We’re looking at the best keyboard workstation available in 2021. Workstations are some of the most powerful and versatile keyboards you can buy. They are also some of very expensive! So, in the following article, we will review our top picks to suit different users and different budgets.
The keyboard workstation on our list come in various sizes, from 61 to 88 keys. We have focused on the 88-key versions.
Are you amazed by the available alternatives in the market and you simply can not get the best keyboard that will suit your style and recording demands? Stress no longer!
Today we will take you through a few of the greatest instruments on the market through our very best keyboard reviews.
Top 10 Best Keyboard Workstation Reviews
Or you’re a professional composer looking for a workstation to broaden your studio, you’ll discover something that will fit your budget.
1. Korg Kronos 2
The next coming of Korg’s successful Kronos is the top-rated workstation, and it has some exciting changes. To begin with, there are a number of new appearance features, such as the refined wooden sides, and sleeker body.
More importantly, it’s an enhanced SGX-2 piano grand piano engine alongside a massive library of varied sounds.
The new piano engine enhances previous Kronos piano tones and adds a completely new one, the Berlin Grand. In addition to the pianos, there’s a huge 21GB of preset sounds and 9 distinct sound engines for tweaking and processing voices.
The center of the Kronos is an 8-inch color TouchView display. All of the Kronos’ functions may be controlled through the Touch View screen with ease. The recently increased touch-drag capacity makes it easier to change parameters without even menu-diving.
On the manufacturing side, there is a 16-track MIDI sequencer/audio recorder, and an open sampling program. So, you have the capacity to record anything within reach.
Korg has made use of its innovative Karma motor, first seen in 2012. The backing tracks can then be further assessed to make working demos, etc..
The Kronos 2 is the new king of this professional keyboard workstations, for today at least. It’s quite simply, a stunning tool from Korg. The weighted keys possess the most adaptability we have seen concerning editing the velocity curve. The new piano engine sounds gorgeous, as well as synths, Korg always gets that right.
Thus, it should tell you something when the only fault we found so far is that it’s expensive. There may be a few tiny places in which other workstations outdo the Kronos 2, but overall, they don’t compare.
2. Roland Fantom 8
The Fantom 8 is Roland’s flagship workstation, and it is the newest addition to the Fantom line. The graded hammer action keys have wooden sides and plastic shirts, creating the appearance and texture of acoustic piano keys.
Roland’s V-Piano technology is the motor behind the Fantom’s beautiful grand piano tones. The new Fantom audio engine is the result of decades of development, and it shows. It has a seemingly endless number of voices and an onboard analog filter, so you can sculpt precisely the audio you want.
In any workstation, the design and the way you utilize functions is important. Fantom 8 provides you the ability to customize your workspace and save your own settings. These spaces are known as scenes; a scene may be anything from a tune, a portion of a song, or a choice of sounds — basically, anything you need to store in a particular order and remember instantly when required.
Utilizing functions might look daunting at first, but it quickly becomes a cinch because of the instinctive touch display .
Roland’s TR-REC measure sequencer provides a powerful yet comfortable production instrument. The sequencer is borrowed from a classic Roland drum machine. It enables real-time recording, step recording, as well as clip-based sequencing.
On top of all of that, there is plenty of analog and digital connectivity.
The Fantom 8 is incredibly powerful, and it’s the most expensive music workstation on our list. It is a forward-thinking keyboard that might be an indication of things to come for future workstations.
Right now, it doesn’t quite conquer the Kronos two, and it’s our number 2 choice. Features like the clip-based sequencing will likely split opinion, also. The reason we say it’s too expensive is that Kronos two is more economical.
3. Roland RD-2000
Roland’s RD-2000 is an 88-key workstation that is used by many professional musicians, always with fantastic reviews. This flagship model in the RD series is aimed mostly at actors.
Two of Roland’s most powerful sound engines would be the SuperNATURAL Piano engine as well as the V-Piano engine, this workstation has both. The V-Piano engine forces acoustic pianos and electric pianos are powered by the SuperNATURAL engine. The usage of both engines has produced far superior piano and electric piano tones than ever before. As well as the piano tones, there are an additional 1100+ sublime voices.
Roland’s RD-2000 includes the PHA-50 innovative hammer action keys with 128-note maximum polyphony. Roland claims that their PHA-50 computer keyboard is their realistic sense yet.
The RD-2000 includes a very accomplished USB/MIDI port, which runs with a zero-latency chip. What that means is you can connect to your laptop and run VST’s, synths from your DAW and plugins with no latency in any way.
Controlling everything in a live setting is simple with 8 assignable knobs and 9 assignable sliders.
Roland’s RD series has brought us some of the most effective high-end keyboards in the past several years. We focused on the qualities that are helpful in live performance because that is what it does best. However, it is completely at home in the studio also. Wherever you’re using it, the RD-2000 has a rather intuitive, hands-on design that will increase your workflow no end.
As for the sound, well, we are yet to hear a computer keyboard with Roland’s SuperNATURAL or V-Piano engine that doesn’t sound amazing. It’s not just a beginner-friendly computer keyboard, but for the pros, it is awesome.
4. Korg Kross 2
The Korg Kross two is sometimes considered to be a watered-down version of the Kronos 2, but it is a powerful workstation in its own right. It’s got a brand new slimmer design, but still has Korg’s natural relayed keys.
The powerful EDS-i audio engine includes over 1000 presets. Presets range from pianos and electric pianos into synth pads and leads. As well as a considerable number of sounds, there are 134 influence types, which means you should never run out of options live or in the studio.
The Korg includes 16 pads that are used to trigger samples that you upload into the workstation. Pads can also save favorite sounds for immediate recall up to 64 at a time with 4 banks of 16.
If you are a singer, you can plug your mic straight into the Kross 2 for vocals or use the onboard vocoder. Like most workstations, the Kross two has a built-in sound recorder, but the thing we love is it will record external audio, also. By way of instance, if you have a mic or instrument running via your Kross 2, you can capture sound from that along with your computer keyboard. So, effectively, if you’re a solo artist or part of a duet, it is possible to acquire perfect gig records!
Other features are fairly self-explanatory: drum monitor adds rhythm to your playing, and the arpeggiator is helpful for coming up with new patterns/movements. The layout of the Kross 2 is clean and nice, not a lot of switches, easy to browse, and makes finding the ideal sounds come quicker.
We’re fighting to express anything negative about the Kross 2. Yes, it is not as comprehensive as the Kronos 2 from Korg, but it is a fraction of the purchase price. In reality, it’s as near as you will get to an affordable Korg workstation. While it might not compete with the Kronos 2 at a studio setting, it more than makes up for this in live operation.
There are all those preset sounds, and they’re so great they cover you for almost any gig. If you are prepared to trade a little of this production side of things for outstanding live performance, you may adore the Kross 2. Additionally, it is lightweight and much more comfy to get around than most other workstation configurations. If you’re a celebrity first, and studio artist second, try this one out.
5. Yamaha MODX8
The MODX8 is something like a little brother into the Yamaha Montage. It shares the same strong sound engines AWM2 and FM-X. The FM-X engine just has 64-note maximum polyphony.
It has graded hammer action keys with 128-note max polyphony, better key activity compared to Montage. Another thing it shares with the Montage is the multi-controlling Super Knob.
Both pianos sound lovely and feel very articulate with the MODX8 graded hammer action keys. The MODX8 includes 1,152 preset voices also as 72 drum kits.
Many workstation configurations have a built-in sound interface, but they do not have exactly the same input options as the MODX8. The multi-channel audio port has two inputs and 10 out. As with lots of Yamaha’s high-end keyboards, the onboard effects come in the VCM engine.
The Yamaha MODX8 is among the toughest to place. We’ve stated previously that we prefer it to the expensive Montage when it comes to studio work, and that opinion still stands.
But, to clarify further, it is because it’s graded hammer action keys that are more expressive, and it’s less than half the price. The Montage has more practical features overall, but pound for pound, there is more value for money here. In addition to that, the MODX8 is probably the most user-friendly Interface on the list.
6. Yamaha Montage8
The Yamaha Montage came along at a time when lots of people were calling for a new Yamaha Motif. In many ways, it takes on in which the Motif left , but it is not exactly the same tool at all.
The first is that the AWM2 engine, which generates amazingly realistic acoustic guitar and Rhodes sounds. The second is the FM-X motor that covers a broad range of vintage and modern synths. The Montage also receives regular firmware updates and optional audio expansion packs.
There are 88 insert effect kinds and 26 master result types. The effects comprise 12 reverb types and a thorough master EQ. In addition to that, the Montage additionally has an amazing 18 filter type.
The onboard audio recorder has 16 sequence tracks and allows for real-time substitute and overdubbing. Everything is controlled from the 7-inch LCD touch display along with Yamaha’s Super Knob rotary dial.
The Montage is a worthy addition to Yamaha’s long lineup of high-end keyboards. It’s a great deal in common with all the Motif range, but it provides a lot more than only a Motif emulator.
The actual beauty of the workstation is how easy it’s to edit effects and listeners. The combo of this Super Knob and touch screen makes everything possible in real-time. The Montage is a great workstation for the stage or the studio.
7. Yamaha MX88
Yamaha’s MX88 is the cheapest workstation on our list, and it sits somewhere between the Kross 2 along with the Kronos 2, concerning music production instruments. It has graded hammer action keys with 128-note polyphony.
The most immediately attractive thing about the Yamaha MX88 is the noises use the same waveforms as the Motif XS. For anybody who knows the Motif series keyboards and their background, it is a big thing. In total, there are over 1000 diverse Motif sounds and VCM (Virtual Circuit Modelling) effects.
Along with the onboard sounds, you get access to the FM Vital iOS app, which adds an FM synthesis engine using 256 voices to your MX.
The Yamaha MX88 also features a built-in audio interface that transmits a stereo channel via USB to your computer. Along with controlling other instruments, you may also control various parameters in your DAW via the MX onboard controls.
The MX has some stunning VCM effects, as we mentioned, but the best thing about these is the comprehensive control. Instead, they can be assigned to various effect parameters, giving you maximum control in real-time.
We stated earlier that the Yamaha MX is someplace between the Kross two and Kronos two, so let’s explain what we mean.
It’s more in-depth editing capabilities than the Kross 2, but it’s much less helpful for live operation. If you want a lighter computer keyboard for gigs, the MX defeats the Kronos, but it is nowhere near as good for studio use. So, it’s left in some catchy middle earth where it does everything really well but doesn’t excel in one area.
That’s not a bad thing, it fills a gap that many users will need. It is more of an all-rounder without the Kronos 2 price tag.
8. Nord Stage 3
Nord keyboards are probably the most instantly recognizable from the market with their bright red casing. The significant thing about this technology is that the keys have both top and bottom tripping, meaning that they release things up to the first strike.
Nord asserts to have gone a lot more detailed in its sampling process than ever before. Like previous versions, the sounds are divided between 3 motors — pianos, organs, and synths. The Nord Sample library 3.0 offers a wide range of expansion content from vintage to modern instruments and effects.
Each audio engine includes a dedicated management section with LED labeling for visual feedback. You will find committed onboard effects for each department as well as master consequences. The synth section has a dedicated OLED screen to make things much more accessible.
The layout of the Nord Stage 3 may seem somewhat overwhelming initially, however, it doesn’t take long to become second nature.
The Nord Stage 3 is broadly considered as among the best professional music keyboards round, and so many opinions can not be wrong. It’s a superior workstation and synth; there’s no denying this. Our issue with this keyboard and its predecessors is the fact that it doesn’t feel as great as the Roland, Korg, and Yamaha equivalents.
Nord’s exclusive Virtual Hammer Action will operate for a few players and not others. The sound engines are incredible, the layout is intuitive as soon as you get the hang of it, and it seems great. Try it out for yourself; our only complaint is the weight of the keys. Otherwise, it is brilliant.
9. Yamaha MOXF6
The MOXF6 is a reinforced workstation that accompanies great effects and sounds plus a flashboard option onboard.
The MOXF6 also offers a good number of production sounds. It features the sound set in the Motif XF with the inclusion of 136 voices ranging from S6 grand piano, keyboard sounds to other new noises from different genres such as hip-hop and orchestra.
The Yamaha has done a significant job to come up with rather a tool that can easily fit on your studio and create excellent audio. This is a superb instrument especially to Motif fans since it includes quality features for a lower price. It is a perfect instrument to use as a standalone writing instrument, or take together with you to get gigs.
10 Casio WK-6600
The WK-6600 is a highly portable instrument that accompanies a two-level touch-responsive 76-key computer keyboard. This is a versatile workstation is effective as well a little keyboard as it can as a workstation.
The WK-6600 comes with 700 built-in tones and over 200 accompaniments together with the capability to personalize them. The instrument includes a 1 monitor recorder that gives you enough room to record your own playing.
In addition to all that, you get a chance to delight in the Step-Up Lesson Function which contains over 100 preprogrammed music and other features to enhance your abilities.
There is quite a lot to enjoy about this tool. Even though it’s an entry instrument, this recliner definitely styles on the easier side.
This is certainly the best keyboard workstation under $500 and also a perfect choice to go for in the purchase price range.
How to Choose Keyboard Workstations?
These instruments are the pinnacle of the keyboard world with many if not all of the tools that you need to craft it, and record songs.
Unfortunately, most features differ from 1 tool to another creating the choice of the best keyboard workstation hard. Today, we’re going to have a look at some of the things you ought to think about when buying a keyboard workstation.
Keyboard workstations come with a wide selection of sounds and effects compared to other keyboards. They use different types of production that makes them differ with the produced sounds and their quality.
With this, musicians looking for a workstation to generate music professionally, they should go with those with full sampling performance to let you capture any sound and reproduce it in varying pitches.
Among the coolest things about workstation is the ability to create sounds concurrently. For songwriters and film composer, should really go with a tool that gives you enough noises. For live actors, they can go with a tool that allows you to layer different sounds.
Whether you are writing new music or merely perfuming live, a MIDI sequencer can be a very helpful instrument. To allow you to record numerous parts of the keyboard with just a push of a couple of buttons.
Some workstations even go further to include line/MIC input that allows you to record vocals or another instrument such as a guitar to enhance your own music.
If you want to do cover input workstations will enable you to use preprogrammed MIDI files to replicate the music more accurately.
We expect our review can help you to find the very best keyboard workstation for your requirements. Everything considered we recommend you go for a computer keyboard workstation that provides you most features for less cash. The above review includes the most popular and finest workstations that you can find in the market.
We always urge people to be clear on why they require a computer keyboard before buying one, and that is particularly significant with workstations.
Our list features some of the most powerful workstation keyboards we have ever seen. These keyboards can be incredibly expensive, and normally, the very expensive ones are better as they have more to offer.
But a cheaper workstation may be better in a specialized field compared to a more expensive computer keyboard. By way of example, a 3000 keyboard workstation could be the most effective overall, however, a $1000 workstation might more suited to regular live performance and travel.
So our advice would be to consider how many times you are most likely to use the workstation in live operation versus how often you’d use it as a production tool (studio use). As soon as you have that in order, you can concentrate on particular features/functions, and pick the best workstation computer keyboard for you.