TI2 Desktop vs. 61-Key

  • Hi all,

    I'm having a heck of a time deciding between the desktop module versus 61-key TI2. Advice welcome!

    Because of the price differential between the module and 61-key, I'm thinking I could get the module and spend the difference on a 61-key controller or second synth. I have a weighted 88 I practice classical on (much to the neighbors' chagrin), and some 37-key synths I find less than useful, so either the Virus or a controller/second synth would likely become my main board.

    Desktop Module (+ controller/synth #2):

    • I've been considering the Yamaha CK61 and tried it out a couple times in store. The keys are very quiet and feel good to play, especially compared to what else was on display (including some used workstations). I found it REALLY easy and fun to mangle its sounds in a way I'm not quite sure Yamaha intended for something billed as a stage piano, and hadn't realized I spent an hour doing that until I got my phone out. Oops. Sorry, salespeople...
      • HOWEVER...the CK does NOT have or receive aftertouch.
    • Is it possible to route TI2 aftertouch to something like a mod wheel or pedal?
    • What 61+ key controller or synth alternatives in that price range (800-1000 ish or less) with good keybeds might I be missing?
      • I hate spongey/springy keys (Microbrute, some cheaper controllers, etc.).

    61-Key Version:

    • One instrument simplifies things, this one has pedal inputs, and that big open spot on the panel would be great to plop my MPC on for sequencing.
    • Keys have aftertouch, so I wouldn't be missing out on that.
    • I've heard the keybed's great but have never encountered one in person.
      • Does anything else use this keybed?
      • Does anyone with it have opinions on the CK's keys or other keybeds out there right now?

    General Virus Questions:

    • Do those of you with the Virus use aftertouch often, or is this something I'm overthinking and don't really need?
    • Are there good Virus piano patches out there by chance?


    (Apologies if I placed this in the wrong forum category - mods, feel free to move it if so.)

  • Good morning,

    I had the same decision to make, desktop or keyboard version, and yesterday I decided for the desktop version.

    Mainly because of the following reasons:

    - space, the Virus keyboard is a big instrument (37 cm wide), and I also have another midi control keyboard

    - i'm using ableton live and I wish to have a good controller keyboard that is easy to use with Ableton, as such I have the Novation SL 61 MK3 as main midi keyboard, which has aftertouch and semi weighted keys; The keyboard can also control the virus desktop directly via Midi Out and Virus control template in the menu.

    I thought about to buy the keyboard version and use that as main midi controller, also for Ableton Live, but I was not sure how that would work with USB integration.

    The Virus TI keyboard is one of the best people say (fatar keys).

    Any of the 2 will be a good choice.

    It all depends on your own preferences and setup.

  • Desktop Module (+ controller/synth #2):

    • Is it possible to route TI2 aftertouch to something like a mod wheel or pedal?

    General Virus Questions:

    • Do those of you with the Virus use aftertouch often, or is this something I'm overthinking and don't really need?
    • Are there good Virus piano patches out there by chance?
    1. You can route any source controller to any modulation destination within the Virus synth engine but AFAIK there is no way to change the outgoing MIDI events to something else.
    2. For me Aftertouch on my Darkstar is hard to control. It needs some force to activate but the difference in pressure for the lowest and highest values is very small. I rarely use it, but it is nice to have in certain situations.
    3. The Virus is not sample based and therefore doesn’t do Pianos very well. There are a couple of nice EP and Piano synth sounds also preset packs by sound designers such as Ultimate X Sounds which can be really nice for an arrangement. But none of them replace a real piano. There’s a thread about this topic on the forum.

    My situation: I own a Darkstar TI2 and a Desktop TI2. Currently the Darkstar is set up in my home studio to act as main keyboard for everything via USB into the computer and then routed from Cubase to other synths. I like the fact that I can switch on just the Darkstar by itself and try something out without the necessity to fire up the whole setup (which I do rarely). Out of space restrictions I’m currently thinking of swapping the Darkstar for the Desktop and using a NI Kontrol 61 keys as main controller, because that keyboard is much smaller than the Virus 61 keys and would additionally allow to have better integration with NI Komplete (which I use rarely as well). So - first world problems. If I had plenty of space I would go with the 61 keys version, no question.

    Bass Player and Synthesist.
    Virus TI2 Darkstar | Virus TI2 Desktop | Sub 37 | Voyager RME | Machinedrum | Analog Four | Digitone | MPC Live | NI Maschine+
    Mac OS 13.5.1 (Ventura) | Cubase Pro 11.0 | Ableton Live 9.6 | Logic 10.4 | MainStage 3.4 | NI Komplete Ultimate 13 | RME Fireface UFX+

    Edited once, last by ozon ().

  • I ran a 61 Key for a long time with a Roland A800-Pro controller keyboard slaved up to it to basically give me "2x Virus'"

    Long story short I purchased another virus (two to be exact).

    IMO there's simply no substitute to having the keyboard and all the knobs right there at your disposal in front of you.

    I can't operate with a desktop - it just feels disjointed to me - a bit like VSTs in a computer, I'm constantly coming away from my creative flow to mess about with something away from my keyboard.

    I'd go with a 61 every day of the week.

    Access Virus TI2 | Access Virus DarkStar | Access Virus Polar (White) | Komplete Kontrol S61 | Roland A-800 PRO | Casio CDP-120 | Arturia MiniBrute | MPK Mini | MPC Live 2 | Maschine mk2 | Mac Pro 12 core | Cubase Pro 8.5 | Komplete 10 Ultimate | Saffire Pro 24 | 8 channel ADAT | KRK Rokit 5 Monitors | KNS-6400 Cans | Faith Naked Venus | Gretsch G5421 | Tanglewood TSE-605 | SE Magneto Mics | Blackstar Amplification