The Oracle of Apollo Snippets from the life of Apollo Lee

Jul 08, 2006 - 20:07


Adding to the Studio

Today, I went down to Guitar Center in Santa Clara to add to my music studio. I looked around online and decided to get the Korg padKontrol to trigger events in Reason or Ableton Live. While I was nosing around, I took a gander at the M-Audio Keystation Pro 88, an 88-key controller with weighted, “hammer-action” keys that make it feel like a real piano. The KSP has 59 assignable knobs, buttons, and sliders, that can be programmed to fit a variety of needs. The sales rep told me that he’d knock $40 off the price of the big board, so I decided to get them both.

So, when I got them home and unboxed them both, I found that neither the padKontrol or the Keystation came with AC adapters. I guess the idea is that I’d use the big board (the Keystation) with a PowerMac G5 or a powered USB hub, instead of plugging it into my MIDI controller, but if I had a big studio with all that candy, I simply would not bother piddling $380 on a master controller—I’d spend several thousand and do it right. As more and more people buy M-Audio’s gear, use them with laptops, and add more MIDI-capable hardware, you’re going to run into more and more people complaining about this. And Guitar Center guy, yes, the Keystation, despite its massive size, vast numbers of assignable knobs, and heavy weight, is an entry-level MIDI controller. A professional recording studio would have spent ten times as much on a board with fewer knobs and more solid engineering.

After unboxing the Keystation and setting it up, I got it to work with Reason, but failed to figure how to assign the knobs. The action is smooth, though, and the big board is a pleasure to play. It took me a while to rearrange my studio for the KSP. I also discovered that the sustain pedal for my Roland JV-80 doesn’t work with the big board, so I’m going back to Guitar Center tomorrow for one that will.

New gear makes my heart sing.

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