Top Keyboard Gear Picks for NAMM 2017, Day 1

January 19, 2017

The new sights and sounds of the 2017 NAMM Show have stormed into our consciousness, and it’s already hard to keep up with all the developments! So let’s get right into our early top picks for keyboardists from day one of the show.

Also check out Electronic Musician’s Top Gear Picks from Day 1 the 2017 NAMM Show at

Expressive E Touché instrument and controller, $399, available latter half of February

What We Love About It:

  • Produces sounds or manipulates others sounds with a variety of sliding, impact and bending motions. 
  • Works with software and hardware instruments over USB, MIDI or CV.
  • Comes with customizable software and more than 150 sounds designed for it by UVI.
Caveat: Will you have to get two if you want to position one for both your left and right hands?

Dave Smith Instruments REV2 16-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer. $1,999 street, availability TBA

What We Love About It:
  • 16 voices descended from the lineage of the Sequential Circuits Prophet ’08.
  • Bi-timbral operation, waveshape modulation and unison mode.
  • Onboard effect engine, OLED dispay and USB.
Caveat: We don’t have much info on the Unison mode yet, but we hope it lets you stack up all those voices into giant patches, otherwise you’ll have to MIDI up a second part to really take advantage of the 16 voices.

Roland RD-2000 Stage Piano with 88-key hammer action, $2,499, availability TBA

What We Love About It:
  • Deluxe control interface with LED-ring encoders, faders, a display and a controller mode for DAW software and plug-ins.
  • More than 1,100 sounds for much more than just piano, and onboard USB audio/MIDI interface.
Caveat: It’s called a Stage Piano, but the deluxe feature set aims it at studio use, as well.

Waves Audio Electric Grand 80 Piano virtual instrument, $69, out now

What We Love About It:
  • A careful sampling recreation of the classic Yamaha CP-80 that permeated ‘80s pop.
  • Reasonable price with frequent discounts available.
  • Plug-in or standalone mode.
Caveat: You may already have a suitable version of this sound in your collection.

Kawai ES110 88-key digital piano w/speakers and hammer action, $729 street, availability TBA

What We Love About It:
  • Nice value for the feature set.
  • 19 onboard sounds and 192-note polyphony, dual and split modes. 
  • Has both wired MIDI and Bluetooth, as well as audio and headphone outputs. 
Caveat: No USB connection.

Arp Odyssey FS Rev1, Rev2 & Rev3, 37-key duophonic analog synth, $1,599 each street, available February

What We Love About It:
  • A full -size recreation 
  • Available in all three historic versions. 
Caveat: Is the 100% full-size recreation really worth twice the price of the 86% size recreation? Maybe it is to you.

Korg MS-20 Mini analog synth, Limited Edition White
, $449 street, availability TBA

What We Love About It:
  • It’s the same lovable MS-20 Mini analog synth with patch bay and external input, but now in white. 
Caveat: Remember slob musicians: white stains easily.

Korg Krome 61-, 73- and 88-key synthesizer workstations Limited Edition Platinum
, $1,049, $1,249 and $1,649 street, availability TBA

  • It’s the same great Krome workstation with Kronos sounds, 16-track sequencer, color display, etc., except in platinum
  • The Krome-88 has Natural Weighted Hammer Action. 
Caveat: Okay, so it’s platinum now — just in color, not the actual precious metal.


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