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Best keyboard to add for classic/eighties rock band Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 11th May 2013
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Best keyboard to add for classic/eighties rock band

I've got an Alesis QS 8 and am looking to add a new keyboard for our weekend warrior classic and 80's rock band. We play a bunch of Boston, Cars, Foreigner, Journey, Kansas, Loverboy, Queen, Steely Dan, Styx, etc., and changing patches mid-song on the Alesis is killing me. The ideal keyboard would cost less than $1500 and weigh much less than the 60-pound Alesis. I've been out of the loop for so many years. Any suggestions?
Old 12th May 2013
Lives for gear

If you are privy to used gear, I think an Alesis Fusion would fit the bill on sound and weight very well...very versatile and of course you can have multiple patches at once so no need to switch mid-song. I got mine for $350 on you'd be quite well under budget as well.
Old 12th May 2013
Gear addict
secretmountain's Avatar

Old 12th May 2013
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Rust Creep's Avatar

Waldorf q or Roland jp8000

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Old 12th May 2013
Gear addict
DoctorG's Avatar

Originally Posted by secretmountain View Post
Plus Juno106 is a possibility with your budget
Old 12th May 2013
Lives for gear
Check out the King Korg, might be suitable. Price and weight ($1300 / 15 lb.) certainly satisfy your criteria, and the capability of setting up quick access to favorite patches seems really useful for quick changes.
Old 12th May 2013
Lives for gear
lestermagneto's Avatar
yeah, it seems for most of the bands you mentioned, you need a decent piano/electric piano, access to some decent analog style sounds etc..... seems like the new king korg would be right up your alley without a whole lot of fuss. I haven't messed with it myself, but seems like it would be perfect for what you are trying to do. as previous posters mentioned, the dx7 and juno 106 were probably used on a lot of the recording of the og bands you mentioned, but just one by themselves would be limiting, and it seems like you don't want to lug a lot of gear. i think the new korg can cover all the ground you need for your purposes....
Old 12th May 2013
Gear Nut
Mend's Avatar

The Alesis Ion will do just fine.
Old 12th May 2013
Gear addict
secretmountain's Avatar

And the Jupiter 8 if you have the bucks.
Old 12th May 2013
Juno 60 no doubt at all.

Don't know the weight though but the sound is definitely 80's. DX7 is great but don't count on fast programming for live use. Juno 106 is a bit more modern of a sound than the 60.

JX3P with programmer is very light and 80's. Not as full as the 60. I've even found the JX8P to sound 80's.

Also to mention Korg Polysix. Juno Alpha 2.
Old 12th May 2013
Lives for gear
pr0gr4m's Avatar
The Cars are probably the "synthiest" band on that list and they use some unique sounds that would best be served by something unique. However, the rest could be tackled by a nice ROMpler.

Focusing on the "weekend warrior/band list" perspective I think you would probably best be served by something with good pianos (as said already), some organs and a standard array of synth sounds.

Recommendations of the big three (if you are looking new)...
Korg - Krome
Yamaha - MM or MX series
Roland - Juno or E09

I loved the 01w for the cover-it-all thing but that was ages ago.
Old 13th May 2013
Gear interested

Thread Starter
Thanks for all the input. In addition to the keyboards suggested in the posts above, I'm also looking at the following:

Korg Krome
Korg X50
Korg M50
Korg SV1
King Korg
Roland JP 8000
Yamaha S90...
Old 13th May 2013
Lives for gear
grasspike's Avatar
I have played in several weekend warrior classic/80s rock bands. In cover bands like this it's not really all that important to get the keys to sound exactly like the original records. Just take a look at Youtube videos of the band you mentioned that still tour and look at what synths they are using, none of them are using vintage synths.

A great option for weekend warrior classic rock type bands is the Casio XW-P1 because it has multiple synth engines that would work great.

The "solo synth" engine is a pretty good monophonic VA that makes great lead sounds. If you play songs like "Crystal Ball" from Styx you will easily find a patch for that classic lead sound.

It also has a great "draw bar organ" engine that sounds really nice and has an excellent Leslie simulation.

Then there is the "Hex Layer" engine which stacks up to 6 patches on top of each other. There are some great Piano and Pad/String sounds there as well as great general pads.

It is also very easy to setup your patches for easy switching during your set. You will also find a lot of the presets are geared towards cover bands. For example there is a patch called "Africa" that is is the sound from Toto's song Africa

The Casio goes for $500 so it is a real bargain for what it does, it is also very light weight and easy to transport.

Since you have a budget of up to $1500 and the Casio is only $500 I would also suggest getting a Korg Microstation for $399 and buying it from It has mini keys which I have found quite easy to adjust to, however you could also play it easily via MIDI from the XW-P1. It is a very good source of sounds for classic rock and has a very good synth engine as well. The cool thing about buying it from Sweetwater is they will also give you a SD card with an amazing virtual B3 program created by a guy named Daniel Fisher who works there. It sounds amazing.

The MicroStation also has a bunch of sounds from the Korg M1 including the great electric piano from the M1
Old 13th May 2013
Lives for gear

At least IMO, it comes down to how good you think the piano, EP, and organ sounds need to be.

Many people in the audience might not notice or care how analog the instrument's synth leads and pads sound for example.

Among the instruments you listed, I'd maybe lean towards the Korg Krome, SV1, or Yamaha S-90.
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