First keyboard recommendation?

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by Frey, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. Frey

    Frey SS.org Regular

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    Hello all!

    I've decided that I would like to dive into the world of keyboard and would greatly appreciate some advice on my first instrument choice. My price range tops out at $400. I have a few in mind but am open to any suggestions!

    Some possibilities I've found are:

    Artesia PA-88W
    Artesia PA-88H

    Alesis Coda 88 (Hammer Action or Semi-Weighted)

    I've gathered from my research around the net that I need to really make sure it has weighted keys. Is the difference between "semi-weighted" and "hammer action" really crucial? Anyways, I thank everyone for their time and appreciate any input on the matter! :wavey:
     
  2. mgh

    mgh Betwixt and Between

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    The keyboard action depends on what you want to do with it. If you are planning to learn the piano you will want weighted keybed.
    If you are going to play more synth stuff then you would want non or semi weighted.

    Then you will need to think if you want a midi controller (no built in sounds) a digital piano (good piano and a few other sounds) or a workstation (lots of different sounds)

    If you want to control virtual instruments do you need usb or standard 5din midi?

    A lot to think about. If you answer some of this you might get more options
     
  3. thedonal

    thedonal SS.org Regular

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    Hammer action is fine for piano style stuff.

    Semi weighted for everything else. (Synth lines or programming drums via keyboard on Hammer action with be difficult and fatiguing unless you plan on building up super stregth for it..)
     
  4. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Like, if I personally were going to play keyboard in a band, I would get a bunch of Micro Korgs or other micro keyboards so I could set them all up to be different things and hop on two different ones at the same time Keith Emerson style

    But if I were going to be in a prog band and play piano like jorden rudess or the guy in Jolly I would get an 88 key weighted keyboard

    I think in practice you'll find many keyboard player rigs contain both things!
     
  5. Frey

    Frey SS.org Regular

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    Thank you all for your input!

    To answer mgh:
    I would indeed like to learn to play piano in the traditional sense I guess you could say although I'd suppose I'll be utilizing synths as well. Please pardon what must be a breathtaking caliber of ignorance on my part but when someone says synth are they referring to more ambient types of playing or sound effects?

    I'd definitely like it to have some built in sounds so I can just sit down and play without any hassle. Of course it would be nice to have the option to expand down the line which I believe is a possibility on some digital pianos. A video I watched noted that the Artesias can sync with an iPad for such a purpose.

    It's my understanding that workstations are essentially for those who are really experienced and are really competent on the instrument, probably not ideal for a beginner. They look sick though haha

    As for you other fine folks:
    I do have aspirations to become competent enough to hopefully play in a live metal setting one day but as for just getting started and building up chops it sounds like an 88-key weighted is the way to go. Now pardon me for being redundant but in the long run will it hurt me to start with just semi weighted? Should I go for hammer action to maximize finger strength? I may use it to control virtual instruments at some point but that's at the bottom of my priority list.

    If it's relevant at all I do play several other instruments and have of course played a keyboard a number of times in my life and do feel confident I'll get into it. It's just that only recently did I even find out that different key types existed. I spoke with a guy in the audio center at my local GC but he just wanted to sell me $2k workstations.. Really I'm just looking for a good starter that will hopefully carry me for at least a year into my playing.
     
  6. mgh

    mgh Betwixt and Between

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    i agree with you totally that learning to play piano is the way to go, both from a chops and theory point of view. not familiar with the keyboards you linked to as not available here in the UK but for entry level digital pianos/keyboards you can't look past Casio PX

    FWIW i use a digital piano (I had Casio pX700, now on Kawai ES100) for piano but also as midi controller for soft synths.
    If I was playing live i'd have a Casio PX5s though...
     
  7. Emperor Guillotine

    Emperor Guillotine The Almighty Ruler

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    I'm a keyboard player. Feel free to ask me any questions via PM.

    I actually just upgraded to a new keyboard last week. My advice is to thoroughly research into what kind of action you want (synth action, hammer action, graded hammer action, etc.) for your style. Also, research into whether weighted keys are really for you since you're not an already-trained piano player. There is this misconception going around new players that weighted keys are the best just because they are weighted and more expensive. Nope. You can't play fast synth lines on them or get immediate, precise control like you get with synth action or like you get on some semi-weighted keybeds. Lastly, research heavily into keybeds and the manufacturers. Believe me, the feel and quality of the keys on the keybed can make all the difference.

    After you have deeply waded into all of that, you can start looking into any additional features that you want such as: velocity curves, aftertouch, drum pad buttons, any sorts of knobs or sliders for DAW control, etc. If you are looking into a solid workstation or a MIDI controller, then balancing features that you feel like you might need or use is an absolute must.

    If you want to play live, you will probably need multiple keyboards for both functionality and feel (piano parts versus synth parts) and to expand your zone assignments and patch assignments so that you're not glued to the screen on the keyboard (if it is a workstation) or so that you're not glued to the screen on your laptop (if it is a MIDI controller).
     
  8. Stuck_in_a_dream

    Stuck_in_a_dream SS.org Regular

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    Just to add my $0.02 worth to all these great recommendations. These are my opinions/experience, so they are biased :D.

    1. Weighted keys are not mandatory, it just depends on how much acoustic piano you'll be playing. Weighted keys gives you a lot of control over loudness/velocity, plus if you ever want to learn to play the real thing, you'll feel right at home.

    2. You don't see major Organ & Synth players play weighted keys, probably for a good reason. Glissandos, runs, fast arpeggios are prob. much easier to play for most people on a semi-weighted (synth action) than on a fully weighted.

    3. If you go for fully weighted, I can second the Casio Privia line. Amazing weighted action, and recent models have ivory/ebony (non-sticky) key texture. If you want better piano tones, use the Casio to control a VST software like Pinoteq.

    4. A good synth action is not so easy to come by, most cheap keyboards have horrible toy-feeling keys. Unless you're buying a medium to top-of-the-line synth, I'd recommend going used. Also pay attention that "After-touch" is not a very common feature these days.

    5. If you want to learn sound synthesis, I'd also buy something like NI Komplete, where you get: Reaktor, FM8, Absynth, Massive, Kontakt and many other synths.

    In HW, recently, the Roland System-8, XA, Behringer DeepMind 12, Korg Minilogue are some of the stuff to check out, but for a metal/prog band you probably want a rompler (sample based synth). So a workstation from the big 3 (Roland, Yamaha, Korg) will do, doesn't have to be latest & greatest, a cheaper, gently used, model will give you best bang for the buck.

    6. Sound synthesis is a fascinating world in its own right, there are a gazillion software synths that I'd love to own, one of my favorite VST devs is Urs Heckman, just pay a visit to his website and download his free synths/demos & listen to what something like Diva or Zebra2 can do, mind boggling.

    Lastly (sorry for the long post :)), I think my best advice is, although it's very easy to get sucked into the vast ocean of synth VSTs (even just the free ones, or say the ones in Reaktor's user library), one should always remember that music comes first, and someone like Jens Johansson made some of the most amazing music (check his fusion albums!) on some of the oldest synth/keyboards in existence, the legend/dreaded Yamaha DX7!!!

    Have fun!
     

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