Hey, do you mean just a regular MIDI-keyboard for controlling instruments & vsts in Renoise, or a synthesizer (with sounds)?
Either way - I really recommend having some sort of proper playable keyboard. It will let you develop your own playing style, it will probably be more inspirational, and most importantly: you will get the benefits of full velocity, and the natural feel of playing for example a piano, an organ, and similar instruments that sound most convincing when played in a natural/human fashion.
On the other hand, the times I’m too lazy to flip the switch on my MIDI-controllers or synths before I launch Renoise, I’ve discovered the benefits of NOT having proper keys as well. That way I can steer away from my typical note/chord movements and program stuff instead, and sometimes that gives interesting results, but that’s all depending on what I want to achieve with the song.
If you’re talking about a real synth - you should definitely get something analogue, like the Arturia Minibrute or the Moog Sub Phatty (which I bought myself recently). They are cheap for being analogue, but still ruff on the wallet…). Buying a digital synth is not something I’d recommend, since VSTs are so good and can achieve the same results, at least sound-wise. But of course, ALL hardware stuff IS inspirational, no matter what, that’s my opinion.
I was actually thinking of a MIDI controller - as I said I already have a keyboard/piano, but have not yet tried the MIDI-function yet.
But I see your point with a bigger MIDI controller, but I haven’t got much experience (yet) with live-recording - I am mostly just getting the keys right by changing the position after displaying them and so on.
Would this be easier with a MIDI-controller/synth where I have the notes in a straight row instead of 2 rows over each other?
Defining your price range would be helpful here. But I have to say the Atura MiniBrute is quite special.
It is modern with analogue circuits, has 2 octaves of midi keys and loads of knobs you can use as controllers as well as to tweak around. MASSIVE PLUS: It also has CV OUT!! so you can control older synths and drum machines once you get a taste for it
The knobs and faders on the MiniBrute don’t send MIDI CC data, though; they’re just for controlling the MiniBrute itself. But it’s got a nice 25-key semi-weighted keyboard with velocity and channel aftertouch. And it’s an awesome little monosynth that’s all kinds of fun to fiddle with.
There’s also the new Arturia MicroBrute. It’s also 25-key, but I don’t know if it has aftertouch. It has a nicer arpeggiator than the MiniBrute, a beefed up sub VCO, and a 2-out/6-in CV patch bay. It currently sells for $300 USD, 200 less than the MiniBrute. I’m planning on getting one to go with my MiniBrute…at some point…when I have money…like I once did…
For a basic MIDI controller keyboard, there’s the M-Audio KeyStudio (successor to the KeyRig and the still older KeyStation). I’ve had a KeyStation 49e for a long time and it does the job. The keys aren’t weighted, but they’re not as light as the keys on my M-Audio Oxygen 25 (or any Oxygen other than the 88). If you want knobs and faders to assign, the Oxygen is decent and affordable. Novation’s Impulse and SL keyboards are also loaded with assignable controls, but my personal experience with the keyboard-less Zero SL MKII was not good. You may have better luck than I.
For at starter I was hoping to find something in the pricerange around 70-200 euros and after hearing your suggestions it would be more realistic to get a basic MIDI controller.
Is the Oxygen an okay alternative for a starter here? - What are the pros and cons, and is there a better alternative in the same pricegroup?
The Minibrute and Microbrute both sound nice, but the prices are a bit to high for my wallet atm, but I will keep them in consideration in the future
Speaking about those two, is it possible to play other “samples/or tunes” and so to say just use them as MIDI-controllers, or do they only play the tunes that follows?
The M-Audio Oxygen 25 is a good starter keyboard, and it’s priced at $99 USD (I think that’s around 70 EUR). There’s also a 49-key version with more faders for $50 more. Pros are that it’s very easy to change MIDI assignments for the controllers, it’s inexpensive, and it works. The cons that the keys are extremely light-weight; if you play lots of real piano you might not care for just how light they are. It also feels a little on the cheap side. It doesn’t have any aftertouch either, at least not in the 25-key size. I like mine, but I would upgrade to something better if I had more money to work with.
As for the two small Brutes, the keyboards, pitch-bend, and mod wheels all work as standard MIDI input, so you can use them with VSTi’s, Renoise’s sample instruments, other MIDI hardware, or any software that supports MIDI input/output. I’ve got my MiniBrute acting as a MIDI interface for a Waldorf Blofeld synth, with the MiniBrute connected to my PC through USB and the Blofeld connected to the MiniBrute through 5-pin DIN MIDI. That allows me to play the Blofeld (which doesn’t have a keyboard) with the MiniBrute keyboard, or route MIDI output to the Blofeld by going through the MiniBrute. I was using it with Renoise before I decided I wanted assignable knobs for real-time automation; that’s when I bought the Oxygen.