Any recommendations on a mid level keyboard?


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Hello all,


I’m new here and I apologize if this has been asked a million times (I really did look through the first 4-5 pages of the forum) but I’m looking for recommendations for a keyboard purchase


I am a hobbyist musician at best; I’m 50ish, do not play in a band, job is demanding so I’m tired, and I just like to play music on my own. I’ve played guitar for 35 years and am a decent musician; I’m not professional but I sound better than the average guy out there, especially when I can practice. Anyways, I bought a cheap Yamaha DGX 500 keyboard off of craigslist a year ago just to goof around on and I love it. The challenge of a new instrument and learning piano songs that were hard to convert to guitar has been awesome.


It’s time to think about upgrading and here’s my dilemma. I am pretty sure I’m going to just upgrade to the latest DGX which is currently the DGX 670. It’s probably more than I need and should work well for me. It’s currently listed at $849, but for a little more I can get into the low end professional type of keyboard. I'm not talking about the 4k or 5k instruments; I’m thinking a Roland Juno DS88 or a Yamaha MX88 which hopefully find a used one for around $1k. Here are my questions which are hard to answer nowadays because you can’t just go play these at a store anymore (or it’s not so easy post-covid):

-Is the DGX 670 just a higher quality toy keyboard? Is it professional quality in sound and playability?

-Does the DGX work with DAW? I might be interested in recording.

-Upgrading to the Juno DS88 or MX88 would require a keyboard amp right? Is this a big PITA to setup? How expensive is a decent small keyboard amp? I'll have to admit that just turning a keyboard on and starting to play with internal speakers is attractive.

-Is the extra functionality of these professional keyboards really only good for professional musicians who gig?


The only reason I’m thinking of a higher end keyboard is portability and possibly recording. I would hate to go DGX and then in a couple years start looking at upgrading again.

Any recommendations or experiences would be appreciated.
 
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Welcome.

As a DGX is a digital piano with Arranger features ie auto accompaniment, so the question is, do you use these features?

If the answer is Yes, then neither the Juno or MX has Arranger features and you are limited to the likes of the Yamaha DGX, a Korg XE20 or Casio S3100.

If an Arranger is what you really are after then a Korg Pa700 or Yamaha SX700 will serve you well, but these are only 61 synth action keys and they blow your budget.

In answer to your questions.

The DGX is far from being a toy, that is a term I would suggest fits most sub $250 USD keyboards.

DGX will work with a DAW, but it does have onboard recording features.

The Juno, MX or Korg Kross 2 do not have inbuilt speakers and what is usually suggested here for home use is a pair of Powered Speakers, a reasonable pair is $200-300 USD. So your $1000 take a sizeable hit unless you want to play using headphones.

These workstation/synths would primarily not be used by pro musicians, they would tend to use higher end keyboards. Local band gigging keyboardists would be more likely to use these keyboards.

$850 USD for a DGX670 is excellent vfm.

Alas with a keyboard there is not one that does it all, there is compromise required.
 
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A few month ago after years with top end Tyros keyboard I purchased the DGX670.
I was sceptical after playing £3000 to £4000 keyboard, would this DGX be good enough at less than £1000.

The DGX670 has surprised me greatly with it's top quality voice samples and excellent weighted keys are a joy to play, overall a well built board which will play most Yamaha styles direct from USB and at a low price.
Dare I say I think Yamaha have underpriced the DGX

It's not all good news because the OS Menu takes some understanding so like any new model is a learning curve.

The Roland Juno DS88 or a Yamaha MX88 you are considering are both excellent but different concept so don't contain the so called arranger styles but they do have many editing facilities and ideal for anyone playing with other instruments in a band.
 
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I'm a former 25 year guitar player that moved to learning keys last year. My objective was to buy a keyboard for now and the future. Better to suffer pain of payment one time than to continue to trade up and pay over and over. After reading reviews and watching video reviews I narrowed my search down to a Yamaha MODX7 and Roland Juno DS7. The Juno DS7 was my final choice as it just seemed to be a little less complex, yet had features that would take me a long way down the road. Good luck with your journey.
 
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Anything with a weighted, hammer action KB will get you a decent enough feel. I had a YPG625, a predecessor to the DGX you are looking at. Had it for a number of years. I liked it very much, so I'll only tell you the negatives, why I replaced it.
- I wanted to take it out to use at church. The YPG was 50 lb and not so much intended to be mobile.
- The YPG also didn't have proper outputs for a PA, although the headphone jack worked well enough.
- I wanted lots of presets and controls for live playing and sound switching. The YPG had great patches, but few memory buttons and live controls.
- I wanted to be able to program my presets at home, practice with them, and take the same KB to perform with.
- Perhaps the biggest deal, the GHS keybed durability issues. My GHS felt good, but quickly got quite clickity-clackity. This bothered me. I've played some other GHS that did this and some that didn't, dunno why. There seem to be two varieties of GHS out there, those that feel lighter and get clackity, and those that feel a tad heavier and more solid.

I got a Juno DS88. 35 lb, proper sound outputs, good live controls and memory buttons, lots of good patches, and a little more solid feeling key action with no clacks. I bought a set of Edifier bookshelf speakers with 4" woofers on Amazon for maybe $130. They work decent. Bonus, they also have BT input so I use them in my office / music room to play music from my phone.

I haven't really kept up, but I saw a couple years ago Roland released the RD88. It HAS speakers built in, either the same or better action, and some of the SuperNatural sounds (better piano sound, as well as others), I think it's lighter, and wasn't too much more $$.

Good luck and have fun!
 
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Hello all,


I’m new here and I apologize if this has been asked a million times (I really did look through the first 4-5 pages of the forum) but I’m looking for recommendations for a keyboard purchase


I am a hobbyist musician at best; I’m 50ish, do not play in a band, job is demanding so I’m tired, and I just like to play music on my own. I’ve played guitar for 35 years and am a decent musician; I’m not professional but I sound better than the average guy out there, especially when I can practice. Anyways, I bought a cheap Yamaha DGX 500 keyboard off of craigslist a year ago just to goof around on and I love it. The challenge of a new instrument and learning piano songs that were hard to convert to guitar has been awesome.


It’s time to think about upgrading and here’s my dilemma. I am pretty sure I’m going to just upgrade to the latest DGX which is currently the DGX 670. It’s probably more than I need and should work well for me. It’s currently listed at $849, but for a little more I can get into the low end professional type of keyboard. I'm not talking about the 4k or 5k instruments; I’m thinking a Roland Juno DS88 or a Yamaha MX88 which hopefully find a used one for around $1k. Here are my questions which are hard to answer nowadays because you can’t just go play these at a store anymore (or it’s not so easy post-covid):

-Is the DGX 670 just a higher quality toy keyboard? Is it professional quality in sound and playability?

-Does the DGX work with DAW? I might be interested in recording.

-Upgrading to the Juno DS88 or MX88 would require a keyboard amp right? Is this a big PITA to setup? How expensive is a decent small keyboard amp? I'll have to admit that just turning a keyboard on and starting to play with internal speakers is attractive.

-Is the extra functionality of these professional keyboards really only good for professional musicians who gig?


The only reason I’m thinking of a higher end keyboard is portability and possibly recording. I would hate to go DGX and then in a couple years start looking at upgrading again.

Any recommendations or experiences would be appreciated.
You're going down a slippery slope. I've bought and returned or sold lots of keyboards looking for the perfect thing. I'm a performing keyboard/vocalist and currently use a Korg PA 1000, only because it's lightweight, has built-in speakers, tons of decent sounds and, most importantly, a T.C. Helicon voice harmonizer that I use on most songs I sing. I was looking to stop hauling around all the extra wires, mixers, etc. that I had been using with other keyboards. The piano sounds are not the best, but the other sounds are pretty good. It's a 61-key keyboard. You have to ask yourself #1 if you want 88 keys and if you want piano-style weighted keys, or the kind you have on your current board. As far as amps go, I use a small Roland KC-220 keyboard amp when I play very small gigs. That works fine. Sometimes I use 2 for stereo. I can leave the keyboard speakers on while using the amps, so I can hear myself through the keyboard! That's a nice feature. I have a Bose L1 for medium size gigs and JBL PRX Ones (2 of 'em for stereo) for when I really need to put out sound. You have to also ask yourself all the other questions about whether or not you need recording capability built into the keyboard, etc., etc., etc. When you start comparing features of keyboards, it's about enough to drive you nuts, so don't say I didn't warn you!
 
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Concerning the amplification. I played keyboard (along with fiddle and guitars) professionally in bands years back - and used Peavey Session 500 and Chorus 400 amps. They were the most versatile amps for most any instrument - but are behemoths to tote around. Lately at smaller venues, I've used a Gemini PA-300BT - it's affordable, light-weight, and easy to assemble and break-down. Listeners seems to like the bass / treble separation.
 
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I've used a Korg Kronos (76 key) and a PA3X for quite a while. Between them, they do...well...pretty much everything. No built-in speakers, so I have a 1500W power amp and a couple of fEARless F115s (google) to cover that. Probably overkill for what you want.

At some point I picked up amp M-Audio 88, a really cheap...er...inexpensive keyboard that has a so-so semi-weighted action and 88 keys.
It doesn't have internal speakers, doesn't have a lot of knobs or screens or sliders.

I'm running it into a new M1 MacBook Air and from there into a cheap audio interface and from there into a pair of KRK Rokit 8 studio monitors on 36" stands. I decided I did want some knobs and sliders after all, so I bought a Korg nanoKONTROL2 Slim-Line USB Control Surface (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004M8UZS8?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details) . It's tiny and easily sits on top of the keyboard and the knobs and sliders can be programmed by any of the usual MIDI-controlled software apps.

Just for fun, I walked it into a friend of mine's local church (he's got a decent size PA system) and we plugged it in. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on software, so I downloaded a copy of MainStage and some patches from other sources. The keyboard is *really* lightweight, the MacBook weighs about 2.5 pounds and the cheap audio interface and control surface together weigh a pound or two. I can hear everything through a pair of headphones (or some bluetooth buds) as well, but we were both a bit astounded at the quality of the sound coming out of the PA. "Are you SURE you don't want to volunteer for the P&W band?" All of this would also work with Ableton Live as well, so there's no shortage of solutions for recording.

 
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Hello all,


I’m new here and I apologize if this has been asked a million times (I really did look through the first 4-5 pages of the forum) but I’m looking for recommendations for a keyboard purchase


I am a hobbyist musician at best; I’m 50ish, do not play in a band, job is demanding so I’m tired, and I just like to play music on my own. I’ve played guitar for 35 years and am a decent musician; I’m not professional but I sound better than the average guy out there, especially when I can practice. Anyways, I bought a cheap Yamaha DGX 500 keyboard off of craigslist a year ago just to goof around on and I love it. The challenge of a new instrument and learning piano songs that were hard to convert to guitar has been awesome.


It’s time to think about upgrading and here’s my dilemma. I am pretty sure I’m going to just upgrade to the latest DGX which is currently the DGX 670. It’s probably more than I need and should work well for me. It’s currently listed at $849, but for a little more I can get into the low end professional type of keyboard. I'm not talking about the 4k or 5k instruments; I’m thinking a Roland Juno DS88 or a Yamaha MX88 which hopefully find a used one for around $1k. Here are my questions which are hard to answer nowadays because you can’t just go play these at a store anymore (or it’s not so easy post-covid):

-Is the DGX 670 just a higher quality toy keyboard? Is it professional quality in sound and playability?

-Does the DGX work with DAW? I might be interested in recording.

-Upgrading to the Juno DS88 or MX88 would require a keyboard amp right? Is this a big PITA to setup? How expensive is a decent small keyboard amp? I'll have to admit that just turning a keyboard on and starting to play with internal speakers is attractive.

-Is the extra functionality of these professional keyboards really only good for professional musicians who gig?


The only reason I’m thinking of a higher end keyboard is portability and possibly recording. I would hate to go DGX and then in a couple years start looking at upgrading again.

Any recommendations or experiences would be appreciated.
Good afternoon,
I bought a DGX-650 for our FL winter home in 2013. Last year the headphone jack broke and learned it would cost $340 for the repair. I sold it as is. I then went about looking for something a new digital piano. I looked at Roland's, Kawai, Korb and Yamaha's, all in the range of about $2000-$2500. The new DGX-670 wasn't available anywhere, so read reviews and looked at several YouTubes. I might add, that I also bought two DGX-660's, one for each of my adult kids, so that they could play on it or their children, but more importantly, to keep my fingers loose when we sometimes visited them for 2-3 weeks. I didn't think the 660 was all that much better than the 650, but read great things about the newer 670. At our main home, I owned a Clavinova CVP 509. Crisp and deep tones, virtually plays and sounds like a studio grand. That cost was over $9K back in 2012. I'll get back to why I mentioned all those. I finally came across a DGX-670 at a Guitar Center, but they wouldn't sell it, instead were using it as a tool to get purchase orders that were 6-8 months out. I played on it and was immediately impressed. It's much more intuitive than it's predecessor the DGX-660, plus very user friendly, on the lines of my CVP-509. The technology that went into this is inspiring with more options of styles and backrounds, rythyms, and voices. I haven't as of yet recorded on this, but certainly will when time permits. The biggest complaint is the speaker wattage output and only one output phone jack. I wish Yamaha would have incorporated stereo jacks to hook up to a amp/speaker system. I did the next best thing and purchased a used Yamaha tower Stagepas 1K for $750 which has it's own mixer and connected it via the phone jack. I haven't perfected the sound, but it definitely improves the sound quality. So, $849 + $750 = $1600, certainly less than the $2500 the other pianos were asking, yet the versatility is much greater with the DGX-670. I like it so much, that I'm going to sell my Yamaha CVP 509. The technology that Yamaha has used in the new DGX is very intuitive and quite simply incredible. You won't be disappointed.
 
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If you decide to step into a keyboard without built in speakers, and are only using the keys for home entertainment, might I suggest skipping the amp and buying a pair of powered studio monitors. The monitors will offer you a more pure listening platform and there are plenty of pre-owned sets on various marketplace websites for sale. For instance, I recently sold a pair of PreSonus E8's for $300 and they would satisfy most home keyboard players with a superb stage of studio quality sound. If you need a little more thump, you can always add a sub later...but a pair of 8's should do the trick for your needs. Good luck!
 
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Hello all,


I’m new here and I apologize if this has been asked a million times (I really did look through the first 4-5 pages of the forum) but I’m looking for recommendations for a keyboard purchase


I am a hobbyist musician at best; I’m 50ish, do not play in a band, job is demanding so I’m tired, and I just like to play music on my own. I’ve played guitar for 35 years and am a decent musician; I’m not professional but I sound better than the average guy out there, especially when I can practice. Anyways, I bought a cheap Yamaha DGX 500 keyboard off of craigslist a year ago just to goof around on and I love it. The challenge of a new instrument and learning piano songs that were hard to convert to guitar has been awesome.


It’s time to think about upgrading and here’s my dilemma. I am pretty sure I’m going to just upgrade to the latest DGX which is currently the DGX 670. It’s probably more than I need and should work well for me. It’s currently listed at $849, but for a little more I can get into the low end professional type of keyboard. I'm not talking about the 4k or 5k instruments; I’m thinking a Roland Juno DS88 or a Yamaha MX88 which hopefully find a used one for around $1k. Here are my questions which are hard to answer nowadays because you can’t just go play these at a store anymore (or it’s not so easy post-covid):

-Is the DGX 670 just a higher quality toy keyboard? Is it professional quality in sound and playability?

-Does the DGX work with DAW? I might be interested in recording.

-Upgrading to the Juno DS88 or MX88 would require a keyboard amp right? Is this a big PITA to setup? How expensive is a decent small keyboard amp? I'll have to admit that just turning a keyboard on and starting to play with internal speakers is attractive.

-Is the extra functionality of these professional keyboards really only good for professional musicians who gig?


The only reason I’m thinking of a higher end keyboard is portability and possibly recording. I would hate to go DGX and then in a couple years start looking at upgrading again.

Any recommendations or experiences would be appreciated.
 
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Hello all,


I’m new here and I apologize if this has been asked a million times (I really did look through the first 4-5 pages of the forum) but I’m looking for recommendations for a keyboard purchase


I am a hobbyist musician at best; I’m 50ish, do not play in a band, job is demanding so I’m tired, and I just like to play music on my own. I’ve played guitar for 35 years and am a decent musician; I’m not professional but I sound better than the average guy out there, especially when I can practice. Anyways, I bought a cheap Yamaha DGX 500 keyboard off of craigslist a year ago just to goof around on and I love it. The challenge of a new instrument and learning piano songs that were hard to convert to guitar has been awesome.


It’s time to think about upgrading and here’s my dilemma. I am pretty sure I’m going to just upgrade to the latest DGX which is currently the DGX 670. It’s probably more than I need and should work well for me. It’s currently listed at $849, but for a little more I can get into the low end professional type of keyboard. I'm not talking about the 4k or 5k instruments; I’m thinking a Roland Juno DS88 or a Yamaha MX88 which hopefully find a used one for around $1k. Here are my questions which are hard to answer nowadays because you can’t just go play these at a store anymore (or it’s not so easy post-covid):

-Is the DGX 670 just a higher quality toy keyboard? Is it professional quality in sound and playability?

-Does the DGX work with DAW? I might be interested in recording.

-Upgrading to the Juno DS88 or MX88 would require a keyboard amp right? Is this a big PITA to setup? How expensive is a decent small keyboard amp? I'll have to admit that just turning a keyboard on and starting to play with internal speakers is attractive.

-Is the extra functionality of these professional keyboards really only good for professional musicians who gig?


The only reason I’m thinking of a higher end keyboard is portability and possibly recording. I would hate to go DGX and then in a couple years start looking at upgrading again.

Any recommendations or experiences would be appreciated.
Hi,

I have been where you are and I rented each of the 'boards I desired from Long & Mcquade for a few weeks each to try them out. I liked the Yamaha PSR mid range and the similarly priced Roland, but finally settled for a new Korg pa500, and within a year upgraded with a used Korg pa600, which I've realy enjoyed. I like playing along with a suitable Style, and Korg has the instrument mix and the solid drum kits that 'drive' the music that suits my musical tastes. Long & Mcquade gave me my rental costs as a credit for the purchase, so it was not a loss to rent. They may provide a similar credit to you too. (to be fair, our family had school band rentals from Long & Mcquade going back 20 years, so being a long term customer may be an issue, but check them out.)

good hunting
 
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Thank you all for your replies; there was some good information. I went out to a couple music stores and was able to play the MX88 and Juno DS88 and both were very nice. The Juno felt and sounded wonderful to me; that is my dream keyboard at this point. I would like to play the DGX 670 and there were a couple stores who said it would be in stock soon.

Realistically, I think my target is the DGX 670 unless I see a great deal on one of the others. The only thing I wish it had was 1/4 outputs to connect to a PA or speakers, but other than that it fits the level of player that I am. I'm not opposed to buying used through a reputable dealer so you never know, if I can find a deal to help offset the purchase of some powered speakers.

This is a great resource, thanks again to all for helping me with the age old question.
 
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ratrob. Had my DGX670 now for 6 months, still coming to term just how good it sounds, voices are excellent.​

(I always use Headphones, my preference).​

Expect to get frustrated with the DGX OS Menu, just give yourself some time to use it.
 
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Thank you all for your replies; there was some good information. I went out to a couple music stores and was able to play the MX88 and Juno DS88 and both were very nice. The Juno felt and sounded wonderful to me; that is my dream keyboard at this point. I would like to play the DGX 670 and there were a couple stores who said it would be in stock soon.

Realistically, I think my target is the DGX 670 unless I see a great deal on one of the others. The only thing I wish it had was 1/4 outputs to connect to a PA or speakers, but other than that it fits the level of player that I am. I'm not opposed to buying used through a reputable dealer so you never know, if I can find a deal to help offset the purchase of some powered speakers.

This is a great resource, thanks again to all for helping me with the age old question.
Advice: do not buy any keyboard that does not have "L (mono) / R stereo" dual outputs. You will never get a good sound with a keyboard that only has a single "headphones / output" jack. Even with the very best keyboard amp using a Y cable splitter to 2 amp channels, the sound will not be good.
 

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