Best Keyboard Workstation Reviews – These days all professional musicians have a need for the same piece of equipment. As you would expect, it is keyboard workstation. They are sophisticated, powerful and capable of helping you create the music you truly want.
Table of Contents
- 1 Buyer’s Guide for The Best Keyboard Workstation
- 2 Factors to Consider When Looking for A New Keyboard Workstation
- 3 Best Keyboard Workstation – Top 7 Models Reviewed
- 4 Conclusion
Buyer’s Guide for The Best Keyboard Workstation
First of all, what is a keyboard workstation? At first sight, they may look identical as professional keyboards, but they are not the same tools. They always come with more implemented sounds, with advanced patch editing and sequencing capabilities. All of that allows for you to create the music you truly want. In addition, regardless of the fact are you a single musician or have a band, you will need a professional keyboard workstation.
One of the main advantages of the keyboard workstation is the sound synthesis. Basically, they allow for you to record a sound and reproduce it in different pitches. Some even support analog modeling. This feature simply helps you cover all the aspects when it comes to creating your own music.
One of the most appealing features is the ability to combine multiple sounds. For instance, you can create your own band using a keyboard workstation.
It is another, an advanced feature of the keyboard workstation. Sequencing allows you to record a track and play alongside it whenever you want. It is a great feature for those who want to get the ultimate thrill and to make their music even better than ever before. The advantages are obvious and more than just appealing for beginners and professionals.
Effects are something that can assist you even more. Basically, you will get the ability to apply different effects to a MIDI or an audio file and create a unique experience. The number of effects varies and it can be the best on high-end keyboard workstations. The effects can be added to a single track (single effects) or to all tracks (known as master effects).
Arranger keyboard is not the same as keyboard workstation
We must address the difference between an arranger keyboard and keyboard workstation. The main difference is in the auto-accompaniment feature. Basically, it means that the arranger keyboard can add a backing track which will follow your tempo, rhythm and even style. As such, they are more focused on helping the composers who want to listen to their creations quickly.
Factors to Consider When Looking for A New Keyboard Workstation
There are a few factors that are more than just helpful when looking for a new keyboard station. These factors can make a massive difference and they will definitely help you find the best keyboard workstation for your requirements.
Keep in mind that this factor refers to the keybed rather than on the entire keyboard. What this means is that you should keep your eye on the number of keys. Keyboards have 88, 71, 76 and 61 keys. Some models even have 49. The more is merrier and it will be helpful later in your career.
The next sub-factor is the action of the keys. You can find hammered keys which simulate the keys on an acoustic piano. Semi-weighted and synth action refers to the light springs that are implemented beneath the keys.
RAM and ROM
Both of these memories are essential. ROM will give you the ability to add more sound cards, making the keyboard better when it comes to sonic range. RAM memory is completely different. It is used on sampling keyboards and it will assist you by expanding the sampling duration.
Synthesis type can assist you in creating the music you actually like. It will also determine which keyboard workstation you need. For instance, if you are interested in piano, brass or string section, a sample-playback will be desirable. If you are interested in electronic music, analog modeling synthesis is a better choice. See also: Best Synthesizer Keyboard
Bit depth and sample rate
Both of these factors refer to the sound quality. Luckily, most of the workstations we have on the list below feature sounds that were recorded in world-class studios with actual vintage instruments. Here you can see the 24-bit/96kHz which simply refers to the professional-grade sound quality.
Make sure your new keyboard workstation comes with plenty of knobs and controllers. You will also need knobs that emit MIDI CC (MIDI continuous controller) messages. You will use them to fade the FX and sweep the filters.
Removable media simply stands for the ability to move the sounds away of the keyboard workstation if its need to be repaired. By doing this, you won’t lose all your work. If you are a professional composer, make sure this feature is present on your keyboard workstation.
These days most of the keyboard workstations use USB to connect to the computer. But, some of them have the built-in audio interface which can be an effective way to get a professional unit without having to invest more into additional equipment.
Best Keyboard Workstation – Top 7 Models Reviewed
The best keyboard workstation is a necessity that comes in many, different sizes, colors, with different features and so much more. In order to assist you in finding the unit that is just perfect for you, we will present you the best models and the buyer’s guide so you know what to look for.
#1. Yamaha Genos
The Yamaha Genos is simply the best keyboard workstation you can have at the moment. It is the flagship of the company and as such, it comes with all the essentials and features you are going to need. It definitely isn’t a budget-friendly model, but it has all you are going to need ever. In addition, this is a redesigned version which comes with a better sample library, new features, advanced knobs and so much more.
Just a few examples of what this workstation can do include 1652 instrument voices, 16 tracks recording and all-new drum technology. The number of keys is 76, which is sufficient for most users and each key uses synth action. It is a real pleasure being able to use the keyboard.
The first thing you are going to notice is a massive display. It is 9 inches in diameter and it is a touchscreen. As such, you get the full control over your workstation and you get the ability to activate specific features easier than ever. The display also has extraordinary quality and it is easy to use.
One of the main reasons why this model is so desirable at the moment is the sound it generates. They are extremely realistic and they are based on the CFX concert grand piano. Add the redesigned drum sound capabilities we mentioned earlier and you get an amazing device suitable for the most advanced users.
- Massive display.
- Realistic sounds.
- Keyboard quality.
- Pre-programmed music.
- Key number.
#2. Korg New Kronos
The tested model is commonly known as the best workstation of the modern era and it is the first choice of many professionals. One important difference is in the fact it is available in 3 different models. We tested the 88-key version which for us, has the best keyboard and offers the best possibilities. Keep in mind that all variations have the same engine and advanced features you are going to need.
The audio interface is located on the keyboard workstation as well, so you won’t have to invest into additional equipment. The navigation is mostly done using the 8-inch display which is a touchscreen as well. In a nutshell, you will be more than just satisfied and you will be able to use this model for any application you have on your mind.
Sounds of the best musicians in the human history
One of the many advantages this particular model has to offer is the sound quality. They have been obtained from the best musicians known to man and they are something that makes the workstation better than any other. If we reveal that all the owners are more than just happy with the sound quality, you can deduce why this is an advantage.
Kronos Editor software
Soon you will have the ability to download the editing software designed by Korg which is specifically optimized for this model. The software will be free for the owners of Kronos and it will offer superb results and possibilities.
- Sound quality.
- Free editor.
- Easy to use.
- Touch sensitive keys.
- Some users don’t like the action.
#3. Roland FA-08
You will be surprised with the tested model. First and foremost, it is more affordable than any of the direct rivals. Nevertheless, it provides you with super-fast workflow, advanced features and it is really easy to use. We must add that this is one of the more versatile models on the market so it is common among the semi-professionals. If you are a beginner, you will be more than just satisfied with this unit.
There are some more unique features as well. For example, the unit helps you recording in loop and 16-track sequencer. The number of sounds you are going to get is 2.000 and they are available thanks to the NTEGRA-7 sound module. In addition, this unit is lightweight and compact so it is perfect to use if you are on the move.
One of the main advantages is the fast workflow. It is simply stunning in the lack of a better word and there are no issues here. Regardless of the fact are you a beginner or a professional, you will appreciate this feature and you will be more than just impressed with the overall results.
With the help of sound modify knobs you have the unlimited versatility. The knobs are user-friendly and they are easy to use. They are well-made as well, so you can feel the comfort every single time you use them. Don’t forget that the knobs are accurate as well.
- Value for money.
- Easy to use.
- Pre-recorded sounds.
- Poor instructions.
- No editor.
#4. Yamaha MOXF8
Most of you are already familiar with the tested model. It is the case because this unit has been on the market for a long period of time. Obviously, it was improved and upgraded over time so now you get the latest reincarnation with advanced features and a modern design. We were impressed with the unit we tested and we liked the attention to detail. It is a well-made keyboard workstation which comes with some of the newest additions to the music world. The sounds it generates are simply stunning and worthy of the brand.
As a value for money, it is more affordable than other models made by Yamaha. However, it lacks some important features such as a massive display. You still get a display, but it is too small for modern users. The keyboard is advanced so you can expect a realistic effect and you will like using it.
16 instrument categories
One of the many things we liked is the presence of 16 music instrument categories. Even better, each one comes with sub-categories, so navigation is easier than ever before and you truly get unlimited possibilities. As we have mentioned earlier, all the sounds are realistic and they offer high quality.
MOTIF XF technology
This type of technology feeds your keyboard workstation with the samples and effects. You can experience some of the most important and the most sophisticated samples online and get them directly on your workstation.
- MOTIF XF technology.
- Sound quality.
- Small display.
- Lack of speakers.
#5. Korg Krome
This is another keyboard workstation made by Korg that is simply excellent. We liked the ability you can have it in three different versions. The first one has 61 keys, the second 73 and the one we tested 88 keys. If you can afford the biggest versions, go for it. It will simply be the most effective and the most helpful for your projects. Of course, all variations have the same engine and the same features.
One of the interesting advantages is the ability of the keyboard workstation to provide sounds obtained from acoustic pianos made in Japan and Germany. The end result is an impressive sound quality which is simply improved with the help of the brand.
Preloaded with all the sounds you will need
The workstation comes with 640 programs, which are excellent, 288 combinations and even 900 ARP patterns. All of this means that you get a powerful workstation that will assist you in creating any form of music you want.
KRONOS-derived drum and piano sounds
As you can see, the manufacturer invested a severe amount of time and effort in developing this workstation to perfection. All we can say is that piano and drum sounds are among some of the best in the class.
- KRONOS-derived power.
- Preloaded options.
- The 73-key version is expensive.
#6. Korg Kross 2
There is no need in telling you that this is an upgraded version of the well-known Kross model. The new unit comes almost identical to the older version. It is still compact and easy to use, but there are some differences.
All the upgrades are hidden and focused on the sound quality and the power of the workstation. They are massive in the lack of a better word and now we can say that Kross 2 finally offers all you are going to need.
If you recall, the original Kross model had 809 programs which wasn’t bad. This model has 1075 which is a massive improvement. The programs can assist you in creating the music you really want and reach new goals. This is one of the upgrades we have mentioned earlier.
Expansion PCM memory
This version also comes with 128MB of PCM memory that is included in the package. It allows for you to expand the in-built memory and to maximize the storage sampling capabilities.
- New programs.
- Compact and easy to carry.
- Touch sensitive keys.
- Obsolete design.
- Some issues still remain.
#7. Casio WK-7600
The last model on our list is the most affordable one. Comparing it with other models you can clearly see that it is a massive price difference. Nevertheless, it is more than just suitable for beginners and those who look for an affordable alternative. All important features are still present.
The overall quality is surprisingly above the average. We can say that this particular unit is one of the most appealing and the most desirable units in the price class.
You will like using the tone editor in this workstation. It is easy to use and it offers you plenty of options for editing the built-in tones and DSP. Of course, it isn’t the most sophisticated editor, but all important features are supported.
You get 50 organ tones available with this workstation. They come with decent quality and they are very helpful. Be free to play with them and discover new limits.
- Organ tones.
- One version only.
- Premium bundle is an expensive addition.
Want to know which unit is the best? In the shortest words, we can possibly explain, it is the Yamaha Genos. For us, it is the best keyboard workstation you can have at the moment and it gets 5 out of 5 stars. We liked the sound quality, the massive display, and the pre-loaded capabilities. Basically, users get all what they are going need.
See also: Best Stage Piano