I'm considering buying a piano to learn music composition on. However, I'm not sure I want to spend $400 on it. Is it possible to buy a good keyboard with weighted action for $100? Also, I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to buy a MIDI keyboard?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Todd Wilcox, Richard, guidot, Dom Apr 22 '18 at 23:10

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Possible? Sure. But it'll probably be stolen. Or older than your grandfather.

It's more likely that you'll need to change your objectives, or change your budget. You're probably going to need to look at second hand instruments. Perhaps start by looking at the local classifieds? There's probably a load of junk, but you might find something.

Almost all keyboards will have MIDI. It may be the 5-pin DIN connector, or it may be USB, or both.

I'd also suggest doing a little bit more research, and figuring out what you actually want out of a keyboard. Perhaps you don't need it to be weighted? Should it have inbuilt sounds, or should it require a computer running music software? There are a lot of resources on this site already. Here's some more reading:

Also be aware that specific hardware recommendation questions are off-topic for this site.

  • I thought MIDI was only via 5 pin DIN. Is USB used for MIDI now? – Tim Apr 17 '18 at 6:00
  • @Tim Yeah, there's a MIDI-over-USB specification. It's pretty common. In fact, quite a number of newer cheap keyboards only have a USB MIDI interface. – endorph Apr 17 '18 at 6:19
  • Thanks. I have three or four 'boards that get MIDId, to each other, but never connect them to a computer, so never realised. – Tim Apr 17 '18 at 6:38

You sound like you don't really want to learn to be a pianist, but to use a keyboard as a means to an end - composition. Then yes, there are certainly cheap keyboards out there that will do the job. They won't be touch sensitive, necessarily, or weighted, but will have many sounds, not only piano, and have a built in drum machine as well. I picked up a Yamaha 61 note at a car boot sale for £15 - with MIDI - and have used it on gigs!

Of course, you'll get many more features on more expensive keyboards, but for your purposes, right now, it's probably not worth splashing out. After a year or so, you'll have formulated what you need far more accurately, and that's a good time to look for a more useful - to you - replacement.

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