Controller
Phil66
post Dec 12 2015, 10:15 PM
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Hello everyone,

Based on THIS thread, I'd like to get a cheap and cheerful midi controller. I haven't a clue what I need. I want to use it to control plugin instruments and possibly drums.

What do I need? I've seen loads of stuff, some look like keyboards, some have loads of pads on them and some look like keyboards with pads as well.

I was thinking about THIS as it's around the price I want to pay and seems (with my limited knowledge) to cover most bases for the beginner. Manufacturers page HERE





Any help will be great. Thank you smile.gif


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Mertay
post Dec 12 2015, 10:47 PM
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I've never been a true midi guy even back in the day when I had to do some arrangement smile.gif Hopefully someone else will provide any needed details...

The keyboard is universal for each midi control device to virtual instrument (or hardware like synth). So as you plug any device and say you want to play a vsti piano, setting this up in the DAW is pretty easy.

With knobs, pads, faders it might get complicated. These represent a control on the vsti, and controls change with each vsti. Like; a knob on the midi controller might control an eq sort of thing on a piano vsti but when using a syth. the same knob might control an ossilator etc...

This is called mapping if I'm not wrong. Meaning, setting up which knob on a controller will affect which parameter on the vsti. Software developers sometimes do this mapping for your choice of controller but this is sort of a luck thing as you can imagine how many controllers are in the market and how many of them the vsti developer can adapt to (if the mapping isn't there or badly done, you'll have to make the mapping...) . Though if this changed in the last few years hopefully another member here will update my experience.

Now as for basic usage, you probably won't need so much knobs on a midi controller. These controls are usually designed for live usage like using it at a concert to play a vsti. At home it might replace the mouse, a pad can replace a key on a keyboard which can be cool but I'm not sure how useful this will be for a guitar player.

The m-audio unit you gave example has only 2 octaves, can be cool for drums but for synth. , piano, guitar or similar vsti quickly you'll notice its range will feel very narrow as you'll want more keys (octaves) on it. 2 octaves might seem like a good range on the guitar (an entire string on a 24 fret guitar biggrin.gif ) but its ultra narrow for a keyboardist.

I guess the first step is deciding how many octaves you want or have enough room in front of you to work with? (the more octaves, naturally the longer the controller gets) based on that when looking into options, I'd go with options that has lesser knobs but better build quality for the price.

Just for info, I used to use a Yamaha electric piano (almost 30 years old and still working) as a controller cause I already had it when I started to play midi vsti.

This post has been edited by Mertay: Dec 12 2015, 10:52 PM


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Phil66
post Dec 13 2015, 12:05 AM
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Thanks Mertay,

Since posting I've been trying out the QWERTYY approach. For now I might stick to that and give the midi controller a good think. I only really want it for the creativity workshop that Gab does. I tend to go for an atmospheric piece for that so this will be useful.
Cheers dude
smile.gif


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Monica Gheorghev...
post Dec 13 2015, 09:52 AM
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I'm totally agree with Mertay from many point of views and mostly about the number of octaves from your unit examples. I will try to be objective in this topic because it's a little hard for me. Why? I play at piano for 34 years and at the age of 5 years old my present was a real piano. When I bought my Roland Juno Stage (5 years ago) which has 76 keys it wasn't enough for me. Now I want another one with 88 keys biggrin.gif Of course you don't need so many keys but I wanted to explain you why it's so hard for me to be objective.

Now let's explain to you why the number of key it's very important wink.gif Put yourself couple of questions before to chose a midi controller. Do you want to learn playing with two hands? Do you want to be able to do keyboard splits (range mapping)? How important is portability for you? Are you taking your controller on the road? Your answers at these questions will determine how many keys you will need.

Another wise thing that Mertay pointed is: don't look to have more number of knobs. Always the quality for these kind of keyboard will be not satisfactory from the quality building point of view.

Also another thing which for me it's important will be the key action touch. Here you have couple criteria:
- Weighted Hammer Action (this is more for 88 keys). This type it's always preferred for all the pianists. The feeling when you play it's more close to a real piano.
- Semi-weighted Action - this means a less key resistance and a slightly springier release
- Synth Action - The spring-loaded keys are light and capable of being moved very quickly. They also tend to return to their resting position much more quickly. The pianists always say that synth-action keys are perfect for musicians who aren’t pianists by nature. Such as guitarists wanting to add MIDI functionality to their setup smile.gif

Another cool thing that I like to have on my personal controller it's after touch. But this is typically found on higher-end controllers and is one of those things that you don’t know you need it until you’ve used it. Is a convenient way to add expressiveness to your playing. It comes in two flavours, monophonic (channel after touch) and polyphonic. Channel after touch typically employs a rail that can be pressured by any key, and it sends an average MIDI value for all held keys. Polyphonic after touch lets you vary a parameter on each note independently, based on the pressure on the key after the note is struck.

This post has been edited by Monica Gheorghevici: Dec 13 2015, 09:54 AM
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Monica Gheorghev...
post Dec 13 2015, 10:24 AM
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QUOTE (Phil66 @ Dec 12 2015, 11:05 PM) *
Thanks Mertay,

Since posting I've been trying out the QWERTYY approach. For now I might stick to that and give the midi controller a good think. I only really want it for the creativity workshop that Gab does. I tend to go for an atmospheric piece for that so this will be useful.
Cheers dude
smile.gif

I didn't saw this post of yours. When I posted in this topic, the last post was made by Mertay wink.gif

So Phil, If you want just for atmospheric things nothing more, than the Oxygen 25 can be a start smile.gif
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Phil66
post Dec 13 2015, 11:41 AM
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Thanks Mertay and Monica,

I think for now I'll stick with QWERTY until I get a better understanding of what I want. I'm not going to be doing whole compositions just atmospheric sounds for the creativity workshop and hopefully, if I can work it out, some simple drum patterns.

Thanks again

Phil


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