Visit The Bar For Casual Discussion
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#899 - 03/10/04 12:56 PM Arranger Keyboards
Vadim Offline

Registered: 07/13/03
Posts: 315
Did you ever saw a professional musician or a hitmaker or producer that has an arranger keyboard? NO. Workstations have better sounds and sequencer and you can even edit sounds. When I get rid of my arranger kbd I`ll get a musicWorkstation, that has no styles, because I never use them. nobody should use styles, everyone should make their own tracks, like real musicians, real musicians don`t use styles nor arranger keyboards. I think Arranger keyboards just slow down your learning process but MusicWorkstations speed it up.There is only one reason why Arranger Keyboards are better, only when you need to play a song sor someone while they sing. But even in that case Music workstation can do a deacent job.

#900 - 03/10/04 01:53 PM Re: Arranger Keyboards

Hi Vadim,

I appreciate your remarks. And I agree with some and disagree with others.

There have been hits made with a Casio SK1 sampler. If you are unfamiliar with that, it is a mini-key monophonic keyboard from years ago that can sample via a built-in mic. The quality is that of an AM radio that has a blown speaker. The point is, it all depends on your point of view and your desire/ability to veer off the main track so to speak.

Now, do top pros perform with arranger keyboards? Probably not the ones that perform on stage with other musicians. But there are many people, many of them who are part of these forums who do use arranger keyboards for solo performing and I am sure at least some consider themselves professional. Do top songwriters use arranger type instruments? Absolutely. Have you ever heard of a software program named Acid? Maybe an extreme example, but this program still uses repeating phrases to create songs and that is essentially what an arranger keyboard does.

I am with you on not wanted to rely solely on pre-programmed styles and sounds to create my own music. However, some of the arrangers available do have the ability to create your own styles. And at least one that I am familiar with is as much a full fledged programmable synthesizer as any 'workstation' keyboard. This same instrument has a 32 track sequencer with essentially the same type of editing you would expect from a computer based sequencer system.

It is not at all uncommon for a song writer to use a drum machine, several keyboards and/or modules and a sequencer to help in the song creation process. Arranger keyboards have the ability to replace all of those separate components with just one piece of equipment. When you have an idea for a song, it is very helpful to be able to call up a drum beat similar to what you have in mind and try out different melodies/chords until you work out the song. It is even more useful when you can have a bass line and some accompaniment tracks to go along with it. Not that you will use all or any of the tracks in the final song, but it can still be inspiring to hear a full band during the initial song writing process.

The idea of using an arranger keyboard in a professional environment is still fairly new in the US. However, in Europe and other areas, arranger instruments are thought of very highly. For the most part and depending on the brand/model, the sounds are every bit as good as the ‘workstations’ that are available. And as I have said, there is at least one arranger type instrument that has the same abilities as those workstations and more. Did I point out Hard Drive Audio recording, and a built-in CD burner?

Just food for thought.


#901 - 03/10/04 02:21 PM Re: Arranger Keyboards
Bluezplayer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2195
Loc: Catskill Mountains, NY
I have used arrangers for years. They are well suited for me if I want to perform by myself or with a vocalist / guitarist.

I have also used them for creating pieces of my own ( or a client's ) songs, though I don't rely on the whole of a style part, but I might take the drums from a style and then mix and match with another part. I also make my own styles, but again mainly for the drum parts and / or for another instrument that I want to give a "looping" effect to.

Using an arranger in this way doesn't differ all that much from using a program like Acid, except that it deals solely with midi loops rather than audio loops ( a few arrangers also have sampling and loop tools ). It also doesn't differ all that much from using a midi looping tool like Fruity loops Studio. The main difference is that in FL studio, I can mix and match a lot faster and I have a piano roll to work with to make modifications. In my arranger, I either have to morph / modify my styles so that I can mix parts or record new ones in real time or via a lengthy style conversion process.

I don't use my arranger much when composing, but that is mainly because of the repetetive nature of the styles and the limitations and time constraints needed to modify styles. I could ( and have )construct ballads or simple blues / rock tunes in it and then do some modifications to the resulting midifiles to get a less canned sound, but I don't always do a lot of those songs, and I instead prefer to go the "from scratch" route. Right now I am working on stuff that is a little bit electronica based but also with an eye toward a few of my favorite musical influences ( Alan Parsons, Yes, ELP, some Jazz fusion etc ), and an arranger won't serve well in these types of tunes.

Also, as is noted in some posts at the GA forum, some arrangers are designed with the home type player / hobbyist in mind, who most often doesn't care about workstation type features like sampling, arps, deep sound editing capabilties, plug in / expansion boards, physical / analog modeling, etc etc... In some of the lower to mid range arrangers the overall build and keys themselves don't feel very sturdy either. Still, my arranger can be summoned in an instant as a scratch pad to try out different ideas that I come up with.

I don't think I'm a poorer musician for having used one though. I can pretty much play what I want to on keys, and if anything, using an arranger has helped to keep my timing skills tighter, as opposed to practicing with no rythym players around me, and it has helped teach me to play better in certain genres and styles that I would otherwise not have played in.


[This message has been edited by Bluezplayer (edited 03-10-2004).]

#902 - 03/10/04 03:39 PM Re: Arranger Keyboards
Fran Carango Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 05/26/99
Posts: 9556
Loc: Levittown, Pa, USA
Vadim, I respectfully disagree with you..I have also owned top of the line workstations, as well as top of the line arrangers..I am curious what arranger[model ] you are getting rid of..I will bet it isn't a top of the line arranger..I still use a 6 year old Roland G1000..This board is a workstation and an arranger..the sequencer will work as good as my previous workstations[Roland XP80 and Korg Triton Studio,both top of the line models]..Arranger boards like the G1000 can record your own style parts, that you can use[experiment with your music project], easily modifying to suit your taste..If you are not capable of playing and recording the style parts, you can take onboard styles and morph to come up with the perfect style..You mentioned that you never use styles,maybe you should experiment the way I mentioned above..Just about any function you will want to do on a "workstation" I can do on my G1000, and much more...and when we need to take a coffee or lunch break, I will be done and you would have just about started...Not to be sarcastic, I just think you should look at the Good arrangers with an open mind, you might just be surprized..

Vadim, I noticed on another post that you have a VA-76,,I think you owe it to yourself to get into the VA deeper and see how it can help you as a workstation..

[This message has been edited by Fran Carango (edited 03-10-2004).]

#903 - 03/10/04 04:25 PM Re: Arranger Keyboards
3351 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 1194
Loc: Toronto, Canada.
Hey Vadim!

Professional or not?
That¡¦s a tough one to answer..¡K
Especially nowadays , when everything is packed with features and options.
Just check out the ¡§General Arranger keyboard¡¨ forum here.
See what the guys that use arrangers talk about.
They talk about digital audio, soft synths, mixing, recording and just about anything under the sun that has to do with professional studio work.
Some guys there can give me lessons on physical modeling and FM programming.

If you feel that you¡¦ve outgrown a keyboard that you¡¦re using, it may not necessarily have to do with the fact that it¡¦s an arranger. May be you just need a new arranger board, with more features, WORKING KEYS (still broken..I take it? ƒº )
And more editing capabilities then your current board offers.
You never know.
On the other hand, if you feel that you don¡¦t need to use styles, and would rather do some intence sequencing of your own ¡V workstation might be just right for ya!
Of coarse, nothing compares to the software sequencers, but that¡¥s a different story.

And fix that key., Any board with the broken key sucks BIG time.
I knnow, I¡¦ve been there.
It¡¦s actually more annoying then a broken string on a guitar.


A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.
- - - Oscar Wilde

#904 - 03/10/04 04:39 PM Re: Arranger Keyboards
sk880user Offline

Registered: 01/26/01
Posts: 1255
Loc: United States
When creating a new song or a specific song for an artist, rarely is this song created from styles. And if styles are used, they are used as a prototype or as part of the composition. But is all professional music about creating new songs? Of course not.

Professional musician is a professional musician not because he uses a specific tool. But because how he uses the tool or any tool. The tool does not make a person a professional musician. A tool is a tool. And one must use the correct tool for the correct job according to his gift and style.

For me, a style is a tool to me. And styles are useful. However, not everybody can use them or can use them correctly. This does not mean they are less or more professional; and this also does not mean that those who use them are more or less professional.

Concerning Arranger keyboards, the top of the line share much almost the same engine and samples of the top of the line workstations. Compare Motif ES with Tyros, Triton studio with PA1X, so on and so forth. However, the best sequencer that can beat all arrangers and workstations combined is the Genesys, which I assume similar to the one on SK880. But anyway, if you want more sequencing, you need to get into Cubase SX or Nuendo2.

#905 - 03/10/04 06:37 PM Re: Arranger Keyboards
Vadim Offline

Registered: 07/13/03
Posts: 315
I used to think arranger keyboards are home keyboards, you guys realy saved me on this.
I`ll keep my VA-76 now.
But still, when I read Korg history they tell when all this things were invented but thet never manssioned a single arranger keyboard. And even Roland when they realesed V-synth they made a video and stuff about it, but when they released an arranger keyboard they just... realesed it.

#906 - 03/10/04 06:43 PM Re: Arranger Keyboards
cassp Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/21/03
Posts: 3732
Loc: Motown
Vadim, a little narrow-minded aren't we? I've owned an XP50, iX300, PC88, PSR2000 and VR-760. Each has had its strengths and weakness in helping me create music. There certainly is a place for arrangers, maybe just not in your setup. Arranger players are well-aware of the reputation of their keyboards as glorified toys (esp. in the US)but arrangers such as the VA-76, PAx1, 9000Pro, KN7000, etc. are very high end sound engines and workstations too. Your posting just continues the stereotyping unnecessarily. Give it up!
Riding on the Avenue of Time

#907 - 03/10/04 07:04 PM Re: Arranger Keyboards
Vadim Offline

Registered: 07/13/03
Posts: 315
I know now. I just used to think that pros don`t use arrnger keyboards, now I`m allright with arrangers, sorry guys.

#908 - 03/10/04 07:11 PM Re: Arranger Keyboards
to the genesys Offline

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 1155
Arrangers today are just as good as workstations.

The sounds are just about on par with workstations. And if you are not satisfied the high-end arrangers come with a sampler and sound editing capabilities just like workstations.

Regarding styles on an arranger, I think whether you use the on board styles or create your own does not determine if you are a professional or real musician. The quality of your work and the seriousness to which you take music are more important to me. If the final result is something that people will enjoy, styles or no styles that is more important to me.

Also one good thing about arrangers is that on most of them styles can be created. If you are not satisfied with the factory styles, you can make your own to suit your playing or original composition. Better yet on the new Korg arranger, you can totally replace all the factory styles with your own.

If styles are use to form the base of a song, why should that be looked on as a less professional thing than using factory arpeggiaters on workstations. One of the things with today’s music and hits, factory made drum loops and other instrument samples are being used and tweak to be part of a song. So why not styles?

But for composition today, it is always good to have different instruments sources.

If you are a solo act, a band keyboard player, and a composer I think an arranger is the most versatile way to go. You will have the style function for a solo gig, and for composition a sequencer, sampler and sound editor all in one if you get the right arranger. Not to mention it is the most economical way to go.
If you have a chance try to take a look at the top end arrangers and what they can do.

But regardless of what you get to make or play music, the professionalism/realness and seriousness of a musician and the quality of the work really depends on the individual making and playing the music and not on the type of equipment being used.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Admin 

Help keep Synth Zone Online