Hands down the best synth work station is the Yamaha MM6, amazing sound, and a great sequencer; this is the one I recommend as the top cheap workstation. I will give the descriptions on it and what the specs and things are, as well as a pitcher.
The Yamaha is so good because it has the sound engine of its expensive brother the MOTIF, the same sound set, more limited; it is like a MOTIF lit.
Think you have to lay down tons of cash for a great sounding synthesizer? Think you'll need to take a college level course to understand how to use a sequencer? Think professional keyboards have to weigh a ton? Think again! The Yamaha MM6 is a lightweight, easy to learn performance synthesizer that derives its many voices from the legendary MOTIF workstation. It sounds like a million bucks, but you won't have to win the lotto to get one!
Portability Made For Gigging
Unless you've got an army of dedicated roadies, it's just not convenient to lug a massive workstation keyboard around to gigs. The Yamaha MM6 solves this problem by incorporating hundreds of great MOTIF-derived sounds into a compact, 61-key keyboard that weighs less than twelve pounds. The mod and pitch wheels are positioned above the bass-end keys for a shorter length than even most 61-key synths. To save on weight, the keys themselves are not weighted, but they still feature velocity sensitivity for expressive playing dynamics; the MM6 is a totally pro performance keyboard that won't wreak havoc on your back.
Sound Set Straight From The MOTIF
418 voices and 22 drum kits have been taken directly from the MOTIF and installed in the Yamaha MM6. You get thick synthesizer sounds, fat drum tones, amazing acoustic instruments, and of course, that signature Yamaha digital grand piano sound. The MM6 arranges all these sounds by category, so you can find the one you need quick and easy, even in the middle of a live set. Tweaking those sounds is also easy--and fun--with the Yamaha MM6's real-time control knobs. In addition to the pitch and mod wheels, you get access to parameters like attack, resonance, filter cutoff and release. Just like on the MOTIF and other workstation keyboards, the Yamaha MM6 comes with a big selection of backing rhythmic patterns in styles like hip-hop, jazz, rock and dance, which is great for instant accompaniment or as inspiration for your own grooves. One of the standout features of the MOTIF is its sophisticated arpeggiator, and the MM6 boasts 213 patterns taken directly from its big brother. Arpeggio patterns lock in with your rhythmic pattern to create intricate musical counterpoints, all triggered by playing a simple chord. You'll be able to instantly realize complex musical ideas, even in the middle of a live performance.
Sequencer To Fuel Your Creative Fire
With a built-in, eight track sequencer, the Yamaha MM6 is also a great tool for inspiring your inner producer. The amazing sounds, patterns and arpeggiator on the MM6 are sure to catalyze your creative engines, and the sequencer makes it easy to record all your freshest compositions. Your sequences are stored in the universal MIDI file format, which can easily be transferred to your computer thanks to the inclusion of a USB connection on the back of the keyboards. From there, you can expound on your musical ideas by importing the MIDI files into Cubase LE, the powerful computer audio editing software that just so happens to ship with your new Yamaha MM6 synthesizer. Like everything else on the MM6, the sequencer is simple to learn and operate.
You've coveted the lush sounds of the MOTIF from afar for long enough. The Yamaha MM6 puts powerful Yamaha synthesis and sequencing for stage and studio well within the reach of any musician.
Cost 700.00 Zzsound has them for under 450.00 slight blemish , so what , that is an unreal price.
What the MFG says about it next.
Overview Warranties and Docs Yamaha's Description Customer Reviews
The Yamaha MM6 Music Synthesizer delivers all that power and more. Drawing on the same sounds of the popular pro-level MOTIF series instruments, the MM6 has a wide variety of dynamic, realistic and just plain powerful Voices to help you create amazing music. The MM6 also gives you total control over your sound, with real-time tweakable knobs, and features special Patterns that provide full backing -- drums, bass and chords -- for your live performance and song creation. And since the MM6 is exceptionally light and portable, you can bring it anywhere and everywhere your music takes you.
Play -- Sounds from the Legendary Motif
That's the first and most important thing you look -- and listen -- for in a synthesizer. Rest assured, this synthesizer delivers. The MM6 has 418 Voices and 22 Drum Kits on board, based on the sounds of the famed pro-level MOTIF series synthesizers. These exceptionally high-quality sounds range from authentic and natural acoustic instruments to wild, unique and in-your-face synth Voices. An extra set of GM Voices (128 Normal, 1 Drum Kit) is built into the instrument as well, giving you all you need to play back songs recorded in that popular format.
So many Voices, so little time... That's why Yamaha also included a convenient Category Search function. Just select the type of instrument you want to play -- organ, guitar, synth lead, strings, whatever -- then select the specific Voice. All your favorite sounds are right at your fingertips.
Tweak -- Your Sounds the Way You Want!
Take control. Twist some knobs and tweak the sound. Make it sing and make it scream. The MM6 puts some serious control in your hands. Change the filter cutoff and resonance settings as well as the EG attack and release with the four knobs - in real time as you play.
Jam -- Patterns to Groove On
The MM6 has a full set of Patterns that give you rhythmic backing in a wide variety of music styles -- including Hip Hop, Rap, R&B, Dance, Ambient, Pop, Rock, Jazz and even World styles. These Patterns are just what you need to shake up the dance floor. All dynamic, all powerful - the MM6 gives you the real thing. Patterns that stay in the groove, but never sound mechanical. Drum loops with a truly human feel that dance and float around the beat, yet remain firmly in the pocket. Riffs and licks that get you inspired, get you moving, and get you creating some serious music.
Generate some excitement. The powerful Arpeggiator feature lets you automatically create repeating rhythmic phrases and note patterns. A full 213 Arpeggiator types are built in, letting you trigger a variety of musically useful and exciting patterns to get the house jumping. Many of these Arpeggiator types use synth lead, piano and guitar Voices to generate melodic and broken chord patterns based on the chords you play with your left hand. Bass arpeggios and Drum Voice rhythm loops are also included, letting you easily set up dynamic riffs and beats to jam over.
Create -- Your Music, Your Way
When you play live, you want to be able to make sound changes quickly -- not just between songs, but in the middle of a song too. The Performance Memory feature is just the tool you need to smoothly switch gears and take things up a notch or two. Each Performance can store combined settings for the Voices you want to use (including special keyboard splits and layers), the Patterns you want as backing tracks, and any other crucial settings for your live work. Then, simply call up each Performance by pressing a single button.
Save and Swap
Share the wealth. With the rear panel USB connection, the MM6 makes it easier than ever before to transfer your valuable data between devices. Plug in a USB thumb drive or memory stick and store the important MIDI songs, Pattern files, Performance settings and all other data you've created, and then bring it to a computer for archiving and organizing. You can also save your recorded songs in the universal SMF (Standard MIDI File) format, then transfer and use those on any another SMF-compatible device, including computers running MIDI music sequencing software.
The MM6 is all about making music. And since much of today's music is being made on computers, the MM6 is built to fit right into any computer music system. Just connect the USB To Host terminal on the instrument to your computer with a standard USB cable, and you've got the makings of a sophisticated recording setup. And just to make sure you get a head start, Yamaha included a free copy of Cubase LE -- a full-featured music production software that has all you need to record your performance data from the MM6 via MIDI (and even use plug-in synthesizers in the software), edit the data, process the sounds with effects, arrange it in multiple tracks and perform final mix down.
Cubase lite is a good sequencer, but limited, also cubase the full version, will take a while to learn, I am not a fan of this sequencer PC software a tad complicated , but solid software, some may love it, I do not.
The Second Casio, I kid you not this one is simply fantastic 699.00 actually 700.00 the one above is 699.00 hence the post best for under 700.00 true by a penny LOL. So, 700.00 These two have built in sequencers, that is what makes them stand alone workstations. There are a few synths in the 700.00 range that may sound better like Korgs but this and the one above have so much and Casio is hard to believe, this is a must have as my second choice out of all 700.00 workstations, Casio has come a long way, this synth has a totally new sound engine, not the Casios of old. The difference between the two is this, Casio is for the analog sound, I mean heavy bottom end analog.
Sounds of old can be made with the one, the top favorite has a better sequencer and more usable sounds, and not a true analog emulator like the Casio, that is the difference, what sound do you want. For song writers The Yamaha is what you want, for a retro sound, Casio and more limited sequencer.
Casio has one around the same price range that is for DJ style music and wow, it is what it claims, if that is what your looking for and into, the Casio like the one shown is all about live, and DJ usage, it also records fantastic.
The Casio XW-P1 is a 61 key performance synthesizer with Casio's exclusive (HPSS) Hybrid Processing Sound Source. Providing screaming virtual analog monophonic leads and basses, draw-bar organs, complex layers, stereo pianos, drums and more, the XW-P1 has the sounds and real-time control the performing musician needs.
- 6 Oscillator Monophonic Solo Synthesizer
- HexLayer - A single sound made up of 6 components for gig ready splits and layers
- Drawbar Organ Mode with 9 sliders, adjustable rotary speaker, key click, vibrato and percussion
- 400 fully editable PCM based sounds like stereo pianos, vintage electric pianos, strings, guitars, drums and more.
- Step Sequencer with 9 instrument tracks and 4 controller tracks
- 16 step programmable Arpeggiator
- Phrase sequencer to record and playback your riffs
- Performance mode providing 4 internal or external instrument zones with instant recall of effects, Step Sequences, Arpeggiators and Phrases
- 4 real-time controller knobs
- Pitch and Modulation Wheels
- 1/4 in. Mic and Line puts to process your voice or other instruments
- Stereo 1/8 in. line input to connect an MP3 player, laptop or tablet
- USB and MIDI ports
- 1/4" Line Output
- Included Power Supply
- Can operate on 6 D batteries
Overview Specs Warranties and Docs Customer Reviews
- Number of Keys: 61
-- Pitch Wheel
-- Modulation Wheel
- Assignable Controllers: Controllers; 4 Knobs
- Assignable Functions: MIDI Messages (CC, RPN, NRPN, Mono After touch, Poly After touch, Pitch, Tempo)
- Editing Controllers: 9 Sliders
- Display: LCD; 72x31 Dot Matrix + Patterns, with Back light and Contrast
- Tone Generator: Overview; Sound Generator Type; HPSS(Hybrid Processing Sound Source)
- Polyphony: 64
- Number of Parts: 16
- Total Number of Tones (Preset/User) : 620/310
- PCM, Melody, PCM Drum, Drawbar Organ, Hex Layer, Solo Synthesizer
- GM Compatible: Level 1
- Mixer: Yes
- Tuning: A4=415.5Hz - 440.0Hz - 465.9Hz (0.1Hz-Step)
- PCM Tones: Preset/User Tones; 400/100
- Tri-Element Stereo Piano: Yes
- Tones with User Wave: N/A
- Drum Kits (Preset/User) : 20/10
- Hex Layer: Number of Tones (Preset/User); 50/50
- Drawbar Organ: Number of Tones (Preset/User); 50/50
- Solo Synthesizer: Preset/User Tones; 100/100
- Maximum Polyphony: 1
- Oscillator Blocks: 6 (Synth 1/2, PCM1/2, Ext Input, Noise)
- Portamento: Yes
- Legato: Yes
- PWM: Yes
- External Input: Yes
- Pitch Shifter: Yes
- Noise Generator: Yes
- Non-Resonant Filter: Yes (6)
- Resonant Filter: Yes (1)
- Amplifier: Yes
- Oscillator Mixer: Yes
- LFO: Yes (2)
- Envelope Generators: Pitch, Amp, Filter, LFO
- Assignable Virtual Controllers: 8
- Effects: System Reverb; Preset Types; 10
- System Chorus: Preset Types; 5
- Limitations: System Chorus, DSP and Solo Synthesizer are mutually exclusive
- Master Effect: EQ; Editable 4 Band EQ
- DSP: Number of DSP Sets (Preset/User); 100/100
- PCM Tone Effect Categories: Compressor, Distortion, Enhancer, Wah, Auto Pan, Tremolo, Rotary, Phaser, Chorus, Reflection, Tempo Sync Delay , Ring Modulator, LoFi, 2-Module Multi
- Solo Synth DSP: Tempo Sync Delay, Distortion, Ring Modulator, Chorus, Flanger, Pan
- Algorithm Types: 46(Normal Tone DSP) 6(Solo Synthesizer DSP)
- DSP Lines: 1
- Audio Player: Storage Type; SD Card
- Number of Songs: 999
- Audio File Format: 42kHz Stereo
- Limitation: Audio Playing, Musical Playing(SMF, Step Sequencer) are mutually exclusive.
- Step Sequencer: Number of Tracks; Mono x 8, Poly x 1, Control x 4
- Number of Patterns / Step Sequence: 8
- Number of Step Sequencers (Preset/User) : 100/100
- Number of Chains (user) : 100
- Maximum Number of Steps: 16
- Key Play: Yes
- Other: Note Gate, Note Swing per Track
- Phrase Sequencer: Number of Phrases; 100/100
- Number of Tracks: 1
- Play Mode: Loop, Hold, Key Play
- Capacity: 8KBytes/Pgrase, 128KBytes/100 User Phrases
- Recordable Events: Note On/Off, Controller Operations
- Arpeggiator: Other; Phrase measure and note quantize, overdub
- Number of Patterns (Preset/User) : 100/100
- Data Types: Variation, Step
- Editing Function: Variation ; Parameter Edit
- Step: 16-Step Edit, Parameter Edit
- Performance: Number of Memories (Preset/User); 100/100
- Parameter Categories: Tone, Effect, Mixer, Controller, Sequence, Phrase, Arpeggio, MIDI
- Recall Parameter Filter: Yes
- Number of Keyboard Zones: 4
- Multifunction Key: Yes
- Transpose: Range; +/- 12
- Octave Shift: Range; +/- 3
- Tempo: Range; 30-255BPM
- Tap Tempo: Button/LED; Yes
- MIDI Clock: Transmit/Receive; Yes
- Storage: SDHC Card; Capacity; 2GB-32GB
Dimensions and Weight in Packaging
Shipping Weight: 19 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 40 x 18 x 6 in
I found this Keyboards to be very, very fun to play, a lot of user things to tweak and play with it is a blast to tweak if you like that.
What else could you ask for in a workstation, esp at 700.00. The sound of the Yamaha I like best, and it is why it is the best for the price, I have read everywhere and all agree this is the number one musician reviewed workstation for the money, I agree with the rest. When I first heard it I loved the sound, amazing, the Casio's features and sound are right up there, so these are the two I recommend as your low cost, go to, gigging pro home studio keyboards that sound great and do it all.
These will allow you to make pro recordings for pennies on the dollar.