Old 10-21-2011, 05:11 AM   #1
paul_guitar
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Default 25 keys or 49 keys??

I'm unsure about choosing a 25 key USB MIDI controller or a 49 key version.

I can't play 2 handed so I thought 25 keys would suit the limited space in our busy family home - easy to escape to an empty room with a laptop for example.

Of course 49 keys allows me to learn 2 handed playing and modern USB MIDI controllers seem to be compact as possible.

Please advise and discuss!

regards
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Old 10-21-2011, 05:29 AM   #2
bharris
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As someone who owns two 25-key controllers, I would definitely go for the 49-key controller if you have room (there's usually not a significant price difference). Even playing one-handed, it gets a little annoying having to press the octave button when you run out of room. Plus, you will probably end up learning to play with two hands!
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Old 10-21-2011, 06:23 AM   #3
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I chose a 49-key one but it's because I definitely want to play some simple two-handed chord accompaniment lines into my Reaper projects. The big jump in size is from 25-key to 49-key, the 49-key is bulky. Kind of dominates the area where you place it.

I don't think a 49-key and 61-key controller appear much different in size, pretty similar in terms of handling and placement. They're the sweet spot that can be played like a piano but are not as big as an 88-key (which are huge!).

So my advice is go 49 if you're sure you'll be doing some two-handed playing. Otherwise the 25 is much easier to deal with in a crowded music room or studio.
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:11 AM   #4
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A happy medium could be a 37-keys keyboard like Korg Microkey or M-Audio Ozonic (this one is more expensive but is also a FW audio-midi interface).
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:28 AM   #5
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Go with 25-key keyboards if you're not a professional player and and you want some room or learn the basics of playing a keyboard. You could still record one take for each hand and then combine them later, and when you're ready to for two-handed simultaneous playing you can buy a bigger, maybe more expensive keyboard.

My first keyboard was a 60+ one, and after a while I recognized that it was quite hindering to have this big thing in front of the computer. There's always some mouse-tweeking and qwerty-typing needed while recording or at least when creating a setup.

Right now I'm using a Behringer UMA25S, 25 keys and a bunch of controllers. You can attach a strap to hold it like a keytar, so it's great for one-handed playing. Behringer also sells the UMX-series. Red Keyboards from 25 to 80+ keys with basic controllers (knobs, buttons, mod- and pitch-wheel) and standard-sized keys with a pretty low price.

Start with this cheap stuff and then go to the pricey tools, I know a bunch of people who own expensive and powerful MIDI-controllers while they're not able to do the simplest stuff with them.
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bharris View Post
As someone who owns two 25-key controllers, I would definitely go for the 49-key controller if you have room (there's usually not a significant price difference). Even playing one-handed, it gets a little annoying having to press the octave button when you run out of room. Plus, you will probably end up learning to play with two hands!
+1

I got a 49-key controller, and now I'm learning two hands and doing 2-octave runs and stuff which will almost certainly go to three octaves or more soon.
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:42 AM   #7
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Hi,

Definately a the bigger keyboard. It will be more convinent for 1 handed stuff, and you would be only sad with small keyboard once your coordination skill starts to feel like you could start playing 2 handed stuff with more ease.
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:51 AM   #8
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I figure a 25-key controller would be cool for travelling with a laptop. Laptop, controller, mic + small pre. Done.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul_guitar View Post
I'm unsure about choosing a 25 key USB MIDI controller or a 49 key version.

I can't play 2 handed so I thought 25 keys would suit the limited space in our busy family home - easy to escape to an empty room with a laptop for example.

Of course 49 keys allows me to learn 2 handed playing and modern USB MIDI controllers seem to be compact as possible.

Please advise and discuss!

regards
Paul
I'd personally go for an 49key or an 61key.
But, of course, those small ones can be handy. If you ever plan to use it for piano, I'd say 49key is minimum.
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Old 10-21-2011, 11:55 AM   #10
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As above.I'm a one handed player and have an E-Mu Xboard 25(Excellent drivers/software and reliable in Reaper) for convenience as it fits my slide out under my PC.

A 49 key would be better for some things but it's easy enough to double up with the Octave button when needed

All a matter of how much will you need an extended keyboard.I'm way too old to bother learning two handed now<grin>
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Old 10-22-2011, 01:52 AM   #11
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Thank you everyone for the eclectic mix of replies - I think this is a great forum of creative, helpful people.


I'm leaning towards the M-Audio Oxygen 49. At just 29" wide it fits nicely on our computer desk:
http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Oxygen49.html

M-Audio don't support Reaper directly. Can I program Reaper to respond to the knobs and sliders?

cheers
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Old 10-22-2011, 02:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul_guitar View Post
Thank you everyone for the eclectic mix of replies - I think this is a great forum of creative, helpful people.


I'm leaning towards the M-Audio Oxygen 49. At just 29" wide it fits nicely on our computer desk:
http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Oxygen49.html

M-Audio don't support Reaper directly. Can I program Reaper to respond to the knobs and sliders?

cheers
Paul
Good choice I think
Yes, I guess you can program knobs and sliders any way you want via cc-messages.
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul_guitar View Post
I'm leaning towards the M-Audio Oxygen 49. At just 29" wide it fits nicely on our computer desk:
http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Oxygen49.html

M-Audio don't support Reaper directly. Can I program Reaper to respond to the knobs and sliders?
I've just learned how to do that with my M-Audio Axiom Pro 49 - I'm assuming it's as easy with the Oxygen. At this point, I've got transport controls working. I'm assuming (that's two assumptions in the same post...dangerous) that I can get more stuff mapped onto the controller if I want to.
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Old 10-24-2011, 02:49 PM   #14
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I'd always say go with future proofing...49 is nothing really, I went from 49 to 61. 25 would be too small and I play one handed. The oxygen line is rather good.
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:05 PM   #15
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I own Oxygen61 and even though I've read a lot positive reviews on it, I must say I'm not happy with it at all. If you just want to use it as a MIDI controller and for inserting chords and stuff, it 100% fits purpose, but for any melody that requires sensitive playing it just won't do. Also, my pitch-bend wheel stopped working (I don't even use it) and controller sends some unknown MIDI command at absolutely random intervals. I reassigned it to do nothing so I can still use keyboard for automatition and recording notes.

Still, quality of keys is extremely bad. Keys feel so......dry, I can't really explain it, you will just have to try it. KORG synths and workstations have the best keys in my opinion, so maybe you could try some Korg MIDI controllers (I think they make them).
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:08 PM   #16
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34 keys and not one less or more than that, otherwise you're just spoiling yourself.

(I use a 49 controller but also have a 61 - which is overkill unless you can actually play keyboards...) I don't see the use of 25 unless you're on a plane, train or automobile, or just doing drums.
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:00 PM   #17
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I bought a 25 key one and couldn't use it. The 49 key one works perfect for me. There's enough octaves with 49 keys to do all kinds of cool stuff.
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Old 08-31-2015, 06:14 AM   #18
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Default Great reply and wisdom..

I know this is an old thread but really wanted to say thanks for your truly sensible approach and realistic words about starting with something that works for you rather than spending money on something you have no idea how to use... because it looks good to friends or good to put in your profile on forums. Done this years ago and it's so true, find your limits first then waste your money.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fleeesch View Post
Go with 25-key keyboards if you're not a professional player and and you want some room or learn the basics of playing a keyboard. You could still record one take for each hand and then combine them later, and when you're ready to for two-handed simultaneous playing you can buy a bigger, maybe more expensive keyboard.

My first keyboard was a 60+ one, and after a while I recognized that it was quite hindering to have this big thing in front of the computer. There's always some mouse-tweeking and qwerty-typing needed while recording or at least when creating a setup.

Right now I'm using a Behringer UMA25S, 25 keys and a bunch of controllers. You can attach a strap to hold it like a keytar, so it's great for one-handed playing. Behringer also sells the UMX-series. Red Keyboards from 25 to 80+ keys with basic controllers (knobs, buttons, mod- and pitch-wheel) and standard-sized keys with a pretty low price.

Start with this cheap stuff and then go to the pricey tools, I know a bunch of people who own expensive and powerful MIDI-controllers while they're not able to do the simplest stuff with them.
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Old 08-31-2015, 10:36 AM   #19
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I'd go for the 49 and learn a bit of left hand. I am a pretty basic keys player but even so it is nice to have the scope to do some wider chord voicings, say the root and 5th in the left hand and the 3rd and 7th in the right - Immediately sounds nicer (in the right some of course) - let the Bach come later!

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Old 08-31-2015, 10:53 AM   #20
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Small ones are handy (we have about 10 of them) but I find them pretty useless to play a real piano part.

Go at least 49 unless you really can't spare the room.

You could also do what my son does. Store the 49 one off to the side standing up and just break it out when you need it. To save room.

Good luck.
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Old 08-31-2015, 10:56 AM   #21
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BTW - if you really want a small conmtroller and you don't care about piano keys, check out these:

http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Trigge.../dp/B00INXZZ9M

They're cheap and so much more bang for your buck.

I just replaced all of our little keyboard with these.
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:34 AM   #22
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One thing to think about, do you use any VSTi's with key switches? It will be harder with less keys if your key switches are almost always out of range.

Its possible with the octave switch, but definately more challenging, and near impossible with faster projects.
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Old 09-02-2015, 03:06 AM   #23
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Just a simple musical example: (quoted : basics of playing a keyboard)

You have a sequence of c e g c' e' g' c major and one octave up. Not quite unusual .
Now let us transpose this into g major g b d g' b' d' . Oops ran out of keys.... Hit the deck.

That is why bass synthesisers used to have 2 1/2 octaves, or in other words,why 25 keys suck...
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Old 09-06-2015, 03:58 AM   #24
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Default Size matters

Bigger is better - just easier flow and great for experimentation with a bigger keyboard.
Can mess around with the bass notes while working out a melody.
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:05 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Gioia View Post
BTW - if you really want a small conmtroller and you don't care about piano keys, check out these:

http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Trigge.../dp/B00INXZZ9M

They're cheap and so much more bang for your buck.

I just replaced all of our little keyboard with these.
i would not recommend the M-Audio TFP. Those things have issues that M-audio refuse to address. i use to have one and thought it was cool till the problems started. which is why the price dropped so fast on them. i ended up selling mine and bought a Maschine and never looked back.
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Old 09-18-2015, 07:27 AM   #26
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For me, 25 keys was a good choice. I just wanted something small I could noodle with that has other midi controls on it, and I have a full weighted 88 key digi piano to complement it.

For you, I would go with the bigger keyboard. You won't ever be limited really if you get a little better or want to play a 2 octave melody. Also, they would generally come better equipped with midi controls like more faders and knobs and pads etcetera.
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Old 09-18-2015, 01:09 PM   #27
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If you are a piano player in the best sense purchase a proper large keyboard
regardless of space needed you will never be happy otherwise.
If you do arrangements using many different instruments use a smaller keyboard Three octave minimum with octave change ability, one that will fit in your studio. If you record multi instruments in an arrangement you will normally need only a defined freq range for your keys.
Because I do Guitar stuff with synth as an added spice my large keyboard sits unused most of the time and I mean used only once a year!

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Old 09-19-2015, 05:16 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul_guitar View Post
I'm unsure about choosing a 25 key USB MIDI controller or a 49 key version.

I can't play 2 handed so I thought 25 keys would suit the limited space in our busy family home - easy to escape to an empty room with a laptop for example.

Of course 49 keys allows me to learn 2 handed playing and modern USB MIDI controllers seem to be compact as possible.

Please advise and discuss!

regards
Paul
I have a 25 and a 61 keys keyboard. The 25 keys guy is a nifty Akai which I got when I had a small second bedroom that didn't allow for more room, and for travel. The 61 keys is a Roland synth which is now a midi controller.

My advice is to get as big a keyboard as you can afford and have space for. You say you can't play 2 handed, but who is to say that that won't change? You might develop a real thing for the piano and one year from now you are pretty proficient. Always think ahead.
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Old 09-21-2015, 08:34 AM   #29
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I have a 49 key and occasionally wish I had more. I know a few guys in the same position. Based on that alone, 25 keys seems a bit restrictive to me.
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:32 AM   #30
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If the lowest note and the highest note you'll ever play on a track is within two octaves, 25 sounds OK. I've just never seen that because eventually you'll need the range and not want to shift octaves on the keyboard to do it.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:36 AM   #31
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Default 25 or 49

I have a 25 key controller, it's a pita but when I have to fly, my 88 weighted controller is not an option. I can't think of any advantage a 25 key midi controller has other than portability... LPK 25 is way small and velocity sensitive... I bought two velocity sensitive controllers from my local swap meet for $10 up to you if USB connectivity is essential. Every small keyboard I've seen in the last few years has that anyway but if you already have midi in/out you can find tons of super cheap midi controller/keyboards super cheap. Consider if you have interest in other controls, sliders, knobs, TRANSPORT CONTROL. fortunately, these controllers are very cheap these days and Reaper will almost certainly work with whatever choice you make... Good Luck
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:37 AM   #32
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I have a 25 key controller on all my workstations, it goes between the QWERTY keyboard and the monitor. It is very useful to audition a part, play drum parts or bass lines.

I have a 71 or 88 controller to the left on all the workstations I do real work on. You cannot play with the short keyboards. If you are only going to have one, go with a larger one. It does not cost much or any more. You might also look at a portable digital piano. Many consumer models are quite nice, cheap, and can function as a controller and a sound source. Check out Guitar Center.
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