Group-Buy / Collection of Ideas for CantabileKeyboard


Fantastic subject @FantomXR!

I’m afraid they would not be very reliable. Motorized faders on a big studio console which is used by only a few select people behind a glass, why not. On a live instrument thrown into a gig bag? yikes!

My dream machines would be:

  • 88 hammered action 1st + 61 semi-weighted 2nd, High-End fatar keybeds ok
  • Very compact, Pitch and Mod Wheel on top. As lightweight as possible.
  • A colored LED light strip to show the key ranges / split points would be a killer feature
  • Text screen is ok but if possible big and more than just two lines of text - ability to display full ascii charset at least - an UTF8 subset would be killer. Screen does not have to be center aligned.
  • 9 faders/pot/3 buttons set with 3+ banks, Ideally Centrally-Left placed
  • < and > buttons to go beyond 9 faders virtually
  • Full transport keys, including endless big rotary (I need to do a lot of studio work too!), again with shift key ideally
  • Big Live Buttons : Panic, Previous/Next State, Previous/Next Song, with Shift Button (e.g. instant vs delayed switch), possibly Previous/Next Global (next state or next song if last state), freely assignable buttons (loop controls would be so nice once it’s available in Cantabile!)
  • Transpose Buttons + ideally led counter to show something like +37 (wild example for the sake of it)
  • Tempo buttons (+, -, Tap Tempo), clock synchronization
  • I know you said no pads, but in my dream machines, they are here so… some place to put a pad controller
  • I know you said no html screen, so some place to have a tablet in mirror mode (an extender like the Arturia keylab mkII 88 is nice)
  • A global Master Output Gain fader!
  • USB Powered AND External Power
  • At least 2 switches + Expression Pedal sockets
  • Sysex documentation (shame on you Arturia)

Would pay $1000 for the 88 version with pads (or even without them :slight_smile: )


I never understand the need for weighted keys. The only instrument that requires them is piano - which is the tinest proportion of the sounds we all use.


Don’t know if you are trolling :slight_smile: but for the sake of it: different instruments, different actions, different training, different muscle memories… maybe just like guitarists use different neck sizes, shapes and string gauges?

I like playing piano, EPs, most woodwinds, acoustic guitars, some basses, some strings, even some synth on hammered actions…

Besides, “semi-weighted”, “weighted”, “hammered” are far for from being well defined.

That being said, if I have to really keep only one scenario for Live, I would take a 61 fast action keybed. But here, in my dream scenario, I would love to have an 88 version for the studio too. So even for myself, I’m not really clear about it.


I beg to differ - piano and e-piano sounds (Wurly & Rhodes) make up most of my keyboard work. And there is a world of difference between playing a piano/rhodes/wurly on a decent weighted keybed and playing it on a plasticky synth keybed.

But a hammond solo is a bit difficult on a piano keybed - that’s why I like my two-keyboard setup: my main keybed is my piano; my upper keyboard does all the rest.

Horses for courses - it does depend on your repertoire and your role in the specific project. I happen to play in pretty piano-/organ-centric genres, so I wouldn’t be caught without weighted keys - even if the price I pay in having to shlep the big ole 88 to gigs is pretty steep…




Piano is just one sound, yet it seems to dictate so many keyboard actions. I understand those with training and playing ability beyond mine may prefer weighted action for piano - but for Hammond licks? Synth solos? String arrangements? Choirs? Delicate pad parts? I could list a hundred sounds for which weighted is not appropriate.

Not trolling - just genuinely bemused, yet respectful of others’ views.


@The_Elf : it’s a matter of what you’re used to. I have been playing the piano since I was 6, and yes I do hammond slides on a weighted keyboard. Not very pleasant but hey, organ is a tiny part of what I do. Piano is 80%. But choirs, synth solos, pads… I actually prefer to do them on a weighted kbd. I happily pay the same price Torsten does, shlepping an 88 keybed several times a week.



  • Hammond licks - definitely upper keyboard (synth keys)
  • Synth solos - also upper; feels a bit more agile
  • String arrangements - actually feel better to me on weighted; I can differentiate velocities better on my piano keys
  • Choirs - same as strings
  • delicate pads - depends on sound characteristics for me. When I need to modify the post-attack sound via aftertouch, modwheel, pedal, I feel better using a synth keybed, when it’s simply atmospherics, I couldn’t care…

So the statement that “weighted is not appropriate” for non-piano sounds isn’t as absolute to all of us - it really depends what you’re trained to use. I personally have a more differentiated velocity “touch” when playing weighted keys, so I feel more comfortable doing stuff there where differentiating velocities is more important, whereas I prefer synth keys when it’s about sheer speed and agility with a light touch - and also I prefer synth keyboards for aftertouch action in my solos. My Kurzweil 88 does have aftertouch, but it’s a bit clumsy combining a weighted keyboard with aftertouch in my personal feeling. SWAM sax solos are more fun on my synth keybed :wink:

My basic training was on a piano and an accordion, so I have been trained to both use a weighted keyboard for differentiated velocity and a non-weighted keyboard for speed. That’s why I’m happy with a dual setup that accommodates both aspects - just looking for a better upper keyboard with the “organ touch” feature and an optimized controller set for my live handling.

To each their own - there is no dogma, only rock ‘n’ roll :guitar::guitar::guitar:


I want a keyboard that MAGICALLY goes from w weighted to an unweighted synth feel. In fact, even different zones could have different actions. Action could change via program so it would respond to incoming patch changes.

It sound ridiculous on the surface but I bet it could be done, either using magnetism (like, say, variable resistance on an exercycle) or some kind of system like a car stiffening up its shocks via a button. Doubt that would ever be cost effective but maybe the magnets could work!


Please keep this thread realistic! :wink:


That’s not realistic? :stuck_out_tongue: Ok :smiley:


no magnets in the Fatar portfolio :disappointed_relieved:


Much of what was said above on the wish list I concur with - at least in part. In fact, there is validity in even the contradictions (pitch/mod wheels above or on the side, joystick vs. wheels, etc. ). I like the “modular” idea a lot (and I think there was a company based out of Texas in the mid-2000’s that had some flexibility to swap, or at least pick, components.

I only have one “dream” keyboard wish, and this is probably so far out that there that I couldn’t afford it. Basically color-code and scribble strip the keyboard so I know where my splits and sounds are.

For me, the weighted vs. unweighted depends entirely on the use (as does the keyboard size). The only gigs that require only one keyboard require only one class of keyboard sounds (pianos + electric pianos, organ, all synths), and those are rare. For most gigs I end up with two keyboards because I’m covering lots of parts and don’t have time to change sounds (especially back and forth) and I’d prefer to change patches before I start a song and focus on playing…



The modular idea is nice. As for me personally, wheels all the say. And no spring loaded wheels, pitch or mod! I like to be able to push it up for certain reasons and have it stay. Joysticks are the tool of the devil and when I am king I will outlaw them.


Always liked the GSI idea - especially if I was doing more “synth/organ” gigs where I didn’t want an 88 key weighted keyboard as well. Unfortunately the number of those gigs I do a year I can count on one hand, and most of those are find with a single keyboard.


I did 2 gigs yesterday, have 1 tonight, and 1 tomorrow. This is a normal weekend for me. I used to gig with an 88 weighted lower, and a 61 semi-weighted upper. I came to a point in time where I decided to go lighter, because of my Arthritis and my higher $$ keyboards were taking a brutal beating at smaller gigs. For those gigs I now use a cheap light weight 49 upper, and 61 key lower, both keys are not weighted.

Yes, I have to adjust my playing, especially for piano. I get by without much trouble, but my back is thankful, and the stage is easier to negotiate. My heavier keys come out for special gigs, or larger venues only.

A local Hammondite sat in at my gig last night. He loves the the organ sounds in his Nord, but hates the weighted keys. He liked my rig, but the upper keys were too loose for him. He played very well without a problem. All-in-all, we have our own preferences, and we all have different situations.

I would prefer a semi-weighted keybed, with a wide array of sliders, buttons and pads. but only weigh 15 lbs, That will not happen though. Perhaps my weight solution would be a Roli Seaboard, lol. No worry about keybeds.


I don’t get the impression that the seaboard really feels anything like a keyboard though. I want to try one…


It doesn’t. I got a chance to try one at their 1st appearance. I think it would take a brain reversal to erase years of keyboard experience to be proficient on the Roli. It would be an easy setup tho.


Funny, wild bunch of different opinions.
I change a little mine. With a two keyboard setup like most everyone agrees.
One 76 keys semi weighted but serious, to allow some true piano dynamics; with few buttons. Let’s say 8 CC buttons. Two classic wheels. Nothing else. If possible light and easy.
Second keyboard with 61 waterfall keys, but with velocity and aftertouch. 9 faders, 9 buttons, 9 potentiometers, 1 display.
Best of both worlds…


The Roli is fantastic. I absolutely adore mine! But a ‘keyboard’ it is not.

I bought a 2-octave just to try it out and so fell in love that I grabbed a 4-octave as soon as I could. My music is much the better for it.

Would semi-weighted be a compromise we could all live with, or would it be a compromise that would actually please nobody?

At the moment I use a couple of Alto Live 88s (in addition to my Roland A-800) that are ‘semi-weighted’, but you’d never know it. That sort of light action would suit me fine.