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I've started making music again after about ten years. I still had all my VSTi plugs and my trusty copy of FL Studio 7 and thanks to - strangely for me - a little foresight I remembered that I had paid for lifetime updates, so I now have FL 12 Producer Edition to play with. Most of it came back pretty easily to me then I realised with horror that I had sold my MicroKorg on eBay when I didn't think I would be doing this kind of thing again.
A quick look on Amazon displayed a wide range of controllers and prices. I read a few reviews and still wasn't sure. What swung it in the end was a great bit of Alesis kit I had in the 80s, the lovely HR16 Drum machine, so with good memories of that and mainly positive reviews I went for this V-Mini.
Considering how cheap it was I am mightily impressed with it's quality. Although it is obviously plastic it does feel sturdy and reassuringly quite weighty. Not too bothered about the pads but it was nice to have four knobs and they are dead easy to assign in FL Studio. Within an hour of getting it hurriedly out if the box I had quite a few sketchy ideas sorted and saved. I found the keyboard a little on the stiff side at first, but I soon got used to that.
I am really impressed with this Alesis and think I made the right choice
A marked improvement over the Alesis Q25 which this purchase replaces. The Q25 feels cheap in comparison and the keys and their action on the V61 far exceed those on the Q25. The V61 appears pretty solid and well made and the key spacing and height is uniform on the whole with a couple of exceptions. Nothing that will annoy me. A couple of the keys have a slight squeak but keyboards in this price range usually do and it is nothing compared to what I experienced with the Q series of controllers or my very old Fatar SL-161. To be fair, the key action actually feels better than on some far more expensive 'quality' synths that I've used. So no issues with the quality of the product. The form factor suits me due to my restricted desk space so it's 'slim' form factor is a winner and one of the reasons I chose this model.
In use I immediately checked the Firmware was bang up to date (it was) and using the V61 Editor I changed the keyboard sensitivity from 4 to 2 as is advised by many on the relevant online forums.
Spent a good day messing about in Logic and I am very impressed with the positive action of the keyboard. The drum pads really do appear to suffer from double tap midi messages. However, I actually found this handy when doing snare rolls as it inadvertently put in the odd double hit which sounded quite good. To guarantee a single hit you must hit the pad fair and square in the middle but to trigger doubles try hitting near the corners. Believe it or not it actually works quite well and I was coming up with some interesting patterns. I really like the addition of the pads on the keyboard. This means I can get rid of my Akai pads and further minimise the amount of kit on my desk.
So all in all a good product at this price point which exceeds my personal expectations.
Easy to set up and works very well with Reason and Cubase. I have had no issues with the drum pads double triggering and once I ran the set up application and got all the dials and switches behaving the way I wanted to, everything was easy. On the downside, I'm used to a decent hammer action keyboard and these keys don't even come close; they feel more like the plastic switches that they are. There is a relative lack of buttons and dials compared to some competitors but I bought this unit for its compact layout, so there has to be a trade off. My existing sustain pedal works well with the keyboard without issue. For £110 or so, this is a good controller and despite its shortcomings it has found a permanent place in my set up.
This product has Expand!2 VST software inckuded when you register the product with Alesis.com. They provide the software to download. You run the installer and it askes to restart - then you will never get Windows to boot again (unless you have a system Restore point saved) The software bricks your pc!! I had to completely reinstall Windows after countless attempts to recover my Windows 10. I then thought maybe it was my machine that caused the isue so I installed on my laptop. Again after restart the laptop couldn't find the Windows install.!! This time I did have a System Restore to roll back thank god. The end result is I now have spent all evening trying to rebuild my Windows back to spec that is needed for work. I have tried contacting Alesis - no one relying by email or Twitter. PS I have since done a fresh new install of Windows and tried the supplied software again - yep it even bricks a fresh new Windows install!!! If someone responds to me from support I will be asking for a full refund.
As someone who's played piano for 10 years I wanted a keyboard that would feel as close to the real deal as possible, and this is definitely up there. The white keys have a nice weight to them, they're slightly heavy and feel like they're pushing back a bit, but it's definitely not a big deal at all when the general feel is so good. The black keys do feel a little less natural, almost a little clicky at times, but again it really doesn't bother me and this is definitely a keyboard I can get used to. Worth a purchase for sure.
Isn’t compatible with my version of windows 10. I am unable to update to a newer version of windows either for it be (hopefully) compatible. So I had to go all the way back to windows 7 for the keyboard to work with my laptop. Extremely stressful process to get the keyboard audible, and I’m stuck with a platform I do not like. It also needed a lot of software downloading externally just to hear any sound being produced. The information pack that arrived with the keyboard was useless. It is not plug and play like I initially thought. I also had to watch old videos online to figure out how to set the keyboard up.
Product looked good and had good reviews. But on loading the recommended software, the protocols in the software crashed my MS Windows installation, resulting in an expensive rebuild, thanks very much Alesis! Spoke to the support people who acknowledged the fault, "it happens on a few computers" - WHY, OH WHY, DO ALESIS AND AMAZON CONTINUE TO SELL THIS PRODUCT WITH A KNOWN ERROR IN THE SOFTWARE? Even if it's only a few customers (that are now thoroughly upset with the product and do not wish to be associated with Alesis anymore). If you buy this product, you have been warned!, you need to be a computer and software expert in order to resolve any issues the recommended software creates.
I'm a professional programmer, with several very good computers, so I understand software. On my Windows 10 system the supplied editor software exits without any message if you try to apply or save the settings you have changed. The whole point of having a programmable Midi controller is to be able to program the knobs and buttons. Seriously bad. You may get luckier. It smells to me like a bad port from a Mac system.
The XPand!2 VST instrument pack supplied is even worse. My computer would not boot - it put up a custom error screen. I managed to circumvent this to the extent of being able to use System Restore to an earlier time - but without a Restore Point you might well have to re-install Windows. I suspect the anti-piracy software they use (which also looks like a Mac port) is to blame. Utterly unacceptable behaviour.
I contacted Alesis support via their website. I did not hear back after 72 hours, apart from the standard automated acknowledgement.
I'm not saying "Don't buy" this - it's a neat, cheap, controller. But you may have the same problems, and have been warned!
Returned to Amazon under the category "Dysfunctional."
Don't like the way it plays samples that sound like they are playing backwards. The only sample that sounds realistic is the grand piano and I already got one. I will research other clips on line to see if there are better ones I thought technology would have improved and I hoped to add cello to my songs. Looks like I might have to bid on a cello.
Wasn't expecting to have the thing dropped (literally there was a massive dent in the box!) off to my front door and the postman run away after "delivering" it. However the keyboard works fine and is a lovely piece of kit for the money you for it! The only gripe I have about this keyboard is the drum pads. They are not very accurate meaning that if you want to play soft drums you may end up having a random loud note or a doubling of others. They keys are weighted well however the unit has a bit of flex when playing hard. This isn't really that noticeable if you are planning to play with synth presets but its not an expensive unit so this is to be expected! The LED's are bright... Too bright sometimes! So I unplug it when it's not in use and when I have to go to sleep. The macro knobs are nice and have a good feel to them however if you're wanting to do quick modulation they need to be worn in a little before hand. Other than that I think it's a competitively priced midi keyboard and well worth the money for someone starting out or if someone needs a budget option for a proper fully-ish sized keyboard!