Midi Keyboards

Anyone know much about midi piano keyboards ?

I’m looking for something:

  • I can start play again after a 20-year hiatus.
  • USB midi interface for music production.
  • something my boys can play when they are old enough.
  • nice to have light up keys.
  • doesn’t cost a billion dollars.
  • robustness would be nice, my family and I are a rough people.

Figured I would ask the monkies for any advice/input =)

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So… you have a few options here depending on size.

Probably the cheapest option (at least here) would be to get a Casio keyboard the size you want. Many of them have the light up keys to play along to, etc…

I haven’t played a Casio keyboard in maybe 30 years but my recollection was that the only down side is that I didn’t like the sounds as much as some other keyboards. However, I suspect 30 years later that it’s probably irrelevant… also if it has a MIDI out then it doesn’t matter as you can control whatever.

I beat the hell out of my old Casios and I bet they would still play today.

I looked into this recently because I wanted just a small keyboard to keep with my guitar rig now that I picked up an 8 track digital recorder… then I remembered that I already have an Alesis keyboard controller that I don’t use and a vintage rack synth. (While that’s a little bulkier it’s also going to sound better to me than anything on this earth…)

Anyway, this would be a slam dunk for features:
…except it has no MIDI interface. It has everything else you want, though. Really too bad about the lack of MIDI.

I guess it looks like the slightly higher model ($40 more here) has a USB interface:

Either of these are cheaper than the non-sound-making keyboard controllers I got for my PCs. lol

Edit: this cheap yamaha also has MIDI through USB:

…and I generally always liked the yamaha sounds better. In a DAW it won’t matter but if you are just jamming on your own sometimes the sounds matter. (No light-up keys though, I guess.)

Edit 2: looks like it might be just the upgraded model of that one with midi (yep, definitely)… and it’s more expensive than the Casio upgraded one.

Cool, thanks! Of course you know everything about everything :wink:

Roli Seaboard Grand is what I want, but it costs a bazillion dollars and does’t match any of my realistic criterion.

No… but in this case, I’m actually a keyboard/piano player. (In my basement I have a pile of vintage synths that don’t work because I was an ebay junky for a bit… lots of parts, though. lol) I also have a grand piano in my living room, etc… So while I may know a little about a lot of things, this is actually an area where I know more than a little. :slight_smile: And I just recently researched this very exact thing, so… anyway.

I mean that $130 casio 3500 is hard to beat for just something to bang on. It has basically every feature you asked for. And for the price, it almost doesn’t matter how durable it is.

(BTW, for a DAW… for something cheap, Reaper is a pretty good starting entry. I mean it’s nagware but it works well. Normen always looked down on my for using it but I like it.)

Edit: for reference/credibility, super old pic of the music corner of my office back when the synths were still in the rack and the whole area wasn’t filled with junk. :slight_smile:
…also probably shot with my old Palm Zire-71… pre cell phone camera days.

That was not meant as an insult.

My takeaway is get the around $200(here AUD) currentish model Casio keyboard with midi I can source new locally! Perfect. Now I can also google "Casio #MODELNUM vs " to find similar devices :wink:

For reference this is my junk music room :


That is Deadmau5 when he came over for a beer that one time that totally happened.

edit: Fun Fact - after seeing my junk room he modeled his studio off mine, don’t believe me? go google pics of his home studio. Proof.


LOL. Then you have no issues.

I mean, I wish it was still setup like this. Those keyboards are both leaning up against the wall at the moment… I plug them in once a year or so.


The Juno-106 is the one I have like 3-4 parted out in the basement. Maybe enough to make one more fully working keyboard if I was better with a soldering iron. And another fully working one if I pick up replacement voice chips. (I had a stack of these at $100 a pop from Ebay in a dish sitting on my desk when the desklamp caught on fire all those years ago… like $700 up in flames. Hard to replace.)

Edit: I mean, if it makes you feel better, here’s what it looks like right now:

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I have a novation launchkey 61 key midi keyboard. It’s cheap and pretty good. Keys are just plastic and don’t have much weight. But that’s normal in that price range.

Yep, weighted keys will always cost more… especially if they have real hammer action internally.

you should flip over the left amazon box. Having them all smiling would be a major upgrade…


It’s got Christmas presents in it and I flipped it over so that it will stay closed and be less visible to wandering eyes. :slight_smile:

Edit: the one immediately below it is also upside down for the same reason.

An excellent option for budget but high quality midi keyborads would be to look at the IRIG Keys range. I myself use one of these, and would recommend one. Note: they are USB if that is what you are looking for.


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That keyboard doesn’t have any of its own sounds and costs the same as the Casio I posted (that also has USB and can therefore be a keyboard controller). It also has all of the other features on his wish list (light up keys, etc.).

The IRIG is a nice small controller, though. I think M-Audio has better value, though… for less you can also get drum pads, sliders, etc.:

My own Oxygen is before the drum pads… I’m tempted to pick this one up just for that. :slight_smile: