Comparing the two instruments can be tricky because they have many things in common that could make people confused. A keyboard is a broad term that usually includes all the instruments that rely on a keyboard to make sounds, like pianos, organs and many other types of products.
On the other hand, a synthesizer is something that generates sounds, and it can have a keyboard or not. Even your laptop can be a synthesizer if you install the proper software like Garageband. Although, it is highly inefficient to use letters as keys. The models without a keyboard are called sound modules and will not generate sound if you don’t attach them to a keyboard or a laptop.
A synthesizer could be a subclass of keyboards, meaning it can be considered a keyboard, and the other way around can be accurate too. The keyboard is added to control the product, and the synth is the part that generates the sound. But the real difference is that a synthesizer can create its unique sounds, while a keyboard usually has rigid notes that are pre-recorded.
Most synthesizers you can find in stores are digital and rely on data in the form of MIDI files to generate sound. This data is considered the trigger that prompts the machine to play a sound. On the other hand, keyboards don’t need data, and they just require you to press a key, and that’s it.
People usually go for synths when they want to create unique songs and when they want to experiment with music. A keyboard might be less flexible when it comes to the variety of the notes it creates, but it sounds more traditional and natural. It has more soul than other digital instruments.
However, since they are capable of creating a plethora of sounds, synths also come with a high price tag. They offer you flexibility, but they limit you at the same time because you have to rely on your Mac or on another instrument to use it. Meanwhile, a keyboard can be used on its own, and you can find great deals on the Internet if you want to buy one.
The good news is that manufacturers nowadays try to be innovative and that the market is starting to be invaded by what we would call ‘hybrids.’ They are keyboards which have inbuilt synths. These all-in-one tools are going to make the distinction between the two technologies even harder to distinguish, as people will start to use the terms interchangeably.
But maybe that is not such a bad thing after all, as it is always exciting to have more than just one option to choose from. If you are looking forward to purchasing a high-quality piano that will allow you to unleash your creativity, give a chance to a well-written review, so you can adopt the best model the Internet has to offer.