Which 88 key keyboard should I buy? Options: Korg Kronos X/ Nord Stage 3/ Yamaha Montage etc.

Joined
Jan 26, 2018
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Which keyboard should I buy? Options: Korg Kronos X 88 Key/ Nord Stage 3 88 Key/ Yamaha Montage- 8/ Roland Fantom X8 or RD- 2000/ Kurzweil Forte 88 Key/ any other good keyboard you might suggest.

Hello. I was considering these keyboards as I'm about to go to a Music Conservatory in London, England this year. I live in New Delhi, India at the moment and I have a Korg Krome 88Key and a Kawai KX-21 Upright Piano. Since, I'm not too pleased with the capabilities of the Korg Krome and adding to that the price of having it sent to London this year would be almost as much as the keyboard itself, I was wanting to replace it with a newer, higher end one. As I do live in New Delhi, it is almost impossible to try these keyboards in person. So, I have to rely on the internet for the most part.
I am a classically trained pianist. I have been playing piano since I was three. Needless to say, a lot of my repertoire is Classical music, ranging from Ravel to Liszt to Shumann etc. So, a good action and a decent piano sound is a must. I find it annoying that sometimes when I sustain the piano sound on the krome, rather than dying off slowly, it does that to an extent and then cuts off. I'd like to change that if any of these keyboards offer that (I'm not too sure if any of them do). I will rely on the grand pianos in the conservatory for most of the refinement of the pieces such as adding colour to it and as the action on a grand is much different than that of an upright at least. But, I do need a keyboard to practice at home too. I also gig with a lot of bands. I often end up covering some complicated songs which need several patches, layering, splits etc. I do like the seemless transition/ patch remain on the Krome although it does make the previous sound a bit louder when changing which I don't appreciate. I record music mostly on DAWs on my computer. I end up almost never using the recording capabilities of the in built facilities of keyboards. That said, I almost never take a laptop with me on a gig and rely mostly on the keyboard's capability. Also, I never play as a one man band. So, backing tracks, drum tracks and arpeggiators are completely useless to me. I also don't care about in built speakers as I mostly connect the keyboard to an amplifier. Although, I wouldn't mind the speakers if it doesn't add too much weight, not that it is a big deal. I do not like the piano sounds on the Krome. Although, they do the job. I have been using Korg keyboards for quite some time now. I'm quite used to the interface as I had an M-50 and an M-3 earlier too. Although, I wouldn't mind a change if it is worth it. That said, let's get to what I think about these keyboards.
1) Korg Kronos X 88 key:
This, to me, is the safest option. I am used to Korg and this is an obvious upgrade. But of course, since I don't really love the sounds on the Krome, I am a bit sceptical. It has 120 voice polyphony on single mode. Which is much more than that of the Krome. That said it's been released since more than four years which gives me the feeling that Korg might replace it, although there is not much competition in the market to force it to. Although, it is still a great all rounder and the interface will be easy to switch to as it will be almost the same as the Krome with added features.
2) Nord Stage 3 88 key:
I'm quite intrigued by this one. I like the hands on controls that this keyboard offers. I find it to be much more useful in a live setting than finding it in a menu on a touchscreen or something similar. The cons seem to be the polyphony as it does about 60 voices on a single piano sound in stereo. Also, it does not have as many sounds as most of the other keyboards on the list. But if the quality is great, it seems to be a decent comprise. I don't appreciate that the Nord Piano 3 has a Keyboard itself as it has a triple sensor technology instead of the double sensor one on the Stage 3. Though, I don't know how much of a difference that makes. I also read some reviews saying that the split mode is limited. I'd like to know more about that. Also, it doesn't help me that Nord changes/ updates the models almost every year. Giving the feeling of an outdated product within approximately 1.5 years.
3) Yamaha Montage- 8:
I have played with a Tyros that I used to get for gigs from a company who used to sponsor some of the gigs I did. I was quite impressed with the sound. From what I've heard from people who play it, they love it. The 128 note stereo polyphony is great and it has an actual FM synth, unlike the Kronos. Yamaha owns Bosendorfer and the CFX range of pianos by Yamaha are great themselves too. So, I expect the piano sounds to be put together well. This does limit the range of the piano sounds but I would not care if the quality of the sounds are great.
4) Roland Fantom X8/ RD-2000:
I've heard that the action on the RD-2000 is amazing. The Fantom X8 apparently has an 'Ivory feel' keyboard. The Fantom X8 is again about five years old. So, it does again give the feeling of buying an outdated product which might be replaced soon. The RD-2000, on the other hand, was released about two years ago. I don't know much about these keyboards. I'd love to hear from you if they are worth considering.
5) Kurzweil Forte 88 key:
As far as I've read about it, I don't like this one. It doesn't even have seemless transition/ patch remain. It does come with flying drawbars as an option. Although, I've not found any specifications for that on their site. The only reason why I've added this to the list is that a lot of people have recommended me this one. Some of them say that it has a great interface. Apparently, it's not as hands on as the Nord but also not as menu based as the Korg/ Yamaha. Others just swear by Kurzweil for some reason. I'd like to know why.
Other thoughts:
So far, the Nord Stage 3 seems to be the most interesting but I'd like to know how much I'm sacrificing on the other functions of the other keyboards for 'better' sound and a more hands on experience. I'd like to know how much the polyphony effects the playing. And how 'limited' the split sections are. I'd also like to know if the Montage is actually a 'better' all rounder than the Kronos. The other two keyboards, I don't know much about. So, any good information on those, especially the Roland ones, would be appreciated. Any information on the keyboard action, sounds, ease of use, effects and other functions on any of these keyboards or other ones would also be greatly appreciated. The price, so far, shouldn't be a problem as long as I land up on a worthy investment because I have been saving up for this for quite some time. I hope you guys can help me make a decision.
Thank you!
 
A

Advertising

Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
938
Welcome to the forum unfortunately for me I cannot comment on the kit you quote.

I live in the UK but about 250 miles away from London and hence do not know specifics about many of the vast number of keyboard stores in London.

I can point you to two who have a good reputation they are PMT and Red Dog, these will probably be worth a visit.

I would suggest that PMT are your first point of contact, explain to them the keyboards you are interested in and ask if they can have them set up in the store for you to play. PMT are a national company who are suppliers to the industry of just about anything and if they do not have a keyboard in the London store no doubt they could ship it there from another store, I have bought from them and hence have no priblem suggesting you check them out.
 
A

Advertising

Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
938
You are a wise man Dexter, I have literary been playing a Nord today in my local music store.

Awesome keyboard.

Did also play a Kronos but the Nord took over as my favourite wannabuy.
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Messages
1,407
Reaction score
1,173
Hey mate,

1. I wish I had your budget! All the keyboards you mention are top of the range stuff - I don't think any would let you down.
2. I'll make some comments below on your Krome/Kronos thoughts, as I lack expertise on the other boards.

a good action and a decent piano sound is a must.
I really like the RH3 action found on the 88 key Kronos. It's much better than the 88 key action on the Krome, which I dislike. However some find it a bit "heavy" - it's tricky if you can't try one out. Piano sound is a bit subjective. I recommend watching lots of good quality video with headphones. None of them are terrible to my ear!

I find it annoying that sometimes when I sustain the piano sound on the krome, rather than dying off slowly, it does that to an extent and then cuts off.
That is a known fault with some Kromes. It is not supposed to happen. Mine doesn't do that, and if it did, I would be getting it fixed. Check out this thread: http://www.korgforums.com/forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=89650

I do like the seemless transition/ patch remain on the Krome
You must be an alchemist as the Krome does not support SST as far as I'm aware. The Kronos does.

But of course, since I don't really love the sounds on the Krome, I am a bit sceptical.
Sound quality is always a bit subjective, but you'd be the first person I've ever heard say they don't think the Krome sounds good. Regardless, you should be aware that the Kronos is a significant step up from the Krome sound-wise. Again I recommend listening to as many high-quality demos of all the 'boards you mentioned through decent headphones.

And one other thing you should consider:

I also gig with a lot of bands. I often end up covering some complicated songs which need several patches, layering, splits etc.
You would LOVE the Kronos' Set List mode.

I'll end where I started - the reason I'm only talking about the Korgs is because I know them better than the other keyboards, which I've only given a cursory play here and there in shops. Wanted to give you a bit of extra info to take away with you and consider in that regard.
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
63
Reaction score
15
Unless you need a va synth, arpegiator, sequencer or drum machine or the ability to sound design, id go rd2000. Cheaper than the stage and kronos but better Keybed.

Id stay away from the nord. It has the least piano like board out of those listed, substantially behind the rest and if your used to real pianos you'll probably hate it. It was the board k went in favouring but 10 mins playing the Keynes and it ruled itself out. Great sounds mean nothing with a poor playing surface and the nords
Is its weakest point.


I personally prefer the rds piano tones to all the others (the v piano ones anyway). It's stage piano not a synth. As such does that better than the rest.

The v piano tones have unlimited polyphony, a godsend for classically trained pianists. It acts as a controller in a daw as well.

The kronos is great at a lot of things the rd can' do but your not interested in most of it. As a piano and Keybed and controller the rd is better imo.

I tried all the boards your considering for primarily piano and live workhorse sounds and it wasn' even close for me.

're splits/layers. The rd has 8 tones you can layer or split any way you like. Each has a dedicated volume slider and on/off switch. It doesn' get better.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
63
Reaction score
15
Check this for the split/layer thing. The demo shows 4 sounds from the RD and 4 from Mainstage, but you can use 8 from an external source or 8 internal. Each "zone" can be either.



And as for how it responds to classical playing - check this:


Of course you cant tell easily how instruments compare by online videos - but they will give you an idea of what the RD can do.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 18, 2012
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
The Kronos is the only one with smooth transition from one sound to the other with no drop out. I like that feature.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2016
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Let me start by saying that Kurzweil and Nord use Fatar keybeds, which means that you would probably feel the difference coming from Kawai. The Kronos has an RH3 keybed which is apparently better than the Fatar but I've yet to try one for myself.

The Kronos X has been updated by the Kronos 2015, with improved piano sounds, improved piano engine (among other hardware and software upgrades), as well as changes in aesthetics. Here's a link if you want to check it out:

http://www.korg.com/uk/products/synthesizers/kronos2/

I'm pretty sure the Roland Fantom series has been replaced (unsure if directly) by the FA series. They are seen as mid-range keyboards however, and are priced accordingly.

https://www.roland.com/uk/products/fa-08/

It seems like Roland have not released proper high end workstations since the Fantom series.

It seems to me that Yamaha released the Montage as an indirect response to Korg's Kronos. It is a performance synth rather than a Kronos rival, but given your needs and preferences, though I consider myself biased towards Korg, the Yamaha might be the best buy for you. It aims to aid performers rather than making the keyboard more expensive and strong on the spec sheet by filling it up with workstation features. I would be cautious nonetheless, because there seems to be more of a bias towards Yamaha than any other keyboard brand, so tons of positive reviews might not mean much in reality.

I do not recommend tyros or genos at all. Most of what you pay for are styles, and the sound editing is hugely limited, or in fact almost non existent (on tyros least).
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Messages
1,407
Reaction score
1,173
Tim.72...wow, wow, wow! A lot of assumptions in one post.

1. Yes Kurz and Nord use Fatar keyboards but - not in every machine, and to say that a Fatar keyboard is better or worse than an RH3 - an impossible statement. So many different Nord and Kurz actions, so many different keybeds. Not all are fully weighted, and deliberately so.

2. Your chronology of the Kronos is confusing. Kronos hit the market in 2011. Kronos X came out in 2012 and Kronos 2 was announced in 2014. I've never heard of "Kronos 2015".

3. "There seems to be a bias towards Yamaha..." By whom? I've not noticed this?
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2016
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Tim.72...wow, wow, wow! A lot of assumptions in one post.

1. Yes Kurz and Nord use Fatar keyboards but - not in every machine, and to say that a Fatar keyboard is better or worse than an RH3 - an impossible statement. So many different Nord and Kurz actions, so many different keybeds. Not all are fully weighted, and deliberately so.

2. Your chronology of the Kronos is confusing. Kronos hit the market in 2011. Kronos X came out in 2012 and Kronos 2 was announced in 2014. I've never heard of "Kronos 2015".

3. "There seems to be a bias towards Yamaha..." By whom? I've not noticed this?
1. Reading that, yes I've made an overstatement. I should also have mentioned the fact that Nord tweak the Fatar beds they get. Also, I heard from a pianist that while he thinks Fatar keybeds are not great for piano, they are better for EP and that kind of thing.

2. Kronos 2015 is just another name for Kronos 2. There is no official" Kronos 2", Korg just calls it "Kronos".

https://www.gear4music.com/Keyboards-and-Pianos/Korg-Kronos-88-2015-Music-Workstation-with-Stand-and-Headphones/1DFH

3. From my experience, around the Internet, Yamaha keyboards seem much better received than Korgs. This might just be an illusion, though.
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
Messages
1,407
Reaction score
1,173
3. From my experience, around the Internet, Yamaha keyboards seem much better received than Korgs. This might just be an illusion, though.
I would be surprised to see any empirical evidence that the Montage has been received more favourably than the Kronos. Amongst gigging musicians in my town, I know of zero Montage users, and several Kronos users.

2. Kronos 2015 is just another name for Kronos 2. There is no official" Kronos 2", Korg just calls it "Kronos".
Fair enough, it's not nomenclature that I'm familiar with, so happy to be corrected. It's probably worth mentioning though that "Kronos 2015" or whatever you want to call it came out in November 2014, hence my confusion. It's probably also worth mentioning that the official Korg URL you posted contains within it the designation "Kronos2".

To wit:
These technical details don't matter greatly to me - however when posting I try to bear in mind the requirements of OP - I feel it's more important to post facts than unclearly labelled conjecture, as expensive purchasing decisions may be made on this basis.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
63
Reaction score
15
RE Kronos v Montage. I have spoken to several dealers recently (looking an Kronos of FA in my case) and mentioned Montage as a no go for me (no VA engine). The response is that while the Montage is great at what it does, Kronos is outselling it around 80-1 in the dealerships - take that as you will.
 
Joined
Oct 13, 2017
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Studio board, Kronos. Live board, Montage...that simple. I own both.
 
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