Arranger Workstations are the answer to one-person bands, the perfect choice of keyboard for casual recreation of music, and hobbyists. Arranger Workstations are advanced iterations of a portable keyboard. And as with most electronic keyboards, Arrangers use pre-loaded synth-created sounds (called Voices) and have built-in background scores (called Styles) as accompaniment. However, the primary distinguishing feature of an Arranger Workstation is the ability to play chords and match the style, rhythm, and tempo of your playing with one touch. This is especially relevant to one-person performers and bands, artists who busk, and passionate hobbyists who rely on their instruments and skills alone for music production and recreation. Owing to years of development and refinement of these musical instruments, both the external and internal quality has substantially improved, making it the go-to choice for intermediate and expert musicians. The newer models have taken design cues from advanced synthesisers and include voice modulation tools, MIDI connectivity, and live recording capabilities; so much so that the line between synthesizers and arrangers have blurred significantly.
What is the difference between a piano and Arranger Workstation keyboard?
A piano can be acoustic or digital. However, both alternatives have one purpose – to reproduce the sound of a grand piano, and that’s technically all it can do. Conversely, a keyboard has the functionality of both a grand piano and hundreds of other instruments. Moreover, advanced Arrangers go above and beyond the conventional definition of an electronic keyboard and have features like: style options (background score), velocity-sensitive keys (3 levels), MIDI functionality, memory banks, arpeggiator (plays arpeggios in simple succession), and auto-accompaniment (helps with playing chords) to name a few.
Can an Arranger Workstation be used as a MIDI controller?
Yes. Most electronic keyboards have MIDI functionality via a dedicated USB port. If your model is an older make, a simple USB-MIDI cable will do the trick.
Is there a difference between MIDI keyboards and Arranger Workstations?
A MIDI Keyboard is designed to be used with a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), a platform used to record, mix, and master audio from scratch. Electronic keyboards (Portable, Arrangers, and Synthesizers) are primarily standalone devices that can make and replicate audio produced on the keyboard – a one-person band of sorts. One other difference is the lack of built-in speakers on a MIDI Keyboard and Synthesizers. Arranger Workstations generally have a built-in speaker system.
Should I buy a Synthesizer Keyboard or an Arranger Workstation?
Synthesisers are music production devices. To elaborate, synths manipulate audio waves to create the sounds we have become accustomed to in the form of movie scores and newer, electronic music. Arranger Keyboards take such manipulated, polished audio wave sounds and store them in names under voices. Many of these voices replicate the instruments we have like woodwind and strings in addition to the electronically produced sounds. And hence, Arranger Workstations are ready to use out of the box with its preset voices, styles, and additional audio-manipulation tools while synthesisers need to be configured per the artist’s needs.
What is the price range of an Arranger Workstation?
An Arranger Workstation starts from AED 1,200 and can go upto AED 17,000 in the professional ranges.