So you’re ready to buy a new instrument? That in itself is an exciting moment, but before you go to the music store there are a few things you need to consider. An instrument is not cheap, it is an investment, and you will, as always, want value for money. Consider the following tips and you’ll buy a keyboard that meets all your needs for years to come.
But lets start first with a top 10 keyboard comparison table:
best keyboards comparison table
Last update on 2018-02-21 / refreshed every 4 hours / Contains affiliate links
Keyboard buying tips
1. The latest keyboard technologies
Are you a new student or an experienced professional? The latest top models are impressive for everybody, but all those high tech possibilities can also be a distraction. A high-tech keyboard can be confusing and intimidating, and by the time a beginner has mastered playing such a keyboard it can already be old fashioned.
You can find many good keyboards good quality for a decent price. Most contain large sound libraries and a wealth of options, so you will surely have fun with your new tool. For the time being, focus on learning and reward yourself with a shiny new keyboard if you’re a little further in the learning process. You will appreciate it more then.
2. Do you want to use foot pedals?
The use of pedals is an important skill for pianists, and if you are planning to eventually play the piano, then it is better to start off with your feet immediately then to learn the skill later on.
Many keyboards can be connected to external pedals. You can buy a standard platform with three pedals, for about € 40 and €150, or you can buy the pedals separately. Sustain pedals are the most popular, which cost between € 20 and € 75. If you have more flexibiliteit in your budget you can find keyboards with built-in pedals. Make sure you have place in home because these models often have a their own standard attached, they are therefore difficult to store.
3. What size of keyboard you are looking for?
Standard acoustic pianos have 88 keys. But there are other sizes for you to choose from.
76 keys: This is close to the normal piano and you will not outgrow a 76-key model when you start to play a bit better.
61 keys: This is a good choice too. As a beginner you will not miss the missing keys, these models are suitable to practice at each level. After a while you’ll be missing the missing keys compared to the 76-key models, but these keys take nothing away from the integrity of your music.
49 keys: this is the smallest standard size and is not suitable for daily use; you will miss the missing keys within the first year you play. If this is your only option, please go for it. This size will still allow you to learn the basics and 49 keys are better than none.
4. Do you want to spend extra money on speakers?
Most keyboards have built-in speakers in their casing, yet it is good that just check before you buy a keyboard. Some models that are more technically advanced must be connected to external speakers to produce sound. This may seem obvious but is often forgotten.
5. Do you want a model with “touch sensitivity”
A keyboard with touch sensitivity would allow you to play a louder note by pressing harder, such as is normal on an acoustic piano. Though it is getting more and more the standard there are still a lot of keyboards sold without this feature. So if you buy a music keyboard online, keep it in mind.
6. Do you want to play full chords?
Another characteristic is “polyphony”. This attribute allows the player to play multiple notes at once. Keyboards that are aimed at a public that is older than 7 years usually have a reasonable polyphony but it is still good to check it before buying one.
A good rule of thumb is to a keyboard with at least a polyphony of 10 notes. That way, you can always play chords with your ten fingers without one of those nuts to lose. The more the better so cords can overlap.
And last but not least:
Keep these things in mind when you are in the shop, but don’t forget to test the instruments! That is the only way to determine if the sound quality is good enough for you. Don’t be embarrassed – turn it on and test it out! Once you heard it play, you can still choose to buy the keyboard online. There you can still look for the best deals.
Main Keyboard Brands:
A MIDI keyboard is a keyboard that you hook up to your computer or laptop through an usb-port. MIDI keyboards come in various shapes and sizes, extensive and less extensive.
Akai MPK MK2
Korg TRITON Taktile
M-Audio Keystation MK2 (2014)
M-Audio Oxygen MK2 (2014)
Novation Launchkey Mini
Digital Piano Versus Digital Keyboard
So what is the difference between a digital piano versus a keyboard? Simply said, a digital piano has weighted keys. This means the keys are designed for exercising musicians or pianists. Weighted keys help the classical pianist or any musician to strengthen their fingers while they play the piano.
A lot of big brands in the world of digital pianos offer a specific type of weighted keys. These differ from manufacturer to manufacturer and the techniques that generate the response of a weighted key differences from brand to brand. Some top models of digital pianos come very close to acoustic piano’s in terms of touch.
If you are considering taking classical piano lessons then I would suggest that you look for a digital piano with weighted keys or just an acoustic piano if you have place enough. This is especially applicable if you are a novice pianist who takes classical piano lessons.
A digital keyboard is often without weighted keys. Usually the keyboard itself feels very light and the keys are often made of plastic. Even though some synthesizers still use this type of keys, more and more weighted keys are the trend.