A technical support community for Apple Logic Pro users.



 
kurtlogic
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Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:37 pm

best controller w/ 88 weighted keys for LPX?

Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:55 pm

Hello:

Which controller(s) would be a good choice to work with Logic Pro X? I prefer 88 keys and a fully-weighted keyboard.
Ease of use and setup and good integration with Logic (as well as a good feeling keyboard) are important. This will be used in a home studio
where I also do a lot of teaching.

Arturia KeyLab 88?
Komplete Kontrol?
Others?

Thanks in advance!

Kurt
 
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skijumptoes
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Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:09 pm

Re: best controller w/ 88 weighted keys for LPX?

Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:33 am

The 88 keylab uses a fatar keybed, and as such is really good. If you're making use of the Arturia plugs obviously it's all mapped well too. And yes, you can integrate it into Logic to use smart controls/transport etc. but you will have to do a bit of custom mapping.

One thing to note with the Keylabs is their reliability and reports that they're a pain to deal with (They've always been great for me personally). However, being a fatar bed you'd have to hope that the 88 keys doesn't have such issues. Personally never seen/touched an NI Kontrol so know nothing on those, they always looked a bit gimmicky to me?

The Roland A-88 is very good too, but obviously you're losing the controls on that.

I personally use a Nektar LX88+ as a slave for some sound modules, and that has good integration with Logic, but the keys really don't have the weight or feel of the controllers your looking at - it's kinda one of those 'in the middle' feels to it, but that's reflected in the price.

I'd be swaying towards the KeyLab personally, you get a lot of value with the included Analog Lab software and it's not just synths in that package, i.e. includes playable pianos/ep/organs etc.

But for that sort of money, i'd be tempted to look for an actual synth which can act as a controller also, like the Roland DS-88, but that's something you may not make use of. I do like having a keyboard which doesn't need a computer running for me to just flick on and 'enjoy'. :)
 
kurtlogic
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Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:37 pm

Re: best controller w/ 88 weighted keys for LPX?

Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:13 am

Thanks, skijumptoes!

That was the kind of thoughtful response I was hoping for. I am leaning towards the KeyLab 88 but I want to think this through fully.

I bought a Yamaha MX88 about a month ('the synth route') ago. It has a fantastic keyboard and great sounds and features, but there was a driver compatibility (or something) issue that hung me up for about a month. It has a controller mode, but is set up to integrate best with Cubase (which Yamaha owns). I finally returned it.

Right now I am using a Casio Privia PX 360, which functions well for midi out - triggering sounds, etc., and has a very nice keyboard. It is very limited as a controller.

I'm trying to sort through the reviews and comments about these keyboards but it is tough to get a good read on them. The magazine reviews of products seem to be overly positive and the user reviews are all over the map.

It would be nice if GC or Sam Ash had one set up and a salesperson with a working knowledge of it...I can dream.

Since both of these products have been out for a few years another issue would be whether they are updating their products along with Apple and Logic.

Thanks for your reply! I would be happy to hear anyone else's thoughts on these products/brands, especially personal experiences.
 
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skijumptoes
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Re: best controller w/ 88 weighted keys for LPX?

Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:50 am

If you ensure that the controller you get is class compliant you won't have any worries with drivers, or keeping up to date with Logic. As they will be able to transmit MIDI MMC/CC messages which Logic can deal with.

In the past i was always a big Novation fan, and loved the Fatar based SL controllers - they could automap, integrate and display parameters on their small screens - and were great. However, i had an issue with their automap software and was forced to remove it (You basically had to wrap plugins with it to get the 'deep' integration), that in turn then caused Logic to fail to load years of saved projects (Basically as it couldn't find the automap wrapped plugins).

You can imagine the Shock and horror! I could never comfortably use Automap anymore, as great as it could be, i didn't like holding my projects to ransom like that and so swore to never use anything as invasive - So be wary of such products and their pitfalls, Akai do something similar.

I then jumped on to the Nektar Panorama (61 key), and that's a great controller, it integrates as deep as automap, shows parameters on screen but doesn't rely on anything going in to your projects, or Logic as a whole. However.. Again the keys aren't what you're looking for, nor is it large enough - And who knows how long Logic will be supported with it?

I went through a period thinking that if i got the right controller i could actually program entire virtual synth presets from scratch, and would be able to offload some of my hardware. But in reality that idea will never be realised, so i've relaxed on that a bit now and went back to basics.

So, you need to really think what you want to control, while mixer support sounds nice, it only truly works if you're using powered faders - without that it's just a confusing mess and really fiddly.

Likewise if you're wanting a ton of controls thinking that's going to give you everything at your hands - sometimes it can be overwhelming, and just simpler to have 8 endless knobs and set them up via smart controls on a per instrument/preset basis.

Not sure where i'm heading with this post, but as someone who's bought and sold a lot of hardware to get to where i want to be, you have to make sure you get what fits and suits you, and not just what's available out there - and certainly don't necessary go with the sea of user reviews because 9 times out of 10 i wish i went with my heart initially and not my brain (Particularly after researching online).

For example, using your Casio with something like the Nektar Panorama P1 by the side could an option if you enjoy the Casio and wanted to bring a controller with display next to you for the plugin parameters. But then it may be too goofy for you to setup like that and you want an all-in-one solution.

Me personally i'm most comfortable with a 'dumb' 88 Key for playing, and an old Mackie MCU on the side for plugin control, i love it! In fact, unlike most Mackie users i barely use it for mixing, but rather plugin/eq control - i just like to have a screen feedback when i'm moving controls, it's a really important factor for me.

Gonna stop rambling now, as i'm really not sure where this post is heading, i think i have an unhealthy controller lust! lol. Hope you get to try them out, The large keylab is very good, and used with Analog Lab is really fantastic, and your heart is halfway there. :)
 
kurtlogic
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Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:37 pm

Re: best controller w/ 88 weighted keys for LPX?

Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:12 am

Great! The all in one solution is best for me because I have a teaching studio that gets a little cramped for space with guitars, amps, etc... The big computer desk that I bought from Staples years ago has room for one full size keyboard. I will probably keep the Casio for now for now as a backup or for a Lyle Mays/Rick Wakeman fantasy (the key word here is fantasy). I'll bet I could fit a little mono synth or something on the laptop space (see, my GAS is kicking in).

I don't plan to use the faders for mixing, but would like to use the faders, knobs and wheels for synth control, and to use the transport buttons. If the Arturia software sounds great I can use that, but it would be nice if it were not too difficult to map for Logic's stock sounds. I did buy a presonus single fader unit that works but is a little wonky.

I think Arturia claims High Sierra compatability. They also have a limited edition Black 88 that just came out in November so it gives me hope that they will still support this keyboard. However, it looks like the company has not been active in responding on their forums for several months (maybe they had an extended holiday?).

Amazon and GC have pretty liberal return policies so I suppose I could try it out and if I have the same issues as the MX88 I can return it.

Thanks again, Kurt
 
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Ploki
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Re: best controller w/ 88 weighted keys for LPX?

Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:08 am

for keyboard action check out StudioLogic controllers...

they have by far the best keybeds.
yamahas aint bad either.

then get additional controller for knobs/stuff.

I haven't yet found a company that did both well in one package.
Retina MacBook Pro 15", 2.7/16 | LPX 10.3.3 | macOS 10.13.2
RME FireFace 400 | Emagic Logic Control | ROLI Seaboard RISE 25 | ROLI Blocks
(95% chance i'm on the latest version if it shows the previous)
 
kurtlogic
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Took the plunge...

Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:10 pm

I bought the Arturia KeyLab 88 Black Edition. It arrived this morning. It is quite nice. Solid metal construction, sturdy knobs, attractive wood on each end.

The keybed is excellent - not noisy at all, a little on the heavy side but very smooth. After a few minutes of playing, it felt felt really good...much better than my Casio Privia (which is actually quite good) and also much better than an old CME controller that I gave away recently.

I was worried because the Arturia forums are littered with complaints about poor support, slow updates, and such. I asked support if it would work well with Logic Pro X and received a reply in one day. It doesn't do Auto Assign w/ Logic Pro, but that will be added in a future update. I guess I will be learning midi mapping, but that's not a bad thing.

I just bought MainStage last week - I didn't even know it existed until I found this forum!

I was very excited to find out when I set up the keyboard and turned on MainStage, the Keylab 88 appears to be completely mapped to it out of the box. Very cool!
 
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skijumptoes
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Re: best controller w/ 88 weighted keys for LPX?

Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:20 am

Good to hear, as i said previously they've always been very good for me too, i just wonder if some people think that by moaning on a forum or Facebook constitutes contacting support. I've had issues with hardware and software and on both counts were extremely helpful.

And yes mapping yourself is quite straight forward, you'll find that just using smart controls is the best solution as you only have to assign them the once to your controller and beyond that they can control a whole host of parameters on a per plugin/per track selected basis which is great.