Workstation synthesizers have been around for many years. If you don’t know, a synthesizer workstation is a complete music production system built into a synth. You can arrange full songs, with drums, bass, synths, etc… Very popular workstations include the Yamaha Motif8, and the Korg Krome but these are quite pricey and not really the best choice for a lot of musicians on a budget.
Sure you could just use a computer, but some people don’t like working this way, plus if you are a solo musician who performs live, a workstation can be a better option since there’s no need to deal with laptops and audio interfaces. Also you don’t need to find VSTs, samples, and different plugins you need on a computer. Everything you need is already in the workstation. I thought I would put together a little list of some great workstations you can get for $500 or less!
1. The Yamaha MX49. Yamaha’s legendary Motif Series has been used by countless professionals, so it’s no surprise that Yamaha could make a compact, and inexpensive workstation that sounds absolutely phenomenal. Watch this demo below to hear some of the beautiful sounds the MX49 can produce. This video is in Japanese, but it really demonstrates the quality of this wonderful instrument.
2. The Korg MicroARRANGER is another great full featured workstation that has more keys than the MX49, however they’re microkeys. This can be a deal breaker for some people, but if you have small hands like me, it’s not a bad thing. Korg has done quite well with their “Micro” series, hence the legendary MicroKORG. They thought they would try this idea in workstation package. This is cool for the travelling musician who needs powerful accompaniment with a small footprint.
3. The Casio WK6600 is quite possibly the best deal and I honestly think it sounds better than the MicroARRANGER, but not quite as good as the Yamaha MX49. However it’s $200 cheaper than both of them! Casio’s name is legendary in the home keyboard market, and nearly everyone on the planet has owned one at one time or another. I still have a vintage CT370 that I use on nearly everything I record. Their build quality is just as legendary as their name, this is why you see so many Casios that have been abused for years by kids that still work great. In addition to being less expensive, you get 76 FULL SIZED KEYS on the WK6600.
So the bottom line, if you’re looking for the highest sound quality, go with the Yamaha MX49, if portability is your concern, than the MicorARRANGER might before you, and the most for your money goes to the WK6600.
Hopefully you found this article helpful and useful. If you did, feel free to leave a comment below.