After purchasing a computer for a home studio, the next step is to buy another indispensable component – the midi keyboard. By and large, midi keyboard is a device that is a keyboard of the synthesizer, the main task of which is the transfer of midi information to the PC to the sound card or module for further conversion directly to the PC.

Midi-keyboard Studiologic VMK-188

Well, let’s consider in this article those characteristics that you should pay attention to when buying a MIDI keyboard.

Number of octaves

The number of octaves is the most important difference in midi keyboards. It can vary from three, four and five to six and a half and seven and a half (the so-called full-octave ones). It makes no sense to acquire more than six octaves if you do not have a musical education in piano, because you are unlikely to use all the keys at the same time, which is necessary when playing with “two hands.” Three octave instruments have too few keys, so even one-handed play has little space. Moreover, the cost of three octaves is not much different from the cost of four octaves.

For a musician who owns a piano, harpsichord, organ and other keyboard instruments, for sure, there will be little and five octaves. In this case, it’s best to buy a 7.5-octave keyboard, and if the budget is limited, you can purchase a 6-octave tool.

Keyboard type and execution

Keyboard type and execution

Nowadays keyboard instruments can be of three types: keyed, weighted and hammer. They differ in the mechanisms of the operation of the keys. So in a semi-weighted keyboard, the keys go away after pressing with conventional springs, the weighted ones have counterweights, thanks to which the pressing becomes more like a piano keyboard. As for the hammers, it completely imitates the piano dynamics of the keys, and, almost perfectly simulates the keyboard of a conventional piano. True, to be honest, such “ideality” is fickle. The first time playing on such a keyboard, the difference really does not feel at all, but playing on these instruments every day, you begin to notice that the keys of an ordinary piano fingers feel strange.

Do not be scared of your choice of the right type – everything is very simple. If you do not have a basic education on a piano, it is best to purchase a weighted or semi-weighted keyboard.

Keyboards are divided not only by types, but also by external execution. The difference in this case is only that the keys executed in the piano performance are similar to the original piano keyboard (as all the hammer-type keyboards and some 6.5 and 7.5 octave ones do), and in the synthesizer keyboard, respectively, the synthesizer keyboard.

After Touch, Pitch and Modulation

There are functions that do not need to be in the midi keyboard and they can not necessarily be used, but their availability almost never hurts.

The wheels of Pith Bend and Modulation take on the function of a smooth vibration of sound. The Pitch wheel gradually raises the note’s sound to a certain value (usually up to 1.5 tones), and the Modulation wheel causes the sound to vibrate at a certain frequency. The strength of the vibration and the difference in value are determined by the power of the wheel. If the keyboard is equipped with these functions, they will never be superfluous. It should be noted that in the Roland keyboards these two wheels are combined and you will not be able to set any position of the modulation wheel and at the same time play with both hands, unlike the “two wheel” variant.

Literally After Touch translates as “after touch”. This function produces any change of sound in the case when you press a key during the game, and then “press” it with more force. This function is not always convenient, especially for those who are used to the “piano” game, but After Touch can always be turned off.

Additional functions

The functions listed above relate to the main functions of midi-keyboards. But there are other, not less interesting, but less obligatory. Among them, special interest can be the possibility of splitting into zones (assigning different instruments to different parts of the keyboard), sequencer control buttons (the ability to control the computer directly from the midi keyboard) and the presence of additional controllers, that is, additional buttons or wheels.