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MIDi keyboard recommandations and other advice.


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Hi, so I'm just very eager right now to get back into music composing after a long break...

But I consider myself in a dilemma, let me explain. I really want to buy a workstation, one that has good quality sounds, entry level because I'm just an amateur. My budget for that would be around 1200$. So I was thinking Yamaha MOX6 but I would only be able to buy that in about a year maybe more, time to save up the money.

On the other hand I was thinking to get a midi keyboard like the Acorn 49 or 61 MIDI controller or the M-Audio Oxygen 49 because it is not too costly. This option would only be to sooth my needs to make music until I can buy the aforementioned workstation. Now I won't mind using a MIDI controller and the mid-awful sounds I have on my hard drive for the time being.

My concern using this method is about latency because my computer is very old. My computer is a single core 2ghz, 1gig of ram running windows XP. I have an external sound card but it doesn't have a usb or midi port on it and I have been reading about latency when the sound has to "travel" through the computer. I know I will have to build myself a new computer when the time (and money) comes.

So should I just wait it out and buy the workstation with a new computer when the time comes (1 year and maybe even more) or can I get myself a MIDI keyboard, expect things to go well even with my old pc and not be frustrated/regretting my decision.

I don't want to make a false move and spend money that I can save up for better equipment but on the other hand my patience is getting thin. I have already been waiting for 2 or so years to buy a keyboard but life has been full of surprises, ups and downs and this desire/need to make music is just burning from the inside. I don't want to do everything in FL with just the mouse, I have done that for about 5 years and it just turns me off. I start working on something but after a while I just get bored and exit FL Studio.

Thanks for your time. :)

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I'm new to midi-ing. But I would gladly recommend the Roland A-800. Still studying all the possibilities on it. I love it very much. The keyboard weigh something. It's not those replicas. It have a nice aftertouch and velocity detection. Programmable and usb compatible. I paid 435 CAD for this. But I bet In the states you could get it for about 300$.

Pretty much it. It is hooked in FL studio as of right now. It's 100% midi. No sounds come from this keyboard.

100% satisfied.

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I'd recommend getting a newer computer first, and then getting the MIDI keyboard, if prices aren't convenient. If you get the keyboard first, by your computer specs you're going to get a lot of buffer underruns in your busiest project files.

Edited by timaeus222
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Hi, so I'm just very eager right now to get back into music composing after a long break...

But I consider myself in a dilemma, let me explain. I really want to buy a workstation, one that has good quality sounds, entry level because I'm just an amateur. My budget for that would be around 1200$. So I was thinking Yamaha MOX6 but I would only be able to buy that in about a year maybe more, time to save up the money.

On the other hand I was thinking to get a midi keyboard like the Acorn 49 or 61 MIDI controller or the M-Audio Oxygen 49 because it is not too costly. This option would only be to sooth my needs to make music until I can buy the aforementioned workstation. Now I won't mind using a MIDI controller and the mid-awful sounds I have on my hard drive for the time being.

My concern using this method is about latency because my computer is very old. My computer is a single core 2ghz, 1gig of ram running windows XP. I have an external sound card but it doesn't have a usb or midi port on it and I have been reading about latency when the sound has to "travel" through the computer. I know I will have to build myself a new computer when the time (and money) comes.

So should I just wait it out and buy the workstation with a new computer when the time comes (1 year and maybe even more) or can I get myself a MIDI keyboard, expect things to go well even with my old pc and not be frustrated/regretting my decision.

I don't want to make a false move and spend money that I can save up for better equipment but on the other hand my patience is getting thin. I have already been waiting for 2 or so years to buy a keyboard but life has been full of surprises, ups and downs and this desire/need to make music is just burning from the inside. I don't want to do everything in FL with just the mouse, I have done that for about 5 years and it just turns me off. I start working on something but after a while I just get bored and exit FL Studio.

Thanks for your time. :)

you could get one of those akai synthstation 25 keyboards. theyre designed as iphone keyboards, but nobody (except me) apparently wanted one, so they slashed the price and now they only cost like 19$ or something at guitar center and they work pretty darn well. 25 keys and pitch/mod wheels and at 19$ youre not even really cutting into your workstation budget. plus you can get on the music right away instead of waiting, which will prepare you for your workstation! future proof! plus i mean, if you have any itouch devices , you can use it as a synth, kinda nifty.

Edited by Esperado
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you could get one of those akai synthstation 25 keyboards. theyre designed as iphone keyboards, but nobody (except me) apparently wanted one, so they slashed the price and now they only cost like 19$ or something at guitar center and they work pretty darn well. 25 keys and pitch/mod wheels and at 19$ youre not even really cutting into your workstation budget. plus you can get on the music right away instead of waiting, which will prepare you for your workstation! future proof! plus i mean, if you have any itouch devices , you can use it as a synth, kinda nifty.

Thanks for that suggestion, but I haven't found any akai synthstation 25 for 19$ on the guitar center website. Maybe that was just an in-store special offer. Prices range around 70 canadian dollars for that synth pretty much everywhere I have checked. Another option could be the Korg Nanokey2 (50$) but like timaeus mentions if this is going to be unpleasant because I might have buffer underruns and/or latency issues because my computer is too old then it's worth waiting for something good.

My main objective will be to have as much fun as possible. I thought the midi keyboard could have been a decent temporary solution. I suppose I will think about it for a while...

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but like timaeus mentions if this is going to be unpleasant because I might have buffer underruns and/or latency issues because my computer is too old then it's worth waiting for something good.

My main objective will be to have as much fun as possible. I thought the midi keyboard could have been a decent temporary solution. I suppose I will think about it for a while...

Yeah, I have a computer faster than the current one you have, and I still get some buffer underruns on extremely large projects (ones that take up around 1.2~1.6GB RAM usually), but it doesn't bother me as much as it would other people because I've talked so much about humanizing velocities and timing that I naturally fix it to a pretty close result compared to what I could have gotten. For other people, it might cause rhythm issues beyond what can be manually humanized.

It wouldn't be that much of a bother if you start off using the MIDI keyboard on an empty project and work with that until you get to a point where you get the latency issue (maybe near 400~700MB RAM). As you start out using it, you might just be using it to get ideas and to develop early WIPs, but I don't think it'll be until much later than a few weeks that you get used to using it for humanized timing and velocities.

Edited by timaeus222
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  • 2 weeks later...

So I finally decided to get myself a MIDI keyboard last week. I stretched my budget a little and went for the Acorn Masterkey 49 mainly because it has 49 keys so I can play around with a lot of notes at the same time. So far so good I am having a lot of fun and working on a second song at the moment.

As you start out using it, you might just be using it to get ideas and to develop early WIPs, but I don't think it'll be until much later than a few weeks that you get used to using it for humanized timing and velocities.

Oh how I love that quick quantize option because recording is not super accurate but so far it's not a deal breaker. I removed the velocity curve in the MIDI controller options so I manually adjust the velocity of instruments.

I have a few questions regarding other topics.

1. I would like to know what is considered a good place to upload music. Is Newgrounds a good place? Are there better options out there or is it a good idea to upload to multiple sites for better exposure?

2. My girlfriend is asking me about Christmas gifts and I was wondering if anyone had some music books about music theory or music learning they would refer as a starting point. Something from introduction level to intermediate if there is such a book or just a beginners guide. Are there exercise books as well or is it just theory and then go create type of books.

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  • 4 weeks later...
My girlfriend is asking me about Christmas gifts and I was wondering if anyone had some music books about music theory or music learning they would refer as a starting point. Something from introduction level to intermediate if there is such a book or just a beginners guide. Are there exercise books as well or is it just theory and then go create type of books.

Although I mostly play keyboard by ear, I had a book called, "The Chord Wheel," by Jim Fleser. It is a great reference book and it will help a lot with chord theory. I've been formally trained on the sousaphone/tuba and I've been involved with band from the 6th grade up through college. This book even helps with transposing keys if you even decide to write orchestral scores.

but like timaeus mentions if this is going to be unpleasant because I might have buffer under-runs and/or latency issues because my computer is too old then it's worth waiting for something good.

I feel you on this one here. Before I upgraded my PC, I invested in an audio interface (Roland UA-4FX ~$90) around the end of 2010. I had it running on an old Gateway PC that I purchased back in '02 while I was still in college. It took a lot of the processing load off of the system memory and I used the interface's ASIO driver which cleared up a lot of under-runs and latency issues. However, when your're get plug-in happy on the effects side, the interface can only do so much and if you don't have the RAM to spare you're still gonna have issues. Right now when I'm on my laptop I'm good w/ 4GB of RAM, but on my desktop I have 8GB and I'm looking to upgrade to 16GB.

I'm thinking of investing in a midi keyboard, but for now I'm using an Alesis QS6 Synthesizer which works well for me, plus with the interface I can play some of the stock keyboard sounds into my work.

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Oh how I love that quick quantize option because recording is not super accurate but so far it's not a deal breaker. I removed the velocity curve in the MIDI controller options so I manually adjust the velocity of instruments.

I have a few questions regarding other topics.

1. I would like to know what is considered a good place to upload music. Is Newgrounds a good place? Are there better options out there or is it a good idea to upload to multiple sites for better exposure?

...

The inaccurate recording is because of your processor speed. The slower it is, the more lag there is between the notes recorded and the moment you play them.

Soundcloud is a good place for uploading music. People at Newgrounds tend to be more subjective in their critiques, even though there are a few people who actually write objectively. Just share at OCR, and there will be more useful critiques, in my opinion.

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