Recommended Controllers

I’m looking for a 49 or 61 key secondary controller. I have access to two different 88 weighted key controllers and just need something smaller, lighter, and inexpensive.

Any recommendations?

Launchkey? Arturia? Alesis? Nektar? M-Audio? any others?

Are any of these inexpensive ones any good or should I just keep saving and increase my budget?

I once had a M-Audio Code 61, which was generally a very good controller, if not…
If it had not suffered from randomly hanging notes and USB-drop outs… it seems that this is a problem of the controller circuit which can not be solved by a firmware update or something like this (you might find some entries in their support forums):

So even if it is a good controller (the keybed is not bad too), i can not recommend it for live-use.
I think if i had to buy a new controller, i would go for the Roland A800pro - as far as i know, @dhj has some of them in his live rig, so he might give you some insights about this keyboard.

Yeah, I use three of them in my life rig. I don’t love them but they do the job. My main complaint is that the aftertouch is not very responsive. for the most part you can have no aftertouch, a bit of aftertouch or full aftertouch. If you don’t need aftertouch, then they’re absolutely fine – plenty of knobs, buttons and sliders.

How is the keyboard action on the A800 pro?

They’re light. Not spongy like the Akai MPKs which cause fatigue. But honestly, that stuff is so subjective, it’s very hard to say whether my experience will suit yours

1 Like

I use an Akai MPK49, and haven’t experienced any hand fatigue. I really like the tight feel and the solidness of the actual individual keys.

Which proves my point of the subjectivity of these things😀

1 Like

I have a A800 pro also as a 61key.
I’m not fan of the action but honestly I’ve never been for any 61 key. Being a piano player it’s always disapointing in a sense ! The black keys feel a bit harder.
The good thing with the A800 pro is that it is very durable and you can find it quite cheap, I bought mine for 300€ as new.

I share your opinion of the MPK action. I prefer a light action for organ and synth playing. For piano, of course a weighted action is needed.

I personnaly put the action above any other aspects of the controllers. That’s why I own a heavy and quite expensive Kawai VPC1 as a piano controller and a Studiologic Numar Organ 2 for its waterfall keybed. The NO2 was the cheapest 73 notes waterfall keybed I could buy used. But unfortunately none of them have after touch. So I recently tested a bunch of those new cheap keyboard controllers, and disliked most of them, and you know what, I love the keybed of my older Yamaha DX7 much better. So, as @dhj said this is very subjective like piano sounds are.

If you want a lightweight, fully speced keyboard, then have a look at the Alexis Vortex wireless keytar. It’s up to V2 now, so there maybe a few V1 second hand if you look. Battery/USB powered, after touch, ribbon controller, accelerometer etc. If you don’t want to wear it, just use it as a tiered keyboard. I have a red V2 and I enjoy standing in the front line now and then when my guitarist plays his red Gibson.

Hi guys,
i think (again) about getting a new controller keyboard…
After i learned to really hate those little joysticks on my Numa C2X, and i finally realized that those large keybeds that i always wanted, go hand in hand with large & clumsy devices (who would have thought?), i want to go back to a lightweighted controller with 61 keys.
It must have aftertouch, it must have connectors for sustain & volume pedals, it should have a reasonable keybed and i’d like it to have the faders & knobs on the left hand side.
So, according to these specs, there are not so many keyboards left on the market.

My “hot candidates” are the Roland A-800 pro and the Nektar Panorama P6.
It seems that the A-800 might not be too bad from what i could read here in the forum and in some reviews as well, but does anyone know the Nektar P6 (white and with the motor-fader)?

The reviews i found look good so far and i must confess, that i am really attracted by this device…
Any words and thoughts? :slightly_smiling_face:


Seems so, but only 1 fader is motorized

Ah ok :confused:

I guess, i could synchronize it with the main volume of each rackspace, so i always can see how the volume is set.
And because there are nine other (unmotorized) faders left, i could realize a full drawbar set and still have a fader for volume.

Yes, but I regret not to have motorized faders for all faders. They all decide for us that it is useless or discuss about the additional cost for adding motorized faders. I want motorized faders everywhere and LEDs ring surrounding endless knobs. And I am ready to pay the additional cost for this. I know only one keyboard controller that has motorized faders they should all have this option.

1 Like

I don’t know if you tour but one of the things that was hammered into me years ago is that if you’re touring without the luxury of a road crew, you want your gear to be as light as possible. Motorized surfaces are heavy!

I have the experience of touring, carrying and installing everything by myself (my father helped me much when he was still alive… but even sometimes alone). If, like me, you assume moving heavy stuffs because you feel well when playing them, you organize yourself to have things like trolleys and appropriate cars. My VPC1 alone weights 30kg, around 50kg in its flightcase. But I designed and build the flightcase by myself thinking of carrying it alone or with some helpful persons from the venue (who are not used to carry things which makes a difference!) and have the appropriate trolley. I have everything to move even my B3 “almost” alone.

So, I am not afraid by the additional 500g of a set of motorized faders on a keyboard. :wink:

1 Like

Maybe you should contact those guys and ask them if they can build a controller for you: