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Wish the Piano 5 Was a Better MIDI Controller?

Postby wtibbit » 23 Nov 2022, 00:56

Me, too.

My only real disappointment replacing my Stage 3 Compact with a Piano 5 is losing the very useful MIDI controller functions of the Stage 3. I used those functions in my Stage 3 to control a Yamaha Motif Rack ES synth that contains Yamaha's fabulous PLG150-VL expansion board. With that board the Motif becomes a VL1-m synth - a holy grail of electronic wind instruments - and by using an EWI instrument or, in my case, a Yamaha BC breath controller and a suitable keyboard, you can very accurately replicate the performance of saxophones and other wind instruments. It is an amazing addition to a performance set up and makes a substantial difference on stage.

Unfortunately, the P5 is not suitable. The P5 is missing the aftertouch and pitch and mod controllers that must be used to reproduce the subtle playing techniques required to sound like real acoustic instruments. I searched unsuccessfully for a commercially available MIDI device that could add at least the pitch and mod wheels. The only reasonable fix for me was an unhappy one - adding another keyboard. With that difficult decision made my next task was finding one that met all my requirements for a stage performance set up. In addition to the controller functions required, a suitable keyboard for me for must not require a computer for power or other functions. To connect it to the old Yamaha synth it must have an old-school DIN connector for MIDI. And, it it would be nice for it to able to send patch change commands to the synth. A reasonably decent synth-style key bed, light weight and low cost were important, also.

After much searching and hands-on "test driving" here is the one that answers all my requirements: the Nektar GXP series. I picked the 61 key version to let me occasionally use it for some other purposes, but there are also 49 and 88 key versions available. At the $229 price I paid the GXP61 is an incredible value and completely answers my needs for an EWI controller.

This set up will do until Nord builds the perfect stage instrument for me.... a 73 key Stage "X" that retains the EXTERN section and adds aftertouch to the short version of the P5's excellent triple-strike key bed.
Last edited by wtibbit on 23 Nov 2022, 00:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Wish the Piano 5 Was a Better MIDI Controller?


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