Prog rock/neo-classical/Metal first keyboard!

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Hi!

I'm desperately seeking some advice on purchasing my first keyboard. I'm currently learning and eventually want to progress on to playing the types of genres mentioned in the title, artists like Jordan Rudess, Kevin Moore, Michael Pinnella. I've been searching actively everywhere for a few days and haven't been able to make any decision.

I require:
- Ability to create splits and preferably layers as well
- Pitch wheel
- Good lead synth and pad sounds (The ability to create my own sounds is secondary right now)

The first spanner in the works is that I feel as though it might be better to learn on weighted keys and I would prefer 88 keys but with all the above criteria the options start getting expensive rapidly.

My budget is £350 (~$600/€500) and I have no problem with functional used gear that has cosmetic imperfections or cheap reliably fixed problems.

Here is how I've been thinking so far:

- Korg trinity - Not sure if it's a little bit dated, 61 keys, non weighted
- Korg triton LE - Same concern as above
- Korg Kross - Not sure what I think of it.
- Casio wk/ctk range - I appreciate they're beginner keyboards and wont sound remarkable, price minded option. Built in speakers useful for learning saves buying monitors. Largest keyboard is 76, not sure if that's any more helpful than 61, non weighted but touch sensitive keys. Extra money for an upgrade later on.
- Yamaha PSR range - Similar as above, worse sounds?
- Yamaha DGX range - Has everything but it's more of a digital piano so I assume I wont get the sounds.
- Studiologic SL990 controller + use of VSTi. - I have a fairly good PC but no audio interface, not sure how much I'd have to spend extra to get something with low enough latency to not experience delay on fast passages.

I appreciate any and all advice, a cheap temporary solution of perhaps a casio is slightly where I'm more inclined right now. My biggest goal is to get something that wont compromise my learning by encouraging bad technique that also has the sounds I'm after.
 

happyrat1

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The price range is the kicker in your request.

New, in your price range, worth considering is the Casio XW-P1 and XW-G1.



Otherwise I'd say opt for the Korg Kross or Korg Krome.

Or you could get all the sounds of the Korg Triton LE in the more recent Korg X50 for less money. The Triton sounds are not all that dated and are pretty much classic and integral to most of the prog rock hits performed in the past 40 years.

Those sounds are also available in the Korg TR76 and TR61 and TR88.




If you shop around you might be able to score a used TR88 within your budget. I owned a TR76 a few years ago and the keyboard action is very nice plus it has the capability to add a sampler expansion to it. It is also newer than the Triton LE introduced around ten years ago as it's replacement.

The Kross and X50 are plastic boxes while the TR is an all metal design The Kross is current hardware, the X50 was discontinued a year or two ago, and the TR was discontinued about 7 years ago.

If you are going to need a lot of hand holding and support, online support is generally much better for the Casios than the Korgs.

Hope this helps,

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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BTW, the trinity and the triton LE are both over 15 years old.

I wouldn't buy anything older than 7 or 8 years old if I were you unless you want to start sinking money into repairs right away.

Gary ;)
 
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BTW, the trinity and the triton LE are both over 15 years old.

I wouldn't buy anything older than 7 or 8 years old if I were you unless you want to start sinking money into repairs right away.

Gary ;)

Thanks Gary, excellent response, I will check out all of that information in detail soon. Do you think I may run into issues trying to play pieces from my favourite artists without the full 88 keys and also do you think having only semi-weighted action would impact me negatively overall?
 

happyrat1

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My advice would be to start out with the XW-P1 as a first keyboard and then build up your gear collection one piece at a time.

A 350 UK Pound budget is piddly when you start to look at 88 key workstations.

Also if you are looking to play the lightning fast runs and arpeggios of prog rock an unweighted keyboard is actually an advantage.

I've been building up my rig for over 15 years and have ended up selling and buying new gear every year or so until now I've accumulated about $8000 in gear.

It's an addictive hobby, but give yourself time to adapt to the learning curve and add gear incrementally as your budget allows for it.

If your focus were classical piano I'd say 88 Key Weighted Hammer Action would be a must.

For most popular rock 76 keys is more than adequate and for at least half of the popular songs in the world, they can easily be played with 61 keys.

Soft synths and a good quality controller are definitely one direction you could go in but if I had it all to do over again I think I'd set myself up with two top of the line Studiologic controllers and a whole bunch of hardware rack modules instead.

Truth be told all you need is one or two good keybeds to play on and a solid stable rack module to make the noises you want to hear.

A Korg Triton Rack or a Vintage Motif Rack can be had for about $500 each.

Then there are modern modules from Waldorf, Yamaha, Roland, Muse Research, Peavey, MOOG and a host of others that can supply every sound you could ever hope to use or need for a fraction of the price a full blown workstation.

As for software synths? Rack modules don't crash and what's the resale value of a soft synth? :D :D :D

Gary ;)
 
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My advice would be to start out with the XW-P1 as a first keyboard and then build up your gear collection one piece at a time.

A 350 UK Pound budget is piddly when you start to look at 88 key workstations.

Also if you are looking to play the lightning fast runs and arpeggios of prog rock an unweighted keyboard is actually an advantage.

I've been building up my rig for over 15 years and have ended up selling and buying new gear every year or so until now I've accumulated about $8000 in gear.

It's an addictive hobby, but give yourself time to adapt to the learning curve and add gear incrementally as your budget allows for it.

If your focus were classical piano I'd say 88 Key Weighted Hammer Action would be a must.

For most popular rock 76 keys is more than adequate and for at least half of the popular songs in the world, they can easily be played with 61 keys.

Soft synths and a good quality controller are definitely one direction you could go in but if I had it all to do over again I think I'd set myself up with two top of the line Studiologic controllers and a whole bunch of hardware rack modules instead.

Truth be told all you need is one or two good keybeds to play on and a solid stable rack module to make the noises you want to hear.

A Korg Triton Rack or a Vintage Motif Rack can be had for about $500 each.

Then there are modern modules from Waldorf, Yamaha, Roland, Muse Research, Peavey, MOOG and a host of others that can supply every sound you could ever hope to use or need for a fraction of the price a full blown workstation.

As for software synths? Rack modules don't crash and what's the resale value of a soft synth? :D :D :D

Gary ;)


Thanks very much mate, I have a much better idea now. ^^
 

happyrat1

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Here's a flowchart of my current setup just to give you an idea of what $8 K of gear looks like. ;)

Gary

studio-flowchart.jpg
 

happyrat1

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Like any proud poppa I want to show off my baby noisemakers :D

But yeah, you can narrow that down to some of the bare essentials you'd need and keep in mind that your system WILL grow eventually so make sure the mixer you buy has enough channels and the monitors you choose supply enough dB to get you evicted from your apartment :D :D :D

And some of the other necessary accessories are not mentioned on that chart. You'd need at the very least a sustain pedal, a CC pedal and a GOOD SOLID stand to support your babies. Good idea to see if it accepts a second tier or not before buying one and finding out later on that it won't.

Also eventually you might want to pick up a few effects pedals such as a leslie pedal or a multi-effects pedal plus all the associated cabling that goes with that.

I easily have a few hundred just invested in cables and pedals. ;)

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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And I cannot stress enough how important it is to get a good dustcover or a good case for your keyboard if you plan to gig with it.

The last thing you want happening is your sticky nine year old nephews pawing your precious keys with a fistful of goofy juice inches away from the magic smoke that makes electronics work :D

Also, dust and grime is the number one reason keyboards go in for repair. The contact switches are tiny silicone rubber suction cups that draw in dust particles like a magnet.

If you're gigging, invest in a good case or at least a padded gig bag, and if it's not going to leave the studio, get a fitted dustcover ASAP!

Gary ;)
 
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And I cannot stress enough how important it is to get a good dustcover or a good case for your keyboard if you plan to gig with it.

The last thing you want happening is your sticky nine year old nephews pawing your precious keys with a fistful of goofy juice inches away from the magic smoke that makes electronics work :D

Also, dust and grime is the number one reason keyboards go in for repair. The contact switches are tiny silicone rubber suction cups that draw in dust particles like a magnet.

If you're gigging, invest in a good case or at least a padded gig bag, and if it's not going to leave the studio, get a fitted dustcover ASAP!

Gary ;)

Thanks for the tip mate, I'm sure I'll be searching for quite a while to get something reasonable, it's a bit trickier to get instruments here in the UK.
 

happyrat1

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I find the best place to buy used is Craigslist and its equivalents in my area.

I won't buy used from Ebay simply because you are buying a pig in a poke and often dealing with international shipping hassles.

With craigslist it's all local sellers and cash and carry and a good chance to inspect the merchandise before you pay.

Gary ;)
 

SeaGtGruff

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Here's a flowchart of my current setup just to give you an idea of what $8 K of gear looks like.

Wait, that flowchart looks incomplete. Where's the rat's tiny piano fit into the picture?
 

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