I am planning to buy a piano keyboard with weighted keys. I searched on Amazon and found these two --



These are midi keyboard controllers. I want to learn piano, I am completely new to piano (I am 26 years old male).

Should I buy any of these to learn piano?

Can I connect midi keyboard controller to a speaker (without any pc)? And if this is possible, will there be any delay between pressing the keyboard key and output from the speaker?

  • Look at this question for the total approach. I can't imagine, that the delay will be long enough to be noticed or even to disturb. The tag "speaker" is misleading, and I would also not have used "delay" (even if the tag description does not assist for the decision).
    – guidot
    Dec 20 '17 at 11:11
  • "I can't imagine, that the delay will be long enough to be noticed or even to disturb." -- So there will be a delay? I didn't understand
    – danver
    Dec 20 '17 at 12:12

The word "controller" tells it all. What you are looking for is an electric piano.

A MIDI controller doesn't produce any sound. It just sends MIDI data (what notes are being played? for how long? is the pedal or pitch bend activated?) to a MIDI host, like:

  1. Your computer, where it can be routed to a software that produces sounds (e.g. Keyscape, the best keyboard softsynth right now)
  2. A hardware synthesizer, such as the Prophet 12 Desktop, which needs to receive MIDI data in order to produce sound, and does not even have a keyboard by itself.

You want a keyboard that both send MIDI data and has a keyboard sampler built-in, such as the Yamaha NP-32 (entry-level, good keyboard, ok keyboard sounds) or the KORG SV-1 (one of the best electric pianos right now)

  • but I am not talking about keyboard with built-in speakers.
    – danver
    Dec 20 '17 at 12:11
  • What about the delay? (Please see my question)
    – danver
    Dec 20 '17 at 12:11
  • There is delay in sending the MIDI signal to the synth/computer. Not much (milliseconds) but it's not always idea in a live setting. You might not want built in speakers.. If that's the case (and assuming you can find a keyboard with builtin sounds, that doesn't have a built in speaker; I'm not aware of one) then you will still need an amplifier, or a headphone jack.
    – Greg
    Dec 20 '17 at 14:15
  • "What you are looking for is an electric piano". To be clear, there's an important difference between an "electric piano" and a "digital piano". A "digital piano" uses an embedded computer (digital) to reproduce an actual piano sound as well as other instruments. It's meant to be a direct substitute for an acoustic piano. An "electric piano" is an electro-mechanical instrument with a real hammer mechanism that hits metal tines/reeds which is captured with a pickup and amplified. EPs are great but OP probably wants a "digital piano" and not an "electric piano".
    – user37496
    Dec 20 '17 at 16:47
  • youtube.com/watch?v=fccIQYkFxZ8&pbjreload=10 In this video, is he playing electric or digital piano?
    – danver
    Dec 20 '17 at 17:43

Neither of those will work with just a speaker. They both need a PC, a standalone synth that can accept MIDI, or a phone (You can use those through Garageband on the iPhone at least).

@Christopher-Marois offered a good suggestion with the Yamaha NP-32 though I'm not sure, from reading the specs, that is has weighted keys. The Yamaha P45 does.. and I believe it has MIDI out as well (in case you do want to connect to your computer).


  • you said they will not work with JUST a speaker.. What else is needed (without using computer) ?
    – danver
    Dec 20 '17 at 13:49
  • Again, you could use a phone. Or you could use a hardware synth (like described here tweakheadz.com/midi-synth-modules ). Those are rackmountable synthesizers that accept the MIDI from the controller. There is also this (amazon.com/dp/B00VHKM190/… ) which is a small device for accepting MIDI.
    – Greg
    Dec 20 '17 at 14:13

Should I buy any of these to learn piano?

The simple answer is no. Trying to buy a nice piano without knowing how to play it is already starting on the wrong footsteps. I recommend borrowing a friend's piano (if you know anyone who has it), buy a used/cheap piano somewhere, or get a toy piano and mess around with that for fun. Fun is the key (no pun intended). Enjoying the process of learning is what's important. What would happen if you picked up a fully weighted piano and decided that the weights felt unauthentic, therefore disliked any digital pianos and gave up altogether. Start with something that costs you little so that you can enjoy the benefits more.

After learning the importance of having 88 keys, modulators, weights, and expression pedals, then you can award yourself with those tools at your arsenal.

Now, if you already know that you love piano, and that you will learn a lot no matter what, then you can save yourself some money by buying a nice piano to start with. It's up to you at that point. You could get a nord piano or something too, a nice gig monster.

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