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Buying advice wanted

Postby EduardD » 16 Jan 2020, 13:16

Hello,

My name is Ed and I am new here.

I am in need of some buying advice, since weeks I am reading and listening to all sorts of keyboards, but the more i find out, the bigger the possible options become.
I do own a Young Chang upright piano and a very basic (and poor) Yamaha Piaggero, but i'm only getting piano/keyboard lessons since recently.
I would love to buy some quality equipment, and that is why I came here.
What I would like to find is a keyboard (workstation/ arranger?) that would suit my needs as good as possible.
The only thing i'm interested in is to write some music, with and without voice.
I don't want to perform (alone or in a band), play along with popular music, karaoke, schlagers, etc.
I just want a tool where i can combine my piano lessons (63 keys would be ok) with enough possibilities for some modern music and song writing.
I have the possibility of practising a few hours every day.
I wonder which Nord keyboard (or synth) would be the best for this purpose, or maybe I would need more then 1.
I have been looking at Korg PA4X and PA1000 and Yamaha Genos, but if I could find a Nord solution to suits my needs, I would prefer that.

Thank you,
Ed
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Buying advice wanted


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Re: Buying advice wanted

Postby RuwiZ » 16 Jan 2020, 22:16

What, exactly, do you want to accomplish with this keyboard? You mention "modern music and songwriting" but exclude "performance" and "playing along with popular music". Nords are really geared toward live performance. The core sounds they offer are very good, and it's easy to make changes on the fly and just enjoy playing, whether at home or with a band.

If you really want a Workstation or Arranger, there are lots of other options available. If you want acoustic pianos, organ, sampled sounds, synths (depending on model) that sound very good and are easy to adjust without scrolling through a ton of menus, Nord is an excellent choice.

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Re: Buying advice wanted

Postby EduardD » 16 Jan 2020, 23:04

Ruwiz
,
Thank you for your reply.

I meant that i will never perform on stage.
I am only looking for a tool that gives me, apart from excellent quality sounds, the opportunity to write and create some music. All this purely in my home environment.
When i looked at the Korg PA4X, PA1000 and Yamaha Genos, it was because they are promoted as workstations for the arranger/composer.
I can not specifically find that in the Nord series, but that is maybe because I have too little knowledge about the posibillities of the different Nord keyboards.
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Re: Buying advice wanted

Postby kbmatson » 16 Jan 2020, 23:12

Hi. Nords are not "arranger workstations". if you want something that is going to "help you" and allow you to compose multiple parts, have drums/percussion, do sequencing (recording built in), and do things like auto accompaniment and such, Nord is NOT the right choice. They offer nothing in that category, and you should focus on keyboards advertised as "arranger workstations". Good luck!

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Re: Buying advice wanted

Postby EduardD » 17 Jan 2020, 00:50

Thank you for your clear answer kb!
At least i know now what not to buy..
next thing is trying to find out what is the best keyboard to buy :crazy:
Last edited by EduardD on 17 Jan 2020, 00:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying advice wanted

Postby FZiegler » 17 Jan 2020, 01:40

Hi EduardD,

you maybe should find out if you want to create music in front of your computer using a DAW (digital audio workstation) to arrange different instruments with the help of grafic blocks (then you would attach just a master keyboard and maybe some controller knobs) or use an arranger keyboard without a pc (or combine both). It's sort of deciding whether you want to paint/draw an image with the help of a stylus, brushes, pc mouse, airgun, felt pen - it will give different sort of art!
Last edited by FZiegler on 17 Jan 2020, 01:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Buying advice wanted

Postby LewTheKeysGuy » 17 Jan 2020, 01:51

Firstly, Hi and welcome to the Nord User Forum. I hope that we can help you where possible.

If I may give my £2.50 worth here (uk joke),

You mentioned Young Chang, This is the company who owns Kurzweil. you say that you're looking for a workstation, Nord is not the way to go as all are geared for stage performances, touring and studio recording, they don't have sequencers, etc. Products such as the Stage 3 and Electro 6 are geared more to organs, synthesis and EP's / pianos, where as the Piano 4 and Nord Grand are more Acoustic and Electric Pianos and samples, so synthesis doesn't play much of a part other than sample synthesis to a degree.

The Nord Lead 4 and Lead A1 are purely synthesisers and are not sample synths, though the new release of the Nord Wave 2 takes on both synthesis and sampling so breaks new ground for Nord here and brings new blood from the original Nord Wave released in 2007.

As you're looking for functions like sequencing, etc I would look more at a workstation keyboard such as the Roland Fantom series, Yamaha Montage / MODX, Korg's Kronos / Krome series (not a fan of these as they're old technology and there's no sign of anything new happening so I'd leave the korg line alone in all honesty), Kurzweil (Young Chang) PC4, I would recommend the PC3A8 if you can find one used.

If you're going to be computer based, you'd be relying on a suitable computer and a DAW such as Protools, Cubase, Sonar, Logic Pro (Mac only), etc, then you'd be considering software based instrments such as Native Instruments Komplete, etc.

With putting this together, here's what I'd recommend here...
Studio workstations:
Roland Fantom 6, 7 or 8 (8 is full 88 note piano action - weighted)
Yamaha Montage / ModX 6, 7 or 8 (as above)
Kurzweil PC4 (88 note weighted) or Forte 8.

Arranger Workstations:
Korg PA4X Pro,
Yamaha Genos (I have to confess, I'd own this myself)
Ketron Audya or similar.

Stage Pianos: These are not complete workstations but I'm giving these to you as ideas if you're concentrating as a pianist. I'm a concert pianist myself.
Nord Stage 3-88 (I own this and swear by it)
Nord Piano 4, (reviewed and demo'd. Would recommend to any student or pro who needs a dedicated piano)
Nord Grand, (I own this and swear by it)
Kurzweil PC4 / Forte 8 (I've reviewed and demo'd this. both are nice units depending on what you want)
Roland RD2000 (Reviewed and demo'd, well worth the money and nice sound / action for the price point)
Yamaha CP88
Kawai MP11SE (besides Nord, this is the god of stage pianos, but for me, the nord grand wins that spot)

What I would advise is this...

Put down on your piece of paper or computer notes, the following:
1: Your needs,
2: The maximum you're willing to spend,
3: What you want to achieve with this investment (yes, an investment in equipment of this degree)?
4: Do you want a studio workstation or arranger workstation?
5: Pro's & Cons.

Good luck with what you want to achieve, if you want any help, just ask.

lew
Last edited by LewTheKeysGuy on 17 Jan 2020, 01:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying advice wanted

Postby EduardD » 17 Jan 2020, 13:25

Thank you for your great help guys!

This helps me more then hours and days of (online) reading, listening and comparing reviews.
As to finding out going the DAW road or the keyboard based workstation, I'm afraid even that is a difficult decision for a inexperienced person like myself.
I'm way more attracted to the keyboard road, but having said that, I have to admit i'm not even sure what the real difference is between a studio and an arranger workstation.
Many brands i've seen are mixing the 2 terms in their descriptions, making it even more confusing for newbies!
I have a gut feeling I should probably go for the easiest way, without having to do too many concessions.
I"m willing to spend the money for a top quality keyboard, but only as soon as i'm satisfied im getting the right one for me.
I have been wanting to write music since i was a young boy, and that is a while ago, but as you know yourself, life doesnt always brings us where we would have liked to go.
But because this urge has refused to leave me all my life, it is time now to find out how good (or bad) I turn out to be!
It will be easier to find out I was wrong all the time, rather then never have even tried it!
That is the main reason for this investment.
Lew, does the old technology problem affects the Korg PA4X as well? Just asking because I had my eyes on an unused one under 2000 euro.
So hard to find out if that Genos keyboard is by far the best in this category, the more you read, the more you get confused...
I'm beginning to realize that i am probably in the wrong forum, but you guys are so honest and helpful in making me understand that a Nord keyboard is not really what I need.
Thank you for that!

regards,
Ed
Last edited by EduardD on 17 Jan 2020, 13:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying advice wanted

Postby anotherscott » 17 Jan 2020, 16:47

EduardD wrote:I have to admit i'm not even sure what the real difference is between a studio and an arranger workstation.

It's really simply "workstation" vs. "arranger." The fundamental difference is, if you want to create a multitrack composition (e.g. bass, drums, guitars, piano, strings), the workstation approach is that you program exactly what you want each part to be, whereas the arranger approach is that you play the melodies and chords, and from the chords, it fills in what all the other parts should be for you. The arranger approach can be a lot faster and does not require as much skill in terms of knowing how to write parts for different instruments, but the workstation approach gives you a much higher level of control. Also, the arranger approach means that your music needs to fall into specific well known styles. Even though some of them give you very many such styles and variations to choose from, they are not so suitable for "outside the box" composition like avant garde jazz or progressive rock. Some boards do give you elements of arrangers and workstations, but still tend to be more one or the other.

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Re: Buying advice wanted

Postby RuwiZ » 17 Jan 2020, 20:06

Scott's description is right-on. I would add that you don't need either of these keyboard types to write music. If you're just interested in trying your hand at some singer/songwriter type of stuff, all you need is a decent acoustic piano sound and your voice. I'm a songwriter and I'm not a fan of either workstation or arranger approach. I prefer working in a DAW (Logic) and playing/tracking each instrument individually. As Scott alludes to above, this approach allows you to compose what's in your head, and not spend too much time fighting against the keyboard.

I played Yamaha Motif series boards for many years, but greatly prefer the layout and sounds of the Nord boards since I switched.

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