Portable keyboard for home use

Posted by: cesmith

Portable keyboard for home use - 04/18/21 10:22 AM

Hello,

I am looking for a portable keyboard that is easy to move and store. I would like to use this keyboard to improve my piano/keyboard skills and eventually record backing tracks to jazz standards using StudioOne and/or Realband. Please see below for the following specs:

61 keys
~20 lbs or less
USB connectable – I recently purchased the PreSonus AudioBox USB96 interface

I would not be looking to spend much more than $500. Generally, this is for home use and not for playing with a band. However, recording capability is key.

Thank you.
Posted by: MarioD

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 04/18/21 12:58 PM

A little more information would be helpful, things like do you want sounds to be included or just a MIDI controller? Do you want weighted keys? etc

If you are looking for a MIDI controller then there are a number of them in your price range:

https://www.playpianotips.com/best-61-key-midi-controller/#:~:text=10%20Top%2061%20Key%20MIDI%20Controllers%20Review%202021,Nektar%20Impact%20GX61%20%E2%80%93%20Best%20for%20Lynux.%20

If you are looking for a keyboard with sounds then here are a few you may be interested in, be sure to check as some do not have USB connections:

https://www.newdigitalpianoreview.com/best-61-key-digital-piano-keyboard-reviews/#:~:text=3%20Top%2061-Key%20Digital%20Piano%20Keyboard%20s%201,Instrument%20%E2%80%93%20with%20Microphone%20and%20Sticker%20Sheet.%20

https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/best-keyboards-for-under-500/
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 04/18/21 06:48 PM

If you can wait until the Christmas shopping season, that's when some REALLY good buys are available. You will find retail stores like BestBuy, Walmart and Target offer some great keyboard sales at Christmas.

Yamaha and Casio are two keyboard manufacturers that have several student models that either offer built-in lessons or have lessons on the internet. Casio even has a keyboard with keys that light up to guide you through a lesson.

You didn't mention it but you'll likely want a keyboard with RCA plug line out connections. That way you will be able to run the keyboard's audio output to the audio inputs of your PreSonus AudioBox USB96 interface and use the USB connection for transferring MIDI data between the keyboard and your computer.
Posted by: cesmith

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 04/18/21 10:18 PM

Thanks for the reply. In addition to RCA line out, would a standard 1/4 inch jack suffice for connecting to the interface (i.e., with a standard guitar cable)? Also, I have a Dell laptop with USB C ports. The Casio model I've found below has a micro B. I assume I would be able to connect this keyboard right to my computer with a micro B to USB C adapter?

https://www.casio.com/products/electronic-musical-instruments/portable-keyboards/ct-s200/techspec

Thanks again!
Posted by: cesmith

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 04/27/21 09:19 PM

Hello,

I wanted to quickly follow up on this thread. I might be more interested in a keyboard with two quarter-inch jacks. What are some smaller/cheaper keyboards with quarter-inch jacks that could connect with an audio interface? Would I be able to find a smaller keyboard with 61 keys like some of the portable keyboards?

Thanks!
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 04/27/21 09:50 PM

Not sure how possible this is, but perhaps head to a local music store and ask the sales rep to show you what products are available that suit your needs. It seems that you are looking for a digital piano or similar with audio out capability, not just a keyboard with MIDI out. Would that be feasible?
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 04/28/21 05:46 AM

< USB connectable – I recently purchased the PreSonus AudioBox USB96 interface >

The PreSonus AudioBox USB96 interface has the in/out 5 pin MIDI interface connections and the interface's USB connection is to connect the device to the computer. You can use a keyboard that has either the 5 pin outputs or a MIDI USB output. If you purchase a keyboard with the MIDI USB output, you will need an adaptor cable to make the connection between the keyboard and audio interface. A keyboard with the 5 pin in/outs will connect to the audio interface directly.

It appears you're mainly interested in the audio output of the prospective Keyboard you purchase. Note that the Presonus Audiobox USB 96 had two mic/inst inputs and no Line in input. This is not the ideal interface for connecting a Keyboard to the interface. It will work but care must be taken when setting the output of the keyboard and the gain input into the interface and again into the recording software you'll use. Since your purchase is recent, you may want to explore the possibility to exchange the Audiobox USB 96 for the next upgrade in the Presonus line, the PreSonus Studio 24c USB-C Audio Interface. It has all the features of the Audio USB 96 but also has Line In inputs with a reasonable price increase.
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 04/28/21 05:28 PM

cesmith,

Most of the time a 1/4" connector on the rear of a keyboard is for headphones.

When you find a keyboard you're interested in, visit the manufacturer's website and download all the manuals for that keyboard. That way you can compare features.
Posted by: VideoTrack

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 04/28/21 07:34 PM

Originally Posted By: cesmith
Hello,

I wanted to quickly follow up on this thread. I might be more interested in a keyboard with two quarter-inch jacks.

There will be very few if any available with two 1/4" mono jacks. Most would consist of a single stereo jack.
Posted by: edshaw

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 05/02/21 03:20 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPRN1UDQnxY

(In 1990, I bought a Roland A-33 with a Korg Grand Piano & Organ module. Never regretted it. It's a antique now but still hauls the mail.)
Posted by: rharv

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 05/02/21 05:21 AM

I don't know how small and how light you need but I recently got a Juno-DS that is lighter than any other board I've owned, 61 keys and has 2 1/4" outs, USB that can be assigned to computer or MIDI at will, MIDI (old style) as well, and some other connections (mic in for vocoder etc).

Like I said it's pretty light and has a ton of sounds.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owWzJVh2ink
Posted by: Cathie

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 05/03/21 04:11 PM

I started out on a Yamaha YPT 240 that was extremely lightweight, had a great sound, had 100 styles built in with A and B sections for each, and had ports and connectors I never really investigated. Used it till it wore out--sometimes played six or eight hours a day--and then replaced it with a DGX 660... most unfortunately that one is not lightweight, lol, weighs 80 lbs with the stand, but it has great sound, 200 styles (A and B sections for each of them) and well over 300 voices, plus the connectivity you're looking for. Both keyboards are 88 keys, though, so maybe bigger than you're looking for--and of course there are probably newer models at this point.

I wish you well on your search. It was a lot of fun finding my keyboards and I hope you have fun as well!
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: Portable keyboard for home use - 05/19/21 09:02 AM

My advice is to check Ebay, maybe the local want ads, and Facebook marketplace, because people are selling those things all the time and unless you want to pay retail price.... look at the used market. Also yard sales are places where you can often find a decent keyboard at a really good price.

Sometimes you can find used gear on the bulletin boards in music stores.