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Help in Retirement

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

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Help in Retirement

Postby seriouslynot » Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:10 am

I am looking at retiring soon and am wanting to indulge in something. Instead of buying an expensive car or doing something ridiculous I want to mess around with music. I used to play piano as a hobby and like improvising. I was thinking of getting a good keyboard controller, like the NI S88. However, then I need to turn on my computer to play, and I'm tired of staring at a computer screen. An alternative would be a keyboard workstation that I could play on its own and connect to the computer when I wanted to use my DAW (Logic Pro). I was thinking of something like the Kurzweil 2700. Of course all of these have insanely more capabilities than I will ever use, but its still less expensive (much less) than a new car.

So my question really boils down to: Is having to turn on a computer to get sound out of the keyboard that much of a pain compared to just sitting down to a keyboard?

I apologize for asking for advice on such an absolutely 1st world problem.
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby The Elf » Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:36 am

Some people seem to find it a pain - others not. I'm in the latter camp. Turning on a computer is like walking through the wardrobe into Narnia.

Sitting in front of a workstation and tinkering is fine, but if you want to take it places, a computer is almost certainly going to be involved at some stage. The idea of trying to create an entire production in a keyboard workstation makes my blood run cold.

But to each their own, and either approach will get you making music. And opting for one approach over the other to begin with won't stop you adopting the other as and when it suits you.
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby Arpangel » Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:39 am

seriouslynot wrote:So my question really boils down to: Is having to turn on a computer to get sound out of the keyboard that much of a pain compared to just sitting down to a keyboard?

Yes, it is, compared to just sitting down at a keyboard, it’s not that much of a pain, but just turning on a keyboard is more spontaneous, and it feels more like an instrument.
As for what keyboard you choose, it depends on your music, the Kurzweil you mention would be fine, as would a Yamaha Montage, or any of the other popular ones, it’s up to you, bottom line is to try things out, there really is no substitute for that, you’ll be drawn to one that feels right, for you, you’ll be able to tell if it’s friendly towards you, sympathetic to your playing style, pretty much straight away.
And yes, it’s preferable to a car, believe me, a keyboard won’t keep demanding large extractions from your wallet.

:)
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby IAA » Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:45 am

create an entire production in a keyboard workstation makes my blood run cold.
The Elf is right, I have a keyboard workstation (Kronos) but for anything other than sketches it’s easier on the computer in a DAW rather than fiddle around on the Kronos sequencer.
Believe me that will kill your inspiration!
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby Folderol » Tue Jun 08, 2021 7:56 am

You can have both!
Almost all keyboards have MIDI capability.
Some have a headphone output as well as normal audio outputs.
A vanishingly small number or portables have built in speakers. In which case for just noodling around, switch it on and play.

At some point you are likely to want to record your playing and at that point a computer is virtually obligatory. Otherwise you'd end up needing a mass of very expensive hardware. As well as taking a lot of the pain out of making the recordings, a computer will massively expand your capability.

P.S.
Just because there are a lot of bells and whistles you don't have to use them :lol:
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby BJG145 » Tue Jun 08, 2021 8:18 am

^^^

What he said

I use a computer for any serious music-making, but I prefer a keyboard I can try things out on without having to boot up the rest of the system, and for gigs.
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby Dave B » Tue Jun 08, 2021 8:33 am

Is it a pain to turn a computer on? a bit ... yes. So I don't have a pure controller any more - I did once, but put something that made sounds in pride of place. Sometimes you don't want to jump through hoops to hear something.

You don't have to have a full workstation - there are some excellent digital pianos out there which have midi and / or usb midi. These will plug into a computer and be a great controller, but are fine for noodling on.

(I'm not going to ever advise someone against getting a Kurzweil - folks round here would stone me for such hypocrisy :D)

If you want a full fat 'blow it on something nice' type approach, you could get an old electric piano - Rhodes or Wurlitzer - and play that. They are beautiful things to own. And also get a controller for when you are ready to turn on a computer....
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby BobTheDog » Tue Jun 08, 2021 1:22 pm

I would advise a stupid fast car that you that makes you groan when you get in and out of it and an acoustic guitar.
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby MOF » Tue Jun 08, 2021 2:47 pm

And yes, it’s preferable to a car, believe me, a keyboard won’t keep demanding large extractions from your wallet.

Unless it’s a 2014 onward Nissan Leaf and a Zappi charger, you can get paid to store electricity and have a car almost for free, TCO is much less than ICE cars, few moving parts and fuel is about one third of the cost.

I’d say the NI S88 with Komplete software and a Mac (SSD, M1) computer which can be plugged in permanently and left in ‘sleep’ mode, it only uses about 1watt when not in use and springs to life very quickly.
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby seriouslynot » Tue Jun 08, 2021 3:11 pm

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. It looks like I will be able to enjoy whatever approach I take which is reassuring. Since I like improvising and would like to create recordings (not that I would inflict those on any but extremely close friends) it was clear that a computer would be necessary for that. I am rather tired of computers but apparently recording on a workstation would be quite unpleasant by comparison. So I'll go with the keyboard for now. And I can always add the workstation later.

Thanks again
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby mountain lion » Tue Jun 08, 2021 3:22 pm

I never turn off my Mac.
I just push a Button insert my code and i’m in the matrix.
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby MOF » Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:11 pm

I apologize for asking for advice on such an absolutely 1st world problem.

Thankfully that applies to most of us.
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby seriouslynot » Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:13 pm

And in spite of being tired of computers, I just realized that maybe I can connect a keyboard to one of the new iPads for a kit that would be easy to start and plunk on, and connect it to the computer for more complex messing around.

Hmmmm
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby Folderol » Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:20 pm

Nobody looking? Good :shifty:
Don't let the others find out I said this, but if your keyboard has line outputs, but no headphone socket and you have relatively high impedance headphones (and keep the volume down) you can often get very presentable results making up a lead that will go from your phones to each of the line outputs :shh:
P.S. Not that I've ever done that of course. Noooo :beamup:
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Re: Help in Retirement

Postby seriouslynot » Tue Jun 08, 2021 4:26 pm

:thumbup: Thanks. I'll have to try that.
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