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Need equipment advice-Looking to play again after 8yrs..


MrSpliff

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Hi all,

 

It's been about 8 years since I've played keyboard.

Previously I played for about two years but stopped because I relocated because of my job, and other life stuff.

 

I no longer own my old board, which was an m-audio prokeys 88 with weighted keys. :(

 

I've been searching Craigslist looking for a good deal on a used keyboard but haven't had any luck, a lot of times people want too much $ for an old keyboard. $150 is too much to pay for a 7 year old Casio! :P

 

My budget is around $300 max. I'd like to learn to play piano and program synths, so I was looking into getting a semi-weighted controller like the upcoming Alesis VI61 or the Behringer Motor 61 , they have pads too which is great since I want to make beats.

 

My original goal, before I had trouble finding something decent used, was to wait for one of those boards and get a cheaper portable keyboard to start practicing on.

 

What suggestions do you guys have?

Is there a controller on the market already that you'd recommend over the ones I was waiting on? Or is there another alternative you'd recommend?

 

To recap

 

 

  • Haven't played in 8 years and want to learn to play piano and synth (I could play piano with both hands before)
  • Have a budget of around $300
  • Looking for something with semi-weighted keys, and velocity sensetive pads
  • A midi controller would be a fine option since that's probably the most affordable option available.
  • And I'm open to decent used equipment..

 

Thanks!

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Don't put too much "weight" on whether an action is called "semi-weighted." There is a huge variation in how these boards feel, and they can easily be worse than another company's "un-weighted" keys, even for piano. (For example, the Yamaha NP-30 was an unweighted action which, while not good for piano, was still better for piano than a number of ostensibly semi-weighted actions, IMO.)

 

In only a slight over-simplification, there are basically two kinds of actions... the ones that are typically called weighted or hammer action which have a piano feel, and the ones that are typically called semi-weighted, unweighted, or synth action, which don't. Within that latter group, I would not make any assumptions about how good they are for a particular purpose from the name, you need to get your hands on them.

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Depends on what is available in your area. Around here things that are for sale include.

 

Ensoniq SQ1 plus for $200 supposed to be like new

Yamaha V50

Alesis Quadrasynth $300

Korg DW8000

Korg Triton Classic 61 $300

Casio CZ-3000 $150 // actually not a bad synth but you would probably want one of the others. I used 2 different CZs in the 80s. It could do a lot of things a DX7 would do but it was easier to program.

 

Local things you could offer $300 for and may get.

 

Korg 01W/FD $350

Alesis QS8 $350

Korg Triton $400

 

Depends on what is available. I would rather have any of this in good working order than the what you mentioned. The Korg 01 is fun if it is in good condition.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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I'm not sure what to recommend in that price range-- as CEB indicated a lot depends just on what you might find available. Someone here recently made mention of the Guitar Center used gear web site. Here's a link to search results for keyboards $300 or less.

 

But I mainly wanted to reply just to make sure you're aware that, unless you're planning on playing strictly through headphones or if you find a keyboard with built-in speakers, you're also going to need some kind of amp/speaker setup in order to hear what you're playing.

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AnotherScott, thanks I didn't know that.

 

Nmartinez, thanks. I found one on Ebay but it's going for around $500 Yamaha CS6x

 

dongna, There's not much that comes up for my local guitar center. Yeah, I've got a stereo system I can hook it too, or I figured I can hook it up to my electric guitar amp and just set it for "clean".

 

CEB, thanks for the list.

 

Locally I found someone selling a Korg TR61 for $500,

and I also found that a Pawn shop is selling an Ensoniq Sq2 for $250.

 

Not sure of the value of those of course.

 

It seems like I'm going to have to spend more than I thought :(

But as I said I am serious about playing, just trying to make sure I can afford it of course but if you guys are recommending to just buy one good board then it's worth it.

 

What do y'all think I might have to realistically budget for?

 

Depends on what is available in your area. Around here things that are for sale include.

 

Ensoniq SQ1 plus for $200 supposed to be like new

Yamaha V50

Alesis Quadrasynth $300

Korg DW8000

Korg Triton Classic 61 $300

Casio CZ-3000 $150 // actually not a bad synth but you would probably want one of the others. I used 2 different CZs in the 80s. It could do a lot of things a DX7 would do but it was easier to program.

 

Local things you could offer $300 for and may get.

 

Korg 01W/FD $350

Alesis QS8 $350

Korg Triton $400

 

Depends on what is available. I would rather have any of this in good working order than the what you mentioned. The Korg 01 is fun if it is in good condition.

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To be honest, $300 is scraping the barrel when it comes to a quality keyboard, even when used. You're basically talking home Casio-style units.

 

If we're talking pianos only, I think a used CP33 could be a great value -- I've seen them recently for $400. But no synths to program :(

 

And then there's amplification to be considered -- especially important if you want to have acoustic piano (AP) voices that don't sound like grunge.

 

Do you have a laptop? Maybe you'd be better off with a low-cost MIDI controller and low-cost software. Even an iPad can give you pretty good voices for not much $$$.

 

 

 

 

Life is too short to be playing bad music.

 

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To be honest, $300 is scraping the barrel when it comes to a quality keyboard, even when used. You're basically talking home Casio-style units.

 

If we're talking pianos only, I think a used CP33 could be a great value -- I've seen them recently for $400. But no synths to program :(

 

And then there's amplification to be considered -- especially important if you want to have acoustic piano (AP) voices that don't sound like grunge.

 

Do you have a laptop? Maybe you'd be better off with a low-cost MIDI controller and low-cost software. Even an iPad can give you pretty good voices for not much $$$.

 

 

 

 

Yes I have a good laptop. I use it for Dj'ing.

If I gotta spend more then I just have to spend more. It's not an easy decision but if I gotta cut my spending to do so it's just a sacrifice that has to be made.

 

If using my Marshall amp is a bad idea I do have a home stereo system I could use in the interim. A nice multi-channel receiver with two new floor standing speakers I bought.

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Sorry, I've tried to be as concise as possible.

 

I want to be able to play piano so I can play a wide variety of oldies, songs that people know that have piano parts. I'm going to learn some jazz too.

 

And what I'm really into is various forms of electronic, down-tempo, trip-hop etc. Some of my favorite well known artist are Massive Attack, Portishead, Bonobo, Goldfrapp, Thievery Corporation, I could go on and on.... I'm sure y'all get the idea. Lush Soundscapes, piano & synth, sound effects, jazz and classic rock influences, just to name a few things.

 

So no, the standard home keyboard like a Casio or Yamaha wouldn't cut it.

 

Have I made this any easier? I want to thank you guys for all the help you've given me. I'm glad I came here!

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Piano oldies and jazz are a far cry from electronica, and keyboards good at one are not necessarily good at the other.

 

Especially with a $300 budget.

 

Also consider that piano oldies and jazz will require you to learn about harmony, practice a lot on a hammer action piano, and learn to improvise. With electronica, you are recording or playing to prerecorded tracks, and have to learn to program sounds.

 

It's all doable, but don't expect to be an expert in a few months. It will take time and effort!

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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mate_stubb thanks. Man, this is more complex then I thought.

 

My primary goal is electronica. It's something I'd eventually like to be able to play live. I took music theory in college last year. I'm willing to brush up on it and put the work into learning it better. I'm very serious about doing this. Besides, in my town it seems like a full hammer action board is something that'd be easy to get my hands on in the future, that's mostly what I see for sale used.

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You mentioned the Korg TR61. I use one and find real favor with it. It'd be a snap for electronica in general, but I've built a couple of pianos in it that are pretty authoritative. Korg's ensemble strings never seem to handle that one job well, but most everything else, including solo strings and brass, are semi-3-D. The keyboard handles my trills pretty well, the action is not unduly noisy and the aftertouch has a satisfying bit of play I can feel musically.

 

I took it on because I had a nice but finite budget to manage, so I regretfully passed on the M3 and went for the TR, a couple of softsynths and some peripherals. It turned out to be a rewarding compromise. Its the LE in enhanced clothing, which is basically the last of the Triton line, so the sound is crisp and full. Between USB and the SD card slot, I set up 7 patch sets (3 from Kid Nepro) and voila, I am well-covered. I've sampled it a lot, but it still has some native patches that only bark when played in-house. It sports a couple of e-guitars that really burn. Also note the 16-track sequencer with a stout amount of room to spare.

 

You're the only one who can decide when a 'board is up to your personal specs, but I encourage you here. You can use it as a stand-alone, but I've run things to and from Logic with equal ease, too. For price, age and capabilities, it should be on your short list. Yeah, I'm Korg-biased, grain of salt and all that, but I'm on my sixth Korg and they've all performed like gold medal winners.

 

 

 

 

Well well well, if it isn't the consequences of my own actions.
    ~ from Twitter

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