Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

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Mike37
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Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by Mike37 » Tue May 12, 2015 12:21 pm

Hi, fellow moogers.

First off, overall I love this synth. Amazing sound, great interface, portable and practical size. It's simply one of the best monosynths out there. HOWEVER, I have one issue with this synth, and that is the keyboard itself. I'm a jazz/fusion/prog player with a pretty decent technique. Even still, I find playing fast legato phrases on the Sub 37 to be unecessarily difficult, actually it feels more like hard work. The keyboard action is too stiff, and triggers too deep. I could see this kind of action being acceptable for an all-purpose midi keyboard, but it's not a desirable keyboard action for fast, legato and nimble lead synth playing. I find it a bit strange that Moog missed the mark on such a basic feature. Was it done to exaggerate the difference between Sub 37 and Voyager?

Again, great instrument, but it's slightly marred by a sub-standard keyboard.
Last edited by Mike37 on Tue May 12, 2015 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

GregVDS
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by GregVDS » Tue May 12, 2015 12:36 pm

Hi,

What does Moog uses for that particular Keyboard? Would it be possible to upgrade that part only, using another Fatar or else?

Greg

Mike37
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by Mike37 » Tue May 12, 2015 12:51 pm

GregVDS wrote:Hi,

What does Moog uses for that particular Keyboard? Would it be possible to upgrade that part only, using another Fatar or else?

Greg


Yeah, I would like to know that too. If it's not too expensive, I would definitely consider changing the keyboard. Could Moog add a higher trigger point in the firmware? That would make the keyboard action MUCH better.

garyv
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by garyv » Tue May 12, 2015 1:10 pm

I noticed right away the Sub 37 keyboard was different from my Voyager. The Voyager has the best synth keyboard of any other electronic keyboard I own. I was tempted to post a comment on this but it didn't seem fair because of the cost difference in the 2 products. Frankly the keyboard is just fine for how I play and I really do love the Sub 37 - what a great sounding instrument! And the depth of capability of the Sub 37 adds even more value. The overall quality of the Sub 37 is outstanding.
Gary V

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Bald Eagle
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by Bald Eagle » Tue May 12, 2015 2:01 pm

I agree that the key action is on the stiff side but I prefer it that way. I'd much rather play a keyboard that has some feel behind it rather than one of the many out there today where the keys just flap in the breeze.

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stiiiiiiive
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by stiiiiiiive » Tue May 12, 2015 2:23 pm

Maybe just changing the springs would do the job.

Mike37
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by Mike37 » Tue May 12, 2015 3:17 pm

Bald Eagle wrote:I agree that the key action is on the stiff side but I prefer it that way. I'd much rather play a keyboard that has some feel behind it rather than one of the many out there today where the keys just flap in the breeze.


What is your playing style/genre? I see many people buying Moogs for electronica and sound FX. That's not what I'm talking about here. When playing technically advanced legato stuff, the Sub 37 keyboard action is fighting against you. Monosynths like Sub 37 tend to be positioned on the top of the keyboard rig, which is ergonomically less than ideal anyway. Certain compromises, in terms of reaching a specific price point, are simply too big. Moog should have upped the price 50$ or whatever, and used a different keyboard. Again, a higher trigger point would greatly improve the playability of the Sub 37. Don't know if this is possible through a firmware update, or if one would need to modify or change the keyboard itself.

ebowen4221
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by ebowen4221 » Tue May 12, 2015 3:37 pm

I play all kinds of funk and fusion with my Sub 37, and I personally don't have any issues with the keybed. We'll rip through Spain at 240ish and I don't feel the keys are dragging or have too low of trigger point. I usually play a Nord C2 or Nord Stage, both of which can have real high trigger points.

JonLukas
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by JonLukas » Tue May 12, 2015 3:45 pm

I too am disappointed with the keyboard. I ended up getting a Nord Lead A! for my fast and smooth lead playing...that keyboard has a very easy action, and it shows me how much better and more useful the Sub 37 could be. Pressing keys on my Sub 37 takes significantly more pressure (measuring by gently placing rolls of coins on the keys) than any of my other keyboards, including my 110 year old upright piano.

I am still planning to use my Sub 37 for sequencing and atmospheric drones, but I could do more with it if the keyboard were better.

The keybed feels solid enough. I feel that simply changing to lighter springs would make it much better, but I'm not sure where to begin finding the right springs. I contacted Moog a few times by email and got no response. The one time I called, I was told they would get back to me but they have not. I sounded like they don't have a solution for this other than removing the springs from a little phatty that might have a different tension.

I found this website that sells all kinds of springs, so if someone were sure about the needed specifications, perhaps those of us who are unsatisfied could get replacement springs here. I would not hesitate to buy some if I knew for sure which ones to order.
http://www.centuryspring.com/Store/search_extension.php
Pianoteq, Guda KickR, Drumaxx, Diva, Pigments, Flow Motion, Kontakt, Omnisphere 2, StudioLogic SL73, MainStage, Logic Pro X.
Downtempo performed live: http://echofabric.com

Mike37
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by Mike37 » Tue May 12, 2015 4:17 pm

JonLukas wrote:I too am disappointed with the keyboard. I ended up getting a Nord Lead A! for my fast and smooth lead playing...that keyboard has a very easy action, and it shows me how much better and more useful the Sub 37 could be. Pressing keys on my Sub 37 takes significantly more pressure (measuring by gently placing rolls of coins on the keys) than any of my other keyboards, including my 110 year old upright piano.

I am still planning to use my Sub 37 for sequencing and atmospheric drones, but I could do more with it if the keyboard were better.

The keybed feels solid enough. I feel that simply changing to lighter springs would make it much better, but I'm not sure where to begin finding the right springs.


I agree 100%. Playing those agile legato phrases on the Sub 37 isn't nearly as comfortable as it should be. It would be interesting to hear from someone with knowledge about springs and keyboard actions. It sounds like something I could maybe fix myself, or have done by a local keyboard technician.

Subber37
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by Subber37 » Tue May 12, 2015 5:29 pm

It could, and I say only could ease up over time. It is a little stiff vs other keybeds I've used (but does feel decent quality too though - for most uses) some trills and taps need more pressure than light keys or you won't trigger the note, I'd say over time with the keys loosening up and you adapting to the keybed the problem may be reduced naturally.?

I don't feel strongly enough about it that I'd want a different keybed, in fact I think the SUB 37 will feel 'newer' for a lot longer due to the nice keybed on it.

I should say one of the keys on mine does feel stiffer than the rest, and I heard some have variable quality on their keys - so if most of your keys felt as stiff as the one stiff one on mine then it would be a problem I'd not like to have. I read someone took the keys out and shave a bit of the plastic off as it wasn't quite finished well and re-greased it and was fine after that. It does seem the keys are a little random in their production quality or setup.

Mike37
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by Mike37 » Tue May 12, 2015 6:07 pm

The stiffness is especially noticeable with the black keys. Certain licks that should be really easy with some technique (like playing fast triads up and down from the wholetone-scale), are difficult to get completely legato (without triggering the envelope involuntary when using the black keys).

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namnibor
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by namnibor » Tue May 12, 2015 8:30 pm

Bald Eagle wrote:I agree that the key action is on the stiff side but I prefer it that way. I'd much rather play a keyboard that has some feel behind it rather than one of the many out there today where the keys just flap in the breeze.


Totally agree! I really like the keyboard action on my Sub 37. Much rather have a little bit of 'feel' rather then the myriad really bad 'light synth-action' that many bad midi controllers have. Am classical piano trained and have some of the very best synths with great keyboard action of the likes of the Mono Evolver Keyboard, Waldorf Q, Virus KB and KC, and the Sub 37 may be a little more 'stiff' than those but *any* musician adjusts to the action of their various instruments without it affecting the desired end result--making music.

Highly doubt Moog "skimped/cost savings" on a sub-par keyboard. Remember, these keys also have after-touch as well. Try playing the keys on the Sub Phatty compared to the Sub 37 and think you will count your blessings. And if it's that big of a problem for a very few people, well, you always have the option to use another synth's keys as a master controller.
Adaptability is also a good trait of any musician. Moog made a masterpiece with the Sub 37. Nothing less. :D
Sub 37

dfresh25
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by dfresh25 » Wed May 13, 2015 1:53 am

I just picked up the Sub 37 last week and also play jazz/funk/fusion music. I was thrilled with everything but the action when I got it and it made me really concerned initially. It was way too stiff to execute certain lines fluidly without question.

However I have noticed that as I continue to play it, it seems to "break-in". Specifically the upper octave is feeling really nice and light right now and I'm hoping as I continue to play the action across the whole board will loosen because the bottom octave is still really stiff. I will provide an update after a few weeks.

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Meneer Vincent
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Re: Sub 37 - Keyboard quality and playability

Post by Meneer Vincent » Wed May 13, 2015 3:56 am

I own a SubPhatty and it's my only critic; The keyboard. Why these clumsey key's. I have had it replace for al the click-sounds but after a while
it was the same again. For the rest it's a solid piece of gear.
I also played on a Sub 37 in a musicshop downtown and it felt better although I agree it was stiff but better than my SubPhatty.
I agree the A1 from Nord played much better. Still I am happy with my SubPhatty and will keep this beauty.

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