Tips on Buying a Keyboard for your Home or Project Studio
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Tips on Buying a MIDI Keyboard

page 2

for your Home, Pro, or Project Studio

by Rich the Tweakmeister

Best 88 key synths without sampling

Roland V-Piano Digital Piano
Since 1972, Roland has pioneered many groundbreaking technologies and "world's first" products. In recent decades, no family of Roland instruments has won more respect and acclaim than the revolutionary "V" series: V-Accordion(R), V-Bass, V-Drums(R), V-Guitar, and V-Synth(R). Today, Roland proudly announces the next chapter in the V legacy... the V-Piano.   Tweak: New for 2009.  Look out, it weighs in a 6k.  But it is supposed to be revolutionary and NOT based on samples. 

Yamaha S90XS 88-Key Weighted Synthesizer
Real-time controls for tweaking of the sound as you play. Audio recording to USB memory. Extensive computer music features. Ease of use, plus compact size and portability. Introducing the S90 XS and S70 XS Music Synthesizer.

 Roland RD700GX 88-Key Stage Piano
Step onstage and step up to the world's most impressive stage pianos, with amazing pianos and EPs onboard, plus audio-play and master control features. The RD700GX is powered by Roland's latest sound engine for incredible sound quality. The flagship RD700GX leads the market with its SuperNATURAL instruments and a PHA II Ivory Feel keyboard with Escapement.  Tweak:  Successor to the RD700SX.  The GX still will take 2 SRX cards

Big Controllers

M-Audio Keystation 88 ES 88-Key MIDI Controller

Akai MPK88 88-Key MIDI Controller Keyboard
The Akai Professional MPK88 is a professional performance keyboard controller with MPC production controls. The MPK88 draws on the design of the popular MPK49, the first keyboard ever to features MPC pads. This first-of-its-kind keyboard is ideal for performance, starting with a premium, fully weighted, hammer-action keyboard, adding MPC pads, Q-Link controls, and a selection of MPC technologies. The MPK88 is born for the stage and is equally at home in the studio.


 Stage Pianos

Kurzweil SP2XP 88-Key Digital Stage Piano
The SP2XSP from Kurzweil delivers that legendary sound, with all of its detail and refinement, in a digital stage piano with integrated speakers. The primary sound of the SP2XSP is the Triple Strike Grand Piano, which offers an incredibly high degree of realism and detail.

Yamaha CP33 88-Key Stage Piano
In 1976, Yamaha released the first of the CP series stage pianos. These 'electric grands' became instant classics with their authentic sound and live performance convenience. Thirty years later, Yamaha celebrates those milestone keyboards by unveiling the latest and greatest in the CP series: the new CP33.

Yamaha P85 88-Key Digital Stage Piano
The Yamaha P85 Digital Piano features an authentic, natural sound with remarkable expressiveness in a compact, affordable piano. This new Contemporary Piano gives you all the dynamic, high-quality sound and natural piano response you expect from Yamaha, along with a high-quality built-in speaker system packed into a slim, exceptionally affordable digital piano you can play virtually anywhere. No compromises, full quality.

Yamaha CP300 88-Key Digital Piano
In 1976, Yamaha released the first of the CP series stage pianos. These 'electric grands' became instant classics with their authentic sound and live performance convenience. Thirty years later, Yamaha celebrates those milestone keyboards by unveiling the latest and greatest in the CP series: the new CP300.

Roland RD700GXF 88-Key Stage Piano
 Roland RD700GX with the GX1 SuperNATURAL Expansion Built Right In! The RD700GXF features the SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine providing 88 keys of incredible playability with 17 additional pianos customized for the RD700GX. Make sure you step onstage with one of the world's most impressive stage pianos, the RD700GXF takes the amazing piano sounds, audio-play, master control features and that PHA II Ivory Feel keyboard with Escapement; that made the RD700GX so popular with keyboardists everywhere.

Arranger Keyboards


Korg Pa588 Professional 88-Key Arranger Keyboard
The Pa588 is an 88-key, piano action instrument that's packed with enjoyment. Perform using the rich piano sound, while enjoying the accompaniment of a professional backup band. Enhance your piano performance with a fully-realized and musical arrangement. For the musician, composer, performer and entertainer, the interactive Pa588 is the perfect musical partner. Korg's RX (Real eXperience) technology delivers a sound unprecedented in a digital piano

Korg Pa800 Professional 61-Key Arranger Keyboard
The new Pa800 is the complete Arranger keyboard for the professional musician. Intuitive, powerful, interactive with the most stunning sound ever produced by an Arranger keyboard.

Roland GW8 Interactive Music Workstation Keyboard
The GW8 is the next generation of Roland's unique GW-Series workstations with intelligent backing-track functionality. With its fresh, contemporary sound-set and expressive interactive musical styles from pop to rock, plus authentic ethnic styles and a multi-format USB Memory Player feature, the GW8 will bring a world of music to your fingertips. It's especially well-suited for "one-man-band" performance.

Roland Prelude 61-Key Portable Arranger Keyboard
Prelude(TM) represents Roland's next generation of home-entertainment keyboards, featuring high-quality sounds and musical styles, built-in amplification, and an affordable price. Prelude is portable, and packed with an impressive library of contemporary sounds and authentic ethnic styles.

Korg PA50 61-Key Professional Arranger with HI Synthesis
A 62-voice TRITON-based sound engine designed for composition and live performance.

Yamaha Tyros 3 61-Key Arranger Workstation Keyboard
Featuring the highest quality synthesizer keyboard Yamaha has ever made, the easy-to-use packed TYROS3 is the most expressive and musical keyboard in its class. By combining Super Articulation 2 technology and state of the art digital features you get stunning sound quality and musical versatility. Building on the impressive features of the TYROS2, this different, but better, 61 highly touch responsive Key 128 Note Polyphony design includes registration memory buttons on the right side of the keyboard, a first for Yamaha, a new design without chainsaw cutted edges, and a new screen with higher resolution

Yamaha PSRS550 61-Key Arranger Workstation Keyboard
Building on the impressive features of the PSRS500, this enhanced edition includes a full 16-track sequencer, a style creator function, dramatically increased numbers of voices, including full XG support and ethnic voices and drum kits, high-quality sound with improved DSP, the addition of dance styles, and a professional black finish.

Yamaha PSROR700 Oriental/Persian 61-Key Arranger Workstation Keyboard
The PSR-OR700 is designed for today's Middle Eastern, Arabic and Mediterranean music lover

Pianos for the Home

Yamaha YDP223 88-Key Graded Hammer Piano with Bench
The YDP223 combines great sound and features in an attractive cabinet that will add a touch of elegance to any home. From the moment that you turn it on and start playing, you'll be glad you made the decision to buy Yamaha, the world leader in musical instrument manufacturing. The YDP223 features an 88-Key Graded Hammer Action.

Roland DP990 Digital Piano
Form meets function in the new DP990 a sophisticated, streamlined piano with amazing sound and touch that also serves as a functional piece of furniture. The three luxurious silver-finish pedals naturally reproduce every detail of your sensitive pedaling just like an acoustic grand piano.

Yamaha Arius YDP160 88-Key Graded Hammer Piano with Bench
Yamaha raises the bar again with the newest name in Yamaha digital pianos. Authentic sound, natural touch and an absolute joy to play - both in practice and performance in an advanced, yet affordable console digital piano.

Yamaha P95 88-Key Digital Piano
 The Yamaha P-95 gives musicians the dynamic, high-quality sound and natural piano touch response they expect from Yamaha, along with a high-quality built-in speaker system. All this packed into a slim, exceptionally affordable instrument that's always ready to play when you are. No compromises, just Yamaha quality.

M-Audio DCP200 88-Key Digital Home Piano with Bench
M-Audio's DCP200 is the product of choice if you're looking for everything you can possibly use a piano for. From recreational playing to piano and music teaching, recording to songwriting to a live piano for your House of Worship, its Graded Hammer Action gives you the feel of playing a real piano by simulating the heavier bass keys to the lightweight treble end of the piano. The DCP200 contains 8 incredible sounds loaded on to this Digital Piano's internal ROM including a Steinway based grand piano, a Rhodes inspired electric piano, an FM electric piano, a church organ, harpsichord, strings and even a convincing upright bass.

Yamaha Arius YDPS31 88-Key Graded Hammer Piano
Yamaha Arius digital pianos just got slimmer. With its soft-shut key cover and uniquely slim profile, the depth of the YDPS31's sound far exceeds its 11.8 inch deep frame. AWM stereo-sampled piano voices deliver acoustic piano tone, while the GHS action delivers the touch a student needs to build proper finger technique.

Roland FP4 Digital Piano
Featuring the same authentic piano sound and stylish body as the flagship FP-7, the FP-4 is a more affordable and streamlined version. It sounds and feels like a real piano, and offers modern features that add musical versatility and enjoyment.

Korg SP250 88-Key Digital Piano
Korg brings a heightened level of realism and feel to its line of portable digital pianos with the new SP-250.The SP-250 provides an expanded range of expression and performance with an outstanding new stereo piano sound, which is matched to a third-generation RH3 graded action keyboard.

Keyboard Stands

Ultimate Support AX48 Apex Keyboard Stand
The much requested silver Apex is now available in a sleek matte silver finish. A great look amd match for many of today's most popular keyboards. The AX48 features sleek columns that become their own carrying case. And it ets up in seconds without tools.

Ultimate Support AX90 Apex Keyboard Stand
The sturdy Quad Pod base design of the AX90 is the most stable stand for any size keyboard or performance. The four legs provide increased tip resistance and improved center of gravity. The Ultimate Support AX90 legs lock in place while playing for stable support, even with large 88 note keyboards. Whether you play in a sitting or standing position, the AX90 is a very versatile stand that sets up in seconds without any tools.

QuikLok Z726L Double-Tier Z Keyboard Stand with Z716L Base Unit
The Z keyboard stand line is a modular system that can be designed in countless ways to suit any user's needs. A single-tier model can eventually be expanded to a fully functioning...

QuikLok Z716L Keyboard Stand - Height-Adjustable (44 In Width)
The Z keyboard stand line is a modular system that can be designed in countless ways to suit any user's needs. A single-tier model can eventually be expanded to a fully functioning workstation by adding a variety of available options.

Roland KS G8 Keyboard Stand
The solid, stylish KS-G8 stand is designed for 88-key keyboards such as Roland’s Fantom-G8, RD-700GX, and RD-300GX. The KS-G8 is height adjustable in three steps for sitting or standing positions, and is available in an attractive two-tone silver and black finish.

Its got to Sound and Feel Like a Real Piano

First get real.  Electronic keyboards do not feel or sound exactly like a real piano.  They are not going to please a concert pianist who expects the same action and dynamics as a Bosendorfer Imperial Grand.  Yet, many will come close, and offer a sound that, not only stays in tune, may actually be easier to manage in recording situations.  Two beautiful boards are the Yamaha S90XS and the Roland RD700GX.  Unlike mere digital pianos that only offer up a dozen or so piano like sounds, these are full out synths with great pianos and great touch. They form the excellent middle ground between the expensive workstations and your basic budget pro board.   You might note that the S90XS has the largest sample rom of any keyboard in my chart, which excludes the Oasys. 

Expanding your Sonic World

The Old Way

Older keyboards use an "expansion board" scheme to add more sounds. Roland has two "expansion board" approaches for its older synths, the  JV80 format and the SRX format.  The SRX is used for the XV, RD and Fantom (S and X) series.  SRX boards are typically 64 megs in size.  Yes, bigger often means better in terms of sample realism. The "Fantom S and X" boards hold 4 SRX boards. The Fantom XR (rack) hold a whopping 6 cards. As a sound developer myself, I applaud the careful, sensitive work the Roland programmers do. The older JV80 format was for the JV1010, JV1080, JV 2080 and JV5080 as well as the keyboards in the XP series, like the XP30. 50. 60 and 80.  

The expansion board approach had been adopted by Yamaha with its PLG boards for the S80, S90 and Motif series.  These boards include models of analog synths, acoustic instruments, the venerable DX7.  They have some sample rom boards too, for drums and percussion which are about 20 megs or so.  Yamaha stopped putting in the PLG slots as of the Motif XS.

Compare that to the Triton Expansion Board scheme.  These are typically 16 megs and there is less variety compared to the Roland boards.  I've reviewed most of the triton boards in my review of the Triton Rack.  Korg does offer one plugin synth board, called the MOSS board.  It adds a full virtual analog synth to your Triton, not just samples. Note that the new Triton Extreme comes filled with sounds from their best expansion roms.  This is definitely a huge money saver!

Before you ask I'll tell you now.  No, you can't use a Roland expansion board in a Triton, Motif or anything else.  Expansion boards are always proprietary.  No you can't use the SRX boards in the Fantom G or the Moss or Triton boards in the M3


The "New" Way

Korg Leads the way. Following the concept they introduced on the analog Moss board, Korg has added a  second synth on a card, not just extra samples and presets but a completely different synthesizer.

For the Korg M3 this took form as the Radias ESB board.  Its a virtual analog synth engine which is similar to that in their Radias synth, the older Electribe, MS2000, and MicroKorg. 

Roland is doing something similar with their new ARX boards got the Fantom G line.  The ARX-01, for example, is a complete computer modeled drum kit where you can synthesize each drum to your taste. 

The Fantom G, Motif XS and Korg M3 all let you add sample memory and storage.  The ultimate idea here is to create, buy, or sell sample sets on USB thumb drives that will load automatically.  Korg was going to sell these for the M3 line, but later decided to give the banks of data away with the EXPANDED M3.  You just add the optional 256MB memory card and load the data from a thumb drive.  On (for the Motif) we are starting to see 3rd party USB thumb drives with new samples and programs.  This is a good opportunity for sound developers who want to get paid for developing sound on their Motif.

But however you look at it, expansion boards really help your keyboard cover more sonic territory, and are a big consideration when buying a new keyboard.  I was disappointed that Roland did away the with SRX cards and only provided two ARX slots! And that Yamaha killed the PLG concept.  These are mistakes, in my most humble opinion.  For me, its stopped me from waiting for a Fantom G and I went with a Motif XS.


To gig or not to gig

The gigging keyboard brings other factors to mind.  Durability being the main one.  Price performance wise, a stage piano with 88 keys and a Metal housing is pretty foolproof. These usually have a variety of the digital pianos and organs, time tested in gigs.  However if you are going a more techno playlist you want something that can at least mimic and analog synth.  The Fantoms and the Junos have a d-beam on it--that might let you wave your arms to control the sound on stage and give you that futuristic edge. Many boards have some nice big knobs that will be easy to find in an impassioned moment. And if your pockets go deep, get a modern day Rick Wakeman-esq setup with a big 88 key controller on the bottom and a tier of specialty synths. Watch out for the material used though. Some of the new boards have lots of plastic.  If you are going to be gigging with a $3000 piece of plastic, I'd advise getting the best case you can find and don't trust the roadies.  And if you are playing summer outdoor concerts in Texas where I live, add in a big sun umbrella and two personal fans.  You don't want it to melt on you and you don't want to melt on it. :)  


Cool Frills on Modern Boards:  

Arpeggiation, phrasing, sequencing, and drum patterns.  More than ever, the newest keyboards provide features that allow you to unleash incredible soundscapes by pressing a single key.    When I got my Fantom S, eons ago, I thought the Roland was hot with its library of arpeggios.  Then I tried out the Motif XS with it's 6,000 arps and phrases onboard.  The M3 has its "Karma II" technology, which is a proven phrase generator/arpeggiator/midi mega processor.  Are you an abstractionist? Into Brian Eno, random sound and texture? Then look into the Karma! 

The newer boards all have a similar ideology of not only great sounding performance for those who actually know how to play a keyboard, but extensive real-time control so even those with who can't play a lick to save themselves can achieve an awesome audio result.  While you can do all this stuff in a computer sequencer, sometimes it's nice to have it all mapped and ready for you.  Sometimes by hearing a magnificent patch, on gets inspired to write a tune around it.  The newest boards show a departure from simple analog emulation and multi-timbral orchestra-in-a-box that has ruled the keyboard market for the 90s.   The sounds are so mind blowing sometimes I feel like I am cheating, working up a hot rhythm, a swirly pad  and slammin' bass just holding a few keys down.  You can always turn the arps off and build from scratch.


The New Generation of Arranger Keyboards

large product image

The Tyros 3 has 128 voices that can be spread over 32 midi channels.  It has an 80GB hard drive. 450 preset styles.  Has a 2 track audio recorder onboard.


You have probably have seen the early generation arrangers in the form of the kiddie "autoplay" Casio and Yamaha keyboards back in the late 80s and 90s.  Well guess what?  Those kids grew up and now are productive citizens with jobs.  The arranger keyboard has grown up too, now outfitted with powerful onboard synthesis, sequencing, sampling and sometimes audio recording.  Check out the Yamaha Tyros 3   Arranger boards share many of the technologies that workstations have but they often approach them in a different way.  Typically the board will have a number of built in styles  (rock, pop, hip hop, jazz, blues, etc) and will call up the appropriate set of instruments and drums for the style.  The Tyros, for example will let you create your own styles.  The idea here is the fast creation of songs, the automatic generation of verses, choruses, fills, endings, intros and easy editing.  They are good for songwriters working on ideas, who don't want to be bogged down with creating drum patterns and basslines.  And that is the main difference between arrangers and workstations.  The workstation assumes you are building things from scratch (though they may have some performance presets that do several instruments with phrases and drum patterns for live use) while the arranger boards assume you want it to build the song for you (and give you a chance to edit the song to your taste.) 

When will a keyboard become a digital audio sequencer?  

Today. It's here.  Audio sampling (with long samples) is one way to get audio into the keyboard and it happens with the Motif and Triton Extreme and is perhaps best done in the Roland Fantom X, thanks to the pads.  These boards allow you to record audio and place sounds on the keyboard so you trigger them in a sequence.   The Motif's variation on this theme is like this.   Motif call these processes "sample with note" and "slice with sequence".  For example, you get the significant other to scream out "Luv me baaybee all night long" at the peak of your song.  The Motif records it, assigns it a note on the keyboard, and if you want, will slice it up according to tempo, sort of like recycle.  Now you can play that little "motif" by pressing the key anywhere in your masterpiece.  Want to slow it down? Make the sig. other talk smack rearranging words.. Speed it up? No problem.  Your motif will track it. 

A more recent development with the Fantom X is the ability to record audio tracks straight on.  No its not going to rival a 24 track recorder for recording a full band, but it will help you plug in your axe and record it next to you MIDI sequence, and then plug in a mic a sing along.  Track at a time.  Cool.  Or just stick a mic on it at the next band practice and next time your sloth-oriented bass player says your adrenaline-inspired guitar player came in too early you can press play and go " yo homys, here's what went down..."   

Theoretically, you could sell the studio except for a microphone, empty the room, move out the computer and just have your synth in there (and a stack of memory cards).

Audio recording is perhaps the bleeding edge of keyboard technology.  Audio recording has trickled down to the mid-level Juno G. The Motif XS has audio recording of 1 stereo track. The Fantom G has truly made a point of serious, multi-track recorder quality audio recording. I am still not ready to advocate breaking away from the computer.  But for live gigs, sure, put down your backing tracks, get a gig in a nice lounge at a 5 star hotel, and put out an extra large tip jar.

Advanced connection to computers becomes Reality

Many workstation synths are still not at the point where we can shuttle audio data back and forth between computer and keyboard seamlessly. Never assume.  U make a , oh,, never mind. :)  The older Tritons, for example, use SCSI (for cd roms and hard drive data storage). However, they are not able to connect directly to a computer via SCSI like a dedicated hardware sampler can.  Many of the newer keyboards use what I call the USB solution.  This uses a Smart Media card or similar for exchange.  Roland has done this with the Fantom line, Yamaha with the Motif XS line and Korg with the M3. The card actually shows up on your computer as a small disk drive where you can add samples, preset banks, midifiles and more.  This makes it easy to drag some loops and samples you have an get it one the keyboard.   People liked this direction and the USB solution has trickled down to the 2nd tier now to the Korg M50), Roland Juno G.  Even the 3rd tier, the  Korg Micro-X and X-50 have new ways to connect to the computer via VST plugins (though these don't sample).  The Motif XS  lets you connect via a IEE394 (firewire) cable and Ethernet direct to your computer (s).  Now we are talking about more than just storage, but real time multichannel transfer of audio.  There is the cutting edge.  When I plug in my Motif XS, it shows up as a network device on my computer and I can pull .MID files out the Motif and edit the samples I put on the USB thumb drive! Cool Beans and G.A.S! <sniff> lol. 

The Far Future?

What is going one here? Oh, darn, its a recession. That means everyone is creating big time. The manufacturers are feeling the pinch from all the cool specialty soft synths available.  Letting you control your hardware from the sequencer is an advantage because hardware synths don't use up CPU like their software brethren.  By making connection to the computer as easy and as seamless as possible they are improving their bottom line and our studios greatly benefit from this move.  Imagine, for a second, the future. You'll plug into the computer network by Ethernet and you'll be able to harness all the audio resources on your computer, from your touch display on the workstation.  Need a sample, no problem.  Need to call up a whole virtual expansion board?  An emulated Ludwig kit Ringo Starr used?  Custom naughty words spoken by KE$HA? TIK TOK! 

In the end, if there ever can be an end, the keyboard will be a local node on a vast network, extending beyond the studio to other far away studios. Instead of buying expansion cards the keyboard will connect to the manufacturer to install all sorts of new tools.  You'll control your studio like you download apps for your cell phone.  And then the real kicker comes...

"Tweak? Wake up, your in a trance".  Oh uh sorry man, I like to dream.

Which is "Best"?  Which synth is the current "King of Synths" Jan 2010

Of course most of you know I loathe that "best" question.  But if you have me at knifepoint in an alley and force me to answer today June 13, 2009 would I still say "Dudely, get a Fantom X!"  like I did through all of 2006?  Nope. In March 2007 I wrote:  "Wait for the Motif XS.   But the Korg M3 has turned my head and suddenly the XS doesn't gleam as brightly. Is the Karma II on the M3 more musically interesting than 6,000 arpeggios on the Motif?  It appears that the ability to lead you by the hand into new sound vistas is the current requirement for the King of Synths. Yes, for some people, but not for all. So who is winning?   Watch out!  The Fantom G has hit the market. They have made it very appealing with the super sized display, a larger sound set and new expansion boards.  Those MPC like pads and the sequencer will keep the "G" near the top. But it has no touch!   But if audio recording--without a computer--is your thing the G is it!  If you want to do sequencing ON the keyboard and NOT on the computer--the G is it.  For song creation/experimentation the Motif takes it.  For exploring new sonic vistas, the M3.  At this juncture I have to lame out and declare a 3 way tie.  Your needs decide which is the winner.  

The Not so Far Future

You should, by now, be able to get a rarefied glimmer of where things are going in the future.  Will keyboards get so powerful that we'll no longer need an audio interface? We are almost there!  Or will computer's get so powerful we no longer need a keyboard to do anything except send note messages?  We are almost there too!  So what?  So this!  Redundancy (look it up) is everywhere in today's gear.  How many samplers do you need?  One.  How many analog sounding synths do you need? One good one.  How many audio recorders do you need?  One.  Sequencers? One.  (Ok 2 if you gig) What's your computer doing that the keyboard does not need to do?Answer that and I bet your answer is staring you in the face.  

So!  I have taken you through keyboard land from the grimy little pawn shops of battered old hulks of the '90s to the posh showrooms of the latest shiny cpu-charged workstations.  The question is now back to you and what you want to make your music.


Questions and Answers:

Q) Tweak, I just do hip hop.  Do I need a big board?  

A) Some hip hop is getting melodic and orchestral.  If your music is like that you might want to have a longer range than a short board. If you are just triggering samples and a drum map, a small board might be just what you need.  Look at the Korg Micro X.  If you need all the classic hip hop and RnB and electronica sounds in an inexpensive keyboard, check out the Yamaha MM6. 

Q) I want to build massive orchestra ensembles.  Which board is good for that? 

A) I think the Roland Fantom X/XR has the crown there.  But you should expand the board with the Complete Orchestra Card and Symphonique Strings.  Any of the Fantom S/X/XR  (not G) or the RD700SX (and GX) will use SRX cards  The Triton is pretty good there too.  The Triton Extreme has the Orchestral card presets built in.  It's possible the Motif XS will take over here, we'll wait and see on that.

Q) Which board has drum loops ready to burn for live work?

A) I think the Motif XS wins this one with ease.  It's "Combi" patches often include drum patterns, a pad and a lead all ready in one patch and they are quire inspiring.

Q) Which board has the best acoustic "feel" in your opinion?

A) I love the feel of the Motif XS-88 and S-90XS.  This is a subjective area, but my subjectivity chooses Yamaha till you hit the high end.  Check out the Roland V-Piano.  Its a game changer.

Q) Is it true that compact MIDI controllers don't have their own sounds?  What good are they?

A) Usually that is true. The assumption is that you will be triggering soft synths and samplers and will not be playing it away from your computer. 

Q) Will "personal keyboards" like the Yamahas and Casios work in a midi rig?  You know, the kind with built-in speakers? 

A)  Yes, if they have MIDI jacks on them.  Some of these are getting quite good.  A lot of my students use them for hip hop beat creation. 

This article is constantly being revised

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