keyboard

Everything related to researching, scoring and performing music with silent film.
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drednm

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keyboard

PostWed Feb 20, 2013 8:08 am

Wondering if anyone has any advice on an electric keyboard I could record on and upload via USB

Looks like there are many options. Thanks.
Ed Lorusso
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telical

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Re: keyboard

PostWed Feb 20, 2013 3:25 pm

Well, I can say that there are some with four track recorders, and some that
only allow one pass of your hands, or one track. A four track would be able
to record better that "cheesy Midi sound" lol....even though in a skilled artist,
it doesn't have to sound bad at all. It should give you an ability to record a type
of ensemble, so that you can have brass, piano, drums, all being recorded separately.
It kind of depends on your budget, but Yamaha and Casio equally have good
keyboards that will record at the entry level of about $200 to $400. I believe
almost all of them have USB now. I would stick with those two brands, unless you can
afford something like a Roland, Korg, or any of the more expensive professional brands.
If you want more of a piano sound, obviously you want to try to get one with at least
76 keys, because range makes a huge difference in piano music.
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Rodney

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Re: keyboard

PostMon Feb 25, 2013 7:44 am

drednm wrote:Wondering if anyone has any advice on an electric keyboard I could record on and upload via USB

Looks like there are many options. Thanks.


Do you have MIDI recording software on your computer? Using an on-board recorder on the keyboard itself probably would make it difficult to stay in sync with a film, if that's what you're after. I use Digital Performer, but that's a pro-level (and pro-price) product that may be overkill. But it can keep your performance in sync with video during playback. You record MIDI notes while watching the film, then you can edit and fix them as needed, even scaling time in certain sections for better sync, then have the computer play the MIDI notes back on the piano while recording the sound coming from it. I think some pianos have the ability to save their "output" in an audio file format (rather than sending audio out that you need to convert to digital). I've never had such a piano (nor have I needed one, since I have good A/D converters), so I haven't researched that feature yet.

As for keyboards, I've always been pretty impressed with Korg's low-end (i.e. around $700) boards like the SP250, though that's an older product that may have MIDI but no USB, so it would take another converter. They've got a new one coming out, the SP280, with larger speakers, but it looks like they're switching to a lighter-weight keybed that may be less realistic, if you're used to a real piano. I used a Korg SV1 on the "Devil's Needle" and "Les Vampires" projects (now I'm using a real Kawai grand).

Casio also unveiled a new stage piano at NAMM 2013 (the PS-5X) that has impressed a lot of people, but I haven't tried it yet. This (like many stage pianos) doesn't have on-board speakers, so you'll need to use headphones or run it through monitors. But it says it can record audio to a thumb-drive, so you don't need to worry about how to get the sound on to your computer.

If cost is no object, I like the Kawai ES7 at around $2000 for a very nice keyed feel made by a real piano maker, as well as excellent piano samples and nice onboard speakers. And Yamaha has some nice things at the high end, though their lowest-grade keyboards can be pretty rinky-dink. Another option is getting a reasonably nice keybed for playing, but using a sampled software piano like Ivory, Pianoteq, or MachFive for the actual sound. In fact, if you're a true piano purist, Kawai just came out with a piano controller that contains a keyboard action from their actual pianos, but no strings or sounds, just for controlling software instruments. One issue here is latency -- you'll get a microscopic but sometimes noticeable delay from when you press the key to when you hear the sound. I find it exasperating, but many don't.
Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
www.mont-alto.com
"Let the Music do the Talking!"
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drednm

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Re: keyboard

PostMon Feb 25, 2013 3:36 pm

Thanks much for responses.... so I'll need a software as well as the keyboard. What I looked at online seemed to be pretty expensive or did things I don't care about (producing sheet music, etc.). So is Finale the best bet for this basic stuff?
Ed Lorusso
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Rodney

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Re: keyboard

PostMon Feb 25, 2013 4:27 pm

Finale is a music notation package -- if you want to produce printed musical scores for other people to play, Finale is a good package. For recording and playback of musical scores, you don't want Finale. You might be able to force it to work, but it's not a great solution.

Can you describe in detail what you plan to do? And do you already have any music software? Garage Band can do this, if you've got a Mac. There's got to be something inexpensive on the PC side too; I'm just unfamiliar with what supports syncing to film.
Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
www.mont-alto.com
"Let the Music do the Talking!"
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drednm

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Re: keyboard

PostMon Feb 25, 2013 4:33 pm

All I want to do is play (and hear it) and upload the music onto the PC so I can then use it as a music file.
Ed Lorusso
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Rodney

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Re: keyboard

PostMon Feb 25, 2013 5:28 pm

Sorry -- I thought you were planning on syncing the music to a film.

If you don't have an audio interface, I'd look at one of the pianos that can record music to a USB drive. Then you have a cheap way to move it onto the hard drive. The other way is to get an audio interface, the piano plugs into that, and turns the analog audio output of the keyboard into a digital file using software.

I would definitely never buy an electric piano without trying it out in the store -- can you actually play music well on that keyboard? Does the keyboard feel good? Does it sound enough like a real piano for your needs?

Of course, if you already have a piano, another way to do this is to buy a digital recorder (like the Zoom), and record the piano you already have. That way you're not cluttering up your room with more keyboards.
Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
www.mont-alto.com
"Let the Music do the Talking!"
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drednm

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Re: keyboard

PostTue Feb 26, 2013 6:44 am

Thanks, Rodney.....
Ed Lorusso
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telical

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Re: keyboard

PostTue Feb 26, 2013 10:41 pm

Most electronic keyboards that are for this home or all-in-one style, have onboard recorders.
You don't need to record to a separate USB device, but you can back up to one. The keyboard
itself has the recorder on it
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mndean

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Re: keyboard

PostWed Feb 27, 2013 9:33 am

If you get a keyboard without a recorder or interface to upload music to your computer, Garage Band is okay and has ease of use in its favor. Audacity is free but has a learning curve. Software like ProTools is costly and has a steeper learning curve. Best thing to do is get as much software (features, I mean) as you think you'll need for the foreseeable future and don't get on an upgrade treadmill.

Personally since my needs are modest I use Audacity to record small pieces but I admit it's not the most developed software in the free universe.
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Rodney

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Re: keyboard

PostWed Feb 27, 2013 9:59 am

telical wrote:Most electronic keyboards that are for this home or all-in-one style, have onboard recorders.
You don't need to record to a separate USB device, but you can back up to one. The keyboard
itself has the recorder on it


Yes, it was the "move to the PC" part of his task that the USB drive helps with. Or, you can connect them, depending on whether you want audio, MIDI, whatever on your computer; but you may need cables and audio interfaces.
Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
www.mont-alto.com
"Let the Music do the Talking!"
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Ken Winokur

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Re: keyboard

PostWed Oct 09, 2013 2:51 pm

If you want to record directly to the computer I recommend the free software (mentioned above) Audacity. It's really a very sophisticated and usable program. And it's free! It's kept up to date and is utilized by huge numbers of people around the world.

We love Kurzweil keyboards. They are fantastic sounding and have a good feel to the keyboard. They have hundreds of orchestral and piano sounds, as well as synth sounds. Not cheap, but also not unreasonably expensive - the PC3LE6 (a 61 key model) sells for $1300. The 88 keys version is about $1800.

There are lots of used Kurzweils around. We've been using a K2000 VX for over 20 years. We pick them up used off Craigslist or Ebay for about $300. The K2500 or K2600 are somewhat better sounding. And of course the PC3 models (current models) are best. As computers progress, the keyboards have more and more memory which allows them to make larger samples (which sound more realistic).

I'm not a keyboard player myself but most of the people I know are OK with the smaller keyboard (including Roger in Alloy).
Ken Winokur
alloyorchestra.com
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BenModel

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Re: keyboard

PostWed Oct 09, 2013 5:17 pm

I also recommend the Kurzweil instruments. I used the PC2 for several years, and now work with the Yamaha CP-33, which has excellent triple-strike piano samples and has weighted keys.

Another option is to buy piano samples that reside on a computer or laptop. I've used a set of these for a while, but Roger (Alloy) recently told me about a set called "Ivory" which many keyboard players he knows highly recommend. One advantage of samples separate from the keyboard is that they have better convolved reverbs and also sampled overtones; they sound much more like the real thing than a keyboard with on-board samples does.

Ben
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Re: keyboard

PostWed Oct 09, 2013 8:42 pm

I use this and it works well:
http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-OXYGEN49MK3-Oxygen-MIDI-Controller/dp/B009ZUKY52/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1381372362&sr=8-5&keywords=maudio+49

It comes with this software (Mac and PC):
http://www.airmusictech.com/product/ignite#overview

Here's a video intro:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtFS-wZ97ho&feature=youtu.be



The keyboard is nice and the software is very easy to use, though I'm definitely not an expert, so others might want to pipe in. I'm also a novice with the software but was able to figure it all out and create music right away.

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