Amazon.com.au:Customer reviews: Alesis V-Mini | Portable 25-Key USB-MIDI Keyboard Controller with 4 Backlit Sensitive Pads, 4 Assignable Encoders and Professional Software Suite with ProTools | First Included
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I bought this keyboard as I own a Alesis vi49 which is great, but the keys not being semi-weighted on the V-Mini make a huge difference to the overall enjoyment of using the keyboard. I had to turn my velocity sensitivity off on FL Studio, because it was either that or I had to slam the keys to achieve the desired velocity, which sucks away the elegance from any piano piece.. but, the keyboard doesn’t claim to be semi-weighted.
Firstly some tech/nerd stuff. This controller works perfectly on Linux (Debian 10 "Buster") running the LMMS v1.2 music making software. No special utility or configuration is required; everything works out of the box. I haven't been this happy with a purchase in years.
So I recently discovered "Lo-Fi Hip Hop" via Chilles Cow and Mr Momo Music on Youtube and have fallen in love. So much so that I decided I wanted to have a go at making some myself. This will be a painful experience as I have ZERO knowledge or understanding in music production. But why not give it a go. I use only Linux on my computer so whatever I choose to do in life, the ability to do it on Linux is a must; if I cannot, then I wont. Thankfully I was already aware of the software and utilities required for this endeavour, so I set about doing my homework. At first I consisered the Akai LPK25 and LPD8, but decided the Alesis V Mini was a better option and a lot cheaper than buying those two together. It arrived, it worked flawlessly with absolutely no weird configuration hoops to jump through; I was at least expecting the control knobs to give me hassle, but no.
The device itself is decent quality; solid and weighted, the keys and knobs are all smooth action. All in all, I really like this controller. However I do have a tiny niggle: the drum pads are a bit insensitive and really need to be hammered to activate properly and get a high-volume sound. I don't know if this is normal or not as I've never used anything else. I can see myself not using these pads very much as a result. Aside from this, I love it!
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
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.
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.
It’s a OK toy. I used it with the browser-based ‘BandLab’ free online music making tool and was picked up right away. Not tried it in other DAWs. The velocity is a bit odd as you need to hit every key hard to keep a consistent volume. Sometimes the velocity will just drop on some keys. It’s ok for simple note changes. You find yourself using 2 hands to play a baseline to ensure you hit each key with equal strength. Works better with fixed velocity (like a switch) though that means everything ends up sounding like an 80’s video game. Even the pads need belting to hear something. Its ok for playing on a laptop on holiday or an iPad to edit or where space is a premium at your desk, but it does feel like you’ve borrowed your 4yr old son’s ‘my first piano’.
This is a pain to set up but it works. there seems to be a little input delay permanently for me and I have not been able to get rid of it, although, it works fine otherwise. People are complaining about the knobs but they seem fine to me, just be careful when you're packing it in a bag, bit of padding (maybe a shirt) helps a lot. I use it with studio one 5 prime and it works alright
(nobody seems to address windows 10 in the reviews so I wanted to inform any W10 users)
The keyboard works perfectly fine, no latency, velocity-sensitive and had some great features and overall feels very good to play. My problem is the software that comes with it; downloading it was fine but during installation it froze my computer up and caused the blue screen of death and my computer to fail to boot. The only way I could get back was using the Windows Startup Repair tool, but after trying again and successfully installing the software, it prompted me to restart and I had the same issue again. I had to completely delete the software and will avoid Air Music products from here on.
very nice and elegant, extremely portable the idea of the modulation and the pitch bend as buttons is nice and original but I would appreciate a sustain pedal port ( even if I understand that this product is made to be super portable) the only weak spot I've noticed is about the pots, they are too big, I think they could break into a bag