Novation Launchpad Review

novation launchpad reviewAbleton Live Controller

I have just recently started to get into Ableton Live and I found this great MIDI controller for it called the Novation Launchpad.

The Novation Launchpad is pretty cool. It has everything that you would want in a controller and is perfect for doing live mixing and makes studio work easy too.

You can use this controller to play drum racks and trigger other samples in real time. The mixer is pretty cool because you can use the pads as a fader control and easily jump back and forth from the session to the arrangement window.

You can daisy chain these controllers with a USB hub since it is powered by the USB port. This makes for tons of control and you don’t have to keep flipping between windows.

The Novation Launchpad has 64 pads in a grid and each pad can control different samples. You can load samples. play them and record new ones all live.

Amazon Has The Best Price Right Now!
Check out this video of the Novation Launchpad in Action!

Another cool thing about this Ableton controller is that it is not just limited to Ableton Live, you can use this as a MIDI controller with any DAW.

The Novation Launchpad is one of the coolest Midi Controllers I have seen in a long time. If you do anything with Ableton Live you need to get this controller.

Get It Here! >>>> Novation Launchpad

Why The M-Audio Axiom 25 MIDI Controller Is A Great Buy

The M-Audio Axiom 25midi keyboard reviews

The M-Audio Axiom 25 MIDI controller is a great combination of production power and performance. You can get the most from any music software with this MIDI keyboard.

The Axiom 25 features semi-weighted keys which is important if you like the piano feel. Large dynamic trigger pads make programming beats easy and also allow for one-shot sample triggering and the encoder knobs and buttons are real-time controllers for the music software.

With M-Audio‘s DirectLink mode you have control of common DAW functions such as transport, track pan and the mixing features, as well as many virtual instrument parameters. Some of the compatible DAWs are Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, Live, and Reason.

Amazon Has The Best Price Online!

I like that you can use the fader and encoder knobs to fine-tune the mix. This is a great feature that allows the user to get away from the mouse occasionally. You can also use the transport buttons to navigate through the session.

Get The M-Audio Axiom 25 Through This Link!

The Axiom 25 controller’s Instrument mode is really cool. This allows for  a single button to instantly map the fader, buttons, and encoders to any virtual instrument within your DAW. You can directly access parameters such as filter cutoff, LFO rate, and envelope settings.

The M-Audio Axiom 25 is very compact and lightweight and is powered directly from your computer’s USB bus. This is one of the most important features for me.

Here are the M-Audio Axiom 25 Features:

  • 25-key velocity-sensitive semi-weighted-action keyboard with assignable aftertouch
  • DirectLink mode automatically maps controls to common DAW and virtual instrument parameters
  • Dedicated Instrument mode button lets you instantly switch between controlling mixer and virtual instrument parameters
  • 8 assignable trigger pads
  • 8 assignable rotary encoder knobs
  • 1 assignable fader
  • 6 dedicated transport controls
  • class-compliant with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X
  • powered via USB or optional power supply
  • built-in USB MIDI interface including standard MIDI In and Out jacks
  • On Sale Here!

M-Audio is one of my favorite MIDI Keyboard manufacturers out there. I like that the products are high quality and easy to use. I also have M-Audio speakers and a larger keyboard and I have not been disappointed yet. If you need a good compact MIDI keyboard controller the Axiom 25 is a great choice.

I found the best price on the Axiom 25 here!

Akai Pro MPK Mini Review

I’ve been looking for a new portable MIDI controller for a while now and was thrilled to find the Akai Pro MPK mini. This small MIDI controller is great!

I need something to use with my Apple Logic system that I run on my laptop and this 25-note keyboard is perfect.

It has 8 back-lit, MPC-style pads and 8 Q-Link knobs that give you tons of input control. I like to use the pads for drum inputs more that the keyboard.

I like that the  MPK mini has velocity-sensitive keys. This will allow me to accurately express dynamics and that saves a lot of fixing time.

You can create cool leads and  great driving bass-lines with various time denominations and patterns with the built-in Arpeggiator. I use the tap tempo buttons a lot!

Get The Best Price Here!

Check out the features!

  • Ultra-portable software MIDI controller
  • 25-note, velocity-sensitive mini keyboard
  • Eight backlit, velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads (2 banks, 16 total)
  • Pads can send note information, MIDI CCs and program changes
  • Eight assignable Q-Link knobs to adjust virtually any parameter

Look at what new owners say:

Jason D. Says:

The MPK Mini is a combination of the LPD8 and LPK25, which is a great thing if you’ve been considering both!

This is my first MPC product but I am an experienced keyboardist. I like the pads and how they light up when you hit them, however, they aren’t as sensitive as some might prefer, and I’m inclined to agree. It tends not to register some lighter hits, so I’m having to get used to how hard I have to hit it. The knobs aren’t as nice as professional grade knobs, but they work nicely for such a compact unit. The keyboard has mini keys and they are very sturdy. The keys are fine for their purpose of capturing ideas. I do not consider them performance worthy.

The purpose of this product is portability and to allow you to capture ideas when you don’t feel like lugging around larger equipment. For these reasons, I find it to be an excellent product.

Definitely pick this product up if you’re looking for something extremely portable with acceptable mini keys and very playable MPC pads.

Review paraphrased for length. See the full review here.

If you are looking for a good controller that is portable and easy to use, the Akai Pro MPK Mini is a good choice. Highly recommended for working away from home, not so much as a studio controller.

Get 60% Off The Akai Pro MPK Mini Here!

Do Not Buy The Korg PA3X76…

Unless you are serious about writing, arranging and performing music at the highest professional level.

The Korg PA3X76 is an amazing new product from Korg and has so many features it is hard to cover them all in a short review. This keyboard is Not for everyone!

Here are some of the features that you need to be aware of:

  • 76-key semi-weighted arranger keyboard with velocity and aftertouch
  • Enhanced RX (Real eXperience) sound engine offers improved realism and new vivid sound, including pianos borrowed from the acclaimed Korg SV-1 Stage Vintage Piano, plus Ambience Drums
  • Massive internal ROM – plus up to 256 MB of user PCM data (equivalent to 512 MB) provides an extraordinarily powerful wave memory, delivering the best sound quality possible
  • PaAS High-fidelity, optional amplification/speaker bar with Korg’s own Easy Connect system (no support, cables, or additional power supply needed)
  • Improved Style and Performance selection, Over 400 factory Styles
  • Double MP3/MIDI files player and recorder with Advanced Vocal Remover
  • 120 Voices, 120 Oscillators
  • Microphone Input: Combo XLR balanced with Gain control (15 to 50 dB) and switchable Phantom Power
  • On Sale Here!

One of the thing that I like about this keyboard is the sounds. Korg keyboards are known for great quality sounds but this one has some of the best sounds I have heard. Excellent piano, electric piano and vintage effects make this so much fun to play.

The looping feature is great for live performance, it allows you to accompany yourself with both drum patterns and programmed loops. If you are a singer/songwriter the microphone input is a very cool feature allowing you to sing and play without having to bring in a PA system. You can also use the keyboard to sing harmony parts without background singers.

The speaker and amp combination that is comes with can be removed and is wireless so you can put it in the most convenient location for your audience.

If you are looking for a great studio, live performance or sequencing keyboard, the Korg PA3X76 is a great investment. However at $3999.00 you need to be serious about your craft.

Get The Best Price Here!

Why The Casio CTK-2100 Is A Top Seller

The Casio CTK-2100 is one of the top selling piano keyboards available for a good reason. This keyboard has 61 keys, not a full keyboard but enough to play almost anything a beginner or intermediate player would want.

It sounds better than many keyboards out there because of the AHL sound source. AHL stands for Acoustic & Highly-compressed Large-waveform and basically means that the sound source is pre-programmed with digital samples of acoustic musical instruments recorded using the most advanced digital technology. The AHL sound source is capable of reproducing all of the natural smoothness of the original waveform.

Get The Best Price on The Casio CTK-2100 Here!

The Casio CTK 2100 also comes with step-by-step lessons which can help you to learn to play or just to get better. The lessons build on each other and makes it easy and fun to learn.

There are 150 rhythms and auto accompaniments which include several Latin music styles such as Bossa Nova, Samba, Cumbia, Reggaeton, Calypso and More.

Here are the specs:

  • Keyboard: 61 standard-size keys
  • Touch Response: 2 types, Off
  • Key Light System: Up to 4 keys can be lit at the same time
  • Maximum Polyphony: 48 notes (24 for certain tones)
  • Effects: 10 types
  • Reverb: 1 to 10, Off
  • Metronome: beats per measure — 0,2 to 6; tempo range — 30 to 255
  • Step Up Lesson:
    • Lessons: 4 (Listen, Watch, Remember, Auto)
    • Lesson Part: L, R, LR
    • Functions: Repeat, Voice Fingering Guide, Note Guide.
  • Music Challenge: 20 notes
  • Auto Accompaniment: Rhythm Patterns — 150; One Touch Presets — 150
  • Musical Information Function: Tone, Rhythm, Song Bank, numbers and names; staff notation, fingering, pedal operation, tempo, measure and beat number, chord name, etc.
  • USB port: Yes
  • Sustain jack: Standard jack (sustain, sostenuto, soft, rhythm start/stop)
  • Phones/Output jack: Stereo standard jack
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohm, Output Voltage: 4.8 V (RMS) MAX
  • Audio In jack: Stereo mini jack
  • Input Impedance: 40 kOhm, Input Sensitivity: 200 mV
  • Mic In jack: Standard jack
  • Batteries: 6 AA batteries
  • Great Price!

This keyboard is one of the best piano keyboards for the price mostly because of the quality of sound. If you want a great sounding keyboard the Casio CTK 2100 is the one to get for sure!

Basic Questions About MIDI Keyboards

midi keyboards reviewIf you’re into music and would like to try your luck as a composer, getting your own Midi keyboard is perhaps the best option to initially consider. You might be wondering what a MIDI keyboard really is and how it differs from the usual electronic keyboard that you have been accustomed to. It’s a piano user interface keyboard gadget that is utilized for sending MIDI commands over a USB or MIDI cable to a different device i.e. a computer that runs a digital audio workstation software.

Precisely what is MIDI? It is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, an industry standard protocol which allows electronic musical instruments such as the keyboard you’re thinking about buying, computers and other such electronic devices to talk to one another. Put yet another way you can imagine it as a universal language for electronics.

Are all digital keyboards MIDI compatible? Not really. Currently, when you mention the term MIDI keyboard it pertains to almost all digital or electronic keyboards whether or not they are controllers or full electronic piano keyboards. You will know if it is MIDI ready when you check out its features as it will always be indicated there. Another way of determining is by checking for the MIDI in and out jacks at the back part of the equipment.

Simply how much do they cost? All this relies on your capacity to pay. You can get a controller for a hundred and change or spend a couple of hundred or even thousands for the more advanced full piano versions. The simpler the machine you get the cheaper it is – if you want more bells and whistles then they tend to be more expensive.

Are there different sizes available to suit my work place area? Without a doubt there are and it’s typically dependant upon the number of keys – the more keys they have the larger they are. Key numbers typically cover anything from 88, 76, 61, 49, 37, or 25. Piano versions are often the 88s right down to the 61s and controllers from 49s to the 25s. Take into consideration your space when making a decision which MIDI keyboard size to have. Should you have a big studio and you can afford it then maybe an 88 is for you. If you’re trying to squeeze it between your screen and computer keyboard then 25 is the way to go. If you intend to travel a lot and bring this equipment with you, then perhaps the 25 or 37 will give you the portability you require; alternatively if you’re into live performances then the 88 works well or if not then the 76.

Which is better between the piano type and the controller type? MIDI controllers need to have a program (typically in a computer) to create the sound for them because it does not have the built-in speaker that you need. On the other hand, the full piano versions have their own own sound system but they are definitely heavier and bulkier to carry around. Is there a particular brand that experts recommend? There are a variety of MIDI keyboard brands to consider and there is no single brand being recommended although there are really companies that are known for the products they sell. Yamaha makes reliable ones together with M-Audio, Casio, Alesis and Novation to name a few.

Check out useful tips in buying MIDI keyboard. Know what other users say in the Midi Keyboard Reviews section.

MIDI Keyboards 101: How Does a MIDI Keyboard Work?

After understanding what a MIDI controller truly is, we get down to another basic concept, “How does a MIDI controller really work?”

A MIDI keyboard looks like any keyboard, but the difference is that MIDI keyboards do not send or create any sound on its own. MIDI controllers only produce MIDI info that is then translated to the PC or any other MIDI-enabled synthesizer or software.

The MIDI controllers transpose into a simple note on and note off info (1 means on and 0 means off). Your MIDI controller will record all of this data, including changes in velocity of the keys and drum pads, the level at which faders and buttons are utilized and so on. MIDI info will all be in numbers, essentially the 1 and the 0 and bunch of other numbers. Everything you’ve been doing in your MIDI synthesizers will be recorded in your MIDI controller. Then that is the time that the MIDI controller will transfer this information to your personal computer and software. And that is when you can hear the music you made.

Miguel (a thought up name, insert any name you would like in there if you like) tries to make music with his laptop. He doesn’t have any other person to play on the keyboards, drum, and guitars. So he uses a MIDI keyboard to do it all by himself. He starts by hitting the keys and incorporating some action on the drum pads. Now, these sounds would not be broadcast to the laptop and software he uses. Here is where MIDI comes in.

The MIDI controllers translate into a simple note on and note off data (1 means on and 0 means off). Your MIDI controller will record all this information, including changes in speed of the keys and drum pads, the level at which faders and buttons get used etc. MIDI information will all be in numbers, fundamentally the 1 and the 0 and bunch of other numbers. Everything you have been doing in your MIDI synthesizers will be recorded in your MIDI controller. Then that’s the time the MIDI controller will transfer this info to your PC and software. And that’s when you can hear the music you just made.

Why Practicing Piano Frequently Makes You Better

Perfection comes only with practice. This statement is in regards to virtually anything including piano playing. Each session will prove to be more successful than then previous. While practicing the piano each day is viewed as a chore to many, if you are able to enjoy playing the piano then it doesn’t have to be viewed that way. A good way to begin each session is playing your world’s favorite song. You know this song by heart and you absolutely love it. Your fingers will move from one key to the next without hesitation. In the end, it is the best way to strike a chord in your heart, so to speak.

Before each day’s practice session, any distractions need to be removed from the practice room. In most cases, your piano should be within a room that has a door keeping distractions out; however, if this is not the case then you just need to ensure that nothing can keep you from fulfilling your entire practice session.

Once there are no distractions in the way, you should take the time to stretch your fingers, neck, wrists, arms and back. Your fingers need to be flexible and comfortable so that they can move freely along the keys on the piano. The rest of your body should also be comfortable to ensure that your practice session goes smoothly – after all, the rest of your body is used when playing the piano.

Taking the time to practice each day will make certain that your playing improves while you strengthen your playing skills. Practicing each day will improve how you play more than when compared to practice sessions of a couple times a week. While you should practice every day, this does not mean that practice sessions need to continue for two consecutive hours. In fact, 30 minutes per day would be more than enough. One thing that should be understood, though, is that playing the piano probably isn’t up your alley if you can’t commit to practicing piano every day.

When practicing the piano, you should always practice the basic chords. For beginners, the root position chords are a great way to start. Some excellent chords to practice include but are not limited to C Major, F Major and G Major as well as D Major, A Major and E Major. Once you have practiced these, you can move on to chords such as Db Major, Ab Major and Eb Major. You can then move on to performing exercises such as the Db Major Pentatonic and a chromatic scale.

When it’s time for a new song, it should be broken up into several pieces. As a general rule, the song should be broken up into approximately four measures. If you handle eight measures then that’s fine as well. Prior to continuing to the next set of measures, master the one before it. You should never expect to practice a full song and learn it 100 percent. Learning the song in sections will help ensure that you learn at a steady pace and get a good grasp of every note that is being played.

It is important that you consider practicing piano every day. Not only will you hone your skills but you will grow as a piano player. After practicing each day for a little while, you will begin to notice that you are progressing much quicker and easier throughout lessons than you would have been had you chose not to practice each day.

While it does take a large amount of practice to learn to fluently play the piano, it can be a wonderful feeling once you have learned. Practicing the piano isn’t going to be the first thing you want to do each day but by using the information listed here, each practice session will prove to be much more successful and efficient.

Bob Titesu has been playing piano for 19 years. If you want free piano lessons and lots of beginner keyboard resources to help improve your playing quickly, visit Best Beginner Keyboard.

Excellent MIDI Controller – M-Audio Oxygen 49

M-Audio Oxygen 49

The M-Audio Oxygen 49 is one of my favorite MIDI controllers because of its ease of use and number of control options. I bought an Oxygen 8 and it worked well but didn’t have enough keys so I upgraded to the Oxygen 49.

The Oxygen 49 has 49 keys (hence the name)  so it is not a full keyboard and the keys are not weighted so if you are looking for a good performance keyboard this is not the one for you. But if you want a mid size MIDI controller keyboard that has assignable faders and knobs this is a great option.

I found the best price here!

How to use the M-Audio Oxygen 49

The M-Audio is easy to use. Just plug in the USB cable and it shows up. You can control many parameters of your DAW with the 8 knobs and 9 faders plus there are dedicated buttons for play and record as well as track select buttons.

The Oxygen 49 is designed to be used with the most popular virtual instruments and digital audio workstations. I use this controller with Pro Tools, Logic and Reason and it works well with all of them.

Here are some features of the M-Audio Oxygen 49

  • bus powered 49-key USB MIDI controller – easy computer cnnnectivity
  • 8 assignable knobs, 9 assignable sliders – control DAW and virtual instrument parameters
  • DirectLink mode – instant controller mapping to DAW functions
  • dedicated transport and track slected buttons – streamlined session control
  • Pro Tools compatible – extends industry-standard functionality
  • Bus powered 49-key USB MIDI controller – easy computer connectivity

 

Save 30% through this link.

The M-Audio Oxygen 49 has been a great controller for the music that I create and I would highly recommend it if you are searching for a good inexpensive MIDI controller solution.

What Is MIDI?

What is MIDI?

MIDI is an acronym that stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface and was developed in 1983. MIDI is a set of basic instructions that enable MIDI gear to communicate with each other and with computers.

The technology was originally designed for synthesizers and is now used with computer software as well an MIDI keyboards.
The first basic MIDI instructions dealt with how to play notes and how to control the output volume. The technology quickly increased functions to be able to control standardized MIDI song files, new connection mechanisms such as FireWire, USB, and Wi-Fi, new markets such as mobile phones and video games and a new world of alternative based MIDI products.

Click Here to Make great beats fast!
If you are going to do anything with music and computers you really need to know what MIDI is and how to use it. Here is a great program for music production.