Professional Arranger Keyboard Workstations: How do they differ from typical music workstations, and reviews of popular products from Korg, Yamaha & Roland.
Table of Contents
- The Best Arranger Keyboards
- Korg Pa4X 61 / 76-Key Professional Arranger Keyboard
- Yamaha TYROS Arranger Production Keyboard
- Korg Pa900 Professional Arranger Keyboard
- Yamaha PSR-s970 Arranger Keyboard
- Yamaha PSR-s770 Arranger Keyboard
- Pro Arranger vs Workstation
- Performing as a One-Man Band
- Top Class Sounds & Styles
- Recommended Pro Arranger Keyboards
- Great for Creating Demos
- Create Original Music Quickly
- Serves as a Great Educational Tool
- Final Thoughts
The Best Arranger Keyboards
Here are the best digital arranger keyboards that money can buy, ideal for the live performer / entertainer, for composers, songwriters and for quick arranging.
Korg Pa4X 61 / 76-Key Professional Arranger Keyboard
For years, the Korg’s PA Series has been one of the most successful line of arranger workstations. Here’s their newest flagship product, the Pa4X is a worthy competitor to the Yamaha. Some fantastic styles here for your use and you will really love the drum samples; use the drum tracks as it is for your studio work.
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Yamaha TYROS Arranger Production Keyboard
The Tyros is one of the best arranger keyboards from Yamaha till now; perfect for those who want choose and play type features. There is a learning curve though for using the advanced features.
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Korg Pa900 Professional Arranger Keyboard
This Korg arranger synth comes with 400 Styles, 1100+ sounds, built-in TC-Helicon vocal effects, 2 mic/line inputs and a 7″ touchscreen. Includes several powerful features from the flagship Pa4X. An excellent professional arranger with an enhanced feature set available at an extremely attractive price.
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Yamaha PSR-s970 Arranger Keyboard
The Yamaha PSR-s970 works quite well for accompanying, songwriting, creating demos. It comes with realistic sounds, great styles, and several more features. It’s more like a mini-Tyros, minus the price-tag.
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Yamaha PSR-s770 Arranger Keyboard
The Yamaha PSR-s770 is basically a toned down version of the psr-979. Cool voices and styles, large color screen, flexible audio playback functions and a Mic/Guitar input, and more.
- I assume you’ve already looked at the arranger keyboards that are available for under $1000 (for serious playing), and didn’t find anything suitable
- Good arranger keyboards for intermediate players under $500: Good features and decent sound
Pro Arranger vs Workstation
A professional arranger keyboard can be helpful in various situations – be it onstage or Studio.
When it comes to the high end keyboards, where in you pay more than a couple of thousand dollars for pro keyboards, it is important to remember that it is not true that a workstation is better than an arranger or vice versa.
Each has its advantages and use in different spheres of music – be it performing or composing.
Though the distinction between the two is gradually diminishing, there are some basic differences.
Professional arranger keyboards nowadays are becoming more powerful, intuitive, and interactive. Not to mention their stunning sounds, especially their acoustic instrument sounds, and styles.
A pro arranger keyboard can help you and be almost indispensable when it comes to certain areas of music.
Performing as a One-Man Band
This is where a pro arranger scores with its ability to give a more LIVE feeling to the music. The world class styles and the variations that you can provide using intros and fill-ins make them ideal for solo performances.
The same band-like effect can be achieved with a workstation too but then you will have to program all the stuff and play them back in a sequence when needed.
Top Class Sounds & Styles
Arranger keyboards are no longer meant for home entertainment. With the availability of superb quality sounds (especially acoustic instruments) and styles, it has become a necessary tool for the pro performing musician.
When it comes to acoustic instruments, there is no match to pro arrangers primarily because they are meant to be performed live. Brands like Yamaha have specially designed the Mega Voice technology to help you recreate authentic acoustic instrument sounds and their nuances.
The styles and performances on pro arrangers are created by world-class musicians. In fact some of them are so good, recording studios at times use some of the tracks as-it-is and release them on CDs.
And why not, this is the era where time is a precious commodity and everything is needed quickly. So why create from scratch when you have recording quality sounds and styles already provided in your pro arranger.
Recommended Pro Arranger Keyboards
Great for Creating Demos
Not all professionals work in bands. Lot of them work in studios, are constantly making demos (they need to produce it quickly), and also play live in small settings as solo performers or as backup player to a singer. Yamaha Tyros fits in perfectly there.
You can quickly perform and even create music in a variety of genres such as – Pop, Rock, Jazz, Blues, Latin, Samba, Classical, Ethnic, etc. All using just one instrument!
Create Original Music Quickly
A very common scenario for any music professional to face is a situation where a client asks you to compose something in a day or two.
Just imagine if it is a style of music which is not your forte! To learn more about that particular style and to acquire the technique in a day or two…too tough!
And if the keyboard is not your primary instrument, then in all probability you may have to pass that opportunity to somebody else.
This is where a professional arranger keyboard can help you out!
You just have to choose the appropriate style, play your chord progression, some melody and a bit of editing. There you go…your track is ready with great sounding instruments.
Serves as a Great Educational Tool
Gone are the days where once you have proved yourself you could be assured of work for the rest of your life. Today, you have to keep on upgrading yourself and keep on proving yourself from time to time.
The more versatile you are in your sphere of work, the more you get work. And the same holds true for music as well.
Here a pro-arranger can serve as a great educational tool too. Whenever you have spare time on your hands, you can educate yourself on the inner workings of the various styles and genres.
A good professional arranger will certainly increase your value and longevity as a working musician.
It is not necessary that just because a keyboard is expensive, it has to be difficult to use, and should give you tons of customizable options. And that is where these arrangers can be really useful.
You can use the voices and styles as it is; they are world class and ready to be used for live performances or even in the studio.
There are many musicians who don’t create sounds a lot, and focus more on the performance factors. For them, the ready-to-use options on these boards are a great help.
And mind you, these do come with several features to help you customize and create your own sounds as well. It’s up to you if you want to use them.
And since we are taking about the best here, some of the options to consider include the Yamaha TYROS and the Korg Pa4X arranger workstation keyboards. These are some of the most realistic, powerful, and easy-to-use arranger workstation ever produced.
And which of these two brands should you choose? Again, it is more of a personal preference. But it has been observed that Yamaha has good piano and orchestra sounds, and it is very easy to use.
Korg on the other hand has always had a successful line of arranger and synth workstations, and most pros seem to prefer the Korg brand because of their cutting edge sounds and tools.
More Arranger Keyboards
Here are some more professional arrangers that you could consider depending on your needs.
Around the $1000 price range, you have the option of going in for the korg pa50SD or the yamaha psr-s770 61-key keyboards. These are the best options that you have if you are looking for an entry level professional arranger keyboard.
Performing musicians looking for more professional features can opt in for the yamaha psr-s970 or the Korg-PA800 keyboards.
Pro arrangers nowadays are powerful, intuitive, and interactive keyboards with the most stunning sounds ever produced. They are rightly suited for “one-man-band” performances, though they are flexible enough to be used for studio work as well. If you are a performer and composer, these pro keyboards can help you to quickly transform your musical ideas into complete, polished productions.
Also Read: Arranger Keyboards vs Synthesizers>