A Plentitude of Piano Equipment

Sequencer control unit of Yamaha Disklavier Ma...

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Piano equipment…? Who needs equipment when you have a piano? Isn’t a piano all of the equipment that you need? These are good questions that are easier to answer if the type of piano that you own is considered.

For an acoustic piano, the only supplement piece of equipment that you need is a bench to sit on. This usually comes with the piano purchase. As well, good lighting is always a must, so a supplemental lamp should be part of your piano ensemble. Apart from that, all is taken care of provided the humidity levels and natural lighting in your house or studio are adequate.

For a keyboard, you often have to buy supplemental equipment (including a bench). Many keyboards have a jack for a sustain pedal, with the actual pedal not being included in the kit. This extra purchase is important if you are using your keyboard for concert performances of complex jazz and classical works. Even complex solo pop repertoire often requires a pedal if you are planning on using your keyboard in a concert venue.

If, on the other hand, you are merely using your electric instrument as a supplement in an ensemble (like an electric bass sound substituting for a band’s tuba part), then you most certainly can get away without purchasing a sustain pedal.

Keep in mind that keyboards that substitute for absent orchestral instruments in school bands do not necessarily have to be fully weighted or full-sized. However, if used in a solo capacity, it is advantageous to have a more expensive weighted keyboard (keys that feel like the resistance found in an acoustic piano) for control purposes.

Keyboards often do not have enough volume to permeate a larger concert hall. In this scenario, a patch chord and amplifier (and possibly a microphone) would be needed in order for the synthesizer to be heard and/or balanced with the other instruments of a band or orchestra.

The stand that a keyboard is mounted on is another expense that you should be prepared for. However, this is not a large monetary purchase and is necessary, especially if you are taking your instrument on the road to perform at different venues. These stands generally can be adjusted to an optimum height, which comes in handy when deciding whether you will be standing or sitting when performing at a particular function.

Finally, most modern keyboards can be used as a midi device in a home studio. In other words, the output of your keyboard can be recorded into a computer program. As exciting as that sounds, it means that you now have to purchase a whole bunch of equipment in order to record your instrument. The same is true with an acoustic instrument. Condenser (or dynamic) microphones can record directly into a computer for quality sound tracks. Many find it advantageous to purchase a multitude of recording equipment for their piano or keyboard to offset the cost of a recording studio. If you record often, this is most certainly a viable purchase.

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