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tango, your expensive music equipment could be fried without a surge protector.
And don't go cheap on me either. The most expensive surge protectors are less than $40, and some have guarantees to repay you thousands of dollars if they should ever fail to protect your equipment.
258 Part VI: So Many Toys, So Little Time.
Synthesizers aren't the only kinds of electric keyboards with knobs, sliders, buttons, and other gizmos to make whacky sounds. As you shop around, you're bound to hear terms like sampler, tone module, and workstation rolling off the salesperson's tongue. Don't be baffled — I'll explain.
J1 Samplers: Unlike synthesizers, samplers don't mimic another sound. Rather, they sample (or record) the sound. For example, you can sample the note A from a violin and then have your sampler assign that sound to each key on your keyboard, raising or lowering the pitch of the note for the appropriate key. You can play all the notes on a violin without ever lifting a bow. And because it's a recording and not a mere imitation, a good sampler can sound almost exactly like the instrument or sound it sampled. Heck, sample the sounds of your dishwasher and play "Moon River" if you want to!
J1 Tone modules: Simply put, these are very inexpensive little boxes that have lots of great sounds but no keys. That's right —
you have to hook the box up to a controller (another keyboard or computer) to play the sounds, but it's a very inexpensive way to get a lot of very cool sounds.
J' Workstations: This fancy name implies that you can do all your musical work right there on your keyboard without adding any other equipment. And you know something? The implication is correct. You can sample sounds with the internal sampler, change the sounds with the internal synthesizer, record and edit your music on the internal sequencer, and perform lots of other time-consuming but fun musical endeavors. They may be expensive, but workstations definitely give you the most bang for the buck.
Don't be fooled at the store. You can easily mistake a synth and a sampler. Most of these models look identical, and some don't actually say which they are on the outside. Do the manufacturers expect you to decode the ambiguous model numbers — ESI-4000, A-3000 — to know what the unit is? Just ask the salesperson if you have any doubt.
Raising Your Keyboard
In This Chapter
^ Finding the right home for your keyboard ^ Cleaning your keyboard ^ Realizing you can’t fix it yourself ^ Taking the pain out of moving day
Ës with any baby, it’s important to be the best parent you can be to your keyboard. Consider this chapter to be your “Bringing Up Baby” manual. Don’t worry ... no diaper changing is necessary.
A Good Place to LiOe
Whether you bought an acoustic or electric keyboard, the first thing to do when you get your new baby home is to find a spot for it to live. This spot doesn’t have to be a permanent resting place — keyboards adapt well to future changes in their lives. But some spots are better than others in terms of keeping your keyboard humming along and in good health for the duration of its life. Your ideal spot has all of the following characteristics:
J' No direct sunlight: Even through a window, over-exposure to sunlight can damage your keyboard over time. The wood can warp or dry out, affecting both the sound and overall appearance. A faded keyboard doesn’t sell well (if necessary) down the road.
Controlled climate: Don’t expose your keyboard to violent temperature swings. For example, don’t leave it on a porch that gets really hot in the summer and dreadfully cold in the winter. To avoid fickle weather changes, try to place your keyboard near an interior wall rather than an exterior wall.
260 Part VI: So Many Toys, So Little Time
J' Good ventilation: For acoustic pianos, good ventilation reduces the buildup of excess moisture. For electric keyboards, ventilation keeps the “engine” cooled when the power is on. You don’t have to put your keyboard right under an air conditioning unit or right over a heating duct. Just make sure that the room has good airflow through it.
J1 Safety: Don’t set your expensive keyboard under a bookshelf or suspended refrigerator that may soon fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put your Humpty . ..
Of course, you also want your keyboard in a spot that encourages you to play. Try to find a place for your instrument that also has the following characteristics:
J1 Elbow room: When you feel cramped or uncomfortable, you are more likely to avoid practicing. Lack of practice leads to poor playing, so give yourself ample space for stretching out when you play.
J' Convenience: Don’t confine your keyboard to an area that’s hard to reach. When inspiration hits, you want the keys close at hand. And speaking of convenience, make sure your room has plenty of electrical outlets. Using miles and miles of extension cords is expensive, irritating, and just plain ugly.