There aren’t really that many different (main) variations in which you can buy synthesizers. Along with 88 key synths, you can get 61 key synthesizers (such as these), mini synths like the Korg MS20, and others like the Teenage Engineering OP-1. Truthfully though, if you really know what you want, you’ll typically only have to choose between two, maybe three different type of synthesizer instruments. These 61-key synthesizers are quite versatile, as they provide a lot of the complexity and power that you would get on an 88-key synth such as the Montage 8, yet they are not as big and heavy as those other products. They are also nowhere near as light as some mini synthesizers, so they represent a modest middle ground when it comes to synthesizers. Not exactly for beginners, so those who have some experience are probably a bit better suited.
If you’ve read any of my reviews, then you’ll probably already know that I absolutely adore the Roland JUNO DS88 synthesizer keyboard. It’s probably one of the best sounding electric keyboards I’ve ever heard in my life, and since then Roland had gained a ton of respect in my eyes, from a musical perspective. Now this DS61 is not exactly identical to that keyboard, but it gets pretty close; in terms of sound quality it’s hard to tell the difference. This Roland JUNO DS61 has slightly fewer features, but it still makes for a totally excellent synthesizer.
Now this product here, is one unreal synthesizer workstation. Yes, it is quite an expensive product at first glance, but once you get a chance to see what the instrument is capable of, you will think it is actually underpriced. It is an outstanding performance keyboard, and easily one of the best (of all time) for 61 key synthesizer keyboards. Features are plentiful, sounds are wonderful, and experience is a treat. Take a look at the TYROS 5 and see why it is considered one of the greatest synths in history.
The Korg KROSS is a pretty excellent keyboard. Not only does it keep the authentic Korg sound we all know and love, but many newer, modern features are added that you would not normally expect to receive on these types of instruments. Some say it is better fit as an entry level synthesizer, but I believe to be decent enough for even intermediate users. If you are more advanced, then you might want to consider going for something more on the high-end, such as the TYROS 5. Otherwise, this keyboard is quite good and has some things that I think might surprise you.
Traditionally, I haven’t shown too much love for Yamaha’s MX61 Keyboard. It’s not really that there’s any one thing inherently wrong with the musical instrument, rather that it does not step up to the plate as other keyboards have in the past. In other words, it doesn’t do enough. Yes, there are some things to look forward to but in general it isn’t anything too special. The sounds are average, the functionality is decent, and we can’t realistically be too excited about the amount of features it has when other keyboards have quite a few more. As previously stated, the MX61 might be good as an entry level synthesizer, but even for a 61 key synthesizer there could be more. It’s still a neat product though.
I had not heard that Yamaha made a smaller version of their glorious Montage 8, but when I found out the news I was very ecstatic. Not only was that keyboard one of my favorite 88-key synths, but it was one of my favorite keyboards of all time! That’s how special it was to me. The Montage 6 is nearly a duplicate copy of its older brother, and that is an extravagant thing because that synth was extraordinary. The sounds are rich and full as you’d expect if you had any experience with the bigger brother, and the features are no less rejuvenating. If you’re looking for a 61 key synthesizer, definitely check out this keyboard because it is excellent!
Choosing a 61-key synthesizer
Obviously, one of the harder things you’l have to do is narrow it down to just one keyboard (unless you have unlimited money). One thing you should be aware of is that while these are some of the best 61 key keyboards this year, there are many other options. You are not limited to choose only from this list, be knowing of the fact that these are easily at the top of the food chain in this category. One synth that was not included on this list was the Korg Kronos, and that was due to the fact that it is a limited supply instrument, and most people are already aware of the magnitude of that instrument.
While I don’t usually go straight for 61-key instruments, I definitely respect them. It is certainly no easy task to create such a happy medium between something so large and complex like an 88-key board and something so minuscule like a mini synth keyboard. Clearly, there are far too many options to choose from to just list them here, but this is a good place to start.