Submitted May 16, 2015 by Francisco Gonzalez in Draper, UT
"Great controller overall"
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This is without a doubt a quality keyboard controller. Despite the overall light weight, the key bed has a very solid feel, the pitch/mod stick is nice and controllable, all the buttons and knobs feel like they will last a long time, and the price is appropriate given the quality. Why did I return it?
I could not find a velocity curve amongst the nine choices that worked well for me. I could combine a built-in velocity curve with virtual instrument velocity curves (e.g. from Pianoteq or Kontakt) and get where I needed to be, but my goal with this board was to augment my MOXF8 (amazing weighted keyboard), and I wanted to be able to go back and forth for certain parts without making adjustments. To be fair, it was really only an issue for piano sounds, particularly when playing at pianissimo levels. Further, in most cases I would simply use the MOXF8's weighted keyboard to play piano sounds. However, I wanted the ability to take the A-800PRO on trips with me in lieu of the MOXF8, and I didn't want to mess with velocity curves in my virtual instruments.
For synth sounds and synth style playing, this thing is pretty nice. Another downside, however, is the smaller than normal key size (seems to be a trend on newer Roland gear), and the aftertouch response was just too heavy. There are aftertouch curves in the settings, but they couldn't really overcome the physical properties of the board. I was almost able to look past these issues, but in the end I feel like there's a board out there that will work better for me. My search continues.
One tip is to be sure to follow the driver installation instructions precisely (i.e. make sure to unplug all USB devices other than your computer keyboard and mouse during installation).
Played Clarinet from 5th grade to University symphonic band. I've dabbled in keyboards on and off for 25 years.
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