Yamaha vs Korg vs Roland: Battle of the Arranger Keyboards

Yamaha PSR vs Korg PA series vs Roland BK Arranger Music Workstation Keyboards

Here’s a review of the best arranger music workstation keyboard suitable for live playing, and available for a $1000 USD budget.

The three keyboards that fall in this price range include the Yamaha PSR-S750, Korg Pa600 and the Roland GW-8.

The Roland GW-8 arranger doesn’t come with built-in speakers, which may be bad for some of you, as you will need external amps in that case. But that also means that Roland projects this board as a professional performer keyboard that is to be used by pros (it does look like one). It has got superb sounds, catchy styles and includes ethnic, oriental and Indian tones (world tones). I really liked the feature wherein you can play songs directly from USB Flash memory. So you can play any song that is in MP3, .WAV, AIFF or SMF format, which is cool. You can even minimize the main vocals from pre-recorded songs, which makes it great for karaoke-style performances or for music practice.

The Yamaha PSR-750 has a good collection of styles and voices. This is their USP – excellent styles and voices, including some cool sounding orchestral instruments. It is not very complex to setup but not very easy either – there seems to be lot of buttons. The keys somehow feel okay, not great compared to the other two. It comes with a audio recorder as well.

The Korg PA600 has awesome sounds and since it is a Korg (more workstation like) you can pretty much edit just about anything. Comes with a learning curve though as the Sequencer is not the easiest to use. It does not have USB audio input or a mic input either.

Overall, each has its own strengths. The Roland GW-8 Arranger looks the most professional. The Korg PA600 is good but the blue color may put-off certain people. It doesn’t feel solid as well. The Yamaha PSR-750 has just about got everything right, except the keys don’t feel very good (PSR s950 is good).

Yamaha PSR-S750 vs Korg Pa600 vs Roland GW-8 Arranger Music Workstation Keyboard

User Comments….

2 years back I had to choose between the three mentioned. The GW-8 and Pa600 I personally auditioned while the PSR S750 I had heard demos of on youtube.

These were my observations:

1. Looks wise:GW-8 is the best. the s750 and the Pa600 are okay, although the Pa600 is the most professional in features and sound.

2. Soundwise, GW-8 is weak and thin. S750 is brilliant in some areas (acoustic, pianos and EPs but pathetic in some like synths). Pa-600 is good all through though not exceptional. (EPs suck though). Although the best of the lot the PA600 is plauged by its collection of waveforms. So no matter how many sound programs you create out of them , there are going to sound repetitive – Anonymous

I am not sure about the Roland GW-8, as i thought Roland is more popular for digital pianos and synths than arrangers. When I checked out the Roland GW8 at the shop, it didn’t sound inspiring to me at all, but then it could be because the headphones were not of great quality (it doesn’t come with built-in speakers).

I have been using the Yamaha PSR 550 for a few years now, so I know the setup of a Yamaha. Korg has always made great sounding arrangers but is expensive for beginners. But whenever I upgrade, it will definitely be Korg for me. – A1

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