Best Keyboard

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There are a variety of performance keyboards perfectly suited for practice/recording and multi-functional instruments with the versatility to excel at both. The keyboards we've featured on the liusts below include portable, MIDI and synth keyboards, as well as keyboard workstations. Basically, there are plenty of digital keyboard options for every musician’s need! For help selecting a keyboard suited for your playing style, check out our buyer’s guide listed below.

Best Portable Keyboard:

We’ve come a long way from having to lug pianos to live performances. The advancement of technology in both software and hardware has resulted in some truly incredible options for keyboard players who want to have powerful tools to take with them either to gigs or to have on the go, without having to break their backs transporting them. Not only are these keyboards lightweight and take up a relatively small footprint (which also helps in smaller home studio environments), but they also offer a proliferation of controls that enable you to really get the most out of your sound; you’re not sacrificing much to get that portability. These are the best portable keyboards, with each one listed here featuring a multi-track sequencer so you can easily write, compose, and record ideas, they have USB connectivity capability for easy integration with your computer, and these picks also come with built-in effects to help color and shape your sounds.

microARRANGER 61 Mini Key Portable Keyboard Arranger

If there’s any device that seems to truly embody the portable, technology-driven future of recording and producing music, it’s Korg’s microARRANGER. This 61-key keyboard features a 16-track sequencer, 32 drum kits, and a SD card slot to store and load data. Read Full Review

microARRANGER 61 Mini Key Portable Keyboard Arranger

Casio WK7600 76-Key Workstation Keyboard

Casio’s WK-7600 keyboard is one of the more affordable devices of its kind. This 76-key arranger keyboard offers a massive library of tones, rhythms, effects, and control parameters to give you everything you’ll need to write and perform. Read Full Review

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    Casio WK7600 76-Key Workstation Keyboard

    Roland BK-9 Backing Keyboard

    Despite its 76 keys and massive amount of controls and sounds contained within, the Roland BK-9 still qualifies as a portable keyboard, and one that you won’t be sorry to have in your arsenal. You’re a one-man show with this device, and the various additional features included in this unit truly need to be seen to be believed. Read Full Review

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      Roland BK-9 Backing Keyboard

      Korg Pa300 61-key Arranger Workstation

      Korg’s Pa series is renown for its realistic array of sounds, and now they’ve brought that quality approach into a portable keyboard with their Pa300. This arranger workstation allows you to build and track out your own song and its simple and intuitive layout makes it easy to start as soon as you take this keyboard out of the box. Read Full Review

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        Korg Pa300 61-key Arranger Workstation

        Yamaha PSR-S770 61-key Arranger Workstation

        Yamaha’s PSR-S770 is more than just a portable keyboard, it's device is a valuable tool for both songwriting and performance. It offers numerous articulations, voices, and accompaniment styles for the casual and serious musician alike. Read Full Review

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          Yamaha PSR-S770 61-key Arranger Workstation

          Best Budget Portable Keyboard:

          No one is going to ever going to knock the versatility and wide range of expression that the keyboard is capable of, but if we’re being honest, it can be a big pain to move around whether it’s for gigs or personal use. Luckily, there have been many advancements that have given keyboard players reasons to rejoice and no longer look angrily at the lead vocalist who just has to bring their microphone to practice. And despite the dazzling number of cool features and controls that these devices offer, there are still many that can easily work with someone who is shopping with a budget in mind. These are the best budget portable keyboards, with each one listed here taking up a small footprint of no more than 32 keys, they are all powered via a USB connection so you won’t have to worry about bringing a clumsy power adapter with you everywhere, and each weighs less than five pounds so they're a cinch to transport

          M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 (2014) USB Keyboard MIDI Controller

          M-Audio has certainly built a name for itself with some of its larger, stationary keyboards, and with their Keystation Mini 32, they bring that same level of functionality and control into a device that you can easily travel around with. With assignable controls and selectable velocity curves, you’re going to get more out of this keyboard than you might expect. Read Full Review

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            M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 (2014) USB Keyboard MIDI Controller

            Akai LPK25 Laptop USB MIDI Controller

            It really doesn’t get more portable than the Akai LPK25, a lightweight keyboard that can easily fit in a backpack or laptop bag. Despite its unassuming size, this device offers a wide range of features that make it ideal for small studio spaces or gigs on the go. Read Full Review

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              Akai LPK25 Laptop USB MIDI Controller

              Korg nanoKEY2 - Slim-Line USB MIDI Controller (Black)

              With just 25-keys and an ultra-compact design, Korg’s nanoKEY2 is still very responsive and playable as a MIDI keyboard. Weighing in at just over half a pound, you’ll have no problem taking this with you wherever you go. Read Full Review

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                Korg nanoKEY2 - Slim-Line USB MIDI Controller (Black)

                Samson Graphite M32 Mini USB MIDI Controller

                Samson’s Graphite M32 keyboard weighs just over two pounds and offers a range of controls and customizable options that you might not expect from a keyboard this size. Like our other selections, this MIDI device is conveniently powered via a USB connection. Read Full Review

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                  Samson Graphite M32 Mini USB MIDI Controller

                  Novation Launchkey 25 USB Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live

                  Novation’s Launchkey 25 is a compact tool that allows you to craft your sounds and play, thanks to its 25 velocity-sensitive keys and multiple assignable controls. Although this keyboard is compatible with pretty much any DAW, it is specifically designed to collaborate particularly well with Ableton. Read Full Review

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                    Novation Launchkey 25 USB Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live

                    Best MIDI Keyboard:

                    The explosion of virtual instruments and other electronic software devices as a means of creating, composing, and performing music has made the MIDI keyboard an absolute staple of music instrumentation in the 21st century. These keyboard devices are used to trigger sounds being fed to them from an external source like a computer or iOS device, though they can also be used to trigger hardware sounds as well. Great MIDI keyboards don’t just give you the ability to play sounds, but also offer an immersive, hands-on control of everything you would need to sculpt and shape your instrument; in essence, you shouldn’t have to look at a computer screen at all. These are the best MIDI keyboards available today, with each one listed here comes with software to get your music-making started, they're compatible with both Mac and Windows computers, and each offers at least 61 keys that are velocity sensitive and designed to offer a realistic-feeling performance.

                    Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Keyboard

                    Anyone even remotely aware of what Native Instruments has been doing in the world of sound libraries and virtual instruments over the last few years knows that the company is absolutely killing the game. The introduction of their Komplete Kontrol S61 MIDI keyboard is another enormous leap in the endeavor to gives musicians and producers the ability to explore the nearly endless possibilities of sounds at their fingertips, quite literally! Read Full Review

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                      Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Keyboard

                      Novation 61 SL MKII 61 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

                      The Novation 61 LS MKII MIDI keyboard offers seamless integration to your digital audio workstation. It plays great, is compatible with nearly every type of software, and offers multiple functional additions to the keyboard to give you complete control over your sound. Read Full Review

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                        Novation 61 SL MKII 61 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

                        Akai Professional MPK88 88 Key USB MIDI Portable Keyboard

                        The Akai Professional MPK88 offers strong control over your software sounds in a device that upholds the brand’s reputation for developing reliable and intuitive hardware. This MIDI keyboard of course also features the classic MPC-style pads, so you can also bang out rhythms and other samples, too. Read Full Review

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                          Akai Professional MPK88 88 Key USB MIDI Portable Keyboard

                          Roland A-88 Keyboard

                          While many MIDI keyboards gladly fill the role needed of them from producers and musicians of varying skill sets and backgrounds, the Roland A-88 was definitely made with the pianist in mind. The keyboard offers Ivory Feel-G keyed witch simulate the hammer lifting off of the strings of the piano. Read Full Review

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                            Roland A-88 Keyboard

                            Arturia KeyLab 88 MIDI USB Hammer-Action Hybrid Keyboard Controller

                            Get ready to dive into the world of synths with the Arturia KeyLab 88 MIDI keyboard, which comes with more than 5,000 preset sounds in the included Analog Lab software. Of course, all of those instruments are readily pre-mapped in the hardware component of this package, giving you full hands-on ability to run with this music-making machine. Read Full Review

                            Arturia KeyLab 88 MIDI USB Hammer-Action Hybrid Keyboard Controller

                            Best Budget MIDI Keyboard:

                            The MIDI keyboard has become an absolute staple of recording studios both grand and modest, to say nothing of their increased presence in the live rigs of bands touring anywhere between stadiums and small bars. These devices can be used to trigger sounds from external sources, giving players a literally limitless library of voices to access. And while these pieces of gear definitely are used by the top-of-the-line professionals, there’s also a wealth of options for those who are looking for something within a fixed budget. These are the best budget MIDI keyboards, with each one here offering at least 25 keys for musicians to use, comes with free music-making software to give you virtual instruments to play with, and each conveniently connects to your devices via USB cable.

                            Korg MicroKEY2 49-key MIDI Keyboard

                            Portability is the name of the game with the Korg microKEY2 MIDI keyboard. With 49 Natural Touch mini-keys, you’ll be easily able to play comfortably through four octaves with a device that is sensitive to the natural nuances of your performance. Read Full Review

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                              Korg MicroKEY2 49-key MIDI Keyboard

                              Samson Carbon 49 USB MIDI Controller

                              Samson’s Carbon 49 MIDI keyboard is light, features semi-weighted keys, and provides a variety of controls to give you a greater handle on your sound and performance. It also features some cool components not found in many other instruments of its kind, including an integrated iPad stand. Read Full Review

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                                Samson Carbon 49 USB MIDI Controller

                                Akai LPK25 Laptop USB MIDI Controller

                                Akai’s LPK25 is the MIDI keyboard that you can take with you practically anywhere you go. This USB MIDI-controlled device’s small size and flexible range of features make it ideal for both live gigging and desktop studio spaces. Read Full Review

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                                  Akai LPK25 Laptop USB MIDI Controller

                                  M-Audio Keystation 49 II 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

                                  The M-Audio Keystation 49 MIDI keyboard may have a price that will attract beginners and casual hobbyists, but it also features functionality that makes it a tool that professionals will have many uses for, too. This unit features 49 synth-action keys and can easily hook up to your computer or iPad. Read Full Review

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                                    M-Audio Keystation 49 II 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

                                    Alesis V49 49-Key USB MIDI Drum Pad and Keyboard Controller

                                    The Alesis V49 is a compact USB MIDI keyboard controller that gives you the ability to make music using the large keys and pressure-sensitive pads. Despite its many functionality features, it is portable and USB bus powered, making it a great device for those making music on the go. Read Full Review

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                                      Alesis V49 49-Key USB MIDI Drum Pad and Keyboard Controller

                                      Best Synth Keyboard:

                                      Since its earliest incarnation at the start of the 20th century, the synthesizer has represented a new way for musicians to not just play but sculpt and customize their own sound. The parameters that can be customized in a synthesizer are absolutely endless, and many users enjoy having such deep and nuanced control over their sounds. Of course, synthesizers also come with some great presets that are also noteworthy; so there’s really something for everyone here. These are the best synth keyboards available today, with each one listed here having at least 44 keys to play with, multiple oscillators to give you the ability to tweak and shape your sound, and an arpeggiator to add movement and complexity to your synth’s output.

                                      Moog Minimoog Voyager XL

                                      Moog’s Minimoog Voyager XL is a force to be reckoned with, as it epitomizes everything that musicians have come to love about the synthesizer company. From its encompassing control voltage outputs and inputs to its classic-looking design, this is a synth keyboard that can truly transform a recording or live performance. Read Full Review

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                                        Moog Minimoog Voyager XL

                                        Nord Stage 2 EX 88-Key Stage Piano

                                        Those looking for versatility in their instrument would do well to check out the Nord Stage 2 EX, a digital stage piano that also includes organ and synthesizer sound engines. With 88 keys and 1GB of memory to add external instrument sounds into the library, there are few synth keyboards that can do as much as this unit can. Read Full Review

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                                          Nord Stage 2 EX 88-Key Stage Piano

                                          Access Virus TI v2 Polar Total Integration Synthesizer and Keyboard Controller

                                          The Access Virus TI is a classic staple in the world of synthesizers, and the company has taken things up a notch with their TI2. New effects, multiple oscillators, and more calculating power are all housed in a redesigned body that makes an already impeccable synth keyboard into something even greater. Read Full Review

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                                            Access Virus TI v2 Polar Total Integration Synthesizer and Keyboard Controller

                                            Roland JUPITER-80 Synthesizer Keyboard

                                            Roland’s Jupiter-80 synth keyboard represents a union between the analog world and the more modern digital realm. Three separately-programmable sound chains draw from both landscapes to give you a powerful tool for the stage and the studio, with hundreds of presets, adjustable synthesis parameters, and more. Read Full Review

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                                              Roland JUPITER-80 Synthesizer Keyboard

                                              Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2

                                              The Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2 synthesizer is a hybrid digital/analog instrument that features 44 full-sized keys and a whopping 50 knobs and 65 buttons to give you the ultimate control over your sound. The Pro 2 also boasts an extremely powerful step sequencer to help you construct songs on your keyboard. Read Full Review

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                                                Dave Smith Instruments Pro 2

                                                Best Budget Synth Keyboard:

                                                Synthesizer keyboards are the modern tools of the musical mad scientist. Their hands-on, customizable nature and wealth of original sounds have made them a go-to instrument not just in electronic music, but spilling into other genres as well. Because they tend to qualify as high-end instruments, these keyboards aren’t always the most friendly for those working within budgetary constraints. Luckily, there has recently been an influx of affordable yet high quality synth keyboards that have hit the market. Here are some of the best ones available today, with each one listed here being extremely travel-friendly, weighing in at less than 12 pounds, they each feature a pitch bend and mod wheel to give you hands-on control over your performance, and they also feature multiple oscillators that can be used in conjunction with one another to create transformative depth to your sounds.

                                                Roland Gaia SH01 Virtual Analog Synthesizer Keyboard

                                                Roland’s GAIA SH-01 synth keyboard weighs less than 10 pounds, but it’s loaded with effects and sounds that far exceed what its appearance might indicate to outsiders. With a design and price point that makes it friendly to those who are new to synthesis, this is an instrument that is sure to open up doors to new creative experiences. Read Full Review

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                                                  Roland Gaia SH01 Virtual Analog Synthesizer Keyboard

                                                  Arturia MiniBrute Analog Synthesizer

                                                  The all analog Arturia MiniBrute synth keyboard combines modern digital flourishes with a classically built and sounding-instrument. Sculpt your sound with multiple LFO settings, filters, oscillators, and more. Read Full Review

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                                                    Arturia MiniBrute Analog Synthesizer

                                                    Korg microKORG XL+ 37-Key Synthesizer

                                                    Korg’s microKORG provides some seriously heavy sounds in a synth keyboard that is lightweight and easy to travel with. Most notably, this instrument also includes a built-in vocoder and microphone to give you more ways to create out-there synthetic sounds. Read Full Review

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                                                      Korg microKORG XL+ 37-Key Synthesizer

                                                      Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-Synth

                                                      Novation’s Bass Station II is a monophonic analog synthesizer that is known for its room-shaking bass sounds. With a built-in arpeggiator and step sequencer, this synth keyboard gives you the tools you need to dive into your creativity and start making music. Read Full Review

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                                                        Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-Synth

                                                        Casio XWP1 61 Key Performance Synthesizer

                                                        The Casio XW-P1 synth keyboard was built for performance, as evidenced by its robust sequencer and deep editing functions. Featuring 61 keys, this synth is also relatively portable, as it can operate on 6 D batteries and weighs just over 10 pounds. Read Full Review

                                                        Casio XWP1 61 Key Performance Synthesizer

                                                        Best Keyboard Workstation:

                                                        The invention of the keyboard workstation transformed the keyboard from an instrument into a fully-fledged all-inclusive studio. While still retaining all of the functionality and features of a keyboard, these devices also allow for audio recording, mixing, post-production, MIDI sequencing, and so much more. Having the ability to use one product as something that you can write, record, perform, and produce with, well that's certainly a great asset to producers and musicians working on all levels within the music business. These are the best keyboard workstations available today, with each one listed here offering at least 73 keys to give you a wide range to compose with, a multitude of effects to transform and color your parts either live or in post-production, and each is also USB compatible so that you can easily interface with computer DAWs.

                                                        Korg Kronos X 88-Key Music Workstation

                                                        Korg’s Kronos keyboard workstation offers an absolutely breathtaking array of sounds and controls to give you all that you need to write, record, produce, and arrange music. Despite its deep features, it’s also very easy to use and offers a multitude of hands-on functions. Read Full Review

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                                                          Korg Kronos X 88-Key Music Workstation

                                                          Kurzweil PC3X 88-Key Performance Controller Keyboard

                                                          The Kurzweil PC3K8 keyboard workstation is stocked with legacy sample libraries from the company as well as a powerful synthesis engine. It also offers a sample flash memory that allows you to save your samples and instantly recall them. Read Full Review

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                                                            Kurzweil PC3X 88-Key Performance Controller Keyboard

                                                            KORG KROME73 73-Key Keyboard Production Station

                                                            Korg’s Krome keyboard workstation is powered by a series of realistic-sounding pianos and other instruments, sourced from the company’s esteemed Kronos workstation. A unique feature about the Krome is that it stands on its own as a digital audio workstation, but can also integrate as a plug-in within your computer’s DAW. Read Full Review

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                                                              KORG KROME73 73-Key Keyboard Production Station

                                                              Yamaha MOTIF XF8 Workstation Keyboard

                                                              Yamaha’s MOTIF has been a long-standing top contender in the world of keyboard workstations, and with their 88-key XF8, they continue to uphold that reputation. With a slew of voices, drum kits, waveforms, and a 16-track sequencer, it has all you need to write, record, and produce your own music. Read Full Review

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                                                                Yamaha MOTIF XF8 Workstation Keyboard

                                                                Roland JUPITER-80 Synthesizer Keyboard

                                                                The Roland Jupiter-80 is a keyboard workstation that bridges the worlds of analog and digital. With hundreds of preset sounds and a slew of adjustable parameters, this keyboard has more than enough to help you create and finish a piece of music. Read Full Review

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                                                                  Roland JUPITER-80 Synthesizer Keyboard

                                                                  Best Budget Keyboard Workstation:

                                                                  The keyboard workstation is an all-in-one solution for music creators. In addition to acting as a keyboard, this tool also functions as a sequencer, mixer, interface, and so much more. Such versatility obviously makes this piece of gear a valuable resource for the writing, recording, producing, and mixing of a song or performance, which can (unfortunately for those shopping on a budget) come along with a sometimes-intimidating price tag. But that doesn’t mean that they’re all high-ticket items as there happens to be quite a few low-priced keyboard workstations on the market that deliver the goods without breaking the bank. These are the best budget keyboard workstations, with each one listed here being easy to travel with, each weighing less than 30 pounds for ease of transportation, they all feature built-in effects to help you color your sound during performance or recording, and lastly each is MIDI capable to allow you to use the instrument with external sound sources.

                                                                  Roland Roland FA-06 Keyboard Workstatiion

                                                                  The Roland FA-06 keyboard workstation is filled to the brim with awesome sounds to give you way more versatility than you might expect from a unit this size. Furthermore, a 16-track sequencer allows you to build your songs instantaneously. Read Full Review

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                                                                    Roland Roland FA-06 Keyboard Workstatiion

                                                                    Korg KROSS61 61 Key Mobile Workstation

                                                                    The Korg Kross 61-key synthesizer workstation keyboard provides some of the amazing sounds that you can find in other machines in the company’s line in a unit that is compact and affordably priced. Choose from 134 effects to shape your sound and create unique voicings, tones, and timbres. Read Full Review

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                                                                      Korg KROSS61 61 Key Mobile Workstation

                                                                      Yamaha MX49 49-Key Keyboard Production Station

                                                                      Yamaha’s MX49 keyboard workstation encompasses all of the beloved features of the company’s staple MOTIF workstation in an affordable and more compact package. Everything from that keyboard’s winning sounds to the hands-on, intuitive functionality are here and set up to enable you to make music with ease. Read Full Review

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                                                                        Yamaha MX49 49-Key Keyboard Production Station

                                                                        Casio PX360BK Key Digital Piano

                                                                        Casio’s Privia PX-360 keyboard workstation represents the ultimate integration between traditional instrument and digital cutting-edge technology. With this device, you can get the real feel of an acoustic piano blended with quick and easy changes of 550 high-quality sounds. Read Full Review

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                                                                          Casio PX360BK Key Digital Piano

                                                                          Teenage Engineering 002.AS.001 OP-1 Mini Synthesizer Pack

                                                                          Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 is a compact synthesizer, controller, and sampler all in one package. Its futuristic design and layout makes recording, writing, and experimenting with sound a truly unique and engaging experience. Read Full Review

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                                                                            Teenage Engineering 002.AS.001 OP-1 Mini Synthesizer Pack
                                                                             

                                                                            Keyboard Buyer's Guide

                                                                            While the term, “keyboard,” may seem straightforward, there are various types depending on the primary purpose of the instrument, as these are no longer just piano substitutes. Whether it’s a keyboard for touring, practice at home, as a recording facilitator in the studio, or a tool for experimentation with new sounds, musicians will need to consider different options, including portable, MIDI and synth keyboards or a keyboard workstation. Furthermore, each keyboard will come with a range of effects, tool choices, and designs that will also need to be considered. Fortunately, this buyer’s guide will help point you in the right direction towards finding your ideal keyboard.

                                                                            Keyboard Types

                                                                            Portable Keyboard
                                                                            Great for traveling to gigs or as a substitute for a full size piano at home, a portable keyboard can be the perfect solution for practice and performance with all the extra features afforded by a digital instrument. Thanks to advances in technology, these small and lightweight unstruments mimic the feel, sound, and pitch range of an acoustic piano.

                                                                            MIDI Keyboard
                                                                            MIDI keyboards function as an essential part of many digital audio workstations (DAWs) working with synths for sound customization. Accordingly, those looking at MIDI keyboards will want pitch/modulation controls, sliders, programmable buttons, faders, and other options for maximum control.

                                                                            Synth Keyboard
                                                                            A synthesizer allows for experimentation, manipulation and customization of all kinds of sounds and patterns with the ease of keyboard style playing. The result is a keyboard allowing for any sound the user can imagine to create a world of versatile, dynamic music.

                                                                            Keyboard Workstation
                                                                            For musicians seeking full service performance and production all in one place, keyboard workstations provide a plethora of sound, recording, connectivity and creative options. Using a workstation, users can create their own songs complete with melody, harmony, and other accompaniments.

                                                                            Features

                                                                            Keyboards have a variety of functions for performance, recording and studio work.

                                                                            Number of Keys

                                                                            Depending on whether a small on the-go keyboard is needed or a full range digital performance option determines how many keys a player might be looking for. This option primarily pertains to instruments that will be used for performance or practice. MIDI and synth keyboards may offer less keys since the primary focus is their other functions.

                                                                            88-Key
                                                                            With 88 keys, this size keyboard has the same number of keys as a full-size piano. These are particularly for individuals looking for an in-home alternative to the acoustic piano or those using the instrument primarily for performance.

                                                                            72 or 61-Key
                                                                            Keyboards with fewer keys allow for a more portable instrument, though this curtails the range of available pitches. Often budget keyboards offer 72 or 61 keys, which helps reduce cost or provide a manageable choice for young musicians. If effects are just as important as the performance aspect of the instrument, these size keyboards may be ideal.

                                                                            Key Style

                                                                            Particularly for those interested in the feel and response of their keyboard, key style will be important.

                                                                            Weighted
                                                                            Mimicking the weight and feel of an acoustic piano, weighted keys develop realistic muscle control and more command of tone and volume. At the highest levels, the lower notes on the instrument have a heavier weight and the higher notes are lighter, expertly mimicking an acoustic piano.

                                                                            Organ Style
                                                                            These light-weight keys, often found on smaller keyboards, are easy for fingers to manipulate and naturally move faster because they have little resistance. However, for those anticipating they will play on an acoustic piano at some point, the transition from organ-style keys to the weighted keys of a piano can be a difficult one.

                                                                            Digital Features

                                                                            Alternative sounds or voices, built in backing tracks, and the ability to record and connect to a computer are often standard on most instruments.

                                                                            Polyphony
                                                                            Among a keyboard’s statistics may be the polyphony, a fancy way of letting you know how many notes can be played at the same time. Depending on the complexity of music and number of voices being layered into the performance or recording, a higher polyphony may be desired. For regular use, the polyphony of any given keyboard is usually sufficient.

                                                                            Voices
                                                                            One of the most popular features of digital instruments is the ability to switch up the tone or "voice" with the push of a button, from grand piano, to strings, voice, drum kit and many more. Different model keyboards will offer any number of pre-programmed sounds, from 30 high-quality sampled sounds to hundreds for maximum creativity.

                                                                            Backing Tracks
                                                                            Backing tracks come pre-programmed into the keyboard to accompany a wide range of musical genres and can be adjusted for tempo with intro and outro buttons. These are great for practice, recording all-in-one tracks, and performance.

                                                                            USB and MIDI

                                                                            Keyboards can come with several USB and MIDI options, including the ability to both upload and download data to and from the keyboard or plug directly into a system. For those interested in syncing up with a computer, USB and MIDI in/out ports are highly desirable. For high-use as a part of a DAW, multiple USB and MIDI ports are ideal.

                                                                            Additional Accessories

                                                                            When purchasing a keyboard, these are some essential accessories which often don’t
                                                                            come standard with the purchase of the instrument.

                                                                            Stand
                                                                            Unless the keyboard comes with its own legs, a keyboard stand is helpful. Typically made of lightweight metal in a folding X style, keyboard stands fit neatly away for travel and facilitate comfort/good posture while playing.

                                                                            Sustain Pedal
                                                                            Used often in piano performance, a sustain pedal holds the tone of a note out longer for smooth transitions from note to note. For a keyboard, this pedal is normally an add-on, plugged in through a jack on the keyboard for additional performance and technique flexibility.

                                                                            Software
                                                                            Some keyboards will come with their own software to interface with a computer for recording purposes. Those looking to build their DAWs or a more standard software may want to look into more powerful or universal software packages, such as Garage Band at the entry level, or Pro Tools at the professional level.

                                                                            Price/Value

                                                                            The difference between reputable budget instruments and higher grade professional keyboards is often in size, number of keys, and features and extras, depending on the type of keyboard. When considering price it’s often helpful to determine the purpose of the instrument. If it’s for recreational, lightweight use and fun, a budget instrument will probably suffice.

                                                                            For those looking for specific performance features, like weighted keys, or recording flexibility, like additional controls, the higher-priced, professional level instruments are the way to go. Thanks to technological advances over the last 50 years, keyboards sound great, offer a lot of options on the road or at home, and are loaded with extra features in a relatively small package, even at the budget level.
                                                                             

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