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View Full Version : Good (music) keyboard for not much money?


Robo
2009-11-27, 02:23
I'm looking for a keyboard to plug into my Mac mini for piano lessons (and eventual GarageBand-ing). I'm just getting started so I don't need anything super fancy. I don't have a lot of money to spend, maybe $100-ish? I know that I'm not going to get anything amazing for that price, but I also know that some brands are better than others. I've heard that M-Audio was...not good, but I don't know what else I can afford.

I've seen Black Friday deals, but they seem to be all for stand-alone keyboards, like the Casios that you can play all by themselves, with built-in speakers. I don't need that, and all the added bulk would make it hard to fit on my desk...

Thanks in advance ^_^

Brad
2009-11-27, 02:53
Didn't Apple used to sell a basic MIDI/USB keyboard in the Apple Stores? I think it was an M-Audio model.

Here's one of M-Audio's models on sale at Amazon for $95: M Audio KeyRig 49 49 Key USB Keyboard Controller (http://www.amazon.com/Audio-KeyRig-Key-Keyboard-Controller/dp/B000NGG3HU/)

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41aCVBeoi2L._SL500_AA280_.jpg

FWIW, M-Audio is the one name I've seen for years on end as a vendor that makes Mac-compatible MIDI hardware. I don't recall ever reading anything particularly bad about them.


edit: Wtf? The Apple Store is down? I guess they're preparing the Black Friday sales.
http://images.apple.com/r/store/backsoon/title_backsoon1.gif

Robo
2009-11-27, 03:13
The KeyStudio 49 is on sale for $68 in Apple's Black Friday sale. I think I'm going to jump on it...anyone want to slow-mo dive in front of me here?

sunrain
2009-11-29, 08:46
Well, I'll tell you what you don't want to hear. If you're getting the keyboard to learn to play piano, you really need a full size keyboard with fully weighted keys. Nothing that I'm describing will be close to the $68 deal, but I'm probably a couple days late here.

Robo
2009-11-29, 13:42
I didn't buy the keyboard, so...

Brad
2009-11-29, 13:58
Well, to be fair, one could say that you can't learn to play piano on anything but a real piano. After all, even a weighted digital keyboard isn't going to give you the resonance and harmonics of a baby grand! And where are the rest of the 88 keys?!

Bollocks. :p

A low-end digital keyboard is a fine substitute for a beginner if you can't afford better.

Is it perfect? Far from it.
Will you eventually find yourself limited by it? Certainly.

But can you learn most of the fundamentals on it? Without a doubt.

Robo
2009-11-29, 17:29
I know. I know it's not going to be great, but I just want to have something I can play, rather than just watching the GarageBand tutorials and drumming my fingers on the desk, pretending to play. I probably *should* have purchased that keyboard when it was $68, but I, erm, may have spent too much on brick-and-mortar doorbusters...

Yontsey
2009-11-29, 17:58
Check eBay. You can get some simple m-audio 49key for cheap. I have one that works well for simple keyboard parts and for performing midi tasks in Logic/GB/whatever else you want to use it for.

stratotom
2009-11-29, 18:48
If you're looking to learn skills transferable to a real piano, weighted keys are probably a big issue, for the sole reason (and I'm not a pianist) that some "keyboards" (which are actually key-based MIDI input devices) have super "springy" keys, which really feel nothing remotely like a real piano.

I'd imagine that the difference in feel would be significant enough for it to be almost like learning a different instrument. I have a small Edirol one, which I use for MIDI input and I'm making a distinction here between that and actual 'piano playing'. The keys are unweighted and sprung in such a manner that they 'pop' up quite forcefully, completely unlike the real deal. However, it suits my needs (which do not include learning piano).

Robo
2009-11-29, 19:26
Well I don't care if I'm "learning piano" or "just" learning keyboard. I'll probably never be able to afford a real piano so I'm not sure if the skills need to be that transferable :lol:

evan
2009-11-29, 19:58
Speaking as someone who did the garageband lessons this past summer on an m-audio 49 key it's really not THAT bad. I played a bit on my girlfriend's real piano after about 2 weeks of just the keyboard and while it was weird at first, I was playing fine (for 2 weeks worth of practice) within 10 minutes. I think the important thing is getting your fingers to get to the keys accurately and quickly and then how hard you push down is secondary to that and much easier to adjust.

sunrain
2009-11-30, 01:18
Well, to be fair, one could say that you can't learn to play piano on anything but a real piano. After all, even a weighted digital keyboard isn't going to give you the resonance and harmonics of a baby grand! And where are the rest of the 88 keys?!

Bollocks. :p

A low-end digital keyboard is a fine substitute for a beginner if you can't afford better.

Is it perfect? Far from it.
Will you eventually find yourself limited by it? Certainly.

But can you learn most of the fundamentals on it? Without a doubt.

Hyperbole much?

Well, I said a full keyboard. And they do have 88 keys.

And you're wrong. The weighted keys are essential to the rudimentary technique that you develop as a beginning pianist. The weighted keys of a digital keyboard are a suitable simulacrum to the average upright acoustic keyboard.

A beginning pianist can develop all kinds of bad habits using a keyboard with unweighted keys.

LudwigVan
2009-12-03, 20:52
I'd imagine that the difference in feel would be significant enough for it to be almost like learning a different instrument.

To those of us of a certain age, it's similar to switching from an electric to a manual typewriter.