Learning to play a musical instrument is a desire of many people. The keyboard is a musical instrument that presents many variations, from the small, colorful, and playful ones that many children have contact with in their early years, to the professional ones full of features and technology.
In this article, we will get to know a little more about arranger keyboards through brands such as Yamaha, Casio, and Roland. We hope that, at the end, you will know how to choose your ideal keyboard and, to make it even easier, we will present a ranking of the 10 best arranger keyboards. Let’s check it out.
List of the Best Arranger Keyboards
Meet our top 7 arranger keyboards on the market. All of them were chosen to present what is best for those who want to get started in the world of keyboards, or even if you already play and want to expand your horizons.
1. Yamaha PSR-SX900 – Best Arranger Workstation Keyboard
In first place is the ideal keyboard for those who are also interested in music production, as the available features compare to more advanced keyboards. It is already considered the evolution of arrangers, and improvements have been made based on requests from users of previous models.
All functions of the SX900 can be controlled through its 7″ touch screen panel, including the pedals and outputs. The keyboard allows you to plug a microphone or guitar into it, and it has up to 80 minutes of recording time, and input for 2 USB sticks. It is best to invest in a complete instrument.
The Yamaha PSRX900 Arranger keyboard is an extremely powerful and versatile workstation keyboard. You can use it as a standalone keyboard for playing and recording music or as a MIDI controller for controlling external instruments and software.
With four sub-line outputs, you can use it to connect an external amplifier or effect unit, and record the sound directly into a computer or mixer.
There’s also a chord looper to loop and re-record chords and melodies. Plus, you can reset the style section to start over.
This is a very advanced and versatile keyboard, and you won’t find a better keyboard for this price.
2. Korg EK-50 61-Key Arranger Keyboard
The Korg E-50 is the keyboard that will get you playing, and encourage you to seek out more and more of what it has to offer. From its easy-to-use panel to the wide range of sounds and styles it can play with, you’ll be amazed.
The powerful speakers allow external sounds to be played when connected to the keyboard. This way, for example, you can accompany the songs you want on the keyboard. As you progress with the keys, you’ll discover more possibilities with the Korg E-50.
The Korg EK-50 is a 61-key keyboard that offers a wide variety of features, including an onboard speaker, real-time recording, and 34 effects. It also offers a huge amount of polyphony, so you can layer up to 64 voices of sound without any drop in quality.
3. Roland E-A7 Expandable Arranger Keyboard
The Roland E-A7 is a powerful new keyboard for the studio and live performers. It’s packed with features and sounds. With its built-in sound engine and huge sample library, you’ll be able to get the sounds you need without needing to plug in any external devices.
This is the only keyboard you’ll ever need. And with its versatile set of features, you can use it to create all kinds of music, whether you’re a solo performer or part of a band.
The Roland E-A7 has a built-in sound engine that provides the perfect complement to your sounds. With over 1,500 sounds, you’ll be able to create a wide variety of music from genres such as rock, pop, jazz, classical, and more.
There’s also a built-in sampling function that lets you record the sounds from your instrument or audio source directly onto the keyboard. This is perfect for when you’re recording a track, and you’ll be able to hear the exact sound you need without needing to plug in any external devices.
The Roland E-A7 is also packed with powerful features, including its built-in arpeggiator, chord mode, and other useful performance features. With its set of performance controls, you can quickly get to the things you need for your music.
And since this is a keyboard, it has a huge number of dedicated keys. There are 156 buttons, allowing you to get to the functions you need quickly. This also makes it much easier to perform in high-pressure situations, since you’ll have all the functions you need on a single key.
4. Casio CT-X5000 – Best Arranger Keyboard Under $500
Like its predecessor, the CT-X5000 is a class-compliant keyboard, which means it’s designed to be used with computers and electronic music software. So, if you’re looking for the best arranger keyboard to use with your computer and play your favorite tunes, then this is the one for you.
The CT-X5000 has a pitch bend wheel, which is great for adding some variety to your playing. You can change the speed and direction of the pitch bend wheel to suit your playing style.
There’s a mod button as well, so you can assign the wheel to control the volume or effects. This is a great feature for controlling the overall volume of your keyboard, and it’s also a great feature for controlling the effects on your virtual instruments.
The CT-X5000 has a built-in foot pedal input that you can use to control the volume or effects, but if you don’t have a foot pedal, you can still control the volume by assigning the mod button.
It has a built-in USB-MIDI port, so you can connect it to your computer and use it with your favorite virtual instrument. Plus, if you’re an electronic musician, you can also connect it to a MIDI pedal and use it with your hardware.
We recommend the CT-X5000 because it’s a versatile keyboard that’ll do just about anything you want it to. It can be used with computers, as a MIDI controller, or as a standalone controller.
5. Yamaha PSR-E373 – Best Arranger Keyboard for Beginners
With 622 voices, the Yamaha PSR-E373 is one of the most powerful arrangers on the market.
It features a semi-weighted action keyboard with a sustain pedal, so you can play with more dynamics and expression. There are also a total of 17 touch-sensitive keys for advanced chord and accompaniment styles.
These can be used with the included Chord app, which allows you to play chords in a variety of ways. This is great for people who want to express themselves while playing songs.
There are also a few other features that make this keyboard stand out from the rest, such as the Articulation Lite Voices, an arpeggio function, and Duo mode. These are all great for improving your playing. The Articulation Lite Voices let you play with greater expressiveness by adding vibrato, tremolo, and a few other effects. This gives you a deeper and more authentic sound.
With the arpeggio function, you can play with more advanced chords and harmonies. It’s great for playing jazz, classical, and other types of music.
The Duo mode allows you to create a duo with two different instruments. This is great for playing duets with a friend, or even with your parents. You can even record your performance and share it with the world.
The Yamaha PSR-E373 also has a backlit LCD display that can be used for tracking the song you’re playing. This is perfect for beginners, as it’s easy to read and understand.
6. Donner DEK-610P – Best Budget Arranger Keyboard
With its 61 full-size force-sensing keys, it supports two people playing at the same time. The two-way speakers are perfect for creating a full-scale soundscape for the whole room.
Donner’s DEK-610P has a powerful mixer function, with 422 high-quality tones and 210 rich rhythms. This will allow you to create amazing music, whether you’re playing for yourself or others.
You can use this keyboard to create original songs or arrangements. It has a large-sized LCD display, which is very useful for setting the effects, and you can use the LCD display as a music editor and visualizer.
It has a powerful mixer function that allows you to easily change the volume and balance of your sound sources. You can set the effects, such as chorus, flange, phaser, reverb, and delay, as well as a compressor, limiter, and gate. You can also use the arpeggiator function to create complex rhythms and chords.
The DEK-610P is equipped with a professional pitch bend function that allows you to smoothly change the pitch without changing the sound. This is ideal for musicians and arrangers who want to change the tone of their sound while they play.
The DEK-610P is designed for arrangers and performers, but it is also suitable for musicians and singers. The DEK-610P is a great choice for beginners and intermediate players.
7. Casio Casiotone CT-S300 – Best Portable Arranger Keyboards
If you need a portable keyboard with mobility and power, you need to meet the Casio CT- S300. It has a carrying handle and speakers that exceed expectations for a laptop. With its intuitive features, it can make anyone interested in its keys.
The keyboard provides lessons for training and functions such as the Pitch Bend Wheel command that make it possible to create modulations in guitar sounds and other instruments in your creations. And to play anywhere, you can opt for battery power, which lasts approximately 19 hours.
This keyboard has 61 piano-style keys, making it ideal for beginning musicians. It’s also equipped with Touch Response, which allows you to play chords and melodies by just touching the key. The built-in speakers allow you to practice at home without bothering anyone else.
There’s a built-in carrying strap, and the included accessories make it even easier to take it everywhere.
What Are the Types of Musical Keyboards?
Musical keyboards are divided into four categories: arrangers, controllers, synthesizers, and workstations. Each category has different features and prices that vary greatly depending on the model and brands chosen, but the main thing is to look for a keyboard that meets your expectations:
- Arranger Keyboards: They are the most popular among beginners since, besides requiring a low initial investment, they also present several available timbres. The standard size has 61 keys organized into 5 octaves;
- Controller Keyboards: Created for musical production, the controller keyboard does not have its own sound and depends entirely on music recording software and a device that works as a database (a notebook, for example). There are models starting at 2 octaves (25 keys), which is super portable. It is widely used by music producers and editors, DJs, and in the production of sound effects.
- Synthesizer Keyboards: Geared towards producing new sounds or editing existing tones, a synthesizer keyboard may be what you are looking for to explore your musical creativity. It is the most suitable keyboard for those seeking an original sound.
- Workstations: Workstations are intended for a very specific audience, so it is a more expensive category. With the workstation, the computer works inside the keyboard, enabling completely professional productions, creating and modifying sounds only with the keyboard.
In this article we will exclusively talk about the arranger keyboards that are versatile and some already have functions present in models of the other categories mentioned above. If you are a beginner, you will find models with lesson functions that will help you in your learning and development.
How to Choose the Best Arranger Keyboards
To choose the ideal musical keyboard, you need to keep in mind the purpose of the instrument, if it is for a beginner, intermediate, or even a professional. What is your style, if you intend to play alone or in a band, and also how much you intend to invest.
Prefer Brands with Good References and Observe the Main Characteristics
Your keyboard can last a lifetime and even be passed down through generations, but for this reason, it is important to look for an instrument made by a quality brand. The main brands are Roland, Yamaha, Korg, and Casio. Each of them has different models, functions, prices, and features.
Casio has durable products for a lower price than the others, but the sound quality is still inferior. Yamaha has superior sound quality and timbre, but often requires frequent maintenance. In general, both Casio and Yamaha keyboards lose sound quality if connected to speakers.
Korg and Roland (with the exception of the Juno line) are brands with professional characteristics. Although they do not present many timbres, the sound quality of both is the best, and Korg excels in piano sounds. When choosing, it is important to consider these observations.
Examine the Number of Timbres, Rhythms, and Integrated Songs
You’ll be surprised at how many timbres (sounds) and rhythms/styles the arranger’s keyboards have.The most basic models usually have about 60 timbres and 50 rhythms or styles, which is enough for new people.
Among so many options, choose the model that suits you, and not necessarily with more timbres or rhythms or styles.
The integrated songs are also different, especially for those who want to develop in the accompaniment, learn, and also for those who play professionally. Most keyboards feature traditional songs, but some already feature recent big hit songs.
Check the Maximum Keyboard Polyphony
Polyphony is the number of sounds the keyboard can output at the same time. If a 61-key keyboard has polyphony of 32, or 32 polyphonic voices, it means that up to 32 sounds can be heard simultaneously. This may sound exaggerated or unnecessary, but it’s not.
In practice, polyphony occurs when making chords, accompanying songs integrated into the keyboard, or when combining timbres. When combining two timbres, for example, for each note, the keyboard will be playing two sounds. The same happens when you use the sustain pedal to extend the note.
The majority of polyphonic keyboards on the market support 128 notes.For beginners, this may not be necessary, but if you intend to develop your techniques and use the keyboard for a long time, prefer models with polyphony of at least 48 notes.
Check out the Keyboard Features: Metronome, Octave, Transpose and Others
With the proper functions on your keyboard, you can avoid buying additional items or a more expensive keyboard. A device called a metronome is used to perform the correct timing of the music, but there are keyboards with this function, for example. Check out some functions:
- Metronome: As stated above, the metronome indicates the correct tempo of the music. It marks the tempo using sound pulses;
- Transpose: Changes the pitch of a song without changing the notes played on the keyboard.
- Octave: assigns one more octave to the keyboard, allowing it to reach lower or higher notes.
- Lesson: Provides training and exercises on the keyboard to better develop your skills with the instrument;
- Audio Recording: Records the songs you play on the keyboard. The number of channels available depends on each model.
- Split: The keyboard can be split into two or more parts, leaving each part with a different tone. With this function, it is possible for the left hand to play with a piano sound and the right hand to play with a violin sound, for example.
We have highlighted here only some of the main functions, but it is interesting to always check all the functions offered by the keyboard and see which ones are the main ones for you. The functions vary a lot depending on the manufacturer and model of the instrument.
Prefer Keyboards with Sensitive Keys for Best Performance
Sensitive keys are indicated because they respond to the intensity applied to them, making the notes sound more natural. A weaker touch makes the sound weaker, and a harder touch makes it louder, just like on a traditional piano. On keyboards, the sensitive keys have up to five levels of sensitivity.
This sound variation makes all the difference when playing music that requires, in its execution, that some parts be played softer, and others stronger. This is how they express the emotions of the songs through sound.
Check the Connectivity Options Offered
These days, the more connected, the better, right? So that goes for your keyboard as well. Look for keyboards that allow connections and even access to applications that can help make your keyboard experience even better.
Check out the keyboard inputs: for headphones, USB, foot pedal, microphone, or another instrument such as a guitar, for example. Some models also feature Bluetooth connectivity, and others connect to external devices such as cell phones or computers. This connectivity is increasingly important.
Check the Weight of the Keyboard
The keyboard is one of the instruments that can be easily transported. However, the weight of each model varies. There are keyboards that can weigh up to 10 kg, so it is important to keep in mind that the way you carry them can influence the movement.
Some keyboards have a carrying strap precisely to facilitate the moment of carrying the instrument without using a case. These models allow the keyboard to be carried like a suitcase and are also usually lighter.
And this concludes our tour of the 7 best musical keyboards. As you can see, there are keyboards for all tastes and wishes. In this article, we focused on the initial keyboards, considering their price range and benefits offered.
We hope you have found your ideal keyboard and, as always, you are welcome to come back here or to another article whenever you need some more information. Come back as often as you like, and see you next time!