Knowing the digital features you want in a keyboard
Before you go into the market looking for at its keyboard, make a list of what is important to you. For me personally the primary concern is with the tonal quality of the digital keyboard. I like to purchase a digital keyboard that offers an authentic piano sound as well as features like weighted action keys and touch sensitivity. Without these 2 features, playing the digital keyboard is quite far removed from playing the real thing. I believe these 2 features are essential to playing the piano the way it is meant to be played and to learn certain essential techniques. Sustain pedals are also an extremely important part of a digital keyboard.
You may also consider features like quick live performance flexibility. This may not really matter if you are going to be playing at home but may be very important if you play in concerts. These are some of the common features that you should consider when purchasing a display keyboard.
- Realistic piano sound. As already mentioned, I highly recommend looking for a home digital piano with the best piano sample sounds so that the digital keyboard sound grates and you have fun playing it.
- Realistic piano action. Once again, features like weighted key action and touch sensitive keyboards offer the best way to learn piano.
- Built in speakers. You want to avoid the added hassle and expense of having to attach your own amplifier and speakers. This also makes the setup of a digital keyboard more cumbersome. Ideally you want inbuilt speakers and good ones at that. The better the inbuilt speakers, the more convenient and easy it is to sound great when playing the piano.
- Performing on stage. If you are going to be performing on stage, look at stage pianos and high-end digital piano models to ensure that your piano playing and tonal quality is right up there with what the audience wants to hear from a piano recital.
- Portability. Depending upon your need and requirement, you may want your digital keyboard to be of a particular size. You may want it to be easily movable if you intend to move it around the house or even carry it to different places.
- Polyphonic. This is again an extremely important feature that you should look for in a digital keyboard. If you buy one of the lesser models from the local electronic store all a toy store for yourself or for your child, you may come home to realize that you can only play so many notes at the same time the in fact in. In fact in certain very cheap keyboards, you can only play one note at a time. This completely beats the purpose of learning the piano. Piano playing is all about playing multiple notes at the same time when playing chords and melody. Try for at least a 32 note polyphonic. You might wonder why you need 32 note polyphonic when you do not have 32 fingers. But the fact is that by sustaining various notes, you can play more notes than number of fingers on a piano. Some models even have a 128 note polyphonic which is excellent.
- MIDI capability. This may be important if you want to do adventurous things with your digital keyboard like attaching it to multiple keyboards, connecting it to the computer, doing your own recording and editing etc.
- Pitch blend and modulation. Once again if you are looking at working with various sounds and creating new sound effects, you may want a digital keyboard that allows you to create different sounds. Arranges, synthesizers and workstations are a good option if you want to achieve this result.
- Sound editing. If you want inbuilt sound editing in your display keyboard, you should look at workstations. You can also do things like change the sound of the piano by making it brighter, etc.
- Internal recording, editing and sequencing. If you want to record what you play without external recorders or the computer you need a sequencer which most digital keyboards have. But the low-end models only have a basic recording capability. If you want advanced editing and sequencing features, you are probably going to have to look at a workstation which is one of the more expensive options.
- Automatic rhythm, harmony and base accompliment. Once again look at Arrangers have these kind of features available to you.
- Sound effects. If you are looking to create and work around with sound effects, you probably want to get a synthesizer that allows you to make your own sounds. Once again be aware that some synthesizers are monophonic which means that they can only play one note at a time.
At the end of the day, be clear about what your requirements from the digital keyboard are. If you are looking to play and learn with piano, you need not concern yourself with many of the points mentioned above. You only need to concern yourself with the 1st 3 points pertaining to good piano sample sounds, keyboard action such as weighted key action and touch sensitivity as well as availability of pedals with the keyboard.
After you have narrowed down the model you want to buy, take your time to test it out and make sure that it looks and sounds good to your ears. If the digital keyboard is hooked up to an elaborate system of external amplifiers and speakers in the store, ask the salesman to either hook up the digital keyboard to the kind of amplifier you will be using at home or to take it off altogether so you can hear what the inbuilt speakers sound like. Keep in mind the space in your home and where you are going to put it. Make sure that you are comfortable on the keyboard and enjoyed practicing on it.