From their roots in the synthesizers of the 1960s to their far-reaching role in the modern music industry, electronic keyboards have come a long way to grow into the presence they have today. With so many different types of keyboards on the market, you can get what you need no matter how you'll be using it. Whether that means a compact, portable keyboard that you can take anywhere or a high-end 88-key arranger keyboard, it's all about how and where you play. A portable keyboard is perfect when you need something that's easy to pick up and take from place to place for practices and performances alike. Make sure to match the keyboard to your skill level and needs.
A straightforward model with modest features is good to start out with since you won't find yourself overwhelmed by options and settings that you don't need. If you've got some experience under your belt, you can move on to intermediate keyboards to start taking advantage of expansive effects libraries and other more advanced functions. An intermediate model will deliver a good balance between customizability and intuitiveness, as well as a fairly authentic piano feel. For casual playing on the go, look into the super-compact keyboards that can fit into spaces as small as a backpack. They're easy to take along when you travel, or store on a shelf to pick up and play around the house at a moment's notice. Taking the step up from portable to arranger keyboards will introduce you to some of the most versatile musical instruments that exist. With their voice samples, they can recreate the sound of virtually any other instrument to function as a sound module with a built-in controller. Combine that with their mixing and arranging functions, and you've essentially got a complete studio in one piece of equipment. Some arranger keyboards have built-in speakers while others are designed to integrate into a setup using your existing studio monitors or headphones. Many of them also support USB connection to a Mac or PC via USB to migrate audio to and from your digital workstation.
These keyboards range from relatively basic models for hobby studios to more advanced professional-level versions that allow you to record your own custom voice samples. No matter which type of keyboard you're looking for, individualization is just as important as it is with any other instrument. If you're a recreational player, for example, you can do without extensive studio features. If you are a pro, however, you probably want those expanded capabilities. Fit the keyboard to your needs and you won't go wrong.
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