Noob needs recommendations

Discussion in 'Keyboard Purchase Recommendations' started by RustyShackleford, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford

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    Hey guys,

    I play electric guitar and bass, but I really want a keyboard because a lot of the music I'm writing nowadays seems to be synth/keyboard driven. I'm definitely open to learning how to create or download synth sounds, but I'm basically starting at square one when it comes to the technology. When it comes to technique, I played piano for a while so I'm already well on my way.

    Anyway, I'm looking for something that will allow me to play different synth sounds, especially the 8-bit Nintendo type tone (think "Horse the Band's" keyboardist), as well as a decent sounding piano tone. So I don't know if there's something that will come with those sounds, or if I should get something that allows me to create or download my own sounds, then somehow download those onto the keyboard (I said I was a noob, right?).

    It would be cool to have the option of creating different sounds, whether that's on the keyboard itself, or on my computer where I would then download them to the keyboard, but this is not a deal breaker. As long as I can download existing synths from the internet, that would be enough.

    And what about a "controller?" Is that something I could use to play sounds that I've downloaded onto it?

    That's really all I need. It would be cool to have some other features, but I'm trying not to spend much at all. And I'm open to trying out used stuff. In total, I really don't want to spend over $900. So I guess if there was a keyboard that was around $900 or less, that not only came with the synth tones I need, but had the ability to connect to the computer so I could download more, that would be perfect.

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    RustyShackleford, Jan 11, 2017
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  2. RustyShackleford

    SeaGtGruff I meant to play that note! Moderator

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    A controller doesn't make any sounds of its own, it's merely used to play (control) sounds generated by some other device that the controller is connected to-- which could be another keyboard, or a sound module, or a computer running virtual instrument software.

    There are several soft synths (computer programs that generate sounds the way a hardware synth does, except not using analog oscillators and filters and such) which emulate 8-bit sound generators such as classic video game consoles, as well as numerous "bit crusher" plug-ins for reducing the bit depth of a signal.

    I don't know if there are any hardware synths or electronic keyboards that have presets for the old 8-bit sounds, but there are bit crusher effects pedals for reducing the bit depth of a signal.

    So you could either buy a keyboard controller and use it to control virtual instruments running on a computer, or buy a keyboard instrument and-- if it doesn't have any suitable "8-bit" sounds-- run it through a bit crusher pedal.
     
    SeaGtGruff, Jan 11, 2017
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  3. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford

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    Thank you! I would rather take the latter route you pointed out, using the pedal with the keyboard. I know the tone I'm referring to is based on some variety of the "SawTooth" (is that right?) sound, and I know something like the Korg Kross has that preset. I'm looking at the Korg Kross 88 key, which is $999.

    So perhaps if I get a crusher pedal like you're talking about, using that in combination with some of the pre-existing sounds on the Korg, that would probably get me what I'm looking for?
     
    RustyShackleford, Jan 11, 2017
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  4. RustyShackleford

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Actually what you are looking for is some of the older analog sounds from the 70's and 80's and 90's.

    No single keyboard is going to fill all your needs, but since you are looking specifically for synth sounds I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest the Studiologic Sledge.

    Price is just under your budget and it has way more easily programmed sounds than a ROMpler like Kross or Roland Juno DS.

    Ideally a Sledge would complement the Juno DS beautifully on stage or in a studio but if you wanna get up and runni0ng with the freaky stuff right away I'd suggest the Sledge.

    Or another Virtual Analog unit like the King Korg.





    If you need the bread and butter piano and organ and orchestral sounds as well as a decent selection of sampled synths and waveforms then take a look at the Roland Juno DS.



    Anyway, these are a couple of suggestions short of blowing a small fortune on a true analog Moog or Dave Smith.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Jan 11, 2017
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  5. RustyShackleford

    Fred Coulter Collector of ancient keyboards

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    My recommendation would be based on your plans.

    If you're planning on playing out, performing gigs, etc., then I'd recommend buying a "real" keyboard. But if you're only talking studio work, then getting a controller and doing all your sound generation on a computer is both cheaper and more flexible.
     
    Fred Coulter, Jan 11, 2017
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  6. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford

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    Thanks for the feedback and recommendations guys. That Sledge definitely looks cool, very tempting. Also, if this helps narrow down the tone I'm looking for, I found out the synth that was used for some of the bands I was thinking of, and it's the Korg MS2000. It seems like I can use this to manipulate the sounds to get exactly what I want without having to use any external pedals/effects.

    I'm imagining there would be a pretty steep learning curve with something like this? But more importantly, what's a more modern version that's basically equivalent to the MS2000? Or maybe it would be worth finding one of these used. The one thing I'm wondering is if the keys on this are responsive enough to where I could trill on one key very fast.
     
    RustyShackleford, Jan 12, 2017
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  7. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford

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    Okay, so the more I look into the KingKorg, the more I want it! This may be a shot in the dark, but I'm trying to find out if I'll be able to produce this exact sound (which I'm pretty sure was recorded with the MS2000) with the KingKorg: (this song is a perfect example):
     
    RustyShackleford, Jan 12, 2017
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  8. RustyShackleford

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

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    Ask CowboyNQ.

    He owns a King Korg and should be able to help you out.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, Jan 12, 2017
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  9. RustyShackleford

    CowboyNQ

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    Hi Rusty,

    Thanks for your post on my profile page. For the benefit of others who may have a similar question, I'll answer here.

    Short answer is "yes" the KK can do that sound, it actually has a MS2000 specific filter.

    But in saying that I think just about any decent VA keyboard could do a good enough job of it for live use, including the others the boys mentioned above.

    Hope that helps.
     
    CowboyNQ, Jan 12, 2017
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  10. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford

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    Thank you! That helps a lot. I now feel comfortable ordering it. I love all the other samples I've been hearing from it anyway, and the traditional piano tones sound more than good enough for what I need.

    Maybe this is too involved, but do you think there will be a steep learning curve as far as producing this particular sound with the synth? I know the very basics of using the oscillator, but I'm basically starting at square one. I definitely don't expect any of you to explain it here! But it would be fine if you decided to point me in the right direction as far as videos/instructionals. :)

    But more important than that, have you had any experience using a bit-crusher pedal on the KingKorg or something similar? Or does the song I posted even sound like it's bit-crushed at all? To me it sounds kinda like the 8-bit Nintendo sound, but maybe I don't need a bit-crusher pedal for that? For all I know it's just a basic saw or sine wave that has a little distortion on it (told you I'm a noob!).
     
    RustyShackleford, Jan 13, 2017
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  11. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford

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    The KingKorg arrived late Tuesday, I've been playing it a lot over the last couple days, and all I can say is: WOW

    This thing seriously exceeded my expectations. It just sounds so warm, yet crisp. The tube driver really does make a big difference as well. Keys feel great, I can get all the sounds I want by starting from scratch with the oscillator, but even many of the presets sound amazing. I think I scored big time finding one for $740. :D

    Thanks for all the input everyone
     
    RustyShackleford, Jan 20, 2017
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  12. RustyShackleford

    Keyboardie

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    Cool! Enjoy it. I play on a Korg Kronos
     
    Keyboardie, Jan 23, 2017
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  13. RustyShackleford

    CowboyNQ

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    Hi Rusty,

    I think you'll be able to work it out fine. Mine's packed away at the moment but I reckon there's a strong chance one or two of the presets will be pretty close, and you can just fiddle the sound a bit from there. There's plenty of on-line tutorials on YouTube on how to familiarise yourself with subtractive synthesis too.

    I don't use distortion pedals with my keyboards - the on-board effects have always been sufficient for my purposes.

    Glad you like your new toy!
     
    CowboyNQ, Jan 25, 2017
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  14. RustyShackleford

    b3keys

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    Boy.. you are going to get a LOT of personal opinions here, so heres mine.... First.... if you want to play Piano (like a piano player)... weighted keyboard.... but if you want to play anything else on it.... "semi weighted" (which would be kind of an organ feel). Personally I like semi weighted (but piano players hate me). Now.. do you REALLY want to "create" sounds, or just "tweak them.... AND, do yoiu plan on playing this board live????? If your a "creator" full workstation (not my area of expertise)...... if its a PERFORMANCE BOARD.. it comes down to how easy to navigate between patches, transpose, reverb, vibrato volume between layers on the fly (oh, and it cant have the size & weight of a damn refrigerator).. I've got half a dozen or so keyboards (yeah, I'm a lightweight here)... I've had dozens, but sell off the ones I just don't use or need (usually).. I LOVE the stupid little Casio like Yamaha MX.. (Ive got 2 of them, the 49 key and the 61).. Does everything I want it to do live.. and sounds pretty decent in a band.. (take a HARD listen, folks will say it sounds thin... but when your cranked up against the whole band.. who the heck could tell? My only "complaint" is it is too light... I have to velcro it to my top tier (a elbow slide will send it flying into the drummer... he hates that)... AND.. the biggie.. they are toasters.. cheaper than dirt (I think I paid $400 for the 49 and $600 of the 61 key (buy B stock... save some buck).... Well theeres my 4 cents worth (inflation u=ya know)....
     
    b3keys, Feb 2, 2017
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  15. RustyShackleford

    SeaGtGruff I meant to play that note! Moderator

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    As far as voices that sound like an 8-bit Nintendo, I recently learned of a site that has soundfonts for some of the old video game voices: http://woolyss.com/chipmusic-soundfonts.php

    So if your keyboard lets you import soundfonts, or if you're using it as a controller with a soundfont player on a computer, those soundfonts might get you the sounds you're looking for. :)
     
    SeaGtGruff, Feb 2, 2017
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