When you reach the stage wherein you are exploring various music workstations and considering buying one, you are no longer just a keyboard or a Piano player.
You have grown as a musician and you are becoming better at composing, arranging and music technology skills.
Now you need something which will help you to give shape to all the musical ideas in your head…and that is where the Keyboard Music workstation fits in.
A Music workstation is also known as a keyboard music workstation… or simply as a workstation.
Music Workstation Keyboards – Competition is Getting Hotter
Before we go into the technicalities, a brief overview of the major players and their product history!
Music Workstations is one area where all the major players (Roland, Korg, Yamaha) want to dominate, to show their supremacy in the digital keyboard instruments arena.
Yamaha, which did not have any presence in the Music Workstations market, entered with a bag few years back with the Motif ES. It just tore apart the competition at that time.
Korg and Roland had no choice but to innovate and come with better products. Korg came out with the Triton Extreme, which made it cheaper to own a Triton. Roland came with the super Fantom X series, which included audio recording as well.
These three continue to improve their flagship products and continue to offer more at reduced prices. Of course, as a consumer you can’t ask for more as the eventual beneficiary of this competition is going to be You!
Currently, the latest offerings from these include:
Yamaha MOTIF-XF6 / Yamaha MOTIF-XF8: 16 audio channels directly to the DAW
Korg M3 61-Key / Korg M3 88-Key: Aggressive on price, based on their flagship OASYS
Roland Fantom-G6 / Roland Fantom-G8: Better sequencing, editing, display and hardware quality
As of now, no new models in this category have been announced, so maybe it’s time to get an established product.
Why A Music Workstation?
Because it is a synthesizer, sequencer, sampler and a musical keyboard, everything rolled into one! It is a self contained music production tool which lets you compose music using just one piece of equipment.
It can be described as a portable music studio!
The basic aim of having a workstation is simple, you do not want to leave your instrument when you get that brilliant idea in your head. You need all the tools at one place to turn that idea into a masterpiece.
Any keyboard workstation should normally contain the following features:
Multi-track Sequencing – lets you record and edit your composition, including vocals
Drum machine – record, edit and play rhythm tracks
Synthesizer – lets you create, edit, store and play back the sounds
Sampler – lets you record external sounds, manipulate and play back the sounds
Effects device – apply effects like reverbs, delays etc. at both the global level as well as at channel specific levels
Controllers – includes knobs, switches, faders, ribbon, etc. to let you change each and every parameter of sound
The more popular music workstations include Korg’s Triton, Roland’s Fantom, and Yamaha’s Motif. In addition to the above features, these instruments will include things like CD burners and expansion cards which will let you add new sounds.
Yamaha is also projecting its Tyros as an arranger workstation though it is more of an arranger keyboard and not as powerful as the Motif.
Keyboard workstations can also be used for live performances. As a keyboard player you will normally create compbination of sounds and assign it to the various keys or you will create sequences which you may use later during your live performance.
Once on the stage, you can apply effects or use the controllers to modulate the sounds on the fly without needing any external gear.
Accessories for Music Workstation
Here are some keyboard accessories to consider for your music workstation keyboard considering that you will be doing a lot of onstage performances, in addition to using it in the studio.
For working on demos or creating music at home, you may wat to get yourself a nice pair of closed headphones that isolates sound well.
High-quality audio cables are always required if you are a regular performer onstage. Keeping that in mind, instrument cables will benefit you on the stage or in the studio.