Next stage in keyboard evolution--HappyRat please respond


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Hello,

It has been about 2.5 yrs since I first posted here. I decided to
purchase the Yamaha PSR-ew410 from Sweetwater in Oct 2018.
I have stuck with it and practice almost every night.

What is the logical next keyboard (or type) in my continuing keyboard education?
I looked at the JUNO DS series synths but they offer MUCH more than I ever will
need or use. I absolutely love the multitude of voices that the PSR-ew410
offers. The pipe organ is quite nice as is the theater organ. I like the various horns
that can be selected and the prescribed dual voices such as piano/strings.
Yamaha lists the PSR-ew410 s an 'arranger'. At this time, I do NOT want the
limits of an electric piano and I believe a workstation is simply an arranger on steriods
offering much, much, much more than I will ever use or need. Moreover, at this time,
I prefer the keyboard have onboard speakers.

Is the Yamaha DGX600 arranger a logical next step up? It has 88 keys
and 192 note polyphony (compare w/ the ew-410's 48 note polyphony).

Thanks.
 
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happyrat1

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Dunno why you asked me about this.

My sentiments about Yamaha are pretty well known around here.

I'd say spend the extra money and get the Juno DS88 before buying anything else from Yamaha.

Or if we are looking at comparably priced units I'd recommend something from Casio's Privia line instead.

Both the DGX and the Casio Privias are consumer grade boards.

If you've decided that you wish to pursue music as a hobby or a career, then you should consider something more professional grade from Korg or Roland or Yamaha ( :p ) or perhaps a Kurzweil SP6 instead.

It might be wiser to save up for a few more months and double your budget before blowing your wad on something that is only an incremental upgrade compared to the more pro gear out there.

That way you can delay the next upgrade for a decade or more.

Anyway, you solicited my opinion and now you have it.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

Gary ;)
 
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Dunno why you asked me about this.

My sentiments about Yamaha are pretty well known around here.

I'd say spend the extra money and get the Juno DS88 before buying anything else from Yamaha.

Or if we are looking at comparably priced units I'd recommend something from Casio's Privia line instead.

Both the DGX and the Casio Privias are consumer grade boards.

If you've decided that you wish to pursue music as a hobby or a career, then you should consider something more professional grade from Korg or Roland or Yamaha ( :p ) or perhaps a Kurzweil SP6 instead.

It might be wiser to save up for a few more months and double your budget before blowing your wad on something that is only an incremental upgrade compared to the more pro gear out there.

That way you can delay the next upgrade for a decade or more.

Anyway, you solicited my opinion and now you have it.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

Gary ;)
Why did I ask you? Because you helped me 2.5 yrs ago! :)

Nope. Not a career! I'm looking to retire from my current job as a research chemist
in a few yrs. I'm old! :)

Your point re incremental upgrade is well taken. BTW, wrt/ the JUNO DS88 or any synth for
that matter, is it possible to create TWO A3-G3 octaves (or any octaves) on the keyboard?
Allow me to explain. Obviously, the board will have the A3-G3 octave (usually defined from MIDDLE C).
Do synths allow for the conversion of say the A2-G2 octave into the A3-G3 octave such that
you would have TWO A3-G3 octaves on the board, in this case. adjacent to one another?
Not a transposition but actually creating two 'copies' of the SAME octave on the same board.
No question the equivalent of this can be achieved w/ two boards. For playing lead guitar runs.

Thanks.
 

happyrat1

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What you are asking about is multi zone keyboards.

Low end consumer boards are generally limited to 2 or 4 assignable zones with very limited options for splits and layers.

My Kurzweil PC3K8 can be assigned to 32 independent zones.

The Juno DS I think can be assigned up to 16 for layers and splits.

The DGX I think is a max of 2 or 4 zones.

You can usually assign any instrument in any range to any zone so that they overlap in layers or act independently in splits.

With the Kurzweil I could easily assign a split as small as two or more keys to control say a drum track.

If you are planning to retire then you should definitely consider something that will challenge you in the future.

There are hobbies and then there are SERIOUS hobbies.

For my retirement music became almost an obsession. More specifically the psychology of music and the physics of sound and acoustics. I sort of see my studio as my mad scientist's lab :D

Seriously, take a look at some of the Kurzweil Stage Pianos as an option. They are brilliantly engineered as controllers and standalone instruments.

Maybe even consider the new Kurzweil PC4. That is an instrument you will never outgrow in your lifetime.

I bought my Kurzweil almost a decade ago and I am still learning new tricks with it to this day.

Gary ;)
 
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I believe a workstation is simply an arranger on steriods
offering much, much, much more than I will ever use or need.
Short version: Arrangers are geared to automatically creating accompaniment, workstations are geared for you to control every part yourself. Korg Kross is an $800 workstation, Yamaha Genos is a $6000 arranger... so you can't assume much about "how much" either tyoe of board gives you, either approach can give you a lot, or not as much. But they tend to give you different things (despite overlap as well). You may very well not care to have a workstation, but maybe just not for that reason. Specifically, if you want the instrument to generate tracking tracks for you automatically as you play, in your choice of style, you want an arranger. Also, unlike workstations, arrangers are generally availabvle with speakers, which you prefer.

There is no DGX600, maybe you mean DGX660? A big difference with that one is that it has 88 hammer action keys, making it more suitable for piano playing. Is that some of what you're looking for? There aren't many hammer action boards with arranger features. Besides that Yamaha, there's the Korg XE20, and some Casios, with their best board of this type probably being the PX-560.
 
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With a workstation what you will not have is onboard speakers and auto accompaniment.

Digital pianos like the Yamaha DGX, Korg XE and Casio S3000 are ptimarily pianos but with limited arranger features.

I had a Korg Arranger and could create multiple “splits” but the limiting factor was the 61 keys so the most I had was four split zones and it is the same with a workstation, key real estate matters. A 76 key workstation may well be a better option as it will not have hammer action and hence more suitable for synth and organ playing.
 
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happyrat1

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Scott makes a valid point. In your retirement is your goal to master playing and composing for its own sake, or is it to simply while away the hours playing styles until you can't stand them anymore?

Be advised with lots of spare time and a little free cash you can add to your keyboard any sort of module you could dream of, ultimately having the best of both worlds. Workstation and Arranger and Analogue Synth and Hammond Organ and Drum Machine and Sequencer, all using the keyboard as master controller. I do some really fun things with routing MIDI in my setup pretty much every day these days. In fact I've been having so much fun with this stuff my recording schedules for new releases have suffered greatly during the lockdown :)

Face it. We're talking about a retired man's favorite toy here, that will keep you interested and active well into your diaper years :D :D :D

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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All jokes aside. If you are retired or retiring soon, and you are SURE you want to pursue music as a serious hobby for the next twenty or thirty years, THEN IT PAYS to buy the best damned pro board available to your budget, new OR used, and use that as the base for your home studio for the next decade or two.

Otherwise you are just wasting your time and your cash upgrading in fits and starts every 3 to 5 years and having to learn an entirely different instrument each time to boot.

Believe me when I say with one of the better class workstations, you will stay busy learning new tricks about it for years to come.

And try to pick something that's built to last.

My Kurzweil was way more than I could comfortably afford almost a decade ago, but there are other Kurzweil machines still in use and well supported even 30 years after they were new.

Sometimes it's better to go for reliability and quality rather than the flashiest trinket on the shelf :)

Gary ;)
 
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Getting back on track.

Do you have a budget in mind for your next keyboard?

For playing Lead Guitar runs imo if you add in your requirement for Splits then a non hammer action keybed would suit you better.

As I indicated prior a workstation with 61 keys is limited in what you can achieve by way of useable splits.

This points towards a 76 key workstation like a Roland Juno DS or FA, a Kursweil or even one of the brand new Korg Nautilus.

The only quality arrangers with 70+ keys are the Korg PA4X, Yamaha Genos or a more niche manufacturer like a Ketron (which personally I have zero knowledge of) which do get good reviews. Downside is the rather high cost but these would give you what you seek in a one box solution but do note neither the Korg or Yamaha have inbuilt speakers, there are add on soeaker accessories like Korg’s PAAS spear bar that clip on to the keyboard.
 
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What you are asking about is multi zone keyboards.

Low end consumer boards are generally limited to 2 or 4 assignable zones with very limited options for splits and layers.

My Kurzweil PC3K8 can be assigned to 32 independent zones.

The Juno DS I think can be assigned up to 16 for layers and splits.

The DGX I think is a max of 2 or 4 zones.

You can usually assign any instrument in any range to any zone so that they overlap in layers or act independently in splits.

With the Kurzweil I could easily assign a split as small as two or more keys to control say a drum track.

If you are planning to retire then you should definitely consider something that will challenge you in the future.

There are hobbies and then there are SERIOUS hobbies.

For my retirement music became almost an obsession. More specifically the psychology of music and the physics of sound and acoustics. I sort of see my studio as my mad scientist's lab :D

Seriously, take a look at some of the Kurzweil Stage Pianos as an option. They are brilliantly engineered as controllers and standalone instruments.

Maybe even consider the new Kurzweil PC4. That is an instrument you will never outgrow in your lifetime.

I bought my Kurzweil almost a decade ago and I am still learning new tricks with it to this day.

Gary ;)
Thank you for your reply.

Yes, I noticed the current PSR ew-410 has maybe four assignable zones. Each is only 3 or 4 keys "wide". I guess I could
simply convert the concerned keys from multiple zones into a continuous A3--G3 octave. These zones cover the A5-G5
octave maybe. Need to check.

I became a mad scientist when I discovered organic chemistry at age 20. I have been in laboratories for most of my
adult life. Mad? Yes, I'm mad! But...I have tenure! :)

Re controlling a drum track w/ 2 + keys. When you say 'control' a drum track, what exactly do you mean? Playing
a pre-recorded drum track by using 3 or 4 assigned keys for say the left hand??!! Wow! This concept is new to me.
 
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What you are asking about is multi zone keyboards.

Low end consumer boards are generally limited to 2 or 4 assignable zones with very limited options for splits and layers.

My Kurzweil PC3K8 can be assigned to 32 independent zones.

The Juno DS I think can be assigned up to 16 for layers and splits.

The DGX I think is a max of 2 or 4 zones.

You can usually assign any instrument in any range to any zone so that they overlap in layers or act independently in splits.

With the Kurzweil I could easily assign a split as small as two or more keys to control say a drum track.

If you are planning to retire then you should definitely consider something that will challenge you in the future.

There are hobbies and then there are SERIOUS hobbies.

For my retirement music became almost an obsession. More specifically the psychology of music and the physics of sound and acoustics. I sort of see my studio as my mad scientist's lab :D

Seriously, take a look at some of the Kurzweil Stage Pianos as an option. They are brilliantly engineered as controllers and standalone instruments.

Maybe even consider the new Kurzweil PC4. That is an instrument you will never outgrow in your lifetime.

I bought my Kurzweil almost a decade ago and I am still learning new tricks with it to this day.

Gary ;)
Thank you for your reply.

Yes, I noticed the current PSR ew-410 has maybe four assignable zones. Each is only 3 or 4 keys "wide". I guess I could
simply convert the concerned keys from multiple zones into a continuous A3--G3 octave. These zones cover the A5-G5
octave maybe. Need to check.

I became a mad scientist when I discovered organic chemistry at age 20. I have been in laboratories for most of my
adult life. Mad? Yes, I'm mad! But...I have tenure! :)

Re controlling a drum track w/ 2 + keys. When you say 'control' a drum track, what exactly do you mean? Playing
a pre-recorded drum track by using 3 or 4 assigned keys for say the left hand??!! Wow! This concept is new to me.
 
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Getting back on track.

Do you have a budget in mind for your next keyboard?

For playing Lead Guitar runs imo if you add in your requirement for Splits then a non hammer action keybed would suit you better.

As I indicated prior a workstation with 61 keys is limited in what you can achieve by way of useable splits.

This points towards a 76 key workstation like a Roland Juno DS or FA, a Kursweil or even one of the brand new Korg Nautilus.

The only quality arrangers with 70+ keys are the Korg PA4X, Yamaha Genos or a more niche manufacturer like a Ketron (which personally I have zero knowledge of) which do get good reviews. Downside is the rather high cost but these would give you what you seek in a one box solution but do note neither the Korg or Yamaha have inbuilt speakers, there are add on soeaker accessories like Korg’s PAAS spear bar that clip on to the keyboard.
Hi,

Re budget. At this point, several K is a bit much. :(

Per 61 keys, I actually like the idea of trying a board w/ 88 keys. Re the lead guitar runs: sounds like good advice
as far as non-hammer actions keys are concerned. And something I had not thought of.

Question that's a bit off-topic: why do some guys have several keyboards going at once? I have some ideas but
not quite sure.

Thanks.
 
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Short version: Arrangers are geared to automatically creating accompaniment, workstations are geared for you to control every part yourself. Korg Kross is an $800 workstation, Yamaha Genos is a $6000 arranger... so you can't assume much about "how much" either tyoe of board gives you, either approach can give you a lot, or not as much. But they tend to give you different things (despite overlap as well). You may very well not care to have a workstation, but maybe just not for that reason. Specifically, if you want the instrument to generate tracking tracks for you automatically as you play, in your choice of style, you want an arranger. Also, unlike workstations, arrangers are generally availabvle with speakers, which you prefer.

There is no DGX600, maybe you mean DGX660? A big difference with that one is that it has 88 hammer action keys, making it more suitable for piano playing. Is that some of what you're looking for? There aren't many hammer action boards with arranger features. Besides that Yamaha, there's the Korg XE20, and some Casios, with their best board of this type probably being the PX-560.
DGX 660. Yes. :)

Regarding the hammer action keys and suitability for piano playing. I did have the idea that the weighted and
hammer action would be a reasonable teaching facsimile for one day moving to a 'real' piano.

Please understand. The PSR-ew-410 I have now was approached w/ the idea that it was COMPLETELY a
teaching instrument. It has served well my learning as far as acquiring the manual dexterity skills necessary
to make what resembles music. Unfortunately, I have been training for almost 3.5 yrs and still have major difficulty
w/ left/right hand coordination. Has improved markedly but still needs much work.
 
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Scott makes a valid point. In your retirement is your goal to master playing and composing for its own sake, or is it to simply while away the hours playing styles until you can't stand them anymore?

Be advised with lots of spare time and a little free cash you can add to your keyboard any sort of module you could dream of, ultimately having the best of both worlds. Workstation and Arranger and Analogue Synth and Hammond Organ and Drum Machine and Sequencer, all using the keyboard as master controller. I do some really fun things with routing MIDI in my setup pretty much every day these days. In fact I've been having so much fun with this stuff my recording schedules for new releases have suffered greatly during the lockdown :)

Face it. We're talking about a retired man's favorite toy here, that will keep you interested and active well into your diaper years :D :D :D

Gary ;)
Hmmm. At this juncture, I simply want to be able to play a not-yet-selected rock n roll piece competently. A real piece.
Not an EZ piece. :)

I enjoy the practice (training); but, at some point, I would like to reach the end game as mentioned above.
Am working on left hand pieces (Berens #89) now. The pieces thus far have been challenging at first but get easier
w/ repetitions.

What exactly are these modules you mentioned? Can you refer me to a website that addresses this?

Thanks.
 

happyrat1

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A MIDI Rack Module is basically the electronic guts of a keyboard without the actual keyboard. Connected by MIDI to a workstation or arranger or a simple MIDI controller keyboard they can expand your palette to include new sounds, add layers, add percussion, add analogue synths, Hammond organ sounds or even another ROMpler to the mix.

Just google "MIDI Rack Module"

Gary ;)
 
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A MIDI Rack Module is basically the electronic guts of a keyboard without the actual keyboard. Connected by MIDI to a workstation or arranger or a simple MIDI controller keyboard they can expand your palette to include new sounds, add layers, add percussion, add analogue synths, Hammond organ sounds or even another ROMpler to the mix.

Just google "MIDI Rack Module"

Gary ;)
BTW, do you know about pedagogical approaches to learning the piano/keys? I have been training
using a classical methodology--scales/modes, chords, inversions, arpeggios, contrary movement, finger/hand calisthenics,
progressively difficult training pieces etc. Have great difficulty still w/ coordinating both hands. Can you advise
on methods that might improve this deficiency?

Have tried hand independence exercises--playing scales in canon, playing w/ one hand while writing w/ a
pencil w/ the other hand, contrary movement.

I always train w/ the metronome or foot-tapping. Foot-tapping is magical.

Thanks.
 
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