||Keyboards, Synthesizers, Music Workstations.
CleverJoe gets a bit giggly when it comes to keyboards, especially the old vintage gear (ah...remember all that sweet old synth gear from Moog, Oberheim and Arp?).
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eBay's used synthesizer listings.
The best keyboard synthesizer? Gosh, which one should I buy?
Moog, Arturia, Roland, Yamaha, Korg, Casio, Oberheim, ... there are so many synthesizers available today, keyboard manufacturers jockey for position as they each proclaim the virtues their newest synthesizer, keyboard or workstation. So where is one to start?
The "best keyboard synth" completely depends on your personal needs. What do you want to do with your new keyboard? Are you playing live music on a stage with a band? Are you recording music soundtracks in your basement? Is a good piano sound and touch sensitivity more important to you than having hundreds of instruments and synth sounds at your disposal? Do you need an onboard sequencer, arpeggiator, do you want to import samples into the keyboard? The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly what you want to accomplish, then set your sights on specific keyboards that will help you meet your goals.
It's always a good idea to shop around. Each keyboard manufacturer has it's own unique product. For example, if you find a keyboard from Korg that seems to suit your needs, chances are similar keyboards by Roland and/or Yamaha are competing for the same market. Try keyboards out at your local music shop, or visit a few of the many online keyboard and synthesizer manufacturers.
Prices, product warranties and shipping costs can also vary widely. If you're shopping online, stick to the established online stores like Musician's Friend and Music 123. Remember, this is an investment in your musical future!
Keyboards, Synthesizers CleverJoe Top Picks & Classics
Moog Little Phatty Analog Synthesizer - Tribute Edition
The Little Phatty analog synth was designed to bring you the expressive, intuitive playability and timeless quality of a Moog Analog Synthesizer in a portable, more affordable package. It boasts a 100-percent analog signal path, 100 user-editable presets, and a 37-note keyboard with +/-2 octave transpose. It also has two ultra-stable oscillators, a classic Moog low pass ladder filter, four-stage analog envelope generators, and Real Analog Control (RAC). RAC is a proprietary Moog technology which enables you to directly interface with the analog circuitry via knobs on the control panel without any digital processing. Moog will initially release a special, limited edition run of 1,200 individually numbered Bob Moog Tribute Edition synths.The limited run, Tribute Edition of the Little Phatty has special Moog wood side panels, a Bob Moog signature plate across the front and rear, comes with a CD-ROM featuring highlights of the Bob Moog Memorial Celebration Service, and a special Bob Moog poster. If you have been waiting to go analog, your wait is over.
Yamaha MOTIF ES8 88-Key Music Production Synthesizer
The Yamaha MOTIF ES8 88-Key Music Production Synthesizer features a huge 175MB wave ROM, an enhanced soundset of 1,859 waveforms for the MOTIF's 1,024 voices, plus 65 drum kits. A newly designed tone generator chip offers true 128-note polyphony, and a newly developed synth engine provides new parameters and faster, more precise envelope control. An enhanced effects system includes 20 reverb types and 49 chorus/delay types, 8 types of mastering effects including multiband compression, and a 5-band master EQ. The MOTIF ES8 houses an advanced Phrase Factory arpeggiator with realtime loop remix capability plus parameters such as Swing, Velocity, and Quantize so you can easily modify preset arps. Overall expressiveness of the instrument has been expanded with the new "Mega Voice" system, a technology that makes it possible to include all the nuances of an instrument in the sample. Motif ES integrates seamlessly with DAWs via its USB connection to function as control surface. It also has a USB "To Device" port for connection to USB storage devices.
Roland Fantom Synthesizer Workstation
Looking for an instrument that helps the creative process flow? The Roland
Fantom is a juicy synthesizer designed to keep the music
flowing. It sports a very easy to use interface and superb sequencer, with bonuses like its variable Arpeggiator and
Rhythm Generator. The Roland Fantom has been thoughtfully designed to keep the music flowing, and would be a perfect
addition in the recording studio or in a live setting. It has an expandable XV-Series sound engine, digital outputs, and
a great price to boot.
Click here for a CleverJoe Review of the Roland Fantom Synthesizer Workstation
Roland JUNO-G Synthesizer
True to the JUNO tradition, Roland's JUNO-G is affordable and capable a high-powered stage synth, and an extraordinarily capable workstation. With 61 touch-sensitive keys, it features the Fantom-X sound engine with its world-class sounds including an 88-note multisampled grand piano, onboard effects, onboard sound modifying controls, a spacious 16-track MIDI song recorder along with 4 channels of audio recording a first for synths in its price class.The JUNO-G's dedicated front-panel transport controls and mixer make the recording experience all the more user-friendly. It comes with over 1,000 built-in sounds, plus an SRX slot for expanding its soundset. Arpeggiator, chord memory, a large display, PC card slot for storage, USB port for MIDI and data transfers, 128-voice polyphony, built-in rhythm sets, pitch and modulation levers, D-beam controller, and dedicated controls for most functions make it easy to operate.
Yamaha MOTIF ES7 76-Key Music Production Synthesizer
The Yamaha MOTIF ES7 76-Key Music Production Synthesizer features the largest wave ROM of any workstation keyboard: 175MB! An enhanced soundset of 1,859 waveforms provides the foundation for the Motif's 1024 voices plus 65 drum kits. A newly designed tone generator chip offers true 128-note polyphony, and a newly developed synth engine provides new parameters and faster, more precise envelope control. An enhanced effects system includes 20 reverb types and 49 chorus/delay types, 8 types of mastering effects including multiband compression, and a 5-band master EQ. It houses an advanced Phrase Factory arpeggiator with realtime loop remix capability plus parameters such as Swing, Velocity, and Quantize so you can easily modify preset arps. Overall expressiveness of the instrument has been expanded with the new "Mega Voice system, a technology that makes it possible to include all the nuances of an instrument in the sample. Motif ES integrates seamlessly with DAWs via its USB connection to function as a control surface. It also has a USB To Device port for connection to USB storage devices.
Nord Lead2x 49-Key Keyboard
Nord has upped the ante with the Nord Lead2x 49-Key Keyboard, a highly anticipated updating of the Lead2. 20-voice polyphony and 4-part multitimbrality give you the power to create layered sounds, power pads, stunning leads, and booming basses.Memory now offers 4 x 99 user programs, 100 user performances and 4 x 10 user percussion kits plus 6 x 99 factory programs and 3 x 100 factory performances! And it's patch compatible with the Nord Lead2 so you can transfer sounds directly between the models via MIDI.Awesome sound is yours with the brand new, crystal clear 24-bit DACs running at 96kHz.
Kurzweil K2600 Keyboard
Only Kurzweil could top the K2500 and this is it. 76-note semi-weighted keyboard with velocity and aftertouch. 48-voice polyphony, and you can stack 4 voices and still retain the full 48 because it has 4 oscillators per voice. 12MB of phenomenal sounds, expandable to 44MB. 438 superb factory programs, including Kurzweil's award winning Stereo Grand Piano, KB3 tone-wheel organ models, and a 24-band vocoder model. VAST programming architecture with 60 DSP functions. Stunning KDFX reverb and effects. Realtime expressive control with 2 ribbon controllers and 8 sliders. Sequencer includes 16 song and 16 arrangement tracks with advanced editing features; sequences can be triggered in real time from the keyboard. 4 plug-in ROM expansion board slots. Back panel has 8 - 1/4" balanced outs, master outs, headphone jack, 4 footswitch and 2 continuous controller jacks, breath controller jack, 2 SCSI ports, and MIDI in/out/thru. User-switchable international power supply.
Korg Trinity Synthesizer
The Korg Trinity series still hold their own, These keyboard workstations have exceptional sounds and raw synthesizing power, good sequencing capabilities and are capable of hard disc recording.
CleverJoe Classic Review
Roland XP Series synthesizers
As usual, Roland delivers some good keyboards with solid sounds and synth power. Super nice piano samples!
CleverJoe Classic Review
Korg N-series synthesizers
Check out Korg's impressive N-series line up of synths. Excellent sounds and specs for your buck.
CleverJoe Classic Review
Korg Prophet synthesizer
This is one of Korg's greatest little synths. A true screamer of a synthesizer.
CleverJoe Classic Review
NORD MODULAR SYNTH KEYBOARD
Use with a computer to create monster virtual synthesizers that produce awesome sounds! Once you have created the patches you like, you can download them into the unit, which can then be taken and played in live performance without the computer. It's a 2-octave keyboard with up to 16 voices, depending on the program, and expandable to 32 voices. Expansion card is available that doubles the capacity of its polyphony to a minimum of 8 voices. It features 4-part multitimbral, 4 assignable outputs, 2 analog inputs, and 18 assignable knobs for realtime control. It also offers 2 sets of MIDI ins and outs (one set dedicated to the computer).
Check for the Nord Modular Synth on eBay
Scratch & Dent Used Synth Sale
Prices updated every fifteen minutes. Low prices on slightly pre-owned or cosmetically imperfect keyboards and music gear.
Korg MicroKORG Synthesizer/Vocoder
This is a great little 37 key synthesizer that packs a lot of punch into a small package. The Korg MicroKORG Synthesizer/Vocoder is a serious synthesizer, but can also double as a MIDI controller. Using the same dual-oscillator DSP synthesis engine found in the Korg MS2000, this sexy baby comes complete with an eight band vocoder, multi-effects,
arpeggiator. Way up on the CleverJoe cool factor are the dual audio inputs that let you process other instruments through the MicroKorg. Comes with its own mic.
Alesis Fusion 6HD 61-Note Keyboard Workstation
This is one serious workstation loaded with processing power under the hood. Four synthesis types are available on the Fusion 6HD: sample playback, virtual analog, FM synthesis, and physical modeling. Up the cool factor with 8-channel hard disk recording, sampling, effects, full-blown sequencing, and expansion possibilities.