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What Are the Different Types of Digital Keyboards?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Different types of digital keyboards are typically based on the sort of work a person is likely to do with such a keyboard. A simple keyboard, for example, is often quite similar to a basic electronic keyboard that can be used to play music but does not provide the user with many other features. More robust and expensive keyboards often provide a number of additional features for a musician, such as the ability to connect the keyboard directly to a computer and record audio to a computer sound file. There are also some professional digital keyboards that provide the player with more tools for playing music, such as options for adjusting sound levels.

Digital keyboards are musical instruments based on the design of a piano, but produce audio electronically rather than through physical means. These keyboards have been in use for many years, though more recent versions often provide musicians with the ability to connect such keyboards to a computer. Simple digital keyboards, however, are likely to forgo such options and may simply include keyboard keys and output connections for headphones and a speaker or amplifier. These keyboards can be quite small and affordable, intended for young musicians or those first learning to play the keyboard.

More elaborate digital keyboards, however, are often more expensive and can provide a musician with additional options. These keyboards can typically be connected to a computer, usually through a universal serial bus (USB) port or a musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) connection. This allows the player to use the keyboard as an input device to create music through the computer and save the recordings as sound files. These digital keyboards often function with computer software that can be used to adjust audio levels and mix the audio in a way similar to the hardware used by professional recording studios and audio engineers.

There are also even more expensive and powerful digital keyboards that provide additional features for a musician. Some of these keyboards include additional knobs and sliders on the keyboard itself, allowing the musician to adjust the audio levels and sound quality of the keyboard while playing it. These features can be used for recording music, allowing the musician to alter the audio in some ways without having to use computer software, as well as to make adjustments during live performances. Such digital keyboards also frequently include internal hard drives that allow musicians to record and save audio files directly onto the keyboard itself, and then transfer them to and from a computer.

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