Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
1792 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Post Sat Jun 15, 2019 5:33 pm

BONES wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 4:52 pm
This comes in well under your budget and is a terrific thing. I had both the CS1x and CS2x and loved them. They are fully digital keyboards that do a lot of analogue sounding stuff. It was a long time ago so I don't specifically recall if you can split the keyboard but I think it is possible. They do the best string pad sounds you'll hear from such a basic instrument. I bought it mostly for those strings.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Yamaha-CS2x ... SwYxBcluWn

I've bought plenty of used gear from eBay - Analog Keys from the US, Pulse 2 from France and my CS1x from Canberra - and I've never had any problems.
Cool, I'll keep a look out. I do buy from Ebay, and I have been browsing, it's the shipping cost to N.Z that drives the price up, small things are fine... but anything big normally costs waaaay more than the item. You probably can't see it, but it's displaying $495 AU for shipping to my location... ouch!

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BONES
GRRRRRRR!
8341 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:03 pm

I didn't look at the postage, ow! It shows Au$254 to Australia. I think it only cost Au$100 or so to get my Analog Keys from the US so I think he is probably trying to discourage overseas purchasers. There is this one as well, which is a little cheaper -
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Yamaha-CS-2 ... SwkZxdBEcI

There are also a few CS1x's in Japan if you do a search. I actually preferred the CS1x but it was a while ago now and I can't remember why that was. I think it had to do with the arpeggiator.
NOVAkILL 4.0 : Acer Switch5 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, Win10),Behringer QX1002USB, Cubase Pro 10, DUNE, Hive, Thorn, TRK-01, Equator, Substance, Arcsyn, Seaboard Block, Lightpad Block M, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno, Skulpt.

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
1792 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:37 pm

BONES wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:03 pm
I didn't look at the postage, ow! It shows Au$254 to Australia. I think it only cost Au$100 or so to get my Analog Keys from the US so I think he is probably trying to discourage overseas purchasers. There is this one as well, which is a little cheaper -
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Yamaha-CS-2 ... SwkZxdBEcI

There are also a few CS1x's in Japan if you do a search. I actually preferred the CS1x but it was a while ago now and I can't remember why that was. I think it had to do with the arpeggiator.
Yip, that's getting more affordable. Things are just expensive in New Zealand, even in retail stores, because we're so small and far away, that shipping cost has always been added on at some point. Sometimes I can get new music devices from Japan and pay what sounds like a lot of shipping, but it still works out cheaper than the retail cost.

kvotchin
KVRist
127 posts since 9 Aug, 2018

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:04 pm

DX7II of some variety would be my suggestion, but I still don’t know exactly what kind of music you’re making, so...
i7, 16gb, babyface pro, win10, reaper, fl studio, too many plugins, too much hardware :help:

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
1792 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:21 pm

Cheers guys, my local music store has a used (but absolutely mint) Roland XP-10 I can have for U.S $450 (NZ $700), it might be the one.

(Edit) Hmmmmmm, I didn't realise, but the XP-10 is super old, seriously the unit I just saw is flawless cosmetically, I thought it must have been produced in the last 5-10 years.

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
1792 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:42 pm

kvotchin wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:04 pm
DX7II of some variety would be my suggestion, but I still don’t know exactly what kind of music you’re making, so...
I would love a DX7, I use samples from a DX7 all the time.

kvotchin
KVRist
127 posts since 9 Aug, 2018

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:09 pm

You can pick them up used lots of places, pretty cheap.

The II and co., you can split, so there’s that. And DX7 in general, there are literally thousands of free patches available, which is one compelling reason to get one, IMO.
i7, 16gb, babyface pro, win10, reaper, fl studio, too many plugins, too much hardware :help:

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Uncle E
KVRAF
10936 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:14 pm

an-electric-heart wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:21 pm
Cheers guys, my local music store has a used (but absolutely mint) Roland XP-10 I can have for U.S $450 (NZ $700), it might be the one.
Here is an XP-10 for $95USD. It’s in Canada but maybe the shipping to NZ will still be less than the price you saw. At the very least, you might be able to get a lower price if you show it to the shop:

https://reverb.com/item/23734630-roland ... dium=share

I own an XP 80, a JV 1080, and an XV 5080. The XP 10 seems lack the editability but, if the sound quality is comparable to any of these, it will sound great. My only concern is that it will have too many pedestrians sounds for you. For example, a JV 1080 can be programmed to do really cool wavestation kinds of stuff but the stock presets are all the pianos, guitars, and other pedestrian instruments that you seem to be wanting to avoid. Anyway, here is a detailed comparison of many of the Roland synths that you might want to check out:

http://www.donsolaris.com/?tag=xp30

JCJR
KVRAF
2668 posts since 17 Apr, 2005 from S.E. TN

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:23 pm

an-electric-heart wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 4:33 pm
I am keeping my eye on Trademe (that's like a New Zealand only Ebay) for a proper synth'... but, you guys aren't going to like this :scared: ... but any-hoo, I'm not a "sound design" guy, I'd be able to work with presets that sound good, so I was thinking more along the lines of a "keyboard" (rather than a proper synthesizer) like a CASIO CTX3000, or a CASIO WK6600, or the Yamaha equivalent... it sounds like you guys wouldn't "recommend" anything like that. :hihi:
I have no problem with folks' recent synth suggestions. As to the "home keyboard" niche, can't comment merely out of sheer ignorance of that niche. In the past, looking at some of those for a few hundred bucks, just festooned with buttons and controls all over the panel, my cynical self would wonder, "At that low price, and so many switches and buttons on the gadget, how high-quality and durable could the entire assembly be?" But they may be solid as a tank for all I know.

I don't want to come off as an effete snob, it ain't like that. Ain't a "Princess and the pea" character. However, I typically do not especially like many factory patches on about any keyboard even the nice ones. Its the kind of thing sure they might sound fine if somebody else is playing the patches but they don't sound fine when I'm playing them.

But the saving grace is that a "decently programmable" synth is perfectly capable of making sounds I do like (even if maybe somebody else wouldn't like my patches either). So having the programmability and a certain minimum set of internal features "to get the job done" is the thing I would look for, rather than the preset sounds.

It is one reason that I don't often buy a new synth. It is too labor intensive learning the innards and setting up a set of sounds I'm happy with.

Sometimes a semi-programmable synth can be worked with. If it has lots of patches "kinda close" to what I might like and allows light overall editing of brightness, attack/decay time scaling, FX type and settings, then a factory patch that is marginal can be got closer to what I would rather be playing. Things like some of the older Roland Junos or that Yamaha MX or whatever, if you had to make do you could probably make do.

But an example, I think the innards of Roland FA are quite programmable and many sounds I like can be coaxed out of the engine. The thang comes with thousands of factory patches, and I suppose they are not bad, but maybe I would actually like maybe 1 out of 100. It gets to a point where thousands of factory patches is even a drawback, because it takes hours and days just to play them all and make notes which few are something I might want to use or modify for use. Labor intensive.

So I just have doubts I'd be very happy with an uneditable keyboard with a few hundred factory patches in rom. Maybe I'd be surprised but probably there wouldn't be all that many sounds I'd be "real happy with" just picking whatever is closest and making do with it, grumbling about it all the way. :)

Here is a notable exception/contradiction, but it doesn't involve synth sounds but emulative sampled sounds. There is a small German company V3 Sound that makes a V3 Piano with 3 GB of samples of really only a handful of pianos, but 128 patches with variations on those few instruments. A bosendorfer, a steinway, a couple of different Rhodes, a Wurlie, a CP70 electric grand, and a few assorted non-piano sounds thrown in. I personally like that box because it sounds good and responds good to the way I like to play. The bosendorfer sounds and plays close enough to a bosendorfer not to be supremely annoying, ditto for the rhodes or wurlie, etc. It is a little programmable with Ctrl messages but I don't bother. But it is not synth sounds. If it sounds and plays "purt close" to the real instruments I'm fine with it. If I sit down to a real piano I don't immediately want to go digging in the innards of the real piano unless it is broken. :)

I also enjoy a V3 Sonority XL that is kind of a GM Box on Steroids. It is 4 GB of samples generally well done, including a lot of pretty playable orchestral instruments and horns that are not in the GM spec. It is nice and convenient and I don't need to edit it. Maybe there is a better Bari Sax somewhere, but the box has the best Bari Sax among my synths. Etc. It is just a box of good sounds and I enjoy it a lot for the pretty good quality and convenience. But again, it is not a synth. There is not much argument about what a "good" bari sax or bassoon ought to sound like. Well, you could argue about anything, but the world isn't perfect and its nice to have a little box with pretty good versions of lots of those acoustic sounds in it. Who cares if its not programmable. That is not its purpose.

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an-electric-heart
KVRAF
1792 posts since 13 Jun, 2008 from Napier,New Zealand

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:40 pm

JCJR, yes, you're right there about too many buttons and stuff. I'm into film and photography as well as music, my point being; cameras are the same, the cheaper ones are always cluttered up with tons of gimmicky features, but when you get down to it the most important thing is image quality... and the cheap stuff doesn't have it where it actually counts... same with keyboards, as I said, I just care about a few really good synth sounds... but you've got cheesy backing tracks, built in speakers, light up keys, and whole bunch of other junk that doesn't matter.

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BONES
GRRRRRRR!
8341 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:52 pm

an-electric-heart wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:42 pm
kvotchin wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:04 pm
DX7II of some variety would be my suggestion, but I still don’t know exactly what kind of music you’re making, so...
I would love a DX7, I use samples from a DX7 all the time.
There is zero hands-on with a DX7. It is pretty much just a preset playing machine.
NOVAkILL 4.0 : Acer Switch5 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, Win10),Behringer QX1002USB, Cubase Pro 10, DUNE, Hive, Thorn, TRK-01, Equator, Substance, Arcsyn, Seaboard Block, Lightpad Block M, Analog Keys, MicroMonsta, Uno, Skulpt.

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Uncle E
KVRAF
10936 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:31 pm

JCJR wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:23 pm
In the past, looking at some of those for a few hundred bucks, just festooned with buttons and controls all over the panel, my cynical self would wonder, "At that low price, and so many switches and buttons on the gadget, how high-quality and durable could the entire assembly be?" But they may be solid as a tank for all I know.
Your intuition/cynicism is mostly correct. The Casio CZ-1, HT-6000, and HZ-600 are all very cheaply built. The VZ-1 is the only Casio I've owned that looked and felt like a professional instrument (really solid as a tank, you could gig around the world with it and mine did actually come from Hamburg) and it's the only one that wasn't covered in buttons. In terms of sound quality, though, the CZ-1 and HT-6000 are easily on the same level as the VZ-1. The HT-6000 sounds gorgeous.

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Uncle E
KVRAF
10936 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:44 pm

an-electric-heart wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:40 pm
same with keyboards, as I said, I just care about a few really good synth sounds...
You really might want to just stick with some Yamaha DX, SY, or CS synth. Those home oriented keyboards may do some cool things but they're not going to cover the sounds you've mentioned. Plus, Yamaha sold so many DX7's, and also different versions of the DX7, that you ought to be able to get a deal on one pretty easily. A DX21 would be great for you because it can split.

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jacqueslacouth
KVRian
1017 posts since 18 Nov, 2004 from The Liberated People's Republic of Straya

Re: Best Digital keyboard for around $450 USD?

Post Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:21 pm

The M Audio Venom is an interesting beastie if you can find one. They were basically being given away at the end of their retail days, so you might find one somewhere at a pretty decent price.

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