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Samson Carbon 49 MIDI Controller Review

Samson Carbon 49 MIDI Controller ReviewSamson Carbon 49 MIDI Controller Review

The Samson Carbon 49 MIDI controller is a cool little MIDI Controller. This keyboard is USB powered and works directly with your iPad. There is a slot built in to the keyboard where you can hold your iPad and a USB cable is supplied.

This controller has 49 keys (which should be obvious by the name) and they are velocity sensitive and semi-weighted. I like the size of the 49-key keyboard, it’s big enough to play with two hands and small enough to be portable and not look too odd at the coffee shop.

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Garageband works really well with the Samson Carbon 49 but the keyboard is bundled with the Native Instruments Komplete Elements software which has over 1000 sounds, effects and tools and is designed to work well with this controller.

Here is what some owners have to say:

Mgmg Says:

I bought this keyboard not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. First I was very impressed by the weight and sturdiness of this keyboard. The semi weighted keys feel great and I would compare it with some $300 controllers. Having the iPad docked in the keyboard and powered by it makes for great convenience. Worked right out of the box with the camera connector. This one is a winner. Great work Samson. I highly recommend this one.

Review paraphrased for length see the full review here.

Jesse Says:

I had this out of the box and working with garage band on my iPad in less than 60 seconds. The little groove on the keyboard where you can prop the iPad is extremely convenient. I was worried that it would drain my iPad battery quickly (because it draws power from the iPad via USB), but I haven’t noticed this being a problem. You will need the $29 “Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit” to connect the USB connector to the iPad.

Review paraphrased for length see the full review here.

Overall this is a good little MIDI controller and if you are running your music software on your iPad it is one of the most convenient controllers available. I hope this Samson Carbon 49 MIDI Controller Review was helpful.

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Yamaha YPG-535 Review

Yamaha YPG-535 Review

Yamaha YPG-535 ReviewMy Yamaha YPG-535 review will cover the basics of this keyboard. The Yamaha YPG-535 is a very good starter piano. The reason that this is one of the best midi keyboards that is good for piano players is that it has 88 keys and a Graded Soft Touch keyboard.

The Graded Soft Touch keyboard is a step down from the full weighted keyboard and feels a little different, less like a piano but better than a touch sensitive keyboard. When you get to the ends of the keyboard the keys are a little stiffer but not a big deal to me.

I like the sound of the piano, it is equipped with the Yamaha Live! Grand stereo sample. There are also multiple instrument sounds like clarinet, trumpet, flutes, saxes, electric pianos, organs and orchestral strings.

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With the Yamaha YPG-535 you also get the Yamaha education suite which helps new players to learn with 30 songs internally and 70 more on the CD-ROM that is included when you buy this midi keyboard.

I use the USB connectivity features to connect to my computer. I can then use the Yamaha YPG-535 as a midi keyboard controller. There is also an internal 6-track sequencer so you can compose and record right from the keyboard.

  • Here are some features of the Yamaha YPG535:
  • Piano Centric Features
  • USB Connectivity
  • Lyric, chord and notation display
  • Ease of Operation
  • Yamaha Education Suite
  • 6-track recorder
  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Full Keyboard Mode

I hope you enjoyed the Yamaha YPG-535 Review. This is a great midi keyboard for the beginning to advanced player. If you are looking for a real piano feel this would not be the one to get. You should look at something like the Yamaha DGX-530. If you are looking for some great features and a good quality keyboard for a reasonable price then this is a great midi keyboard to consider.

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!

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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.

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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.

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.

The Portable Yamaha YPT-200

The Yamaha YPT220 keyboard is the perfect electronic MIDI keyboard if you want to play anywhere you go. It is powered by either a power adapter or six AA batteries. It has the standard great Yamaha piano sounds as well as drums kits, basses, guitars and a total of 375 great sounding voices and a portable grand button that brings up a great sounding piano without having to search the sound bank for it.

Amazon.com has the best price here.

The YPT-220 has the Yamaha Education Suite that can teach you how to play piano from using both hands at once to one hand at a time if you wish. It comes with 102 songs and 100 preset styles to play along with. This is a great learning tool. Amazon has a great package on sale now that includes the keyboard, stand and headphones.

Here are some features:

  • Number of keys: 61 (organ style)
  • Number of voices: Stereo Grand Piano + 361 XGlite + 13 Drum/SFX/SE Kits
  • Display: Custom LCD
  • Tone generating technology: AWM Stereo Sampling
  • Reverb: 9 types
  • Number of preset styles: 100
  • Number of preset songs: 102
  • Amplifiers: 2.5W + 2.5W
  • Dimensions: 37.2 x 4.6 x 13.7 inches (WxHxD)
  • Weight: 9 pounds, 11 ounces
  • On sale here at Amazon.com

Look at what current owners have to say:


I had a keyboard as a kid and bought this for my boyfriend’s 8 y/o daughter. While most of the features are too advanced for her, she’s catching on!

I did a lot of searching. The price for just the keyboard was somewhat standard for a sale price at at least one store, but I couldn’t find such a reasonable bundle anywhere. Any parent who considers this MUST purchase the headphones, and the stand is a blessing. It keeps it off the floor and makes for a more realistic piano lesson at home.

Good sound; lots of bells and whistles. Sure it doesn’t have 88 keys, but most people don’t use the top or bottom keys very often. I think this keyboard is just perfect!

Review paraphrased for length. Read the complete review here.

Gregory S.

Performs as advertised. My daughter is learning to play songs from the built-in tutor in the keyboard. I can’t say enough about the hours of entertainment she gets out of this. It’s a quality keyboard at a great price. I am a satisfied customer.

You can get a great deal on this keyboard through this link at Amazon.com.

If you are looking for a MIDI keyboard to use with a sequencing system or with external synths I would not recommend this one becuase it is not as advanced and doesn’t have the features you need for composing or sequencing. However, if you are looking for an easy to use portable keyboard the Yamaha YPT-220 is a good choice.


Read This Before You Buy The Yamaha EZ-200!

The Yamaha EZ200 is a great midi keyboard if you are just starting out. It has 100 songs that you can play along with and has a very good teaching system built in.  The keyboard lights up the keys that you need to play while you are learning a song and it waits for you to find the right note. Very cool!

Amazon has a Yamaha EZ-200 package with a stand and headphones on sale here.

The piano sounds are standard Yamaha sampled sounds which sound great! Yamaha is one of the industry leaders in electronic midi keyboards as well as acoustic pianos so they know their stuff. This keyboard has expressive touch so when you strike a key harder it plays louder and when you strike a key light it plays softer. Don’t get this confused with weighted keys however. Weighted keys makes the keyboard feel like piano keys when you strike them. This is usually found in more expensive keyboards.

The EZ-200 has a large variety of different sounds including pianos, basses, drums, guitars, violins, brass and synth instruments. It has 367 sounds to choose from. It has true stereo sounds, 32 note polyphony, reverb, a metronome and built in accompaniment to play along with.

Let’s look at some features:

  • 61 Full Size Keys
  • 32 Notes of Polyphony
  • 367 high-quality tones
  • Learn to play the “EZ” way instructional method
  • Stereo Speakers
  • MIDI in/out
  • On sale here at Amazon.com

Here’s what current owners have to say:

Dusty W.

I was a bit nervous about buying a keyboard via the Internet since I have never owned one before. However, I wanted to learn how to play the piano and had heard that this was a good one to start with from several different piano teachers. This is a great deal. The keyboard comes with a stand, headphones, and a power adapter. I was surprised to find out that the keyboard does not normally come with these features, (as they are traditionally sold separately), but this package comes with all of these features!

The EZ-200 keyboard comes with 100 built-in songs, (a part of the Yamaha Educational Suite), which you can learn to play along with and the piano sounds just like a high-quality grand piano. Best of all, the keyboard is very simple to use — and not complicated.

One thing that I am disappointed in is that it does not come with a USB connection. Instead, I had to buy a MIDI-connector for $40 dollars, so I could connect it to my Mac.
Overall, this is a great keyboard for getting started. If you are hoping to record your music, you might want to check into a more expensive Yamaha model with a USB connector.

Review paraphrased for length read the full review here.


This is a great buy. The piano is much more of a professional instrument than I thought it would be. It plays beautifully, has a wide range of synthesized sounds, and very easy access to the different functions. Included in the purchase you also get an easy-to-assemble stand, headphones, instruction book, and song book. I din’t think there is anything that can compare with it for value and quality.

Overall this is a great midi keyboard package for the beginning player. It has a great learning system and wonderful sounds.