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#213641 - 08/07/00 01:03 PM Best Bang for the Buck

I'm looking to buy an arranger keyboard for home use and I'm looking for suggestions as to the best "bang for the buck". I place a lot of emphasis on having at least 76 weighted keys and reliability in its performance. Any suggestions?

#213642 - 08/07/00 01:37 PM Re: Best Bang for the Buck
Alex K Offline

Registered: 12/03/99
Posts: 732
Loc: Phoenix, AZ USA
Currently, there is only one arranger keyboard with 76 keys on the market, Generalmusic SK760 (also an 88-key model SK880). Roland G1000 has been discontinued, but you may be able to find the remaining stock in the stores for about $1300, which is probably as much bang for the buck as you are going to get. SK760 has more features than G1000, such as sampling, editable voices, vocal harmonizer option, built-in hard drive(?), but the Roland sounds very good (I own one).

There are rumours about a new 76-key proffessional board from Yamaha, though it is not out yet. Feature-wise, it should be comparable to SK760, though some people like Yamaha styles a bit less.

Of course, there are also electric pianos like Yamaha's Clavinova, Roland KR series, Technics and Korg CI8600/9600, but these are much more expensive, and not at all portable, as they include a cabinet and speakers.


#213643 - 08/07/00 10:10 PM Re: Best Bang for the Buck
George Kaye Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/24/99
Posts: 3305
Loc: Reseda, California USA
I agree with Alex about getting a lot of bang for your buck with the G1000. It has the same semi weighted keyboard as the Roland XP80 and with a retail of $2995.00 and a selling price of around $1395.00 you can't beat it. If interested, I still have 2 of these left in stock, and then there will be no more!
The Yamaha PSR9000Pro is no longer a rumor. It will sell for approx. $4000.00 and it will be a 76 note version without speakers of the PSR9000. One difference I know of will be expansion slots to add Yamaha plug in boards.
I still think if you can get a G1000 before they are gone, you would be thrilled.
George Kaye
Kaye's Music Scene
Reseda, Ca.
George Kaye
Kaye's Music Scene (Closed after 51 years)
West Hills, California
(Retired 2021)

#213644 - 08/21/00 11:17 PM Re: Best Bang for the Buck
COMALite J Offline

Registered: 12/28/99
Posts: 86
Loc: Shreveport, LA, USA
If you don’t need portability, and you already have a PC, best bang for buck is to get the cheapest keyboard you can find that has the feel and number of keys you want. Do not be concerned about features (except MIDI controller stuff like velocity, aftertouch [genuine key aftertouch would be especially nice, but expen$ive, which would defeat the very point we’re discussing here!], controllers such as ribbon, multiple wheels, D-beam, or whatever, etc.), and do everything else via MIDI software and hardware on your PC.

$15 gets you a DS-XG (made by several third-party manufacturers) sound card with a Yamaha YMF724 chipset with 65-note polyphony (that was not a typo: 64 notes of XG wavetable, plus 1 note of genuine VL!) and the full Level 1 XG and GS sound sets plus the full VL-70m sound set (including the non-VL-XG VL sound banks). If you’re willing to spend more, several hundred bucks gets you an SW1000XG sound card which does all of that and then some in hardware, while the YMF724 requires CPU assistance (and thus has minor but noticeable latency — the faster and less-burdened your CPU, the smaller the latency) — the SW1kXG has the full Level 4 XG sound set introduced with the MU100R, and has an empty PLG slot so you can add VL, AN, DX, or any other synthesis technology you want, or even a VH vocal harmonizer, for only a hundred or so more.

Less than $90 gets you Band-in-a-Box from PG Music, which has functionality similar to that of the auto-accompaniment sections of the better arranger workstation keyboards, and then some. It can also do cool automated solos and even melodies with the latest versions. While the under-$90 version is cool, I recommend spending the extra money to get one of the package deals that gives you libraries of more style disks (there are nearly two dozen to date, and more coming out all the time, and each disk has roughly 20 styles! Plus there are currently 9 disks of extra Soloists, and a couple of Melodist disks also!). Less than $150 extra gets you all of the current supplemental stuff (called the Mega Pak). Or you can buy the Omni Pak, which is every software item PG Music currently sells for either Windows or Mac, for under $600. That includes the Band-in-a-Box Mega Pak, plus (for Windows only) Power Tracks Pro Audio (a capable but inexpensive MIDI/audio sequencer), plus all its add-ons (including lots of audio tracks), plus other software as well.

And you still haven’t spent anywhere near as much as a typical arranger workstation costs. And you get far more capabilities (except for portability, and you even get that if you happen to have a portable PC with USB ports and buy a USB MIDI adapter) than any of them offer.

You can get started for under $150 (Band-in-a-Box non-Pak @ $88 + DS-XG card @ $15 plus cables, etc.) plus the cost of the keyboard.


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