ISO basic MIDI controller

with GS MIDI built in

I use MIDI just for practicing and sketch work. While I was leaning towards the Edirol PC30-type controller, I don’t feel like spending money or time on software sampler/synth stuff right now, much less have to hassle with extra latency issues.

Thus, I turn to this board for advice/recommendations for a basic, no-frills MIDI keyboard controller that just has basic GS MIDI sounds built in it. I don’t need a fancy Korg Triton type workstation thing…I’m also trying to stay under $300.

Sounds like at this price point you’d be looking at “personal keyboards”, e.g. the Yamaha PSR models. I used to use a PSR-something-or-another (sorry–can’t recall the model, but it was some time in the later 90’s) a long time ago when I was first getting started with the whole DAW thing, which worked fine for MIDI “sketch” work. One thing I really despised with that old keyboard though was that the MIDI pitch bend data seemed “low-res” if you catch my drift. It’s as if not enough data was being sent, so the bends sounded “pixellated”. I’m not sure if the new PSRs are any better, but it may be something to consider.

If you happen to have a Soundblaster sound card, you might also consider getting a plain MIDI controller keyboard and take advantage of the SoundBlaster’s built in SoundFont capabilities, which also avoids the latency issues. One (possibly big) downside: you gotta have your PC on to practice. Of course, other sound cards have basic GM sounds built-in as well. Guess it depends on what works/sounds better for your situation.

I’d be interested to hear other opinions on this…but that’s my couple cents…



Yup, for the low end I don’t think you can beat the PSR series from Yamaha.

I bought a (I think it’s a PSR-330) years ago when I took up the keyboard and it’s still above my Alesis8.1 as a secondary/fallback.

Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, I’d like to hear from more ntrackers…

Hmmm…the PSR-330, huh? Part of the problem that I’m facing is that I have pretty close to NO space for that thing. I was hoping for something smaller. I wonder if I should try to get a used controller like a Roland PC200 or something and see if the Soundblaster option will work…

I have an old psr 520, is a nice keyboard and is a good midi controller (you can adjust the velocity response). It miss a modulation whell.
I also have a Quickshot like this that is also very handy (it dont have a synth, like the yamaha).
If you are searching something smaller (be aware that if you are a keyboardist, you will need to play with only a hand, not comfortable), maybe you can see any of this ones that sell Creative prodikeys
or this one that also has an audio interface:


Thanks for the suggestions, all!

I think I can score a controller for cheap via ebay or something…the space, or rather the lack thereof, looks like it will push me in that direction. I’m not a keyboardist, just a bass player that doesn’t get calls for gigs from keyboardists, so I don’t need no stinkin’ honker keyboard with weighted keys…30-50 keys should do it…i have a real piano in my small room anyway…

I wonder if I can get my PC’s onboard MIDI to work with a USB controller, otherwise I do have an old Soundblaster with a MIDI pigtail thing around somewhere…I preferred the Edirol keyboards over the “spongy” MAudio keyboards, btw…

Interesting how this forum seems less populated by MIDI keyboard/gear heads than it does live music/live music recording folks. That’s a good thing, imho…

Perhaps you can look forward to me posting about latency issues in the future.