Author Topic: Why aren't there more portable arranger keyboards?  (Read 721 times)

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Offline fantasyvn

Why aren't there more portable arranger keyboards?
« on: June 27, 2017, 08:24:26 AM »
It seems that nowadays new models of arranger keyboards are still released each year, by Yamaha, Roland and Casio, etc.

However, in a way, I think they are very similar in size.

I'm thinking of the Korg microarranger here: a small, fully-featured, perhaps battery-powered. Something easy for you to jam on your bed or when you travel.

Is it because the modern technology cannot produce a small arranger keyboard like this?

Thank you

Offline SciNote

Re: Why aren't there more portable arranger keyboards?
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2017, 11:42:45 AM »
Well, it certainly isn't due to the available technology, as continuously improving technology almost always enables more powerful equipment to fit in a smaller package, just as computer technology that fits in your hand or in a laptop today would've filled a room a generation ago.  And, just like you said, there is the Korg Microarranger, so it can be done.

My guess as to why you don't see more keyboards like that is due to demand.  The main thing dictating the size of the keyboard is the keys of the keyboard, itself.  To take advantage of what an arranger can do, which is to play multi-part instrument songs live or to do multi-track recording, most people would want at least 5 octaves of keys, which itself limits how small the overall keyboard can be.  With fewer keys, there just wouldn't be enough range to play a nice, full range of bass, chord, and melody at the same time.

The only way around this is with mini-keys, which is what the Korg Microarranger uses.  That can work, but many people feel that playing a keyboard with mini-keys feels like playing a toy, and it is certainly a concern to "rework" your hands for smaller keys after you've spent years practicing and perfecting your technique with a regular size keyboard.

Still, synthesizers with mini-keys and even battery power have gotten popular over the past few years, but these differ from arrangers in that they do not generally have built-in styles, rhythms, and multi-track recorders.  But, they can produce a wide variety of sounds and can be used as a sort of musical "scratchpad" to allow a musician to casually work on melodies or chords of songs, or to experiment with how different sounds can work with melodies and chords.  They can also work well as an addition to a collection of keyboards that a musician may use.  Yamaha sells the reface line of keyboards that are compact, use mini-keys, can run on batteries, have built-in speakers, and have high-quality sound engines.  But, they have no styles or advanced sequencers.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 11:46:45 AM by SciNote »
Yamaha PSR-E433
Yamaha PSR-520