Anyone tried garageband with a MIDI keyboard? What's the best MIDI keyboard?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Demon, Feb 27, 2004.

  1. Demon macrumors regular

    Demon

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    Location:
    on earth
    #1
    Has anyone recently bought or already own a MIDI keyboard which works will with Garageband?
    what are some features to look for in a MIDI keyboard. for... say... an intermediate.

    thanks!
     
  2. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2002
  3. kanker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Location:
    Indy
    #3
    Re: Anyone tried garageband with a MIDI keyboard? What's the best MIDI keyboard?

    Any MIDI keyboard will work with GB or any other sequencing app, provided you have a MIDI interface. There are keyboards that use USB for a MIDI interface, with prices ranging from a little under $100 to a few hundred, and there are also USB MIDI interfaces for using a keyboard that has traditional MIDI connectors. What features you need are incumbent on what features you want. Almost any USB MIDI keyboard will have the basic features that should make for a relatively satisfying experience. One thing to be aware of is that if you are a piano player, you'll be hard pressed to find an inexpensive keyboard with piano style action and 88 keys, most low end controllers have 25-61 keys with synth action- very little resistance. Most will have pitch bend and modulation wheels, allowing you to bend notes like a guitar and add vibrato or filter sweeps or other functions that might be assigned to the modulation controller, and a volume slider. Some controllers have extra dials and sliders that allow you to access various parameters in sequencers and softsynths through MIDI control change number assignments. For example, there are certain things that are assigned to particular numbers (0-127) such as modulation, sustain, pitch bend, and voulme. There are a bunch of leftover numbers that a program can assign to other parameters like a synth's filter, attack, decay, etc... I don't know if GB supports this kind of MIDI control or not, or to what extent. If you already own a MIDI keyboard that has sounds in it, or purchase one, you may want to purchase a USB or FireWire MIDI/Audio interface which would allow you to sequence the internal sounds in GB and record the sounds in your keyboard or from a mic, guitar- whatever. M-Audio makes a pretty decent range of USB MIDI controllers, USB MIDI interfaces and USB and FireWire MIDI/Audio interfaces. You can find some of their products at Musician's Friend . There are advantages to both the USB controller route, and the USB MIDI/Audio interface route (although there is nothing wrong with a simple USB MIDI interface). If you are running a laptop, having a USB MIDI keyboard allows you to carry only two pieces of hardware, not having to worry about the extra interface. If you a using a desktop, there's just less extra clutter. If you are using a MIDI synth with an Audio/MIDI interface, you can sequence and record the internal sounds of of the synth, which means that you'll have a lighter processor load, enabling you to layer more tracks (higher track count). Softsynths, some effects, and the AppleLoops aren't the most CPU efficient things in the world. It's not too hard to run out of processor with any MIDI/Audio program when you're using a few modelled softsynths and a few AppleLoops (well, maybe more than a few), as much of the sound has to be rendered in realtime, instead of just streaming the audio from disk (unless you have a G5 :D) Recorded audio files just use a lot less CPU. This isn't meant to scare you away from getting a simple USB MIDI controller, it's just something to consider if you see yourself trying to compose fairly complex arrangements. If you are just in it to mess around, have fun, or start writing music, I would definitely recommend a simple inexpensive USB MIDI controller, probably in the $100-150 range.

    Sorry about running on, and I hope I haven't left you with more questions than answers. I hope you enjoy GB. For the $10 it costs as a part of a $50 package it's a pretty powerful little app, and alone is worth the $50 price of the package. For less than $200 your getting something guys would have paid a couple of thousand for not too many years ago.
     
  4. pepeleuepe macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    #4
    I just purchased the M-Audio Oxygen 8 keyboard. It's small and inexpensive which is perfect for my tiny college apartment. It works great so far, although I probably would've bought something bigger if I had the space for it. Anyway, I'm really happy with it. Also check out the Edirol PCR-30, same idea but with more controls. Links below

    M-Audio Ozone 8

    Edirol PCR-30
     
  5. Demon thread starter macrumors regular

    Demon

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    Location:
    on earth
    #5
    Thank you for your info!

    Kanker,
    thanks for your help!
    wow, very thorough. i will go with your suggestions and look into it. i found out that the digital pianos with MIDI in/out can get really expensive.
    anyway, i think i know what to do now.

    thanks again!
     

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