As our music becomes more digitalized, so does the need for electronic instruments and quality synthesizers which are compatible with digital formats. These instruments need to be convenient, meaning they can work with a lot of other electronics and are at least as portable as their traditional counterparts. They need to have extended functionality, allowing you all the freedom of a traditional instrument, with options for customization of tone and sound.
Most importantly, electronic instruments need to be fun to play. The biggest advantage traditional instruments have over their digital counterparts is that they are what most musicians are used to and have fun playing. ‘Feeling’ the music as you play is as integral a part of the music making process as any other, which is why we’ve selected the 5 electronic instruments out today that you’ll still have fun using.
- CME X-Key Portable MIDI Keyboard
For those musicians who are already comfortable with a piano or keyboard, MIDI keyboards are an easy and natural progression into digital and electric music. MIDI keyboards come in a large variety, but for our purposes, they must be portable, lightweight, highly functional, and respond like a real piano or a high-grade keyboard to touch and pressure.
The CME X-Key is all that and more in a pretty package. It’s extremely affordable (under $100 for the 25 key models) and guaranteed for a light traveler.
- Alesis 8-Piece Nitro Electronic Drum Kit
Traditional drum kits produce a striking sound when played live, but at home they can be very loud and take up a lot of space. Electric drum kits are smaller than their traditional counterparts, and can be plugged into headphones or speakers to control volume in sensitive areas.
Of course, they also give you access to an almost limitless library of different percussive sounds. It’s like having every drum from around the world there in your living room. The Alesis Nitro Kit has gone out of its way to offer musicians a wide variety of sound and manipulation while maintaining the natural feel of playing a real kit.
- Maschine Suite
Part portable drum kit, part MIDI controller, the Maschine is an all-inclusive beat production tool, from the first note to the last edit. Maschine hardware comes with complimenting software to install on another device, like a laptop. You can also use Maschine hardware with popular DAWs and other music apps.
Maschines are available in a number of models, from the original to the Mikro to the MK2. It may seem like a lot to learn at first, but after a couple Maschine tutorials you should be ready to start seamlessly composing.
Guitarists have a little less to worry about when it comes to having fun playing their instrument. Sure, there’s nothing like weight and feel of a real guitar, but the digital alternatives are often fun to play, smaller versions of the traditional version. That’s certainly the case with the highly versatile, extremely portable Jamstik.
The Jamstik is a smart guitar with Bluetooth, so it can wirelessly connect to your other devices. It’s complimenting software makes it easy to do things like set up a recording or alter sound. Jamstik is ideal for teaching someone how to play, and priced under $200, it would be a welcome addition to any musician’s collection.
- Yamaha SV-150 Silent Violin
Time to class things up with Yamaha’s SV-150, the electronic not just a fancy MIDI controller. Like drums, practicing or playing at home can be problematic for violinists, so wouldn’t it be great if you could set up and play to yourself through headphones?
Yamaha has taken it a step further and produced a quality electronic violin for live performances, too. The sound is warm and resonant, and who can fault the sleek design?
See anything you like? Are digital instruments the future? Only time will tell, but for now, it’s fun for musicians to have a choice of what to play at home and even live.