Although many musicians and keyboard players might have a divided opinion toward keyboard arrangers, the truth, however, remains that they will always have their place in the music world.
Have you ever seen just a single musician at a small or large gig playing the keyboard alone without accompaniment but still managing to sound like a full band with all the instruments complete?
If you have ever seen this, then, chances are that the keyboard player was using a keyboard arranger. With a keyboard arranger, the player has the privilege of performing with a virtual backing band, regardless of genre or style.
These arrangers have presets for these backing bands and they are known as “styles.” These presets (styles) are usually stored by genre and instrumentation. Also, players can create, save, edit, and store new styles on their keyboards.
Undoubtedly, a keyboard arranger is an awesome tool for a keyboard player who just wants to gig but doesn’t have access to an actual backing band. Just by pressing a button, you will have a virtual band jamming along with you, regardless of style or genre.
In this article, we will discuss 10 amazing keyboard arrangers you can lay your hands on as a keyboard player. It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie just getting into the keyboard arranger world or you are a pro looking to explore some more, just read on!
10 Best Keyboard Arrangers
- Roland E-A7
- PSR SX900
- PSR A3000
- Korg PA – 700
- Korg Ek – 50 L
- Kurzweil Home 150
- Casio CT – X700
- Roland E X50
- Korg PA 5x 61 key
- Yamaha PSR – E373
Review of 10 Best Keyboard Arrangers
- 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
The Roland E – A7 is one of the best keyboard arrangers with tons of sounds and samples from different genres and styles all over the world.
It boasts about 1500 sounds of various piano voices, strings, brass, woodwind, drums, and ethnic instruments.
Roland E – A7 also offers users the function to create personal sound or import additional samples through WAV. Also, There are about 156 buttons placed logically on the interface of the Roland E – A7 for users to make adjustments on the fly.
Each side has an LCD screen that displays information about the buttons for fast access to parameters on this keyboard arranger.
You can edit, modify samples and add effects directly through the onboard editor if you don’t want to use the unique sound library. There is also a port for a mic. Users can plug and mix their mic in real-time by adding effects to them.
The six sliders allow you to control the reverb, cut-off, touch, and some other various FX across this machine. Users can also initiate a one-shot sample or phrases with the six-trigger pad available on the Roland E – A7.
Watch more about the Roland E A7 here
|Tons of editing options||Very Expensive|
|Great control set|
|Large library of world samples|
- 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
The PSR SX900 is another best keyboard arranger made by Yamaha. Yamaha remains one of the most popular and respected musical equipment brands in the market.
The PSR SX900 has a touch screen that you can touch and make adjustments to your voices and arrangements.
However, the primary function of the coloured touch screen is to display information, voices, and arrangement patterns.
The SX900 features assignable knobs that can be used to filter out certain frequencies and add effect to your voices. The Joystick performs dual functions as a pitch bend and modulation wheel. It can also be used to control a whole lot of different world music styles.
You can record and save chord progressions, make rhythm and beats, and add layers while playing live through the built-in looper.
Users also have options for fill in a variety of styles and cues which are very useful for restarting or adjustment during performance.
Watch more about the Yamaha PSR SX900 here
|Tons of arrangement pattern|
|Great for standalone playing|
|Knobs for total control and adjustment|
- 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
The Yamaha PSR A3000 is a 61-key world arranger keyboard recommended to new keyboard players that are just starting out with performance.
The PSR A3000 packs over 900 voices including standard piano sounds, electronic piano, guitar, organ, brass, and drum.
The A3000 has drum kits of different types and over 400 drum styles. Users can still create their unique drum styles. Making it one of the best arranger keyboards.
The user interface is very friendly and intuitive. You can play and make adjustments at the same time. However, with all these features, Yamaha PSR A3000 is one of the budget keyboard arrangers you will find in this list.
This keyboard allows performances by musicians to become a reality.
Watch more about the Yamaha PSR A3000 here
|Tons of different styles||Only 61 keys|
|Easy to use|
|Large voice library|
Korg PA – 700
- 61-key Arranger Wkstation with 370+ Music Styles
- Built-in MP3 Player w/Vocal Remover
- 2 x 25W Speaker System
- 1,700+ Sounds
The Korg PA-700 61 key is another one of the best keyboard arrangers available in the market. This keyboard comes with all the features that are more than enough to perform live music.
This makes it one of the high-performance keyboard arrangers in the Korg PA series. This arranger keyboard has 370 styles for a backing band. These styles range from pop, funk, and soul to other genres from around the world.
The PA-700’s styles offer a defined nuanced control sound engine that allows users to add natural-sounding musical nuances to their performances.
The Korg PA 700 arranger also features over 1,700 rich and sculpted sounds which make live performances sound exciting. This keyboard arranger is very intuitive and easy to control with the 7 TFT touchscreen displaying information, project, and a programmable songbook database.
Watch more about the Korg PA 700 here
|Easy to use||The chord sequencer is a bit complicated|
|KAOOS FX Creative Control|
|Computer-assisted composition feature|
Korg Ek – 50 L
- [Wide Variety of Sounds] – The EK-50 Limitless Arranger Keyboard contains 790 realistic sounds and 290 Styles including pianos, guitars, brass, sax, drums, and more with a focus on Dance Styles and Sounds. You can also use the Split function to divide the keyboard and play different sounds simultaneously.
- [Simple-to-Use Controls] – The middle of the operating panel has a bright, clear display that shows the currently selected sound and Style names in large characters for great visibility. The buttons on EK-50 L are illuminated by their own LEDs which helps you visualize the setting of each function.
- [Built-in Speakers] - Upgraded 2 x 10W stereo speakers are built into the instrument. They can reproduce not only the sound of the instrument itself, but also sound from an external device that you connect to the input jack.
- [Compose, Record, and Share] – EK-50 L offers several ways to easily capture your musical creations and features convenient one touch recording. With this feature, your ideas can be quickly captured when inspiration strikes. There is also a powerful and easy to use sequencer that can function as a linear 12-track recorder.
The Korg Ek – 50L 61 key arranger is one of the arrangers on this list that offers unique features yet goes for a considerable and very affordable price.
The Korg Ek 50L features a large library of musical styles for backing bands from a wide range of musical genres including new dance music.
This arranger is designed with a high-performing speaker that is capable of producing loud enough sound in a small gig even without a PA system.
The automatic accompaniment function enables users to instantly turn individual playing to sound like an ensemble. This keyboard is highly recommended for both beginners and advanced keyboard players alike.
This keyboard arranger has over 790 tones, 290 styles, 64 polyphony, 12 tracks sequencer, and other unique features. Korg Ek – 50L is an upgraded version of the Korg Ek 50 arranger keyboard.
Watch more about the Korg Ek – 50 L here
|Intuitive interface||Basic features|
|Easy to use|
|30 unique FX|
Kurzweil Home 150
- 61-key Synth-action Arranger Keyboard with 128 Voices
- MIDI Connectivity
- Onboard Speakers
The KP150 61 key arranger is made by Kurzweil. This portable keyboard arranger has a pitch bend, modulation wheel, velocity sensitivity, and synth-action keys.
Kurzweil Home 150 keyboard arranger features a large library of electronic and acoustic sounds and tones to select from such as the Kurzweil triple piano sound, organ, strings, guitars, and synths.
It also enables users to layer sounds using the dual function. This makes it fun to combine piano and string sounds during the performance.
The built-in interactive patterns earn the KP150 the best keyboard arranger. It has a variety of backing tracks and also the ability to record live keyboard performances.
The Kurzweil Home 150 has over 200 auto accompaniments, 128 voice polyphony, and 618 factory preset programs. All these features are accessible using the button on the interface and information on the vivid multifunctional LCD and sleek control panel.
Watch more about the Kurzweil Home 150 here
|After-touch key velocity sensitivity||Limited sample sounds|
|Easy to use|
|Multiple type I/O|
Casio CT – X700
- 61 full-size touch-responsive keys
- 600 tones, 195 rhythms
- Class-compliant USB-MIDI
- 1/4″ headphone out
The Casio CT – X700 61 keyboard arranger is great for musicians starting to explore the backing band features.
The CT x700 is also budget-friendly. However, it is powered by AiX sound, which has about 195 rhythms on Tap, allowing users the freedom to creatively explore a variety of musical genres.
So, whether you are a composer, producer, or performer, the Casio CT – X700 is always an awesome choice for you. It also has over 600 sounds that are selectable by category featuring piano, electronic piano, organ, guitar, strings, and drum kits.
The drum kits include drum machines, acoustic kits, and a variety of other types of percussion. These drum kits are also the drums used to create the 195 built-in rhythms. Go ahead and enjoy a perfect feel and groove from these rhythms.
Watch more about the Casio CT X700 here
|Very Affordable||No advanced feature option|
|Easy to use|
|Great for beginners|
|AIX sound source|
The Roland E X50 61 keyboard arranger is another best arranger keyboard that is easy to use. Popularly recommended for solo performance and songwriting.
If you are looking at playing solo with a backing track, the Roland E X50 offers 300 auto accompaniment styles and 18 drum set tones.
This keyboard arranger allows you to control these amazing 300 music arrangements with your left-hand fingering with the auto accompaniment function.
You can control a full band with your left hand while you play with your right hand using this auto-accompaniment function.
The Roland E x50 also has 689 sounds and tones, full-size keys with velocity sensitivity, pitch bend, and 256 voice polyphony. These 689 sounds include rich and responsive acoustic piano, electronic piano, organ, guitar, strings, brass, and percussion instruments.
Watch more about the Roland E X50 here
|Easy to use||No modulation wheel|
|Very intuitive||No sequencer|
|6 types of Eq|
The Korg PA 5x 61 keyboard arranger is the Flagship of the Korg professional arranger Keyboard. The PA 5X is designed with a complete state-of-the-art sound engine and a colourful/intuitive user interface.
It features tons of rich and stunning sounds for inspiring performances and experiences.
This keyboard arranger also has a large library of musical styles that are easily accessible on the fly.
The Korg PA 5X also has a multicoloured LED button, an assignable front panel, a pad matrix, a mixer section, and a huge tiltable screen for ease of control.
Watch more about the Korg PA 5x 61 key here
|Backing Band tracks||No advanced sound editing option|
|Great for standalone performance|
|Tons of preset|
Yamaha PSR – E373
- The PSR-E373 is an ideal portable keyboard for beginners and hobbyists
- Packed with over 622 stunning sounding instrument Voices and a wealth of accompaniment Styles
- 11 Super Articulation Lite Voices (SALite), inherited from the powerful PSR-S models, are now included, which give you even greater expressive, real time, control (e.g. String Scratches/Guitar Slide noise), adding to the realism of the Voice
- Smart Chord lets you play great-sounding chords from simple Pop triads to complex jazz 7th chords with just a few fingers
The Yamaha PSR-E373 61 keyboard arranger is one of the PSR series made by Yamaha.
It has several voices including acoustic Pianos, electronic pianos, harpsichords, organs, guitars, bass, brass, strings, and Fx sounds. This keyboard arranger has 61 synth-style keys that come with touch sensitivity and an improvement in sound processing and sample sound.
The Yamaha PSR E373 also features effects and multiple rhythms for the backing band.
The auto accompaniment function allows users to instantly add rhythm sections, drum, percussion, and bass arpeggios based on the user’s left-hand harmonic chord progression.
It also features 170 pre-arranged songs in its music database. This allows you to choose from a wide range of genres to jam along to.
Watch more about the Yamaha PSR E373 here
|Easy to use||No pitch bend|
|Flexible musical styles||No modulation wheel|
|4 touch-sensitive option||Difficult to make adjustments while playing live|
Keyboard Arrangers Explained; What is a Keyboard Arranger?
A keyboard arranger sometimes also referred to as an arranger keyboard is any musical keyboard that offers a virtual backing band. This backing track and band are often categorized in genres and instrumentation also known as “styles.”
The keyboard arranger also allows users to create, edit, and save new styles as a backing band. These styles cover drum rhythms of different time signatures in different patterns and fill.
With the accompaniment button turned on, you have a bass guitar, classic guitar, and some other element of the particular genre that is playing.
Let us say the style is Rock music, the drum time signature will be 4/4 with some drum fills and rolls. The instrumentation accompaniment will be bass, acoustic guitar, electronic piano, and some ambient sounds.
However, the range of the accompaniment is determined with a split button. Which divides the keys of the keyboard into two. The left hand is for styles and backing bands while the right hand is for improvisation and additional fills.
This is great for musicians who want to play with a band or want to in be the band all by themselves.
Difference Between Workstation, Keyboard, and Keyboard Arranger
Workstation keyboards offer features for music composition and production. They Have multiple synth engines for producers and composers to make selections.
The major distinction of a workstation is its sampling capability. Some workstations offer advanced sampling abilities similar to Kontakt.
Another major difference between the workstation and the keyboard, and the arranger keyboard is that the workstation allows users to record multitrack.
Some workstations are also designed to integrate with DAWs. Another reason why they are suitable for composers and producers.
Now the Keyboard [not the computer keyboard but the musical keyboard]. The keyboard is a musical instrument with a set of keys. It is now a generic name for any musical instrument with keys that can send electronic impulses.
The workstation, and keyboard arranger can both be referred to as a keyboard. The only difference in this context is in its specification.
The keyboard arranger on the other hand is totally for gigs and performances. They focus on the performer’s workflow and allow for instrumentation simulation on the fly.
Recording with an arranger keyboard is often in the form of a midi sequence rather than audio tracks.
The keyboard arranger also features sample sounds of the piano, organ, brass, and drums but with less control.
The major distinction of the arranger keyboard is the ability to generate accompaniment and at the same time allow users to make manipulations.
These 10 best keyboard arrangers are made by reputable brands such as Yamaha, Roland, Casio, Kurzweil, and Korg, and they are selected in no particular order.
It is important you consider your Genre of music. This will help you agree on which arranger keyboard will be great for your performance.
However, the keyboard arrangers in this list are not the best for nothing. They feature amazing styles, sounds, and samples with memory for you to make a few modifications.
Enjoy a world of musical possibility with these 10 best keyboard arrangers. Don’t limit the keyboard to just live gig performances alone, they are also great for composition and production.