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Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Controllers-88 and weighted

Sporter

It looks like there are several choices these days for a good, piano type keyboard with 88 keys. I've been looking for something to replace my Technics P30 in my home studio. I think I've narrowed it down to three, but I would like to get some input:
1. Yamaha P80. I know, this is actually a digital piano, but I would use it primarily as a controller. I like the action. A little hard compared to what I now play, but something that I think I would get used to rather quickly, as it is does feel realistic. The sounds are OK, but again, I'm not really interested in the sounds.
2. Yamaha S80. This is a bit much for a controller, and the action is light. Still, it has lots of power, and the nice sounds would be a bonus of sort. As a controller, would do everything and more I need it to do.
3. Fatar SL880 or Fatar SL1100. Unfortunately, I have only been able to read about these. The price is right, and they do exactly what I need, yet I'm hesitant to buy something without actually playing it. If anyone with experience with these would offer some opinions, I would certainly appreciate it. I would be extremely interested in knowing how the action compared to 1 or 2 above.
The new Roland looks good, too, but most places are getting top dollar since they are brand new. The Kawai is decent, but heavy and noisy. And while I love Kurzweil sounds, their keyboards are terrible, at least to me.
Thanks for any help and/or advice you can give me on these.
Steve Porter
July 26, 2001 @02:31pm
kenchsu

Hey I have that exactly same question also! I am also searching for a 88-key weighted controller keyboard...
I think I would have got the Yamaha S80 if I do not already have a Yamaha CS6X. Yes, it was light, but the S80 is also a pretty good synth so I wouldn't mind it.... :D I also heard that the Alesis QS8.1 should be pretty good too, but these are all full-blown synths... the QS8.1 has heavier keys than the S80.
Roland has some new performance keyboards out which might be ok (RS-5 and RS-9? I think RS-9 is 88-key). But I have not played with them so I don't know. Roland also makes some other top-end midi controllers (A90? I don't remember) but I haven't played with them either so I don't know how good they are.
I was also looking at the Fatar keyboards, but I am not sure - it is probably a 'looks' thing, but the Fatar keyboards (at least the SL-880 and SL990 that I looked at) seem kind of 'unreliable' to me - I don't know, it's just the way they looked.... :o The other thing that worries me is that most of the stores seems to be trying to clear them out...
The Fatar S880 is kinda what I was looking for too in terms of price/feature ratio (I could use some more features though...:)) and it has the most piano-like feel (well, it is the most weighted anyways) out of all the ones I played on...
Anyways, are there other ones out there that I should check out? Are the Roland ones any good? I didn't see any at the local store that I went to....
Ken
August 4, 2001 @05:26am
Bob

The Sl880 and the Sl1100 both have the same action, The Sl1100 just gives you a bit more control ala program and bank change, 8 keyboard zones defined over local or external keyboard regions (yes it has a midi in too).
The Roland RS9 is a fabulous keyboard and great value for the money. But the Roland RD600, A90, Kurz PC2X, and Yamaha P200 all have much better piano feels. The RS9 is meant to be a weighted 88 note keyboard with amazing sounds and some real time control.
If your looking for just a controller with plenty of control for live setups or a complex home midi setup, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the SL1100.
August 4, 2001 @06:01pm
MichaelB

I've played the Fatar's you've mentioned, as well as the S80, etc... One of my favorite's as far as the feel goes is the new Roland RD700. The new Fatars feel "spongy" to me compared to my old Fatar Studio 2001 (different action) and the RD700. The one thing I've noticed about keyboard actions, tho, is that one man's meat is another man's poison. Have you ever played on a Steinway grand and a Baldwin? I jokingly refer to Steinway's action as created by and for Hercules because it's so much stiffer than that of a Baldwin, yet some people simply can't stand the feel of the Baldwin, which is my favorite. Best thing to do, imo, is to play them yourself. Good luck.
Mike Bankemper
August 9, 2001 @02:55am
Sporter

Originally posted by MichaelB
I've played the Fatar's you've mentioned, as well as the S80, etc... One of my favorite's as far as the feel goes is the new Roland RD700.
Mike Bankemper

I was impressed by the RD700, too. To me, it's got the best feel of anything I've played yet. It's way more than I wanted to pay, but I might just have to "bite the bulet"....:D
Steve
August 11, 2001 @12:36pm
kenchsu

Actually Bob, can you tell me a bit more about the RS-9? I read some reviews on the synth and it seems to be great value for money....
I already have a Roland JV1080 (with the analogue expansion) - would I be looking at duplicate sounds if I get the RS-9? I am guessing one Roland synth is probably enough :)
Also, what 61-key controllers would you recommend? I am thinking that, if I am going to get something that's not weighted, I probably can do with spending a lot less and just get a 61-key controller with more controller features than what a SL880 would give me...
Thanks,
Ken
August 14, 2001 @09:30pm
kenchsu

Not to be plugging for Guitar Center, but they are selling the SL1100 this month on special for $699. I am tempted now to pick one up, since this was what SL880 was costing but now I have all the features that I would want....
Hey Bob, does Sweetwater do price matching? And do you guys charge sales tax / ground shipping? :) hehe
Ken
August 15, 2001 @06:28am
Bob

The Roland RS9 is an amazing value. The sounds are taken from the XV series engine (XV88, XV5080, etc) as well as some of there expansion boards. There are of course, some entirely new sounds as well. The real time control , arpeggiator, great roland FX, and weighted action (not the RD700 but still not bad) make it something to consider.
They also have the RS5 which has the same sounds but is 61 notes (and synth action).
so, for the same price of a SL1100 from guitar center you can have a synth with killer sounds and as much control (of course, not as many keys). There is also the Sp88 by Kurzweil. Nice sounds and good feel. I'd take a serious look at both the Roland and Kurzweil before deciding on what would be best for you.
Feel free to give me a call or e-mail your phone number and we can discuss further :D
August 15, 2001 @02:11pm