Do-it-all "pro" level keyboard - Roland DS88, Yamaha, Korg Krome or something else?

Discussion in 'Keyboards' started by 1973Marshall, Nov 27, 2017.


  1. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

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    So I've been wanting to get back into playing keys more and found a Roland Juno DS88 for under $800 new. It seems pretty impressive in terms of feel, sound and capabilities.

    I haven't really gigged much on keys in a long time and most of my experiences were Korg Tritons, Yamaha Motifs and Korg SV-1s - so it's been a while. Other than that I have been using soft synths and MIDI controllers.

    My needs:
    Do-it-all - piano, Rhodes, Wurly and even synth sounds
    Flexible - USB outs, can expand/create sounds etc
    Relative ease of use
    INSPIRING FEEL - this is the big one. Much like a great guitar, I believe that if I really lock in on a great instrument I will not want to "put it down". Although 88 weighted keys is a bear to move around, I kinda want the real deal in feel and if I gig keys a lot I will eventually get a smaller keyboard (61).

    What are your thoughts and experiences with the Roland DS88? It seems like the best all-around value with an unbeatable price. Then again, I am not highly knowledgeable on this topic. Should be looking elsewhere like the Korg Krome or Yamaha MX88 or look to spend even more?
     
  2. jomama2

    jomama2 Member

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    Given your modest needs feature-wise it should be more than enough. I've been "window shopping" around that price range and the DS is the leader currently. Frankly I like the Korg keybed better as it wasn't quite as heavy-handed as the Roland, but that was it...the sounds, features, and ease of use of the Roland appear better. $800 is a sweet deal, I'm jealous :)
     
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  3. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Well. It's a great deal, but I'd suggest a FA 08 or FA 07 for "pro" level. DS series is very similar, and maybe slightly more geared toward live performance (playing it, not sequencing or launching loops). The FA does a couple of things worth considering:

    1. Supernatural sounds.
    2. Doubles about everything - more pads, more matrix, more storage, more sounds, more expansion, more tracks, etc.
    3. Better DAW integration if that's important.

    I know you're talking about an 88 and weighted keys. If that's a huge factor you need to put your hands on them. Compare the DS and FA if you can.

    FWIW, the 61 key version of both of them have pretty universally derided keybeds. Fine for almost everything besides nuanced Piano playing. Great for synth sounds though.

    But the FA also now has the 07, which is a 76. Though it has an "in-between" action (which many like for non-piano stuff over the 61 versions) you may find the smaller footprint and weight than the 88 is worth considering if an "all around" weighting appeals to you.

    But that's such a steal on the DS88 that if you have the coin, you might want to go ahead and snag it, then yeah, get a 61 later.
     
  4. jomama2

    jomama2 Member

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    I wouldn't, and because of what you just said: the DS is comparable (if not almost identical) in most respects, other than a lot of stuff more geared to "EDM" or other electronica type stuff. IMO the "supernatural" sounds are overrated (and as I recall it comes with a very limited set of those).
     
  5. johnkoz

    johnkoz Supporting Member

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  6. Pa'ani

    Pa'ani Supporting Member

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    Check out the new Yamaha MX-88 it has weighted key's and sounds amazing, price is great!
     
  7. Devnor

    Devnor Member

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    The FA has a virtual analog synth, the "supernatural" part. It's a very powerful synth engine not available on the other romplers being discussed.
     
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  8. picnic

    picnic Supporting Member

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    I just bought a Yamaha DGX660 off CL $750.00, with an X stand and a 90 minute lesson as part of the deal. Being a 50+ years guitar player, learning to play keys is a bucket list item for me. I'm no Keith Emerson, buy my good friend and soon to be piano teacher came over to give the piano a test drive and was impressed. He likes the Yamaha action more than all the others. He has Korg ans Roland keyboards in the $2K realm. Serious player who knows his stuff. He gave the 660 two thumbs up GC has the Yamaha 660 on sale for $800 with a bench. Worth a look I think
     
  9. p19978

    p19978 Supporting Member

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    I just bot a Krome for $800 with stand and soft case.

    It's a great board- does everything I need.
     
  10. jomama2

    jomama2 Member

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    That's the 61 key one, I assume. How "weighted" are the "semi-weighted" keys? More like a synth action, or more like a true weighted, or literally about half-way between the two?
     
  11. jomama2

    jomama2 Member

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    And again, it also doesn't apply to all of the voices to say the least, actually a very small % overall.
     
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  12. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

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    New or used?
     
  13. guitarist58

    guitarist58 Member

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    IME, "semi-weighted" = synth type keyboard. I can't recall anything I would call "in between" other than maybe a cheap "weighted" piano keybed like on Guitar Center's Williams piano line. Aside from those that are on really inexpensive keyboards, some semi-weighted keyboards feel pretty nice to me though.
     
  14. jomama2

    jomama2 Member

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    argh I wouldn't be surprised if you're right but I'm hoping not. wth is the point of calling it "semi-weighted" if it's just "synth?" Sorry I hate all synth action, it has that toy piano feel and I can't really play on them. But I don't like how heavy the weighted are, so I really want a true semi-weighted.
     
  15. bard2dbone

    bard2dbone Member

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    I was under the impression that 'semi-weighted' was usually reserved for the 76-key units and meant roughly organ weight. Definitely more than synth key weighted like the 61-key pieces but not nearly as serious as the more piano-like fully weighted ones.
     
  16. p19978

    p19978 Supporting Member

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    Its used, in perfect condition.
     
  17. jorgemncardoso

    jorgemncardoso Member

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    No offense but to me, the Krome is a toy pretending to be a Semi-Pro keyboard build wise... If anything it's a great (and big glorified) sound module with good sounds/samples to be used connected to real keys. That build and keybed is pathetic, to put it nicely... Cheap plastic all around...

    Even an M3 would be head and shoulders above it.

    To the OP: IMO for what you want the Kronos2 73 key is the best choice (new or used), the best workstation on the market IMO, 7 synth engines, unreal sounds and possibilities, great piano keyboard with compact 73 key frame.
    Or, on the cheaper side a used Motif XF expanded with flash rom, the 7 for 76 synth keys or the 8 for 88 piano keys.

    Can't really comment on newer Roland workstations as a never used one. My last one was the XP series.

    You can also check out the Nord Stage 2 or the newer Kurzweils, but even used they are still over $2000...
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  18. IGuitUpIGuitDown

    IGuitUpIGuitDown Member

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    I returned an 88 Korg Krome because it had a broken key. Didn't like relying on a single color screen to control everything, because if that screen fails, you are toast.

    Eventually bought a 61 Roland VR09 that has great sounds, is light, and has a nice, responsive and springy semi-weighted feel with the keybed. I thought Roland would be more like a toy from their appearance, but was happily surprised.

    These are very hard to find used, because of the demand for gigging bands. Smaller keys than a piano, so imagine they're like a shorter scale length the way guitar necks are classified.

    You can also play VSTs with them in a DAW.

    I couldn't find anything similar for 1K, or less. And I looked at Hammond, and Nord. Nothing was available used in NYC metro area at that time I was looking.

    Many new keyboards below $700 really are toys with horrible keybeds, broken keys, and cheap construction.

    I liked the reliability stats for Roland and Yamaha over Korg.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  19. jomama2

    jomama2 Member

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    No offense but that's well off the mark. It is hardly a "toy." Many pros out there using it or less.
     
  20. jorgemncardoso

    jorgemncardoso Member

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    I guess you completely misunderstood my point there... i'm not talking about the Krome's sound generator and engine quality, i'm talking about it's built quality as a keyboard. And for that i'm sorry to say to me it is a toy, because it's just toy like plastic. The keybed of the 61 is just the most pathetic one (built wise and mechanical wise) i ever saw on a synth.
    I couldn't care less how many pros use it. Many pros are using it because it's light weight, and because they have years of login around quality pro keyboards that unfortunately are also heavy. They want to take some load of their back, and i don't blame them...
    The sound engine is good enough so they compromise on the build and keybed quality.

    I have to be honest, i wouldn't play a gig on that keybed. Most likely take along one of my 01W's or a Motif to use it as a controller for the Krome.

    Anyone that came from the late 80's all through the 90's and until mid 2000's keyboards will understand what i mean...

    If you compare, for example, a keyboard like a Korg M1/01W/Triton, or a Yamaha DX7/SY99/Motif, or a Roland D50/Xp80/Phantom, to a Korg Krome and many of today's keys in that range, the Krome feels like a cheep toy build wise and keybed wise.

    But that's just my opinion based on experience, of course anyone can disagree ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018

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