Yamaha MX88 vs Roland Juno DS88


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After my abortive and vaguely embarrassing fling with almost owning a Casio WK-7600, I am once again researching keyboards. Given that I have decided to wait and try to determine what impact (if any) the Casio AiX sound engine will have on the community, I've decided to save up some more cash; and hence, I've raised my sights. Two boards that have come to my attention are the Yamaha MX88 and Juno DS88. Both are 88 key keyboards; I would have been happy with 76, but I find 61 too confining. Both have oodles of tones and rhythms. Neither has on-board speakers. The Juno will load a pile of additional voices off a keychain drive; don't know about the Yamaha. The Yamaha has some kind of deal with Apple and ipad which is of zero interest to me. The Yamaha includes CuBase Ai computer software, the Juno does not include any software. Both keyboards have real din plug midi, as well as USB connectivity. Both the Juno and the Yamaha have 2 separate pedal controller inputs. Price is very similar; $1300 CAD for the Yamaha, $1400 CAD for the Juno. I'm assuming that both will play accompaniment and have arpeggiators, but I haven't seen that specified. I don't ever expect to take the keyboard out of my home; it will be permanently connected to my music computer.

My impression is that the Yamaha is best at reproducing pianos, violins, flutes, and traditional orchestral instruments, while the Junos strong suit is Synth voices that pop and grab ya.

Anyone have opinions on either keyboard?

Thanks - Charlie
 
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SeaGtGruff

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I have no experience with either one of those, although I'm tempted by both of them. :)

The MX88 is a "synth" rather than an "arranger," so it doesn't let you use accompaniments as such. I think you can use its onboard sequencer to record and play back patterns, but that works differently than using a "style" or "rhythm" on an arranger. If you've never actually played an arranger and gotten used to the way it works as far as changing musical key based on the chords you're playing, pressing buttons to switch between variations or trigger "fill-ins," etc., then you might not have any trouble getting used to the way patterns work on the MX, since you wouldn't have to "unlearn" anything.

One thing I've heard about the MX synths is that it can be difficult to edit the voices on the synth itself, and that you'll likely want to use a computer program for voice and performance editing (there are third-party editors available). I'm not sure whether that's due to the nature of the LCD display, or the function menu and what options are present or missing. However, the MX has four assignable knobs that can be used to adjust various parameters on the fly-- cutoff, resonance, attack. release, reverb depth, chorus depth, etc. So unless you need or strongly desire to dive deeply into voice and performance editing, the onboard controls and menus might be sufficient for your uses.
 
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Thanks, Michael - I do have experience with arrangers, and that's on my list of essential features. So the MX-88 is off the list.

Well, this turned out to be a short thread.

Thanks - Charlie
 
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And as it turns out, the Juno DS is also not an arranger keyboard. Musicians friend allows you to choose via a set of features; when I select 76 key and arranger, it leads me right back to the Casio WK-7600. Strangely, there are very few 76 key or larger arranger keyboards.
>Charlie
 

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There are some 76-key arrangers, but sometimes they're classified as something else for one reason or other. The terminology used for classifying keyboards can be confusing, especially since there might not be any clear definitions of the terms to begin with as far as what characteristics qualify a keyboard to be classified under a given category. Also, the categories aren't necessarily separate and distinct; they can overlap, or one can be a subset of another, etc. So you might need to choose a different category, such as "portable keyboards" or "workstations," or maybe even something like "digital pianos" or "portable grands."
 
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I am back home after testing out a Juno and a Korg Kross 2 at my local store.

Both are very similar in feel and the quality of the voices/sounds etc the Korg is noticably slimmer and has less weight.

Menu systems have pros and cons with each.

So I suggest you add the Kross 2 to your list to check out further.

Google .... Korg Video Manual Kross 2 .... and you get a batch of short videos describing various features, do similar with the Roland ...... Roland Juno DS ..... and look for those produced by Product Support and again these show various features, Roland could learn from Korg as the Korg Videos are much superior in layout and progression.
 
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Hey, Biggles - thanks for the update. I checked out the Korg Kross 2. I like the fact that it has provision for no less than 3 pedals, so (in theory at least) it can be set up to work like a real piano. I also noticed that it appears to have a sampler built in.

Sadly, it doesn't appear to be an arranger keyboard - no built in rhythms, no auto accompaniment. It does have an arpeggiator. But the lack of rhythms takes it off my list.

Hi, Michael - I'll go do an exhaustive review of all the keyboards at Sweetwater, and see what I find. There might be gold.

Later - Charlie
 
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Charlie

I am not sure that the Juno has auto accompanyment built in to the degree that a full on Aranger keyboard does, if it does I have yet to find any.

The Roland FA08 workstation with its full 88 keys may also be a worth checking out.

I am part way through watching Roland’s Juno video tutorials on its features, you may want to check them out on Youtube, they are the ones tagged Product Support.

For an Arranger with 76 keys then I think your choice is very limited, Korg PA4X, or Yamaha Genos sping to mind, I am unaware of any Roland Arangers with more than 61 keys.
 
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Hey, Biggles - you're correct that the Juno is not an arranger keyboard. The Roland, Korg, and Yamaha may, but they range in price between $2,000 and $5,000 USD - far beyond my $1,000 USD budget. And even my $1,000 USD ceiling is a stretch.

I'm surprised to discover how few entries there are in the 76/88 key arranger bracket. The Casio WK-7600 sure doesn't seem to have many neighbors.

>Charlie
 

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Yamaha makes a few 76-key and 88-key arrangers besides the Tyros5-76 and Genos, but a couple of them haven't been updated in a while:

PSR-EW300 -- This is an entry-level 76-key arranger, or portable keyboard as it's usually classified. It just came out last year, and is the 76-key version of the PSR-E363. The keys are synth- or organ-style, meaning they aren't box-shaped like on the Casio WK-7600. As is the case with the other models listed below, it is limited to just two variations per style, as opposed to four variations.

PSR-EW400 -- This is the "flagship" model of the entry-level PSR-E line. It came out two years ago and is being replaced with a newer model later this year (around May), so it's being discounted at most stores. It's the 76-key version of the PSR-E453, but it also has better audio outputs and amplification than the PS-E453.

PSR-EW410 -- This is the replacement for the PSR-EW400, and is the 76-key version of the new PSR-E463. I think it has the same voices and styles as the PSR-EW400, but the manuals haven't been posted yet. It does have a couple of new features.

DGX-230 / YPG-235 -- These two models are identical except for their names and possibly some cosmetic differences. (I think the YPG models are "export" versions of certain DGX models, just as the YPT models are "export" versions of certain PSR-E models.) This is an older model; it came out several years ago and hasn't been updated since then. It has 76 box-shaped semi-weighted(?) keys, similar to those on the Casio WK-7600.

DGX-530 / YPG-535 -- These two models are sort of like 88-key versions of the DGX-230 and YPG-235 in the sense that they were released at about the same time, but I think it has other improvements besides the greater number of keys. I don't think the keys are hammer action, but I think they have better action than those of the DGX-230 / YPG-235.

DGX-660 -- This is the "flagship" of the DGX line, with 88 hammer-scale keys (although I'm not sure whether the action is on a par with a stage piano). It's a few years old now, but its replacement hasn't been announced yet. The earlier models (the DGX-650, DGX-640, and DGX-630) can often be found for sale on sites like Craigslist.
 
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After my abortive and vaguely embarrassing fling with almost owning a Casio WK-7600, I am once again researching keyboards. Given that I have decided to wait and try to determine what impact (if any) the Casio AiX sound engine will have on the community, I've decided to save up some more cash; and hence, I've raised my sights. Two boards that have come to my attention are the Yamaha MX88 and Juno DS88. Both are 88 key keyboards; I would have been happy with 76, but I find 61 too confining. Both have oodles of tones and rhythms. Neither has on-board speakers. The Juno will load a pile of additional voices off a keychain drive; don't know about the Yamaha. The Yamaha has some kind of deal with Apple and ipad which is of zero interest to me. The Yamaha includes CuBase Ai computer software, the Juno does not include any software. Both keyboards have real din plug midi, as well as USB connectivity. Both the Juno and the Yamaha have 2 separate pedal controller inputs. Price is very similar; $1300 CAD for the Yamaha, $1400 CAD for the Juno. I'm assuming that both will play accompaniment and have arpeggiators, but I haven't seen that specified. I don't ever expect to take the keyboard out of my home; it will be permanently connected to my music computer.

My impression is that the Yamaha is best at reproducing pianos, violins, flutes, and traditional orchestral instruments, while the Junos strong suit is Synth voices that pop and grab ya.

Anyone have opinions on either keyboard?

Thanks - Charlie

Check the Casio PX-360.

You can't edit the patches, but it has "arranger" features.

. charles
 
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I really like the specs and features on the PX-560, but it costs quite a bit more than the PX-360. :)
 
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Yup. The PX-560 is a hybrid of the PX5 (with a real programmable synth -- maybe several of them) and PX-360.
 
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In my home studio I currently use the Roland FA08 as my base unit especially for piano and I have a Roland VR09 above it for organ stuff mostly. However at the top of the stack I have a Casio wk7600 for the occasional rhythm. Now the VR09 has some limited rhythm capabilites, but it is a 61 key item. I don't know what the problem was you had with the Casio but around here they are often used onstage, especially their piano versions (Privia? I think)
 
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I own both a Juno DS88 and DS61 and like them very much for my purposes which is playing cover rock and roll songs in bands. I also own other keyboards, such as the Korg Kronos and the King Korg and others. I try to use one or more keyboards that best fits the music that I'm playing and each has its own advantages.

You didn't go into detail about what music you play, but knowing that you intend to play exclusively at home. The advantages to the DS61 is its portability, while having all the features of the DS88, although like you said, its confining. At the other extreme end is the Kronos, which like the Juno easily can do complex arrangements, as well as a whole lot more, but is extremely heavy to carry around and wasn't cheap. I usually have the King Korg on my top rack, because its very handy for various synth leads and pads.

I'd be happy to be of more help. Let me know what music you are looking to play.
Perry
 
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After my abortive and vaguely embarrassing fling with almost owning a Casio WK-7600, I am once again researching keyboards. Given that I have decided to wait and try to determine what impact (if any) the Casio AiX sound engine will have on the community, I've decided to save up some more cash; and hence, I've raised my sights. Two boards that have come to my attention are the Yamaha MX88 and Juno DS88. Both are 88 key keyboards; I would have been happy with 76, but I find 61 too confining. Both have oodles of tones and rhythms. Neither has on-board speakers. The Juno will load a pile of additional voices off a keychain drive; don't know about the Yamaha. The Yamaha has some kind of deal with Apple and ipad which is of zero interest to me. The Yamaha includes CuBase Ai computer software, the Juno does not include any software. Both keyboards have real din plug midi, as well as USB connectivity. Both the Juno and the Yamaha have 2 separate pedal controller inputs. Price is very similar; $1300 CAD for the Yamaha, $1400 CAD for the Juno. I'm assuming that both will play accompaniment and have arpeggiators, but I haven't seen that specified. I don't ever expect to take the keyboard out of my home; it will be permanently connected to my music computer.

My impression is that the Yamaha is best at reproducing pianos, violins, flutes, and traditional orchestral instruments, while the Junos strong suit is Synth voices that pop and grab ya.

Anyone have opinions on either keyboard?

Thanks - Charlie

Have you considered the KORG PA3X Le Arranger keyboards, comes in a 76 as well as 61 key version, given the other keyboards you mentioned this may well be out of your budget, but you might want to then consider a 2nd hand one? See http://www.korg.com/au/products/synthesizers/pa3x/index.php Reviews seem solid.
 
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I'd check out the Yamaha DGX650 if you don't mind having graded hammer style 88 keys. You are right, there are not many 76 key arrangers out there, I would maybe keep an eye out for a used unit of a discontinued model.
 
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After my abortive and vaguely embarrassing fling with almost owning a Casio WK-7600, I am once again researching keyboards. Given that I have decided to wait and try to determine what impact (if any) the Casio AiX sound engine will have on the community, I've decided to save up some more cash; and hence, I've raised my sights. Two boards that have come to my attention are the Yamaha MX88 and Juno DS88. Both are 88 key keyboards; I would have been happy with 76, but I find 61 too confining. Both have oodles of tones and rhythms. Neither has on-board speakers. The Juno will load a pile of additional voices off a keychain drive; don't know about the Yamaha. The Yamaha has some kind of deal with Apple and ipad which is of zero interest to me. The Yamaha includes CuBase Ai computer software, the Juno does not include any software. Both keyboards have real din plug midi, as well as USB connectivity. Both the Juno and the Yamaha have 2 separate pedal controller inputs. Price is very similar; $1300 CAD for the Yamaha, $1400 CAD for the Juno. I'm assuming that both will play accompaniment and have arpeggiators, but I haven't seen that specified. I don't ever expect to take the keyboard out of my home; it will be permanently connected to my music computer.

My impression is that the Yamaha is best at reproducing pianos, violins, flutes, and traditional orchestral instruments, while the Junos strong suit is Synth voices that pop and grab ya.

Anyone have opinions on either keyboard?

Thanks - Charlie
Hi Charley,

I am an old guy who lives in the jungles of Costa Rica. I recently travelled to the big city & sampled some keyboards. I felt nothing compared to the quality of my old PSR550---so I sent it in to be completely refurbished. It sounds like our needs are similar, & I await to see what you finally get & how you like it...
 
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DGX-530 / YPG-535 -- These two models are sort of like 88-key versions of the DGX-230 and YPG-235 in the sense that they were released at about the same time, but I think it has other improvements besides the greater number of keys. I don't think the keys are hammer action, but I think they have better action than those of the DGX-230 / YPG-235.

Hi, Michael - You mentioned the YPG-535; I already own a YPG-525, a very similar board. It has a dead display, which makes it virtually useless. However, I have a new display dog-paddling its way from China to Canada; I expect it will arrive in the next few months, and I'll install it. It might well be that the YPG-525 I've already got will fill all my needs. Except for the joy of having the heady aroma of freshly molded plastic in my home, of course. Perhaps I'll get one of those 'new car smell' car fresheners and hang it in my music room.

I also identified the PX-560, but the $1,500 price tag is a bit steep at the moment. However, I'd rather save for something very capable, than buy something that won't do the job. The 560 uses the Casio AiR sound engine, the same one they use on all their high end electronic pianos.

I've researched the heck out of the Casio WK-7600, and it seems that the strong suit of the 7600 is its drums, percussion, and punchy sounds. This makes it a good choice as a rock or stage performance keyboard, particularly considering its light weight. But its been criticized by a few sources as having good, but not great, classical instrument samples. I tend to do slow, moody compositions which feature individual instruments (sax, violin, piano) and very rarely have a rhythm background (although this may change, as I develop more as a musician). So, despite the fact that I absolutely love the technical capabilities of the WK-7600 - it does virtually everything except set the table and make breakfast - the sounds it produces don't seem to be the ones that fit my musical style.

Of course, Casio has just announced their AiX sound engine which they claim is a dramatic step forward in sound realism. It is currently available on the CT-X700 ($175 USD) and will be rolled out on three additional 61 key keyboards by late March. They claim its eight times more powerful than their previous sound engine, AHL. Don't know what that means - 8X faster clock, 8X more detailed samples, or just some copywriter manufacturing a number out of thin air. But, given that there's a new sound engine available on some Casios, it's possible that they may introduce a new version of the 7600 with the new sound engine within the year. I'd be very angry with myself if I purchased a WK-7600 simply for the fun of having something new - and then watched the unveiling of the 7700 at summer NAMM, complete with a ton of new samples and more rhythms.

So, given that I already have an aging Kurzweil and a soon-to-be-repaired YPG-525, I think the best thing for me to do is to hang back, get my music room working, and then do a real evaluation of what my needs really are. It might very well turn out that all I really need, is motivation.

(But I reserve the right to buy a CT-X700. It's cheap enough that it would allow me to evaluate the new sound engine at length, and hear for myself how it sounds compared to my existing gear.)

And on a completely unrelated note... Alberta is under a cold weather advisory right now. I've lived here all my life, and I tend to ignore such advisories; I generally feel that I have a pretty good understanding of what the climate will be like. Well... it appears that I've given my feet a mild case of frostbite. Nothing major, just the constant burning sensation you have with a low grade burn before the dead skin peels off and you're back to normal. What I found surprising is that I've lived here for more than 50 years, and never experienced this. I guess the message is, pay attention to the weather advisories. Hopefully you can avoid the consequences of my particular brand of silliness.

Take care, all - Charlie
 
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SeaGtGruff

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I hope the repair of your YPG-525 goes well, as that would tide you over for a while so you can save up for something a bit pricier than what your current budget would support. And of course, by that time the newer models should be out. :)
 

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