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View Full Version : Um....about getting a keyboard synthesizer...


PrismaDragon
10-09-2009, 11:34 PM
Ok so I'm sure you guys get a lot of these kind of threads but please bear with me as I haven't gotten decent answers or helpful advice anywhere else and I figured you guys would know your stuff.

I used to have a synth that I played around with but the quality wasn't that good and it was fairly old so it crapped out so I'm looking for a new one. That and I'm getting serious about making music.

Basically I'm looking for one that has a very large collection of realistic sounds. My main focus is on string and wind instruments as I've had a hard time finding synths with those having good sound. I need it mostly for recording music with vocals since I'm looking to start a band soon. Later I'll get a synth for live performing but for now I'll stick with recording. I'm hoping to keep it at $1000 or less but I'm definitely willing to consider higher priced options, they pay for themselves in the long run.

I don't know if anyone needs to know this for advice or not but I'm running Pro Tools as my editor/equalizer. Also, I definitely want a keyboard synth. I've tried several analogs and their just not my thing.

big giant circles
10-09-2009, 11:40 PM
what's your budget?

PrismaDragon
10-09-2009, 11:48 PM
Sorry I edited that after you posted. I'm looking at about $1000 or less but am willing to consider higher priced options.

big giant circles
10-09-2009, 11:58 PM
how about keybed? weighted? synth-action? 61? 88?

those are going to be your biggest factors in the quality of the sounds you get for the $1000 or less price range.

PrismaDragon
10-10-2009, 01:09 AM
88 synth-action

big giant circles
10-10-2009, 01:29 AM
haha, actually now that you said that, I don't really know any 88 key keyboards that are not hammer-action. would you settle for 76 or 61?

PrismaDragon
10-10-2009, 03:05 AM
I think a 76 would do well. I thought they had 88's but maybe not. I think one of the only ones I saw was just under $3000. I could be wrong though it was a while back.

big giant circles
10-10-2009, 04:02 AM
Well, here's a handful of suggestions and some general guidelines. You're probably not going to find anything with absolutely amazingly-super-awesome realism in that price range, but you'll find a few that will do alright.

Wanting something larger than 61 keys in that budget is really limiting your choices, too, so you may actually want to consider making do without 76 or more keys. If that is a dealbreaker and your $1000 limit is stationary as well, then I'd probably suggest something like:

the The Yamaha MM8 (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--YAMMM8).

Pros:
Actually DOES have 88 keys
Decent for the price

Cons:
Keys are weighted
Sound quality/realism is not much higher than entry level home digital pianos.
(In my personal experience) Not extremely intuitive for beginners.

Otherwise, if you can afford to raise your budget a little bit, I think you'd probably enjoy the sounds a little better in the following:

Korg M50 (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--KORM5073)

Pros:
Better sounds than the MM8
Synth-action keys
Some pretty cool combination presets (good for live use)
Touch Screen (I suppose that's a pro and a con, really)
Available in 61 keys as well
Pretty lightweight, so nice for gigging.

Cons:
Korg keyboards have probably the highest learning curve out of all keyboards I've played on (again, that's just my opinion)
Uh, that's really all I can think of

Roland JUNO Stage (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--ROLJUNOSTAGE)

Pros:
Good sound quality/realism
Pretty easy to learn & use
Lightweight

Cons:
can't really think of any. I'm not entirely sure this has the "combination" mode thing like the Korg does, but it might. I don't remember.

Now then. If you're willing to settle for a 61 key, You can save some money by getting the 61-key M50, or something like the Roland JUNO G (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--ROLJUNOG) which is really similar to the stage, but has some subtle differences, but pretty excellent sound quality for $1000. Or, you could snag something like the Yamaha MO6 (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--YAMMO6). I happen to be extremely partial to the MOTIF series. I think they sound awesome and they're fun to use and have great solo patches as well as combinations/multis for jamming live.

If you're feeling really ambitious and want the best sound quality you can get at a pretty reasonable price (higher than $1000, but far less than the $3000+ ones you saw), then consider buying a sound module and a MIDI keyboard. You could buy the Yamaha XS Rack (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--YAMMOTIFRACKXS) which is literally the brains of the MOTIF XS series (the XS8 is like $3500 at regular price) without the workstation. So while your functions are limited compared to the full thing, your sound quality is not. Then simply snag something like the Keystation 88 (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--MDOKEYSTAT88ES) for $200 and you've got a pretty nice setup for playing in a band, and recording MIDI into your computer, and all for around $1500.

So anyway, these definitely aren't your only options, but they're a good start. And like I always tell everyone, it's not always bad to consider taking what you want, and going one step further. (In this case, maybe bumping up from the $1000 range to the $1400-1500 range). Why? Because more often than not, people go ahead and pinch their pennies and get what they need "right now" and don't leave themselves anything to grow into. Getting a little more than you need will ensure that you're not just blowing your money on something that's too much top-of-the-line, which is safe in case you just simply decide it's not for you, or has too many bells & whistles that you never even use, and also that you're not going into any kind of crazy debt either.

Anyway, remember, use our zzounds.com link if you actually end up buying one (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/) but feel free to shop around because not only is the tax and shipping free (unless you live in NJ), but they'll match any price if you happen to find one for lower. In the meanwhile, head to your nearest Guitar Center and they'll probably have all of these keyboards available for you to play around on. (Just remember though, they'll charge you tax and probably sell you a demo model, so tell 'em you'll think about it and then buy from zzounds) ;)

PrismaDragon
10-10-2009, 04:23 AM
Thank you so much. This is definitely a really good start, and like I said before I'm willing to go up a little, after all it's worth it in the long run. I'd say if it fits what I want and need I'd be willing to go up to even $2000. For now I'll start with the options you've given me and go from there. Again thank you so much for your help and fast responses. Everywhere else I've had to wait three to four days sometimes even more then a week to get a response from someone.

big giant circles
10-10-2009, 05:06 AM
groovy man, don't mention it.