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What keyboard device for a beginner?


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I want to try to compose a song and I would like to do it on the keyboard / piano keyboard (and not through a tracker - this is the only way I know from the Amiga / Protracker times) and I only have USD 100. What equipment should I use? It should cooperate with the computer, which means MIDI interface, am I thinking correctly? Maybe USB has replaced MIDI today? Overall, I would not like to crash into a toy for children, but I would also not like a clear MIDI / USB keyboard-only device, because I think some goodies/features (some faders etc.) can help stimulate creativity.

PS. I'm thinking of using Reaper DAW program. 

Edited by Sebastian1
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About "which keyboard" it depends partly on why you want it. Do you want to be able to play/practice/compose on it as a standalone away from the computer; or you're happy to play through a computer as well as compose? There's a huge range of both but you're looking at the bottom of the market for $100. I'm in the UK and that's about £80. I doubt you'll get a useful 88-note keyboard for that. At any rate, it needs a midi-out connection which you can plug in your computer. You would need to look at the sort of connector it has. Some have the old DIN (round) connectors so you'd need one with a DIN connector on one end and a USB connector on the other to plug in your computer.

It may be best to go for a midi controller type keyboard as the various buttons and faders can be used to control CC (continuous controllers) channels on your computer's midi software.

I'm not too "up" on this to help make a choice so these are just my basic thoughts.

As to Reaper, it has a very comprehensive midi editor/sequencer. I've been using it as a DAW for 10 years now. It has a fairly steep learning curve to master it all but the midi side shouldn't give you much trouble. One attraction to me is that I can have just one midi editor for a project using any number of tracks. I've had almost 50 midi tracks before now. To be able to access any track through the one editor is useful as the remaining tracks show as shadow notes. I don't know how this compares with other sequencers but I've been pretty happy with it.

Good luck!

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  • 9 months later...
  • 10 months later...

Here's a suggestion for a setup that combines affordability with some useful features:

  1. MIDI Keyboard:

    • Alesis V25:
      • This is a compact MIDI keyboard with 25 keys and additional features like eight backlit pads, four assignable knobs, and four assignable buttons. It's a good balance between functionality and affordability.
  2. MIDI Interface:

    • M-Audio Midisport Uno:
      • This is a simple and affordable USB to MIDI interface. It will allow you to connect your MIDI keyboard to your computer. While some MIDI keyboards have USB directly, having a MIDI interface can provide more flexibility.
  3. Software:

    • DAW (Digital Audio Workstation):
      • There are many free and budget-friendly DAWs available. Some popular ones include:
        • LMMS (Linux MultiMedia Studio): Free and open-source.
        • Cakewalk by BandLab: Feature-rich and free.
        • Ardour: Open-source, available for Linux and macOS.
        • Reaper: Affordable and has an unlimited trial period.
  4. Virtual Instruments:

    • LABS by Spitfire Audio:
      • Offers a variety of free virtual instruments.
    • Piano One by Sound Magic:
      • A free piano VST plugin.
  5. Audio Interface (Optional, for better audio quality):

    • Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen):
      • If you plan to record audio from external sources or use microphones, a budget-friendly audio interface can be a good addition.

This setup should allow you to start composing music on your computer with a MIDI keyboard without breaking the bank. Remember that the most important thing is to have fun and let your creativity flow. As you progress, you can always expand your setup or upgrade specific components based on your evolving needs.from ebxya.com

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