keyboard for @ or under $300

Discussion in 'Keyboard Purchase Recommendations' started by TheMantis, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. TheMantis

    TheMantis

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    Hello all!
    First post here (yay)!

    Okay so here's the situation. I am trying to purchase a keyboard for my spouse...this seemed like a simple easy task in the beginning. I'm not a musician but I am an IT professional and typically have no issues looking at specs and finding the best option for users needs and price-range. Alas I was WRONG this is NOT and "easy" task by any means.

    I have been reading about keyboards/digital pianos for about a week now and the only thing I have learned is that I know nothing.

    My spouse is a guitar player without a guitar... I WAS going to get him a guitar for Christmas but found that my budget doesn't really meet his needs. So here we are, posting in keyboard forums with a plea for help to scratch a musicians itch (he plays piano as well).

    Here are some things I know are needed:
    Weighted keys
    Ability to plug into his iMac

    I have no idea if he needs more or less keys and if sacrificing keys will give him more useful perks in other areas that might effect bang/quality for buck.

    If you guys have questions I can try and get answered that will help pin this down better please post them in here and I will respond. (like for instance I can get one of his friends to ask his opinion on said question bc they are "buying a keyboard for their _____")
     
    TheMantis, Dec 4, 2018
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  2. TheMantis

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    There is NO SUCH THING as a sub $500 keyboard with weighted keys.

    Your only hope is to check the classifieds on craigslist and find him a used Casio Privia PX-350 or PX-340 or a used Yamaha DGX-640 or DGX-650.

    Even then, be careful it's not too beaten up from use and that every knob, key and button and input/output jack works properly.

    Depending on where you live you might find one around $350 USD with no taxes because it's used.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 4, 2018
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  3. TheMantis

    Biggles

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    Welcome

    All was going well until you wrote ... weighted keys ..... that generally signifies a full sized 88 keys and much more cash than your budget so I will ignore that element.

    Would you let him buy you a new dress or pair if shoes?

    Guessing the answer is a resounding NO.

    Same thing with a guy and their musical instruments.

    So perhaps a voucher or an account set up at your nearest music store or a card with an IOU for $300 to spend at say Sweetwater Music so he can choose what he wants, he could even get a guitar for that price. A Fender Sonoran electro acoustic is a great low cost guitar, @$300. An Epifone G400 is like a Gibson SG and is $300. A Squire Strat for under $300. So there are guitars that he could buy for your budget that are pretty good.

    A different tack, a MIDI keyboard controller will enable him to make music using his PC or iPad.

    Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol 61keys at $250

    Arturia Keylab Essential 61 @ $250

    Yet another tack going back to your original question

    Casio CT X3000 @ $300 is spot on budget, it has 61 keys and gets great reviews.
     
    Biggles, Dec 4, 2018
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  4. TheMantis

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    I wouldn't suggest any of the Casio CT-X line these days. Looking at the specs none of them have true MIDI ports. That makes them toys in my eyes no matter how good they may sound.

    A real piano player would not appreciate the 61 unweighted keys either.

    The Privias and the DGX I mentioned have true piano weighted 88 keys.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Dec 4, 2018
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  5. TheMantis

    SeaGtGruff I meant to play that note! Moderator

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    The M-Audio Hammer 88 is about the only 88-note keyboard with weighted keys that I can think of which comes anywhere near the desired price range-- but it costs about $400 new, not $300. It's a controller rather than an instrument, so it doesn't make any sounds by itself. Fortunately, it does come with virtual instrument software.

    As Gary/happyrat1 said, you might be able to find a used DGX or Privia model for about $300, although I doubt if you could get a used DGX-600 series model for that cheap; more likely it would be a used DGX-500 series model. The DGX-530 (also marketed as the YPG-535) sells for about $500 new, and you could probably get a used one-- or maybe an earlier model-- for about $300. The keybed isn't as good as the DGX-660's, and the polyphony is a lot less (32 notes at once), but the keys are weighted. One nice thing about a DGX or YPG model is that it would have plenty of voices to choose from, as well as the ability to play styles or auto accompaniments.

    Yamaha also has the P series, with the P71 being the least expensive 88-key model with weighted keys-- $400 new. It's the same as the P45, which costs $450, but the P71 is sold exclusively through Amazon.

    Casio has the PX-160 for the same price-- $400 new.

    The P71 or PX-160 would have a lot fewer voices than a DGX or YPG.
     
    SeaGtGruff, Dec 5, 2018
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  6. TheMantis

    Biggles

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    For $300 a guitar player wants a guitar.

    Second hand keyboards can be fraught with problems whereas a secondhand guitar is very easily sorted. As long as the neck is true any minor electric problem is easy and cheap to remedy.

    I have bought and sold ten guitars from/on eBay and if any of them had problems that were not shown in the listing then the seller had to pay for the guitars return.

    Of the ten I have bought, one had a warped neck, one arrived with badly worn frets, one had a a mass of corroded cabling and shot at pickups and one arrived damaged due to poor packaging.

    If you must buy second hand only do so if the seller pays for returns if that has to happen.

    Far better to buy from a local music store even if it is second hand
     
    Biggles, Dec 5, 2018
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  7. TheMantis

    RobG

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    Actually if they are in the USA Guitar Center has their Williams brand one that is normally just over $500 that they frequently discount at holiday time to under $500. Though it doesn't go as low as the original poster's $300 budget.

    There are semi-weighted midi controllers in your budget like the M-Audio Keystation 88 MKII which is around $200, or I think they have a weighted controller for about $400. I think a fully weighted keyboard would be about double what you want to spend.
     
    RobG, Dec 5, 2018
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  8. TheMantis

    TheMantis

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    Thank you all for the input!

    Some of you made some comments that "a guitar player would want a guitar" and I too originally assumed such. Simply put my spouse is not a "take what you get" kind of person when it comes to guitars also I think a guitar is like a wand....it chooses you (hes not the first musician in my life).

    He is not an avid piano/keyboard player, no formal lessons and no history of playing piano regularly. But he does like to play and knows how. (.....he goes to guitar center like its a public library just to get his hands on some instruments for a bit)

    I had been tossing the idea of a keyboard around as a gift but was unsure until i finally poked around on what he would think was a good gift and it was part of the list of ideas and interests he presented.

    My goal is to put some music in his hands.

    I like the idea of the 61 key MIDI and I think he would too.

    I guess I was confused as some of the keyboards I was looking at advertised key settings to set the weight... I suppose that isn't a true weighted key though.

    I'm just trying to give him something that is going to get used and might last awhile. Something he isn't going to feel like is a toy?

    Like I said he isn't an avid keys player (did I even say that right..who knows haha).

    You all really have been most helpful and if there is any further input I am all ears.
     
    TheMantis, Dec 5, 2018
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  9. TheMantis

    Rayblewit Love Music / Love Life

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    Welcome @TheMantis

    As Biggles said buying a keyboard for a muso could be tricky. To be honest if it was my wife buying for me i would bet my house she would have no idea what make and model would suit my style.
    So I got thinking along those lines and thought what would she do in your circumstance.
    The answer: :eek:
    She would ask the music store for a special deal. as follows . .
    You might be abe to do a deal with your local music shop. Ask for 14 day trial on one which you choose (upon recommendations) subject to exchange. This will give your man a good tryout and if he prefers better or different then he can exchange it to suit his desire.

    Eveyone is a winner.
    The music store gets a sale.
    Hubby gets a new toy.
    You get a big hug and kiss.

    Oohhh!:D
    Ray
     
    Rayblewit, Dec 5, 2018
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  10. TheMantis

    TheMantis

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    Maybe its the generation I'm from... or maybe I'm just paranoid, but I don't exactly trust people trying to sale me things. I'm a gatherer of information, a researcher, a penny pinching price comparing, frugal individual.

    The more I look the more I think he would probably have the most fun and use out of a MIDI controller..

    so.....anyone have recommendations on a MIDI controller with at @ or under $300 ^.^

    Thinking 61 keys? input welcome
     
    TheMantis, Dec 5, 2018
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  11. TheMantis

    Biggles

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    As I wrote earlier two MIDI keyboards to consider.

    Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol 61keys at $250

    Arturia Keylab Essential 61 @ $250

    The Arturia comes with Ableton Lite which is DAW software so it will enable him to play and record his own music files which in turn can be converted into MP3 files which you can play on your iPhones etc.

    Other free DAW software is Cakewalk by BandLab, I suggest that you prompt him to register with BandLab and then to download and install Cakewalk. Its totally free and is used by many here and any MIDI keyboard should be seen by and be able to use Cakewalk.
     
    Biggles, Dec 5, 2018
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  12. TheMantis

    TheMantis

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    Thank you! I looked those up and they look like what I am looking for.

    I was also looking at novation impulse and nektar panorama, anyone know anything about either of these? they're $50 more but have less keys, wasn't sure if the $50 would give me any better quality (and there's an extra 18% off purchases on a couple sites right now).
     
    TheMantis, Dec 5, 2018
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  13. TheMantis

    Biggles

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    I would suggest that 61 keys really is the minimum to play a keyboard with two hands.

    49 or 25 keys can be used but these are more suited for single handed playing.
     
    Biggles, Dec 5, 2018
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  14. TheMantis

    TheMantis

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    so how about the 61 key novation impulse? any opinions on the brand? i did a search on this site for it and it came back with no results :(
     
    TheMantis, Dec 5, 2018
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  15. TheMantis

    Biggles

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    Good make and it does get great reviews, the keys are semi weighted with after touch which personally I would like.

    As it is it is the Novation is not a keyboard that I have tried but I should given that it is a British Company.

    The Native and Arturia ones I have tried at my local music store as they keep putting different ones on display

    Most of us here do tend to use our arranger, synth or workstation keyboards as MIDI controllers rather than have a dedicated MIDI Controller.
     
    Biggles, Dec 5, 2018
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  16. TheMantis

    MarkRoslawski

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    Well as I buyer and seller of Pre-Owned keyboards over the last 2 years I have purchased and resold over 300 keyboards from the very cheap $30 to $40 54 key keyboards all the way to 88 key Stage Pianos.

    Based on your requirements you should be able to find an 88 key with weighted keys for under $300 that works as I have recently sold a Yamaha P95 I sold for $200 and a Casio Privia PX-150 for $250. If you are looking for a Roland you will pay more for sure!! Trying to find a weighted key 76 key or 61 key are hard to find and expensive about the same if not more than what you can buy 88 key keyboards like I have sold. I hope this helps to keep you focused
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
    MarkRoslawski, Dec 6, 2018
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  17. TheMantis

    SeaGtGruff I meant to play that note! Moderator

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    As far as buying used, I have bought only one keyboard used (YPT-400), and it was a tremendous bargain and in great shape. It can be risky to buy used, but it can also be rewarding if you're careful to make sure that the keyboard works as it should before parting with your money.

    On the other hand, buying new from a reputable merchant gives you the benefit of being able to return the keyboard if necessary (just make sure you check out their return policy first), as well as the product being covered by manufacturer's warranty.

    The Novation Impulse is one of the controllers that I've had my eyes on for a few years now-- I like its features (9 sliders, aftertouch, plenty of pads and knobs, etc.), and if I were in need of a controller then it would be on my short list. But I've never set hands on one, so I don't know how it feels.
     
    SeaGtGruff, Dec 6, 2018
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