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synthersizers & keyboards

Discussion in 'Keyboards' started by sirchick, Sep 29, 2007.

  1. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    What is the main difference between the two... a site when i went on to electronic keyboards gave me the choice of synthesizer or keyboards and i was unsure on the differences...

    Can any one inform me on what the difference is please ?
  2. EricWatkins

    EricWatkins Active Member

    Well, keyboard is really a generic word used to describe any instrument that has keys resembling those of a piano keyboard. Synthesizers can be built into a keyboard or be in a table top model or a rack mount module or totally exist in software. Synthesizer refers more to a sound generator which can produce sound by one or more ways and also modulate that sound through a series of filters, envelopes, low frequencies oscillators, and many other effects or modulations. Probably, traditionally, synthesizers are thought to be of the analog (or virtual analog) nature but really, the term synthesizer is used by manufacturers all the time to describe all sorts of keyboard instruments that are analog, virtual analog, additive, and sample playback. This is a huge subject which you could do a lot of research on on the net. If you have any really specific questions, please feel free to ask. For now, I'd start do googles for terms like analog synthesizer, sampler, and things like that. Also, go to manufacturer's websites to listen to demos of analog, virtual analog, and sample playback types of synths/keyboards so you get an idea of what the different types sound like. Best of luck.

  3. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Well its mainly i gotta buy a keyboard... but i found the two and was like whats better choice

    I need a piano sound but i do like midi stuff too like orchestra harmonies are easier on keyboard so i guess i should get the synthesizer ?
  4. EricWatkins

    EricWatkins Active Member

    There are a lot of really nice boards out there that have good pianos and also have great synth functions. The big 3 are Roland, Korg, and Yamaha, not necessarily in that order. Look at the Fantom, the Motif, and the Triton. Those three are "workstation" synths that try to do it all. I own a little bit of stuff from all of them and I have to say, they all make great stuff. It gets down to personal preference and this is why, if you HAVE to buy a board, you REALLY owe it to yourself to go try them out at a music store. You really need to take the time to listen to this stuff to make a decision. You might also want to check out the Alesis Fusion series.

    What is your budget?

    What are you using it for? LIve? Recording? Sequencing?

    DO you own a computer?

    We can widdle this down piece by piece but eventually, you really need to go demo the boards you are interested in.

  5. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    I would like to use it live, i have a computer,

    budget 300 - 400 tops

    I would like to use my vsti's in my pc to convert the midi input too so i can use my orchestral plugins or what ever else....

    LIve? Recording? Sequencing?

    Not sure on the difference im quite new still trying to get the gear firstly .. i love gear ;)
  6. EricWatkins

    EricWatkins Active Member

    Are you planning on using your PC live?
  7. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Honestly, if you don't know the difference between a keyboard and a synthesizer, you don't need to be spending $1000+ on a new synth workstation. Maybe down the road sometime, but not when you are just getting started.

    If you want something with internal sounds look for a used synthesizer. Check Ebay and Craigslist. Also you may want to check out a personal keyboard...yes, the kind with speakers built in. They generally have decent sounds and have MIDI capabilities.
    Alternatively you could go for a MIDI controller. They do not have internal sounds but you can use them to play back sounds from your computer or get an external sound module.

    Like EW said, you should definitely go to a music store and play around. Try to get an idea of exactly what you want/need.
  8. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Yeah, you really do need to audition them.

    Sounds are different. You may like some, and not others.

    Also, they have different keyboard "feels". Do you want one to feel more like a real piano, with weighted keys? Do you want one that doesn't, with keys that are just springy? Each affects your playing.

    Do you want channel aftertouch, or key aftertouch? The difference is the channel aftertouch senses the volume of the first key key pressed and that's what all others in a chord or sequence will respond to, until you release all keys, and start again. Key aftertouch will respond to each key individually. Makes a difference in your playing.

    Keyboard split or layering capabilities, or not?

    Do you want sample/onboard-sound playback, synthesis, or a combination? How many effects? Upgradeable or not? Loadable samples, or stuck with what's on board forever? Sequencing capabilities, or not?

    Yep, probably best to consider all of that stuff, plus what the others have said. Learn what all of that is, and you'll be happier when you spend your cash.

  9. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Woah did not think it gets that complex in terms of options lol !!

    Would half of those features all be found in a keyboard in my price range though... i can't play piano so im also learning to play at same time... so im not going to go and buy an expensive one for a few years yet anyway..
  10. EricWatkins

    EricWatkins Active Member

    I think someone else nailed it for what you are thinking of spending. Get one of the Casio WK or CTK models. THey sound pretty good for what you can buy at a department store and they even have some effects and synth parameters. It would be a good start and you can move on from there.

  11. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    Cosign E-Watkins: a used Casio CTK series from eBay.

    It is one of the best in your price range that is not simply a MIDI controller.

    When you get better and get more money, please upgrade. *smile*
  12. casper

    casper Guest

    If you can find a used yamaha CP70 you might be able to get it in your price range. I would definitley listen to the other posters advice and go try these out at the local music store.
  13. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Ok, so would these allow input of midi in sequencers which can then be changed to what ever sound ?
  14. EricWatkins

    EricWatkins Active Member

    Yes, as long as the keyboard has a "midi out" port, you'll be good to go.
  15. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member


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