We rated this synthesizer a full 10/10. While monophonic/paraphonic synths only play one to two note at a time, that doesn’t mean that they’ll spark less creativity! We found that the Novation Bass Station was a beautiful station with an intuitive design and an (especially) impressive arpeggiator. If you are a rock or electronic instrument in the market for a small synth that will help propel your creative flow, then look no further than this model! The Novation Bass Station is a portable and timeless little synth that has powerful bass sounds…plus, it has a build that will last you a lifetime.
The Studiologic Numa X has some surprisingly high-end features- ones that truly impressed us at this price point. We ended up loving this full-sized, hammer action keyboard because of its tones, number of channels/connectivity, 4-zone MIDI controller, and of course, because of its high level of portability.
The Sheirin digital piano is an economical full-sized digital piano that is marketed towards beginners. It concerns me that the company markets some models as beginner, and others as professional…and sometimes even describes the instruments as ‘beginner’ and ‘professional’...at the same time. This is usually a big red flag, or at least a sign that it was made by a non-name-brand company based out of China. While I’ll never knock getting an instrument that suits your budget, you can get an entry-level instrument made by a name brand for the same price. That being said, there are a surprisingly large amount of capabilities in the instrument, and some nice features.We ended up taking off several points off because we are not so sure about the longevity of the instrument.
This pro-grade instrument by Hammond is a stunning pro dual organ and keyboard…and it is more than we ever could have asked for! From the intuitive yet maximalist setup (with loads of sliders), realistic organ tones, and addition of mono synths and piano sounds, the capabilities and versatility of the Hammond SKX are astounding. While we wish that the instrument came in an 88-key version, you just can’t beat the portability and convenience of this 61-key. And, as Hammond says (about their own creators)... “There are many imitators, but none surpass the fruit of their genius minds.” -HammondAs a whole, the instrument caters extremely well to its intended audience- professional organ players who may also need access to high-quality synthesizers and piano tones.
We rated the Yamaha MODX8 a 9/10. We love how powerful, versatile, and portable this instrument is. While we wish the chassis felt a bit more heavy-duty.Overall I was really pleased with this synthesizer. It’s like getting 2 instruments in one- very portable- package. The Super knob was a lovely touch in regards to the design- a knob that can control other assignable knobs makes transitions during live performances much, much easier. All in all the MODX8 is sort of like a budget Montage- and that’s a great thing. From the 10,000 arpeggios to nearly 3,000 tones in the sampling engine, I believe this to be one of the best and most unique synths on the market at the moment- especially for the current price point.
We rated the Yamaha YPT-270 a 7.5 out of 10. It’s a good instrument for the price, and it meets the needs of the target audience well! (The target audience being beginners). However, we still have a hard time recommending the YPT 270 to the ‘serious beginners’ demographic as the keyboard lacks touch sensitivity, and some buyers have had some issues with the keys. I personally wish it had a USB to MIDI out, too.
We rated the Kurzweil SP7 a 10/10. This digital stage piano is geared towards beginners and meets its target audience’s needs well- In fact, it’s better than we ever would’ve expected for something marketed as a beginner stage piano. While we wish that the touchscreen was bigger like the Kurzweil SP7 (keep an eye out for a Kurzweil SP7 Grand review!) this two-in-one synth-like digital stage is an intermediate instrument at an entry-level price. While I do wish the woodwind sounds were better and the chassis was metal like the step-up model, for the price point?! We couldn’t ask for more.
While we wish the key's weight and speakers were as advertised, the Cool Music Keyboard isn’t as bad as you think it might be- At least, not for under $150. We liked how accessible it makes music for newbies and young learners. It’s light to carry and is a major space saver given the instrument’s ability to fold in half- Which is why we gave it a flat passing rate.
The Korg MicroPiano is a one-of-a-kind digital-grand hybrid- But miniaturized. This instrument bridges the gap between a toy piano and a real one. I loved the sounds this economical keyboard was able to produce, and the key feel wasn’t bad, either. I ended up giving it a 8.5/10. While I wish the MicroPiano was more compatible with DAWs for recording, the instrument meets its intended audience’s expectations well. But if you are a serious piano learner, the mini keys on the Korg Micro might be a hindrance- so know that this one is mostly just for fun!
This bi-timbral, polyphonic hybrid synth is a true stunner. We found that the pro-grade synth is truly the best of both worlds, with its combination of analog sound and digital capabilities. While instruments like the Novation Peak are a bit more economical, we think that this one is worth saving up for- The extra voices, controls, and power make it worth the price.
Last time we reviewed a Novation we took a peek at the Launchkey Mini. We rated the Launchkey 88 model a 9.5/10 because of its easy-to-play full-sized keyboard, intuitive slider controls, and full-featured chassis. Overall the keys feel satisfyingly smooth and responsive to play, and the instrument hooks up to DAWS seamlessly. And while we really wish the keyboard included aftertouch (hence the subtracted half-point), the price is right and the quality is good.
The last time we reviewed a mini controller, we took a look at the Roland K25M- But we weren’t as impressed with the little boutique synth/ controller as we hoped we might be. Enter The Novation Launchkey. Coming in at $100 or less, this tiny controller is affordable- and most certainly worth it. I loved the portability of the instrument, as well as the fact that you don’t need a computer to use it. As a whole, the controller is built well, and easy to navigate. The only real con with this one in my book was the mini keys, but that’s purely a matter of preference/ feel. Oh- and it’s mainly designed to be used with Ableton. If this DAW isn’t your preferred program, it might be best to look for another brand of MIDI controller.
Hey there! I’m Aleah. I am a writer here at BPK. I keep you up to date on things like the newest and hottest top ten piano keyboards and teach you what music terms like escapement and PHA mean. I am a licensed music educator based in the Midwest US. I hold a PK-12 teaching license in the state of Ohio. I have experience teaching elementary school music, concert band, and jazz band. The two main instruments that I perform on are the flute and piano.