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2016’s Best Portable Keyboards | MusicAuthority

Best Portable Keyboards In 2016

best portable keyboard

The invention of the Portable Keyboard is a blessing to amateur and professional musicians alike. Can you imagine a time where a piano was just a big old, immovable piano? We sure can’t. This marvelous instrument levels the playing field for those of us with musician dreams or even just hobbyist musicians; not to mention the sheer joy of being mobile!

One thing’s for sure, the search for the best Portable Keyboard is not an easy one. Start by asking yourself what you need it for – will you use it professionally, to learn, or simply just to mess around? Look no further as we round up the best portable keyboards to help you decide.

Our Rank

Image

Model

Item Weight (lb)

Dimension (inches)

Price

Rating

1

Casio CTK2400 PPK 61-Key

Casio CTK2400 PPK 61-Key

20.6

44 x 8 x 21

$$

Check Price

2

Roll Up Electronic Piano

Roll Up Electronic Piano

2.6

10.8 x 7.8 x 3.4

$

Check Price

3

Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key

Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key

10.2

4 x 12.8 x 37.5

$$

Check Price

4

CME Portable Musical Keyboard

CME Portable Keyboard

1.5

26 x 10 x 4

$$$

Check Price

5

Akai Professional LPK25

Akai Professional LPK25

1

3.8 x 13.4 x 1.1

$$

Check Price

Quick Navigation
The Casio CTK2400 PPK 61-Key Premium Portable Keyboard Package Review
Roll Up Electronic Piano/Keyboard
Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard
CME Portable Musical Keyboard
Akai Professional LPK25

The Casio CTK2400 PPK 61-Key Premium Portable Keyboard Package Review

Casio Inc. CTK2400 PPK

Casio needs no introduction in the musical instruments industry and is responsible for some of the best portable piano keyboards to date. The Casio CTK2400 PPK is especially great for beginners as it comes with all the music-making basics you need, like a pair of Sampson HP30 headphones, an X-style stand, built-in microphone and power supply.

Although this model comes as a fully-equipped package, that doesn’t take away from the fact that you still have a versatile portable keyboard, not restricted to one place. Don’t be fooled into thinking its portability comes at the cost of quality – Casio maintains its reputation of quality equipment, and these 61 keys have us sold. 

Criteria

The stand-out features in this Casio CTK2400 PPK review are the fact that it comes as a package deal. The novices among us appreciate this but what’s more is that it also includes built-in piano lessons! So all you need is you, your enthusiasm and the Casio CTK2400 PPK to start learning.

What you may also look out for in a portable keyboard is its user-friendliness. According to other Casio CTK PPK reviews by users, this package is all about ease of use, with easy set-up, easy recording via the built-in microphone and a generally intuitive system.

Product Overview

By and large, the Casio CTK2400 PPK is very impressive for an entry-level keyboard package. Given its reasonable price of around $129.95, you’re getting some good bang for your buck. There’s a reason why its Casio’s number one selling premium keyboard pack!

This is made clear alone in its 400 AHL tones, from stereo pianos to organs, wind and brass instruments, drums/percussion, synths, sound effects and more. Its 150 rhythms, 110 songs and 10 digital effects ensure enough versatility and capability for experimenting with different sounds. The low-quality headphones are made up for with the crystal clear speakers, a feature we were surprised to discover is this good!

Another often overlooked feature is the addition of the X-style stand – you never know how much you need it until you've been using a makeshift stand for some time! Heavy duty and built to last, the stand is fully adjustable to accommodate seated or standing musos. Though not a review of the full Casio CTK2400 PPK package and more of an overview of the keyboard on its own, we enjoyed this review by Todd Hobin and the Making Music team:

Pros

  • Affordability
  • Wide range of AHL tunes
  • Great quality piece of equipment and crisp, quality sound given the reasonable price range
  • The premium-packaged deal makes it a great beginner keyboard option

Cons

  • Better quality headphones. This is part of the package and doesn’t necessarily reflect on the quality and performance of the keyboard, but still worth a mention!
  • Lack of weighted/ hammer action keys
  • Lack of advanced composing capabilities (but hey, what can you expect from an entry-level portable keyboard?)
  • Touch sensitivity is not that great and needs some work

Conclusion

Would we recommend this product to a friend? Sure! As is true when purchasing any product or equipment, you need to have a good idea of your requirements and be realistic about you get for what you pay.

Having said that, the Casio CTK2400 PPK is a great piece of musical equipment, for beginners and professional musicians alike. It wouldn’t be Casio’s number 1 selling keyboard if it wasn’t!

See Price on Amazon

Roll Up Electronic Piano/Keyboard

FlashingBoards Roll Up Electronic Keyboard Review

Far from your standard piano keyboard player, the Flashingboards Rollup Electronic Keyboard is as unique as it is mobile. The standard portable keyboard is of course, made to be mobile, but this takes portable to a whole new level.

I mean, how often do you come across a piece of musical equipment that can literally roll up and off you go? Probably not very often. In fact, more often than not, it’s carrying equipment around that makes for the biggest burden and can get in the way of the fun!

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this unique feature comes at the expense of quality play and sound. But then you'd also be surprised to discover that for its reasonable price and flexibility, this keyboard can definitely deliver!

It's a great option for beginners as the investment is not too risky and it comes with a range of features that make learning easy and fun. Important to note though, is that this is more of a novelty than a professional piece of equipment.

Teach Yourself

Nevermind piano lessons, this Flashingboards Rollup Electronic Keyboard makes music-making easy to learn and you’ll be mastering tunes in no time. This is thanks to the 30 demo songs included, as well as 128 different tones and rhythms – all with the luxury of 61 keys into this petite little keyboard. (Not too far off from the standard piano, which holds 88 keys!).

From this Flashingboards Rollup Electronic Keyboard review it may be obvious by now that this would make for a great first-time apparatus for kids, giving you can indication of how easy it is to master.

Soft Keyboard

Most soft, roll-out keyboards are rather flat and don’t quite give that satisfying sensation of actually playing the piano. It’s a special feeling and that’s why I love that these keys are thickened – all 61 of them!

Made of silicon rubber and ABS  plastic, when opened up, the keyboard measures 34 inches by 6.7 inches, with a mere height of 0.2 inches.

Given the keyboard’s soft structure, it is highly likely that compound sounds will result from cross feedback and or vibrations from adjacent keys. This should be expected, so don’t be alarmed if you find this occurring while playing. Add to that the keys being quite sensitive to touch.

Grab And Go

One thing that stood out in reviews of the Flashingboards Rollup Electronic Keyboard is its ease of use, especially in that it can be taken along anywhere. Just like you would carry a book in your bag in case you find some free time during your travels or on a commute, now you can do the same with a piano keyboard! Simply find some spare time, roll ‘em out and start playing. There’s not much more to it.

The on-board record feature also ensures that those ad-hoc music moments don't go unmissed.

And if you’re planning to be on the go with this keyboard, then best you know that its power lasts about 12 – 15 hours of playing time on 4 AA batteries, so as long as you’ve got that sorted you’re good to go. If you run out of power unaware, an AC adapter is included, which allows you to plug into a wall socket.

Sound

I was in complete disbelief seeing and hearing the quality of the sounds produced from this little rubber keyboard! The speaker and sound quality are impressive, and given that the tones are digital, they are pretty accurate.

However, the speed at which you play may affect this: playing too fast can cause a delay in the sound or miss a few notes being played.

Since the Flashingboards Rollup Electronic Keyboard is best for learning, this shouldn’t be a major stumbling block, although if you want to go further, perhaps a more robust, solid piano keyboard is a better option.

Conclusion

Throughout this Flashingboards Rollup Electronic Keyboard review, I’ve reiterated that this device is best for first-time players looking to teach themselves and even kids wanting to play around.

FlashingBoards Roll Up

While its features are pretty decent, I must reiterate that this is best suited to beginner players and kids. It makes for a fun way to learn while still having the benefit of most of the standard keyboard features, which is great.

If you’re planning on starting a band, well, then this is not quite the option for you, but still an excellent product for its use and especially given the reasonable price range.

See Price on Amazon

Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard

Yamaha PSRE253

Arguably the biggest name in music instruments and equipment, Yamaha introduces its entry-level portable keyboard – the Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard, and I have to admit this does stand out as one the best portable piano keyboards out there. 

This is not surprising as it comes from the company that first starting producing upright pianos in the year 1900! With a brand like this still standing, you know you’re in good hands. When it comes to pianos – even the portable keyboard kind – this is the trusted, reliable go-to.

This review of the Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard will evaluate what this piece of equipment is like in terms of functionality, specs and its use as a tool for learning. 

Learning Made Easy

Its stand-out feature is the Yamaha Education Suite, which is a 9-step lesson function. These nine lessons are thoughtfully split into 3 left-hand lessons, 3 right-hand lessons and 3 lessons involving both hands. 

The Education Suite’s scoring function adds an extra element of fun but more importantly, that slight sense of gratification after every little achievement, no matter how small. Way to learn and teach using this keyboard! 

Add to this the 61 full keys, which is great for developing your own keyboard playing style. What’s more, the PSRE253’s Duo mode lets you split the keyboard in half, each half with its own middle C, perfect for playing or learning together with a partner. Or even just for having the ability to practice side-by-side with your tutor. 

You Name It; The PSRE253 Can Play It

Of course, the primary type of instrument you’d want to play if you were in the market for a portable keyboard would be the piano, right? The Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard offers 385 varying instrument voices, not just limited to the piano. 

It also includes guitar and flute sounds, with the handy addition of 13 drum/SFX kits. Its grand piano sound is particularly impressive as it adds to the feeling of playing orchestra! Not bad for someone that’s just learning their way around. 

The metronome capability, which is also included in this keyboard, makes for some fun experimentation with beats and tunes too. 

Play Wherever You Go 

As its name suggests, the Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard is made for learners and musicians on the move – no hefty equipment here. 

The fact that it weighs a mere 9 pounds, measures 37 inches in width, 4 inches in height and 12 inches in depth, means you can grab, go and play with ease. This also gives you an idea of the keyboard being just sturdy enough so it's not flimsy – a common concern with these types of portable keyboards. 

Just make sure you include the required 6 AA batteries in order to power it though! Not that a plug-in option is off the cards

One thing I found a tad annoying though was that the instrument itself did not include a power source. Quite a shocker really and it meant we had to purchase this separately. 

​Playing Along With Your Favorites

Boasting a collection of 102 pre-set songs, there’s lots of fun to be had playing the old favorites without the feeling of completely messing them up while learning. 

In addition, the AUX jack allows you to connect to any external source, including your mobile phone or personal computer, which means there’s even more to play along to (read: fun to be had), if the 102-strong selection doesn't take your fancy. 

Hint: Even if you’re not wanting to play along via an external source, why not make use of this function to use the keyboard’s onboard speakers? The quality is impressive given this is an entry level instrument. 

Watch this video review of the Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard to get a better idea of the sound quality and specs: 

Conclusion 

This Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard review states pretty clearly that I’d recommend this product. Save for the lack of a power cord as a standard component and the usual qualm of portable keyboards not reflecting a true piano sound, this is a pretty sweet deal. 

An entry level keyboard from the best, and probably longest standing brand in the business, you know you can’t go wrong. It stands out prominently from the rest in that it emphasises the learning element, which is what most keyboard buyers are after. If step-by-step learning for first-timers is what you’re after, the Yamaha PSRE253 61-Key Portable Keyboard should be your go-to. 

See Price on Amazon

CME Portable Musical Keyboard

CME Xkey Air Portable Keyboard

The CME Xkey Portable Musical Keyboard really stands out as a unique offering in the portable keyboard arena, not least for its portability.  

Though it's made by a lesser-known brand, the features of this keyboard will get any muso excited. It’s the perfect blend of portability, technology and versatility. CME aren’t playing around when they say they’re “Always one step ahead.”

While reviews of the CME Xkey Portable Musical Keyboard often call out its portability as one of its stand-out features, it has so much more to offer and is almost revolutionary in this product space. 

No Compromises

When you really need your instruments to be mobile, you often have to make certain compromises, be it quality, sound or key size. 

One of the key things that caught my attention about this keyboard is that its portability barely hinders the key sizes, snugly (and miraculously) fitting all 37 keys into its slim frame! It must be noted though, that the black keys are slightly narrower than your standard. Still, this is very impressive! 

What’s more, the keys are press-volume sensitive, allowing you to play fortissimo or pianissimo so you can make real music you’re proud of. 

A Mobile And Portable As They Come

The Xkey’s lightweight, minimalist design means it can go anywhere and everywhere with you, so you never miss a beat. 

Sure, that’s amazing, but what I really love is the fact that you can plug it into any mobile device, ranging from iPhone, iPhone and a range of Android devices. 

All you need to do is download compatible music production apps, which vary from free to pro, depending on your needs of course. CME also offers a free Xkey Plus, which lets you configure your keyboard to exactly how you like it. 

How have I not yet mentioned the Bluetooth functionality in this CME Xkey Portable Musical Keyboard review yet?! Yes, there’s that too. It’s a dream working without cables and wires all over the place. 

I mean, the pressure of having to make great music is high enough – the last thing you need is cables all over place while you’re at it. This is a blessing you never knew you needed until you go completely mobile and wireless. Don't worry, the keyboard is also USB MIDI compliant. 

You might think that all this high-end portability features come at the expense of battery life. Well, lucky for us, the Xkey is powered by a rechargeable Lithium battery, allowing uninterrupted play for hours at a time. 

Design Dreams

A CME Xkey Portable Musical Keyboard review would not be complete without the mention of its unique, slim minimalist design, which seems to be very strongly influenced by the clean lines we’ve seen in Apple products. 

At just 1.5 pounds (this is 20% lighter than an 11” MacBook Air!), and measuring 26 x 10 inches, you won’t get any lighter and slimmer than this. 

Experimentation Station

The emergence of fresh new complete genres that have risen purely out of new technologies means that we are very much in an age of experimentation, and this in fact, extends way beyond music to all forms of content production. 

You can tell that this is exactly what the CME Xkey Portable Musical Keyboard was borne out of. That spirit of innovation, technology and experimentation! 

Don’t get me wrong, it gives a pretty darn good 3 octave piano play, but more importantly, it makes experimenting, sampling and plain old playing around so much more convenient. 

While doing this review, I tried to think of similar keyboards that come close to these features and, all things considered, there isn’t really a worthy competitor on the market, so the XKey stands out in a big way. This could just set the standard for the portable musical keyboard of the future. 

See Price on Amazon

Akai Professional LPK25

Akai Professional LPK25

This list would not be complete without the mention of a portable computer keyboard, a small differentiation that makes for a huge benefit in terms of ease and convenience.

While the LPK25 includes just 25 keys, it makes up for it by boasting plug and play USB functionality on both Mac and PC without the need for any installation drivers! Bliss.

If you’ve moved on from beginner level and are going up a notch, this is a great option for novice music makers as it captures writing sessions and ideas via most production software.

If synth sounds and experimentation is what you’re into, this is definitely one of the best portable computer keyboards out there!​

See Price on Amazon

What’s It Going To Be?

Now that you have an idea of what’s on offer, the most important thing is to think about what you need a portable keyboard for and what you’re willing to pay for it. This will help you narrow down your options. Just be grateful that you shouldn’t have to budget for a big old mahogany piano. We’re certain this is the less risky option!

From baby steps to synthy sounds, the variety is pretty much endless. We’re just grateful that the technology exists – and in this much variety! It’s amazing that these portable keyboards could be the very place from which big dreams start. But hey, that’s the magic of music!

Product images sourced from Amazon.com


The post 2016’s Best Portable Keyboards | MusicAuthority appeared first on Music Authority.



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