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Tony p

Arturia Keylab/Control Surfaces

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Hey Tony , how would you rate the GX 61 keybed compared with Arturia keylab essential keybed.

@azslow3  & others, is it possible to to get the preset navigation buttons (Left, Right, Up, Down, Select) working using ACT or any of these methods? These days many controllers come with these buttons but I am unable to map these controls in my M audio keystation. Currently looking for a new controller and I cant stop thinking how useful these controls can be. The need to reach for the mouse to select patches while playing is something I always hate doing.

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Steinberg has not introduced any common instrument/preset selection methods. So each plug-in is using build-in preset selection method, sometimes MIDI assignable but not always.

VSTs can save presets, so like preset which you can select in the Cakewalk part of VST window. But Cakewalk (as most if not all other DAWs) has just flat list per plug-in and there is no pre-made list. That is not practical in case of 1000s presets.

That is why NI NKS is so popular. They have introduced (as usual proprietary) extended preset declaration method. And as a major player attracted many plug-in producers to provide corresponding lists (other lists are make by users). Resulting preset selection works fine (sure, just on NI own keyboards...).

Another movement in that direction was AKAI VIP (without extra extension).

For the question which buttons are assignable. That is controller specific. Most keyboards/controllers dedicate arrow buttons for internal operations (only). See the documentation for particular device (they always mention which controls are assignable and which not).

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On 7/14/2019 at 4:32 PM, Sonarman said:

Hey Tony , how would you rate the GX 61 keybed compared with Arturia keylab essential keybed.

@azslow3  & others, is it possible to to get the preset navigation buttons (Left, Right, Up, Down, Select) working using ACT or any of these methods? These days many controllers come with these buttons but I am unable to map these controls in my M audio keystation. Currently looking for a new controller and I cant stop thinking how useful these controls can be. The need to reach for the mouse to select patches while playing is something I always hate doing.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the keybed on the Arturia. I don't think anyone should complain about that. Solid keys on the GX61 as well with one big caveat: there's the smallest amount of movement at the top of the action. It almost feels like they are slighttttly loose. There's an audible sound you hear before you actually press the key, sort of a click. Hard to describe, if you can test it out in a store I highly suggest you do. If you're a keyboard player it's going to bother you. I almost returned it. However at this price range and with the seamless integration to sonar I think it's good value. You get used to it.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, I use he older model Nektar Impact LX61 which is fantastic with Cakewalk, everything (i mean everything) works as it should without setting anything up at all, even just using the old Sonar integration files from the Nektar website.

I was looking at the Arturia and Kontrol keyboards as well, others that I have tried, I always keep running back to the LX61.

My pet peves with the mk2 KK keyboards is that you cannot turn the keybed lights off, whereas you could with the mk1. Also, the 8 encoders can all be different resistances. These things can bug the hell out of some people. Haven't tried Arturia but if the setup is that much of a pain, I don't think I will.

Edited by Tezza

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Note that GX61 has no DAW controls except transport buttons.

And while LX has out of the box integration, I do not know how people can be happy with normal sliders and knobs when using it with a DAW. I mean for tweaking just one plug-in for long time, f.e. play some instrument, that is convenient and "hardware" like. But after switching plug-ins, controls should be moved "in position" first. That was too annoying for me. So while I have tried to use VS-20 (as surface) and M-Audio Keystation Pro (tons of knobs), I have found myself using just buttons (which are always "in sync") and faders to adjust levels (good as long as the number of tracks is under 8).

I am rather happy with X-Touch Mini now. Just because it has encoders, so I do not have to think when I want adjust something instead of setting "from scratch". I have understood that with Peavey Studiomix, but I have bought it used with all controls "aged" to the point it is useless (encoders do not report the direction correctly, faders are moving "by themselves", etc.). Next attempt was Novation Nocturn, but it has bad encoders (hard to move, low resolution, partially double/wrong triggering... the last is compensated by Novation Automap, but when hardware is bad the software can not fix it).

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9 hours ago, azslow3 said:

Note that GX61 has no DAW controls except transport buttons.

 

You're underselling it a little bit. Take a look at page 21 here. You can do a lot more and customize a good bit. My favorite is the two led lights underneath the knob above the controls. When you switch tracks one of the led lights will light up red to let you know which way to turn before the knob is in sync with the software.

750-ImpactGX61_detail5.jpg.auto.webp

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LOL. I know what is possible to do just with 2 buttons (or pedals), especially if there are keys in addition. Or with 3 buttons and one encoder (a dedicated mouse, as a DAW controller). I also have "one encoder" variation of Roland keyboard. And I can use any normal knob as encoder or "instant control" (without the need to sync first).

But the discussion has started with Keylab 49, with hardware encoders. I mean that is in different league. F.e. encoders configured as:  Jogger, track selection, current track volume and pan.

But well, GX61 + X-Touch Mini can be nice combination. With combined price equal to LX61 😉

Unfortunately, when I was shopping for a small keyboard, I have failed to play anything except Yamaha synth keys and Roland MIDI keys (I have checked all available at that times devices, thanks to the shop in the near which had them all). Yamaha produce no MIDI keyboards, so I had no choice...

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When I tried these keyboards the GX61 had bad Key action compared with LX. But Nectar says they are the same. There are some variations aswell due to bad quality control from these manufactures. Its always a good option to demo and buy. But more often you will notice most things only after you set it up and start using it for a day or two.

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12 hours ago, Sonarman said:

When I tried these keyboards the GX61 had bad Key action compared with LX. But Nectar says they are the same. There are some variations aswell due to bad quality control from these manufactures. Its always a good option to demo and buy. But more often you will notice most things only after you set it up and start using it for a day or two.

I really thought that it was bad manufacturing as well. But I also saw a video review with the same issue on the LX49. So it probably comes from a flaw in the design. Its a shame because otherwise I'm pretty happy with it. 

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Posted (edited)

I haven't seen fast biker boy in ages. Anyone know how he is?

He made the video linked in the thread.

Edited by Gswitz

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Posted (edited)

With the LX, it helps to clarify what model you are talking about, the older LX61, which I have, works fine for me but I have seen some complaints regarding integration with Cakewalk about the LX61+ which is the newer model, they are pretty much the same, except flashing leds and a couple of other things. They do use different integration files from Nektar though.  

I also have the GX61 (new model) and that has very different key action to my LX61 but it could be the same as the newer LX61+, I don't know. I find the LX (older version) to have easier to play keys that seem to have lower travel (synth like?), I can do a run more easily and reach for more complex chords and play them cleanly. The GX seems to have more travel and stiffer to play (more piano like) which makes these things more difficult for me. I have shorter fingers though.

For me, same as using .10 gauge strings vs .09 on my Strat. If I use the GX and .10 gauge strings on the Strat, it takes more effort and my fingers tire more quickly. I've opted for the LX and .09 gauge strings which is like coming home, I can play both instruments all day without thinking about it.

 

Edited by Tezza
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Fastbikerboy and I were among a few around here years ago sharing bcf2000 usage videos.  He then went on to do a bunch of training videos I think.  Haven't heard from him in a long time.  Videos on his youtube channel are 6+ years old.  Maybe he moved on to another daw, another hobby, or simply doesn't have time as was the case for me for quite some time where now I have been MAKING more time for it.  Hope he is ok.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Gswitz said:

I haven't seen fast biker boy in ages. Anyone know how he is?

He made the video linked in the thread.

Is he not the samplitude guy on YT now?

 If not he has a twin.

Edited by paulo

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On 7/21/2019 at 12:46 PM, Tezza said:

With the LX, it helps to clarify what model you are talking about, the older LX61, which I have, works fine for me but I have seen some complaints regarding integration with Cakewalk about the LX61+ which is the newer model, they are pretty much the same, except flashing leds and a couple of other things. They do use different integration files from Nektar though.  

I also have the GX61 (new model) and that has very different key action to my LX61 but it could be the same as the newer LX61+, I don't know. I find the LX (older version) to have easier to play keys that seem to have lower travel (synth like?), I can do a run more easily and reach for more complex chords and play them cleanly. The GX seems to have more travel and stiffer to play (more piano like) which makes these things more difficult for me. I have shorter fingers though.

For me, same as using .10 gauge strings vs .09 on my Strat. If I use the GX and .10 gauge strings on the Strat, it takes more effort and my fingers tire more quickly. I've opted for the LX and .09 gauge strings which is like coming home, I can play both instruments all day without thinking about it.

 

Yes thats one detail I missed. The LX I tried was mostly LX61 and the GX I tried was GX61+. The diff might have been due to the newer model. I dont remember abt the difference in key travel or failed to notice that but the LX had low resistance to press or hold down the keys. while the GX+ had high resistance to both pressing and holding and it was really uninspiring to play. I dont understand why they try a piano like resistance in these cheap boards. Piano like resistance is great but in a real piano the mechanism is totally different. To match that they will have to implement a really meticulously crafted mechanism. On a basic level the piano keys have high resistance only when you start pressing them i.e the resistance lasts only when you start triggering the key, after you have moved the keys  for abt 2mm then its easy to further press them and also easy to hold them. I do like the resistance of piano keys but these cheap controllers cant reproduce anything thats even close to that, so just putting strings on them with stronger resistance is bad idea which is what I felt how the GX+ keys where like. AT the same time cheep keys made with very low resistance themselves are a pleasure to play, while playing synths. Which is what I expected while trying these models. I'm gonna try the arturia keylab next, just for the keys.

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On 7/23/2019 at 5:56 PM, Sonarman said:

Yes thats one detail I missed. The LX I tried was mostly LX61 and the GX I tried was GX61+. The diff might have been due to the newer model. I dont remember abt the difference in key travel or failed to notice that but the LX had low resistance to press or hold down the keys. while the GX+ had high resistance to both pressing and holding and it was really uninspiring to play. I dont understand why they try a piano like resistance in these cheap boards. Piano like resistance is great but in a real piano the mechanism is totally different. To match that they will have to implement a really meticulously crafted mechanism. On a basic level the piano keys have high resistance only when you start pressing them i.e the resistance lasts only when you start triggering the key, after you have moved the keys  for abt 2mm then its easy to further press them and also easy to hold them. I do like the resistance of piano keys but these cheap controllers cant reproduce anything thats even close to that, so just putting strings on them with stronger resistance is bad idea which is what I felt how the GX+ keys where like. AT the same time cheep keys made with very low resistance themselves are a pleasure to play, while playing synths. Which is what I expected while trying these models. I'm gonna try the arturia keylab next, just for the keys.

Well said! It's like the cheaper midi controllers with "piano feel" keybeds are fighting against you when you play them, constant pressure against your fingers as opposed to the synth style controllers which are not that bad. I've found that in general, keybeds with aftertouch always seem a little better. Even the Samson 49 I tried was nice as was the Novation impulse and Roland A500 but they all come with baggage when it comes to setting them up, getting a bit old in the tooth now I guess. Looking for a basic high quality midi keyboard controller by itself (with no faders/pots etc) seems impossible, the only one I can think of is the studio logic series which are as rare as hens teeth here in Australia and quite expensive to buy new. Even the newer stuff, the Nektar P and T series are not getting great reviews when it comes the the keybed.

I've got a chance at trying a Kontrol s61 mk1 tomorrow, they are supposed to have nice keys. The new A series Kontrol keyboards seem to be getting good reviews regarding their keys despite being the cheaper version of the S series. I've not tried either the Kontrols or the Arturias yet. They are next on the list. I would be interested in your opinion of the Arturia when you get to try it.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/24/2019 at 8:31 PM, Tezza said:

Well said! It's like the cheaper midi controllers with "piano feel" keybeds are fighting against you when you play them, constant pressure against your fingers as opposed to the synth style controllers which are not that bad. I've found that in general, keybeds with aftertouch always seem a little better. Even the Samson 49 I tried was nice as was the Novation impulse and Roland A500 but they all come with baggage when it comes to setting them up, getting a bit old in the tooth now I guess. Looking for a basic high quality midi keyboard controller by itself (with no faders/pots etc) seems impossible, the only one I can think of is the studio logic series which are as rare as hens teeth here in Australia and quite expensive to buy new. Even the newer stuff, the Nektar P and T series are not getting great reviews when it comes the the keybed.

I've got a chance at trying a Kontrol s61 mk1 tomorrow, they are supposed to have nice keys. The new A series Kontrol keyboards seem to be getting good reviews regarding their keys despite being the cheaper version of the S series. I've not tried either the Kontrols or the Arturias yet. They are next on the list. I would be interested in your opinion of the Arturia when you get to try it.

Tried the Arturia keylab essentials in a local shop, the keys are nice. Very less resistance and really had a premium feel. However I am sure the only way to get to know the keybed is to connect to a daw and start playing for real. Most stores dont allow this for midi controllers. But I'm sure this is the best keybed I have got my hands on in this price range. I also noticed that, since ive been paying the hard resistance springy keys of maudio keystation for a while, playing in the keylab felt bit awkward as if its hard to maintain a grip and timing. I guess it gets okay with practice but probably this is why many people prefer keys with high resistance (with a premium action perhaps). I guess while playing instruments like piano I would still prefer the action of keystation, but to play rhodes, leads, pads or organs keylab keys will be amazing.  btw I am just speculating, like I said I couldn't demo it with a sound source. And regarding the samson carbon, I have read tons of reviews online that they feel so nice to play but their velocity response in horrible. Perhaps thats again a thing to stress on the fact that you only get to know 60% of the keybed by demoing without connecting to a sound source. I've been trying to demo the S61 aswell but these stores here rarely have them and even if they do they prefer to sell it closed box. Do let me know if you demo the S61. 

Edited by Sonarman

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17 hours ago, Sonarman said:

I've been trying to demo the S61 aswell but these stores here rarely have them and even if they do they prefer to sell it closed box. Do let me know if you demo the S61.  

I couldn't get hold of the S61 mki or the s49 mkii. They were both available in my area but they sold before I could get to them.

I don't like the mki because it has those touch strips instead of the solid pitch and modulation wheels. I could live with it though, at least you can turn the lights off. On the markii you cannot turn the lights off. I couldn't live with that.

They have the Fatar keybed which is supposed to be good. Some are saying that the A series kontrol keybeds are also good. I won't buy another keyboard without testing it out though. I get what you are saying about testing on the DAW, Keybed has to be good and velocities also, I don't know how you do that though other than buy secondhand and if you don't like then move on. The nearest music shop to me is about 100kms away. They don't carry a lot and what they do carry, you can't really try in the shop as they are not hooked up.

 

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Tezza said:

I couldn't get hold of the S61 mki or the s49 mkii. They were both available in my area but they sold before I could get to them.

I don't like the mki because it has those touch strips instead of the solid pitch and modulation wheels. I could live with it though, at least you can turn the lights off. On the markii you cannot turn the lights off. I couldn't live with that.

They have the Fatar keybed which is supposed to be good. Some are saying that the A series kontrol keybeds are also good. I won't buy another keyboard without testing it out though. I get what you are saying about testing on the DAW, Keybed has to be good and velocities also, I don't know how you do that though other than buy secondhand and if you don't like then move on. The nearest music shop to me is about 100kms away. They don't carry a lot and what they do carry, you can't really try in the shop as they are not hooked up.

 

Yea I  totally understand. There are some online retailers in my area who would accept return within 10days are so if I am unhappy with it by charging a 15% of the MRP. Its kind of a good deal for them since they are getting 15% profit without even selling the product. Another gud idea to demo any gear is to see if any commercial studios nearby have them and then book a hourly session and try them out. I did that to demo some monitors and headphones. Try your luck.

Edited by Sonarman

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Tezza said:

The nearest music shop to me is about 100kms away. They don't carry a lot and what they do carry, you can't really try in the shop as they are not hooked up.

How they explain that? Do they think if you attach your notebook (all these keyboards do not need special drivers) the keyboard will break?

I do not expect the service I have 15km from me (all possible keyboard, can attach everything, they have computer with software for testing and normal grand to compare with...). But I have thought there must be some minimum service in all local shops... There is no reason for them to exist otherwise, in the world of Internet.

Edited by azslow3

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