Do I need a keyboard or synth?

Discussion in 'Keyboards' started by ZackisCountry, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. ZackisCountry

    ZackisCountry Member

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    Hey all,

    I sing / play guitar in a band, but I want to start doing different songs that require keyboards / synth sounds. I am just going to use it for basic chording while I am singing. I know nothing about keyboards and synths. I have been recommended to use a midi controller hooked up to a laptop with some software, but I dont have a laptop and would have to buy one. Hopefully I can find something for less than a MacBook but if not, I could use a laptop anyways. I have an Impact LX48 in my home studio.

    I need something that would be simple to use, that has a good piano sound, along with I guess airy soft padish sounds? Im not sure how to describe it. Not looking for 88 keys, perfectly weighted keys or anything like that. I would be using it I guess the same way I would use an acoustic guitar, just to fill the space out.

    Here are some songs I want to play for reference:


    -about 6 seconds in is the sound im looking for, which is the main part of the verse as well


    -sound is at the start and also during verses


    -comes in at 4 seconds in. I think this is just an electric piano with a lot of reverb?


    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. xcc

    xcc Member

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    I’m not in a position to listen to the sounds, but for your needs I’d look at a general workstation/synth like a Yamaha MODX which would have really good pianos, organs, strings, etc. plus FM synthesis and the ability to import any other samples you might need. You didn’t mention budget, but the 61 key version is $1300 I think.

    Basically in the hardware keyboard world if you want a good piano or any trad sound like that, a pure synth won’t do.

    Another option, if you have an iPad, would be the Korg Module app with a midi controller like a Nektar Impact (~$150). That would give you tons of options for cheap and still sound great. Even if you don’t have an iPad you can get the base model for $250. You’d need an adapter for usb and power ($30ish). All told that’s a pretty cheap entry.
     
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  3. mobius

    mobius Member

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    Keep it super simple and get a workstation, like the MODX, Roland FA, Korg Krome etc.

    The controller/laptop/synths would work, but are for different purposes and far more complicated than you need.
     
  4. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    How about a keyboard that is also a synth? :cool:

    You could probably get those sounds in an entry-level keyboard workstation like a Korg Kross. It has a sequencer and even basic audio recorder so you can write songs on it without needing a computer - well except maybe to download and install updates or something. Try it in the store first though.

    I'm surprised Roland doesn't make a workstation to compete with Korg in Kross' price range. But if your budget allows, the Korg Kromcompetes against the Roland FA-series workstations at a higher price range than a Kross.

    I like the sounds of the Yamaha MODX but Yamaha doesn't make a workstation in that price range. If you get a MODX you pretty much need a computer to pair with it for songwriting.
     
  5. MoPho

    MoPho Pho Shizzle

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    The Roland Juno DS and Yamaha MX keyboards will cover a lot of ground.
     
  6. tjontheroad

    tjontheroad Silver Supporting Member

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    Budget?

    The first video sounds like there’s a vocoder in there getting that sound. You still might get close with a synth. The second and third videos have some pretty generic synth sounds that almost any current polyphonic synth can do.

    The Roland FA-06 or Yamaha MODX6 would be overkill. They sound great but are complex to use and not the best recommendations for a beginner. The Yamaha MX series is a good place to start. Biggest negative about these is the small display. So customizing your sounds will be a PITA. I recently picked up a Korg Kross 2 for my live rig. It sounds great and is easy to program with a good sized display. That could also be a good choice. If your interested in learning basic synthesis and sound design, I’d also recommend a Behringer DeepMind 12.
     
  7. ZackisCountry

    ZackisCountry Member

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    I actually already have a Nektar Impact so I will look into the iPad / midi controller option. at 1300, that's around my price range, but I can get a MacBook for that much and run my Impact through software at that price, but then again a workstation would be a way less PITA I would think. thank you!



    Im all about simple. I didn't know workstations were even a thing, I will def look into them, thanks!




    Will look into the Korg Kross, I watched some videos on the Krome and it sounded really nice, so if the Kross is anything close thats def a win at almost half the price. Thanks!

    Will look into them, thank you!

    I am def a beginner so Im looking for simple. I will look into the Korg Kross, live application would be what this is used for so that sounds perfect. Thanks!
     
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  8. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Dude, seriously, get a relatively inexpensive Yamaha PSR or Casio "arranger keyboard".

    The Yamaha's have the same sounds in them as their flagship Motif synths (and the Mods etc.) just fewer of them. Still there will be plenty of sounds. I agree that the Roland FA and the like would be overkill.

    Trust me - taking a laptop out to gigs - even if they're "safe" gigs, still opens up huge likelihood that something bad can happen. Running sound directly out of the lap top is not great, plus you've got small, fragile connectors and wires and it's just a recipe for something going bad.

    The arranger style keyboards can be used basically like a synth and any now that are USB are also like a controller. Sure, they're kind of plasticy and cheap, but for gigging you don't want to be hauling out a $1,500 workstation keyboard unless you're really into that, need that, or just want to do it because you can afford to replace it if it goes out on you.

    Arranger keyboards are often seen as "non professional" because they have built in speakers, and accompaniment patterns, and junk like that, but honestly, a lot of workstations are actually moving that way too and the line between Pro Synth and Home Arranger Keyboard is getting really blurry.

    This is really about all you need:

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PSRE363--yamaha-psr-e363-61-key-portable-arranger

    (would need to check the specks to see if the Headphone Jack works in Mono as it doesn't have separate audio outs).

    This one:

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PSREW410--yamaha-psr-ew410-76-key-portable-keyboard

    Would really get the job done for what you're describing.

    PLUS you can practice at home without hooking anything else up because of the internal speakers and phones jack.

    PLUS it's still USB MIDI so you can connect it to your computer and use it as a controller if you want to go that route.

    PLUS You can sample stuff to a USB stick it looks like, so you could actually trigger a sampled sound like the into to Pink Floyd's "Time" with it...

    PLUS you can RECORD directly from it (USB to Audio it says) over the USB cable into a DAW, recording its own internal sounds.

    You can go up higher in the PSR line, but once you get to the price of the other "real" Synths you probably would want the "real" synth.

    But these things sound great and are not so expensive you have to worry so much about it breaking, plus you've got a number of other things you can do with it that much more expensive devices do.

    Now this one only has 48 note polyphony which limits the amount of sounds you can play at once, but for basic stuff it should be fine. However, more polyphony is always better.
     
  9. anotherscott

    anotherscott Member

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    Videos 1 and 2 are polyphonic synth pads, video 3 is the sound of an FM (aka DX7) electric piano, you'll find sounds like those in tons of keyboards. Polyphony is really not an issue. I also don't think you need to worry about workstation (sequencer) features for the purposes you mentioned. Especially since your emphasis is on simplicity.

    If you're not going to be playing guitar in the same songs, as a guitarist, you might like the Roland AX-Edge which is self-contained and keeps you mobile on stage, and doesn't require setting up a stand next to you on stage.

    Cheapest solution would be to use your existing Nektar controller with an iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), and something like a Korg Plugkey to connect them.
     
  10. ZackisCountry

    ZackisCountry Member

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    I will look into these for sure, thank you for the info!



    I will look into the ax-edge as well. Thanks!

    I do a lot of solo / dup gigs as well, so im looking into the Korg Kross 2 atm. I like the idea of the drum sequencer if I ever feel like using it, the sample pads and just having something sturdy with all the traveling I will do with it and what not.
     
  11. Valtyr

    Valtyr Member

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    Do you want a selection of common sounds (piano, organ, pads) or do you want to dig in and create your own? If it's the first, go with a workstation. If the second, try a synthesizer. Best option is one of each. ;)
     
  12. ZackisCountry

    ZackisCountry Member

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    Typical TGP peer pressure :p
     
  13. Valtyr

    Valtyr Member

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    What? I thought I was going easy. I was tempted to answer “Best option is several of each.” ;)
     
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