In my present situation, I have the luxury of now being able to use a wide library of sounds from two
sources: the keyboard, and Logic. (My keyboard will simply send the sounds right back through the USB interface.) Since I financially could afford it, and because they made a nice deal to "get the car off their lot," I splurged a little, but not a lot.
I also came away with a few other "extras," such as a built-in audio interface that the manufacturers apparently intended for use with karaoke or "beats." (Ick ...)
Nevertheless – what you really want at the end of the day is a really good, expressive keyboard that feels very good under y-o-u-r hands.
And I don't think that you can find that in a catalog. I played the actual keyboard that I now own in the store for more than half an hour before choosing it over the electronic piano that was nearby, and which I also played for more than half an hour. I could have been satisfied with either one. (The e-piano was a Yamaha brand, and it was a great unit. Quite inexpensive, too.)
As you evaluate a controller or a keyboard, pay attention to how the physical mechanism feels
under your hands. Also, observe how it responds (if any)
to changes in pressure
. (How important these things are to you
, if any, depends entirely on the kind of music you
want to make.)
As for "gee-gaws," if you find that you actually need and will use
those "gee-gaws," there also specialized external MIDI/USB devices which specialize
in those things, and which do so at a professional level. Be careful that you do not wind up with: "a jack of all trades but a master of none." It is far better to buy a device that is really good at the things that you will
use, than to buy one that compromises
– according to you
– those features to add "additional features" (that you won't
actually use ...) while staying within a certain market price-point."You're going to be married to it. Choose carefully."
Fortunately, these days, "we are cursed with an abundance of riches." Almost everything that's out there now is great.