The 4 Best Keytars (2020) – Synths and MIDI Controllers

Are you looking to start rocking a keytar? You wouldn’t be the only one! Matt Bellamy (Muse), Damon Albarn (Gorillaz), and Jazz legend Herbie Hancock are just a few that have performed with them.

Whether you’re looking for a fully self-contained instrument or a MIDI keytar, we’ve got you covered.

The Best Keytars – Our Round-Up

1. Alesis Vortex Wireless 2
Mid-Range Workstation MIDI Controller Keytar
2. Korg RK-100S2 Keytar Synthesizer
The Popular RK-100 is Back by Popular Demand!
3. Yamaha Sonogenic Keytar
Lightweight, Quality Keytar
4. Yamaha Vocaloid
Singing-synth Keytar - Innovative and Interesting Features!

1. Alesis Vortex Wireless 2

We start off this list with this with an affordable option. Alesis Vortex Wireless 2 is a MIDI-controller keytar that comes with a bunch of options and is great for the studio environment.

Since it’s MIDI controller, this keytar can’t produce sound by itself, but needs to be connected to the computer or other external gear.

This is a 37-key keytar, which comes with 8 RGB backlighted programable pads and 8 programable sliders, usually used for the EQ.

On the neck, you’ll find a wheel for pitch bending and a volume slider, as well as touch strip, zone, sustain, and octave-control buttons that you can control easily.

The keys on this keytar are velocity-sensitive with aftertouch, giving you all the feel, you might need when you’re playing this thing. Vortex Wireless 2 works on USB power or 4 AA batteries, giving you full range and mobility when playing.

As for the connectivity, USB Bluetooth dongle that you get together with the keytar will provide a quality, stable wireless connection.

All in all, this is an affordable, lower-end MIDI controller that will provide you with a lot of options and give you a workstation feeling for only a fraction of the money you would need for a full keytar.

2. Korg RK-100S

Korg RK-100 was one of the first keytars to be mass-produced in the 1980’s and has become an iconic instrument in the history of pop music. 35 years later, Korg decided to put out the upgraded and modernized version of the original.

RK-100S is a beautiful keytar with 37 keys. Even though they are a bit smaller than standard keys to help bring the weight and size of the instrument down, you should have no problems playing it.

The body of this instrument is solid wood, and you can choose from three finishes. As far as the connectivity goes, you have MIDI out, a microphone jack, and ¼” jack, as well as the power connection. It has built-in speakers.

Sound is the main reason why this keytar was so popular back in the day. Today, you can find 200 preset sounds, which you can alter through your computer when you connect the instrument.

It comes with two control strips – one on the neck and other beneath the keys. With these strips, you can control and use a bunch of different options, which gives you full control over the instrument anyone might need.

Also, it comes with 8 programable buttons and several different buttons to control all of the effects.

All in all, this is a great, professional keytar, that justifies its reputation. It’s a quality product that you can use both in the studio settings and on the road, and that will last you for a long time, whether you’re a beginner or a professional.

3. Yamaha Sonogenic Keytar

This more compact keytar also comes with standard 37 keys. You should note that the keys are a bit smaller than standard so if you’re accustomed to standard keyboards, you might need some adjusting to do.

It has MIDI I/O so you can use it as a MIDI controller, USB connection, Bluetooth and standard ¼” and 3.5mm jacks.

The great thing about this keytar is that it has it’s own speakers so that you can play it without any other equipment, or you can jack it straight to the amplifier if need be. What separates this keytar from others is the Jam option.

The Jam is Yamaha’s way of letting anyone play songs the same as if they knew how to play them. You need to hit keys at the right time, and the preset sounds will play the song. It’s a great feature if you want to relax and have some fun with your friends, even though they don’t know how to play.

This is an excellent learning keytar since it’s smaller in size compared to the other keytars out there. However, it still offers a lot of different options that you need for serious playing.

4. Yamaha Vocaloid Keyboard VKB-100

It’s a singing-synth keytar, which is very popular in Japan, and particularly popular for Anime soundtracks. However, it could be used creatively in many electronic music genres.

The Yamaha Vocaloid VKB-100 is similar in build to the previously mentioned Sonogenic keytar, with 37 keys and pretty basic connectivity options. Its main feature is its Vocaloid function. It has a large bank of internal vocal presets which you can play and tweak effects.

You can also play this in normal keyboard mode, which sounds great. This is more of a niche item, but its pretty cool!

Are Keytars Easy to Play?

Yes, they are easy to play. It’s just a keyboard that’s hanging around your shoulders with some extra controls to alter the sound.

Are Keytars Heavy?

Early synths were heavy and bulky. Advancements in technology has made them very light and easy to carry around.

What do People Think of Keytars?

Keytars finally allowed keyboard players to become a part of the band on stage, not just sitting behind their keyboards all the time.

They were initially sneered at when they first appeared on the scene. Though over the years, people realized keytars can be pretty cool instruments.

Conclusion

Keytars are a great way to add an extra performance element to keys on stage. As you can see from the options above, there are plenty of features on these instruments to get creative.

Featured Image: By Brandon Daniel from USA / CC BY-SA

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