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Hello and thank you for welcoming me. I am a beginner as a keyboard player and my goal is to be part of a band and play songs that are not too difficult to begin with. I will be retiring at the end of the year and I want to buy myself a keyboard to play songs known from the sixties to today. Like New Wave, progressive, classic rock, top 40, blues, etc ... It would also be for occasional shows as an amateur musician. What do you think would be the best buy for what I want to do? I'm looking for the Nord Stage 3, Korg Kronos, Roland Fantom, or Yamaha Montage. Thank you!
 
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Welcome.

You write that you are a beginner as a keyboard player, can you qualify that as to if you are a complete beginner or if you have experience of playing say a guitar and you are familiar with music theory?

The keyboards you quote are top end workstations with all the complexities that go with them. Even an experience keyboard player will take a fair amount of time learning the ins and outs of the operating system of a new keyboard and especially if they are unused to a specific manufacturer’s product.
 

happyrat1

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For someone with aspirations of seriously going on stage in retirement, he'd be fine with a Roland Juno DS or FA08 or a Korg Kross or Krome or a Kurzweil PC4.

As you mentioned, all the models he listed are flagship models and ridiculously over priced and overly complicated for a novice.

He also has to specify if he wants to learn to play with synth touch keys or hammer action weighted piano keys.

But we don't know if the guy wants to blow his kids' inheritance on a $5000 piece of gear or if he's working with a limited budget.

In my household, it's ALWAYS great to save a buck or two :D:D:D

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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Who knows? If the guy enjoys solving puzzles, the Kronos would keep him happily occupied for the next twenty years. :D :D :D

Gary ;)
 
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He's going into retirement looking at 4 keyboards, 3 of which weigh over 60 pounds and the Stage 3 at a mere 42 pounds. Good grief.... I have a highly functioning keyboard I would sell him, my beloved Gem Equinox 88. It does everything, has a fabulous Fatar TP20 keybed and weighs in at a mere 72 pounds. The only reason I still don't gig with it is because ................... it weighs 72 pounds.
 
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I have some theoretical knowledge in music. My main instrument is the drums and I sing a bit too. The keyboard will be my main instrument. I'm planning on taking piano lessons, but I'm more interested in the sounds of organs and synthesizers. I'm looking for a product with nice sounds and something sturdy that will last for many years. I already had a Yamaha MX 61 and I didn't like the sounds. Even chose for the Roland Juno DS series that I played in store. And in an ideal world, it will be a maximum of 76 keys to be easy to carry on the back bench of the car.
 
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happyrat1

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First of all, you're studying piano. You can't have a proper piano action and feel that's lightweight and easy to transport and sounds like a $5000 Kronos or Montage at the same time.

Typically most performing artists own both a 61 key waterfall action organ/synth as well as an 88 key weighted hammer action Electric Piano/synth on the lower tier.

This is the only way I know of to have the best of both worlds at your fingertips.

As for "even chose the Junol DS," I recognize all the words but the phrase is syntactically meaningless so does that mean you like the DS or tried one and hated it?

And there's a hell of a lot of wiggle room between an MX60 and a Montage, so could you PLEASE clarify your budget?

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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I reread your initial post and realized that all you want is an answer to which one is the "BEST" of the short list you provided.

If that's all you're asking why am I wasting my time in this thread.

The "BESTEST" synth is the one that's "BESTEST" to your ears and fingers.

NOBODY ELSE can make that choice for you.

Now I'm going to unfollow this thread.

Gary ;)
 
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You are heading into a conflict zone.

Learning to play piano is one thing playing keyboard is another as a pianist wants hammer action keys and that means 88 keys.

As has been mentioned weight is well pretty high in your specified keyboards and by the time you have your heavy keyboard in its protective case you will need a Roadie. Carrying a keyboard unprotected on the back seat of a car is damage waiting to be done.

What about the keyboards’ output?

Amp or powered Monitors?

In all honesty a Roland Juno DS either 76 or 88 or a Korg Kross 2 88 would be better to learn on.
 
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I too am a drummer, I’m in my 30s, and spent the last two years working hard hard upping my game on keys. I started learning on a very old, very cheap semi weighted Yamaha DGX 500. I got into a band situation and realised quick that I needed something with more.

I did sone research and went with a second hand 88key Juno DS - £550 in great condition with a case and pedal.

Best purchase I ever made!

Ive played in two 80s band and very rarely can I not produce the sounds I need. The only trouble I have is getting decent organ/Hammond sounds. The overall organ sounds aren’t terrible though.

I was actually going to post a thread today about solving that issue. My plan is a cheap midi controller and a Ferrofish B4000. That would leave me with a two keyboard set up, a half decent Hammond sound and a workstation that’s pretty great for £1,000.

The Juno is simple enough as a first workstation to get your head around how it all works, but complex enough to give you ALOT of wiggle room with sounds.

As an armature I would see no need for a top end workstation. It would be a waste of money. I agree with everyone here, spend the money on lessons and upping you game and get gear that’s suited to your situation.

Advice from a mere amateur but experienced musician
 
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To the original poster: I have been playing for years (pushing 70 now) and I would encourage you to follow your dream. I also
suggest that you buy some fishing gear and get out into nature to contemplate things other than a musical career. For most of us, retirement should not involve moving heavy equipment. YMMV Don aka B3maniac
 
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Thanks for your advice. I thought that with a Nord Stage 3 type keyboard, Kronos and the others, we could have done everything with it. I am especially looking for something that will last for many years. A keyboard with sounds of piano, organ, synthesizer, etc ...
 

happyrat1

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You want something that will last you for decades that you can grow into.

I fully understand the logic and went with a Kurzweil PC3K8 a decade ago which I picked up as a closeout demo unit for half list price with full warranty.

Right now I'd suggest a Korg Nautilus or a Kurzweil PC4 or K2700 or a Roland FA08 as an intermediate.

You won't have to sell a kidney to buy one and it will be more than enough to keep you busy for a decade or two.

That's my suggestion speaking as someone who's been there, done that.

If I was doing it over again I'd probably be searching the classified ads for a bargain, slightly loved, keyboard.

The latest and greatest becomes old and trashy soon enough. :p

Gary ;)
 
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To be fair, just about ANY keyboard will last for a long time, if you take care of it.

If you can afford the flagship board from a company and you want that, then go for it. If you want to be a bit frugal, then go for the mid-range offerings. If you want to be REALLY frugal, then go for the entry-level.

The thing is that even the entry-level offerings offer a lot of bang for the buck. If you take care of it (keep it clean, keep it covered when not in use, keep the dust out, etc...) any keyboard will last a long time.

I have keyboards in my studio that are 30 years old now. Yes, I have had to maintain them, and that requires putting new memory batteries in them (something that is really not a problem now with today's keyboards), keeping them covered, and keeping them clean.

Electronics are going to wear out over time, it is the nature of what they are.

Granted, getting a higher-end keyboard may come with better parts inside, but there are MANY parts that are used across the entire product lineup and they have done it for a long time. A good example would be the joystick for Korg keyboards. If you look at the M3, M50, PA series, Krome, Kronos, new i3, and new Nautilus, they all have the same joystick. I have replaced the joystick in my PA700 twice and it is the same joystick that they use in so many other boards in their product lineup. I am not saying that is a problem, but some parts are going to be the same, no matter which product you buy. If memory serves, the Kross and Krome share the same keybeds (in the 61 and 88 key versions).

If you really wanted to grow into a keyboard, then a flagship may be the way to go, because, at least with the Korg Kronos, there is A LOT to explore and you will be busy for years on one of those.

With that said, I have the Kross synths in my studio (actually, 4 of them, among many other synths). My Kross synths are not even the Kross 2 version - they are the original Kross 1. I still get A LOT of mileage out of them. The Kross is their entry-level offering. I use one live (actually two, an 88-key and a 61-key) and they are my main piano sounds for live work. I do have another digital piano at home for solo piano work, but the Kross really has great sounds in it and the possibilities are not easily exhausted. I also have the PA700 and it is a remarkable instrument. I have owned one since they came out in 2017 and it is my main songwriting tool in the studio. It is also the main board I take when I am doing solo performances of my original material. It is also the exclusive board I take to the nursing homes to play for the residents. It is an arranger keyboard with backing styles, but also features a full synth engine and I can program whatever I want in that thing.

I have recently bought the entire Yamaha Reface lineup. I got the YC (organ) and CP (EP stuff) a couple of months ago, and just got the Reface DX (FM synth) and CS (virtual analog synth) in yesterday. They are really fun too, and are basically modules in my live rig for the band(s) I am in.

I also have a number of Ensoniq pieces in my studio, namely the VFX and VFX-SD (and some rack mount variants). When I turn them on, I still am amazed at what I can pull out of them and I have been using Ensoniq products since 1990.

If weight is a consideration, then I would stick to a 61-key unit, as they are lighter. The Kross 2 weighs around 10 pounds, I believe. The Kronos 61 is probably around 25-30 pounds, I believe. If you need an 88-key keyboard for piano stuff ( I know you say you are a beginner), then the Kross 2 is around 27 pounds. It is a lot easier to transport than the Kronos 88.

I know that you have probably already done so, but listen to videos of the different keyboards and see which one piques an interest. Then, go down to the music store and try them out and see which one really zings you. You know it is the right one when that happens. If you do not have access to any of these boards and are relying on videos and forums like this, make sure that wherever your get your keyboard from has a good return policy, in case you need to return it and try something else out.

To throw ANOTHER kink in the wheel, if you want a quick and dirty keyboard for performance, check out the i3 from Korg (the new version, not the original version from the 90's). It will have any sound you want and it sounds pretty good. It is a budget offering from Korg and comes in at around $500 USD (at least it does at Sweetwater). It's sound engine is not the most current, but it has all of the sounds you want, allows you to layer up to 4 sounds (3 Upper and 1 Lower), has built in rhythms, weighs about 10 pounds, and can run on betteries. It also features a 5-Pin MIDI Out port, so you can MIDI other keyboards to it in the future if you like. I have one of these too, and I intended to use it as a bottom keyboard in my rig and for the gigs I used it on, it worked well, especially since I was layering sounds internally and via MIDI. I use it at practice now because it is so light and I am NOT bringing my entire live rig to a practice unless it is right before a show...

Grace,
Harry
 
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Throwing a curveball.

There is a pair of keyboards each of which that will do what tintin will need now and in the future when its time for performing.

A Korg Pa4X or Yamaha Genos.

All the sounds a person is likely to need plus auto accompaniment, MIDI to Style convertor inbuilt or simple MIDI playback.

61 or 76 semi weighted keys with the Korg plus it does not weight as much as a DP or full blown workstation. Includes physical sliders for a drawbar organ.

For a fully portable unit with inbuilt amp and speakers hence plenty loud enough for small venues is the Korg Pa1000 or Yamaha SX900.
 
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If you want to keep it easy, and simple, just watch some videos of Korg Ek-50. I have one of them, and it has lots of that styles you asked for, and the introductions and endings of the styles, makes us remember the songs where they are based. The price here at Portugal is about 290 euros. There is also a version Korg Ek-50 L, but that one is 550 euros. Prices at Portugal. I am very satisfied, for this propose.
 

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