If, on the other hand, we are interested in not disturbing those around us and in keeping the volumes low, we will certainly want to be able to connect a pair of headphones to the keyboard to be able to play and practice in complete silence. In this case, we will have to pay attention to the presence of a 3.5 mm jack output, through which we can connect our headphones.
The USB port supplied with some keyboards can be used not only as an input, but also as an output for connecting to a computer. If used as an input, the USB port allows the insertion of USB sticks or other storage devices through which we can play a song via the keyboard and play directly on our tracks or download new samples or styles. Alternatively, if used as an output, the USB port allows the keyboard to be connected to various other devices, such as a PC, which allow access to a world of possibilities, using music software available for computers in synergy with our keyboard.
The S / PDIF and mLAN ports are other ports that we could find in a musical keyboard and that allow you to connect the keyboard to a computer, a tablet or an external sound card. The S / PDIF (Sony / Philips Digital Interconnect Format) port is a type of cable connection for transmitting digital audio signals and can be via coaxial cable, RCA connector or fiber optic cable. The mLAN interface (Music Local Area Network) is instead a connection protocol designed by Yamaha for the incoming and outgoing transmission of digital audio signals and MIDI data (which we will immediately see what they are) between electronic devices: this type of connection occurs via Fire Wire cable, alternatively called i.LINK or Lynx
Finally, let’s consider MIDI compatibility and connectivity. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface and is a type of both software and hardware technology designed to connect various musical instruments (such as electronic drums, musical keyboards, synthesizers and much more) and electronic devices (computers, mixers, tablets, amplifiers, etc.) between them. MIDI compatibility is a first element that we should check in the musical keyboard if we are interested in a live performance product or if we want to connect to our computer: in this regard, there should be a sequencer on the keyboard that allows you to read and play MIDI files.
From the point of view of connectivity, we find three types of MIDI ports, inputs, outputs or through puts which are normally abbreviated with the abbreviations IN, OUT and THRU: in some models we find all three types of ports while in other models the OUT and the THRU are unified in a single port.
Power supply system:
Last but not least, the power system. In some models we find the possibility of operation without the connection to a power outlet: in this case the power supply of the device runs on batteries (normally 6 or 8 AA batteries) that we can find supplied with the keyboard or that we will have to buy separately. In some cases it is possible to find Ni-MH (Nickel-Metal Hybrid) stylus batteries, a type that allows it to be recharged
Other models have a cable power system: in these cases we should have a transformer supplied with the instrument which, when connected to the socket, allows the keyboard to function correctly
Other factors to keep in mind when choosing the musical keyboard:
Are the materials important?
Speaking in general terms, it is possible to say that the materials of which a keyboard is composed are important elements for the evaluation of a product. For example, poor quality plastic keys can give problems after a short time, risking to compromise the functioning of the keyboard: a blocked key, for example, makes it completely unusable. However, manufacturers of musical keyboards hardly release data about the materials or manufacturing processes used, so it is difficult to make a judgment, especially if you are planning to buy the keyboard from an online store.
Is the brand important?
As is often the case, the brand is a trusted brand. In the case of musical instruments this is even more true not only as regards the quality of the model in question, but also for the type of assistance provided to the customer. A manufacturer we know nothing about is certainly not a guarantee symbol for our purchase. For this reason we strongly suggest that you consider those who are the main leaders in the industry. These include: Casio, Roland, Korg, Yamaha Digital Piano.
Does the price matter?
Having a budget is the first element to be able to proceed with the purchase. It was said at the beginning of this guide that there are numerous models of musical keyboards on the market, with unique characteristics and specifications: a first skimming can be done having in mind the amount we want to spend. To get a general idea of the approximate costs of this type of product, we can divide the keyboards into 3 price ranges:
with a cost between 40 and 100 $$ we can buy a basic model for a first approach to the instrument
Mid-range: spending between 120 and 400 Dollars it is possible to get hold of a model of excellent quality, with sophisticated functions, samples of a certain quality and with a 7 octave keyboard
High-end: with an amount exceeding 500 Dollars, which in some cases can touch or even exceed 3,500 Dollars, we will be able to buy models for professional use and suitable for composing music or live performances.
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