Top 6 Best Arranger Keyboards In 2021

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Arranger keyboards are great instruments for any serious musician to have. They contain features that a lot of other instruments don’t have that can make arranging, composing, and performing much easier.

But with all the different options out there, choosing the right one can be pretty tough. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of reviews of the best arranger keyboards that you can use in your music-making journey. And on top of that, I’ve also included a quick buying guide at the end so you can figure out the right option for you with much more ease!

Our top pick for the best arranger keyboard is the Yamaha PSRSX900 as it has a very easy-to-follow user interface with a colored screen, hundreds of backing track patterns, and a bunch of controls that can make your playing experience much easier. That being said, it’s also the most expensive option on our list so it might not be the right option if you’re on a budget. But there’s no reason to worry as we go through a lot more varied options on this list!

So if you’ve been on the hunt for an arranger keyboard, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on to learn more.

See also:

  1. Top 5 Best Digital Grand Piano
  2. Top 6 Best Digital Pianos With Weighted Keys
  3. Top 7 Best Cheap Keyboard Piano

What Is An Arranger Keyboard?

At first glance, and arranger piano will look like just about any other digital keyboard out there, except with a few more buttons. This is mostly true, however, arranger keyboards come with special features that make it easier for musicians to play live music as a one-person-band.

The instruments have built-in auto accompaniment, which gives you a wide range of backing tracks that will adjust to the key, tempo, and rhythm that you’re playing at with the simple press of a button. So that means that you can have a full band backing you up while you play. Usually, these instruments will come with hundreds of patterns that you can use as backing tracks that will automatically match your playing, making them a great option for professional performing musicians.

Quick Summary

BEST OVERALL PICK
YAMAHA PSRSX900
BEST STARTER INSTRUMENT
YAMAHA PSR-A3000
BEST BUDGET OPTION
KORG EK-50
BEST BUNDLE OPTION
KORG PA-600
BEST HOME PIANO
KORG PA300
BEST OPTION FOR PERFORMERS
ROLAND E-A7
Yamaha PSRSX900 Arranger Workstation keyboard
Yamaha PSR-A3000 61-Key World Arranger Workstation
Korg EK-50 61-Key Arranger
Korg PA600 61-Key Professional Arranger Keyboard with Knox Bench, Pedal and Accessory Bundle
Korg Digital Pianos - Home (PA300)
Roland E-A7 Expandable Arranger Keyboard with Dedicated Vocal Effects
$2,199.99
Price not available
$449.99
$1,149.99
$929.99
$1,449.99
-
-
BEST OVERALL PICK
YAMAHA PSRSX900
Yamaha PSRSX900 Arranger Workstation keyboard
$2,199.99
BEST STARTER INSTRUMENT
YAMAHA PSR-A3000
Yamaha PSR-A3000 61-Key World Arranger Workstation
Price not available
-
BEST BUDGET OPTION
KORG EK-50
Korg EK-50 61-Key Arranger
$449.99
BEST BUNDLE OPTION
KORG PA-600
Korg PA600 61-Key Professional Arranger Keyboard with Knox Bench, Pedal and Accessory Bundle
$1,149.99
-
BEST HOME PIANO
KORG PA300
Korg Digital Pianos - Home (PA300)
$929.99
BEST OPTION FOR PERFORMERS
ROLAND E-A7
Roland E-A7 Expandable Arranger Keyboard with Dedicated Vocal Effects
$1,449.99

Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 6 Best Arranger Keyboards

#1. Yamaha PSRSX900 – The Best Overall Pick

Yamaha PSRSX900 Arranger Workstation keyboard
  • The color touch screen allows you to easily see the state of voice and style assignments and quickly access and adjust a wealth of features and settings
  • The joystick controller allows the player to achieve the wide variety of pitch and modulation combinations present in many different world Music styles
  • Assignable real-time control knobs allow you to filter and adjust your sound just like an analog synthesizer
  • Chord looped allows you to record your chord progressions so that the style engine can loop them for you, freeing you up to experiment with two-hand playing or soloing without having to worry about playing the changes
  • Style section reset allows you to go back to beat one of bar one with the touch of a button. This is handy when a musician you're playing with comes in too early or late and you need to get your accompaniment back on track

Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our first pick on this list also happens to be our top pick for the best arranger keyboard.

It comes from one of the most respected brands in the market today and comes packed with features that any performer would love. For starters, it has a colored-touch screen so you can easily see the voices and arrangement patterns that you’re using. On top of that, you can also use the screen to make adjustments to your sound in real-time.

The instrument also comes with a joystick that you can use to control a bunch of different modulation and pitch combinations that you can hear in a whole lot of different musical styles from world music all the way to blue and rock and roll. On the interface, you’ll also find a couple of knobs that you assign roles to so you can filter out certain frequencies and make adjustments to your sound just like you can on a synthesizer.

And if that wasn’t enough for you, this piano also has a built-in looper so you can record chord progressions that you can jam over or even add layers to while performing live! It also has a bunch of different performance features that you can use such as going back to the first beat of the song at the press of the button, which could be very valuable if you missed your cue and need to make a quick restart or adjustment to your playing.

All in all, this is a great pick for just about any performing musician out there.

Pros
  • Great for professional musicians
  • Comes with a lot of different arrangement patterns
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Knobs on the keyboard allow give you a lot of control
  • Built-in chord looper
Cons
  • Relatively expensive

#2.  Yamaha PSR-A3000 – The Best Starter Instrument

Yamaha PSR-A3000 61-Key World Arranger Workstation
  • 997 Voices + 58 Drum/SFX Kits + 480 XG Voices + 400 Styles
  • Assingable Joystick Controller and Audio Link Multi Pads
  • Super Articulation Voices intuitively reproduce the nuances of non-keyboard insruments for more realistic expression
  • Real time scale tunning settings on the pannel allow you to easily change scale tunings on the fly
  • Audio time stretch and pitch shift allows you to change the key or tempo of your audio playback

Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re starting out in the world of performing, you would need an instrument that packs a punch that’s also affordable and that’s exactly what this Yamaha model is.

For starters, it comes with over 900 voices that you can choose from ranging from standard piano sounds to more complex synth and percussion sounds. On top of that, it comes with a bunch of different drum kits and over 400 styles that you can choose to really come up with your own unique sound.

It has a very user-friendly interface that allows you to see all your current settings while also making adjustments on the fly. It also has a bunch of different assignable knobs and controllers that will allow you to make really cool sounds instantly, similar to how a classic synthesizer works.

It also has pre-set scale tunings so playing solos or melodies live will be a lot easier. You can even adjust the tuning of the scale on the fly to better fit the key your playing in or the mood you’re trying to achieve. The instrument also comes with time-stretch features so you can easily fit any audio file to the key and tempo that you’re playing in.

On top of that, it’s also one of the more affordable arranger keyboards out there, making it a great pick for musicians who are just starting out.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with 997 voices
  • Packed with different styles
  • Comes with assignable knobs
  • Allows you to make sound adjustments on the fly
Cons
  • Only has 61 keys

#3. Korg EK-50 – The Best Budget Option

Korg EK-50 61-Key Arranger
  • 61-key Arranger Keyboard with 64-voice Maximum Polyphony
  • Onboard Speaker System
  • Real-time Recording
  • 34 Effects

Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Let’s face it. Arranger keyboards can be expensive, which is why they aren’t the most practical option for most musicians. But luckily for us, since technology has moved so far in recent years, we now have a lot of options available to us that are budget-friendly and accessible, such as this Korg model.

It’s a basic 61-key keyboard, which won’t give you the full range that you’d expect from an acoustic piano, but is more than enough to play basic live gigs. It has 64-note maximum polyphony, which isn’t a whole lot, but it’s a small compromise to make for an affordable arranger keyboard.

It has an on-board speaker system, so you don’t need to worry about having an amp or external speaker to hear yourself, which can make it a great practice instrument as well. It’s packed with a bunch of basic effects that players can experiment around with, which makes it a great option for beginners as well.

On top of all that, it has real-time recording, a feature that will allow you to record yourself and hear the playback instantly, which gives you a lot of options when it comes to playing live. This is a feature that you don’t usually find in this price range, which is what makes the Korg EK-50 one of the best budget picks in the market today.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Comes with all the basic arranger features
  • Easy to use interface
  • Comes with over 30 different FX
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Only comes with the basic features

#4. Korg PA-600 – The Best Bundle Option

Korg PA600 61-Key Professional Arranger Keyboard with Knox Bench, Pedal and Accessory Bundle
  • BUNDLE INCLUDES: Korg PA600 Professional Arranger Keyboard, Large Keyboard Bench, Keyboard Piano Style Sustain Pedal, Closed-Back Studio Monitor Headphones, and X-Style Keyboard Stand
  • STUNNING SOUND: The Korg Pa600 Professional Arranger Keyboard gives you a rich, detailed, natural sound with instruments from almost every genre; exploding with depth, subtlety, and accuracy
  • EFFECTS: The Pa600 has four Stereo Master Effect processors with 125 of these effects including standard FX such as reverb, delay and chorus as well as some of the universally acclaimed REMS guitar-based effects for authentic guitar tone
  • COMPACT: The Pa600 is one of the easiest arrangers to carry around. While its size might appear compact, the power of the onboard, exceptionally high-quality custom designed amplification system is anything but small. The 2 x 15-watt amplifiers drive two loudspeakers in a bass-reflex box to generate a powerful listening experience
  • KORG AUTHORIZED DEALER: Includes USA Manufacturer Warranty

Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re buying your first arranger keyboard, you’d want to have everything you need right away. After all, it would be such a hassle for your keyboard to arrive only to find out that you need to buy a whole lot of extra stuff just to get it working. That’s not the case with this option since on top of the keyboard, you’re getting a stand, stool, sustain pedal, and headphones that you can use for silent practicing!

The keyboard itself is a great option for any musician. It has 61 keys, which isn’t the full-range of a piano, but is more than enough to play live music. It has a great crisp sound that you won’t really expect from instruments in this range, which is a huge point in its favor, and it comes with four Stereo Maser Effects processors, which gives players over one hundred different effects that they can play around with.

It’s a compact instrument, which makes it very easy to carry around to gigs and rehearsals, which is a great plus for musicians who are constantly on the move. But despite its size, it comes with two 15-watt speakers that pack a punch and will allow you to hear yourself easily while practicing.

The interface on the keyboard is fairly easy to navigate through, but it might take some getting used to. All in all, this is a great mid-range option for any musician out there, and since it comes with all the things you’d need to start playing, all you have to worry about when you get this model is where your next gig is going to be.

Pros
  • Comes with all the essentials
  • Great tone
  • Packed with FX
  • Compact and easy to move around
  • Comes with a lot of different voices
Cons
  • The chord sequencer can be hard to use

#5. Korg PA300 – The Best Home Piano

Korg Digital Pianos - Home (PA300)
  • Enhanced Rx (real experience) sound engine offers improved realism and vivid sound
  • Massive internal factory PCM equivalent to the best-selling PA600
  • Elegantly designed and compact cabinet includes a pristine amplification system
  • Over 310 factory styles, Each including 3 Intro/endings, 4 variations, 4 fill Ins, breaks, and more
  • Fully programmable songbook database with instant recall of any song setting

Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The next option on our list is our top pick for the best arranger keyboard for home use. This is because it’s affordable and comes with a bunch of great features that any musician would find very useful.

It comes with over 300 different arrangement styles, giving you a lot of variety when playing. On top of that, it has a great internal factory that can be compared to the PA-600, one of Korg’s best selling models. This is compact 61-key arranger with a very easy-to-navigate interface, which makes it a great pick for both musicians and beginners alike.

It comes packed with different voices and FX that musicians will love, with a fully programmable songbook database so you can save your songs and presets and have them playback for you at the simple press of a button. This is one of the best instruments you can use to practice your chops, and would also be a good pick for performances as well.

Pros
  • Relatively affordable
  • Comes packed with FX
  • Has a bunch of different voices
  • Has a fully-programmable songbook database
  • Easy to navigate user interface
Cons
  • Songs can’t be played from a USB flashdrive

#6. Roland E-A7 -the Best Option For Performers

Roland E-A7 Expandable Arranger Keyboard with Dedicated Vocal Effects
  • Over 1,500 versatile tones from all over the world
  • WAV file import and onboard sampling function
  • Huge library of backing styles from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and South America
  • Powerful arranger engine with direct control buttons and versatile, one-touch performance options
  • 156 dedicated buttons for fast access to commonly used functions

Last update on 2021-04-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wrapping things up is one of the best options for musicians who find themselves performing a lot. It comes from the Roland brand, which is one of the most trusted brands in the world of digital pianos.

To start, it has over 1,500 different voices to choose from, which is one of the most packed voice banks in the market today. You can even import your own WAV files from your computer to give you even more options when performing. It has a huge library of arrangement styles as well that include styles from all around the world. So whether you’re playing Western music, Asian music, or African music, you can easily find a style that suits your genre with this instrument.

It has over 156 dedicated buttons on the keyboard that will make navigating through settings very easily. On top of that, it also has a very well-placed and easy to read screen so you can see your current settings and make adjustments on the fly. So if you’re a performer looking for a trusty instrument to use on your gigs, this Roland option might be the best pick for you.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with over 1,500 voices
  • Packed with different arrangement styles
  • Has over 150 dedicated buttons
  • Allows you to import your own WAV files
Cons
  • The buttons aren’t customizable

What To Consider When Buying An Arranger Keyboard

Tone & FX

This has to be the first thing you have to check out when looking at arranger keyboard. This is because the tone and voices that the instrument comes with will determine if it fits your musical style.

Most instruments out there will come with a whole lot of voices you can choose from. In fact, some options featured on this list have over 900 different voices loaded into the instrument. Obviously, going through all the different sounds of all the options is impractical and would take up way too much time. So the best way to figure out if an instrument has the right tones for you is to first figure out what you need from the instrument.

From there, you can check out if the piano has the sounds you need and make the decision.

On top of all the voices, it’s also important to check out the effects that are built-in to the instrument. Usually, keyboard and piano players would only need chorus and reverb effects, which are built-in to a lot of instruments already. But depending on your musical style, you might need other effects such as distortion or wah-wah.

Arrangement patterns

After figuring out the tones you want and the voices you need, you’ll have to check out the arrangement patterns available on the instrument. Most of the options out there will come packed with a bunch of different patterns as styles to choose from, so you have to figure out what you need with your music before checking out what options are available to you.

The arrangement needs of a musician will vary from person-to-person, so it’s important to figure out what styles and patterns you’ll need when performing so it will be easier for you to narrow down your options when actually shopping.

Portability

If you’re looking at arranger keyboards, chances are you’re a performing musician who finds themselves at gigs a lot. And if you’re going around from venue-to-venue, you’ll need an instrument that you can carry around without too much fuss.

Ideally, you’d want one that can easily fit in a gig bag or keyboard case and would easily fit in a car or won’t be a hassle to carry around on public transportation. You’d also want one that isn’t too heavy so you won’t risk injuring or fatiguing yourself while carrying the keyboard with you to gigs and performances.

However, if you’re looking at options strictly for home use or to be used as an in-house instrument at performances spaces like music halls and churches, then you should have no problem looking at options that are heavy and bulky since you won’t need to move it around too much.

Hammer action

Hammer action refers to the weight on the instrument’s keys. If you’re looking for an authentic feel when playing and want an instrument that feels like an acoustic piano, you’d need a fully-weighted keyboard. But while they do help with getting an authentic feel, these options tend to be much more expensive, so be ready to shell out some more money.

That being said, it’s an investment that’s well-worth it since there are even models out there with GHS Hammer Action that simulates acoustic pianos by having the lower keys be heavier than the higher ones which is exactly how it would feel if you were using an acoustic instrument.

But if you’re on a budget and aren’t able to shell out money for a fully-weighted keyboard, then there are also semi-weighted options out there that don’t simulate the feel of an acoustic as well as fully-weighted ones, but are much cheaper and more affordable. And if you really want to save money, then there’s nothing wrong with getting an option that’s non-weighted as they can still come packed with high-quality tones and allow you to play your music without busting the bank.

Price

Lastly, you’re going to have to consider the price of the instrument. Shopping in a specific price-range can really narrow down your options and help finding the right instrument for you much easier.

If you’re looking for a professional-grade instrument and you’re willing to make an investment, an ideal range to shop in is the sub-$2500 range as you can find some of the best arranger keyboards the market has to offer. That being said, this range may be out of reach for a lot of people, especially if you’re a budding musician.

You can easily find performance-level instruments in the $1000 – $1500 range that can serve you really well. They won’t be as premium as the more expensive options, but they are more affordable and offer you a lot of the same features that you’ll find on the most expensive options out there. You would have to make a bit of a compromise when it comes to the feel and sound of the instrument, but the difference won’t be that noticeable.

And if you’re on a really tight budget or you’re just a beginner looking for an inexpensive instrument to practice on, then the sub-$1000 range also has a lot of quality instruments. That being said, they won’t come with the same features as the more expensive options, but most beginners won’t be needing all these sophisticated and complicated features anyway. This is also a great range to find a starter instrument on before deciding to invest in expensive and premium arranger keyboards.

FAQ’s

What’s the difference between an arranger and a synthesizer?

Synthesizers, or synths are usually considered to be performance instruments. They come with a bunch of tones, features, FX, and parameters that musicians can customize and tweak to come up with unique and useable sounds for a bunch of different musical styles. They also sometimes come with sequencing options, but not all models have this feature.
Arrangers, on other hand, have a lot of the same features as a synth, but they also have auto-accompaniment modes, which will allow you to play along with a backing track that matches your key, rhythm, tempo, and music style at the press of a button.

What keyboards do professional musicians use?

This depends on the musical style of the musician. However, a lot of professionals out there are seen using stage pianos or synthesizers since they give them all the options and variety they would need on stage. However, there are also a lot of keyboard players and solo-musicians out there who use arranger keyboards since it gives them the option to have a backing track that fits their song and playing style without needing a full band behind them.

What is the best keyboard for live performances?

This will depend on your music style and what kind of performance. If you’re playing alone a workstation or arranger might be the best option for you since they come with sequencing options or auto-accompaniment options.
However, musicians who play with a band are more recommended to use stage pianos or synthesizers as they give you a whole lot of control and variety over your sound and tone.

Is Yamaha or Casio better?

This will depend on your needs. Both brands are known for producing quality instruments. That being said, Yamaha has a wider range since they have budget friendly instruments and expensive premium options such as their grand pianos. Casio, on the other hand, is more known for their digital instruments such as keyboards, synths, arrangers, and digital pianos. Most of their instruments fall in the mid-range category, but they also have a bunch of premium options fit for professional musicians.

What’s the difference between a keyboard and a workstation?

Keyboards are basically compact digital pianos that come loaded with sounds and tones that musicians can use in recording or performing. They usually come with basic piano tones and a bunch of other sounds such as synths, strings, bass, and percussion. And while they have a wide variety of sounds, they don’t offer a lot of customization with the sounds and samples loaded into the instrument.
Workstations are basically keyboards that come with more parameters and FX that musicians can use to tweak their sound. They also come with sequencing and recording options so you can record your music right onto the instrument. They are a great fit for studios and even live performances.

Conclusion

And with that, our list comes to an end. There are a lot of options that we featured in this article. Some were designed for established professional musicians who are willing to invest in a quality instrument, while others are more budget-friendly and ideal for beginners who are just starting their career.

But either way, at the end of the day, the best keyboard for you is the one that suits all your needs and one that you feel comfortable playing. And if you think you find the right one for you on this list, all that’s left to do is head out and get your hands on one yourself!

And before you know it, you’ll be playing away for hours on your very own arranger keyboard!