Re-Entry into Keyboard Playing


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I am looking to getting back into music after many years and I have been doing a lot of research on Roland, Yamaha and Korg keyboards for someone who is "re-entry" level. In other words, I have forgotten a lot of my past skills and am looking to reteach myself a lot of the basics and eventually create music for me and my own family's enjoyment. I am 43 and will be playing anything from "traditional" music to dance mixes.

I do not have a huge budget ($800 would be absolute max), but I don't want a cheap off-the-shelf keyboard either. Around the year 2000, I had a Yamaha PSR-??? good sounding keyboard, but it died within two years!

I have been looking at the Roland E-09, Yamaha MM6 or MX61 and the Korg M50 and really cannot decide on what direction to go.

I will not be playing live on stage. I would only be playing in my home or with friends. I DO like the idea of having a sequencer, whether on-board or via a USB connection to my Macbook Pro. I have lots of ideas that I would like to lay down in bits and pieces instead of trying to play it all at once.

Your help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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happyrat1

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Do you need synth action keys or fully weighted hammer action?

If money's tight you might also want to consider the Korg X50 and the Roland Juno-DI.

I believe the MM6 is a mini keyboard (Mini Motif) so you might want to scratch that one off of your list.

To be honest, I really don't understand why anyone would want to run a sequencer from a 4 inch LCD screen with multilayered buttons on a keyboard when it is a thousand times easier to simply plug into a computer and navigate a 20 inch screen.

Anyway, virtually any keyboard made these days will work with a computer sequencer thru USB so that's pretty much a non issue.

What kind of sounds are you looking for? Natural sounding acoustic or Techno New Wave blistering synths?
 
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Do you need synth action keys or fully weighted hammer action?

If money's tight you might also want to consider the Korg X50 and the Roland Juno-DI.

I believe the MM6 is a mini keyboard (Mini Motif) so you might want to scratch that one off of your list.

To be honest, I really don't understand why anyone would want to run a sequencer from a 4 inch LCD screen with multilayered buttons on a keyboard when it is a thousand times easier to simply plug into a computer and navigate a 20 inch screen.

Anyway, virtually any keyboard made these days will work with a computer sequencer thru USB so that's pretty much a non issue.

What kind of sounds are you looking for? Natural sounding acoustic or Techno New Wave blistering synths?

Thanks for the quick reply "happyrat1"! (Cute pic, by the way.)

I definitely don't "need" weighted keys, although that would always be nice. Some touch-sensitivity is much preferable to keys that do not.

I did see something about the Korg X50 on another thread. Are they still available or off the market? (I don't want to get a pre-owned keyboard for various reasons.)

When you say "mini keyboard", do you mean they have tiny keys that a man's hand cannot play easily? I have seen some videos that make it look like they are "normal" sized:



I totally appreciate what you are saying about navigating on a computer screen instead of on a 4-inch screen. I did not think about that.

I am glad to know that keyboards these days are "computer-ready" thanks to great technological leaps. I took organ lessons and played Wurlitzer, Lowrey, etc. organs/keyboards from 1979-1984 and then had my first synth/workstation (Ensoniq ESQ-1) in 1988. I liked that keyboard, but it got "old" quickly. If I will be able to USB/MIDI right into my laptop, that takes care of a lot of worry about capabilities.

On that same note of computer sequencing, I am aware of the many brands of DAWs (Logic, Cakewalk, Cubase, etc.), but are not familiar with any of their interfaces. I definitely want something powerful, yet simple to use.

Sound-wise, I want both natural sounding traditional instruments as well as Techno/New Wave crazy stuff. ;^) (Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran has been my idol since I was a teenager in the 1980s!)
 

happyrat1

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First of all I think that video was shot with a misleading fisheye lens and the guy's fingers look gigantic when he's actually playing. I definitely seem to recall reading somewhere that MM in MM6 stood for "Mini-Mo"

The Korg X50 and Roland Juno DI are both current models and can be had for $699 almost anywhere. Check out the reviews on Amazon if you need more info.

http://www.amazon.com/Korg-X50-Key-Synthesizer-Keyboard/dp/B0019Z7MOC/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1364426646&sr=1-1&keywords=korg x50

http://www.amazon.com/Roland-JUNO-Di-Black/dp/B002KPF0RQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364426603&sr=8-1&keywords=roland juno di

For a DAW I recommend Cakewalk Music Creator 6 these days. More than enough power for a home studio, sells for under $50 and Cakewalk has some excellent tutorial videos on site and on youtube to get you up to speed.

Pretty much every keyboard named in this thread is Velocity sensitive, unweighted, as for aftertouch, if you need it, then examine the specs closely.

Anyway, I honestly don't think you could go wrong with either the X50 or the Juno DI for the money.

And since you're experienced with keys, I don't have to tell you the best thing to do is visit a music store and try them out in person before you buy :)

Good luck,
Gary
 

Wes

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It's also often the case that you can buy two keyboards for the price of one if you're willing to dive into the used market...there is a DGX-630 listed locally for $300, if I had the scratch I'd snag it as a backup.
 

The Y_man

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MM6 has full size keys. MM8 has semi-weighted ones at that.

"Mini Motif" was a sales thing to try and convince people it had (some) Motif Mega sounds and (some really cut down) Motif features.
:)

The Y-man
 
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The Y_man

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Matthew,

If you are a former PSR user, are you after an "arranger" (one person band type like the PSR) or a synth / dig.piano type?

The Y-man

p.s. sorry to hear about your PSR dying so young. I have a PSR-500 over 20 years old - refuses to die!!
 

Wes

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I bought a PSR-510 brand new in 1994. I loved that thing. Too bad my kid gave it a drink of orange juice in Y2K....
 
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Yes, the MM6 has full-sized keys; but not weighted. I have an MM6, a Korg M1, and a Korg SP250 (digital stage piano). If you want to do the MIDI thing and use a DAW on a computer, the MM6 is not a bad choice. Lots of nice voices and plenty of composer/arranger features as well. Of my three keyboards I would rate the MM6 at the bottom for 'feel'; but it works - AND I paid just $400 for the MM6 brand new (in an open box).

If you've had formal piano training in your past, I would suggest looking at one of the many 88-key keyboards with piano-weighted keys. I love my SP250 for those two 'features', and for the way it sounds. It also happens to have built-in speakers; but no MIDI input (so you can't drive it with sequences from a computer), only a MIDI out (so you could use it as a controller). I do ALL of my composition starting with the SP, and love playing it because it feels (and can sound) exactly like a good acoustic piano.
 
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