Need a very compact keyboard with variety of sounds


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I’m not really a synth person; more looking for something that can easily make a variety of sounds (presets mainly, editability is not a big deal). I need to find a synth that is as small as possible to integrate to my live and studio setup which involves looping guitar and drum machine.
I had a try on a Roland GoKeys which has really playable keys and pretty decent sounds. But no Midi andnot even proper outputs. There are various little synths like monologue etc but they seem a bit limited to weird synthy single note sounds.
The cheap Casio/Yamaha keyboards have plasticky sounding samples. As far as I can see my best options are
Yamaha reface
Roland GoKeys
Korg Microkorg

is there anything else which is really small and portable (doesn’t have to have more than 25 keys or even full size keys)...? just something to play a bass line on and loop it, or add another texture to my loops.

if you own or have tried anything of that nature please let me know

(at the moment I have a Yamaha mm6 which is great. Ideally I want something with those sounds but about half the size)


thanks!
 
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Welcome.

I have concerns that buying one of the keyboards you are considering will result in it quickly being outgrown as your capabilities increases and your requirements changes.

Consider a Korg Kross 2 with 61 keys or a Roland Juno DS 61, the Korg has full size keys, a much better action than the GoKeys, has hundred of customisable voices, it compact in overall size and is only 9 lbs in weight.

The sound qualities of the Korg or Roland Juno will be vastly superior to the Roland Go Keys and Yamaha keyboards you quote
 

happyrat1

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You might want to consider a Roland JD-Xi. It contains two Rompler Channels, An Analogue Channel, a Drum Channel, a vocoder and a sequencer.

I owned one but sold mine because I couldn't assign arbitrary channels to the voices. 1 & 2 were fixed Rompler channels, 3 was Analogue and 10 was drums.

It's only about 30 inches wide and uses mini keys.

If none of these are dealbreakers then it's perfect for a DJ/Rave situation.



Gary ;)
 
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Welcome.

I have concerns that buying one of the keyboards you are considering will result in it quickly being outgrown as your capabilities increases and your requirements changes.

Consider a Korg Kross 2 with 61 keys or a Roland Juno DS 61, the Korg has full size keys, a much better action than the GoKeys, has hundred of customisable voices, it compact in overall size and is only 9 lbs in weight.

The sound qualities of the Korg or Roland Juno will be vastly superior to the Roland Go Keys and Yamaha keyboards you quote
Thanks. Yes I agree the sounds are better on those. But unfortunately they’re too big... I’m trying to squeeze into a tiny space and the keys are just one of the things I have to fit.
 
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You might want to consider a Roland JD-Xi. It contains two Rompler Channels, An Analogue Channel, a Drum Channel, a vocoder and a sequencer.

I owned one but sold mine because I couldn't assign arbitrary channels to the voices. 1 & 2 were fixed Rompler channels, 3 was Analogue and 10 was drums.

It's only about 30 inches wide and uses mini keys.

If none of these are dealbreakers then it's perfect for a DJ/Rave situation.



Gary ;)
Thanks Gary I hadn’t seen these and will definitely check them out. None of those are dealbreakers and this is the sort of size I’m thinking of. Usually I would go for full size keys and playability but in this case it’s more a case of making some good noises without needing to pay piano ‘properly'.
Have you ever tried the Roland Aira? Looks similar.
 

happyrat1

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The Aira Modular Systems came out after the JD-Xi and I've never played around with them.

I do own a Behringer Deepmind 6 which is an analogue clone of a vintage Roland synth from the 80's.

If all you are looking for is straight analogue it's a 6 voice unit with a pretty small footprint as well and comparable in price to the inferior Minilogue.

It depends on what you want.

The JD-Xi has bread and butter sounds, as well as true one oscillator analogue and drums while the Minilogue is straight analogue, 4 voices, and the Deepmind 6 is straight analogue 6 voices.

What exactly do you need this unit to do? Straight analogue only or analogue and bread and butter?



Gary ;)
 
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What exactly do you need this unit to do? Straight analogue only or analogue and bread and butter?
It looks to me like he doesn't need analog (or VA) at all. More a board of presets of sample-based sounds. (i.e. "at the moment I have a Yamaha mm6 which is great. Ideally I want something with those sounds but about half the size").

The smallest Yamaha of the type would be the MX49, but that's probably still too big.

Although discontinued, and not without its own limitations, a used Korg TRITON taktile-25 might fit the bill.
 
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Yes anotherScott you are right. I do like synths but I don’t really have time for extensive patch editing. I like the Yamaha because it’s basically a rompler with decent sounds and very easy to access whatever type of sound is required very quickly. I did look at the behnringer ms1 which is really cool as a synth but has nil bread and butter sounds.
the jdxi does look really good but it is a bit more synthy than anything else.
yes mx49 is too big.
It seems they don’t like to put bread and butter sounds in a tiny synth. For obvious reasons because people who want decent piano and organ sounds are generally going to want a full keyboard.
I will check out the triton you mention. It may be that I have to just cart round my Yamaha because that is actually the smallest thing that does the job. Or get a tiny synth like MiniBrute or something just to add some interest.
A friend of mine does similar stuff to me and he gets amazing sounds out of a volca keys. But I don’t like the look of the "keyboard” on those. He just uses arpeggiators/sequences to blend in with his guitar. I get the impression it wouldn’t be easy to just play something on the fly with one of those.
 
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I have to say though, that JD Xi is a helluva synth for the price. I’d quite like one, regardless of my current setup!
 

Music Bird

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Maybe Roland Pro E? Only keyboard I can think of that’s compact and has bread and butter Sounds, nothing new, you could try a MIDI module like a used JV-1010 or Proteus plus a 25, 32, or 37 key MIDI board. The JV stuff still sounds good today.
 
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Thanks. . Pro E looks/sounds a bit too Casio keyboard-esque for my liking. I used to have a Jc-1080 which was really good. For now I’ve just been using my Yamaha synth. It is pretty big to carry around but unlesss I get something very compact it doesn’t make much difference. Having a midi keyboard and a module is just another level of hassle, providing power to both and a stand etc.
I kind of think maybe my Yamaha mm6 Is the best all round solution already. Plus it has the advantage that I already own it!
I have my eye on a novation bass station 2 though (not just for this project but for other reasons ).

I would probably get JDxi too if I could afford it.
I accidentally broke one of my teeth yesterday. Now I’m weighing up which I want more, straight teeth or a synthesiser lol.
 
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happyrat1

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Chew on the other side of your mouth :D A true gearslut cares more about how he sounds than how he looks :D

Gary ;)
 
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Chew on the other side of your mouth :D A true gearslut cares more about how he sounds than how he looks :D

Gary ;)
Yes, a true musician has worn out clothes, chipped teeth, 15 year old car, and £15,000 worth of musical instruments :D
 

happyrat1

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Yes, a true musician has worn out clothes, chipped teeth, 15 year old car, and £15,000 worth of musical instruments :D
Which one of my enemies told you this about me? :D :D :D

You know too much. Flying monkeys have been dispatched to take you out :D :D :D

Gary ;)
 
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