Listening to a beautifully sculpted piano piece like the Clair de Lune on a starry, summer night absolutely takes my breath away, even after all these years of listening to it on repeat. That Debussy classic is only one of many piano pieces that influenced me and millions of others around the world to pick up the keys and make it their hobby or even their career.
Today, we have a wide variety of keys to choose from – those that cost as little as a meal to those that cost more than whole houses. In this article, we will review the top arranger keyboards to consider for beginners.
However, before considering Arranger Keyboards, we need to look at the different types of keyboards you can now purchase. There are a myriad of options, from arranger workstations for intermediate performers, synthesisers for music producers, MIDI keyboards for DAW control, and hybrids like the keytar and ROLI Boards for the daring. Each has a purpose in the music industry, but Arranger Keyboard/Workstations are highly sought-after for their multi-functionality and ease of portability.
Read more in-depth about the keys and purchase options in our expert-written blog - Easiest Keyboard Buying Guide.
Now, onto Arranger keyboard/workstations.
Arranger Keyboards are generally recognized as digital keyboards that offer pre-loaded styles (auto-generated riffs), a variety of voices, and relevant accompaniments to put arrangements together. While the line between digital synth-workstations (with knobs, levels, and audio manipulation tools) and arrangers are blurring everyday, the single most significant aspect of an arranger is its capability of being a standalone tool for a one-person band. While many argue that arrangers do not output quality sound, this fact is heavily discredited by the newer, more affordable yet versatile options arranger workstations have these days. From beginners to live performers, some of our picks are listed below:
The Budget Option - Roland E-X30 Arranger Keyboard
The E-X30 is an aptly priced arranger for those looking to foray into the world of arranger keyboards. This model is a step up from the likes of Yamaha’s PSR E363s and E463s, and Casio’s CT and LK range. Sporting quality, dual speakers and 256 polyphony voices and styles to get you started, the E-X30 is the perfect option for a low-budget beginner’s key that can also function as a backup key in the future. As an add-on benefit, the keyboard comes pre-loaded with ethnic tunes for higher levels of clarity and tone. Our only issue with this model is the feel of the keybed. We understand that Roland had to cut costs somewhere to make their EX range affordable. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, consider the Roland E-X20.
The Value for Money Proposition - Korg PA700 61-key Professional Arranger Keyboard
The PA series has long been the go-to arranger for a while. Since its debut in 2000, the keyboard has been sought after by those looking to fully transition into the music production industry – with the added benefit of being able to perform as a one-person band. The extensive sound engine in-built still remains unmatched in the current price range, barely followed by the Roland EA7 (next on our list). The PA700 lies in-between two extreme price ranges in the series. In our opinion, this arranger will not leave you wanting for any extras in the years to come. Our pet peeve with this amazing product is the age – a bane/boon sort of a situation. While the age helps with reliability and product design, the old age is seen in the smallest of things like exterior design and general feel of the keyboard.
Most Functional - Roland E-A7 Expandable Arranger Arabic Keyboard
The Roland EA7 was a revolutionary product back in 2015 when it launched. The arranger came with two screens and redefined the extent of functionality and expressiveness an arranger could hope to achieve. This would be a perfect pick if you’re looking for a reliable brand and model that is still keeping with the times and has a renowned piano tone. This is also an option to consider if you’re migrating from a Roland keyboard. The learning curve would be significantly smaller. It also helps that this model is lighter than many arrangers in the market.
The Value Pick - Yamaha PSR SX900 61-key Arranger Workstation
These are our hottest selling, new arranger range from Yamaha. The premium feeling SX900 is just a smidge below the highest range of products Yamaha has to offer. They also finally updated all the age-old handicaps like the black and white non-touchscreen and slow load speeds to a colour LCD touch screen, better keybed feel, and a faster, more capable arranger keyboard. This now features a third partition to the key voices, 1337+ Voices, 525 Styles, all controlled via rubberized buttons and a 7 inch TFT Wide VGA LCD colour touchscreen. If you’re looking to save a few bucks and don’t want all the nuanced features of the SX900, we highly recommend the sibling, the SX700 instead. The cheaper AED4299 option has most of the features of the SX900 except Bluetooth connectivity, higher storage space, and a built-in chord-looper (main differences).
Redefining Boundaries - Yamaha Genos 76-key Arranger Workstation
This keyboard single-handedly redefined the purpose of an arranger when it launched in late 2017. As a successor to the industry-tycoon Tyros5, the multi-functional keyboard is the ultimate arranger-keyboard. The keyboard sports a large 9-inch screen with assignable knobs and faders, has aftertouch - a feature that many pay a premium for, and a suite of other features that justifies the steep price tag. The only difficulty we face is recommending a keyboard as advanced and expensive as this to a beginner. This arranger sets the benchmark for all lower model Yamaha arranger-workstations. Yamaha’s own SX series derives sound and style from the unbeatable Genos.
- Learn more about the Yamaha Genos on Yamaha.com
- Get the best deals on the Yamaha Genos on MusicMajlis.co
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