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#2927396 - 05/16/18 05:11 PM Need help for wife's bday present, 2 keyboard questions
telecast Offline
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Registered: 01/21/18
Posts: 5
Two quick questions from a non keyboard player here. I'm shopping for a birthday present for my wife. I'd like to upgrade her keyboard. We're looking at either the Roland Juno DS61 or the Yamaha MX61. The local Guitar Center has both in the 88 key versions. She's totally ok with not having weighted keys and she doesn't want a board as big as the 88, so that's why we're considering the 61 key versions. My questions are:

1. Will the electronics and sounds be the same in the 88 key versions as the 61 key versions? In other words will the 88 key version of the Juno have the same electronics and sounds as the 61 key version of the Juno? And same question for the Yamaha.

2. Are there keyboards out there with built in speakers that will sound as good as the DS or MX? My impression is that keyboards with built in speakers are kind of the 'student' models while those without built in speakers are more 'serious' and have better sounds. That could be totally offbase, I don't know. Can you fill me in?

Thanks!

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#2927401 - 05/16/18 05:46 PM Re: Need help for wife's bday present, 2 keyboard questions [Re: telecast]
AnalogGuy1 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Eastern US
I don't know of any semiprofessional keyboards that are 61 synth-weighted keys and that have built in speakers - but this is a pretty knowledgeable crowd and perhaps someone else does.

If you really want the built in speakers and don't mind it being bigger, the Casio Privia Pro PX-560 is a nice piece of kit (although is a full 88 and hammer action).

In general, I'd recommend calling Sweetwater and asking to speak to a "sales engineer". The title is cheesy, but those guys know their stuff and can help narrow down a very large field based on a few back-and-forth questions. That might help you especially since you're not a keyboardist, and we're not sure if your wife is an organist, synth player, (pretty sure not a pianist from your description), or just looking for the "next step up" without having any specific playing needs.

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#2927406 - 05/16/18 05:54 PM Re: Need help for wife's bday present, 2 keyboard questions [Re: AnalogGuy1]
telecast Offline
Member

Registered: 01/21/18
Posts: 5
Her main thing is piano, synth pad, especially layered on top of the piano, a decent jazz or rock organ type sound and every now and then oddball sounds like banjo to cop banjo licks on a couple of tunes we do at church. Weighted keys are not needed. The interface definitely needs to be intuitive and easy to use quickly, both to call sounds up and also to transpose.
Calling Sweetwater is a good idea. I'll give that a go. Thanks.

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#2927407 - 05/16/18 06:00 PM Re: Need help for wife's bday present, 2 keyboard questions [Re: AnalogGuy1]
DulceLabs.com Offline
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Registered: 04/21/13
Posts: 5183
Loc: CLASSIFIED
Originally Posted By: AnalogGuy1
I don't know of any semiprofessional keyboards that are 61 synth-weighted keys and that have built in speakers - but this is a pretty knowledgeable crowd and perhaps someone else does.


Just about every major brand has pro/"prosumer" arranger-type boards with 61 synth keys and speakers... many with some pretty nice speakers.

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#2927408 - 05/16/18 06:22 PM Re: Need help for wife's bday present, 2 keyboard questions [Re: telecast]
aellison62 Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 03/18/09
Posts: 402
Loc: Ohio
You say “upgrade her keyboard”, what is she playing now?

What is your budget ?

Requiring built in speakers does limit your options quite severely. Also, if she is going to be playing piano type pieces, a 76 key model might be a nice compromise. 61 Keys are not usually that effective for playing piano.
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#2927411 - 05/16/18 06:58 PM Re: Need help for wife's bday present, 2 keyboard questions [Re: aellison62]
telecast Offline
Member

Registered: 01/21/18
Posts: 5
Right now she's playing an old Yamaha PSR-520. If I remember correctly we bought it back in the late 90s. She's ok with the functionality but we're hoping for better overall sound quality, especially on piano. Basically looking for a step up. Budget's between $600 and $1000, maybe a bit more if she really falls in love with something. Onboard speakers are NOT essential, though they'd be nice. But again, I always kind of thought that would really relegate us to beginner type boards, though that might be my preconceived notion.

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#2927414 - 05/16/18 08:01 PM Re: Need help for wife's bday present, 2 keyboard questions [Re: telecast]
CEB Offline
10k Club

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 13056
These are about $800.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lq2u7HXEWEk

For the same price you can get the Yamaha DGX-660 if you can find room for an 88. I like the DGXs. They are a lot fun. About $600 without the furniture stand.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/...ith-stand-black


Edited by CEB (05/16/18 08:03 PM)
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#2927418 - 05/16/18 08:43 PM Re: Need help for wife's bday present, 2 keyboard questions [Re: telecast]
AnotherScott Offline
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Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 12992
Originally Posted By: telecast
My questions are:

1. Will the electronics and sounds be the same in the 88 key versions as the 61 key versions?
...
2. Are there keyboards out there with built in speakers that will sound as good as the DS or MX?

No one else answered your questions, so...

1. Yes

2. "As good" is hard to quantify. Even whether the DS and MX sound as good as each other is an open question... it would depend on personal preferences and which sounds you're comparing. But for something with speakers that would probably be at least competitive, I'd look at the Roland BK5.

Originally Posted By: telecast
Her main thing is piano, synth pad, especially layered on top of the piano, a decent jazz or rock organ type sound and every now and then oddball sounds like banjo...The interface definitely needs to be intuitive and easy to use quickly, both to call sounds up and also to transpose.

I'd also put Roland VR-09 on your short list, which probably meets those needs better than the DS or MX. Those boards have more sounds and more total flexibility, but it sounds like your needs are pretty basic, and the VR-09 outclasses the others in organ and simplicity.
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#2927443 - 05/17/18 04:43 AM Re: Need help for wife's bday present, 2 keyboard questions [Re: AnotherScott]
cphollis Offline
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Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 2600
Loc: Massachussets, Florida
"We're hoping for better overall sound quality, especially on the piano"

That statement alone will lead you down a long -- and potentially expensive -- path. It took me a long time (and not a small sum) to nail live acoustic piano sounds when performing at any sort of volume.

The trick to better live piano sounds ends up better amplification, which has its limits with built-in speakers. Even something simple like an entry pole speaker will give you better stage sound at church than any built-in could do.

I'm not sure if that's your use case, or whether it's more important to have an all-in-one slab for the living room.
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#2927453 - 05/17/18 05:56 AM Re: Need help for wife's bday present, 2 keyboard questions [Re: telecast]
aellison62 Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 03/18/09
Posts: 402
Loc: Ohio
Staying within your stated budget I second the recommendation of the Yamaha DGX660. My daughter used to have a Yamaha YPG-635 and it was very fun for her to play and had a very convincing acoustic piano. The DGX series seems to be the latest upgrade of that type system.
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