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Any standalone keyboard (not piano) recommendations?

(8 Posts)
PiqueABoo Sun 02-Apr-17 15:20:13

Pesky Y9 DD is now at the start of her G8 piano and also picked both GCSE art and music options to help keep her busy(!) for the next couple of years.

Don't know if this is a good idea, but thought it might be fun and if she turned to keyboard-stuff for the GCSE music rather than doing yet more classical piano there. But I haven't got a clue about what is or isn't a reasonably decent keyboard.

So I've just been to Yamaha (because that's our piano and I like it) and thought maybe their PSR-S670 for around £500 was the right kind of thing, but with a fairly strong push I might grit my teeth and go for the PSR-S770 which is £1000.

Does anyone have any views on getting DD to do this and some experience/expertise with keyboards. Especially alternatives to Yamaha and whether that £1000 is serious over-kill etc? I don't want to buy something really cheap or very expensive. But I do want to buy something that might still seem fine in 5-10 years time.

Ferguson Sun 02-Apr-17 21:04:39

Look at my previous replies Search for my name, and music words. I'll come back tomorrow!

PiqueABoo Mon 03-Apr-17 15:51:54

Having slept on it I'm warming to this idea.

DD has repeatedly refused to start learning any other instrument, but has no objections to a keyboard. [tick]

She is analytical/patient/determined and has a history of coping very well with technical complexity. [tick]

Getting her head around multi-tracking, the relationships and roles of various instruments/voices etc. will make her much more rounded as a musician. [tick]

Piano is a relatively solitary instrument and not accomodated by any of the various current school-side ensembles. She does do an annual pop-song accompanying and singing with a couple of singing friends, but this should mean more opportunites to join in. [tick]

Haven't got past the two above to think about another brand yet e.g. Korg, but as ever I've been talking myself up the price range. Our Yamaha piano is a quite posh shiny black digital and the aftertouch etc. is one of several reasons why I like it. So I want the same on this and the S770 has S.Act! for some voices. Sadly it doesn't have S.Act! for piano or bass unlike the next model up, but that is a too-too much £1,600 and we already have decent piano. Pity about the bass, but I don't care about the other extra S970 features like vocoder, so would be paying £600 almost exclusively for some better bass which would be silly.

Not rushing into this but unless I find any horror stories, will probably end up getting an S770 or something much like that from e.g. Korg.

Ferguson Mon 03-Apr-17 19:53:51

Hi - I've time to take in your questions now.

What sorts of music does she REALLY prefer, and want to play??

What does your piano's 'aftertouch' give you exactly??

And what is 'S.Act' exactly, that you mention twice. Then you mention about 'bass' - does that mean bass sounds (bass guitar; jazz bass; slap bass; etc) or the lower frequencies and quantity of bass frequencies. Because that will always be limited in a Keyboard, unless it is fed into a more powerful amplifier and speaker system. Presumably you can connect a Keyboard INTO your piano, thereby gaining more power and extended frequency range.

Can you clarify my queries, and I'll come back tomorrow with additional suggestions.

Is DD keen on the technical aspects of creating sounds, recording, and MIDI etc??

PiqueABoo Mon 03-Apr-17 23:47:04

What sorts of music does she REALLY prefer, and want to play??

DD wouldn't be where she is now with the classical piano if she didn't get along well with that, but her generation isn't so bound to genres. Off-piste choices are all over the place but obviously tend towards pop music which has some significant piano in the original. She played a lot of John Legend last year. Last week it was 21 Pilots.

What does your piano's 'aftertouch' give you exactly??

Possibly not the right word, but it throws in samples which make the noise you get on a real piano when you let go of a key i.e. the damper falling on the string makes a bit of noise and refires a kind of subtle echo of the note. The velocity with which a damper drops depends on how you release a key e.g. staccato = fastest. Then there is the harmonic resonance you get from top notes because they don't have dampers on real pianos. Similarly when using the sustain pedal which means no dampers on any string and creates a lot of resonance if you keep it down for a while. In essence our digital piano adds all the significant noise besides the pure note stuff which together with the keyboard weighting etc. makes it much more like the real deal.

S.Act! (super articulation) is related. Some is automatic like the above based on what and how you're playing the keys and some is controlled via pedals etc. to get you more nuance e.g. scratch noise for guitar.

So it's not the bass because of limited speakers that I meant, it's not getting more realistic bass through any speaker unless you shell out lots more money.

Is DD keen on the technical aspects of creating sounds, recording, and MIDI etc?

Difficult to say because she hasn't been exposed to much of that, but when she was 8 and really fed up with pencil smudges on manuscript paper, she asked if there was some tech that would help and I got her freebie MuseScore. Like GUI-programming Scratch a few months earlier, she figured that software out herself and by the end of the next completely focused day had used it's sequencer to make a much better multi-track, burnt it all to an audio CD and put it all in several page project folder with one of those girly/arty covers. That was one of our very best two days worth a month of (primary) school moments.

I reckon we'll get quite intense phases and certainly some sequences (backing tracks) for some of her off-piste piano.

Ferguson Tue 04-Apr-17 21:19:24

Hi -

Here are a few Casio keyboards you may not have considered:

www.casiomusicdealer.co.uk/store/product/19

www.casiomusicgear.com/products/mz-x-series/mz-x500

And I'll send more tomorrow.

Ferguson Thu 06-Apr-17 20:39:14

Another range of modern high-tech equipment is from American company M-Audio. There is a very wide range of keyboards, synths, amplifiers and speakers, and I think prices are very reasonable:

uk.m-audio.com/products/browse/category/keyboards-and-controllers

(a DAW is a Digital Audio Workstation, for recording and editing sounds and tracks.)

Ferguson Fri 07-Apr-17 21:04:36

Does DD like Jazz at all??

Many Casio keyboards feature 'organ flutes' which can create quite reasonable 'Hammond Organ' sounds (which is something I particularly like). Nine sliders work like Hammond drawbars with different 'footages'.

The same sliders perform different functions in other modes.

www.hammond-organ.com/product_support/drawbars.htm

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