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what kind of keyboard do you own and why?


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just looking to see what make and model people have or upgraded too, and to see what the pro's and con's of their keyboboard(s) are, or just their main keyboard if they have more than one.


right now i play a yamaha keyboard i paid $150 for new, just for learning...until i'm ready to upgrade.

i'm a beginner keyboardist...
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I still have an old Ensoniq Mirage. It's an OK small controller for small gigs and since I bought it new I would get nothing for it in a sale. So why get rid of it.


Besides that, I have a Korg Wavestation module when there's need for huge synth sounds and complex pads.


And last, three Kurzweil instruments. They offer immense programmability, keyboard precision, great sounds and infinite musical inspiration. :)

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Welcome to the forum. I play blues, R&B, classic rock and solo jazz piano. I have:


Yamaha S90:

Pros- great pianos, EPs, clavis. Lots of great string, brass and woodwind sounds. Can pick one up cheap with new S90ES on the market.

Cons- big, heavy, not at all intuitive to do layers, splits and other programming.


Nord Electro 2/61:

Pros- fabulous B3, EPs. Very lightweight. Great Leslie sim and other effects (but no reverb). Very fun and musically inspiring to play.

Cons- acoustic pianos fair although the mono Steinway works fine playing with a band (I have not downloaded the most recent upgrade- do a search to get opinions on these). Short KB- would get the 73 key if doing again.


Motion Sound KP200-S:

Pros- Nice stereo sound. XLR outputs to PA for bigger/louder gigs. Not too big or heavy.

Cons- Not loud enough by itself (but it really isn't made for that. It'd have to be 80-100 lbs to get enough sound to keep up with most loud guitar amps). Expensive.


If I were starting from scratch, I would look at the Kurzweil PC1se because it's gotta be easier to move around than the S90. I would get the Electro 73 because with that many notes, I could leave the big board at home for some gigs.


I hope this is the kind of info you're looking for. Play lots of different boards, side by side if possible. Happy hunting.

aka âmisterdregsâ


Nord Electro 5D 73

Yamaha P105

Kurzweil PC3LE7

Motion Sound KP200S

Schimmel 6-10LE


Westone AM Pro 30 IEMs

Rolls PM55P


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My two "main" boards:


Nord Electro - Great "classic" electromechanical piano sounds and organ. I really like the unique action.


DSI Polyevolver - Vast variety of synth sounds and a great "synth action" keybed.


I don't much like most "weighted" action boards as they're way too sluggish though Kurzweil makes some good ones.

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I have the following keyboards and modules:


Yamaha S80. Love the sounds and the weighted keys. Hate the weight and the user interface. The user's manual is useless also.


Roland Fantom X6. I love it. Easy intuitive user interface. Haven't had to use the user's manual yet. Negative- Can't think of any.


VOCE V5- I play this through a Motion Sound KBR-M. For what I do, it gives me the B3 emulation I'm looking for. I use a M-Audio Axiom 61 to play control this module.


Korg MS2000R-No problems with this module. The only negative is that the lettering on the module is difficult to read. The lettering of the controls are small and the colors of the lettering don't contrast well enough with the dark green color of the module. I control this with the Aximo 61 also.


Roland SH201- I purchased this about 6 weeks ago. I love the sounds so far and the easiness of how it is to adjust the sounds and develop your own. The construction of the device's control are a little flimsy.


In addition to the Motion Sound KBR-M, I use an Alesis Sumo 300 amp and a Mackie 1402VLZ Pro mixer among other things. No problems with them.

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I play in a rock/blues cover band. My main board is a Yamaha S90ES that I love for acoustic piano, Rhodes, and synth sounds. I just added a Hammond XK-1 to make up for the just-okay organs on the S90ES. I'd like to add a Motion Sound Pro-3x to stack on top of my Roland KC-550 for the organs, but it's not in the budget right now. Perhaps someday . . . .



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I play contemporary Christian music in church services and I use a Yamaha S90ES and a Korg CX-3.


I got the S90ES because I just loved the feel of the weighted keys and the incredible piano patches. Their internal patches are great. The thing is awfully heavy and a pain to tote around. But the sound is so nice I think it is worth it. I also am actually afraid to try programming different sounds (and I am a firmware design engineer) because the manual does not explain how to easily do that and I am afraid I will mess up something I may need to use.


The CX-3 is what I use for the Hammond sounds and I love it. I wish I could afford a rotary speaker for it like the Speakeasy Roadbox or something like that, but the internal Leslie simulator is very nice, especially in stereo. Not much I don't like about it. There are a lot of parameters that are programmable and programming is very easy to do. I love having real drawbars that are just like the Hammond B-3.




P.S. Noah, do you use a preset patch for your Rhodes sound, or did you have to custom program the sound? I use some of the "E. Piano" patches, but none seem to sound like a Rhodes.


To B-3 or not to B-3, that is the question.

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I have a Yamaha S80 which I recently considered upgrading to a Motif ES8 or S90ES. Those boards have better sounds.


Yet, I cannot part with my S80 because it still sounds good to me and is fun to play. IMO, that is the mark of a good keyboard.


If/when you decide to step up to something else, go to a pro music store and audition all of them. One should stand out in meeting the above criteria. It can serve you well for many years.


Now, if you keep reading this forum, magazine reviews, trade show talk, etc., you will be overcome by a phenomenon known as GAS. :cool:



"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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It seems like the S-90 people are out in force on this thread. I play in a classic rock/funk cover band; for gigs, I play a Nord Electro61 and a MO8. I switched to the MO from an S-90... the MO is lighter, has a few real-time controls the S-90 doesn't, and has a more waveforms to play with (though I still like the S-90 acopustic piano better). I still have the S-90 -- I don't use it, but I can't seem to sell it, either. Go figure. I have a home studio with a Motif ES8 as the main board (I do occasional music beds for TV/radio ads and for music-on-hold messages), and some vintage Kurzweil modules (which I also seldom use, but can't sell - what's wrong with me?).


Kurzweil PC4; Yamaha P515; EV ZXA1s

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I started with a Roland HP450 (early in midi history-- 1984) and an Akai AX73 soon after.


PROS. HP450, built in speakers with stereo audio input. Early midi keyboard...promise of expansion capability.

AKAI AX73 able to hook up to the early Akai samplers.


CONS...low polyphony, and for the HP450...heavy and hard to get rid of.

Akai, memory storage via cassette tape interface. (But there was memory storage!) Nowhere to play it.


Upgraded to the following:

Roland A90ex: Good controller keyboard with built in sounds and sound expansion slot available. 8 zones, with ability to control 4 external, 4 internal, or 8 external, also able to shift pitches of instruments on each zone in steps up to +/-2 octaves. Setups stored via plug in memory card. (2 Roland XV-5080 boxes to access 3 thousand additional patches)


Roland Fantom X7: Synth, sampler, audio-recorder, USB interface...tons of sound and expansion. Great user support group. USB, PCMCIA interface.

Cons: it is not an arranger like the....


Roland G70: USB, and PCMCIA card, great arranger, tons of sounds, vocoder, guitar mode, drawbar organ..some synth adjustments. Great support group.

Cons: no onboard audio recording. Not able to pitch shift single voices in a layered situation.


PA...choice of Mackie 1642 mixer or Roland VS2480hd....mackie 1400i amp and mackie C300 speakers.

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I recently changed from playing in a modern / function covers band to a ska band. The Roland Xa I used to play (but never 'enjoyed') was part exchanged for an Electro 2 73.


I had to choose between a Hammond XK1 and the Electro, but went for the latter as it offers great EPs also, should I ever need them. It sounds amazing. I also like the way it looks and its red bag. Actually I probably like it a litle too much :-) The acoustic pianos do not compare with dedicated pianos, but the new Yamaha C7 sample is good enough for the odd part; you have to consider it a bonus.


I also have an old Roland XP10. This model has been much maligned, but I love it. It has a handful a patches I use all the time - organ, EP, strings, flute, piano. And they all cut through a mix well. When it dies I'll buy another one on ebay.

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I play world/jazz/dub/balkan with my band and other stuff (world, pop and jazz related) with many others too.

Like many of us, i mainly use two boards

Nord Electro 61 on the lower manual

Nord Lead 2 on the upper

I connect them to my sound card and use my laptop as a mixer/effects board for both my keys. I also use the laptop for samples and some VST's when needed more (B4, Lounge Lizard, some strings, Minimoog) and i run it form my Nord Lead

Simple but effective set up IMO

Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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DX-7 I bought it in the 90's to control some long forgotten Yamaha GM sound module.


Rhodes Mk II. I got it as a gift last December. It needs some work, but it's a great project. Everything I need is available from majorkey, speakeasyvintagemusic or vintagevibe.






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Hammond XK-3: portable and state of the art hammond clone


Kurzweil PC2R (module) w classic keys ROM: provides all the other sounds I need in the covers band. Strong on acoustic pianos and means I can get by with just one board.


Wurlitzer 200A: love the feel and sound and it makes you want to play it somehow.


Vox Continental: both this and the wurly inspire because of their heritage. Both need repairs and are not really practical for playing out - they really are an indulgence.


Korg CX-3 (80s version) and Roland VK-7: before I heard the XK-3 and before I indulged in the 2 even more vintage pieces of gear above. Will have to sell them at some stage I guess, even though I'm quite attached to them.


Roland SH-101: just recently found it after its been sitting in the back of a cupboard for 17 years or so. Easy and fun to program.



I like to move it, move it (except The Wurly which can be a bit temperamental and the 122 for obvious reasons)
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I play in a band that does original progressive rock and classic rock and funk. I use a Yamaha P90 for piano and keyboard sounds along with a Alesis QS7 for synth leads, occasional organ and other synth sounds (with the Vintage Synths Q-card). I sometimes substitute the P90 with a Studiologic TMK-88 controller MIDIed to the QS7 for quicky or pickup gigs as the TMK only weighs 13 lbs.


I like the weighted action and sounds in the P90 and love the QS7's versatility and bang for the buck. Got it almost 9 years ago and it's a trooper. Sometimes I do quicky gigs with just it as it has 76 keys, is light and portable.


My studio has a QS 8.1 (with Vintage Synths and Classical Q-Cards) and MIDI retrofited Korg Polysix along with an Emu Xboard 49 controlling Sonik Synth2 and Miroslav Philharmonik soft synths for soundtrack work. I love the sounds from the SS2 and MP and they inspire when I compose. The P6 is an old friend I've had since '84 and I enjoy its simplicity and immediacy. And the knobs!





"The devil take the poets who dare to sing the pleasures of an artist's life." - Gottschalk




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I recently quit being in a blues/classic rock band that I had been in for two years. For those gigs, I used a Roland Juno-D, and still own it and play it every day.


The reasons:


1) Relatively inexpensive at around $600. I'd love to have a Nord or one of the Hammond boards, but I'm just not willing to pay that kind of money. I figure if I invest $2,500 for the next 20 years (when I want to retire), that will give me an additional $12,584 at 8% return. I do need to retire someday. Some have called me cheap. I'll say frugal and prudent. I'm the sole income provider right now as my wife is a stay at home mom, and I need to save money for retirement or I won't have one.


2) Super light and portable and love the action.


3) Didn't need all the bells and whistles that more expensive boards have (recording on board, rhythm tracks, etc.)


The big negative is that the piano sounds aren't that great, and they sound a little thin when the whole band is playing. Fortunately for me, I only used that sound on a couple of songs. Possibly going stereo with the amps would have helped that a bit, but I used one amp because once again, I'm frugal.

Steve (Stevie Ray)

"Do the chickens have large talons?"

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I play contemporary Christian music in church services and I use a 1936 Hammond model AV with Trek II percussion and Leslie 45 with 2 speed conversion, a Wurlitzer 200A, and Roland XP-10 (primarily for string/flute/synth sounds). I am wanting to add my CME UF8 controller and/or M-Audio 61es controller, and my Emu B-3 with Protozoa ROM and Kawai K1R for additional flexibility.
Hammond T-582A, Casio WK6600, Behringer D
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Roland JX3P - nice string type sounds, good and full sounding.


Roland MKS 70 - beautiful, complex sounding pads, especially when run through some delays. A lot of fun.


Nord Electro II - I just got this, largely for the Rhodes and organ sounds, but the other sounds are quite useful as well.


Emu Proteus III - this is the world sound module, and although it's a little thin sounding at times, some of the sounds in here are quite useful for playing instruments that originate from other countries - or even here.


Korg MS-20 - I use this largely for analog sweep type sounds and things of that nature, although it does other stuff.


Roland XP-50 - I gig with this keyboard, although I only use several sounds from it, including the PsychoRhodes. I originally picked it some years ago simply because it was my lightest keyboard. I've abused the hell out of it but it keeps working. I was going to replace this with the Nord Electro II for gigging, but the Nord has been such a huge hit with clients who come in to my studio (and I also love having it around the studio) that I doubt it will leave my studio any time soon!


Kurzweil MicroPiano - I love the legato strings on this thing.

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XK3 on the bottom and Nord Electro2 61 on top. Both run through a leslie 21 system. The rig is enough to cover all the keyboard sounds I need and is redundant if needed. The electro can cover organ if the xk3 goes south and the 21 system has two components which can work separately if need be. Short of total electrical meltdown I can get through the gig no matter what.
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I play in a 7-piece Soul and R&B band.


Hammond XK-3 played through a Leslie 142

Kurzweil SP76 played through a Behringer K3000FX


I mike the Leslie as follows:

Horn = 2 Audix I5 mics

Drum = 1 Shure SM58 mic


Retired to my living room: Hammond C3

Bill Zerbe

Albuquerque, NM

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My main KB for live use is the K2661. It can make pretty much any sound reasonably well, and is a good controller. My amp is the KBR-3D.


At home, there's a growing collection of mostly analog stuff, of which the PEK and the A6 are the standouts. Why - because I love the analog sound.

Tom F.

"It is what it is."

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I play mostly solo in restaurants with some sideman work and composing on the side.


(2) Yamaha 9000 Pro arrangers with PLG-150 PF/DX cards installed. Still the top pro arranger IMHO. Works as a stage rompler, an interactive live jamming device, SMF player, GM/XG sound module, one-shot sampler and all-around swiss-army knife keyboard. Handy for composing on the fly. One for studio/backup and one for stage. On stage I use a Radio Shack piano (Casio CDP-100) as a MIDI controller with the 9000 Pro. I'll likely replace the CDP-100 clone with the new Casio PX-200 when it comes out in March.


Kawai ES4 digital piano. On gigs where I don't want to carry my arranger setup I like to use this piano with a Music Pad Pro v4 providing visual music display and backing MP3 playback. It's also my practice piano and currently my primary studio controller (still shopping for a permanent 88-note controller for studio). I love turning it on at home and just playing through it's internal speakers. Really a nice instrument. May replace with a Kawai MP8 but I like having a DP with internal speakers in my studio so I'm undecided. The Kawai ES4 gets a lot of stage use and now and then when I want to dress up I use it with one of my 9000 Pro's.


Motion Sound KP-200s & KP-100s depending on room size. I also have a set of JBL powered EON's with subs as add-on's to the KP's.


Novation X-Station 49. Another swiss-army knife keyboard. I use it as a synth on stage with bands and as a controller/interface for Reason in the studio and on vacation with my laptop. Cool, light and handy. I also use it as a controller with my Roland VK8m module on stage now and then.


Roland VK8m module. Simply the coolest B3 tabletop module there is. Handy for band gigs - add it to my DP and I have a simple bread 'n butter rig. Got a sweet deal on it.


Kurzweil MicroPiano module. Had it for many years and use it rarely today. Sometimes I get stuck playing a DP I don't like the sound of... MicroPiano to the rescue.


Reason and Colossus softsynths. Reason is increasingly my fav composing tool. I have Reason Pianos and plan on doing more album work with it. When working in Sonar I like to use my Yamaha 9000 Pro as a scratch-pad sound source and then flesh out the composition with Colossus. I also have a maxed-out Acer Ferrari 4000 AMD-based laptop that I can use as a stage computer. It can run Reason reliably and even Colossus (which is installed on an external 7200rpm Firewire HD). Haven't had the excuse yet to use Reason or Colossus on stage yet but it's always an option.


I master with Sony Sound Forge 8 and use a pair of JBL LSR4326P for studio monitors.


One last piece of gear I keep handy is my trusty Yamaha DMP-11 MIDI-controlled mixer. I use this for controlling complex vocal/harmonizer/effects scenes with bands.

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I'm one of the few Korg piano guys around here. I play a Korg SP-200, which I love. 88-note weighted action. I did some shopping before deciding on that board. The action felt the best to me, and the sound was what I was looking for as well. This is my bottom tier.


Second tier - Hammond KB-2. While not quite as authentic sounding as the XK-3, for my use it's perfect. Has the drawbars, percussion, chorale, overdrive, everything I could want, except for the Leslie. The internal Leslie sucks, plus, if you use it, you lose the vibrato/chorale. I've disabled it, and run through a Motion Sound Pro-3TM. This gives me the exact sound I want. Coupled with my mini PA for an amp, I can more than compete with any guitar player.


Third Tier - Korg N364. This has been a workhorse for me. Some time ago I had my first Hammond XB-2 and my Korg M1 stolen. I had a duo gig coming up in 3 days that used a lot of sequences. I needed something that could easily replace the M1. The music store recommended the N364. Most of the drum notes were in the same place, and the sounds were close enough to make the conversion fast. Plus, it has a floppy drive for loading the sequences.

It didn't take long for me to realize just what a great board this was. Has all the sounds I needed. I could get decent organ sounds out of it, and route them to another output so I could run just them to the Pro-3TM (after I got it).

When the power supply went out on that board last year, I worked hard to find a replacement. Even with all the new boards out there, I don't have much need to replace it any time soon. (OK, maybe for a Korg M3)

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.


Now everybody's got the blues."


Willie Dixon






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I'm working with a couple different bands. One classic rock and R and B and another one mostly original music. I also do a lot of solo and duo gigs.


I use a Roland RD 300SX. I have a Nord Electro rack which I either midi to the RD when I want just one keyboard or midi to an M-Audio 61 key controller if I want two. I also have a Triton Extreme which I dont bring that much but sometimes it comes in handy for certain gigs.

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