In this article, I’m going to present you with my opinion of the 10 best keyboards for live performance that are available on the market. These keyboards will be great for gigging purposes, and should serve you well thanks to their versatility and wide array of features.
To better help you find the right keyboard for your needs, we encourage you to check out the interactive guide below, which is full of popular keyboards on the market that you can compare and contrast.
|Roland RD-88||PHA-4 Standard action, ZEN-Core sound engine|
|Nord Stage 3||OLED Display|
|Casio PX5S||Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II Keyboard|
|Nord Piano 5||Polyphony: 120 Notes (piano section), 46 Notes (sample synth section)|
|Yamaha YC88||128 Notes (AWM2/Organ), 128 Notes (FM)|
Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Vibe, Pan, Tremolo and more
|Casio PX-560||5.3” Color Display|
Without further ado, let’s begin with a Moog synthesizer.
1) Moog Sub 37
The Moog Subsequent 37 is an advanced keyboard. The abyss basses, lavish leads and elegant pads allows you to express yourself in live viewing.
The Sub 37’s Duo Mode: Two oscillators can play a different note while sharing the same audio path. Either hold a bass drone note while playing a lead over it, play in fifths, or create other effects you can’t achieve with a single monophonic synthesizer. Hands-on Control (40 knobs, and 74 switches, and 37 keys) allows sound design to take place in the present moment.
- Legendary Moog ladder filter can sound smooth or aggressive with resonance, MultiDrive, and selectable slope.
- Audio: 1 x 1/4″ (In), 1 x 1/4″ (Out), Headphones: 1 x 1/4″
- Re-tuned Multidrive circuit for a wider range and more dirt.
- Increased mixer headroom delivers even better sounds in Duo mode.
- Upgraded 37-note, velocity- and aftertouch-enabled key-bed with enhanced action.
- All-analog Moog synthesizer with Mono and Duo modes.
And below, please take a look at some of the best selling digital pianos currently on sale online (and see how they compare to the pianos we discuss in this article):
|1) Casio PX-560|
|2) Nord Piano 5|
|3) Roland RD-88|
|4) Korg D1|
|5) Roland RD-2000|
2) Roland V-Combo VR-09
Sliding in at a weight of 12 lbs. and 3 oz. and 61 keys, the Roland V-Combo VR-09B comes equipped with a clear LCD smart user interface. It gains you access to an elite lineup of vintage electric pianos, rich acoustic grand pianos, and synthesizers.
The hands-on sliders gives you control on stage with tonality shaping and a ton of knobs and buttons for tweaking. The VR-09 can run on batteries or AC power supply. Roland included a free VR-09 iPad editor application, giving you the power of attorney over the VR-09-B’s organ and synth sound engines right from the comfort of your tablet.
As a bonus, the Onboard sound library expansion pack is available for free on Roland’s Axial website. Technology made to advance to your performance sets and stand out from the rest.
- SuperNatural Synth tones range from vintage classics to modern essentials
- Three onboard rotary effects included with a rock rotary type is a must for loud bands
- Velocity Sensitive Keys with Pitch-bend/Modulation Lever, D-Beam Controller
- Rhythm patterns will change your performances and practice sessions. With a metronome, USB audio recording/playback, and more features.
- Effects types include Overdrive, Delay, Reverb, Chorus, Rotary, Vibrato
3) Korg SP280
A piano bundle styled with a stand, gig bag, keyboard bench and dual instrument cable—where do I sign up? The SP=280 features vintage electric piano sounds, perfect for live performance, a high-output amp section, a stylish design, and a natural weighted hammer action (NH) keyboard that faithfully reproduces the touch of an acoustic piano.
Designed at 42 lbs., the newly designed stand is light and easy to attach. Powerful 2 x 22W stereo sound system is perfect for use at home and for small gigs. A stereo audio input is provided for playing with external audio sources.
The Korg SP-280 offers the experience of playing a concert grand piano in a beautifully-designed digital piano that’s ideal for your home or stage use! Incredibly rich, dynamic acoustic piano sounds, authentic vintage electric piano sounds as well as organs, clavs, strings and more make the SP-280 perfect for any seasoned pianist and even beginners.
High quality built in speakers deliver superb sound while Korg’s Natural Weighted Hammer Action keyboard provides the touch of an acoustic piano. The line out jacks can be used to connect to amplified speakers or a recording device. You can connect a portable audio player or similar to the LINE IN jack (stereo mini-jack) and listen to it through the Korg SP-280’s speakers while you play, making a setup for live performance simple.
- Rich, dynamic acoustic piano sounds that are enjoyable to play
- Authentic vintage electric piano sounds, perfect for live performance
- High-output amp section produces plenty of volume
- Stylish design
- Natural Weighted Hammer Action (NH) keyboard faithfully reproduces the touch of an acoustic piano
- Lightweight design makes transportation easy
- Check out our Korg SP280 review here.
Portable, versatile battery or AC operation, weighted keys, and complete sound customization is what this 88-key Roland keyboard offers potential buyers. The JUNO-DS88’s realistic element makes playing a wonderful experience for pro and amateur players. Setting you up for success on the main stage. Adjustable parameters and hands-on control provides room for experimentation.
Furnished for usage with any DAW for live or studio settings, you can enhance your sound organically with pianos and organs. Pre-patched and customized synth, pad sounds are inserted for any genre of music. The waveform expansion feature gives you exclusive access to over 1,000 free EXP sounds downloadable from Roland’s Axial website.
If you’re really feeling experimental, import WAV files into the JUNO-DS88 and play them from the keyboard. The JUNO-DS88’s wave expansion slot comes preloaded with the EXP-06 Studio Collection.
- Velocity-sensitive with realistic progressive hammer action
- Compatible with all previous-generations of JUNO-Di’s patches
- An entire 1,000+ sound set
- Add a gang of new sounds with the wave expansion slot
- A mobile recording studio can be created with the integrated USB interface
- Sonic vocal effects for solo performers
- 8-track sequencer
- Phrase Pads for performance
- Audio Inputs: 1 x 1/4″ (Mic), 1 x 1/8″ (Aux)
- Audio Outputs: 2 x 1/4″ (L/R)
- Check out our Roland JUNO DS88 review!
5) Yamaha MX61
This keyboards features 61 full-size velocity sensitive keys and is jam packed with more than 1000 killer MOTIF XS sounds.
The MX61’s VCM FX engine makes leveling vintage effects at the circuit a beautiful thing. EQ, phasers, flangers, wah-wahs, and more transports the sounds of the 1970s to now. The 16-part multitimbral and 128-note polyphony lets you build up intense sequences and play them without overlapping.
This makes the MX61BK a candidate tone generation solution for onstage performance and live playback of MIDI tracks off your DAW. 11.31 pounds is an amazing weight-class you can’t deny. The top panel is stamped with solid knobs and buttons for, you know, tweaking sounds and stuff.
The streamlined interface lets you search, edit, and store your sounds onboard without stress. Cubase AI, Steinberg Prologue, and Yamaha YC-3B software is bundled You can build complete productions tracks just with the MX and Cubase AI alone!
- DAW Remote controls transport, mixer, and software instruments from the MX top panel
- A new FM Essential iOS synth app including free effects, drum and loops. Sounds ranging from acoustic pianos, EPs, strings, and drums to evolving 8-element synth textures
- Real-time control over DAW and VSTs
- Input and output midi and audio connectivity ports
- Layer, switch, randomize, and control up to 8 elements each single voice
- Re-creates the sound and behavior of vintage signal processors and FX
- Record/play-back stereo audio and 16 channels of MIDI
- 1/8″ aux line input for connection of tablets and mobile devices
6) Roland FA-06
A semi-weighted 61-note velocity sensitive keyboard. No piece of equipment can match the energy that the FA-06 keyboard workstation provides. For example, thee sounds collection is loaded with over 2,000 patches from the flagship INTEGRA-7 sound module involving the SuperNATURAL synth engine.
Slapped with effects and processors, the sequencing and sampling builds up anticipation for your performance and trackings. The friendly user interface makes navigation a breath of fresh air. Total DAW integration at its finest.
- MIDI communication with iPad (Apple’s iPad camera connection kit)
- Guitar/Mic and Line input jacks for performing, sampling, and DAW recording
- Onboard sampler based on the SP-404SX features 16 pads, 4 banks, and direct recording and playback via SDHC cards
- 16-track sequencer with nonstop loop recording
- Effects including 16 independent MFX engines, 6 COMP+EQ processors for drums
- Tweak tones, effects, and external MIDI devices in real time via 6 user-assignable Sound Modify knobs
- Chord memory, D-Beam, arpeggiator, and rhythm pattern functions for your live performances
7) Casio WK-7600
Affordable, arranger and a keyboard with Batman’s utility belt of creative tools. The WK-7600 has 820 presets and 260 rhythm with 76 piano-style keys. 32-channel mixer, song sequencers, tone editor, DSP effects, drawbars, and arpeggiator are few qualities the WK7600 possesses.
The Pattern Sequencer has eight tracks: Percussion, bass, drums, chord 1 through chord 5. It can be edited to create algorithms. A 17-track Song Sequencer (16 tracks plus one system track) allows recording up to five songs (30000 notes). Recordings can be converted to(standard MIDI file format and stored on an SD memory card (2-32 GB Slot).
- Equipped with 820 tones; 260 rhythms
- 100 DSP effects for a powerful after effect
- Arpeggiator; tone and rhythm editor
- 96-setting registration memory
- Speakers: 2 x 7W bass reflex
- Drawbars makes room for real-time tweakability
- LC beautiful display, data entry dial
- Multiple Digital Effects (For polished productions)
- T76 piano-style keys
- Drawbars; pitch bend wheel and modulation button
8) Casio PX-560
The Casio PX-560 is a stage piano that weighs 26 lbs. Tri-Sensor Scaled Hammer Action II keyboard duplicates the touch response of a concert grand piano. The PX-5S processor allows you to add new sounds and user-programmable rhythms.
Built-in speakers makes you to be the captain of your ship, complete control over hammer response, damper resonance, string resonance, and key-off simulation. Splits and layers are made to be easy. A 256-note polyphony lets you build up a soul fulling track.
- 96 Performance Registrations
- Hex Layer Synthesis Capabilities
- 5.3″ Color Touch interface
- 600 Preset / 400 User Tones
- Expression Pedal Input
- Pitch-bend, Mod Wheel Controllers
- Effects: EQ, Chorus, Delay, Reverb
- Check out our Casio PX-560 review here!
9) Nord Electro 6D
Made for live Performance, this 73-key Nord Electro 6D 73 stage synthesizer has an user-friendly interface that lets you see your settings, effects, and many more. The physical drawbars give you real organ feel, allowing you to edit your sound in present time.
A large OLED display lets you instantly see your settings, effects, and more. You can also set up splits and layers that combine the organ, piano, and sample sections. A dedicated Sample Synth section, with 512MB of memory, offers a large selection of samples and controls for attack, decay, and dynamics.
With the Nord Electro 6D 73, you get the warmth of analog with the road-tested reliability of a sixth-gen digital machine. The keysize is pleasing for the human hands, two-handed playability in a lightweight class. Now with expanded memory (512MB of memory for the Nord Sample Library), Vox/Farfisa, and B3 Bass from Nord’s C2D combo organ.
10) Casio XWP1
The Casio XW-P1 is a 61-key, velocity-sensitive keyboard that has a six oscillator monophonic solo synth engine designed for performers. Pitch Bend and mod wheel capability for sound benders. A library ranging from pianos, brass to bass, and drums for the inspired.
The new drawbar organ mode features nine steps for each drawbar (Vibrato, percussion, and rotary speaker controls are available on organ modes). Two virtual analog style oscillators, two PCM oscillators, one noise oscillator, and one external oscillator for use with line and mic inputs.
Each oscillator has its own personal a master resonant filter, portamento, filter, envelopes, two LFOs, and key tracking. Editing and tweaking is heavily promoted with each setting, along with the original CZ synthesizer’s waveforms. HexTone sounds (a single sound comprised of six components) allows splits, layers and velocity switched sounds. A power supply is included for those that can’t operate on the 6 D battery option.
- 13-track sequencer + Arpeggiator
- 4 real-time controller knobs
- 16-step programmable arpeggiator
- 64 Notes Polyphony
- Headphones: 1 x 1/4″
- Piano section with 1GB of piano sample memory (400 programs with 8 banks)
- USB: 1 x Type B
- Audio Playback: 1/8″ Input
- Audio Inputs: 2 x 1/4″, 1 x 1/8″ (TRS)
- Audio Outputs: 2 x 1/4”
The best digital stage piano for live performance goes to the Nord Electro 6D. It’s sleek stylish outer edge gives you the performance aroma you want. The semi-weighted Velocity Sensitive Waterfall keys makes you feel like you’re guiding on a cloud.
With 400 programs with 8 banks, you rock on for ages.The price range may be intimidating, but you’ll always want to go quality over price—assuming you can afford the price tag, of course.
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