Keyboard for the Wifey...

Hey guys,

I’ve recently found out that my wife is interested in learning to play piano I thought I’d hook her up for christmas. This is kinda’ ideal since I’ve been wanting a keyboard for my audio setup for some time to experiment with midi and such.

I’m wondering what kind of keyboard you guys might suggest.

I’ve been contemplating the M-Audio series keyboards like this

but I’m not sure if I should go with a midi controller type keyboard that requires my wife to use my computer for sound and such, or if I should go with a keyboard that has onboard sounds.

She doesn’t want any sounds but straight up piano, but I wouldn’t mind some different sounds, obviously I could get those on my computer though.

I don’t know!!! help me!!! :)

Hi guitar. I learned to play piano with a “real” one. Once you custom yourself to the weight of it, you will miss it all your life. By other side, when you learn with a “soft” keyboard, is very hard play on a real piano, you dont have the strong in your fingers (or at least this feel your brain).
I suggest you that you bought a weighted piano, clavinova similar, with midi output. Later you can use the software to tweak the controllers or buy a cheap midi controller box, similar to the phatboys ones

First of all, how much are you willing to spend? You’ve got many options. If you’re going for a midi-controller and still want that weighted feel, as Marce was mentioning, then find a midi keyboard with these types of keys. How many keys would be good enough? I don’t know if a 49 or 61-key platform would be good enough for learning. A 76 or full 88 might work. For a cheap weighted midi-controller, a Studiologic TMK-88 might do the trick. Of course, the “trick” is that it is only a midi-controller and I don’t know if your wifey will want to mess around with a computer/synthbox and amp/speaker system that usually has to be included with midi controllers. Then there’s the Casio portable home keyboards. These might be more convenient, plus it has onboard sounds, speakers and midi capabilities and umm, portable. Marce was also talking about the traditional systems, so you might want to look at uprights and grands/babygrands. These are all “wooden” no-electronic systems, so there’s no midi involved… well unless you stick a Moog Pianobar on it, hehe. And real pricey. Of course, there are the pianos with MIDI/electronics. Tis all up to you.

Check the Keyboard section of Musiciansfriend. Look on the lefthand column, here……

They do have a Fatar 49-key Learning System bundle, so that might get her started right away, but again, she’s (and you too) only limited to 49-keys at a time.

If I were me (and I believe I am), I’d recommend the Casio home portables. They are just very convenient, but I don’t think any of them have the weighted keys. I haven’t looked far enough. Plus you can buy them at any department store in the music/electronics section… easy to return if needed.

Good luck and may the weighted force be with you. Hopefully more peeps will chime in with recommendations.

i like the sounds of a korg keyboard best,i played in a band with a guy that had a korg an his sounds were great,he also had a roland,an that couldnt come close to the sound of say the korgs brass section as compared to the roland,also,i have a keyboard/sequencer thingy that i use for my drum trax an other sounds on my recordings,mine also has a slot for 3.5 disk that holds midi files for me to play back an acompany,i used that feature in a solo thing i was doin and i liked it,i would find midi files on the net already sequenced an then edit out the guitar an whatever i didnt want,change the sound of the instruments left if i wanted,ya might wanna check out that aspect of it too man,

I was thinking a couple of hundred bucks. $200-$300 really.

I’d much prefer weighted, and as many keys as I can get. :)

A real piano is not an option-too expensive, too big, to hard to bring back in case she doesn’t like it, and I still don’t have a midi keyboard.

If you’re willing to go to $400 or $450, the keyboard I play (Ensoniq MR76) goes in that range on ebay, plus shipping. It’s a good keyboard to learn on if you also want to be able to play a real piano, since it’s fully weighted – though it’s only 76 keys. But I think the piano sounds on it are very good, especially for gear made back in 1997 or so. It compares well to later epianos like the Yamaha P80 (I think it’s quite a bit better than the P80).

The alternative is to shop around where you live for used electronic console pianos and see if you can find a bargain.

I would avoid a keyboard that requires the computer to play. Just one more unnecessary link in the chain. Unless you’re sure you have latency issues ironed out, and don’t expect to need to use your computer while your wife is playing. With a MIDI keyboard like the MR76, you can always use the computer if you want (if you have a MIDI interface).

I’ve been sampling piano soundfonts far and wide lately. I find that the piano sound built into the MR76 is far more expressive than any free soundfont I can find. Single notes sound better in the soundfonts, but dynamic response and playability is dramatically lower. I can’t quite put my finger on what’s missing with the soundfonts, but they just don’t work as well as the well-tuned sounds built into the MR76. (I sampled the MR76 and built an 8-layer soundfont from it; it play well – better than most piano soundfonts – but still not nearly as well as the MR76 by itself.)

I’m beginning to think that unless I pay $200 to $300 for a piano sample set (e.g., in Gigastudio format), I won’t find anything I like better than my MR76. Of course, I do find soundfonts that are better for a particular song or part. But not any that are better in general.

I’ve played real pianos all my life, and the MR76 just plays more like a real piano than anything else I’ve found, with the possible exception of the better Kurzweil models with weighted keys.

If you can live without weighted keys, the Yamaha portable keyboards have a pretty darn good “Grand Piano” sound - in the $200 -$300 range you can get velocity sensitive keys, sustain pedal etc - maybe even a pitch/mod wheel. I’ve been using it to learn. It has a built in tutor which is a nice bonus.

Every Casio I tried in that price range sounded like cheese.

For someone learning to play piano, I think a fully weighted keyboard is very important. Shifting to an unweighted keyboard isn’t hard. The reverse is – almost like starting over (or so I’ve been told by people who learned organ or synth first and then tried to shift to piano).