Workstation Keyboards

There is often a fair bit of confusion about the definition of a ‘workstation’ as against an ‘arranger’. This isn’t helped by some of the manufacturers using conflicting definitions.

Both ‘workstations’ and  ‘arrangers’  can be used for music production, but my understanding of the difference between the two is as follows:

An ‘arranger’ primarily uses auto accompaniment with pre-recorded styles which can be recorded along with additional parts if required to create a finished product. While this can be an extremely quick and easy way to create music, the results can often sound very ‘manufactured’ which is actually what they are!   

By contrast a ‘workstation’ will not have auto accompaniment but is more likely to have better quality sounds and effects and better, more advanced recording and editing features which make them capable of high quality totally original music production.

Many new ‘workstations’ now seem to rely on doing half the job on a computer which I personally find annoying, as I don’t want to be messing with computer connections and additional DAW complications. I like to do everything on the keyboard. With this in mind the only true ‘workstations’ left on the market are the Korgs, particularly the Kronos which is light years ahead of everything else.

‘Arrangers’ tend to only be available with 61 or 76 semi-weighted keys, whereas ‘workstations’ tend to also be available with an 88 weighted keyboard option.

In short ‘arrangers’ are more suitable for solo stage work and ‘workstations’ are more suitable for studio music production, but both could be used for either.

Sorry if all this sounds confusing!