Help selecting weighted 88-key that's great for 80's AOR/power/prog/strings/orch


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Hello, I'm looking to get a new keyboard, but I'm not quite sure exactly what style I should be looking for (keyboard, synthesizer, stage, portable, workstation, digital piano, etc). I'm hoping if I can describe my primary uses, you might be able to suggest a few models.

My primary use cases are

1. Playing movie soundtracks, so I want a good selection of good sounding strings/orchestra preset tones, including octave strings.

2. Playing synth/keyboard sounds from 80's rock/AOR, progmetal and powermetal. So I want a good selection of these synth preset tones you might hear in bands like journey, dream theater, stratovarius, etc.

3. Running backing track (drum/bass/rhythm) off the keyboard while jamming on guitar or keys.

4. Recording out to PC for recording/composition.

5. Composing drums using keydrums.

6. Playing in the living room, but I won't rule out someday taking it somewhere to play.


Requirements,

1. Not tied to a piece of furniture. I won't move it a lot, but I'd want something that's a standalone keyboard so it could be moved more easily.

2. Good realistic key dynamics and weight. It doesn't have to be top of the line realistic feel, but it should be closer in weight and throw to a real piano vs. a cheap keyboard. I definitely want good dynamics, it should respond to soft/hard presses, and be able to depress and do partial re-tapping, etc.

3. Supports 3-pedal accessory. Or at least the two sustain pedals.

4. Recording out (XLR, etc)

5. Great selection of the strings/metal synth sounds out of the box/presets. I don't want to spend time creating my own presets, I'd like to just power on and play.

6. 88-keys


Optional:

1. Build in speakers if they are good quality/fill a living room. I'm not opposed to external speakers if the right keyboard for me doesn't have them.

2. Some more advanced accompaniment features. Like a automatic accompaniment or arpegiator. I don't do any of that now, but maybe someday in the future it would be something I might get into. I probably won't ever be doing those live layering methods. But just some backing tracks that might be a level above the basic 4 drum fills plus lead-in/lead-out in a style (Which is my basic requirement.



Thanks,
 
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3dc

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Jedi you are even worst then me. You would like to have an all in one super keyboard-synth-DAW machine with 120W monitors and dedicated button for automatic hit song creation. No such thing on the market I am afraid. :)
Unfortunately you didn't mention the most important thing and that is your budget. Around 1000 bucks there are some excellent 61 keys arranger keyboards like Korg Pa700 and Yamaha PSR-SX700. In 88 keys area you can start with Yamaha DGX660 which is a hybrid between arranger and digital "portable" piano (28 kg o_O). From there you can go with Roland JunoDS, Yamaha MX88 but these have no speakers. Check YouTube video reviews if these keyboards make any sense to you.
Take care!
 
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Wellcome.

Starting off with your last Optional, the advanced accompaniment feature, you are presently not going to find this feature in any 88 key keyboard. The nearest is the DGX660 that 3dc quotes in their post but this has limited functionality.

For this feature you will be at the 76 key versions of the Korg PA4X or Yamaha Genos. Lesser Arrangers have only 61 keys, they are still capable instruments but even the Korg PA700 or Yamaha SX700 is going to be about $1500.

One thing you have not advised is your budget, if this is not an issue then look at Korg Kronos, Roland Fantom, plus Yamaha and Kursweil models but I am thinking there will be a budget limit.

Consider these sub $1500 units:-
Roland FA8
Roland juno DS 88
Yamaha MODX8
Korg Krome 88 EX
Korg Kross 2 88

At the level of the Yamaha DGX there is also a Casio PX S3000 and Korg XE20 to consider but all these have very limited onboard sounds compared to the workstations above.
 
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Starting off with your last Optional, the advanced accompaniment feature, you are presently not going to find this feature in any 88 key keyboard. The nearest is the DGX660 that 3dc quotes in their post but this has limited functionality.

Actually the korg xe20 has the automatic accompaniment feature and the korg kross 2 88 has the arpeggiator. So I think I can find at least most of those features in 88-key keyboards that aren't dedicated arrangers.



I've been trying to find good u-tube vids, but the vast majority only focus on the piano sounds. I'm also really interested in just how easy it is to power-on and play.

But I'm really liking what I hear on the korg kross 2 88 vids. Check out the totally 80's synth tones and the "stranger things" arpeggiator and a 700+ presets with synth pad/lead/strings. And there's combi function which add backing accompaniment with presets. And multiple presets are layerable. It's got knobs to adjust effects on the fly. It seems to cover all my needs plus bonus features.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CH5...1qGiW3oK9-PjtdU-xT6uiiGk0SFgKeNdWtfcye0o

Downsides is that some reviews say the key feel isn't the best, and the regular piano tones aren't the best. The Roland equivalent is the DS88 which has the matte ivory-feel keys.

The reviews I've seen with the yamaha's seems to indicate they're a bit more out of date, they haven't had major sound engine/design updates as recently. And the larger selection of GX presets are all older stock lower quality presets.

But sincd its hard to trust online reviews and find good youtbe vids I'm hoping for some help. Plus I havent figured out all the yamaha/casio/kawai/nord models yet to know if they have a good contender.
 
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I did have a Korg Kross 2 for a couple of years, the sounds are good, the layers or Combinations as Korg calls them are very useful.

I only had the 61 key version so cannot comment on the 88 key version.

Downside is the menu system which runs to 20+ pages on each instrument sound which means it can take forever to fine tune a Combi.

Watch the Korg Video Manual series on the Kross 2 for a feature by feature explanation of the keyboard
 

happyrat1

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With that kind of budget take a look at the Roland RD-2000 or Korg Krome or Roland FA-08

Gary ;)
 
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I too tried to find everything in an 88 note keyboard last year, I researched and tried everything on the market and settled on a Nord Stage 3 as it was the best at most of the things I wanted from an 88 note keyboard - it would provide the arpeggiator you are after but not the accompaniment. I ended up getting a Yamaha Genos for that but a cheaper option would be maybe be an external Midi unit, something like a Roland Bk-7m or whatever the current version is. I hardly use the Genos though because I get so much enjoyment from just playing the Nord.
 

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