Adding a midi keyboard to your Reason set up will make a huge difference in the quality of your compositions, and it will also increase your efficiency.
If you are new to the market of purchasing a midi keyboard, the number of options can be overwhelming. Here are 5 easy points to remember while making your decision.
If you plan on only using your keyboard for Reason, you have the option of looking at keyboard that are strictly keys, a power jack, and a usb port. You don’t need speakers, built-in sound sets (no need; there are plenty of Free Refills to choose from here), or an LED screen telling you what key your pressing. All you need are raw piano keys.
For those who use their keyboard for birthday parties, band jams, and battery powered street shows, I would recommend getting something that has speakers, sound sets, etc. It’s possible to run it through a computer, then through an interface, and then through speakers, but that’s a hassle.
If you’re using Reason to write pieces that have intricate piano, or solo piano, you will want to go to a store and actually try a couple of keyboards out yourself. Some may ask: Can’t I just get a keyboard that has weighted keys? But just because a keyboard has weighted keys, does not mean that the keys are any more natural feeling than non-weighted! You will want to try out the piano to feel how it plays. How does the action feel? When you press half way, does it still recognize that you struck the key? Does the piano take into account how hard you struck the key? Those are all things you’ll want to think about when trying out your new keyboard.
If you’re into programming hip hop drums, you may consider purchasing a keyboard that has a set of drum pads built into it. This is especially handy if you have Reason 5, which features the Kong Drum Designer. When set up correctly the physical pads will directly correlate with the pads you see in Reason.
If you often find yourself fading, panning, modulating, and pitch bending, you’re going to want a keyboard that has a control surface built into it. Keep in mind that not all control surfaces are created equal. Lower end keyboards feature loose knobs, and quirky sliders, while nicer keyboards are built solid, sometimes featuring motorized automation. This is another one that you’re going to want to try out to get an idea of what you want.
Once you understand the basics, this question is easy to answer. You basically have two options of connection: usb, and midi. If your computer has high speed usb ports, midi and usb are both fine options. If you don’t have any high speed usb ports, but you do have an interface that supports midi inputs, that would be the best option.