Can you recommend me a keyboard? I am a songwriter/producer


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Hi,

I am a guitar player and songwrite/producer looking to seriously learn to play keys/piano. I use Ableton Live and want a keyboard to expand my knowledge and options when composing. I want to buy a good keyboard for the next 5-10 years as I am fully committed student. My plan is to dedicate 1-2 hours daily to learn the piano/ keys and get a tool to help me for a long time. My goal is to learn to play in a keyboard of such characteriscs that whenever I get the chance to play an actual piano the weighted hammer keys of the piano are somehow familiar. Example: The Roland FA07 keys similar to the 88 version against the 61 keys light keys.

I have done some research during the past week and been unable to decide on weather I want an arranger or workstation. As I use Ableton I don´t want to pay for technology I won't use.

Mi objective sounds: organs, synths and piano of artists like Pink Floyd, Peter Tosh, , Leonard Cohen's The Future , Vangelis's Blade Runner and R&B, Jazz/Blues. Not interested in great orchestal samples or identical classical piano samples.

I want a keyboard with the following characteristics:

- 73/76 keys keyboard (due to space and transport preferences)
- LIght and portable
-Good action, velocity sensible and quality, semi weighted keys Ex: Roland FA07 (closest to piano knowing the limitation of not buying a 88 keys)
- Good soundbank related to the references above.
- For live use: a keyboard able to store and easily use presets during live performances.
- For studio use: Posibillity of editing sounds and combining them to create a preset and record basic structures.
- MIDI controller usability
- Without (or without good) speakers, drum machines
- Good effects
- Split keyboard capabilities

BUDGET: USD 1000 aprox

I've been looking at the following models but I don't know if there are some cheaper options that meet my requeriments. Somehow I ended reviwing just workstation, but maybe an arranger will do the job for me:

Korg Kross
Korg Kross 2
Yamaha MODX
ROLAND JUNO DS
ROLAND FA 07
ROLAND FANTOM G7
ROLAND FANTOM X7


Is there anything that meets my requeriment but doesn't exceed the USD 1000 bar?

I am willing to invest in a more expensive keyboard if you think that the sound quality and features could be found in keyboard cheaper that the ones I mentioned.

Thank YOU!
 
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Welcome.

Korg Kross is an old model, current Kross 2 is only available in 61 or 88 key versions.

Yamaha MODX 7 with 76 keys blows your budget by $700

Roland FA 7 with 76 keys also blows your budget by $500

The Roland Juno DS 76 is $900 then if you add in for a pair of Mackie or PreSonus or similar powered speakers you are not going to be much over budget.

Arranger, ones of quality only have 61 keys until you get above $3k. Best of the bunch are a Korg Pa700 at c$1300 or Yamaha SX700.

Alternatives are a Numa Compact 2X at $700 these have amp and speakers built in and have 88 semi weighted keys. Do not be put off by the number of keys since as the name suggests they are a compact keyboard.

Sticking with 88 keys and all in one then perhaps a digital piano like a Korg B2 or D1 will be sufficient for you, the D1 with a set of powered speakers should be c$750 or $800 for a Kawaii ES110.
 
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As I said in the other forum where the same query was posted...

FA07 (or other semi-weighteds) still feel nothing like piano keys. You can get hammer action (much closer to piano) feeling keys in numerous boards that have less than 88 keys... unfortunately, to get one that meets your other specs, you'd be well beyond the $1,000 figure.

Short answer to your query: Nothing in your price range is good at everything you want, so you'll need to prioritize. Which are your "must haves" vs. "hope to have" or "nice to also have if possible"?


The Numa Compact 2X mentioned is a decent possibility, especially since, even while not feeling like a piano, it is better for piano than most other semi-weighted boards. Places where it might fall short of your wish list:
...as mentioned, 88 keys, but only about 2 inches wider than the FA-07 and actually smaller in the other two dimensions
...synth functions do not include monophonic/portamento functions, which might be limiting for some of the synth styles you referenced
...its ability to "easily use presets during live performances" is slightly hindered by the fact that you can't program buttons to call up your presets, instead you have to scroll through them with a knob
OTOH, it has above average MIDI functions for a low cost board, so you could get around those last two by adding an iPad, and the cost of the keyboard and iPad combined is still well within your budget.

Since you added some old models to your list, you're probably open to buying something used... maybe you could find and old Nord Stage or Nord Stage EX not too far beyond your price range... the Nord Stage series is probably the single board that best fills your wish list. The 76-key versions have the hammer actions better for piano, but are still above average for organ/synth (as piano actions go). If you end up really preferring semi-weighted actions, look at the 73-key versions.
 
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Short answer to your query: Nothing in your price range is good at everything you want, so you'll need to prioritize. Which are your "must haves" vs. "hope to have" or "nice to also have if possible"?
HI,

Thanks for the reply! I am willing to compromise key action for a keyboard with good samples, editing options and ease of use on stage. My first option is to buy used. I'm even considering getting a 61 keys keyboard. I don't really need the sequencer. I've been looking up some Nord Stage and all are way above my price range.
 
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Sticking with 88 keys and all in one then perhaps a digital piano like a Korg B2 or D1 will be sufficient for you, the D1 with a set of powered speakers should be c$750 or $800 for a Kawaii ES110.
HI,

Thanks for the reply!

I prefer a good keyboard with semi weighted action, good samples (organs, synths) and editing options. I am even considering buying a 61 keys one to save money. My options are: buying used and old model or buying kross2, krome 61 or xps30. I don't know much about keyboards but don't really need a sequencer, I use Ableton Live. I want a model that allows me to play piano, organs and synths with decent keybed.
 
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I suggest you visit a Music Store and have a play of a Roland Juno DS 88.

Then compare all others against this model.

Do watch the Roland video tutorials prior.
 
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I suggest you visit a Music Store and have a play of a Roland Juno DS 88.

Then compare all others against this model.

Do watch the Roland video tutorials prior.
HI,

I don't want an 88 keys keyboard. I'm just considering 61/76 key due to space constraints.
 
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I don't want an 88 keys keyboard. I'm just considering 61/76 key due to space constraints.
Again, you might not want to dismiss the Numa Compact 2X which, even at 88 keys, is only about 2" wider than the FA-07 you mentioned. It also has aftertouch which can be nice for synth work.

I prefer a good keyboard with semi weighted action, good samples (organs, synths) and editing options.
The better organ and synth sounds generally don't use samples. (Pianos usually do, though.)

I am willing to compromise key action for a keyboard with good samples, editing options and ease of use on stage.
Strong on synth and organ sounds (not limited to samples), plus piano, editable, decent ease of use, under $1000, my first choice would probably be Roland VR-09, assuming you're okay doing the deeper editing from an iPad. The VR-730 is basically the same board with more keys and a better feeling action, and might be in your price range used at least.

In second place, I'd put that Numa Compact 2X... better action (than VR09, not necessarily VR730), aftertouch, more editable from the board itself, better MIDI functions, but organ and synth sounds not quite as good as Roland's to my ears, and in some ways it's a bit less live-performance friendly. The Numa plus an iPad for more organ/synth flexibility would still be in budget, but even the organ/synth already in it may be sufficient for you, at least fora good while.

Another pretty good and very well priced possibility would be the recently discontinued Casio XW-P1... it has good on-board editing and MIDI functionality, good sounding and flexible synth, but so-so on piano, so-so on organ. Like on the Numa, you can also use its 9 organ sliders to control a better iPad-based organ if you'd like, and you can also get a better piano sound from the iPad... and nicely, the XW-P1 has a surface that you can put an iPad on, if and when you want to use that as a source for your piano and/or organ sounds. As with the Numa Compact 2X, the XW-P1 and an iPad combined would still be in budget.

kross2, krome 61 or xps30..I want a model that allows me to play piano, organs and synths with decent keybed.
I think Kross (1 or 2) 61, Krome 61, XPS30/DS61 (and aforementioned VR09) do not have what most people would consider decent keybeds for piano, even compared to other semi-weighted actions. The Rolands may be a bit better than the Korgs, though. But they all have an issue where the keys require a lot more force in their rear sections than in their fronts, more so than on many others actions, which makes it hard to control dynamics as you play. You kind of have to try to keep your fingers toward the fronts of the keys, which can be problematic depending on the part you're playing. The semi-weighted action on the Numa Compact 2X also has this issue somewhat but not as badly. Other semi-weighteds can be better still.

I've been looking up some Nord Stage and all are way above my price range.
If you have some leeway in your budget, there's currently a Nord Stage EX 76 on reverb.com for $1500+$175 shipping, but he's open to offers. If you could possibly swing it, that would be my top choice here, if you're okay with it weight 36 lbs which is noticeably heavier than the other options here. But it has the hammer action which better meets your preference of "such characteriscs that whenever I get the chance to play an actual piano the weighted hammer keys of the piano are somehow familiar." Nord also made a non-hammer version that was just 21 lbs, but I don't see any on the market at the moment.
 
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HI,

I don't want an 88 keys keyboard. I'm just considering 61/76 key due to space constraints.
I think that you are missing the point.

The point I am trying to make to you about trying a Roland Juno DS 88 is two fold:-

1 - It gives you a reference keyoard for feel and sound quality

2 - It is within budget at $999

I am not saying that it is the one for you but please play a few weighted 88 key units to get the feel of them, then do the same with other semi weighted and synth action keyboards, just ignore the prices and features it is just getting the feel of the difference keybeds that is the main purpose.

You should find that there are weighted and then there are weighted, there are many differences between weighted keyboards and many differences in other keybeds.

as an example if you were buy a keyboard with synth action and no aftertouch you would grow to regret it.

I totally agree with Scott, the Kross keybed leaves a lot to be desired and if you try one they are very similar to a Roland DS 61 keybed.
 

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Likewise the DS76 is unweighted synth action.

If you want real piano feel for under $1000 USD with less than 88 keys then you are SOL.

Gary ;)
 
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Studiologic SL73 Studio, connected to an iPad, could probably fill the bill. There's also the Yamaha P121, but it's weaker as a MIDI controller.
$500 and it makes perfect sense.

Ableton already used so ready access to all the instruments within.

Add in software like Arturia V collection for all the classic keyboard sounds.

Lightweight and only 50” long.

Easy to transport and plug it in to an iPad or iPhone for playing anywhere.

Buy a MacBook and have Main Stage ( c$50 ) and have 6Gb of instrument sounds available and a live performance interface readily available.

My Kross 2 is going on eBay later and I may be tempted to get one of these or a Compact 2X myself.
 

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