Monday, May 25, 2009

Features To Look For When Buying a Digital Keyboard

Yamaha YPT310 Digital Keyboard

Buying Your First Digital Keyboard

The beginning keyboard buyer is bombarded with a slew technical jargon when shopping for a digital keyboard. The main purpose of this guide will be helping you digest these features and make an informed choice.

Features of Digital Keyboards

Here I will outline and explain some key features you'll encounter when looking to purchase your keyboard.

Amount of Keys
The amount of keys on the keyboard is fairly important. For a general purpose keyboard you'll want at at least 61 keys. 77 or 88 is preferred, but 61 is all that's required for playing most pieces.

A keyboard can have 88 keys but be completely useless if it doesn't have decent polyphony. Polyphony is basically the amount of keys that can be pressed at one time and still have the keyboard produce the key's sound. Most keyboards on the market have 32+ key polyphony which is more than enough.

MIDI Input and Output
If you want your keyboard to be able to communicate with other electronic instruments and software, then you'll definitely want to make sure it has MIDI input and output ports. Many lower end instruments lack these, so make sure you check!

Touch Response
You'll definitely want touch response in a keyboard, as it allows adjustment of volume on the fly. Touch response mimics real acoustic pianos, so the harder you press the louder the sound will be!

Hammer Weighted Keys
Weighted keys are available on some high end keyboards. If you've been trained on piano then you may want the feel of weighted keys to assist in your playing.

Light Up Keys
Many beginning digital keyboards have light up keys nowadays. These can help you learn lessons, but I feel they make the keyboard look cheap and gimmicky. Still, kids tend to love them!

Sounds and Beats
The last thing you'll want to look for is the amount of sound samples and beats that the keyboard includes. Memory is cheap now, so most keyboards have hundreds of quality sounds. On some you can even download more!

Now that you've gotten the gist of digital keyboard features you can make an informed decision when shopping!

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