Re: [AH] keyboard controllers for modular systems

From John Papiewski
Sent Thu, Jan 22nd 1970, 01:00

I don't know of any modular synth manufacturer that currently also sells a
traditional keyboard controller.  Maybe Moog CE does.
I think perhaps that keyboards are a pain to design and manufacture. The
modular synth mfr's have their hands full just designing/producing good
modules, and keyboard manufacturing expertise is just a whole 'nother
ballgame.  So, why not just leave it to keyboard specialty manufacturers?
The old modular controllers provided a CV output for control voltage, plus
pulse and gate type trigger outputs.  The old-style circuit design was a
current source feeding a sample-and-hold thru a resistor ladder.  Press a key,
it takes a sample, and holds it there till you hit another key.  The newer
style digital encoded keyboards used a digital memory scheme so the output did
not droop with time.
You can possibly get a vintage Arp, Roland, or Moog modular keyboard and that
will probably work fine.
But if you want something new, chances are you have to go with a MIDI keyboard
and a MIDI-CV converter.
The advantages of going MIDI are, you get a new keyboard with a warranty.
Also, the voltage stability is better (digitally based), you also can have a
choice of better mechanisms (weighted piano action), depth/velocity/aftertouch
outputs, etc.

I never learned to play traditional piano-style keyboard.  I bought an
STS-Serge a couple years ago, with a TKB.  The TKB has only 16 keys but it is
a very versatile controller!

John P.

Jeffrey Pontius wrote:

> I've been considering purchasing a current production modular system as
> my next synthesizer (not for at least 6 months though - there's a lot of
> info to 'digest' and I'd like to start out with a set of modules).
> Recently there have been several informative discussions on various
> aspects of  currently produced modular systems on AH.
> However, to my knowledge, none of these (and including my search in AH
> archives) have focused on keyboard interfaces.  Some producers (e.g.,
> motm, doepfer, paia) advocate/offer midi -> cv using a midi keyboard.  For
> some systems a midi -> cv unit would be an added expense.  Of course prior
> to midi the keyboard interfaces were different (cv, gate, ...).
>
> [Here my noviceness is showing- but that's ok] For those of you that are
> currently using motm, serge, doepfer, integrator, wiard, ... (include all
> others):
>
> (1) What are advantages/disadvantages of using a midi keyboard & midi ->
> cv unit with a modular?  (I'm not interested in connecting 200 synths
> together, just controlling a modular).
>
> (2) Do any of you use a non-midi keyboard interface, and what are
> advantages/disadvantages?  Are such keyboards still available (especially
> currently produced units)?
>
> Thanks for your input, Jeff