[LAU] good and cheap keyboard usb for linux

Ken Restivo ken at restivo.org
Wed Dec 5 16:50:21 EST 2007

On Wed, Dec 05, 2007 at 07:00:06PM +0000, Simon Williams wrote:
> Ken Restivo wrote:
>> One night at a gig, I had brain fart and forgot to bring my second
>> MIDI controller. I borrowed a cheap Yamaha all-in-one keyboard at
>> home-- the kind of toy you'd expect to buy at Radio Shack-- and it
>> worked great and got me through the show. Had velocity and sustain
>> pedal and everything. Anything with a MIDI out port will work-- you
>> can probably find stuff at garage sales if you're really going
>> low-end.
> I'm still pretty new to the whole music game and I'm interested to get 
> ideas for things I can do. Firstly, what do you use at a gig software wise

Most of what I end up actually playing in live band situations is fluidsynth (Rhodes and Steinway soundfonts), nekostring and WhySynth for pads, AMS for Moog, and AZR3 for organ. Which is why I was thinking about buying a small MOBO and building a portable, more rugged synth instead of having to carry my very delicate laptop around and figure out how to protect it from falls, drink spills, etc.

At home and in the few experimental solo livesets I've done, I use pretty much everything:

> and what sort of things are you playing. Secondly, what do you use 2 
> keyboards for?

I used to use 2 keyboards because the splits on the Axiom were so weird and complicated and inflexible. Also it was only 49 keys-- not enough for a split really. So now I have a Novation Remote SL 61 key. Splits suck on this keyboard too, so I wrote my own cheesy little daemon to do the splits, much more flexibly, in linux. http://www.restivo.org/blog/archives/midi-splitter 

>> If you want USB, the M-Audio keyboards are, in my experience, utter
>> crap. However, they seem to be the cheapest things out there. I
>> bought a used Axiom and it died after a couple months of use.
>> Garbage.
> That's interesting. I was thinking of maybe trying to get one of those 
> later. They looked really nice. I've currently got an Evolution MK461C, 
> which I think is also M-Audio, but that works great. I haven't heard of 
> anything else though- any recommendations?

If I didn't have to have a portable, battery-operated-capable rig, I'd have bought a 20-year-old, well-made MIDI keyboard from Roland or Yamaha or some such, and plugged that into my Linux laptop.

But since I have to have battery-operation, and USB, I bought a Novation. The keyboard is the most solid-feeling of any of the newer USB keyboards I've played, but that's damning with faint praise.


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