by Stefan Wyeth | 4,3 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 4 Minutes
The Best Workstation Keyboards under $2500

The Best Workstation Keyboards under $2500  ·  Source: KORG / AKAI Professional

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If you’ve got keyboard skills, or even if you don’t, workstations provide an amazing set of tools for creating music. To help you navigate this process, we’ve selected some of the best workstation keyboards under $2500.

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Workstations became extremely popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when producers like Timbaland and Scott Storch dominated the charts with the sounds from workstations from Yamaha and Korg.

As music moved into the button-bashing phase, the keyboard-driven production style waned in popularity. It’s still, however, a very effective way to get a unique and dynamic feel into the core of your tracks.

Choosing the best workstation keyboards under $2500

With the overall sound engine quality as a priority, we’ve selected keyboards based on sound creation and synthesis capabilities, arrangement and production features, as well as live performance functionality.

Yamaha MODX8+

The MODX8+ is an 88-key GHS (Graded Hammer Standard) synth workstation keyboard with Yamaha’s advanced Motion control synthesis engine.

Yamaha MODX8+ · Source: Yamaha

There are 2 parts to this engine, each with 128 voices:

  • The AWM2 (2nd-Gen Advanced Wave Memory) section with 5.67 GB of ROM waveforms and an additional 1.75 GB of flash ROM for user waveforms
  • The incredibly powerful 8-operator FM-X synthesis engine with 88 algorithms
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In addition, the MODX8+ has built-in effects and EQ for both the individual parts and the master section and a bank of over 2000 performance presets.

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Yamaha MODX8+
Yamaha MODX8+
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Roland Fantom-08

With the Fantom-08, you get an extremely versatile instrument with features for both music production and live performance. It’s equipped with an 88-key PHA-4 (Progressive Hammer Action) keyboard, 256-voice polyphony, and five sound engines.

Roland Fantom-08
Roland Fantom-08 · Source: Roland

Apart from the impressive sound library and sound-shaping tools, you also get a 32-band vocoder, an 8-voice pad sampler, and the onboard 16-track sequencer with step recording and TR drum programming.

The fun part about the Fantom series is you get a great collection of sound from classic Roland synths. When combined with the rhythm pattern creator, arpeggiator, or chord memory function, this can be seriously fun.

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Roland Fantom-08
Roland Fantom-08
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(11)

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AKAI MPC Key 61

The AKAI MPC Key 61 is a complete music production and DAW control platform with recording, sequencing, sampling, and synthesis capabilities. Although the MPC Keys can do it all, it can still become the center of your studio or keyboard rig.

AKAI MPC Key 61
MPC Key 61 · Source: AKAI

With MIDI I/O, CV/Gate outputs, and an additional set of outputs, you can sequence other instruments, connect your Eurorack synth, or incorporate your outboard gear into your workflow.

As an instrument, the MPC Keys allows you to get started immediately with 25 instrument plug-ins, over 6000 preset sounds, and 100 different multi-effects.

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AKAI Professional MPC Key 61
AKAI Professional MPC Key 61
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(19)

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KORG Nautilus 88

If you’re looking for a complete keyboard-driven music production system, the KORG Nautilus 88 provides creative tools in almost every aspect.

Korg Nautilus 88 · Source: Korg

With up to 200-voice polyphony and 9 sound engines including SGX-2, EP-1, HD-1, AL-1, CX-3, STR-1, MOD-7, MS-20EX, and PolysixEX, you’re well equipped to take on most modern music styles.

Apart from the 16-track sequencer, the Nautilus also provides sampling capabilities and a 24-bit 48kHz 16-track audio recorder with 16 different effects processors and 3-band EQ on every channel.

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Korg Nautilus 88
Korg Nautilus 88
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Kurzweil K2700

The Kurzweil K2700 is an incredibly versatile instrument from the expressive 88-key Fatar TP/40L keyboard to the realistic Kurzweil sound engines onboard.

Kurzweil K2700
Source: Kurzweil

These include the V.A.S.T, 6-operator FM, and VA1 Virtual Analogue synthesis engines, the KB3 ToneReal organ, and K.S.R. (Kurzweil String Resonance) modeling technology.

The K2700 has a 16-track sequencer and also offers a MIDI CC sequencer for automation which is useful. Furthermore, the comprehensive effects section gives you so much creative power.

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Kurzweil K2700
Kurzweil K2700
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More about Workstation Keyboards:

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The Best Workstation Keyboards under $2500

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