Top 10 Best Keyboard Workstations for 2020

best keyboard workstation

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Perhaps you are a professional working in the music industry, or you are someone who wants to get their start. Maybe you are a hobbyist or perhaps you already have an album or two out? No matter who you might be, if you love music, you will want to find ways to make the process of making that music as easy as possible — finding the best keyboard workstation is an essential step in the right direction. It can help you to get your ideas down, and you can produce some great results.

Many people consider a digital keyboard workstation to be a studio in a box because they can provide such versatility. You will be able to play and record the ideas that you have quickly and easily, and you will find that they can provide you with a wealth of options to get truly creative with your music. Of course, you will find that there are quite a few of these options available on the market today. With the wealth of choices, it can sometimes be difficult for you to know which one you might want to choose and which is right for you.

Fortunately, we have collected the top 10 digital piano workstations to help you narrow your choice somewhat. This should make it easier for you to find the music production solution that is going to work best for your needs no matter how personal or how grand they might be. Let’s look at the best keyboard workstation options.

The Best Keyboard Workstation

Name
Korg Kross 2 Synthesizer Workstation
  • Number of Keys: 61
  • Weight: 8.38 lbs.
Yamaha MODX8 88-Key Yamaha MODX8
  • Number of Keys: 88
  • Weight: 33 lbs.
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Kurzweil PC3K6 61 Note Kurzweil PC3K6
  • Number of Keys: 61
  • Weight: 31 lbs.
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Yamaha MX61 Music Production Yamaha MX61
  • Number of Keys: 61
  • Weight: 14.84 lbs.
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Roland 88-key Music Workstation Roland Music Workstation FA-08
  • Number of Keys: 88
  • Weight: 36 lbs.
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BeatBuddy the Only Drum Machine Yamaha MOXF6
  • Number of Keys: 61
  • Weight: 25.1 lbs.
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Korg Volca Beats Analogue Drum Kurzweil PC3K8
  • Number of Keys: 88
  • Weight: 72.8 lbs.
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Akai Professional MPC Studio Black Korg Krome
  • Number of Keys: 88
  • Weight: 46.4 lbs.
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IK Multimedia UNO Drum Portable Casio WK-6600
  • Number of Keys: 76
  • Weight: 24 lbs.
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Teenage Engineering Yamaha Montage 8
  • Number of Keys: 88
  • Weight: 65.1 lbs.
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Korg Kross 2 Synthesizer Workstation

The Kross 2 from Korg is one of the most popular keyboard workstations available today for many reasons. It provides an ample amount of power and versatility. There are 1,075 presets that come with the workstation, and it offers 120 polyphony voices. There are sample trigger pads on the synthesizer keyboard, along with plenty of other features. You will find a mic input, as well as an audio recorder built into the keyboard. It has a 16-track MIDI sequencer, drum track, arpeggiator, and excellent sound quality.

The Kross features some excellent sounds. You will naturally have options on the sound engine that are used frequently, such as strings, synth sounds, and brass. However, you will also find some other exciting instruments, such as a vintage tape sampler, electronica sounds, a toy piano, and much more.

The Kross keyboard workstation features the EDS-i sound engine, which can provide you with studio-level sound. You will be able to use up to seven effects that the same time, including five insert effects and two mater effects. Some of the types of effects included are chorus, flanger, reverb, and delay.

The Kross is a quality workstation that is quite affordable. It can work out well for those who are just getting started, as well as those who have more experience under their belt. The Kross can make a good option for just about anyone.

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight and easy to transport
  • More than 1,000 great sounds
  • EDS-i Sound Engine
  • 120 voices of polyphony

Cons

  • The screen is quite small

Yamaha MODX8

Yamaha MODX8 88-Key

There is a lot to love about the Yamaha MODX8 keyboard workstation. It has 88-note graded hammer action keys, which can give you the feel of playing an actual piano. This is nice whether you are at home in the middle of an audio recording or you are in a live performance. This is a high-quality workstation that can provide you with a range of features including 192-note total polyphony – there is 128-note stereo AWM2 and 64 note FM-X.

The Super Knob can control a range of different parameters at the same time, which can provide more expressive sound. There are 16 channels of MIDI through the USB cable, as well as send 10/receive and four audio channels. These keyboard synthesizers are high-quality and can provide you with the sound and the features that you need.

The vocoder effect can recreate a range of synth sounds. The Rhythm Pattern makes it easy to add percussion to any performances. It also features data compression without letting the audio quality suffer. There are plenty of reasons to choose this Yamaha digital keyboard workstation.

Pros

  • Large and easy to read screen
  • 1GB internal flash memory for installing samples and external libraries
  • Easy to use controls
  • Plenty of onboard features

Cons

  • It can take some time to set up the sound programming if you are not familiar with workstations

Kurzweil PC3K6

Kurzweil PC3K6 61 Note

The PC3K6 is another of the best keyboard workstations available today. It is a 61-note keyboard with semi-weighted keys that are velocity and aftertouch sensitive. Those who might be using the workstation for the synth and the organ sounds will find that the quick release springs can provide you with the excellent response that you need. The keyboard synthesizer features 128-voice polyphony and ensures that the performance and the sound are extremely fast.

There are 1,074 factory presets on the workstation, and many of those are using between 10 and 20 layers. There are some impressive samples in the sound engine, as well. These include samples from PC2 Base Sound ROM, Classic Keys, String Section, ROM, and others. There are 96 factory MIDI setups and 128 that are user-programmable.

You will find more than 500 different effects with this keyboard workstation, as well. Some of the different types of effects include chorus, phaser, EQ, and compression. You will also find pitch and modulation wheels, sliders, a three-switch pedal input, and a host of other features that make it a real standout among keyboards.

Pros

  • More than 500 effects
  • 1,074 factory presets for great sounds
  • Semi-weighted keys that are velocity and aftertouch sensitive
  • Easy to use audio interface

Cons

  • The screen functions well, but it has a somewhat outdated look to it

Yamaha MX61

Yamaha MX61 Music Production

Yamaha provides many quality musical instruments, including the MX61. It is a synthesizer and controller that offers more than 1,000 MOTIF XS sounds. It also features a USB audio and MIDI interface and works well with various DAWs and music software that you might be using. It works with FM Essential, an iOS synth app from Yamaha. Even though this keyboard is easily portable, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have the sound quality that you need.

It’s filled with a range of different sounds including strings, guitars, grand piano, drums, synth textures, and so much more. Thanks to the 128-note polyphony, it can work well with 16-track sequences and live performances alike. Record and playback are available in stereo audio and 16 MIDI channels. The DAW remote will be able to control the mixer, transport, and the software instruments through the MX top panel. Another nice feature of the workstation is the 1/8” aux line that will allow you to connect mobile devices like tablets.

There is also bundled software with the keyboard, including Cubase AI, Steinberg Prologue, and Yamaha YC-3B. This versatile tool can provide you with great sound and plenty of useful features for making and recording your music.

Pros

  • 128-note polyphony
  • 1,000+ MOTIF XS sounds
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheel
  • Will shut down after a period of inactivity to save energy

Cons

  • The screen is very small

Roland Music Workstation FA-08

Roland 88-key Music Workstation

Roland is another well-known name in the field of keyboards and workstations, and the FA-08 is one of the top options available today. You will find that one of the most impressive features of the device is the number of sounds that it offers. There are more than 2,000 patches that have been taken from their INTEGRA-7 sound module. From guitars to acoustic tones, drums, and more, you will find plenty of options. It includes the entire Supernatural synth engine, as well. You will also find quite a few different effects and processors on the keyboard.

In addition to the powerful sound engine, you will find quite a few other benefits to the keyboard workstation, whether you are using it in your home studio, a traditional studio, or even on a stage. There are real-time performance options, including looping and arpeggiation.

You will find a guitar/mic and line input jacks, which can be helpful for DAW recording, as well as sampling and performing. The digital keyboard workstation works well with and has control templates for many of the major DAWs.

The FA-08 provides you with high-quality sound no matter where you are using the keyboard. It’s a fun option that can be a reliable workhorse for your music creation.

Pros

  • Quality screen and a great overall design
  • Thousands of high-quality sounds
  • Excellent quality and a reasonable price
  • Easy to manage and transport

Cons

  • Mapped sounds can’t be constructed from samples

Yamaha MOXF6

Yamaha MOXF6 Music Production Workstation

The MOX workstations from Yamaha are a popular choice amongst many musicians because they can provide great sounds, along with a host of effects. The MOXF6 is no different, and you will find that it offers more than you might expect. The workstation will provide you with an abundant number of sounds and textures, including woodwinds, strings, guitars, drums, bass, and many modern and vintage synth sounds. While the workstation doesn’t have hammer action keys, you will find that they are semi-weighted, and they have a nice feel when you play.

This MIDI controller provides an easy to use interface with a wealth of settings and effects. If you find that you need more sounds than what comes on the keyboard, you can always pick up one of the flashboard expansions, which can provide you with even more. Naturally, you will find that there are quite a few effects with the digital keyboard workstation, as well. You will find nearly 8,000 arpeggiator patterns. It features a built-in 4-in and 2-out USB audio/MIDI interface.

Pros

  • A wide range of options through the sound engine
  • Many options on the controller’s audio interface.
  • Semi-weighted keys
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • The screen could stand to be somewhat larger

Kurzweil PC3K8

Kurzweil PC3K8 88 Note Performance

The PC3K8 utilizes Kurzweil’s VAST sound engine. This stands for Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology, and even though they have been using the system for many years with their keyboard synthesizers, it continues to work very well. The sounds are impressive and have excellent overall quality. This model offers user sample playback, and it will be possible for you to import both AIFFs and WAVs, so you can then build upon those tracks.

Another one of the benefits is the addition of a USB host port, which will allow you to use thumb drives. This allows for not only easier data storage and loading, but it will also make updating easier. It is backward compatible with samples in the K Series, and you will find that overall, this tends to be very easy to use if you are familiar with workstations. Those who are just getting started will have something of a learning curve.

Pros

  • The overall design is very aesthetically pleasing
  • Includes a USB host port
  • The VAST sound engine provides a wealth of quality sounds
  • Import WAVs and AIFFs

Cons

  • Monochrome screen is smaller than some might like

Korg Krome

Korg KROME 88-Key Music

The price of the Korg Krome is considered entry-level, but you will find that the features and options that are available through this digital keyboard workstation are anything but entry-level. One of the nice benefits that you don’t see with many of the other workstations is a full-color display with touch controls. This is an excellent addition, and it can provide for more intuitive interactions with the controller.

The keys have natural weighted hammer action, so they will feel very similar to playing on an actual piano. You will find that it is easy to connect the device to your computer via USB. You will find Korg Kronos sounds for the piano and drums that are available. There are dual polyphonic arpeggiators, along with plug-in editing software that comes with the keyboard.

There is a wealth of features available with the workstation, including four tilters, two amp sections, five time-variant envelope generators, and more. You will be able to create great music with this workstation in front of you.

Pros

  • Preloaded with 640 programs, as well as more than 600 drum grooves
  • Full-color touch view display
  • Record up to 16 tracks onboard
  • Easy to transport

Cons

  • The build is somewhat delicate, so you will want to be very careful on those occasions where you do need to transport it

Casio WK-6600

Casio WK-6600 76-Key Workstation

It wouldn’t be a list about keyboards and workstations if Casio did not make the list at least once. This is a popular name in the field and with good reason. The WK-6600 provides many features that help to make it a good option to consider. One of the reasons that many people who are just starting will choose this option is the low price compared with many of the other digital keyboard workstations.

The keyboard has 76 keys, and it will provide you with 700 tons. There is also a tone editor, so you will be able to change up the tones. It has 210 rhythms, and there is a rhythm editor, as well. You will find a USB port for easy connections, as well as a pitch bend wheel. This can be helpful when giving a live performance.

There are four pads and eight banks, a recorder, and an SDHC memory card slot on the keyboard. Also, there is a recorder so that you can listen and playback your music to see how it hears.

Pros

  • It comes with 700 tones
  • It features 210 rhythms
  • Pitch bend wheel
  • There is a 16-track song sequencer

Cons

  • The max polyphony is only 48, which may not be enough to satisfy everyone

Yamaha Montage 8

Yamaha Montage8

The Montage 8 is an 88-key synthesizer and digital workstation that is easily one of the best keyboard workstations on the market today. However, it also has a hefty price tag to go along with it. Therefore, this product is aimed more at those who are professionals and who want to work in the music field rather than someone who is just getting into music as a hobby.

This high-end workstation features a programmable Motion Control Matrix, which provides you with a simple way to control the two synthesis engines it contains. The hammer action keys feel great when you play. The Super Knob can control several parameters at the same time. The Envelope Follower can convert audio into a control source to control any synth parameter.

The device features a USB audio/MIDI connection that can send 16 and receive three channels of Stereo 24 bit/44.1 kHz digital audio to and from the computer. It has eight rotary encoders and fasters, and it comes with the Cubase AI bundle. One of the other features that you are likely to enjoy is the touch screen. It has a large screen that will be easy to use and control.

Pros

  • Large, color, touch screen
  • Motion Control Matrix
  • Super Knob makes controlling more than one parameter at the same time easier
  • Excellent quality sounds for all of the instruments

Cons

  • The price might be out of the reach of some musicians, especially those who are just getting started

What is a Digital Keyboard Workstation?

As mentioned earlier, many people consider these workstations to be studios in a box. While that might not be entirely true, it is apt to compare the two. These devices will provide you with the types of tools and functions that you would need and that you would find in a studio. They will have a wide range of sampled instruments, such as a grand piano, a guitar, bass, and drums.

Those who have not used them before and who are not involved in music will often believe that the workstations are just keyboards. It can get somewhat tricky to explain the difference to those who are uninitiated. Even it might look like a piano or keyboard, the workstation is so much more. It can replicate and use samples from just about any instrument that has ever existed. You can then create a wide range of music using these virtual instruments all inside of the workstation, as well as your DAW.

Even though a regular electric piano might allow you to record to your computer, and it might also have different sounds on it, it won’t have all of the same effects and features. The workstation will let you play with, assign, and record a host of different effects, so they provide you with that sound live, and so you can then send it to your DAW and record it. The workstation has many of the onboard controls to make it simple.

While there are similarities between the two, it would be like comparing a bicycle to a muscle car. They can both get you places, but one will have more features and options. If you are serious about creating music, whether it is your hobby or it is something that you might like to pursue as a career, a quality tool like one of those on the list above is certainly something to consider.

What Are the Most Important Things to Consider When Buying?

Now that you have a better idea of the best keyboard workstation options that are available on the market today, you will be able to narrow your selection. You will have noticed that there are many different options from the top brands in the field and that the prices can vary substantially.

The price is undoubtedly one of the factors that you have to think about when you are buying. If you are getting your feet wet in music, it is generally a good idea to choose one of the more affordable options. However, those who have been in music for some time and who want to upgrade their equipment will find some great options above.

Of course, the price should never be the only factor that you consider when buying any instrument. You will also need to think about just how you are planning to use the tool. What kind of music will you want to record? This will give you a better idea of the type of instruments that you will want included, as well as the types of effects that you might need. You might not need to have all of the effects on board if you have a quality DAW and you aren’t performing life.

However, if you do plan on doing live performances, you will want to choose an option that will provide you with options for looping, adding live effects, etc. Consider how and where you will be using the instrument to make sure that it’s the right choice for your needs.

You will find that with the options included on our list above, you will not have to worry about the quality. These are some of the most popular of these types of instruments on the market, and many musicians have vetted them.

Take Care of Your Instruments

Because these are high-quality and delicate instruments, you will want to make sure that you take good care of them. This means only using them on proper stands and stable surfaces, as well as keeping them clean and free of dust. A cover will help with this. Also, do not eat or drink near the keyboard workstation. The last thing you want to do is spill a drink onto your expensive instruments. If you are going to be transporting it to gigs or a studio, it might be in your best interest to get a hard case to provide some extra protection.

Find Your Audio Recording Solution Today

With a better understanding of what options you have available to you and just how beneficial these tools can be when it comes to recording your ideas and getting quality music recorded, it’s time that you found one of your own. Take the time to go through these selections, consider what you will need, and then make your selection.

Aiden Jones
Aiden Jones
Music is in my blood, I decided to create this Roaming Sound to talk about the all things music. Welcome! Learn more about me here