music composer
music composer music composition techniques cubase tutorials music essays reviews contact

choosing a good keyboard a checklist of things to look out for
touch sensitive keyboards the different types of sensitivity available
keyboard weighted keys the four different weighting options for keyboards

yamaha p95 review 88 note digital piano
casio px-330 review light weight keyboard
m-audio keystation pro-88 budget mother keyboard

Sustain Pedals
sustain pedal polarity why pedals are often not compatible with keyboards
yamaha fc4 sustain pedal a well-built yamaha pedal
yamaha fc5 review budget pedal from yamaha
m-audio sp2 review a sturdy m-audio pedal

USB Microphones
best usb microphones things to look out for when buying a usb mic
snowball-blue microphones retro looking classic mic logitech usb mic popular desktop mic samson co1u mic review studio condenser

MIDI Equipment
what is MIDI? with a list of popular control numbers
usb to midi cables for recording your ideas into your computer etc. yamaha UX16 USB/MIDI a midi/USB cable adaptor guitar midi interfaces for transforming your guitar into any midi instrument!

Sound cards
usb sound cards a list of things to look our for when buying one.

sounds cards for the Mac

covering the different types of cards & uses.

maya 44 sound card a short review of this popular sound card.


choosing a good 88 key keyboard


1. Is the keyboard touch sensitive?

This is extremely important. To test this try playing the instrument by striking a key gently, and then with more force. There should be a noticable difference in volume. High quality keyboards will be able to handle very subtle differences. Find out more about the different types of touch sensitive keys.

child playing at keyboard




2. Does the keyboard or digital piano have weighted action keys?

Another important issue. Weighted action keys simulate the feel of a real piano. Upright or grand pianos have a resistance to the key, due to the mechanisms involved in enabling the hammer to strick the strings. Electronic keyboards and digital pianos can simulate this action by small weights which are associated with each key. Weighted action keyboards normally are closer to grand pianos in feel (which are generally lighter in touch than most upright acoustic pianos).


3. What is the quality of the digital instruments like?

A simple test is to strike and hold down one of the keys near the top of the keyboard (one of the high notes) and listen to how the sound (such as a piano sound) decays. Is there any crackling or fuzz as the sound finally disappears? If this is the case then you know that you are dealing with a cheap keyboard and it is probably wiser to move on!

4. What is the overall sound quality like?

Check to see what the amplifier specification is - anything under 1 watts should be avoided. It's far better to have a powerful amplifier that you can run at low volume than a small amplifier that you need to run at 10!


5. What connectors does the keyboard have?

You will need to check that the digital instrument has a sustaining pedal port, a midi out and in, and a headphone socket. Other useful connectors are a USB port, an audio imput for amplifing other instruments through the keyboard (usually only available in more expensive models, such as the Yamaha P95) and an audio output (usually a jack socket) for ampifying the keyboard externally.



6. How heavy is the instrument?

Will this keyboard normally live in the home, or does it need to be moved around? Full 88 note keyboards are large instruments to lift, and if they are also 'weighted action' they can be very heavy - older models are often over 4 stone in weight. Semi-weighted keyboards are a lighter alternative and are often used for live work or when a keyboard needs to be frequently moved from place to place. If you are looking for a portable keyboard, also consider 77 note versions or 5 octave keyboards (61 note). However, the good news is that most modern weighted action keyboards are considerably lighter than they used to be.




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