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Hi all, i just picked up a crappy bottom of the line midi keyboard to suit my broke ass recording needs and obviously the keyboard has no velocity control, when you hit a key, no matter how hard, it comes out the same volume, when recording in pro tools, is there a way to semi mimic the velocity of a piano or midi effect? i know pro tools has a random velocity setting but if anyone has any advice on using a midi keyboard with out velocity successfully i would really appreciate the feedback. i do have a couple more days to return the keyboard and wait for something better to come along but if i can still use it as a tool and change the settings in the DAW i will do.

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paulears Wed, 09/19/2018 - 13:02

I can't say for pro tools, but in cubase you can draw in velocity curves for the phrases in the piano roll editor, So you play in, then draw in the light and shade - and then start to go mad! When I first started using Cubasis in college, everyone had to do this because in those days, velocity sensitive keyboards were rare and expensive. You really, really don't want to do this - it's tiresome, boring and musically difficult to do.

paulears Wed, 09/19/2018 - 23:59

Probably NOT quality, but realistically - well worth getting a proper master keyboard with continuous controller knobs and faders - some of these are quite modest in price. Pitchbend and modulation wheels as a minimum - but the one I use now has piles of programmable features and the best thing I have for MIDI work. Have a look on

DonnyThompson Sun, 09/30/2018 - 06:40

You can get pretty decent midi keyboard controllers that are velocity sensitive for not “much” money...
(That term is relative to what you have to spend, ;) )
M-Audio makes a few, I think Alesis does as well.
But... they’re going to be “synth action” keys.
That doesn’t bother a lot of guys; but if you want the “feel” of a piano, your choices are gonna be more expensive. Controllers with semi-weighted, weighted, or even hammer action cost a lot more than your “everyday”,
cheap, synth action controller, with the semi-weighted action generally being the lower end price of a “weighted” feel, and the Hammer action being the most expensive... though there can be other features - or lack thereof - that can raise or lower the price on any of those three types. Other features that might add to the cost would be things like being able to split your keyboard into different zones, with each zone playing a different sample/patch. Some have transport controls for your DAW...
Also, the number of keys can determine the price as well.
You might want to make sure you get a controller with a mod wheel (or joystick) function as well, as these controls are often used to trigger things like vibrato on string patches, or the Leslie effect on Hammond B3 sims; and some samples, depending on the library, require this function for things like horn swells, synth swells, as well as the oscillation-modulation effect on some synth patches.
I use an 88 key hammer-action for Grand Piano, Wurli and Rhodes EP sims, but I use a shorter 67-key synth action controller for things like B3, strings, horns and synths, as the synth action makes it easier to play faster, and to mimick the action and responses of those things.
I also use my synth action controller for things like drum samples, as the action is quicker and easier fortriggering percussive samples. I use the synth action for B3 too, and for “sweeps” - it is much easier to play those on a synth action as opposed to playing those on a piano action keyboard... it’s much harder to sweep a B3 patch on a hammer action keyboard, without busting your knuckles. Ask me how I know. ;)
If you don’t care about being able to play with any “expression”, which is what weighted and hammer action controllers can provide, and what most piano players want, then you should be able to get a new velocity sensitive controller, with mod wheel and pitch bending functions, for around $100.

And, as suggested, I’m sure there are some good deals on used models (of all action types) on eBay, too.

paulears Sun, 09/30/2018 - 12:24

I too use a weighted keyboard, 88 notes for the piano stuff, but recently I bought one of Thomann's own controller keyboards - 88 keys - not weighted but similar feel to a Hammond organ, so hand slides and slaps work well - it has aftertouch, and loads of sliders, pads and buttons that can be programmed to do anything - plus tape controls - fast forward, rewind, stop play record etc. Wasn't huge money. If you don't need velocity sensitivity, in the UK you can get something useful for about 60 quid - 49 notes, which is probably enough for basic stuff.