Ok, I'm finally going to get into midi....

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Czar of Turd Polish
Member Since: Jun 20, 2006

99% of my recordings are analog instruments but I want to do some piano\organ\string tones. I need a basic affordable setup that includes a midi controller and some tones. What do I look at?

I am upgrading to Audition 3 which will give my VSTi support, that is what I need correct?

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Since: Jan 18, 2003

Feb 20, 2008 09:57 pm

check out akostik piano by NI. i think it's between 1 and 2 hundred. but it has a bosendorfer.


samples on the page. for piano you might want to actually get a piano VST, because piano is a really tough thing to get right. so i'd go dedicated there. you can get some much cheaper virtual instruments for strings and organs, but don't skimp on the pianos.

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Feb 23, 2008 01:07 am

heck, you can get tons of free ones, soundfonts, synths, etc. I wouldn't worry about paying for a set of sounds until you're more versed, and know what type of set you want. Course, a soundfont will need a soundfont player. SFZ is a free one that plugs into hosts:


KVR also has tons of soundfonts, and other sample / synth instruments.

Forty makes a good point about pianos, they're a tough one to get to sound great. I purchased Garritan Personal Orchestra last year, and have found some neat stuff in it. It's got pianos, but I haven't done much with them yet.

Just get a controller of some sort, or punch in mouse strokes in the piano roll. I end up doing that alot, instead of keying in stuff.

Another option is to get a sampler keyboard of some sort, like a cheap yamaha or casio. It will have built in sounds that you can hear when playing, but it also sends out MIDI instructions, so you can record the midi data, and play it through a different sound later.

I tried playing my juno-d through soundfont or synth, but the latency was quite high, making it pretty much unplayable. I may be able to make it work better, but with built in sounds, you can just 'hear' the built in sounds, and pin a good set of sounds to the midi pattern later.

I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Feb 23, 2008 04:44 pm

I'm not sure if this will be up your alley but I shopped around for the exact same criteria and ended up with the Xboard from E-MU. I know I know, I was kind of leary about getting a SoundBlaster-owned product but all of the reviews were glowing as far as the actual response and feel of the keys.

Plus it came with Proteus X (which includes a VSTi) and about 6 CDs worth of drums, synths, organs, world percussion, sound effects...you name it.

And the piano VSTi (STudio Grand) is very convincing. Well, convincing to me at least..I'm admittedly not that difficult to impress with these kinds of things.

All for $170.

I think its a best-in-class kind of deal. I'm sure that there are better deals out there in different price ranges, but for a sub-$200 MIDI controller it really rose to the top for me while shopping around.

Since: Jan 18, 2003

Feb 23, 2008 06:55 pm

tadpui, go to www.native-instruments.co...=akoustikpiano, i command you. haha. listen to the sound samples and try to see if your proteus piano is as good. maybe it is, but i bet it's not. i want to see if i'm wrong. piano is so tough to pull off, there's something so complex about the wafveform.

I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Feb 23, 2008 09:35 pm

Nah Studio Grand isn't as good, but it came bundled with a MIDI controller for $50 less than just the software of Akoustik piano.

He said he wanted a basic, affordable setup, and that's definitely what I got with the Xboard and Proteus. But I'm not a tone freak about piano like I am for guitar. It sounds like a piano to me, but that Akoustik sounds better.

Since: Jan 18, 2003

Feb 24, 2008 05:17 pm

dats cool

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Feb 24, 2008 10:19 pm

Ya, the set up Tadpui got is a good basic set up.

I do however recommend the NI stuff if you are going to get seriously into the killer sounding stuff. I use Akoustik Piano as well as several of their other synths and they are absolutely killer.

And there are several good places making patches and sample sets for Kontakt 3 which is the most killer synth/sampler program out there right now.

In a six piece band, I'm all six
Since: Apr 06, 2008

Apr 06, 2008 10:54 am

To answer your MIDI Controller part of your question: I've used M-Audio Oxygen 8 (my buddy's), Keystation 49 (for a year) and an Axiom 25. And I must say I'm really impressed with them. My goal keyboard controller is the Axiom 61 but I'm trying to get an Oxygen 61 in the meantime. the axiom's keys are nice because they are semi-weighted, they feel between synth action lightness and piano realness. The axiom hasn't been so easy to use for me. the keystation was very simple and ideal for plugging in, recording a piano part and then putting back away. Another thing is get 49 keys or more. I've used my axiom 25 maybe 10 times since i got it (last august) and it's mainly because i have very few songs i can play in just two octaves.

In a six piece band, I'm all six
Since: Apr 06, 2008

Apr 06, 2008 11:00 am

also there's a lot of VSTs out there, get some demos and form your own opinion of their piano patches. I've been pretty impressed with hypersonic 2's piano patches as well as a few patches on Plugsound Free, something that came on a Computer Music magazine disc. I also say get into soundfonts, check out hammersound.net a lot of midi controllers i've seen have sustain jacks on the back of them as well as jacks for expression pedals. be on the lookout for that.

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