Synth or Arranger Keyboard


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Hi all, please accept my apologies if this has been covered before, I am sure many times...

I am a guitarist but am looking for a keyboard to play some small parts in some songs we play. Mainly synth style sounds, and had settled on looking at something cheaper like a Yamaha MX49 or maybe even a Korg Minilogue. It's a bit of an experiment for me so not looking to spend a fortune.

However, having started looking into it I wonder if I would perhaps be better going for something like a Casio CT-X5000 or a Yamaha PSR E473. I had perhaps unfairly discounted these almost as toys, but looking at lot of videos and reviews they seem to sound excellent, and to offer a genuine choice against a dedicated synth for a live situation. With a synth, I guess I trade smaller size and less weight but a great flexibility of sound design (and maybe sound quality?) - with flexibility and a much greater variety of sounds? I like the idea of having pianos, organs and some keyboard sounds but I can't see me using the styles or rhythm functions at all, which i guess is really the point of these types of instruments. But I also like the idea of a having a self contained keyboard to use as a learning tool, without the faff of connecting a synth to a powered speaker or PA....

Have now thoroughly wrapped myself around the axle of indecision and would appreciate your collective thoughts.
 
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happyrat1

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If your focus is old school analog then take a look at the Studiologic Sledge or the sequential Take 5.

The sledge is comparable to the Minilogue in price and way more user friendly. Don’t worry that it’s virtual analog.

Or if you want to splurge, the Take 5 is double the budget but very versatile. Also very user friendly.

An arranger is not a good choice for a synth band Think cruise ship or nursing home. :D

Gary. ;)
 
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I prefer an Arranger but Gary is right a Synth is far more suitable for your needs.

Korg Minilogue, main issue with that is the size of the keys, they are minute.

If you can manage small keys then a Yamaha Reflex is probably the cheapest available synth, CS is the analogue version and DX the FM.

In any case I would certainly council against the Casio, its very flaky and rubbish operating system and the sounds are only just OK. The Yamaha is better and for a home player it is probably right up there with a Korg EK50 as the best arrangers in terms of vfm.

Another to consider is a Korg Kross 2 workstation / synth which imo is probably more of a versatile all rounder than an outright synth and far easier to program the sounds once you have learned the OS. It is not much more cash than an MX and it is compact in size and very light weight.
 
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happyrat1

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I take umbrage with your statement about the Kross being easier to program.

With true analog and VA synths like the sledge and Take 5 sound programming could not be easier. One knob per function is how you need to go.

Korgs have way too much menu diving.

Workstations in general have too much menu diving.

Gary ;)
 
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I take umbrage with your statement about the Kross being easier to program.

With true analog and VA synths like the sledge and Take 5 sound programming could not be easier. One knob per function is how you need to go.

Korgs have way too much menu diving.

Workstations in general have too much menu diving.

Gary ;)

Do the units you suggest have User Preset banks or do have to twiddle knobs each time you want to play a sound?
 

happyrat1

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The take 5 has 128 Factory Presets and 128 User slots. 8 + 8 Banks of 16 beautifully positioned buttons.

The sledge has 999 rewriteable slots and a numeric keypad and category search for quicker access.

But knobs and modulation matrices galore on both of them!!! :D :D: D

Much nicer than the Minilogue to work with. Trust me. The Minilogue requires an awful amount of fiddling just to pull up a favorite patch. I've owned all three and a few others to boot and for performance, those two are my top choice so far,




Gary ;)
 
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happyrat1

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The Sledge has been around for 4 years now and can be picked up used for the price of a new Minilogue.

The Take 5 is the next step up in pro gear and can hold up well against boards costing twice and thrice the price.

I leave the choice to the OP.

Gary ;)
 
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looking for a keyboard to play some small parts in some songs we play. Mainly synth style sounds, and had settled on looking at something cheaper like a Yamaha MX49 or maybe even a Korg Minilogue...I wonder if I would perhaps be better going for something like a Casio CT-X5000 or a Yamaha PSR E473.... I like the idea of having pianos, organs and some keyboard sounds but I can't see me using the styles or rhythm functions at all
"Synth" can have different connotations. In terms of what's been discussed here, in one category, Minilogue and Take 5 are classic style true analog synth, and the Sledge, and Reface CS are virtual analog (VA) synths (though the Sledge can also play samples). In the other category, the MX49, Kross, CT-X5000, and PSR-E473 are not synths in that "analog or virtual analog" sense, though they do have sample-based synth sounds in them. You can certainly use the CT-X5000 and PSR-E473 the same way you would use the MX49, i.e. to play their sample-based sounds... you can just ignore their arranger-specific style/rhythm functions if you don't need them.

For piano, the sample-based MX49, Kross, CT-X5000, PSR-E473 will beat the Sledge (whose sample functionality is limited to a single velocity layer), which in turn will beat the other mentioned analog/VA boards (which basically can't do it at all). So for "pianos, organs, keyboard sounds," the second category of boards will generally be better, while for classic analog-style synth sounds, the first category of boards will generally be better. The Sledge (which has actually been around for 10 years, time flies Gary!) kind of splits the difference a bit. This can be somewhat subjective.

As to Biggles' question about calling up presets, all the boards mentioned can do that, except for Yamaha Reface CS (which would require connection to an iPhone or similar for that function). However, the ease with which you can call up sounds can vary (i.e. how many dedicated buttons there are for single-button instant patch recall, vs. scrolling through a list on a menu). The quality of the sounds and how editable they are (or how easily) can also vary.
 
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happyrat1

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The Take 5 is TRUE ANALOG.

The Minilogue is a crippled piece of crap with way too much menu diving.

Between the sledge and the Minilogue the sledge is far far more useful.

Gary
 
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