Best keyboard under $1000


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I am currently an intermediate level piano player and am looking to purchase a new keyboard. I started playing on a Casio Ctk-4200 which is a entry level piano with 61 keys. It was perfect to learn the fundamentals but now I feel like I need more keys as well as better sounds. At this point I would like to spend less than $1000 on a solid keyboard. I am looking to keep it long term so I want to make the correct choice. Ive been looking at the Yamaha MX88 as well as the Korg Kross but they both look quite old and am unsure if I should consider them. Ive heard that 88 weighted keys are essential. I also need it to be reasonably portable I am open to buying used keyboards if it is worth it. Thanks!
 
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CTK-4200 has speakers, the boards you mentioned do not. Do you have something to play them through? If not, your budget will also have to include some kind of amplification.

And am I correct in assuming you're interested in a wide variety of sounds? (not just mostly piano sounds)
 
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If you're going to use the new keyboard as a PIANO, then discard your interest in ANY of the keyboards with LESS than 76 keys. To the best of my knowledge/experience, there are NO 61-key boards that have weighted keys. You would/should want weighted keys.

Personally, I've always been something of a Yamaha "bigot" and for a budget 88-key, the Yamaha P-125 is a great keyboard and well under your budget threshold. Other manufacturers also make decent 88-key boards, but in my opinion, Yamaha's piano SOUNDS are hard to beat. My "other piano" is a Baldwin SF-10. Started playing in 1951!

Avoid the X-stands and avoid the $15 sustain pedals. If you're going to travel with whatever, depend on Gator bags.

Just my $0.02!
Dave
 
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I am currently an intermediate level piano player and am looking to purchase a new keyboard. I started playing on a Casio Ctk-4200 which is a entry level piano with 61 keys. It was perfect to learn the fundamentals but now I feel like I need more keys as well as better sounds. At this point I would like to spend less than $1000 on a solid keyboard. I am looking to keep it long term so I want to make the correct choice. Ive been looking at the Yamaha MX88 as well as the Korg Kross but they both look quite old and am unsure if I should consider them. Ive heard that 88 weighted keys are essential. I also need it to be reasonably portable I am open to buying used keyboards if it is worth it. Thanks!
I'm a professional musician and I'm finding that I really enjoy playing the Korg Kross 2 88 key model. I'd probably enjoy the 61-key as well, and I may get it eventually because of its size and for live use. I bought the 88 used on eBay and it was very reasonable in near-perfect condition and still in the same box. This product has a lot of bang for the buck. Although I love Yamaha( I own a Motif and MOXF6) for some reason the Kross has really moved me, with all its versatility, ease of use, and the fact it's so damn light to carry! That weight issue was a major selling point for me. My advice to you would be do your research, try out the keyboards in the store, and see which one you like best. Everybody has a personal preference. If you are learning real piano repertoire, then of course you will need 88 keys.
As anotherscott mentioned, though, you will need an amplifier to hear your instrument. And unless you want to perform live with various sound choices/patches, you may want to go the digital piano route-- a keyboard without all the bells and whistles.
 
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I am currently an intermediate level piano player and am looking to purchase a new keyboard. I started playing on a Casio Ctk-4200 which is a entry level piano with 61 keys. It was perfect to learn the fundamentals but now I feel like I need more keys as well as better sounds. At this point I would like to spend less than $1000 on a solid keyboard. I am looking to keep it long term so I want to make the correct choice. Ive been looking at the Yamaha MX88 as well as the Korg Kross but they both look quite old and am unsure if I should consider them. Ive heard that 88 weighted keys are essential. I also need it to be reasonably portable I am open to buying used keyboards if it is worth it. Thanks!
I have an MX88 and couldn't be happier. Korg's got great stuff too but I'm just a Yamaha guy. Not sure what you mean by looking old. Weighted keys are essential if you're looking for something that resembles a piano.
 
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Thanks guys for all the replies, I do indeed want more of the features that digital pianos seem to lack. From what I hear it's between an mx88 and a Kross. Is there a significant difference between Kross and Kross 2? What about the Juno? Are there any upper end models that I should look for used? I do have speakers but will mostly be using headphones.
 
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Korg Kross 2 88
I'm a professional musician and I'm finding that I really enjoy playing the Korg Kross 2 88 key model.
+1...

Ive been looking at the Yamaha MX88 as well as the Korg Kross but they both look quite old and am unsure if I should consider them.
The Kross 2 88 is not old, was only launched late 2017.

Others to consider for your budget would the Casio PX-560M, which has quite beefy built-in speakers, or the new Casio PX-S3000, also with speakers but not as powerful. The PX-S3000 comes with a new app from Casio that is quite interesting when you want to learn the piano.

Similar to the Kross 2 would be the Roland Juno DS 88, but both are more workstations/synths than digital pianos, whereas the Casio boards are more piano oriented (which, I assume, you're looking for).

If you want a digital piano with a really high quality keybed action, then I suggest you take a look at the Korg D1 : it's got Korg's best keyboard action, but the downside is that it hasn't got internal speakers and not a lot of sounds, and you can't split the keyboard. Still, it's only half your budget so that would leave you more than enough money to get some decent speakers or an amp, and you can always add sounds in software, iPad, DAW or whatever.

Others to consider are maybe the Kurzweil SP6 : haven't played it so can't comment, but have heard lots of good things about it.

Personally, I'm very fussy about the keybed, so my money would be on the Korg D1, best keybed of all the ones I've named, but it's quite basic so you're actually paying for the keybed and not much more (although if piano's really your thing, the built-in sounds are more than enough). But if you can stretch your budget (quite a bit), then you should look at the Kawai MP7SE. I think, for the money, it's got the best 'piano feel' of them all.

This is my personal view : I'm only getting back into music after a very long time and didn't really know what kind of keyboard I wanted. All the reviews on Youtube and reviews on the net made me salivate when I saw what you can do with modern keyboards (all of these were workstations). So I have bought several over the past few months, and sent every single one back, except for the Kross 2 88, which somehow has grown on me. But honestly, if piano is your main interest, don't bother with workstations and keyboards with large screens, they'll just confuse you. A good digital or stage piano and an iPad on the music rest is all you'll need. But don't take my word for it ;)

Edit : just seen your last post, suggesting you need more features than digital pianos can provide. You'd be looking at workstations, then.
 
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I am currently an intermediate level piano player and am looking to purchase a new keyboard. I started playing on a Casio Ctk-4200 which is a entry level piano with 61 keys. It was perfect to learn the fundamentals but now I feel like I need more keys as well as better sounds. At this point I would like to spend less than $1000 on a solid keyboard. I am looking to keep it long term so I want to make the correct choice. Ive been looking at the Yamaha MX88 as well as the Korg Kross but they both look quite old and am unsure if I should consider them. Ive heard that 88 weighted keys are essential. I also need it to be reasonably portable I am open to buying used keyboards if it is worth it. Thanks!
It depends on how piano-like action you feel you need: trust me, I've never seen a keyboard that has anything like the heft of a grand piano action (even the 'upright grand' I practiced on for 18 years didn't prepare me for grand pianos). One issue is that, even with clever mechanical design, there's no substitute for mass which translates into weight - the antithesis of portability. If you use split keyboard a lot then 88 keys is good although a full organ split would be 112 keys. I'm one of those guys who prey on the overambitious ready to sell their keys at a discount - in one case because a full 88 keys 'took up too much space'. I found the DGX-650 ($600 slightly used) an upgrade from a DGX-505 largely because of the improved weighting of the keys - comparable to an apartment size spinet piano - but actually had to purchase another keyboard - NP-V60 ($140) - in order to have something that was more realistically portable and ran on batteries, to take to the cottage. The Piagerro is, as the name suggests, very light (although surprisingly has no provision for easy carrying) but they keys are quite decent considering the weight of the keyboard, though obviously action is light but a lot nicer than simple sprung keys. The reason I mention this keyboard is that it's only 76 keys which has the advantage of better portability and the E--G range is better than a low C with split, most of the time (in 10 grades of classical piano I never found use for all 88 keys in that repertoire). Maybe it's just me, but I find that the more recent offerings under $1000 don't number key action among their good features.
 
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As you want more features than a digital piano then you seem to be wanting a synth/workstation so I will ignore DP’s.

I have had a Kross 2 since it was launched two years ago and I love mine but it is the 61 key version and at 8 lbs in weight it has a far smaller body and far less weight than its competitor which is the Roland Juno DS. What the Kross 2 excels at is layering instruments and each of which is very easily customised to enhance the overall sound.

Do take note that all Korg’s come with a very neutral setup and work is needed to enhance the overall sound(s). So if you find some sounds lacking you can delve into the menu system and tweak the settings.

At this point I will state that I do not rate Yamaha as a quality manufacturer, yes their sounds are good in part and some keybeds have a great feel but their build, and the look of the plastic which seems as though it was bought in from the lowest tenderer with zero regard to quality of materials. Worst of all is Yamaha’s terrible menu system which typically has levels and levels to go through to get to what you want. I find Yamaha sounds other than piano to be shrill and harsh and the sound is even more pronounced when a Yammy is played back to back with another make.

So I would suggest that you test out the 88 key versions of both the Korg Kross 2 and a Roland Juno DS.

Both Korg and Roland have video tutorials on their Youtube Channels about these two keyboards so do check them out before you visit a music store and you will have a better understanding of the capabilities of each.

One thing you have not advised is what are your aspirations? That can make a difference in what suggestions can be made.

Throwing a curveball if you can visit a music store then when you are there check out a Korg PA700 arranger, it has only 61 keys but everything you could ever need could be in one keyboard with this type of keyboard.
 
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It depends on how piano-like action you feel you need: trust me, I've never seen a keyboard that has anything like the heft of a grand piano action (even the 'upright grand' I practiced on for 18 years didn't prepare me for grand pianos).
Well, no digital piano feels exactly like the real thing but the Kawai MP11SE is pretty darn close...
 
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Current hammer action boards under $1k with a wide variety of sounds:

Casio CDP-S350, PX-S3000, PX-360, PX5S
Korg Kross 88
Roland Juno DS 88 (2nd least portable)
Yamaha DGX660 (least portable), MX88

Besides their sounds and actions, some of the differences include travel weight and overall size, whether they include speakers, whether they have MIDI jacks (convenient if you want to interconnect various devices without using a computer), how many sounds can be split/layered at once, whether you can switch from one sound to another without the first sound cutting out, whether they have pitch bend and modulation controls, whether they function as multizone MIDI controllers, their sequencer and arpeggiator capabilities, their ability to load custom samples, how many and what kinds of pedals you can attach, the number and type of front panel controls they offer (for patch selection, or altering various aspects of the sound as you play)... Nothing has everything, so it's matter of which (if any) of those things matter to you. It may just come down to what you like the sound and feel of.
 

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One more vote for the Roland Juno DS88. Comes in just under budget at $999 USD and can occasionally be found on sale for $100 cheaper.

As mentioned previously you will require external amplification or headphones to hear it. So budget another $200 or so for a keyboard amp or powered studio monitors.

If I might expand on a few features of the DS88 that makes it so great, it has the ability to load sampled sounds and free expansion packs into the board. It has a built in vocoder and mic and line inputs as well as outputs. Interface is uncluttered and simple to work out even without a manual. Most useful tweaking features are in a 4 x 4 knob matrix for live control. Can do layers and splits of up to 16 voices simultaneously. Has over 1200 built in sounds straight out of the box with over a hundred different piano, clav and electric piano sounds. Can hold a note in one voice while switching over to a different sound. Great feeling weighted 88 keys on the DS88 model. Class compliant MIDI interface requires no special drivers so can use with any DAW in any Operating System. Definitely one of the best bangs for the buck on the market today.

And did I mention that it just sounds great?!?! :)

Gary ;)
 
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I am honestly impressed with all the input I've received! From what I hear it would be between the mx88, Kross 2 88, and ds88. Is there any that is significant superior at least in terms of pianos, eps, and some pads? Should I also consider Kross 1? I'm looking to mainly play this at home but it is very possible that I will play live with it. I'm looking to go visit a store and test them out. I also found a used mox8 88 key for $800. Sorry if my questions sound redundant but I see that you guys are way me experienced than me.
 
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MOX8 is a great board... it gives you what the MX88 has and a whole lot more. I'd take that over any of the new boards I listed.
 
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I am pretty sure you must have information overload.

Can I suggest that you list all the keyboards quoted in this thread and write down the Pros and Cons of each so you can then ensure you check out these yourself in the Music Store.

As I stated earlier the Kross 2 cuts out but I did not find this until after I bought it, but as it happens it is no big deal for me and I keep hoping that when Korg do get round to updating the OS that they will rectify this omission. Not that I am expecting it soon, nothing happens quickly with Korg so my best advice on the Kross 2 is to discount it if this cut out is likely to be an issue for you, since its not just the instrument sound(s) that cut out but the Drum pattern and Arp if these are active at the time the Combi or Program is changed.
 
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Yeah will do, the problem is that none seem to be terrible keyboards so i'm having a hard time disregarding them.
This is the list I got so far:
I'll look into these and see their pros and cons, although none seem like terrible choices.
New Purchase ~$1000 :
Yamaha MX88
Roland Juno ds88
Korg Kross2 88
I am a bit hesitant to buy used as I get no warranty
Used Purchase ~$1000:
Yamaha Mox8
Yamaha S08
And thats about it, im not familiar with the kurzweil lineup and the roland lineup is too expensive even used.
If I was to buy new when would be the best time to buy them? Do their prices get reduced during holidays or should I buy one now as some are on sale?
I am happy to get any other suggestions please!
 

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There are occasionally good deals to be had during the Black Friday and Boxing Day sales if you keep your eyes open.

Also Winter NAMM 2020 is coming up in January when manufacturers release new models and sometimes the old ones go on clearance.

Also it's often worthwhile to scout out local and online dealers for open box and demonstration units which usually can be had anywhere from 20% to 30% off of retail price with full warranty.

These are your best options for buying on the cheap. :)

Gary ;)
 
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Maybe this could be of interest : new Korg Kross 2 88 MB (Super Matte Black).
Same as the 'normal' Kross 2 88, only with additional pianos, EPs and drum sounds.

No idea about the price but might be slightly higher than the existing one, but shouldn't be that much more.
I really hope they make the new sounds available for existing owners of the Kross 2, or I shall be very annoyed...
 
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I am currently an intermediate level piano player and am looking to purchase a new keyboard. I started playing on a Casio Ctk-4200 which is a entry level piano with 61 keys. It was perfect to learn the fundamentals but now I feel like I need more keys as well as better sounds. At this point I would like to spend less than $1000 on a solid keyboard. I am looking to keep it long term so I want to make the correct choice. Ive been looking at the Yamaha MX88 as well as the Korg Kross but they both look quite old and am unsure if I should consider them. Ive heard that 88 weighted keys are essential. I also need it to be reasonably portable I am open to buying used keyboards if it is worth it. Thanks!
At 86yrs I am a disabled, ex.pro musician with 70 years experience. May I suggest you give some thought to Yamaha NP V80. This is designed in simple terms with easy to operate systems. It is self contained with speakers and small screen, but most of all it is very portable at approx. 7kg or 15lbs. There are 30 songs and 5 recording sets, 127 styles, 76 touch response keys, 165 voices plus reverb and a multitude of editing options. There is provision for 8 sets of 4 registrations and USB input for your own sets and midifiles.
These keyboards are available on line between £230 to £300.
 

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