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Why are arranger keyboards so expensive?


konaboy

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Just curious. Was thinking about the price of the Tyros at $3500. Even a high-end Yamaha PSR is nearly $2000.

 

The build quality is nothing exceptional. The construction is plastic, the keyboard quality is inferior compared to other instruments at this price range.

 

The sounds are on-par, perhaps worse that a pro-workstation costing less money.

 

So are you paying a large premium for the styles? Are there royalty costs to pay, some styles are a copy of a hit song?

 

Or is it just that typically it is wealthy elderly gentleman that these instruments are targeted at?

 

confused.

hang out with me at woody piano shack
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There ARE some affordable arrangers , such as the PA Korg and E Roland and of course the low end Casios and Yamahas..

 

I suppose it could be considered a niche market? I see the cabinet type (roland KR series) sells for the family setting.

 

I have a PA-500 that I purchased thinking I was going to do a duo with a chick singer and she joined the Air Force, so I drag it out at Christmas parties..

 

I believe the non American markets sells more , judging from the alternate(ethnic) sound sets offered for them.

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Actually, a very knowledgeable guy over at Korg Forums(Rob Sheratt?) that has both the Korg PA2X Pro and the M3, has detailed how the arranger board is closer in sound quality to the Oayses than the M3, a noticeable difference he can hear due to converter quality and other hardware differences.

 

And while I haven't heard about the hardware being better on the Tyros compared to the Motif, A LOT of folks on Motifator.com complain that there's a better sound quality on the Tyros than the XS. Hard to know if that's true, sound quality can be very subjective

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The top of line boards are expensive of course, and to me it's no big mystery - take the Tyros as an example - it has a sampler, many hundreds of megs of sample ROM - as good as the Motif series', a vocal processor with harmonizer, all the styles and midi recording abilities you want, a really nice keybed and more.

 

Yamaha have arranger keyboards from about a hundred dollars all the way up to the price of the Tyros 4, but even the PSR-S710 / 910 have many of the Tyros' functions and they cost less than $2000. The same goes for Roland's arranger line. Casio has many offerings for less than $1000 and Korg's arranger line starts at about $1000 all the way up Tyros' price class.

 

So the way I see it arrangers can be really affordable. Some are really expensive, but IMHO still price worthy - most of them though are (IMO) very affordable. My first keyboard was a cheap Casio, the second also (CT-470 if I remember correctly), my third was a Kawai digital home piano and to that I got a used Roland Pro-E arranger. Those three arranger keyboards is a probably a big reason why I found the joy in playing keyboard in the first place. I think that cheap arranger keyboards are great for kids who are learning the piano, as a compliment to the acoustic piano, of course.

Too much stuff, too little time, too few gigs, should spend more time practicing...!  🙄

main instruments: Nord Stage 3 compact, Yamaha CP88, Kurzweil PC4, Viscount KeyB Legend Live

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i checked-out the PSR-S910, costing just under $2000 over here in Europe.

 

The whole construction was plastic and flimsy. Very unpleasant keybed, no aftertouch, reminding me of a $120 controller or entry-level synth. Cheap and nasty mod/pitch wheels.

 

I auditioned the sounds, the piano and electric pianos sounded like they were lifted from a 90's keyboard. No doubt the saxophones and guitar patches were better, but I didn't want to put myself through that.

 

So it's a cheaply contructed keyboard with average sounds. Equivalent (or inferior) to a new $600 Roland/Korg/Yamaha entry level synth. So what pushes the price up to $2000? A couple of hundred styles, some basic sequencing functions and USB playback/recording?

 

Having said all that, it was undeniably fun to jam along with some of the styles. :) DOn't get me wrong, I enjoy the concept, it's simply the price that seems unjustified.

hang out with me at woody piano shack
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I have wondered for ever why keyboards in general cost what they do? The electronics parts they are made with cost almost nothing, the plastic REALLY COSTS NOTHING! WHY DO YOU THINK THEY ARE MADE WITH PLASTIC!

If all keyboardists stopped buying them the manufacturers might do some reconcidering about a lot of things and bring their prices way down.

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If all keyboardists stopped buying them the manufacturers might do some reconcidering about a lot of things and bring their prices way down.

 

Brilliant idea! Let's all just do this :thu:

 

:snax:

 

Right in the land of the blind, a one eyed man is king-- therefore the man or woman who did purchase an arranger keyboard would land all those smoozy gigs :/

SpaceStation V3,

MoxF6,PX5S,Hammond-SK2,Artis7,Stage2-73,

KronosX-73,MS Pro145,Ventilator,OB DB1,Lester K

Toys: RIP died in the flood of 8/16 1930 Hammond AV, 1970s Leslie 145, 1974 Rhodes Stage

 

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Here we go again.

 

:snax:

 

I say run the arranger board in MONO ...

SpaceStation V3,

MoxF6,PX5S,Hammond-SK2,Artis7,Stage2-73,

KronosX-73,MS Pro145,Ventilator,OB DB1,Lester K

Toys: RIP died in the flood of 8/16 1930 Hammond AV, 1970s Leslie 145, 1974 Rhodes Stage

 

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Here we go again.

 

:snax:

 

I say run the arranger board in MONO ...

 

With the triple-strike piano.

 

:laugh:

Through a Roland KC amp!

Too much stuff, too little time, too few gigs, should spend more time practicing...!  🙄

main instruments: Nord Stage 3 compact, Yamaha CP88, Kurzweil PC4, Viscount KeyB Legend Live

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Just deciding which one to buy is the hard part! Somebody tell me what's the best one?

 

:D :D

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If certain people know how to do it all themselves, so let them, isn't it. It's easy to mofo all the rest of the people who get interesting things done, but to answer the suggested question: usually a synth/workstation will have emphasis on sound quality of it's own kind in hopefully new directions or more or better of the same synth technology, and the sounds wil i the performance sense probably appeal to pro musicians.

 

Keyboards (I never had or played much on the arranger variation, but the name seems to be suggestive) will usually fill the need of the user to make music, and in these days probably cover a big part of the instrument/tone spectrum. Also, it will most likely be better at harmonically blending its own sounds together in to music which works in a certain keyuboard way (depends on brand IME) usually more aimed at small speakers, otherwise it used to be organ domain (it's been years since I checked those but these distinctions were solid for decades).

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High end arranger keyboards from Korg and Ketron are made in Italy. The value of the US dollar vs. the Euro has an effect on the cost of building an arranger keyboard. I believe ( pretty certain) arranger keyboards are not as mass produced as workstations from Yamaha,Korg & Roland . Workstations are primarily built in either China or Japan.

 

As you probably know,having a keyboard built in Italy is more expensive than China.

 

To me, the cost of Yamaha arrangers is high. Yamaha basically created a few extra bells & whistles on the Tyros 4, but the keyboard is primarily born from the Tyros 1,2 & 3. So there is not a whole lot of new R&D to bring out a Yamaha. Same goes for the PSR-S910, which is based off the PSR-S900.

 

Some arranger keyboards are also targeted to be sold in Piano Stores. Piano Stores profit margin are much higher than a store like Guitar Center or Sweetwater or Sam Ash.

 

I great example is the Yamaha YDP series digital pianos vs. a digital piano from Yamaha with the name "clavinova " on it. Same digital piano but different price points from a M/I store to a piano store.

 

Many arrangers are sold in Piano stores. Which equals higher price tag.

www.esnips.com/web/SongsfromDanO
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I thing the keyboards thar people are talking about are pretty much exceptions on the arranger type keyboards. Here in Brazil an arranger keyboard is sinonimous of cheap construction, low price and bad sound.

My drawbars go to eleven.

Gear: Roland VR-09, Nord Electro 2 61, Korg CX-3. Hear my music: facebook.com/smokestoneband

 

 

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I haven't seen many professional musicians use arrangers onstage.

 

I actually have ...

 

I used to live in Miami, and a lot of restaurants and bars that cater to the Cuban/Latin crowds have "one man bands." I worked at a chain store down there from '00 to '02, and we probably sold as many arrangers as we did workstations during that period - not just $600 PSRs, but the $2,000 Korgs and such.

 

The players would have an arranger 'board, a mic, a portable PA (cranked to frikkin' 11), and maybe a guitar or sax by their side. They'd be in a little corner of the bar or restaurant with a small dance floor, and crank out Latin jazz, salsa, and even some American pop standards from time to time.

 

Several of them had sophisticated arrangements programmed into their arrangers, and only a couple sounded like they were from some MIDI file library. Guys were punching in different sections, taking extended solos (on several sounds - piano, EP, accordion patches, etc.), using the auto-accompaniment features to the breaking point, and so on.

 

Setting the oft shrill tone and offensive volume aside, these guys didn't sound bad - good players, knew a lot of songs, and people were up and dancing and having a ball. And every one of these guys had overflowing tip jars ...

 

Arrangers aren't my bag, but I don't dare make fun of them.

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It's to bad that arranger keyboards have this perception of not being "professional" sounding. It seems like alot of people on this forum are using Casio Previa's.

 

There are some advantages to having an arranger.Particularily for song writers. I use mine to put idea's together and use it for my contemporary worship service.

 

Korg uses the Triton sound engine in their PA series. When Roland was producing the G-70, it's sounds were from the Fantom series.

 

Even low end Yamaha's have a decent sound. I would'nt call non-professional. But there is a perception for sure.

www.esnips.com/web/SongsfromDanO
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To me, the cost of Yamaha arrangers is high. Yamaha basically created a few extra bells & whistles on the Tyros 4, but the keyboard is primarily born from the Tyros 1,2 & 3. So there is not a whole lot of new R&D to bring out a Yamaha. Same goes for the PSR-S910, which is based off the PSR-S900.

 

Sorry, you've not heard the Tyros 4 then, or you have no idea about the cost of sound/articulation design.

 

I great example is the Yamaha YDP series digital pianos vs. a digital piano from Yamaha with the name "clavinova " on it. Same digital piano but different price points from a M/I store to a piano store.

 

YDP is NOT the same as the Clavinova. You might want to do a little research before posting unfounded statements like that.

 

Just a thought.

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The higher-end arranger keyboards have the same functionality as what is currently referred to as a workstation; sequencing, sampling, sound design, etc. In addition to normal workstation features, an arranger also has a large number of pre-sequenced tracks consisting of drums, percussion, bass, guitar, brass, etc. to play along with; a group of these sequences makes up what is called a Style. Just to get a feel for the work involved in creating these styles, here is a brief explanation:

 

The specs very a bit from brand to brand, but I'll keep things in common territory.

 

A single style may contain well over 30 individual sequences. These sequences may be a single measure or sometimes up to 32 measures in length. Which sequence is played back at what time depends on several things. Certain sequences are only used as introductions, others for fill-ins, endings and others for variations to be selected during verse/chorus and there are front panel buttons to make these choices. But where things get complicated internally is the fact that depending on the type of chord being played on the keyboard, Maj, Min, 7th, -5th, Aug, etc. a different sequence will be automatically selected. As an example, say we play a 12 bar blues starting with a Bb Maj triad, and right before we move to the Eb chord, we add the Ab (7th) to our Bb chord. The arranger would sense that and automatically switch out the sequence currently being played for one that will lead better into the 4 chord possibly changing the bass line a bit, maybe adding a little drum fill, etc. So when creating a style from scratch, the person doing the creating has to record separate sequences to be used as intros, fills, variations and endings. A lot of thought and pre-planning also goes in to making sure that the individual tracks within each sequence will lead into any other chord change musically and not sound out of place. Style tracks are recorded in a single key, so when recording the chordal tracks (meaning the non-drum/perc tracks), there are parameters that must be set to make sure that when an accompaniment track plays back, it sounds properly in all keys, this is known as the transposition table. There is far more to be concerned with when creating a style but this at least gives some insight as to the work involved.

 

Given that most arrangers have well over 200 styles with some extremely complex operating system programming over and above the workstation features, not to mention most also have microphone inputs, vocal processing, harmonizing and more, it is perfectly fair that they cost more money. There is another smaller but still valid reason why arrangers tend to be more expensive not as many are sold as compared to the common workstation keyboards. So the manufacturer has to charge more in order to make it a worthwhile venture. This isnt necessarily true in some countries where arranger keyboard use is the norm, but here in the U.S. the majority of the upper-end arranger keyboard buyers are holdovers from the home organ days. This is unfortunate because I think if those who consider themselves anti-arranger would take a look with an open mind, they would see just how useful this type of instrument can be.

 

Wm. David McMahan

I Play, Therefore I Am

 

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thanks for enlightening us. I figured the high cost must be related to the styles.

 

what struck me also having listened to a few demos online is how some styles are blatantly copied from a hit record. For example, there is a note-for-note perfect copy of U2s "Still haven't found what I'm looking for", the bass, guitars & drums were identical. I've also spotted a "90's brit pop" style (or similar) that was identical to Coldplay's "In my place". Many styles were instantly recognisable.

 

Firstly, I don't see the point in these styles. It seems to me that they are so recognisable that they can only be used to perform the original song. I would favour something more generic.

 

Secondly, what's going on here? Has Yamaha done a deal with the record label? Presumably this adds to the cost also.

hang out with me at woody piano shack
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