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#7924 - 12/17/04 03:34 PM weighted keys...heavy on my mind
keys81 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/07/04
Posts: 17
Loc: Durham
So I'm looking to by a new kb strictly for performance and am after the basic rock/funk sounds without a lot of extras (not concerned about drums, orchestral, pads etc).

Basically the only sounds I care about are:

1. acoustic piano
2. B3
3. Rhodes + wurly + clav
4. synths (don't need lots of control, just some stock sounds)

Unfortunately I was raised a piano player so I absolutely can NOT give up fully weighted keys. I need that depth to the action. But at the same time I want to cry everytime I try to smear a B3 sound down a dangerously heavy keyboard.

The obvious answer is 2 boards...but I flat out can't afford it (23 and just out of college).

So...my plan has been to get a yamaha s90 and in a few months when theres more money buy a cheap unweighted controller to run organ patches to via a midi out. However, I've also considered getting something like a nord electro and buying a fully weighted controller to run a piano patch to later. But I know the electro has terrible piano sounds. Any advice for the keyboard player cursed to using a single board?

Is an s90 even the best for the sounds I'm looking for? I've also considered the kurz pc2x. Anything else I'm missing? Alternative solutions? I'm assuming most of you have solved this problem by using seperate kb's but any advice for one without this option is apprectiated!

Happy Holidays--Evan

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#7925 - 12/19/04 06:14 AM Re: weighted keys...heavy on my mind
3351 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 1194
Loc: Toronto, Canada.
Hi!
I own a Motif ES8 which has the same keyboard action as the S90 and from my point of view it has the best weighted keyboard action as well as keyboard sounds. I'm a big fan of heavy keys. Before making my choice and purchasing the MOtif I've owned and checked out just about everything else out there and nothing came even close. The stock sounds on the S90 range from keys to synths. If you feel that you have no need for orchestral sounds or pads don't worry. THe S90 has a lot of everything and by having extra stuff that you might potentially find useful you're not going to lose anything. It's not like you're going to have a hundred thousand pads and strings and only two pianos. It's all there in large amounts. Besides, you're not paying a fortune for all those extra sounds that you think you're not going to need. (yeah right! You'll use it all eventually, trust me).

Now, you're totally right about the pain of trying to do organ leads on a weighted action keys.... That can hurt! Or mess up the keys themselves....
Getting an additional 61 note light action keyboard is a good idea indeed. To save money you will probably have to get a hold of some older controllers or synths.
I personally use really old stuff like the DX7 (best aftertouch and keyboard feel - period. You will have to get an updated one though to make it more useful as a controller), Korg O1/W, an A30 (very light) etc.
The list just goes on. There are probably about a thousand different models that you can pick up cheap, so you're not going to be broke :-).

In overall I think you have a pretty good plan already. If you need any more input on this you may want to post at the General Arranger section here. You'll get more replyes that way.

-ED-
_________________________
A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.
- - - Oscar Wilde

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#7926 - 12/19/04 10:13 AM Re: weighted keys...heavy on my mind
Fran Carango Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 8134
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
Roland VR 760, has a nice key feel[semi weighted], great feel for Piano and organ..Sounds second to none...Check it out..
It is a dedicated Organ[drawbars] and Piano, with a selection of synth sounds including strings and "scat" patches..
_________________________


www.francarango.com

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#7927 - 12/21/04 08:52 AM Re: weighted keys...heavy on my mind
keys81 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/07/04
Posts: 17
Loc: Durham
Thanks for your replies!

Ed, I agree completely about the feel of the s90 (motif) keys. For a piano player, theres no mistaking that its one of the best out there. I was quoted a really good deal on a kurzweil pc2x the other day and I just couldn't do it because the action wasn't right for my taste.

Also, thanks for the advice on older controllers...I'll look into the models you suggested. I get a little nervous about this as I've never done anything with midi before so I'm not sure if I can set up just one sound on the s90 to run to the unweighted board or if there is a way tell multiple patches to run on the midi out channel (multiple organs etc).

Fran, the V-combo is indeed something I've been looking at. I considered it as a lone board because its acoustic piano feel and sound is so much better than the nord electro's. But in the end, I think I'd still need a weighted controller to satisfy my piano needs and that unfortunately breaks the 'unaffordable' barrier. I haven't canned this option yet though because as an ex B-3 owner, nothing substitutes for grabbing a handfull of physical drawbars.

Guess I'm still waiting on the board with one sound bank but two tiers of keys: one 76 key waterfall deck and one 88 key hammer action deck. Where is this thing already?

Thanks again-Evan

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#7928 - 12/21/04 10:03 AM Re: weighted keys...heavy on my mind
3351 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 1194
Loc: Toronto, Canada.
Hi!
Don't worry about MIDI connections and all that junk. We wil help you with that stuff. It is a lot easier than playing piano professionally. Believe me.

I haven't actually mentioned as many controllers as I wanted. If you decide to get a used controller let me know and I'll post a loooooooong list of all kinds of useful older keys.

-ED-
_________________________
A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.
- - - Oscar Wilde

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#7929 - 12/22/04 08:21 AM Re: weighted keys...heavy on my mind
RW Offline
Member

Registered: 01/30/01
Posts: 344
Loc: NJ, USA
Hi Keys81,
wow man, sounds like you are where I was a few months back. I owned an S90, an XP-80 (expanded with Session and Orch I) and an XV2020 (expanded with the Ultimate Keys card).

I landed a gig with a really great local singer/songwriter and needed primarily B3 and pads for his songs. But I also play in my churches praise band. I had been sucessfully using both the XP-80 and XV-2020 in church, but was disapointed in the organ sounds for my new gig.

I brought my S90 to my first gig with this new band to play B3 patches and was bummed at the use of the wieghted keys but was bummed at the Rolands B3 sound quality.

I looked for an all in one board. I bought a Motif ES 7 for my solution and am very happy. So I now have an S90 and an ES7. The ES7 can handle piano work in a mix but isn't that great for strict piano playing.

Here's a thought. A Motif rack with two controllers. An 88 wieghted monster and a 61 key (or 76 key). The Roland XP-60, XP-80, JV-80 and JV-90 are very good controllers as you can layer very easily with them. (XP's 16 part control, JV's 8 part control)

Anyway I personally love the Motif soundset, both the classic (which is what the S90 has, minus the triple strike piano) and the ES. I also use the the naturalgrand and jazz grand acocustic patches on my S90 as much as or moreso than the triple strike patch. Also there is a few sound libraries able for download from the motifator web site. B's Knees and Vintage Keys, both are excellent.

Another good 88 key controller is the Roland A-90.

Oh, there's a post on here somewhere where a guy made his own customized rig. He made a special wooden cabinet to house to keyboards and sound module and a mixer or other stuff. Really cool but the very fascinating thing I learned from it was this; He uses a fatar Sl760 has his top keyboard, but he carefully sanded the tips of the keys thus creating a 76 note, semi-weighted, full sized, waterfall keybed. A keyboard like that might be sufficient for your use, especially if used with a Motif Rack. By the way, I hear Yamaha is probably going to release the new Motif ES rack at this upcoming winter NAMM. in a few short months, this may reduce the price of the Classic Mo racks that are still available!


Anyway, I hope my post may have helped.

Bob

Oh, one thing about the controller / sound module set-up. You need a good controller to make patch changes on the fly in most cases. My first controller was a Fatar SL-880 and it really does a terrible job of changing parameters of the controlled synth. But it felt great. I had to keep my sound module close, like set on top of the SL-880 and make my changes on the synth itself. But some controllers are so good that you can set the sound module off to the side or behind you or on the floor and never touch it once it's turned on! You may have to set up a few sliders on your controller first to have this. The SL-880 had no sliders at all, so If I wanted to turn down my volume I had to do it on the sound module itself. But the the XP-80 I set the Control SLider 1 to MIDI Volume and I didn;t have to touch the sound module... You know that I mean?

Alright. I'm done... Best wishes.
Bob
<><

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#7930 - 12/25/04 03:57 PM Re: weighted keys...heavy on my mind
keys81 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/07/04
Posts: 17
Loc: Durham
Thanks RW, a rack unit with 2 controllers is certainly something I've been considering, but in the end I get this nervous feeling in my gut about playing with a rig like that. Mostly its because I've really never used midi before and am nervous about having realtime control over my rig in gig situations. Even with one of the good controllers you mentioned, I'm sure I'd get easily tripped up.

Theres something about having everything layed out in front of me on a board that makes me feel more comfortable. I'm sure I'd get over this with time and experience using a rack module but for now I need to be able to look down at the display screen on my board, know what sound I've got cued, and play! To tell you the truth, I'm already nervous about trying to run just a few sounds (organs) to a controller from one main 88 key synth. I know...I need to get hip to the technology here! Thanks for your thoughts though.

happy holidays

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