Keyboard Brands and Sounds

Jul 18, 2007
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Now this is where it get's interested, and basically – it's one of the most important parts in deciding which keyboard to buy. When buying a keyboard you really need to know your budget and what type of music will you play. If you're a pianist, you'll obviously want the best piano sound you can get. If you love to play massive synth solos and shreds then you'll probably want an analog synth... So which brand has the best sounds?

Once again – a question that's impossible to answer. Why? Because it all depends on you and your needs (yes, I said this a hundred times so far, and I probably will say it a couple of times more).

Each brand has something the other doesn't – that's what makes them competitive. So here's a list of things "The big 3" are kinda famous for:

Korg: Great organs and leslie emulation, massive, creamy and lush strings/pads and motion synths, great leads, combining 8/16 sounds in a single combi, tons and tons of user created sounds and programs available on the Internet, horrible piano sounds (M50/M3 have much better pianos than the previous Korg keyboards but still I find them too thin and plonky – especially in a full band mix on a live stage), Korg's arranger keyboards have a bit more natural touch to their styles mainly because of their drumsets.

Yamaha: Beautiful acoustic sounds (pianos, guitars, basses), very recognizable E. Pianos, tons of dedicated buttons, sliders and switches on the front panel, huge RAM expansions (1gb on motifES and motif XS, and up to 2GB on the new XF), combining only 4 voices in a single combi but you get 8-parts voices, great arpeggiators, MegaVoice technology, wide range of arranger keyboards that sound warm... maybe even too warm making them sometimes a bit unnatural (mostly because of their drumset), easy to navigate arrangers.

Roland: Out of "The big 3" brands, I always found Roland to be at the bottom of the chain. It always felt they don't stand out enough to get by Yamaha or Korg noticeably. However, switching Combis/Performances on Rolands won't cut off the previous sounds as it happen on Yamaha and Korg (due to effect switching). The previous sound will continue playing while the new one will become available, Pianos are very good, and the woodwind/brass are excellent. Organs and leslie emulation are terrible though. It's more of a vibrato then a leslie effect.

The rest of the sounds are decent on all keyboards so basically what you need to do is decide which type of sound will you be playing the most. After that you can easily compromise when it comes to other types of sounds.

For example – if you have a stage piano with a great piano sound, you can buy a Korg workstation without even thinking about it for a second. It will be a great addition to your setup and you won't even use the horrible pianos since you have a stage piano already.


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