Looking for a keyboard on a budget

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ElHuesudoII
Posts: 1

Post by ElHuesudoII » 04-04-10 2:00 pm

Hello there. I'm new around here, saw a few videos of the software on YouTube and I suddenly wanted to at least try to go back to practice and re-learn piano after 10 years of putting it off.

However, I'm lacking the most basic of tools to do so: A keyboard.

I'm currently looking for one, between 61 and 88 keys, with MIDI I/O (preferably through USB connection), that does its job and does it well (that is, all keys perfectly responsive (I'm looking at you, M-Audio)); preferably small and portable (I remember my gargantuan Casio, apparently all of the brand's keyboards are too damn big) and not caring AT ALL about any special features it may have (whether it's instrument synthesizing, programmed rhythms, or whatever).

The problem is, I'm currently paying off my own tuition, and my part-time job hardly gives me much cash to spend on anything that isn't the absolute necessary. I might put together between $70 and $150 if I'm lucky and nothing out of the ordinary arises. But everything I get to see on sale online is too big, too chunky and too damn expensive.

What do you guys suggest?

TieDyeGuy
Posts: 68

Post by TieDyeGuy » 04-09-10 8:22 pm

I don't know if this will work where you are located. But I just upgraded to an 88 key Yamaha portable grand by watching craigslist. If you are in an area where craigslist.com is an option, there are a lot of bargins to be found these days.
Thanks - tdg
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best. - FRANK ZAPPA

chris45215
Posts: 6

Post by chris45215 » 08-03-10 3:26 am

Congratulations on your decision.

My first keyboard was a Yamaha YPT. I believe Casio's can be better, but I know Yamaha, so my advice is limited to them.
Take a look at the YPT-210 or YPT-220. They are MIDI compatible, which means you would need a MIDI-USB converter. The official recomended one is at http://www.synthesiagame.com/keyboard_r ... tions.aspx
I'll let you in on a little secret about those keyboards: the audio quality can be great, but the built-in speakers suck. Use a decent pair of headphones if you have them. Some keyboards do not include a sustain pedal, so double check and be prepared to purchase that separately if you need to.
Do not forget to budget $20 for the Synthesia Learning Pack.

If you can get the extra money, get the YPT-310 or YPT-320. These are touch sensitive, meaning they respond to how hard you hit the key. I promise that you WILL want a touch sensitive keyboard.

Shop on ebay. A seller with 10,000 or more ratings and 99.5% positive feedback should be good, but make sure you know if you are getting a new or refurbished keyboard. I bought a new Yamaha DGX through ebay; I saved a few hundred dollars and it works great after 3 years.
Amazon.com is also good, but often a single keyboard model has mutliple listings. Be willing to spend a day or two sorting through the info and prices to find the one that is best for you, and to find it at the lowest price.

jexbe
Posts: 7

Post by jexbe » 08-03-10 5:17 am

if you have a sound card (like maybe 99% of personal computers) you do not need to get a keyboard with an output sampler so go on with a midi keyboard depending if you want an heavy/light sensitive, any midi keyboard with an usb port is good but watchout about the numbers of keys - 88keys is the common piano setup unless you'll need to move the keys range on synthesia while playing

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cairnz
Posts: 182

Post by cairnz » 08-03-10 6:43 am

jexbe wrote:if you have a sound card (like maybe 99% of personal computers) you do not need to get a keyboard with an output sampler so go on with a midi keyboard depending if you want an heavy/light sensitive, any midi keyboard with an usb port is good but watchout about the numbers of keys - 88keys is the common piano setup unless you'll need to move the keys range on synthesia while playing
In latest versions, Synthesia can also move the keys within range of your keyboard, or play them automatically.

phiktion
Posts: 47

Post by phiktion » 08-08-10 12:24 pm

Look on craigslist as well I see some midi Keyboards for cheap in my area, if you can afford 400-500$ in the future I suggest picking up a CME UF 70 or UF 80 classic, the weighted 88 and semi weighted 76 key midi controllers, come with wireless midi, after touch, and are probably some of the cheapest nicest midi controllers.

Electrode
Posts: 187

Post by Electrode » 08-09-10 6:47 am

I'd advise getting the cheapest Casio Privia you can find. They all have 88-key hammer-action piano style keys, and they're the cheapest hammer-action digital pianos available on the market today. They have good build quality for the price, and represent the best value you can get from a digital piano. You can get a new Casio Privia for cheaper than the majority of used Yamahas.

Nikkolai
Posts: 5

Post by Nikkolai » 09-26-10 4:45 pm

Hate to hijack other peoples threads but then again I hate starting a new pointless one as well =P

Not sure what keyboard to get, don't really have a lot of money as i'm still in school and money from job goes straight to paying bills.

Basically I can't go over £100 which isn't that much of a problem because i have a few options:

Yamaha PSR-175 - I'm pretty sure this one is good with MIDI but don't know if it will work with Synthesia and have no idea if it has touch sensitivity which I would really love. £60

Casio CTK-810 - Has touch sensitivity, not sure about the MIDI I was told it has 'general' Midi but I really don't know what that means. No power supply so i would have to buy one so I would appreciate advice on what to look for. =) £50

Also have the choice of a Casio Ct-670 for £30 but the description was like 8 words so I know all of nothing about it.

They are all 61 keys, i hear alot about needing an 88 key one but since this is my first one is that really necessary?

I'm just a beginner so any advice on what to choose it appreciated. xD

Nicholas
Posts: 12431

Post by Nicholas » 09-26-10 6:00 pm

Nikkolai wrote:They are all 61 keys, i hear alot about needing an 88 key one but since this is my first one is that really necessary?
I haven't used any of those other models specifically, so I don't have any advice there. Otherwise, as far as growing out of a certain number of keys, it's really a balance between the budget and the more personal question of how serious you plan to be about using it.

The actual size really plays a big factor though: if you get a 49-key, you'll outgrow it almost immediately. There are very few songs where you can play both hands at the same time on something that small. 61-key will let you play one hand for just about anything, and two hands for a lot. 76-key feels like a pretty good sweet spot where it's rare that you run into anything you can't play. And of course, 88-key means you can do whatever you want.

Nikkolai
Posts: 5

Post by Nikkolai » 09-27-10 9:27 am

cool, I really hadn't thought of that to be honest xD

quick question(s) are all casios really bad or is that just something everyone says?

i think i understand the polyphony: so a 16note polyphony means only 16 notes can be played at once... so my question is with only 10 fingers, what does that matter? does it just mean i can't have other drumbeats and trumpets sounding in the background when i play?

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cairnz
Posts: 182

Post by cairnz » 09-27-10 9:52 am

A sound from the piano last longer than the duration of your keypress. It means for example if you drag your hand quickly along the keys from top to bottom, you'll only hear the bottom 16 white keys, even if the top ones should still be ringing. Same if you do it other way around.

For computer programs like Pianoteq, for "proper" pieces played - you'll get 100+ polyphony rather easily, because of the amount of keys being played, pedal usage, and harmonics.

Nikkolai
Posts: 5

Post by Nikkolai » 09-27-10 10:56 am

hmm so if I were to use my piano with the PC and hook it up to Synthesia but only as an input device then the piano's polyphony wouldn't matter because it isn't actually playing it? or would it just stop sending the signal to the pc?

thanks =)

Nicholas
Posts: 12431

Post by Nicholas » 09-27-10 11:57 am

Nikkolai wrote:hmm so if I were to use my piano with the PC and hook it up to Synthesia but only as an input device then the piano's polyphony wouldn't matter...
Correct. The polyphony is only related to the keyboards ability to synthesize sound. If it's not doing that and only being used as an input device, there is no limit.

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