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Keyboard for worship band #2372603
01/12/15 10:37 AM
01/12/15 10:37 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,349
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline OP
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Morodiene  Offline OP
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So recently I've started playing with our worship band along with the pianist. She plays piano sounds, but we found that often songs would need strings or a synth sound playing over the piano. She's been getting by with doing a piano/strings or piano/pads combination, but really, the music calls for a separate strings or synth sound doing something completely different.

We have a Korg Trinity that has seen better days. The sound in the monitors is awful and it's time to upgrade. I'm going to be using my MOX6, but our church is willing to purchase something new to replace the Korg. I could look for another MOX, but was looking to compile a list of good possibilities to try out.

Here's what we are looking for:

-Good strings, synth, pad sounds (piano sounds not important)
-Doesn't have to be 88-keys, in fact, smaller is probably better for the space, so a good piano action isn't important
-I'm not sure of budget, but I'm thinking around the sub $1k range, probably closer to $500.
-Workstation is not really necessary either, but for the right keyboard, it's fine if that's on there
-Arpeggiator would be a nice option
-And of course, no toys, we're not looking for a consumer grade option here. smile

I'm planning on looking on craigslist and ebay for used keyboards, so previous generation models are fine as well as what's currently available.


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Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372606
01/12/15 10:57 AM
01/12/15 10:57 AM
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Hernando, MS
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It's a bit to the high end of your budget, but I think the Casio PX-5S ticks off all of your boxes. It does have 88 keys, but it's very light weight. It's also definitely not a toy, it's a professional grade instrument.

You might also look at something like the korg kross, which has a (relatively) inexpensive 61 key version. It's a bit more workstation-oriented, but it might also suit your needs pretty well.


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Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372608
01/12/15 11:02 AM
01/12/15 11:02 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,620
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General consensus is that the best bang for the buck keyboard that matches your description is the Roland VR-09. Very easy to use, full of essential sounds, synth action - definitely not a piano, economically priced, light, small, etc.

There is an extensive, it will take you a while to read but full if information, thread over at the keyboard magazine forum.

Roland VR-09 at forums.musicplayer.

Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372611
01/12/15 11:14 AM
01/12/15 11:14 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,237
Wales
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Since you're used to the Korg sound, you could look at the Korg Krome ($999 for the 61-key) and the Kross ($699). The Krome is actually a pretty well-specified machine that sounds good, while the Kross is a very "live" friendly unit with 16 favorite buttons for easy recall of patches. The Kross has access to 128 Korg Triton sounds via a free download, and the Krome can load up various banks of additional sounds (such as those from the M1) via the card slot. For super-low budget ($349), you could consider the Triton Taktile 49, but that only has a mini headphone socket as its sole output, and you can't save tweaked patches.

If you like the MOX, the MX (49 or 61) would probably get you in familiar territory at a lower cost.

Casio has the XW-P1 at $499, which has a great mono synth section, but I don't warm to Casio's pads and strings - I think Roland, Yamaha and Korg all do a better job on that front. There are also a couple of cheaper Casio workstations that contain similar samples (but without the XW's 6-oscillator synth).

The Kurzweil SP4-7 can be had for around $899. You can download and install PC3 patches into that to expand its sonic territory, and so you get access to the famed Kurzweil strings relatively inexpensively.

Roland's VR-09 is also $899, and it has various strings and pads - but its main focus is organ. I don't think the factory strings/pads are the best that Roland can do, although there are some quite nice ones in there, but with an iPad you get access to the nuts and bolts of the synth engine.

Personally, for pads and strings under $1k, I'd go Korg or Kurzweil.


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mabraman, 2015
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Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: voxpops] #2372617
01/12/15 11:29 AM
01/12/15 11:29 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,349
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline OP
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Originally Posted by voxpops
Since you're used to the Korg sound, you could look at the Korg Krome ($999 for the 61-key) and the Kross ($699). The Krome is actually a pretty well-specified machine that sounds good, while the Kross is a very "live" friendly unit with 16 favorite buttons for easy recall of patches. The Kross has access to 128 Korg Triton sounds via a free download, and the Krome can load up various banks of additional sounds (such as those from the M1) via the card slot. For super-low budget ($349), you could consider the Triton Taktile 49, but that only has a mini headphone socket as its sole output, and you can't save tweaked patches.

If you like the MOX, the MX (49 or 61) would probably get you in familiar territory at a lower cost.

Casio has the XW-P1 at $499, which has a great mono synth section, but I don't warm to Casio's pads and strings - I think Roland, Yamaha and Korg all do a better job on that front. There are also a couple of cheaper Casio workstations that contain similar samples (but without the XW's 6-oscillator synth).

The Kurzweil SP4-7 can be had for around $899. You can download and install PC3 patches into that to expand its sonic territory, and so you get access to the famed Kurzweil strings relatively inexpensively.

Roland's VR-09 is also $899, and it has various strings and pads - but its main focus is organ. I don't think the factory strings/pads are the best that Roland can do, although there are some quite nice ones in there, but with an iPad you get access to the nuts and bolts of the synth engine.

Personally, for pads and strings under $1k, I'd go Korg or Kurzweil.

Thanks for all the info everyone!

I'm not terribly interested in organ sounds, but I'm liking the Kross from what I've seen on the videos so far (and the price range), and I do think Korg sounds great for strings/synth stuff. Nice to have the option to download the Triton stuff too.

I'll check out Kurzweil as well, although I think that may be harder to find in the used market.


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Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372621
01/12/15 11:38 AM
01/12/15 11:38 AM
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For strings, synth, and pad, I think you're on the right track with the MOX6... but I'd go with the cheaper MX61, which would also be easier to use, in case it ever has to be used by anyone other than yourself. As for the other suggestions above... I don't think strings are so strong on the PX5S, and it's bigger, more complicated, and more expensive than what you need... Kross should be okay. The VR-09 is strongest in this range for organ, but if you don't need organ, I think you might as well get the cheaper JUNO-Di. Personally, I tend to like Yamaha sounds best, but if you like Korg or Roland sounds, those are good alternatives. (I haven't heard the strings in these particular Korg and Roland models, though.)

Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372622
01/12/15 11:40 AM
01/12/15 11:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,237
Wales
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I'll check out Kurzweil as well, although I think that may be harder to find in the used market.

There are still some new ones knocking around - Sweetwater has them in stock.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372627
01/12/15 11:56 AM
01/12/15 11:56 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,237
Wales
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voxpops Offline
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Arpeggiator would be a nice option

For arpeggiators, the Krome, Kross and XW-P1 all have pretty good sequencer/arpeggiator functions. The Kurz SP4 requires you to use the optional Sound Tower editor to setup the internal arpeggiator. (I think the MX has arpeggiation, too, but I've never used that board.)

Last edited by voxpops; 01/12/15 12:01 PM.

"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372629
01/12/15 12:02 PM
01/12/15 12:02 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 4,513
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anotherscott Online content
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Missed in the cross-post... Yes, Kurzweil SP4-7 is another good option, with strong strings. The issue might be whether it is has all the sounds you're looking for out of the box, as its default palette is on the small side. The ability to load PC3 sounds addresses that, as voxpops suggested... the question is one of actually going through that process, since the acquisition/auditioning/loading of the additional sounds is not the most straight-forward, for those who don't have a PC3 around.

Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372640
01/12/15 12:38 PM
01/12/15 12:38 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,349
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline OP
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I'll definitely check out the Kurzweil and Roland, too - I want to make sure I cover all my bases before spending someone else's money smile . I'm not sure about the PX-5S since the church already has a CP4, it seems like there's a lot of overlap there and perhaps overkill too for this purpose.


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Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372642
01/12/15 12:42 PM
01/12/15 12:42 PM
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Wales
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One of the things I don't understand with Yamaha is making the keys narrower than standard. That must surely cause a pianist all sorts of problems when transferring to the MX, for example. It's bad enough that the keys on many lower-priced units are shorter than normal, with pivot points or hinges that frequently make black-key playing tough, but at least your hands and finger stretches fall on the right keys.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372644
01/12/15 12:47 PM
01/12/15 12:47 PM
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Posts: 3,237
Wales
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I'm not sure about the PX-5S since the church already has a CP4, it seems like there's a lot of overlap there and perhaps overkill too for this purpose.

The PX-5S is a fantastic board, but even with the more recent string/pad downloads, I don't think that's its strong suit. On the other hand, it can do some great evolving synth sounds via the hex layers, and there's a lot of real-time control available. However, the XW-P1 has a lot of the same functionality and also includes the hex layers - for half the price.


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: voxpops] #2372647
01/12/15 12:55 PM
01/12/15 12:55 PM
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anotherscott Online content
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Originally Posted by voxpops
One of the things I don't understand with Yamaha is making the keys narrower than standard. That must surely cause a pianist all sorts of problems when transferring to the MX, for example..

It's close enough that I don't think it's an issue for most players. I mean, most players don't even seem to be aware of it, so I think that kind of indicates how non-problematic it is. I imagine it may be more of an obstacle for 2-handed piano work with lots of jumping around (i.e stride, or complex classical pieces), but who's going to want to be playing that style on a 61-key unweighted action anyway?

edt: that said, it does annoy me when I stack a Yamaha unweighted over an 88, and the octaves don't exactly line up. ;-)

Last edited by anotherscott; 01/12/15 12:56 PM.
Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372741
01/12/15 05:51 PM
01/12/15 05:51 PM
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Norway
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As an MOX owner I just want to vouch for it. I think some of the pads in there are amazing. But I guess you know that considering you have one yourself;)


Nord Stage 2, Nord Lead 4, Rhodes MkII, Yamaha MOX6, Novation SL MkII
Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Auver] #2372850
01/13/15 12:12 AM
01/13/15 12:12 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,349
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Auver
As an MOX owner I just want to vouch for it. I think some of the pads in there are amazing. But I guess you know that considering you have one yourself;)


Oh, I love the MOX! The only thing is I'd be hauling to church and back all the time since I use it for my own purposes, and the worship pastor suggested they buy a new keyboard to replace the Trinity. I could suggest another MOX, but considering there may be others who will use it in the future, I do think it's not the most user-friendly keyboard out there. Once you figure it out it makes sense though.


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Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372859
01/13/15 12:57 AM
01/13/15 12:57 AM
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Anaheim, California, USA
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I can vouch for the Roland VR-09. We use it for our church services and it sounds wonderful for both strings and pad in my opinion. We have a lot of rotating musicians and we needed a keyboard that was easy for someone to use even if they've never touched it before. The VR-09's interface so far seems to be friendly enough for everyone including myself.

I am especially fond of the first patch that comes up in the synth/pad section. Using the cutoff frequency fader on the keyboard allows the sound to go from a very nice warm pad to a bright, almost string-like sound.

It also has some extra functionality if you have an ipad, but I don't have one so I've never tried it out.

Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372890
01/13/15 03:04 AM
01/13/15 03:04 AM
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I was in the same position with our church music group. We had a pianist, I had a keyboard you might call a toy though it cost over £400. I used it in a club too. It did the job nicely. You will need one with a memory bank of course. . .


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Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2372963
01/13/15 09:05 AM
01/13/15 09:05 AM
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Northern NJ
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I've found this thread to be chock full of particularly useful information - thanks voxpops and anotherscott! Your wallets must be constantly squealing while taking one for the team!

Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Morodiene] #2373866
01/15/15 02:56 PM
01/15/15 02:56 PM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 30
Alabama
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It would be more $$$ but there are some killer deals on the Korg Kronos X right now. Lots of dealers trying to unload them with the arrival of the Kronos 2. I still use the original Kronos 61 in a church worship band. It's absolutely fantastic!

Re: Keyboard for worship band [Re: Speedy] #2374061
01/15/15 11:01 PM
01/15/15 11:01 PM
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Boynton Beach, FL
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Originally Posted by Speedy
It would be more $$$ but there are some killer deals on the Korg Kronos X right now. Lots of dealers trying to unload them with the arrival of the Kronos 2. I still use the original Kronos 61 in a church worship band. It's absolutely fantastic!
Even as a deal it's probably way out of the budget, but I'm sure it's awesome smile.


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