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Zephyr

Comparing High-end Keyboards

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Hello everyone; I've been a keyboard player for 15 years and I still love to play, I had an acoustic piano available for all of these years, but now that I'm moving I'll unfortunately have to part with it, it's time to go with a more flexible and portable option.

I'm looking to buy a good, high-end keyboard that provides both synth and piano sounds with a budget between $2000-$3000.

Right now the most appealing option for me is the Nord Electro 3 HP

Unfortunately however does not feature a synth section, which would be very nice for what I'm going for.

From those of you who've tried quite a few keyboards which are the best value in this range? Hammer-action is preferable and at least 73 keys would be nice too. I don't need an arranger or the more complex workstation elements as I prefer to do all that on my laptop anyways.

Also, has anyone tried the Electro that could vouch for it?

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Hello everyone; I've been a keyboard player for 15 years and I still love to play, I had an acoustic piano available for all of these years, but now that I'm moving I'll unfortunately have to part with it, it's time to go with a more flexible and portable option.

I'm looking to buy a good, high-end keyboard that provides both synth and piano sounds with a budget between $2000-$3000.

Right now the most appealing option for me is the Nord Electro 3 HP

Unfortunately however does not feature a synth section, which would be very nice for what I'm going for.

From those of you who've tried quite a few keyboards which are the best value in this range? Hammer-action is preferable and at least 73 keys would be nice too. I don't need an arranger or the more complex workstation elements as I prefer to do all that on my laptop anyways.

Also, has anyone tried the Electro that could vouch for it?

Get something made with a FATAR keybed, you'll never go back to anything else.

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Go with the Korg Kronos.

I used to own the older Nord Stage, which is comparable to the Electro; there's very little different between the Nord Stage and Nord Stage 2 besides more sample memory. I now use a Roland V-Combo VR-700 and my laptop; I made the switch because the Roland had physical drawbars for the organ and a better-feeling keyboard (I prefer semi-weighted keys).

The Nord Electro has no synth section and can only play one sound at a time (so no layering or splits), so it's not the ideal choice. The Nord Stage has a somewhat crappy synthesizer, and while it can layer and split and has great piano, organ, and electric piano sounds, it can't load any other sampled sounds, so no realistic strings, orchestral parts, etc.

I can't really recommend the Electro at all; its expanded sample section doesn't come anywhere near a standard workstation keyboard, so you'll have to compliment it with something else, and it's got no synthesizer. I'd only want one if I also had a workstation keyboard or a synth or both in my setup; in that case, it's a cheaper alternative to the Stage, so it's worth it. I gladly recommend the Stage if you don't need too much in the way of synth sounds and don't need sample sounds: it's the keyboard of choice for a lot of jazz players, groove bands, classic rock that isn't too synth-heavy, that kind of thing. For your purposes though, again assuming you only want one keyboard, it just doesn't do enough to fit the bill; it's too specialized.

I've never owned the Kronos (though I used to own a Korg TR, the Triton Extreme's little brother, so I'm familiar with Korg in general) and I've tried the Kronos in store, and it's easily the keyboard I'd recommend for the player who needs a broad set of sounds. Compared to the Stage, its one drawback is that things aren't as hands-on, as it's more complex (and thus more powerful as well); you can't tweak an EP sound with effects by pressing maybe 4 buttons plus turning some knobs, as you would on the Stage, but you can use more effects per sound and have control over more of their parameters, so it's a tradeoff.

The Kronos has a bunch of different engines: a B3 engine, comparable to the Nord Stage or Electro, piano and EP engines (I didn't do a head-to-head comparison, but the Kronos did sound good), a sampled sound engine that on its own is as good as any other workstation keyboard (and I must admit, my preference has always been for Korg out of the "big 3" - Korg, Yamaha, and Roland), and several synth engines.

Another nice feature is that you can make a setlist (probably called something else, I can't remember for sure) of up to 128 programs (a single sound from one engine) or combis (several programs, possibly from different engines, layered or split) and display 16 at a time on the touch-screen, with one-touch switching between them. That's important because on other workstations, you'd either be in program or combi mode, and if you wanted to stay in combi mode for a gig, you'd have to make combis containing only one program. Plus, you often wouldn't be able to switch as easily between 16 presets at once.

Also, the Kronos has full patch remain: switch sounds while holding down some keys and the old sound will continue to play, without cutting off. Again, something that no other workstation does.

To summarize: the Nord Stage and Electro have their place, but the Kronos will probably do what you want better and for about the same money.

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I've used the predecessor, the RD-700gx, once at church. I didn't have much time to play with it, but it seemed decent. Only catch is that it still won't give you a synthesizer, just some baked-in synth sounds.

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I'm not sure how significant, since I didn't really play the OASYS much in-store (and didn't have $8,000 to spend on one ;) The Kronos is the successor to the OASYS obviously, and the things that I do know are improved are the piano and electric piano engines (the OASYS just had piano and EP sounds in the standard sampler engine), and the playlist and patch remain features I was talking about. I'm sure there are some other changes too, but those are the big ones I know about. There's no point even considering an OASYS at this point, since you'd be buying it used anyway, unless someone was offering it for a fair bit cheaper than a Kronos.

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