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Old 02-10-2009, 09:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Returning Musician, need help purchasing a keyboard

I've been dying to get back to the piano for a few years, and now I can finally do it- but everything I thought I knew about digital pianos and keyboards has changed, and I have no idea where to begin. The digital piano I used to play on was before MIDI really took off, though I think you could most liken it to what is now known as a stage piano- but with built in speakers. It was meant to be a home-use piece though, not a stage-performance piano.


I'll try to describe what I'm looking for as best as I can, and I hope someone can help!
  • Built-in speakers
  • 88 keys
  • Weighted Keys
  • I'm told I should look for something called GM (General MIDI, i think?)
  • Portable - I have space restrictions, so it needs to be able to live in a case and be put on a fold-out stand when I'm using it
  • Headphone jack
  • Mac compatible, if at all possible (If what I have read is true this rules out Casio and Yamaha)
  • Recommendations for a sustain pedal to go with


To give you an idea of how I'll use it- it will be for home-use only, which is the reason for the built in speakers. I'd say about 80% of the time it will be used just like a normal piano would. However, I dabble in video production on my Mac, and I'd like to be able to compose my own songs in Garageband when needed. You can think of me as a serious amateur in this regard, I don't need something that has 10,000 samples and programmable this and that- mostly just be able to record what I'm playing on the keyboard to my computer.


It seems like a lot of of what I'm finding requires speakers and amps and the like, while I have a pair of professional performance speakers from long-forgotten projects I'd rather not go that route if at all possible. I would really love to be able to simply fold up my stand, turn on the keyboard and go. And for the rare times I'll need the MIDI capabilities, something simple on that end of the spectrum will suffice- USB interface if at all possible.
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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i'm not a keyboard expert by any means so take my advice with a packet of salt.

you can get cable adapters to go from MIDI to USB for relatively cheap so that might open up more possibilities, especially for using a mac.

you'll probably have a harder time finding something that doesn't have MIDI than something that includes it. same with headphone jacks.

musiciansfriend.com has a wide variety starting at around $400 for this casio

Buy Casio CDP-100 88-Note Weighted Hammer Action Digital Piano | Home Digital Pianos | Musician's Friend

there's this korg for just under a grand

Buy Korg SP-250 88-Key Portable Digital Piano | Stage Digital Pianos | Musician's Friend

or this kurzweil at around $1500

Buy Kurzweil SP2XS 88-Key Stage Piano With Speakers and Stand | Stage Digital Pianos | Musician's Friend

if you have the cash i'd go for the kurzweil, a friend of mine had one back in the college and it was a seriously ROBUST piece of gear. if you need more features than what it offers then you're basically in the market for what's sold as 'workstations' and generally start at about $2000 a pop.
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Theres a really nice entry level work station called the yamaha mm6. It costs around $600 and has tons of features. Check it out on youtube.
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Old 02-12-2009, 11:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I stopped into a Guitar Center last night and found something that I think will suit my needs-

Yamaha YPG-635

It sounds nice, sits on a stand, built in speakers, and the guy said it should work fine with GarageBand and etc. - but he was also trying to sell me on a ton of stuff- does anyone have any experience with this model on a Mac?
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Old 02-12-2009, 06:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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macs aren't that challenging to work with anymore. the U in USB stands for universal for a reason

if anything you might need to get a MIDI to USB converter, not a big deal.
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