Need a lot of help choosing a workstation

Which Workstation? (based off my situation)

  • Roland FA-06

  • Yamaha MOXF6

  • Korg Krome 61

  • Korg Kross 88

  • Casio Privia PX-5s


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Hello all! Over my months of extensive research, this is one of the forums that caught my eye.

I really need help making a decision, so I'll break it down into points below (You can skip the stuff in italics if you wish):

1.) I am an experienced keyboardist - I started out by learning classic piano for a few years as a kid. I moved to another country and took a break of around 5 years before pulling out my old starter keyboard (really old Yamaha PSR 170) and resumed learning. I had forgotten how to read music but I eventually caught up with the needed skills to play various songs.

2.) After Grade 10 was over I had a few months to kill before my next session. I got to know a senior in my school through a cousin and he was an absolute beast on the guitar. This dude introduced me to Dream Theater and promised me a spot in the school's western band if I could play Instrumedley (we went to competitions held at other schools, held our own etc. at a national level back in India). That same guitarist is now in Musicians Institute and he's doing pretty well. He was my inspiration.

3.) The keyboard I had was severely limiting in what I could do (no pitch/mod wheel, 61 keys, non sensitive keys, etc.) so a friend of mine lent me his Yamaha PSR 550 for a couple of years which was way better. It was no Korg M50 (which a lot of keyboardists from other schools had, and I envied them) but it definitely got the job done.

4.) Right now I'm in university, second year. It's been a year since I had any practice but I'm sure I'll catch up again. I can play most Dream Theater keyboard sections, and some Liquid Tension Experiment as well. I also learnt a few classical pieces - Chopin is my favorite late composer.


Sorry for the wall of text, but I felt it was necessary to provide some background before I carried on with my question.

I finally have some moolah (hard to get by as a student) - around $1000. I live in Toronto, Canada so prices are a bit higher for me due to conversion rates.

What I am looking for is this...."thing" I can use to not only learn to play music (I use MIDI and ear training a lot to learn), but I would also like to compose music in some way. Now keep in mind I am very DAW friendly - the cousin I mentioned earlier did some sort of sound engineering at London SAE and he taught me how to use them.

The main issue is that I have a gaming habit that I want to break. And using the PC is something I want to avoid...maybe just use to get special VST's and eventually put the song together and render it.

This is why I dropped the idea of buying a controller - lots of $300-500 controllers that seem fine but the thought of always having my PC (which is a beast rig) on doesn't feel right. I will however use the computer to learn to play music (via Synthesia).

Once again, I feel like I'm rambling too much - so here's a list of workstations I have eventually put under my radar:

1.) Roland FA-06: Great all rounder. Somewhere above the Juno but below the old Fantoms. I love the pads it has which might help me make EDM in the future if I decide to take that route. I played an FA-08 at the local store and I loved the key action and basic sounds. Sadly I couldn't test more in depth because I was out of time, and I don't know how the FA-06 keybed feels.

2.)Yamaha MOXF6: The sounds on this thing blow my mind - the acoustics are amazing. Sadly this is overshadowed by the horrendously cluttered buttons scattered everywhere and basic pitch/mod wheel layout that a $200 keyboard would have. And part of this is due to the tiny screen that a 90's keyboard would have. I just couldn't enjoy myself when I went through it at the store.

3.)Korg Krome 61: This is the cheapest one of the three by far - the price of a Krome 73 matches the price of an FA-06. The Krome Piano sounds alright, not as good as they advertise it but the huge touchscreen and joystick are right on the money. And the fact that Jordan Rudess uses a Kronos means that all of his signature lead sounds (and other prog leads like Derek Sherinian's signature wah lead) are available on the internet, for the Krome. And that means a lot to me, I've been thirsting for some decent sounds to use after those years of using grubby toy keyboards.
But....but....they keybed! I couldn't test the Krome 61/73 because the store had the 88 key version on display. I have heard the absolute worst things about the keybed. Now I've dealt with pretty bad ones myself but the way people hate on it scares me. Poorly hinged...wobbly keys? With plastic feel? I don't know how to go about it. The keybed of the Yamaha PSR 550 was actually amazing IMO. The keyboard itself wasn't good but that keybed (despite being shallow) was effortless to play on.

4.) Korg Kross 88: This isn't even in the same league, but it's worth a mention. I just need a keyboard with great sounds, great build quality, no useless in built DAW that I have to pay extra for...and this is it right? For the same price I can get an 88 key weighted board...right? The sounds are pretty decent, but the mod/pitch wheel looks small and uninspiring. The keyboard looks ugly and has no knobs for real time modifications either. The screen is moxf level of small and overall it just doesn't feel like a good keyboard to play on at all. The sequencer is cool but I don't need it because I have a DAW to finish the song out (if I make one).

5.) Casio Privia PX-5s: Similar to the Kross 88, but with much better keys/keybed (amazing ivory/ebony texture) and definitely higher quality Piano, strings and other acoustic sounds. The downside was that I had no idea how to use the keyboard. Just going through sounds felt clunky and inconvenient. I don't really need the "hex layers" feature as I am not a hardcore synth head (don't really need to tweak around....like I'm not the kind of guy who'd enjoy using a moog or a lil' phatty....). The build quality is miles ahead of the Kross but the screen and pitch/mod dials are even smaller! Plus I feel I can't add the great leads and other sounds I want for my music - atleast with the other non Korg options there were Space4Keys lead sounds and other packs...

There is no 88 key version of the Yamaha MX61 so I'm ruling that out.

What it comes down to is that I either have to pay for a DAW built in the workstation even though I'm not big on sequencing on the board itself or I dive lower and don't get my amazing build quality, don't get my great sounds, etc. It's quite annoying but I have to live with it. What would you guys suggest? I'm not a professional musician but I have some decent skills and I'd like to occasionally make progressive rock/metal, generic movie theme-eque music and even EDM at some point....

Thanks a lot for reading this huge wall of text...peace!
 
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happyrat1

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happyrat1

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BTW, if you insist on buying new, these guys tend to be the best places to buy in Canada.

http://www.axemusic.com/store/

http://www.tomleemusic.ca/

http://www.moogaudio.com/

http://www.savedbytechnology.com/catalog/index.php

http://www.lamusic.ca/Default.asp

https://fleetsound.com/

https://www.long-mcquade.com/

http://cosmomusic.ca/

I've dealt with most of these in the past and they are all reputable Canadian dealers. It pays to comparison shop.

Anyway, always happy to help out a fellow hoser.

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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BTW, don't forget that when you buy used you save on shipping costs and HST. That can really add up on a $1000 purchase.
 
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Yes, I am also looking to buy used if it's in great shape. Sadly Kijiji and Craigslist don't have many options (A used fantom X6 for $800 I believe was the best option).

Anyway, my father works in Boston...maybe I could have him buy it and bring it over when he visits?
 
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I will just add to your commentary/questions about the Krome 61 keybed.

Yes, it's pretty bad. Not recommended for piano sounds as it's tricky to get good control. Feels kinda squishy.

However in saying that, in one of my bands it's the ONLY keyboard I use so I believe the good points about this 'board outweigh the poor keybed. The Krome sounds fantastic, is very versatile and super easy to use.

But that's just me, you really need to try and audition one for yourself. Some people don't get along well with Korgs.
 
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Fun Fact: Korg used to use Yamaha keybeds! The Trinity and Triton I believe were the last to incorporate the yamaha keybeds.. because the M50, M3 and beyond.. they have those poopy keybeds that feel warn out and they are really difficult to play. its like having no weight on the keys :( ... I really wish they would've stuck with Yamaha keybeds! ( im speaking of the non-hammer action keys.. ones featured on the 61 key versions of most modern korg keyboards )
 

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