Masterkeyboard III

This article is about my third self build masterkeyboard.

At first: Why DIY?
This question is quickly answered. None oft the keyboards which are on the market are stage-proofed or do not suit my needs.

My keyboard should fulfill the following conditions:

–       Send all notes with a nice velocity curve on channel 1
–       Jacks for sustain and expression pedals
–       Slim and nice design
–       Less than 20kg
–       Integrated power supply

You can’t find a masterkeyboard with an intergrated power supply on the market. Please contact me if I’m wrong.

To get a nice keyboard under 20kg is not that easy. A keyboard which is fitted in a plastic frame and is modified to be as light as possible feels different than a keyboard which is build in a steel frame. I own a ACUNA88 which is equipped with a very light keybed. There are two major drawbacks: At first the keys are a bit sluggish, so playing fast piano lines might be difficult. Second the keys are bouncing.
The goal is, to find a good compromise between weight and playability.

Let’s take a closer look at the market. I mentioned just the manufactures which keyboards are nice to play in my opinion:

Doepfer: Nice idea with the case integrated. But every time you bash it against a door or the guitar-amp of your guitarplayer, the force is directly transferred to the keys. That’s why you find a lot of not-working Doepfer Keyboards on eBay.

Fatar / Studiologic: If you search the internet for studiologic you find posts and articles of disgruntled people complaining about faulty electronics. My ACUNA88 has this too. A few times it quitted suddenly.

Kawai: The VPC-1 has a nice keyboard, but the housing is too big and with 29,5kg to heavy.

So I decided to build my own.

Details:
Keyboard: Fatar TP/400 (build in Studiologic NUMA)
Power: Power socket for integrated switching power-supply
Panels: Zebrano-wood (thanks to Holzmanufaktur Berlin)
Corner: 2mm aluminum brushed and anodized
Base plate: 15mm birch wood
Connectors: Sustain, expression and MIDI
Dimensions: 130 x 26,5 x 9,5 cm
Weight: 19,5kg

I spared USB because I made a few bad experiences with USB on stage. The plug is too small and not locked. I prefer a nice power-plug and the typical DIN-sockets for MIDI. If I ever want to use USB (for example to integrate a tablet to my setup) I can easily use a cheap MIDI-USB adaptor.

It’s possible to add pitch & modulation to the electronic (which can not be bought btw.) but I don’t need that on my 88 key too.

 

Conclusion:
I’m proud of this piece. It has a awesome playability and looks nice. The workmanship is solid but it also weights less than 20kg. The integrated power-supply and the slim design top off this stage-proofed eye candy.

I’m thinking about, to launch this kind of products on the market. It really doesn’t need to hide from the rivalry. What do you think? Do you have any improvement suggestions? What would you pay for this instrument? I’m really looking forward to your feedback. Write an email: info@christianradtke.com

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