These 7 features are a 'must' when purchasing a new keyboard whether you are a beginner or advanced player.
1. Touch-sensitive Keys
By definition all non-electric traditional pianos are touch-sensitive. That is, the harder you strike
the key, the louder the sound. If you play a note softly, the tone it creates will be soft. If you hit the key with force, the resulting sound will be loud. Make sure you have this feature on the digital piano you purchase. Somewhere on the box it should say, “touch sensitive” keys. If it does not, do not purchase the instrument.
2. MIDI IN,OUT,and THRU
The term MIDI, stands for, “Music Information and Digital Interface” or MIDI for short. What is means is that you can plug your keyboard into any other keyboard with the same jack. With a “MIDI Interface” you can also use the MIDI to plug into your personal computer (either IBM, Clone, or MAC) . Then, using that same keyboard, you can play other keyboards or play into your computer at the same time. This is great for composing music on the computer and using the keyboard to play the notes or the song you have written. Or, using one keyboard to play two, three or more keyboards at the same time by “layering” sound on sound.
3. Number of keys, either 47, 61, 73 or 88.
In the beginning, it does not matter how many keys the keyboard has. Obviously, the more keys the more expensive the keyboard. The standard “acoustic” piano always has 88 keys. However you do not need all 88 keys until perhaps the second or even third year of instruction.
4. Sustain Pedal
Also called the ‘loud pedal’ by laymen, this is a pedal on the far right of regular pianos which holds or ‘sustains’ the musical tones when depressed by the right foot. This option is nice to have but as a
beginner, most folks would not be able to use this feature until about the mid to end of the first year. When you look at the keyboard, look in the rear of the piano for an input jack which is labeled, “Sustain Pedal”, “Damper Pedal”, or “Pedal In”, or something similar. Most keyboards which will have this feature will most likely not have the pedal as standard equipment. You will have to request or purchase the item separately and then plug it into the jack.
5. Keyboard Stand
You may want to consider a “Keyboard Stand” on which to place your keyboard. Most folks forget about this until they get their new instrument home and can not find a place to set it up except the dining room table.
6. AC Adapter
Be sure and find out if the keyboard you purchase only runs on battery, or can you use an AC adapter to by-pass the battery.
7. External Amplifier
Several portable keyboards and non-keyboard manufacturers make small to medium size amplifiers for keyboard. Using external amplifiers will greatly increase the quality of your sound (and, of course, the volume).