Is Korg EK 50 The Best Option In Entry Level Arranger Keyboard
Korg EK 50 Review : If you are making an entry into the world of music and thinking of creating your song, then an arranger keyboard would be your perfect companion.
Not only will it allow you to play all kinds of tones of different instruments but lets you recreate the whole band's performance.
So if you are looking for such a keyboard at a budget range, then you will be overwhelmed by the choices you will find in the market.
So would you prefer to opt for a $100 arranger keyboard from a cheap brand?
Or opt for top entry-level models like Korg EK 50? You will obviously go for the latter option.
While explaining the features of Korg EK 50 in this article we will also compare 2 popular keyboard of the same price range.
Those keyboards are Yamaha PSR EW410 (as it cost same as that of Korg EK-50 – $390+) and from Casio it is from the top-of-the-line CTX series the CT-X5000.
The CT-X5000 is running on Casio's latest top-of-the-line AIX sound generation chip and this is the keyboard that we will be using in this comparison
Let's begin the detailed analysis.
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USP of Korg EK 50
- Stereo PCM sound generator.
- 280 accompaniment styles.
- 700 sounds.
- 64-voice polyphony.
- Dual 10-watt powerful speaker.
- Four stereo multi-digital effects.
- Large LCD panel.
- Battery backup.
Features and Specification Overview of Korg EK 50
Without a shadow of a doubt, Korg EK 50 is one of the best full-size arranger keyboards you will find in the entry-level segment.
Although Korg is not a common name in the budget keyboard segment, the increasing competition has led to the entry of high-performance EK 50 in the market.
It is a complete accompaniment keyboard that delivers numerous sounds of real instruments to facilitate you to create a song or music without requiring them to play separately.
Stunning Music Capability
Korg EK 50 is one of a kind 61 key keyboard that is often regarded as an entertainer keyboard that lets you explore different sounds with a simple stroke.
Geared with stereo PCM sound generator, it treats your ear with the rich tone that you will always look for in a high-quality keyboard.
What makes it stand out? The 64-voice polyphony allows you to bring dynamicity in your composition and give it a new texture.
With more than 280 presets of accompaniment Styles, you can take your music-making skill to a whole new dimension and adopt different genres.
We were impressed by the fact that all these 280 genres are accompanied by four variations, meaning you can create your music the way you want.
You will also get two intros, and two endings along with two fill, synchro start/stop, tap tempo and one count in/break.
So it makes sure all your sounds are complete, and you can bring variation in your song just by switching the buttons.
If you feel they aren't enough for your creative idea, then you can also add more Styles through the USB from Korg’s library.
You won't have any problem while composing a song because the accompaniment changes when you shift from position to another or change your chords.
You can easily balance the styles with your left hand and use your right hand to play the melody.
To make music composition easier, you will also get the assistance of the STS function that automatically introduces the recommended style when you decide to switch.
The scale is an essential factor in any keyboard as it allows you to set the pitch and tone of your music.
You will be surprised that EK 50 features 11 types of scales, thus giving you enough to curate your music according to different rhythms.
Ranging from 30 to 240, you will get ample amounts of tempo choices for your music, and it is more than sufficient until and unless you are a professional.
Plus, you will get volume, beat, and tempo for the metronome that would be really helpful while you're playing music or creating one.
KORG EK 50 Uncovering the Claims
When it comes to features, EK 50 will pamper with tons of facilities to create mesmerizing music even though it lies in the budget-range.
With more than 720 realistic sounds from pianos, violin, sax, and many other instruments at your disposal, you can incorporate a variety of sounds in your music.
Moreover, you won't need a separate drummer as it 41 drum kits sound so you can comfortably deliver a terrific solo performance.
Introduce different sounds simultaneously or all together in your composition by utilizing the split function.
Basically, the split function divides the keyboard so that you can play the sounds of two different instruments without getting confused with keys.
If you are new to music, the 18 demo song will be beneficial for you as you can learn from them and recreate them.
Create or improvise your song ideas with 64 music styles it has on offer.
Moreover, these styles make a complete playing setup by blending the presets along with tempo, style, and sound of most of the popular songs.
However, 34 effects, along with 148 variations, give it the edge from its competitors and assists you to trigger different effects in your music with just the press of a key.
Not only that, but Korg has also introduced two stereo multi-effect for the accompaniment part and keyboard part so that you are never short of effects and won't require external processors.
Although it may be a budget arranger keyboard, you will find more than 170 keyboard sets to fulfill your requirement.
You can immerse yourself in the nostalgia of vintage grand piano sound and play your favorite old retro classics.
Recording your performance is totally breeze on this keyboard as it supports real-time recording and can store up to 999 songs.
However, you will only get the option to record them in MP3 or WAV format that is supported by most of the systems.
The best part of this best-in-class keyboard is the dual 10-watt powerful speaker that has blown with the crystal-clear and crisp audio quality.
Not only it bars you from investing in external speakers, but it also lets you connect audio players for playing songs.
We were surprised that you can even explore your music creativity while you are outside, and you just have to add AA batteries to power the keyboard.
Minimalist But Impressive Design
Design-wise, you won't ever get the chance to frown; instead, you will always appreciate the seamless design that EK 50 has on offer.
The ergonomic keys are effortless to play, and you will have three touch controls to suit your playing style.
Moreover, the keys are evenly placed, so you don't accidentally press two keys at a time.
However, the main attraction lies in the middle, which is the control panel that assists you to quickly apply different effects and styles while you are playing.
The buttons are also illuminated so that you can understand the settings and navigate effortlessly.
This high-quality arranger keyboard proudly flaunts a large and bright LCD display panel that showcases all the selected modes in large text.
Besides, the softly illuminated displays also show various other Infos and battery charge for optimum convenience.
Traversing from C(-12) to C(+12) will be a piece of cake for you because you will have a separate button for Transpose b and #.
Portability is a big issue for every keyboard but surprisingly not with this model.
It only weighs around 16.53lbs, so carrying the keyboard during gigs won't be a huge problem.
Connectivity will never be your concern, and you will find all the necessary ports in the back panel of the keyboard.
You will have USB A&B, MIDI over USB, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1/4inch foot controller jack, and 3.5mm audio-in jack.
Besides, you will also have an L Mono and R1/4inch phone jack for output connection.
For the power supply, it has a separate AC adapter that you will find in the package.
My Thoughts About The Upgraded Korg EK 50L
Well, you will be surprised to know while we are reviewing Korg EK 50, the manufacturer has already introduced an updated model of this product.
The new model is known as Korg EK 50L, and it is a curated version of its predecessor that is designed mainly for live gigs.
Carrying more than 700 sounds, EK 50L is almost similar to the previous version except for a few changes.
Now it gets ten more auto accompaniment styles that not only allow you to bring realism in your composition but also curb down the chance of repeating any style.
Another significant difference in EK 50L is the addition of EDM focussed presets with modern backing pattern styles.
To expand your horizon, Korg has newly added 18 preset drums, 24 keyboard sets, and 87 preset sounds.
The build quality of this model has been improved by a small margin, and it is much sleeker than the previous version.
It has been designed to suit the live performance, and now it gets two color options for the control panel.
The fact that amazed us the most is the availability of the array of free music software bundles that includes the popular Ozone Elements, Skoove, and DAW.
There is a tad bit improvement in the power and quality of the inbuilt speaker so you won't find much difference.
Lastly, it cost almost $100 more than its predecessor, and for that added price, we think it is not worth the upgrade.
However, if you are inclined to EDM style composition and would love to explore new software bundles, then EK 50L will serve you well.
Korg EK 50 - Comparison With CT X5000 and Yamaha EW 410
Well, Korg EK 50 is definitely one of the top full-size arranger keyboards in the market, but it is not the only one that will treat you with impressive performance.
The CT-X5000 from Casio and EW 410 from Yamaha offers huge competition to EK 50 in all the departments.
So let's check out how EK 50 differs from its competitors;
Number of Key - When it comes to the number of keys, Korg EK 50 lags behind as Yamaha EW 410 gets 15 more keys, but it holds the same amount as Casio CT-X5000.
Budget - In terms of budget, EK 50 costs almost the same as EW410, which is around $400. So they serve as an excellent alternative to CT-X5000, which costs more than $450.
Voice - Unfortunately, EK 50 fails to shine in this department as it only comes with 702 voices. EW 410 gets around 758 voices while CT-X5000 serves as the clear winner with 800 voices in its pocket.
Sound and Possibilities - Well, CT-X5000 has better sound and possibilities for interpretation than both EK 50 and EW 410. Since it gets 4-stage pads and 100 arpeggio types, it gives you a better output. Moreover, EW410 delivers better acoustic quality and piano feeling than Korg’s unit.
Styles - Whether CT-X5000 or EW410, no one can beat EK 50 in the number of styles. EK 50 gets more than 280 styles presets while the other two only have 235 styles each. Plus, you will also get the option to download from Korg’s library.
Arpeggiators - Since EK 50 is designed for gigs and entertainment purposes, so it doesn’t come with any arpeggiators. But in EW410 and CT-X5000, you will find around 150 arpeggiators pattern to create your originals.
Usability- EK 50 against victorious in the usability section as it offers the finest and straightforward interface. All the functions are located on the control panel with illumination, and it also features an LCD panel. However, EW410 is complicated to use as most of the functions are hidden inside, and you will find them using the function button. CT-X5000 is the most difficult one to use as it gets a poor user interface and a low number of buttons.
Connectivity- In the connectivity department, all the keyboards shine brightly as all of them come with an adequate set of ports. Whether USB, aux-in, or 3.5mm, you will find all these ports in these models.
Speaker Output- EK 50 gets the weakest speaker when you compare it with its competitors. But surprisingly, the audio quality is soothing and punchy with neutral output. EW410, on the other hand, gets a dual 12-watt speaker that sounds really nice, but you can't compare the clarity with that of EK '50s. Even though CT-X5000 receives the most powerful speaker in the lot but it fails to deliver crystal clear audio quality, you will want in a keyboard speaker.
Pedal Facility- If you wish to connect a pedal in EK 50 or CT-X5000, then you will get the option of only one input. But Yamaha, on the other hand, pampers you with two pedal inputs, thus enhancing your playing capability.
Battery Backup- You can play your EK50 anywhere you want as it requires only 8 AA batteries to run the operation. Similarly, EW410 can also be utilized when you don't have electricity to run it, but it requires six D size batteries, which are difficult to find. Unfortunately, CT-X5000 doesn't get a battery backup, so using it in various places would be a problem.
Reasons To Buy
Reasons To Avoid
Casio CTX with his a AiR chipset and Korg RK 50 these are quite new entrance to this arranger keyboard segment and it brings a bit new technology, new functions and this is why they lead in the list.
SO, if you intend to do music production, if you intend to do a lot of multi track recording, if you intend to do electronic dance music. I would suggest the Casio CTX 5000.
If the bulk of what you do is mainly to play solo in gatherings, in gigs and you are playing a lot of styles and you love to have nice style sounds I recommend the Korg EK 50.
Cause it's really easy to use. It's not intimidating even if you are seeing the keyboard for the first time.
The sounds are all really very usable the styles are decent too.
That’s it for this comparison article.
Hope this review of Korg EK 50 helped you in making informed decision.
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