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Keyboard - help ?

Hi All,
I'm not sure if this is the right forum to ask this question under.
I'm looking to pick up a budget new/used digital keyboard to do some recording, to put down some simple tracks in my home studio on my blues songs.
I've played some piano in the past, enough to play chords, simple stuff. But I know nothing about digital keyboards or what to look for in an instrument.
Of course I want to get away with as inexpensive as possible, as I won't be using it to gig, just a bit of home recording, all I care about is have some basic sounds, piano, organ-b3 sound, perhaps use it to do some horn parts, midi, that kind of think. But I like to get something to will give a decent passable sound...
Any tips, suggestions, advice about what brands/models I should be looking into, or general advice on digital keyboards and recording. ?


Member Fri, 03/10/2006 - 11:45

Thanks guys,
A couple short paragraphs from you guys made more sense than all those articles I been reading online.
If I got it right, using a computer and software isn't a good way to go then.... With my setup I'd have to go keyboard to computer and then computer to my stand-alone (zoom mrs1608) recorder. My computer isn't to fast either at 500m, I don't like the idea of having to deal with latency issues either, and then what would computer software cost me verses a nice used sound module ?
So I get a decent keyboard controller and find a nice sounding used module.......sounds easy........
What is the story on those Casio WK keyboards, they run a three hundred or so $$$....are they worth looking into ? any advantage to using one of them ?
Anything inparticular what should I look for in a keyboard, are there any particular makes/models that out shine the rest in their price range, or to be avoided.

JustaJigolo Fri, 03/17/2006 - 05:24
Re: keyboard

JoeJoeMan wrote: What is the story on those Casio WK keyboards, they run a three hundred or so $$$....are they worth looking into ? any advantage to using one of them ?
Anything inparticular what should I look for in a keyboard, are there any particular makes/models that out shine the rest in their price range, or to be avoided.

Not being clued up with the current Casio range (My first sampler was a FZ1 back in the middle ages! Still use it for live work, mind!) I checked out the WK range sound samples. A particularly dissapointing set of sounds. My view is that if the keyboard has 810 tones for $300 that makes it each individual tone is worth 37 cents! That's not taking into account the hardware side of the keyboard or the processor. Most of these keyboards have strengths and weaknesses in the programming of voices but it seems to me that the piano and strings on the WK3700 fall firmly in the weak category.

My take on this is go out & try a controller keyboard (you gotta try first to see if you can work with the key action, Fatar are good or try the Roland controllers, I use a Roland A33 76 note which has a pleasing action), then scout around for a sound module. The Korg N1R rack unit has some good sounds although the pianos do lack edge. This can be tweaked with the synth section but it'll never beat a Bosendorfer! They stopped making the N1R a few years ago so they should be fairly inexpensive.

As I'm a resident of GB I'm not sure of the availability of the products I mentioned in the States but I hope you can find the right setup for you without too much fuss & also I hope my input has been of help.

Member Wed, 03/08/2006 - 22:21
Well the problem is that how much is inexpensive for you, because you can get some used gear at e**y ( you know where rigth) and spend about 1000 on a Korg Triton or you can get a trinity korg 61 key for about not even half of that, I own this one and is great on everything, ensembles, pianos, bass, brass, reeds, etc. It was one of the bests ones a couple of years ago, or you can buy new ones like the kursweil K2661 for like 2 grand or the new korg OASIS for like 8 G's is an awesome piece of equipment for a home studio, just go to guitar ce**r and give it a try, well good luck.


Member Thu, 03/09/2006 - 11:09

Inexpensive for me is 'hundreds' not 'thousands' this point anyway, seeing how's it still all new to me.
I've been reading what I can in an effort to educate myself and see what my options are.
I'm thinking I prefer the actual playing of a keyboard verses the computer software loops route.
The Midi keyboard controller sounds like a good option, I still don't have a grasp on what all that means.
Any suggestions on where online I can go read up on controlers etc. would be appreciated, and also recommendations on what gear is good, bad, affordable, etc.

UncleBob58 Thu, 03/09/2006 - 11:59
61 key controllers start at about $175.00 new. Used ones start at about $50.00, but I personally don't like used controllers; stickey keys, sliders, etc. A controller is exactly what the name says, it controls other things, it has no sounds of it's own. The benefit is that it can connect to different kinds of systems - computers and/or modules. All you need is a MIDI cable to connect the controller to a module. Roland is good, I also like Fatar (I think they're called StudioLogic now).

A decent sound module will start at about $300.00 new. You can find tons of great used modules as well. You can get something fairly powerful like the Roland JV1080 used for a couple of hundred dollars. You can even pick up a used Korg Triton module for around $600.00 or so.

The benefit of a modular system is that you always have a controller with which you are comfortable and can keep adding or swapping modules as your needs and budget allow.

When I was touring I used three keyboards (two controllers and a dedicated sampling keyboard), a "strap-on" controller and five modules all interconnected through a MIDI interface to keep things organized. In my studio I have six modules with a MIDI interface, a bunch of softsynths and just one controller.

I hope that this has been helpful.

Member Thu, 03/09/2006 - 17:34
If you plan on playing it for blues, I personally would avoid using a midi controller to control software. The delay will most likely piss you off. I've been using it for more than half a decade through software, and even though I've got used to it, it still can manages to be piss me off when timing is important.

You could try a Yamaha, but the sound is more subjective. I'm generally not a fan of the Yamaha Rompler sound (A little to bright for me). I did hear an amazing piano player play Jazz piano on a Motif line though, and that sounded fantastic.

A good option would be a used XV sound module from Roland. Roland modules have been standards for a long time, they're expandable, and they have a pretty nice quality in tone.