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Midi keyboard controller suggestions?

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Midi keyboard controller suggestions?

Postby lclemmons » Tue May 13, 2014 9:12 pm

I am new to Notion 4 and the world of MIDI. I purchased a Novation Impulse 25 to use with Notion 4 but was unable to get it to function after 5 calls to tech support. They tell me the hardware is likely bad even though it is brand new. Needless to say I'm returning it. I've never used a midi keyboard before and I want to make sure anything I get is fully compatible with notion 4 on Windows 8.1 x64. I was hoping one of y'all might have a suggestion for controllers to look at in the $250 US or below price point. I'm not really using a DAW at this point though I suspect I will use one eventually so the pads and knobs such would be nice to have for the future. I'm not a piano player so I don't particularly need weighted keys.

Suggestions would be much appreciated. What midi keyboard controllers have you used that worked well with Notion?

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Re: Midi keyboard controller suggestions?

Postby ghess1000 » Thu May 15, 2014 1:49 am

I have a lab full of Impulses and quite a few have had motherboard problems where they wouldn't output MIDI data. Try M-Audio if you want something with full size keys. I also use an AKAI LPK25. It's basic with about 2/3 size keys but really portable.
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Re: Midi keyboard controller suggestions?

Postby wcreed51 » Thu May 15, 2014 8:07 am

M-Audio is good, but I recommend not buying at this time, as there is doubt that they'll continue to support their products. At least, they're not supporting most of their sound cards.
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Re: Midi keyboard controller suggestions?

Postby tombax » Thu May 15, 2014 1:38 pm

I bought an Alesis Q49 after my old Roland controller kicked the bucket. Very cheap, no problems (I don't think I even had to install a driver), and the keys have a good feel for the price. Also you get Ableton Live Lite as a throw-in.
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Re: Midi keyboard controller suggestions?

Postby Surfwhammy » Thu May 15, 2014 4:54 pm

For simple keyboard work, I use a Behringer U-Control UMA25S Mini-MIDI Keyboard on a very sturdy swiveling laptop stand next to the computer display . . .

[NOTE: In the US at present, Sweetwater and have it discounted at $100 (US). The Jim Dunlop ECB003S A/C power supply is $9 (US), which makes it attractive if you need a 25-key mini-MIDI keyboard and controller. has the Behringer PSU-SB Power Supply General Purpose DC 9V Power Adaptor for $10 (US), but this was not available when I got the Behringer UMA25S, hence the Jim Dunlop power supply. A tilting, adjustable swivel laptop stand costs approximately $50 to $60 (US) at, although occasionally there is one on sale for less, and the swivel stand needs to be very sturdy, which is important . . . ]

Behringer U-Control UMA25S Mini-MIDI Keyboard


[NOTE: The user guide and presets list are available as PDF files in the Downloads section of the following website page; and there are various instruments, effects, hosts, drivers, and so forth forth that also can be downloaded (Mac and Windows versions) . . . ]

U-CONTROL UMA25S Ultra-Slim 25-Key USB/MIDI Controller Keyboard with Audio Interface (Behringer)


There are several reasons I selected this particular mini-MIDI keyboard . . .

(1) It has full support for all the MIDI CC stuff, and it has a 3-character LED display so you can see the various MIDI CC parameter values as you adjust and set them; and it has assignable rotary MIDI controllers, as well as a set of buttons for MIDI controllers and so forth . . .

(2) It has both USB and standard MIDI ports, and it has controller wheels, as well as configurable velocity, noting I use fixed velocity, which maps to full value with only a small touch, which makes it very easy to play (similar to a touchscreen in some respects) . . .

(3) It can be powered by USB, batteries, or a separate power supply, where the batteries and separate power supply are sold separately, noting that Jim Dunlop makes an inexpensive power supply (Model ECB003US) with the correct specifications and polarity, which is what I use; and the Behringer UMA25S has mounting brackets for a guitar strap, which is interesting . . .

(4) No driver is required on the Mac . . .

(5) It has a very detailed user guide and presets list . . .

(6) It has a full set of line-level audio ports (RCA), MIDI ports, and other interface ports, including expression and sustain pedal ports . . .

(7) It can be used as a MIDI controller for mixers and transports . . .

I also have an Alesis ION Analog Modeling Synthesizer and a KORG Triton Music Workstation (88-Keys), where the Triton has grand piano style keys (weighted and so forth), and all of them do advanced MIDI . . .

I got the Behringer UMA25S primarily to explore the advanced aspects of MIDI, which is easier since most of its physical user interface is focused on providing quick access to all the advanced MIDI stuff, but once I discovered how to set it for fixed velocity I started using it as an input device, since it is easy to play . . .

For the most part, I have no idea what most of the advanced MIDI features, knobs, buttons, and so forth do, but since understanding all of it is a goal my thinking was that even though most of it is a mystery, it would be nice to have all of it, which continues to make sense. It's all there, and the 3-character LED display provides visual conformation that it is doing something, which is helpful in learning how everything works. When there are parameter values and so forth, applications usually show the values, but you need to know where to look, which makes the 3-character LED display so helpful . . .

The very sturdy swiveling laptop stand is fabulous, and as shown in the photograph (see above) it is in a convenient location at a happy angle, which makes it ergonomic . . .

If you need more keys, then the swivel stand is not practical, but for the 25-key unit it is practical and handy . . .

Lots of FUN! :)
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Re: Midi keyboard controller suggestions?

Postby lclemmons » Sat May 17, 2014 9:58 pm

Thanks very much for the suggestions. I'm going to see if my local music shop has any of these in to take a look at. I'll let y'all know what I pick out.

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