Choosing keyboard workstation
What is a keyboard workstation?
The workstation is equipped with tools for both artists and composers. Compared to other professional keyboards, workstations usually have more synthesizer sounds and built-in effects, as well as other tools for music production. No matter whether we are a one-person band, we play with a group of other musicians or we create original sounds - the workstation should meet our musical requirements.
Keyboard workstations provide us with greater possibilities for creating unique sounds and effects than other professional keyboards. They use other methods of sound synthesis, including the most popular pulse-code modulation (PCM) method. This is a method of representing an analog signal by digital recording. Extremely extensive control of parameters and the ability to modulate predefined voices, allows you to create completely new sounds with full control.
If we ever hear any sound coming from this world, such as a creaking floor or a strange exotic instrument, we might want it in our library of sounds. Workstations give us the opportunity to sampling. It involves digitally recording any sound and then reproducing it at any height using the workstation keyboard. This tool can be especially useful for composers who want to use unique sounds in their music
Whether we make live music or compose it, the possibility of sequencing can be very useful. With a few buttons, we can record the parts of the accompaniment using the keyboard, after which we are going to play live for our backing track. In addition, if we want to perform covers of other bands, workstations allow us to reproduce more accurately, eg through predefined MIDI files. Some devices also have built-in vocal harmonics that allow you to create backing choirs in real time.
Applying effects to MIDI or audio tracks can change the ordinary sounding song into something unique. All workstations have built-in effects processors. They can be overlaid on individual paths (so-called inserts), and also on their output. In addition, workstations that enable audio recording typically have the necessary audio processing tools, such as correction or dynamics. This gives us even more control over the final sound of the songs we create with the workstation.
What is Arranger Keyboard?
There is one more type of professional keyboard called the Arranger Station. It is a tool designed for professional musicians on the stage as well as those working in the studio. The main difference between the workstation and the arrangement is the auto-accompaniment option built into it. In other words, with a few buttons, this type of keyboard is able to play a backing track that matches its style, rhythm and tempo to what we currently play. This tool is useful for composers who are forced to quickly produce music in a style they do not necessarily know. Also, singers who do not know how to program a drum or can not play the guitar can use this feature to see how their song will sound without the need to involve the musicians.
For what we should pay attention during purchasing?
The size of the keyboard and its action is very important. We can meet keyboard 88, 76, 61, 49, 37 and even 25 keys. In addition, we should pay attention to the action of the keys, whether it is weighed, half-weighed or has synthesizer keys. After the keyboard we should also pay attention to additional controllers such as sliders, knobs or pads.
Depending on the genre of music as we do or compose, we should choose suitable kind of synthesis the workstation offers. If we need a realistic piano, orchestral sounds and percussion sounds then sampled synthesis should suffice. If we create electronic music, our station should have, for example, analog modeling.
In professional applications, sound processing quality matters. We should check with what sampling frequency and bit depth is capable of working . 24-bit / 96kHz workstation should be sufficient for most tasks.
Many stations have a built-in USB audio interface. If you are working on a computer DAW, this station can be a high quality interface and MIDI keyboard / controller in one.
If we are looking for a tool that will greatly facilitate the composition of the music, we should think about a keyboard workstation. The rich features and quality of this type of equipment should satisfy even the most demanding producers and musicians.