Recommend me a used (musical) keyboard.
August 21, 2010 9:17 AM   Subscribe

What's a good, inexpensive (>$200) digital keyboard/synthesizer for a low-intermediate level player? Used preferred.

I've been playing the keyboard on and off for maybe 10 years now. I was classically trained as a child, but never really got on board. Now that I'm older, I'm more interested in it. I really like synth-driven music, so I want something that will be able to crank out some great synth noises. Midi functionality would be nice, but it's not necessary.
posted by matkline to Shopping (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How robust is your computer? If your computer is fairly up-to-date it might make more sense to buy an entry level MIDI keyboard that hooks up to your computer via USB, and pair that with some basic music software that has built-in virtual synths.

posted by tantrumthecat at 9:39 AM on August 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Tamtrumthecat: Computer isn't powerful enough for that kind of setup. Plus, portability is key, I like the occasional jam session.
posted by matkline at 9:50 AM on August 21, 2010

Well, under $200 is a pretty slender budget. I have a cheap Yamaha PRS for goofing around, but I must concede that the synth patches on it are pretty lame.

Recommend: Craigslist + time & patience. Keep an eye out for under-valued vintage synths like Roland Juno series, Casio CZ series or Yamaha DX series. The DX's have silly presets and annoying programming, but with a bit of tweaking you can get some really skronky sounds out of them. Note that on a budget you would be looking at instruments which are not as fashionable with the kids these days, but these fashions change. I remember when they were giving away old analog mono-synths. Not any more.
posted by ovvl at 10:17 AM on August 21, 2010

I own a quality stage piano and the Roland SH-201, and I still think the synth sounds on the cheap Casio and Yamaha models, such as you'd find at Best Buy, are good enough for having fun with.

When you say portable, do you plan on using an amp, or just onboard speakers?

Assuming you'd want the ability to take this thing on stage, I think a more reasonable price range for what you've described is $600-800 new. Which means ovvl's suggestion of Craigslist and patience is the best way to find something much lower.

And I'd suggest going with something that is more flexible than you think you want. Get something that has the typical variety of sounds, not just a dedicated analog modeling synth. I don't play the SH-201 much, because it's a live performance tool and not overly conducive to goofing around.
posted by RobinFiveWords at 10:42 AM on August 21, 2010

You can pick up a Micorkorg used for under $200 although it doesn't have a built-in speaker for jam sessions. It has some great presets and is easy enough to program and it has MIDI functionality but no USB.
posted by minifigs at 6:48 AM on August 22, 2010

I'll third the craigslist suggestion, and add that you might want to pop over to vintagesynth. Check out the synth finder to see what's commonly available in your price range.

Do you know what kind of synth you'd prefer? Analog, FM (digital) synthesis?
posted by lekvar at 12:09 PM on August 23, 2010

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