Advice re recording please


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I've started keyboard lessons on a cheap little keyboard to get started but want to upgrade a little. Eventually I will want to record my music onto a laptop, I'm unsure about what kind of keyboard to get and how to connect. I don't really want a midi keyboard as I am having lessons and want to be able to hear the sound from the keyboard itself. Advice please, I have researched online and keep getting a load of techno babble. Thanks
 
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happyrat1

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1) What's your budget?

2) What style of music do you want to record?

3) What's your skill level?

4) Do you plan to take any lessons?

5) Have you read any of the 5000 threads on this forum asking the exact same questions?

Gary ;)
 
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From what you have said an Arranger keyboard like a Yamaha PSR E363 or Casio at a similar price point may well suit you for quite a few years to come.

Buying a cheaper unit may mean that in a years time you may have outgrown it hence getting a slightly higher priced unit will give you better, sounds, and more growth potential

Please read the info following that I hace created specifically to help answer some of the confusion.
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Do you want to play a Piano or Keyboard?


That is the question my Teacher asked when I took up playing keys after years with a guitar and bass.


He qualified it by stating, there is a difference in how I teach you and in how you will develop.


Piano.

At its most basic level LH plays the Bass lines and chords, RH plays the melody.

Independent LH & RH playing actions will need to be developed.

A Digital Piano is just that 88 weighted keys with a variety of Piano sounds to call upon to be used, other sounds can also be incorporated within the unit.


Keyboard.

Two basic types, Workstation and Arranger.

Both start with 61 keys and as the models increase in complexity and cost 76 key and 88 keys versions become available as budget increases.

Each type of unit has hundreds if not thousands if instrument sounds that can be used as an example there can easily be over thirty different types of Piano sounds available to be selected.


Workstation.

Highly customisable, often with inbuilt recording, looping, and the ability to set sequence patterns of sounds that can be called upon at the touch of a button.

Usually over one thousand instrument sounds available to be used.

Orchestral sounds can be built up by layering one instrument on top of another to produce a Combination that can be saved into a User area and assigned to a Favourite button.

Watch a Band and the person on keys will probably be playing a Workstation, if they have more than one unit then a digital Piano is likely to be there unless your name is Rick Wakeman then the number of keyboards he uses is often in excess of ten.


Arranger.

A keyboard that typically incorporates onboard amplification and speakers for a fully self contained unit.

Instrument sounds or voices are categorised into families with typically thirty specific instrument sounds available.

These keyboards include Auto Accompanying of styles that are or can be triggered by the left hand.

The keyboard is electronically split (adjustable and can be switched off) so the Accompanying sounds are played with the LH and RH plays, melody lines, arpeggiated chords, improvisation, melody accompanying lines, syncopations etc.

A beginner to keyboards will probably start off learning on a low value Yamaha or Casio unit and then progress to more complex keyboard.



Synthesizer.

Is an electronic sound generator, it can be a keyboard or non keyboard model.


With all the above keyboard types, there is a considerable degrees of overlap and incorporation of functions within each category.


The choice of which type will be best for you is dependent upon what you want to play, the style and long term plans.


If you have doubts or just want to dip ones toes in then an Arranger will probably be the best unit to go for. With the auto accompaniment feature it will enable you to produce music relatively quickly.
 
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Does anyone ever use the onboard sequencing capabilities of a workstation? Ever? Seems like a nightmare to me. From the early 90s on (when I started doing this stuff), I used to always do that on a computer. Unfortunately "Workstations" tend to be the cream of the crop in terms of sounds and controllers, so I'm usually purchasing them, but I've never once used their actual "workstation" functionality, and I've never talked with any other keyboardist the does either. Either we do it on the computer, or in a studio.
 
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Does anyone ever use the onboard sequencing capabilities of a workstation?
I've done it occasionally.

Here's an example - this is my Krome doing the stereo panning bass notes that commence at about 1:03. I use the sequencer for this because I'm doing too much other stuff simultaneously to play it live:

https://soundcloud.com/user-412825325/welcome-to-the-machine-live

But not to the extent of recording an entire song with multiple complex parts. I don't really do that sort of work, but if I did I'd use a DAW.
 
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In response to the original post:

Everything is a "MIDI" keyboard. I don't know of any boards that don't have a MIDI out, let alone a USB Midi out. Suspect what you're talking about is a "controller keyboard" which has no onboard sounds. And yes, even though that's what I use, I don't recommend it for people starting out, as it has a serious learning curve, and requires hauling around additional gear to gigs.

More importantly, when beginning lessons you should think about what direction you want to go with your playing. Do you plan on revolving around piano/electric piano types of playing? Are you possibly practicing to play organ? Or is your goal to be in a band and do the noodly bits? In almost ALL cases (except maybe for organ), I recommend starting out piano style, and since you're taking piano lessons, it seems that's the current area you're in. At this stage, I think feel and piano sounds trounces features. Make sure to get a weighted 88 key keyboard with a good piano sound. Weighted keys train solid muscle movement, and are easier to get good dynamic response for piano styles (be it classical, jazz, rock, or R&B). Even if you're gunning to be a synth weedler (like I tend to do), I personally don't think anything else prepares better for that than conventional piano. The only exception here is organ, that's a whole 'nother beast with a good 500 years of development separate from the piano. In that case, you'll want to practice on a semi-weighted, waterfall key board, and probably have two manuals and foot pedals (though many great jazz and church players don't kick).

Not assuming you're going the organ route, I would suggest picking up a decent "Electric Grand" for beginner practicing. They're not flashy and cool, but they have everything they need for learning piano/keyboard. The modern Casio Privia line is my favorite, though I've heard Roland has some good offerings. I personally don't care for the Yamaha Electric Grands these days, they're not bad, but compared to the Casios, I think the Casio's outclass them in sound and feel at the same price point. With an electric grand, you get a good weighted controller, which is a necessity for practicing dynamics, 88 keys (which you'll need for playing anything 1800s and later, including early R&R), usually passable electric pianos for playing 50s-70s rock/R&B stuff (this is where Yamaha drops the ball IMHO), even a few organs, and basic synth pads/leads to use in a pinch. Electric Grands are usually fairly inexpensive, and include built-in speakers. They even always have MIDI/USB Outs to plug into a computer for controlling other midi stuff down the line. They're built to do piano and do it well, something that other keyboards don't usually do until you get up into the $2500+ range. What they are NOT is a synthesizer or workstation: keyboards where you have hundreds of customizable patches to fill every nich for getting "fiddly" with sound generation. They don't have any customization at all, you press a button, and that's the sound you get.
 
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I've done it occasionally.

Here's an example - this is my Krome doing the stereo panning bass notes that commence at about 1:03. I use the sequencer for this because I'm doing too much other stuff simultaneously to play it live:

https://soundcloud.com/user-412825325/welcome-to-the-machine-live

But not to the extent of recording an entire song with multiple complex parts. I don't really do that sort of work, but if I did I'd use a DAW.

I can understand that. Though, back before I used a computer, I simply just recorded backing parts to CD or iPod. My gripe is that you're spending a good $1000+ extra on features that are only relevant to a few people, and can be accomplished by other means. The mark of a "Workstation" is more importantly a top-of-the-line sound engine and controllers. I just find it curious that they note them as "workstations", when really, most $400 "Keyboards" have a lot of the same basic workstation features, but are far inferior sound generators.

For instance, doesn't Korg designate the Krome as an "arranger", and the Kronos as a "workstation"? Though I'm sure both have practically the same sequencing capabilities.
 
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My reading of Pixiestars post is that she has a cheap keyboard and wants to upgrade a little.
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My take on ..... upgrade a little ..... is the she wants an Arranger or Digital Piano, that is something with inbuilt amp and speakers and not to expensive.

So Kromes and Juno’s etc are not in the frame and the keyboards with superior instrument voices are on a future wish list.

Recording is easy she connects to her laptop and records using the free Audacity. The complicated element of recording is dependent upon keyboard outputs and laptop input which at the moment is unknown.
 

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