What should I choose Digital Piano or Keyboard?

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What should I choose Digital Piano or Keyboard?

Post by MusicIsPeace »

Hi everyone hope all are doing well

I'm from India and from very small town so it's becoming hard to find advice about this into my town. Thankfully I know the power of internet.

Now I wanna learn music composition and production. I've read some articles so I know that I need PC - DAW - Audio interface - Keyboard - Studio headphones/speakers - Mic - and other accessories.

Now I'm confused with keyboard, I love piano and one day I want to play Piano as professional.

So after searching over internet I really wanna by yamaha P-45 as my begginer digital piano. But I also wanna learn how to create music using PC and DAW and from what I read I'll need a MIDI keyboard rather than digital Piano. I know that digital piano can be used as MIDI but it won't have other features..

Right now I'm confused between Yamaha P-45 and M- Audio Keystation 88. I wanna learn both Piano and music production so what should I do? I really want to experience real piano experience which yamaha P-45 with it's fully weighted hammer key will allow me to. Right now my budget is very tight so I can't buy a midi keyboard with 88 fully weighted key because they are just out of my budget.

So I'm thinking of going with Yamha P-45 and I'll use it as MIDI keyboard also so I can learn piano and music production both. Do you think it's good idea for a complete beginner like me or I should just go with a MIDI keyboard 1st? Remember my budget is very tight right now so what ever I go with digital piano or MIDI Keyboard, I'll buy a basic one to start of my learning process.
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Re: What should I choose Digital Piano or Keyboard?

Post by James Perrett »

The main disadvantage of the digital piano when using it as a MIDI controller is that it doesn't have any controllers for pitch bend or expression. If you want a piano feel on a keyboard that includes controllers then take a look at something like the Studiologic SL88 which is about the same price as the P45. You'll need to use it with a computer or sound module but it will give you all the extra facilities missing with the P45.

It is also worth looking at the secondhand market where you are. Around here, fully weighted keyboards are often available very cheaply.
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Re: What should I choose Digital Piano or Keyboard?

Post by resistorman »

The main disadvantage of just a midi keyboard is that you always need to have a sound source hooked up and there may be latency through a computer. If you just want to sit down and practice it can be a pain. I'd suggest getting the piano and a cheap synth action midi controller or old synth and have the best of both worlds.
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Re: What should I choose Digital Piano or Keyboard?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

There is a difference between an instrument and a MIDI controller.

The M-Audio Keystation 88 is a MIDI controller. It has no onboard sounds of its own and relies completely on soft-synths and/or other hardware synthesizers to provide actual sound.

There is a place for MIDI controllers - I have a couple myself - but my personal opinion is that they don't serve as a replacement for a hardware piano/synth.

You want to learn music production; that's a good thing! So if you get a digital piano it's probably going to sound very much like a piano. Music production is a wide field and with a suitable audio interface you can also record vocals, guitar, bass and any other instrument that you can play into a microphone.

So from that perspective your choice of keyboard is almost irrelevant, even if it's a MIDI controller (just play a virtual synth with it) or a digital piano (play virtual synths with it, or the onboard piano sound).

Dedicated digital pianos are, as a whole, pretty good these days but so are the piano sounds on most decent synthesizers. However, the latter may be outside your budget.

I think a lot depends on what sort of music you want to create. If it's primarily piano-based, with some vocals and maybe a bit of guitar or bass then the Yamaha seems a good option.

If you want to do more electronic/synth-based music then either the Yamaha or the M-Audio can control software synthesizers but as James said, digital pianos don't offer much in terms of controllers. Then again, neither does the M-Audio 88. It's got pretty much the same control surface as the Yamaha does, but without the onboard sound.

The Yamaha is more expensive than the M-Audio but will almost certainly be better in terms of hardware and implementation and generally Yamaha produce products of high build-quality so it should be well-built and dependable.

My advice would therefore be to go for the Yamaha, start learning using its onboard piano sound and then use it to control additional soft-synths for the synthesizer sounds you want. It's not great on controllers but then again neither is the M-Audio and a lot of soft-synths provide various features for automating modulation of parameters that might be useful.

I don't think either the M-Audio or the P-45 have aftertouch, which is fine for a piano but a bit of a drawback when it comes to controlling virtual synths.

So it's a little compromise whichever you choose, but in your position I'd probably go for the Yamaha due to the onboard sound and the better build quality :-)
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Re: What should I choose Digital Piano or Keyboard?

Post by MusicIsPeace »

James Perrett wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 2:39 pm The main disadvantage of the digital piano when using it as a MIDI controller is that it doesn't have any controllers for pitch bend or expression. If you want a piano feel on a keyboard that includes controllers then take a look at something like the Studiologic SL88 which is about the same price as the P45. You'll need to use it with a computer or sound module but it will give you all the extra facilities missing with the P45.

It is also worth looking at the secondhand market where you are. Around here, fully weighted keyboards are often available very cheaply.

Thank you so much for your suggestion

as for now Studiologic SL88 not available on Amazon and other websites that sells. And in India it's expensive than Yamaha P-45 :(. I do like the secondhand market idea I'll try that for sure.
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Re: What should I choose Digital Piano or Keyboard?

Post by MusicIsPeace »

resistorman wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 11:12 pm The main disadvantage of just a midi keyboard is that you always need to have a sound source hooked up and there may be latency through a computer. If you just want to sit down and practice it can be a pain. I'd suggest getting the piano and a cheap synth action midi controller or old synth and have the best of both worlds.

Cool suggestion I'll certainly look into this. Thank you :)
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Re: What should I choose Digital Piano or Keyboard?

Post by MusicIsPeace »

Eddy Deegan wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 11:58 pm There is a difference between an instrument and a MIDI controller.

The M-Audio Keystation 88 is a MIDI controller. It has no onboard sounds of its own and relies completely on soft-synths and/or other hardware synthesizers to provide actual sound.

There is a place for MIDI controllers - I have a couple myself - but my personal opinion is that they don't serve as a replacement for a hardware piano/synth.

You want to learn music production; that's a good thing! So if you get a digital piano it's probably going to sound very much like a piano. Music production is a wide field and with a suitable audio interface you can also record vocals, guitar, bass and any other instrument that you can play into a microphone.

So from that perspective your choice of keyboard is almost irrelevant, even if it's a MIDI controller (just play a virtual synth with it) or a digital piano (play virtual synths with it, or the onboard piano sound).

Dedicated digital pianos are, as a whole, pretty good these days but so are the piano sounds on most decent synthesizers. However, the latter may be outside your budget.

I think a lot depends on what sort of music you want to create. If it's primarily piano-based, with some vocals and maybe a bit of guitar or bass then the Yamaha seems a good option.

If you want to do more electronic/synth-based music then either the Yamaha or the M-Audio can control software synthesizers but as James said, digital pianos don't offer much in terms of controllers. Then again, neither does the M-Audio 88. It's got pretty much the same control surface as the Yamaha does, but without the onboard sound.

The Yamaha is more expensive than the M-Audio but will almost certainly be better in terms of hardware and implementation and generally Yamaha produce products of high build-quality so it should be well-built and dependable.

My advice would therefore be to go for the Yamaha, start learning using its onboard piano sound and then use it to control additional soft-synths for the synthesizer sounds you want. It's not great on controllers but then again neither is the M-Audio and a lot of soft-synths provide various features for automating modulation of parameters that might be useful.

I don't think either the M-Audio or the P-45 have aftertouch, which is fine for a piano but a bit of a drawback when it comes to controlling virtual synths.

So it's a little compromise whichever you choose, but in your position I'd probably go for the Yamaha due to the onboard sound and the better build quality :-)

Thank you so much for your thoughts.

Actually I wanna learn both Piano and music production. The thing is I'm from very small town in India So I'm not getting great advice or any advice in my local area. All I hear is it's waste of money/time or I can't do it/learn it.

I have always loved Piano and always wanted to learn and feel the acoustic piano. that's why I'm thinking of Yamaha P-45 as a beginner. And I also wanna get into Digital Music Production. Right now I'm just beginning so I wanna start with very basic and money is also problem right now. Once I get little bit better at it and as I will start to enjoy and learn more I will get confident than I will buy better gear for music production purpose. Right now my 1st priority is to learn Piano and 2nd is music production
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Re: What should I choose Digital Piano or Keyboard?

Post by MusicIsPeace »

Hi Again :D

So after keep searching over internet for couple of hours I ended up with one more option

Arturia KeyLab Essential 88

It's even little bit cheaper than Yamaha P-45 and also has got really good review and has more features too and also has aftertouch
What do you guys think about it?
https://www.arturia.com/keylab88/details
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Re: What should I choose Digital Piano or Keyboard?

Post by rACed2 »

MusicIsPeace wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:02 am Hi Again :D

So after keep searching over internet for couple of hours I ended up with one more option

Arturia KeyLab Essential 88

It's even little bit cheaper than Yamaha P-45 and also has got really good review and has more features too and also has aftertouch
What do you guys think about it?
https://www.arturia.com/keylab88/details

Remembering that this will only trigger sounds from your computer ie to play you must be connected to your computer. If you are okay with that then I would say go for it. And start saving for Pianoteq to use for when you practice your piano on it.
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Re: What should I choose Digital Piano or Keyboard?

Post by IAA »

The Arturia Keylabs are good value. Decently built and come with some useful software to get going straight away. Gordon liked it and he’s a discerning sort of player!

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/arturia-keylab-88
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