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Cheap band keyboard advice


stevie
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Do you want a workstation-type thing that has loads of sound patches?

 

In which case, a used Roland Juno-D or similar.

 

Do you want a “proper” programmable synth? In which case, a used Roland Gaia.

 

If you’re in a covers band, I’d go for the workstation as that gives you a lot of patches ready made that will be usable with minimal tweaking….

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2 minutes ago, stevie said:

Some good, usable sounds including piano without the need to programme is the idea. I'll check the Rolands out.

I have no idea if it’s any good cos I’m not far along my learning … but I picked up a Korg SV1 off someone on here with my bonus last year. Fully weighted keys and NO screen at all! :D 

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I bought a Juno D from someone on BC years ago and sold it on last year to another BCer. Not much over £100 and the sounds are plenty good enough for covers band work. The newer DS has more features but costs a lot more….

 

If you go for used, just check all the buttons work as they can get a bit erratic after a lot of use….

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44 minutes ago, stevie said:

£100 sounds good. The Roland DS loooks ideal but it more expensive. Thanks for the tip about the buttons.


Hmmmm. The D looks to be listed on EBay for about £250. Maybe I let mine go too cheap!

 

Prices of “vintage” synths seem to have rocketed….

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1 minute ago, Skinnyman said:


Hmmmm. The D looks to be listed on EBay for about £250. Maybe I let mine go too cheap!

 

Prices of “vintage” synths seem to have rocketed….

 

Prices of everything have rocketed - I bought my DS new for £600, now used ones are that price. Also I was waiting for the price of used VR09s to get down below £400, they got almost there and started going up again.

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If you want something really cheap to be getting on with there is the Roland:Go, but not sure how robust it would be for gigging.

 

There are also the Yamaha MXs that are looking cheaper second hand, but a good thing would be to watch a review on them to see if the interface is something you get on with. I must admit the thing I like on the Roland DS (and VRs), is the interface is very much 'I want a piano, press the piano button then if I want look for a variation'. 

 

Sometimes a keyboard can be a bit of a rabbit hole, chasing a specific sound. i have known too many keyboard players who were good players, but ask them for a change of sound and that was the next half an hour gone.

 

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Good advice, thanks all. The keyboard's for my son, who is Grade 7 piano but has never played a synth. So I really think he'll want something that he can get usable sounds from without too much messing.

I wondered what was happening with the prices. A used DS doesn't seem to be much cheaper than a new one. I also found the used Juno D £250 D on Ebay. I'll keep looking now that I have a shortlist.

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I've had my share of vintage keyboards and - in general - found them thoroughly unreliable. When they work they're great, but a keyboard has SO many different components that can go wrong or fail completely, and they're a good deal more fragile than, say, an electric bass. They're also frighteningly expensive to service and repair. Tracing an electronic fault in a keyboard can absorb hours of time for a tech guy, and that ain't cheap.

 

IME you'd be far better off buying a new or nearly-new keyboard where you can reliably expect it to do exactly what it's supposed to, and for at least several years. These things are mere consumer electronics these days, and consequently far cheaper than in the days of Rick Wakeman. 😉

 

If your son is Grade 7 piano then he'll only ever be happy with a proper weighted keyboard, which is a very rare thing in organs and synths, and with the full 88 keys. By far the best value for money that I've found is the Alesis Recital Pro, brand new for less than £400 (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/154660692542?hash=item24027ee23e:g:BRwAAOSwO6Fhb90M) or menufacturer refurb'd for less than £300 (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/175140881036?epid=27005577640&hash=item28c735c28c:g:0u4AAOSwNkBh-9KG).

 

As a piano it's genuinely excellent, especially at that price point. The nine other presets (organ, synth, etc.) are less impressive but will do for a starter instrument. If your son really takes to this whole keyboard-player-in-a-band thing, then when he wants to upgrade to a decent Hammond sound (or whatever) he's far more likely to want a dedicated unit to supply that anyway.

 

Obviously if he wants to play in a band then you'll also need to arrange to have his left hand amputated but I can't offer much advice on that. 😗

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ok, additional points with that then, there are two types of keyboards you can get, weighted or non weighted (and also semi weighted, and thinking about it membrane and a few others, lets ignore that and stick with 2!). If he is used to the piano he might not be that keen on the non weighted which is what most synths are, but then he might be - I have a DS49 which isn't weighted and a piano that is. The Roland DS 61 is weighted, the 49 isn't weighted. The D isn't either, there is a cost implication (and weight) in having weighted keyboards.

 

Might be worth your son nipping into a shop and trying some to see if he gets on with it ok. 

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On 05/03/2022 at 13:12, Woodinblack said:

ok, additional points with that then, there are two types of keyboards you can get, weighted or non weighted (and also semi weighted, and thinking about it membrane and a few others, lets ignore that and stick with 2!). If he is used to the piano he might not be that keen on the non weighted which is what most synths are, but then he might be - I have a DS49 which isn't weighted and a piano that is. The Roland DS 61 is weighted, the 49 isn't weighted. The D isn't either, there is a cost implication (and weight) in having weighted keyboards.

 

Might be worth your son nipping into a shop and trying some to see if he gets on with it ok. 

 

It hadn't occurred to me to try a shop, but Absolute Music isn't a million miles away. So that's a good option. I checked out some YouTube videos on the DS61 and it looks ideal. Unfortunately, it's a bit outside the budget at the moment, and used ones are hardly any cheaper than new. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

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34 minutes ago, dave_bass5 said:

Have you considered a contorller keyboard and using your phone (or tablet) for the sounds?

You can get some pretty decent keyboards for well under budget. 

 

I suggested that to him. He's already got a Roland 61-key midi keyboard. I thought he could hook that up to a laptop to get his sounds, but he didn't seem all that keen. Could that be a way to go, I wonder?

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19 minutes ago, stevie said:

 

It hadn't occurred to me to try a shop, but Absolute Music isn't a million miles away. So that's a good option. I checked out some YouTube videos on the DS61 and it looks ideal. Unfortunately, it's a bit outside the budget at the moment, and used ones are hardly any cheaper than new. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

I’ve bought a lot of stuff from Absolute over the years and they’ve always been excellent

 

If you like the DS61, keep your eyes open for a Korg Kross or Kross 2 as well. Very similar in many respects 

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2 minutes ago, Skinnyman said:

I’ve bought a lot of stuff from Absolute over the years and they’ve always been excellent

I've used their rehearsal studios a few times. I think a visit is on the cards.

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Depends on what laptop - i am a Mac User, my laptop plugins are expensive (I use equator 2) but the iPad stuff is pretty cheap and very powerful. Latency isn't a problem on keyboards in most situations. To be honest you can get more range with software plugins, although sometimes it is just nice to have a standalone device. 

 

Yes, absolute have a good range of stuff. 

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17 minutes ago, Woodinblack said:

Depends on what laptop - i am a Mac User, my laptop plugins are expensive (I use equator 2) but the iPad stuff is pretty cheap and very powerful. Latency isn't a problem on keyboards in most situations. To be honest you can get more range with software plugins, although sometimes it is just nice to have a standalone device. 

 

Yes, absolute have a good range of stuff. 

Yes, i agree with this. It took me two years to really embrace using my ipad as my second sound source, but now i have, i could quite easily use this rather than my MODX as my main keyboard. 

It is more convenient to have a ‘proper’ synth with it all built in, but once you go ipad/laptop, you have pretty much any sound you could want at your finger tips, as well as sequences, and Netflix (for those long guitar solo’s). Plus, using something like AUM allows you to do so much with sythns that it makes real keyboard look very basic. 

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