Help Choosing New Keyboard—Roland Juno DS88?


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I'm here researching and hoping someone could offer advice on a keyboard purchase? I have two young sons and we've been teaching them piano for a few years (more seriously the past 18 months). I know nothing about music or instruments so we rely on videos, books, etc. Thus, I am not good at choosing instruments. They're only ages 7 and 10 so they don't know too much about assisting in an instrument choice either. Our Casio LK280 has stopped functioning. We also have a Yamaha ew300. Recently, I bought them an old used upright piano from the 1900s that works pretty good, but they use the keyboards along with synthesia for practice.

The Casio really didn't last long. Instead of another $150-300 keyboard, I thought perhaps I would try to invest in something around $1000. I have been reading a great deal and found various forum responses with others posting similar questions / comparisons over the years (eg comparing Roland DS88 to Yamaha MX88 and trying to choose) etc. One great thread mentioned that if the user were purely interested in piano sound they should consider some other models (instead of DS88) that they then listed some of those options. Since we have a piano too I thought perhaps a synthesizer might open up some opportunities for the boys instead of a purely "piano" type keyboard. Hopefully one or both would want to perform at some point so my thought was to choose something that would be portable and could be used for performance, too. The DS88 seemed to fit this purpose?

What are your thoughts on the DS88? Is there a more updated model or one that would be more appropriate than the Roland Juno DS88? One post from 2017 had mentioned the DS88 lacked Supernatural and has an older version of a weighted key system, but didn't really offer an alternative (and, I'm not sure if those are concerns that would impact us much). I am trying to keep the purchase in a range of 800-1200 or so. Thank you in advance.

P.S. I don't know if their skill level matters in this choice much? And, I am so ignorant of this topic that I am not sure how to communicate that to you all. The 7 year old can almost play most of Linus and Lucy without too many mistakes and the oldest is a bit behind him on that. They can play Jurassic Park theme song mostly. Perhaps that helps yield some context to their abilities (if it's relevant).
 
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happyrat1

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The DS88 is a great instrument worthy of a professional artist.

That being said, if your kids are disciplined enough and mature enough to take proper care of the board they will be able to enjoy it for a decade or more.

As for newer models coming out? In a couple of weeks it will be time for Winter NAMM 2020 and many of the big manufacturers will be introducing their newest models.

However, this also means large discounts on discontinued models.

My advice is to wait a few weeks before asking this question again.

Gary ;)
 
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Hey there Gary, great info and advice. I'll look into the NAMM and waiting a bit. Thank you so much
 
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The Juno really is a great keyboard.

I have reservations about children learning on such a sophisticated keyboard which has so many sounds, features and functions that if discipline is lacking then it would be very easy to just spend hours exploring all the options and the massive range of adjustments available to each sound that effective learning how to play will take a back seat.

I would suggest considering a better quality digital piano by Roland, Kawaii, Korg, Yamaha or Kursweil. If fully weighted keys are a bit to much for the children then consider a Korg B2N which has a lighter key action.

BTW
Your 1900’s upright, do you mean it is an acoustic model? If so you do need to invest in a degree of maintenance to keep it sounding the best it can and for it to be tuned.
 
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Hi Biggles, I share your concerns on the various options perhaps overwhelming them initially but thought they would be something to investigate,learn, and grow into. They're well disciplined and I would probably find some training resources to help them explore the various options. This year I changed them to E-School and the free time is used for additional daily focus on music, art, etc, so there's considerable time dedicated to these activities. I'll check some other models, too, though--perhaps it's too early for the Juno.

The 1900s upright has a few issues (few keys don't work). I think I found a local person to tune it when necessary. I am uncertain if it's "acoustic". It's a Merrill (Boston) if that helps? I will put a picture here of it. We thought it would help give them some exposure to weighted keys etc. Got it for $100 on Craigslist so I didn't have to invest a lot into it (except it was horrendously difficult to move - ugh - learned my lesson).
Thank you for the recommendations and bringing up these concerns. Much appreciated.
 

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happyrat1

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Yes the Upright Piano is "Acoustic" as opposed to "Electronic" or "Electric".

Actually considering the age of the kids and how much they need to learn about music theory and practice their best be might be a Casio Privia PX-160 or a PX-360 if they need a few more options to play around with.


These are excellent electronic pianos with enough bells and whistles to keep the kids from growing bored while being much easier on the wallet than a DS88.

They sell for roughly half the price of a Juno and they are very popular among piano teachers for beginner to intermediate students.

Gary ;)
 
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Actually considering the age of the kids and how much they need to learn about music theory and practice their best be might be a Casio Privia PX-160 or a PX-360 if they need a few more options to play around with.
That touch screen is very interesting. I'll definitely consider these two Casio boards. Appreciate you mentioning NAMM. I will wait till after that and see if anything drops in price! Thanks much.
 

happyrat1

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Be advised that manufacturers showcase new products at NAMM, but tend to actually ship product a few weeks or months later.

Be prepared to wait a month or two after NAMM to see lines discontinued and marked down :)

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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This year NAMM runs from Jan. 16th. to Jan. 19th.


Gary ;)
 
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It can take many months before new models find their way into showrooms or for the pre-ordered product to be delivered.

A 5 month wait in the case of a Korg Pa 1000
 
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Hello Aporia,

As someone who started learning 'Keyboards' at age 16 and now, I have an 11 year old also learning to play the keyboard, I understand your dilemma. Since I am from India, we also have a family tradition of playing the 'Harmonium' - now this makes us good with our right hand, but afraid not very good with the left. As someone who learnt on a synth-action instrument, I cannot emphasise enough the need to have a proper weighted 88 key instrument, if Piano is what one needs to learn - hence my purchase of the Juno DS 88 in addition to an arranger keyboard that has synth action.

That being said, I have a slightly different point of view - since you already have a Piano (may need some servicing and tuning), why don't you look at an 'arranger type' instrument? - The Privia series from Casio or the Yamaha DGX 660, perhaps? - With 88 weighted keys, this will also help the kids explore accompaniment, may be practice vocals and so on - I have played the DGX 660 and it is quite impressive for what it does.
 
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Actually considering the age of the kids and how much they need to learn about music theory and practice their best be might be a Casio Privia PX-160 or a PX-360 if they need a few more options to play around with.
+1.

I have a PX-350, the predecessor of the PX-360. IMHO, it has all the bells and whistles that your kids can handle, and then some. A nice weighted-key action, decent piano sounds, and "arranger" functions -- rhythms, orchestral accompaniment patterns, auto-chording, etc.

The Yamaha DGX-650 (out of production) or DGX-660 would be about as good.

Asking about a DS88, for two kids who are just beginning piano study, is like saying:

. . . "Would a Ferrari 512 be a good car for my son's driving lessons?"

If the kids _really want_ to get into sound design and synth playing -- conceivable, in a few years -- get them a "Roland SH-01 Gaia" as a present. That'll be in honor of their practice time on the piano. You can drive the Gaia's sound generator from the Casio PX-360's keyboard (it's harder, with the PX-160), and they can drive you out of the house with its bleeps and bloops and "saw leads".

Have fun --

. Charles
 
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Do take note that Casio has new models PX S1000 at $650 and 3000 at $800 that probably are replacing other models and hence some PX models currently advertised may well essentially be old stock so if you do consider the PX 360 do seek out a bargain. I saw a PX S1000 today and it certainly looked pretty good but it is in a tough market against the Roland, Korg or Yamaha models which are also in the same market segment.

If you have been looking at other threads you may have seen that I have been playing quite a few different keyboards and researching others to have a test play.

On my list of possible purchases for myself that you may also like to consider are:-

Roland FP30
Kawai ES110
Korg D1
Yamaha P125

The Roland is $700 and has their renowned PHA4 key bed and supernatural sound system. I was mightily impressed by the FP30 and for a Korg guy like me that is praise indeed.


I was hoping to try the Kawai myself today but they are in short supply here in the UK shops.

Hope this helps.
 
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I'm here researching and hoping someone could offer advice on a keyboard purchase? I have two young sons and we've been teaching them piano for a few years (more seriously the past 18 months). I know nothing about music or instruments so we rely on videos, books, etc. Thus, I am not good at choosing instruments. They're only ages 7 and 10 so they don't know too much about assisting in an instrument choice either. Our Casio LK280 has stopped functioning. We also have a Yamaha ew300. Recently, I bought them an old used upright piano from the 1900s that works pretty good, but they use the keyboards along with synthesia for practice.

The Casio really didn't last long. Instead of another $150-300 keyboard, I thought perhaps I would try to invest in something around $1000. I have been reading a great deal and found various forum responses with others posting similar questions / comparisons over the years (eg comparing Roland DS88 to Yamaha MX88 and trying to choose) etc. One great thread mentioned that if the user were purely interested in piano sound they should consider some other models (instead of DS88) that they then listed some of those options. Since we have a piano too I thought perhaps a synthesizer might open up some opportunities for the boys instead of a purely "piano" type keyboard. Hopefully one or both would want to perform at some point so my thought was to choose something that would be portable and could be used for performance, too. The DS88 seemed to fit this purpose?

What are your thoughts on the DS88? Is there a more updated model or one that would be more appropriate than the Roland Juno DS88? One post from 2017 had mentioned the DS88 lacked Supernatural and has an older version of a weighted key system, but didn't really offer an alternative (and, I'm not sure if those are concerns that would impact us much). I am trying to keep the purchase in a range of 800-1200 or so. Thank you in advance.

P.S. I don't know if their skill level matters in this choice much? And, I am so ignorant of this topic that I am not sure how to communicate that to you all. The 7 year old can almost play most of Linus and Lucy without too many mistakes and the oldest is a bit behind him on that. They can play Jurassic Park theme song mostly. Perhaps that helps yield some context to their abilities (if it's relevant).
 
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I have been playing keyboards longer than most of you have been alive & won the Yamaha Pop's Festival in the olden days. Like you, I decided to upgrade after 20 years & found a music store selling EVERYTHING---so I gave a try to many keyboards. I then sent my Yamaha PSR 550 in to be totally refurbished, & am proud to have finally made a good decision in my life. It does not have 88 keys, but can easily be shifted up/down an octave. Your kids can play almost any instrument, & easily have the accompaniment of a full range of bands/orchestras. I'm certain this can be said of the new keyboards, but the 550 accomplishes this with the touch of a button instead of extensive programing.
 
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Considering the ages and skill level, and that it's largely for expanding into non-piano work (since you already have a piano), I like the Casio PX-360 suggestion. PX-560 is even nicer with more growth potential, but it's pricier, and it may be a while (if ever) before they grow into wanting its more advanced capabilities. The Yamaha DGX-660 suggestion is good too, except that it's not really so portable.
 
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As for your original question, the DS 88 does have a nice weighted piano action to learn on, as do the others. It has a nice piano sound and a kajillion others. It makes possible some really awesome combinations.

You mentioned Supernatural. That refers to the sound sample and engine for some sounds, particularly the piano sound, that roland puts into their better pianos. The Juno does not have that as you know. That doesn't affect the key action, and the piano sound is still quite nice.
 
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