Suggestions for home recording studio keyboard?

Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Hello,

I have a modest home recording studio and want to add a versatile keyboard. I am a guitarist, but want a keyboard to add some flavor to my recordings with virtual instruments such as saxophone, strings and so on. I almost ordered an Arturia Keylab 61, but happened to play a few Yamaha keyboards in stores and was very impressed with the feel and sounds.

Having a large amount of voices from which to select is important to me. I have an old keyboard that I'm using as a midi controller now with some free vsti software. But, it is a cheap unit and it lacks a lot of features such as aftertouch.

I really can't spend more than $500. I've been researching Yamaha keyboards and there are so many! I'd appreciate advice! Thanks!
 
A

Advertising

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
7,321
Reaction score
3,033
Take a look on your local Craigslist.com for a "gently used" Yamaha MOX6, Korg X-50 or Roland Juno Di. You should be able to find one in your price range.

Gary...
 
A

Advertising

Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Take a look on your local Craigslist.com for a "gently used" Yamaha MOX6, Korg X-50 or Roland Juno Di. You should be able to find one in your price range.

Gary...
Thank you, Gary. What happens when I start researching this sort of thing is information overload, haha. Several times I have made a "firm" decision, only to have that swayed by some review or more thought. I checked out Craig's list previously but will take your advice and look again. I think I'd like a Yamaha...but there are so many models! I want lots of on-board voice and to be able to also use it as a midi.

Have a great week!

Travis
 

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
7,321
Reaction score
3,033
Also worthwhile checking for are manufacturers' discontinued closeouts and in store floor demonstrator units generally selling anywhere from 15% to 25% below regular prices which still have full warranty and tech support from the factory. Sometimes if you're willing to make an offer they will take it just to clear room for more stock. I got my PC3K8 a thousand dollars below list that way ;)


Gary
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Also worthwhile checking for are manufacturers' discontinued closeouts and in store floor demonstrator units generally selling anywhere from 15% to 25% below regular prices which still have full warranty and tech support from the factory. Sometimes if you're willing to make an offer they will take it just to clear room for more stock. I got my PC3K8 a thousand dollars below list that way ;)


Gary
That's my kind of discount, Gary! I have had some luck with store orphans, too, and it makes a good day better. I've been checking out the Black Friday weekend deals, but so far have seen nothing that blows me away.

Tonight, I've been researching a lot and have three Yamaha models in my sights. They are the PSR-E433, the MM6 and the YPG-235. Have you tried any of these? I live back in the sticks and it's a long way to a music store, so too often I have to rely on reviews for online purchases. I'd like nice key action, lots of good voices and to be able to also use it as a midi controller for my vsti collection with Reaper.

Thanks for all your useful information!

Travis
 

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
7,321
Reaction score
3,033
Regrettably I must inform you that I am not a Yamaha guy. Personally I have a problem with their tendency to use non standard USB interfaces and proprietary drivers which do not work with my OS of choice, Linux.

However all of the Yamaha gear heads hang out at these two websites and they can probably give you better hands on reviews.

http://motifator.com/

http://www.psrtutorial.com/

Hopefully they can give you the skinny on what to watch out for. ;)

Gary
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Thanks, Gary. May I ask...what is your keyboard of choice? Perhaps I'm going down the wrong road by limiting my research only to Yamaha. I am a guitarist, not a keyboard player, so I'm flying mostly blind. I just really want to break up my "all strings and skins" recordings with other instruments.

Have a great new week!

Travis
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
I noticed your Soundcloud link, so I went there and saw your keyboard lineup. I also listened to some of your tracks...very impressive. I especially liked the Tango! Keep up the good music, and thanks for sharing it!

Travis
 

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
7,321
Reaction score
3,033
Well on my soundcloud page I've listed my Casio XW-P1 and my Korg TR76 and my M-Audio Venom but I've been bitten by "gearhead's disease" in my old age and so my roster rarely stays the same for too long. I haven't updated the page yet, but this summer I sold off my Korg TR and bought a Kurzweil PC3K8. I also own an Alesis SR-18 drum box and I'm thinking of picking up a Waldorf Blofeld Module during the post Xmas sales this year.

Anyway, truth be told, if I were starting over right now with what I know today, I'd even consider just picking up a good MIDI controller or two instead of a full blown synth and then fill out my sound collection with various soft synths and hardware modules like the Waldorf Blofeld, a Korg M3M rack, a Yamaha Motif XS Rack and maybe a Roland Fantom Rack Module as well.

A system like that would have the advantage of costing less money to put together in the first place and be obsolescence proof in the long run. Pieces would only have to be replaced one at a time when they wore out or became too old to be usable.

Actually that's sort of my plan now. My plan is to hang onto the Kurzweil until I'm buried with it and aside from programming its internal sounds, use it as a first class MIDI controller for future module purchases.

Sometimes you don't have to spend a fortune for modules either. First of all they have no keyboards to wear out so buying one used is less of a gamble, plus there are a lot of older units out there, 4 or 5 years old, that put out very respectable sounds.

I dearly miss my old TR's Triton soundset and someday I plan to pick up a used Triton Rack or TR Rack to get those sounds back.

In the meantime, rent's gotta be paid and daddy's gotta eat so I pace myself with purchases whenever I feel like I deserve a "treat." :)

Anyway, I need less gear and more practice to begin with. I'm really just an old duffer living out his teenage fantasies in my senior senility :D :D :D

Now I'll stop rambling and let you digest what I've said in the hopes that you found something useful in that rambling mess :D :D :D

And thanks for the compliments on my music. Like I said, it's just my hobby at this stage of my life. :)

Gary
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Good Morning, Gary,

It's clear by the way you write about keyboards and related equipment that you ARE a true gearhead. I'm about the same way, but with a guitar-related slant. I am lost in the keyboard world.

I get what you say about getting a midi controller, though, and just getting updated software as needed/wanted/possible. I was dead-set on the Arturia Keylab-61 because that's about what it is, and it comes with a library of over 5,000 sounds, plus 16 pads and other goodies. I found it at one online place for $399, free shipping, no tax and a sustain pedal and two midi cords included. But I began to get the idea that it might not give me the best sax, piano and other sounds/voices...and I kept remembering how sweet the sax sounded on the Yamaha at Guitar Center and Sam's. Am I'm right about the sounds?

I've never done any music like you've recorded, but yours interests me. My music has mostly been old style country and rockabilly types, but I dabble in several other genres.

Hey, I'm an old guy, too, haha, so we gotta stick together around all these young whippersnappers! Keep on treating yourself whenever you can. When getting into the "looking back instead of looking forward" stage of life, we need all the reasons to grin we can get!

I'll keep listening to your music! Thanks again for all the advice and information!

Travis
 

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
7,321
Reaction score
3,033
Actually, to get back on topic, depending on your system, most VSTs blow away hardware keyboards simply because your samples can be HUUUGE.

The biggest issue for most musicians is reliability on stage.

That's where hardware modules come in. They offer the flexibility of using a generic controller along with the reliability of dedicated hardware for the voices.

Take a quick look around and google the Muse Receptor or the Yamaha Motif Rack Series or the Korg Triton Rack and you'll see what I mean.

Gary
 

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
7,321
Reaction score
3,033
BTW, on sale in the Black Friday week sales this week I saw a Yamaha MX61 going for $499. It looks promising and it's one of their newest models.

http://www.tomleemusic.ca/index.php/163120.html

Unfortunately it's a Canadian vendor but I'd imagine you could maybe get a US retailer to match the price or find the same if you google around.

I don't advise buying it cross border unless the shipping and taxes and brokerage fees are reasonable. Call their toll free number and ask them what's the deal on shipping to the US.

Sale ends Cyber Monday, the 2nd of Dec.
 
Last edited:

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
7,321
Reaction score
3,033
And just to prove that I REALLY am a gearhead, here's a flowchart of my current studio setup :)

studio-flowchart.jpg
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Actually, to get back on topic, depending on your system, most VSTs blow away hardware keyboards simply because your samples can be HUUUGE.

The biggest issue for most musicians is reliability on stage.

That's where hardware modules come in. They offer the flexibility of using a generic controller along with the reliability of dedicated hardware for the voices.

Take a quick look around and google the Muse Receptor or the Yamaha Motif Rack Series or the Korg Triton Rack and you'll see what I mean.

Gary
Hello Gary,

I only recently starting trying VSTs and VSTIs. So far, I've only used the free ones, and some of them are very impressive. I suppose in many cases the ones you have to buy are better....maybe. I see your point about avoiding obsolescence to a large degree by using VSTs. I didn't know you could buy Motif voices for use with a controller...I told you I was green! I've been around Motif keyboards and they are very nice! Now I have another possibility to consider, haha.

For years I did play onstage, but now it doesn't appeal to me. I just want to record some song demos at home. That means the equipment will have an easy life!

I'll check out the software you suggest, thanks!

Travis
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
BTW, on sale in the Black Friday week sales this week I saw a Yamaha MX61 going for $499. It looks promising and it's one of their newest models.

http://www.tomleemusic.ca/index.php/163120.html

Unfortunately it's a Canadian vendor but I'd imagine you could maybe get a US retailer to match the price or find the same if you google around.

I don't advise buying it cross border unless the shipping and taxes and brokerage fees are reasonable. Call their toll free number and ask them what's the deal on shipping to the US.

Sale ends Cyber Monday, the 2nd of Dec.
I came in from my shop (I'm a carpenter by trade) to check out the weekend deals. Funny you mention the MX61...that's the very model I was researching online last night. As I recall, it has 1,000 Motif voices included, plus a ton of other bells and whistles. I'm going to your link; I never found a price that low!

Thanks!

Travis
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Gary,

I went to the Tom Lee Music link you sent me, then called Musician's Friend about their lowest price guarantee. Even though their site says they will BEAT any advertised price, I was finally told the best they could do was $539.99, no tax and free shipping. Plus, a $50 gift certificate is supposed to be part of the deal. I went for it...it's ordered and thanks to you I was able to get what I think is a much better keyboard than I was going to get for a very reasonable price. I little more than I had planned to spend, but I didn't want to let that deal slip away.

Thanks again for your help! Have a good day,

Travis
 

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
7,321
Reaction score
3,033
Congrats Travis. May this keyboard be the start of a magnificent collection ;)

Sometimes we get some pretty good deals in Canada. Even more amazing considering our dollar is a nickel lower than the USD right now.

Anyway, happy keyboarding and I think it comes with a copy of cubase as well.

Gary
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2013
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Thanks, Gary. The MX61 will be miles ahead of my very old (like for kids) keyboards. I'll be lost, no doubt, but that's all part of the journey. I was surprised at the price there, too. Not as much as the rep at Musician's Friend. Their site plainly states they will beat ANY advertised price, and I could have been a bad guy and tried to get them to do that, but I think what they did was fair enough.

The cubase I won't need since I have Reaper and am really happy with it. Maybe I can give it away.

You really helped me out! I owe you!

Best,
Travis
 

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
7,321
Reaction score
3,033
A six pack of Coronas the next time you're in Mississauga will do nicely ;)

Gary
 
A

Advertising

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top