Good Keyboard for Garageband?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by netdog, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #1
    I'm a guitar player. I already have a Firewire Solo, but am looking for a keyboard with weighted keys. I don't 88 keys. I played around with the M-Audio keyboards at Apple, and the 61 felt okay, the 49 felt like crap. Is there anything like the 61 key keyboard that they keep on the floor in their stores, but perhaps with better weighting?

    I don't want to break the bank. I do want something that I'll be happy with. I also don't want to have to buy any sort of newfangled interface for my mac pro, and don't want to patch through the Firewire Solo. That's for my guitars and microphones.

    Any and all advice about the capabilities of different keyboards is welcome as well.
     
  2. pkoch1 macrumors 6502a

    pkoch1

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    I'm just curious, but why don't you want to use the same interface for your guitars, mics, and your MIDI keyboard? Are they used on separate computers or something? Anyways you will need a USB to MIDI cable if you don't want to use the Solo.

    As for weighted keyboards, I use the Keystation 61 with semi-weighted keys so I can carry it around easier, and so I can play organ parts more accurately.
     
  3. netdog thread starter macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #3
    Which input would I use on my Firewire Solo? As to getting a USB to Midi dongle, I thought that the current range of keyboards passed Midi over USB. Is that wrong?

    As to the Keystation 61, it did seem pretty nice, but I am hoping that there is something in the same price range with better weighting of keys. Anybody?

    How is the EMU?
     
  4. jackerin macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    I have the Keystation 49 and can attest that it's nothing to write home about. Bought it just to see if there was an interest.

    The FW Solo does not have any MIDI, but almost all modern controllers have MIDI over USB. (And many of the new synths/workstations too.)
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    The Firewire Solo does not have a MIDI interface. You you need a keyboard with a built-in MIDI <=> USB interface or one of those $40 USB/MIDI cables

    What exactly do you want in a keyboard. Can you list ALL your requirements, and the budget in one bullet list?
     
  6. netdog thread starter macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #6
    • Nice weighted keys
    • Smaller (49 keys?) is better. 25 is a bit small.
    • Ability to make reasonably good instrument approximations using garageband (electric piano, piano, synth, strings, horns, etc.)
    • Drum simulator?

    Beyond that, as I am a guitarist and long-ago pianist (Rhodes and Baby Grand), I am not sure what else I should be asking. Want to make music at home and record it. From what I can gather, a keyboard could really cover a lot of bases.

    I'd rather not spend more than £200-£300, but am open to hearing what is out there.

    As I live in a flat, it can't be overly large.
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #7
    I asked the salesman at the local Sam Ash music store what was the lowest cost keyboard with fully weighted keys. I pointed me at the Casio CDP-100 which sells for $399. It has 88 keys but is still rather compact (except for the length) The next one a Yamaha YPG635 was nearly twice the price.

    If you can settle for non-weighted then it will be easy to find what you need. The Yamaha YPG235 might work.
    http://keyboards-midi.musiciansfrie...235-76-KEY-PORTABLE-GRAND-KEYBOARD?sku=706169

    You said "reasonably good instrument approximations using garageband" Well, if you are using GB then any cheap keyboard can do that as you'd be playing GB's software instruments via a MIDI connection. But if you want the keyboard itself to generate the audio, well then that's different and does not involve GarageBand.

    One thing to look at (listen to) that is NOT in the specs is the auto-accompany and drum loops. You would want this to be done with some musical taste. The specs might say "250 styles" but my 1990 vintage Roland has 200 styles of "euro-techno" even the key labelled "waltz" is really "funk in 3/4 time". If you care about this you just have to listen in person.

    I stopped looking around when I found a used Roland for $75.
     
  8. blue4j macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    #8
    Novation ReMOTE SL

    I got a novation on ebay. Wouldn't trade it, except for a newer novation. (Look at ReMOTE SL line.)

    Check ebay or look for local retailer -- found mine on ebay, used and very cheap. But mint condition. Prices are in your range. For new products, you get what you pay for. Remember a good instrument makes you enjoy using it more. But some great used gear is available on ebay.

    http://www.novationmusic.com/products/midi_control/

    Drivers here:
    http://www.novationmusic.com/support/software/

    Key (SL) Features
    • Automap
    • Instant control over sequencers and plug-ins. Automap removes the pain and time involved in assigning MIDI parameters.
    • Two Giant 144-character LCD screen
    • Frees the artist from being chained to the computer screen, placing all the essential data right alongside the relevant controls.
    • Semi-weighted keyboard with after-touch
    • Delivers the feeling of playing an instrument, rather than a computer peripheral.
    • Huge array of controls including sliders
    • The artist has the exact control setup they desire, no matter how complex the plug-in.
    • Programmable drum pads
    • Eradicates the need for separate drumpad triggers, providing the ideal platform for sketching out beats or triggering samples.
    • 2-D Controls
    • Fantastic ‘Xpression’ pad and adjustably sprung pitch/mod joystick, both freely assignable in MIDI Controlling mode
     
  9. netdog thread starter macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #9
    Thanks for the advice on the Novation.

    I just got the Remote SL 49 Compact and I don't think that I could have done better for the money. Meets my requirements pretty well, and far better than anything else that I found at a similar price.
     

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