Best piano sounds synth for under $750

Discussion in 'Keyboard Purchase Recommendations' started by Gingerchesney, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. Gingerchesney

    Gingerchesney

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    Hi all

    Apologies if this question is posted in the wrong place as this is my first post on here.

    I'm desperate to get some solid independent advice on purchasing a keyboard which has the best grand piano sounds but without weighted keys and with built in speakers. I'm hoping to get this all for under $750.

    I'm sure that my price point I may infuriate a fair few of you, and I relise that my expectations might well be too high. However, I'm sure that some of the keyboards that I have been considering are better than others in terms of sound quality, so I thought I would ask some experts.

    In order of importance my wish list is...

    1) standard synth keyboard, non weighted
    2) best in class grand piano sound
    3) built in speakers
    4) 61 or 76 keys
    5) battery powered option but this is not essential. I will forgo this for better quality paino sounds.

    Any advice would be most gratefully accepted.

    Many thanks

    Paul
     
    Gingerchesney, Nov 8, 2015
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  2. Gingerchesney

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    That's simply an impossible laundry list of criteria you have there.

    76 Synth Weighted Keys and "Best in Class" piano sound? Look at stage pianos from Kurzweil, Casio, Nord, Kawai, Yamaha and Korg.

    Built in speakers? Battery powered?

    All for under $750 new?

    Closest thing to meet that list off the top of my head would be the Korg Kross 61. It's battery powered, 61 synth weighted keys, no built in speakers though.

    http://www.amazon.com/Korg-KROSS61-Key-Mobile-Workstation/dp/B00CAKLYDK

    If speakers are a dealbreaker then consider a Korg PA-300.

    http://www.amazon.com/Korg-Pa300-61-key-Arranger-Workstation/dp/B00JH95L04

    In that price range, you'll have your 61 keys and reasonably good piano sounds.

    If you were willing to go for 88 Weighted Hammer Action Keys I'd say go for a stage piano, like the Casio PX-5S or the new PX-360 but you really seem averse to having a proper piano keyboard while having great piano styles.

    http://www.amazon.com/Casio-PX360BK-Key-Digital-Piano/dp/B0130VVOOG

    No matter which you choose in the end, I'd advise auditioning the keyboards in person before pulling the trigger.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Nov 9, 2015
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  3. Gingerchesney

    CowboyNQ

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    I can't think of a single keyboard that would fit all of your criteria.

    Perhaps we start from the other end and try and back solve this one. What do you want to use the keyboard for, and where?
     
    CowboyNQ, Nov 9, 2015
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  4. Gingerchesney

    Gingerchesney

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    That's most helpful Gary and very much appreciated. Do you have a view on any of the Roland or Yamaha equivalents of the above?

    Thanks

    Paul
     
    Gingerchesney, Nov 9, 2015
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  5. Gingerchesney

    Gingerchesney

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    Hi cowboy

    I'm looking for a smallish home keyboard that I can try to get back Into keyboard paying with. When I was a child I trained on Wurlitzer organs but only to very basic standard. Over years I have bought a few pro bits of kit but everything seemed such hard work and I'm trying to get something that I can grab and play anywhere particularly. I don't have gthe luxury of being able to have the keyboard setup on a stand hence having built in speakers. I don't want weighted keys as I have always struggled with them. I do though want the best paino sound that I can get for this money as I will be using that the most.

    Hope this helps

    Thanks

    Paul
     
    Gingerchesney, Nov 9, 2015
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  6. Gingerchesney

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Personally I don't like Yamaha because they refuse to support Linux with their interfaces. That's always been a dealbreaker for me.

    Likewise I'm not too crazy about Roland because they design their keyboards with Volatile Memory instead of ROM for their preset patches meaning that when you do a factory reset on those boards you have to have either a full backup or a factory disk in order to restore the basic sounds.

    Otherwise I'm OK with almost any other brand of keyboard.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Nov 9, 2015
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  7. Gingerchesney

    CowboyNQ

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    Here's the tricky bit:

    I don't know every keyboard ever made, but generally speaking keyboards with built-in speakers are not going to give you the top-quality sound you're after. The speakers themselves become a bit of a limiting factor in most cases, and often these type of keyboards are aimed at a beginner/hobbyist market so again the requirement for brilliant sounds isn't as important. What's not quite clear from your note is a) why you can't have the keyboard on a stand and b) what this has to do with internal vs external speakers? I feel like you'll have to compromise on some of your requirements here.

    Here's the easy bit:

    If you want a lightweight and easily portable keyboard, and also want no more than 76 keys, then these two objectives are 100% compatible with your dislike of weighted action keybeds.
     
    CowboyNQ, Nov 10, 2015
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  8. Gingerchesney

    Gingerchesney

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    Hi
    Hi cowboy

    I don't have any room for the keyboard other than tucked in behind the sofa (don't tell the wife!) so I can't have it on a stand. Likewise the keyboard has to be operational in isolation as I do not have space for an external speaker setup. Or to be more truthful, I have to be able to store the entire setup hidden away when not in use.

    Thanks

    Paul
     
    Gingerchesney, Nov 11, 2015
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  9. Gingerchesney

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    It would honestly be a shame to store a $750 keyboard behind a couch unless you at least buy a case or a gig bag for it.

    Otherwise the dust bunnies will destroy the keybed within a couple of years at most.

    Seriously, try out a Casio CTK-6250 for $299 instead.

    http://www.casiomusicgear.com/products/menu_portable/CTK-6250

    This is the class of instrument you are describing. No it doesn't have world class pianos, but neither does anything else in your price range.

    The best advice any of us could tell you is to save your money and buy one of these instead.

    Plus, you can always hook it up to a laptop or desktop computer and run a world class virtual piano like Pianoteq which would cost you more than the keyboard itself.

    Save your money man,

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Nov 12, 2015
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  10. Gingerchesney

    Gingerchesney

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    Many thanks for the advice Gary

    Perhaps I will take another look at this.

    Best wishes

    Paul
     
    Gingerchesney, Nov 12, 2015
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  11. Gingerchesney

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Yer very welcome Paul,

    You might also want to take a look at some of the VSTi instruments out there as well while yer at it.

    Also consider some of the soundfont players and incorporating them into your system.

    I personally use a soundfont player called Qsynth on a Linux laptop with an Alesis QX49 controller for just noodling around when I'm upstairs in the living room.

    Waldorf also makes some interesting VSTis but many amazing ones can be had as freeware.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Nov 13, 2015
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  12. Gingerchesney

    anotherscott

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    Easy. Yamaha NP31.
     
    anotherscott, Dec 2, 2015
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  13. Gingerchesney

    cpcohen1945

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    OK, an "inexpensive stealth keyboard" . . .

    Yamaha NP31 has halfway decent sounds, and an almost-synth action. If I wanted something in one piece, with speakers, to throw behind the couch, it would be a good choice. It's "speaker-limited" -- sounds much better through proper loudspeakers, or through headphones.

    But why insist on loudspeakers? Why not use headphones? Much smaller (and cheaper) than decent speakers. And you could get into compact synths like the Yamaha MX61 ($500, used, from GuitarCenter). Not "world-class piano sounds", but good enough for most people in most places. And 999 other sounds to choose from.

    Pianoteq software is an interesting alternative. The "stage" version is around $150-$200. _If_ you have a reasonably-fast computer near the keyboard, it would let you use any MIDI keyboard (e.g. M-Audio Keystation 61, under $200) to control it. Use the computer's speakers, if it has them. That setup isn't portable -- you have carry the computer, along with the keyboard. And you have to set this stuff up -- easy if you know your way around computers, can be frustrating otherwise.

    It's time for you to visit some music stores, I think.

    . Charles
     
    cpcohen1945, Dec 2, 2015
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  14. Gingerchesney

    aellison62

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    I agree the Yamaha NP-31 will fulfill most if not all your criteria, it's keys are only slightly weighted, more like a synth, but cpcohen1945 brings up a good point about headphones (unless you want other people to hear you play). With headphones the Yamaha MX61 is an excellent choice and you will get many other quality sounds along with piano. (just not organ ;)
     
    aellison62, Dec 2, 2015
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  15. Gingerchesney

    synthola

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    Id say find a used Yamaha PSR 730 or similar, it will do everything you're asking for. The piano won't sound like an 8 gig sample set on a Kronos, but its a good piano sound none the less. I've used one for years in a band setup and with good amplification it cuts right through a rock band mix. plus you can spill a beer in the board.. I've done it a few times.. And it keeps on playing. Even on batteries lol. When you get ready to move beyond arranger keyboards, and still want to keep a decent budget, try to get your hands on a 61 or 88 key Alesis Fusion keyboard. You would be amazed at the sound libraries available free for this orphaned platform, and there are some amazing piano sets on it as well. Also very good as a sampler and virtual analog synth. You can usually find one on ebay for a few hundred bucks. I bought mine used, will never let it go. Ever!
    Good luck
     
    synthola, Dec 2, 2015
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  16. Gingerchesney

    b3keys

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    Maybe a little late here... The Roland Juno Gi does run on batteries (why they did that I have no idea)... And, I like the Roland Pianos.. (its no Kurtzweil but)... You should be able to pick one up used for around $600 or so.... Has a nice built in recorder... No built in speakers (for that, I think your stuck with Casio....) But the board itself is really lightweight (but rugged)....
     
    b3keys, Dec 3, 2015
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