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User Review

A powerful keyboard and quality - Reviews Roland A-800PRO-R

Value For Money : Excellent
I will not detail the features that are available everywhere, but those who have made me lean towards this keyboard.

I was looking mainly a MIDI keyboard 61 keys with aftertouch, relatively compact, which has controllers fader and potentiometer type and also the possibility to plug in and use a MIDI sustain pedal.

It's been a year and a half that I have this keyboard as I write this review.

UTILIZATION

I'll try to be concise (try). I sometimes compare it with a cheaper keyboard (Alesis QX49) that I also own.

Start from the beginning. I am a pianist, so I was looking for a keyboard with a good feel to be able to cope but also play occasionally on sounds nice for fun. Touch is very good and accurate, which has been a turning point for purchase. One can easily reproduce the nuances in the game that I have not necessarily found on cheaper keyboards I found quite sudden jumps in velocity, as the Alesis. To have made some tests in-store, I found the touch similar to most synths Roland (Juno-type), which for me is a good thing (I already owned the Roland and I love their touch synth but in general the feel is pretty subjective). Note that this is the semi-weighted, what I was looking for a different touch of digital piano. I think I have not used the aftertouch, but some people say it's hard enough to trigger. Can be adapted touch with a choice of 12 velocity curves.

The overall quality of the keyboard is honestly really good. The keys are evenly spaced, no lag and not hear the noise when the mechanical key is pressed (unlike the Alesis, and also the M-Audio Oxygen (noise springs?)). It is even quiet enough to play. Some complain of a little smaller than the standard keys, give it a try because in my case it does not bother me. The entire product is quite compact and light for a 61-key keyboard with many controllers, yet it's really tough when it is handled. The finish is simple but good.

About controllers. The pots (which are not endless encoders) give a very good feeling when turning inspires solid, but I do not use either like crazy! Faders (60mm) are a bit cheap compared to the rest, but nothing alarming to use, they do the job. The pads are quite small but have aftertouch and several velocity curves. Their size does not personally have a problem. I read that they lacked a bit of precision, it is possible, but I think as with everything, it depends on what you want to do the keyboard and for me that's enough. Transport is complete and there is still a lot of buttons, some assignable to the side. You can easily change octave, but it has only one "Transpose" button which I can imagine hamper for live use. The lever Pitch-Bend/modulation: not much to say, we love, we do not. At worst you can assign modulation to another controller if the return bothers you.

MIDI configuration level, I think we should be clear, it is a complex device that allows you to make simple adjustments, such as more advanced settings, that I will not pretend to master. Regarding configurations more "basic", there is no magic to do well, but I would just like to warn people completely neophytes compared to the fact that this keyboard can do a lot, there are many possible settings and it can be a bit confusing at first. To manipulate MIDI, you have to look a little above and it is not necessarily the keyboard is difficult to use; !) This bracket is closed, I will not detail the configurations that I do often and I advise you to do is to consult the online manual to get an idea of ​​what can be done and how it is configured.
For my part, I find the MIDI editor (PC) efficiently and fairly intuitive, it is visual, we know what we're doing. on the other hand, when a controller is configured, it has many options and it can be a bit tricky sometimes depending on what you want to set, but it is normal again, the keyboard is powerful enough level configuration . The manual is there to help at every step, though again, it requires a minimum of prerequisites MIDI for quick understanding. I think I have a manual in English, but you can find it in French here: https://www.rolandce.com/mediafiles/manuals/A-300PRO_500PRO_800PRO_fr.pdf. The selection of MIDI channels is done very easily with the keyboard and navigation between the different presets and parameters, although less direct, still quite fast with the use of the screen. I can not tell if it is effective enough for the live.

OVERALL OPINION

Here (finally!) the conclusion of this review. I could seem a bit enthusiastic about the quality of the keyboard, but to have tested a lot, I think MIDI keyboards are usually pretty cheap products so see a finish like that, it should be emphasized. In the end, I think this quality, both in touch (subjective) in controllers and the keyboard itself, its configuration options, the number of controllers, and especially its price (297 € on Thomann today! ) make it a reliable and efficient keyboard to my eyes sharply with the mass of MIDI keyboards, to my great regret, the bottom most end. I would do this choice today.

What I like most:
- The overall quality
- Rich features, and for my use, although these
- The excellent price / quality ratio (paid € 339, now € 297)
- Good integration Reaper

What I like least:
- In my case, navigation between banks not obvious faders Reaper
- The settings that can scare novices due to numerous configuration possibilities
- Aftertouch not easy to feel

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Good I had to knock out more than one, but for those who come so far, here are some supplements.

Before purchasing, I compared with some models of equivalent or superior range, including touch. Of course everything here is subjective. I found the Novation Impulse too impressive and I did not like the feel, though aftertouch easier to activate. Akai did not attract me because their functionality does not seem to fit me better and I do not like at all the touch that seemed "artificially" made heavy and therefore not natural in the game, but aftertouch is easy to trigger. Novation Remote 61 SL has very good features in my eyes and memory, a good touch, although I prefer that of Roland. Of course, the price is also taken into account and the Novation (and Akai, even if prices fell today) was too expensive for a master keyboard for my taste. Ditto for Air Axiom 61, which was more expensive there some time. I never tested the Arturia Keylab 61.

Today, new keyboards have come out with all features as enticing.

A reasonable price, we have the Novation Launchkey 61 and Nektar Impact LX61 which have appeared, but I do not know their quality. Although more expensive, the Nektar Panorama P6 looks pretty complete. And between the two, a new kid is not out yet, the Behringer Motor 61. If the quality follows, this keyboard offer 9 motorized faders, a first for a MIDI controllers and all the usual keyboard with easy navigation for banks of faders / knobs / pads for € 300. To be continued!

(And thank you for reading if you got this far;))