What to Consider While Buying a Keyboard Synthesizer?

Many people get confused between a keyboard and a synthesizer as they almost serve the same purposes of accompanying the solo entertainers, singer-songwriters, music composers, as well as do wonders in concerts. But they are completely two different types of electronic devices with distinctly different components. 

Almost all musicians who are experts in using keyboards or synthesizers are masters in musical components of this device and for them, this is a wonderful musical instrument. On the other hand, the science and technology behind this musical instrument is hidden and unknown to many because it has nothing to do with music and art. However, you need to essentially have the technical knowledge to buy the right device for your purpose.

Below are the basic technical ideas and functions of a keyboard synthesizer to help you understand various technical components and pick the right device for your purpose.

What to Consider While Buying a Keyboard Synthesizer?

Keyboard Synthesizer

In the case of online getting the device, the risks even grow more unless and until you know the device and have already experienced its features and components. However, consider the following things before buying a keyboard synthesizer that would serve your exact purposes.

#1. Built-in Tone Capacity

The first thing to consider in a keyboard or synthesizer is its capacity for generating different tones. The more versatile the device the more built-in tones it will have. The feature of built=in tones is essential and important because it is for you to switch over from one tone to another just within a wink by touching a button. 

However, most contemporary keyboard synthesizers come with the features of recreating new tones. You can use this feature and generate new tones to serve your purpose. But creating new tones is a time-consuming process and involves a lot of technical know-how. Therefore, built-in tones and the number of tones are important to consider while buying your keyboard synthesizer.

Check out: Best Budget Synths Under $500

#2. Number of Keys in the Keyboard Synthesizer

Count the keys in the keyboard synthesizer and you will find a different number of keys in different devices. Some keyboard synthesizers contain 61 rids whereas some come with 73 or 76 or 88 etc. The reason behind these differences in the number of keys is the ease of use of the device.

Learners or new users may find it difficult to perform with too many keys in a keyboard synthesizer. On the other hand, experienced and expert musicians need several octaves to perform musical events. So, a 61-keys keyboard is the best device for you if you are new to a keyboard synthesizer. However, you can find many other designs of keyboard synthesizers if you still need fewer keys than 61 in your device. 

#3. Visibility and Clarity

Choosing the right button at a right time is the common obstacle faced by most musicians. There are several buttons on the board of the device to press and operate for different tones, rhythms, features, etc. When you are performing in a show you can never wait or spend time searching for buttons to change the tone or rhythm or to use a specific feature.

Other musicians will not wait for you to search for the button because the basic rhythm of the concert will be hampered and the music show will be a flop event. Therefore, make sure that every button and its numbers are visible and large enough to read and identify them easily and quickly.

#4. Weight and Size

Remember, almost all musicians perform in a group with other artists who play various instruments and that is how concerts and musical shows take place. So, it is important to consider the size of your keyboard synthesizer.

You may create awkward situations if your keyboard occupies plenty of place on a small stage obstructing other instruments to accommodate. Even if you are a solo performer the weight and size of your keyboard synthesizer may create portability issues. Therefore, consider the size and weight of your device and buy a compact and lightweight one with the required features and components.

#5. Cost and Affordability

The keyboard synthesizers are expensive devices especially those that have more features and components and typical technological machinery. However, often you can never compromise with the cost if you are a high-level performer and essentially need specific features.

Eventually, you may take it for granted and consider it worth paying for a typical and expensive keyboard synthesizer. On the other hand, you can consider the lower-priced and affordable devices if you are a learner or a new performer.

Check out: The Best Synths Under $1000 Rated by Experts

Is a Keyboard and a Synthesizer Different than Each Other?

Technically and practically, a keyboard and a synthesizer refer to different types of devices. It is essential to understand what technologies make the two devices different to buy the right device for your purpose.

In a simple understanding, the Analog synthesizers in the 1970s originated the concept of sound waves through an “additive process” that was typically used in the keyboards and later when the same was used through a digital “subtractive process” is called a synthesizer. You manipulate the soundwaves of a specific musical instrument or instruments in an Analog keyboard whereas manipulate and create various types and shapes of soundwaves of a specific musical instrument through a digital synthesizer.

However, though it looks that digital synthesizers are more versatile than analog keyboards in recent times both were combined to produce MIDI or Musical Instrument Digital Interface and modular synthesizers. Eventually, these devices are more versatile and popular.

Check out this comparison: Digital Piano vs. Keyboard vs. Synthesizer

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the technology used in a keyboard synthesizer?

A keyboard synthesizer uses “sound energy” technology of both “potential energy” and “kinetic energy”.

What is the basic difference between a Keyboard and a Synthesizer?

A keyboard has in-built tones and rhythms whereas a synthesizer can create different tones and rhythms.

Are numbers of keys in a keyboard synthesizer important?

It differs depending upon the needs of the users but it is important. If you are a learner you may need fewer keywords but the highest numbers of keys are preferred by experienced users.

You can watch this video to get a bit more clarity on the basics of Synths (really helpful for beginners).

Conclusion

Knowing the basics of the technology used in a keyboard synthesizer is essential to fulfilling your expectations in terms of your musical performances. However, when it comes to buying a keyboard synthesizer it becomes tricky and embarrassing to choose the right device. It may not be easier for the buyers or music lovers to understand several technical terminologies like Analog and digital synthesizer, VCO, VCA, VCF, virtual Analog or VA synthesizers, modular synthesizers, soft synthesizers, MIDI, etc. Therefore, know the basic technology, features, and components in a device and buy the best keyboard synthesizer that perfectly serves your purposes.

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Hi, I'm Bethelina Googenhiemer. I am an expert in synthesizers. After starting my career in music production, I always wanted to do something else in my part-time, like sharing my knowledge with others who are still growing, which I will be doing on PianoOpedia. I will be writing guides & tips with the help of my team.

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