Korg has been around for close to sixty years. With humble beginnings as an organ manufacturer in Tokyo, the company grew to a much bigger entity, offering tools for the niche synth market. Thanks to great innovations and popular products, it is now a very recognizable brand. It even widened its production to include tuners, digital effects, and eventually acquired legendary British amplifier builder Vox. Using that solid foundation of knowledge, the company offers great piano models for the first-time buyer, including the B2N. This unit has everything a beginner needs, and it might even interest experienced players that are looking for a portable keyboard option.
I’ve recorded a short video featuring sound samples and documenting my initial impressions. I showcase a few of the tones, in different styles. It was a lot of fun to create!
No frills streamlined approach
The B2N features an 88-note keyboard that has Korg’s Natural Touch action. This might remind you of a slightly lighter version of an acoustic piano feel, but definitely heavier than a synth action. An interesting feature of this construction is that it mimics the piano’s varying weight, depending on the register. The keyboard subtly feels lighter and lighter as you go up in register, as a piano should. The airy keys also contribute to a portable package, weighing in at 9.3 kg.
The top-mounted speakers produce a respectable amount of volume, thanks to their 9W amplifiers. They run the length of the unit. One interesting thing to note is that they seem to follow you on the keyboard’s range. If you are playing in the lower end, the sound will come from the left, and vice versa. This definitely adds some immersion to the playing experience.
There are 12 on-board sounds that cover most of the console-style piano essentials. There are 5 variants of acoustic pianos (German, Italian, Classic, Jazz, and Ballad), 2 electric style pianos (Rhodes and Wurlitzer), 1 DX7-style synth, 2 organs (pipe and electric), 1 harpsichord, and strings. While there isn’t much editing, you can access a much larger library thanks to the Korg Module App. You can access it using the built-in USB connection.
The keyboard ships with a sustain pedal and a sheet music rest. It has no included stand, but Korg offers a matching furniture stand (STB1), or you can set it on any universal keyboard stand. This is a convenient option for on-the-go players. The sustain pedal has a proprietary cable, so you won’t be able to use just any model. Korg also offers a three-pedal unit (PU-2) for more possibilities. There is also a model-specific soft case, the SC-B2N.
Great sounds and feel
I really appreciated the feel of the keys. They aren’t the full weighted piano style keys, but they still present a pleasant resistance, making you feel like you’re playing a quality instrument. This also helps to save weight, while offering a great playing experience. The provided sustain pedal is much better than some bargain models shipped with beginner keyboards, and it stays put on the floor when using.
The included sounds are varied and cover a lot of territory. All five pianos are very different and sound quite detailed. I enjoyed the Rhodes tone quite a lot. While you can’t edit them (not even the modulation out of the Rhodes), they are well tuned and provide a great base to work with. With the integration of the Korg Module App via the USB connection, you get access to additional options. It is absolutely free and worth a download. There are a hundred extra presets, for which you can even edit some parameters. The app also has extra practice features to help you polish your technique and repertoire.
The speakers on the B2N are decent sounding and provide more than enough volume. They also have good headroom, so they won’t distort at a higher setting. As noted before, they seem to follow your playing on the keyboard’s register, which is a really cool and immersive feature. Furthermore, being top mounted, it means that you can set up the keyboard on any surface such as a desk, bed, or even floor. I also enjoyed using this model with my studio headphones, thanks to the headphone out jack. They really let through the great tones that the keyboard comes with.
Ideal for beginners, but also as a portable option
Beginners will find tremendous value in the B2N. Thanks to its friendly, great-feeling action, it won’t be a chore to sit down and practice. The limited number of features is a blessing in disguise; they won’t distract the student from what matters: actually playing. Eventually, it’s still possible to explore more options thanks to the Korg Module App. But in any case, the stock sounds are inspiring enough to offer years of satisfying practice and exploration. It’s light weight will also help carrying it to a teacher’s studio with ease.
For current players, the B2N is a great portable option. It’s easy to carry and has enough features to cover multiple scenarios. You could have a keyboard for the cottage and a good unit to bring to songwriting sessions or to jam with friends. More experienced hands will also appreciate the light (but quality) feel of the keys. I think that it could also serve as a good and affordable stage piano, especially if you only have use for the basic tones. Although there isn’t a dedicated line out to plug it into a PA system and console, the headphone jack can be used with the same purpose. It will be important to watch the volume setting though, as it will affect the amount of signal sent to the mixer.
In this product family, Korg also offers the B2. This is essentially the same keyboard, but with a heavier, piano-like action and more powerful speakers. You can see it here, on Best Buy’s website. There is also the B2SP, which is the B2 bundled with the matching, furniture-style stand. It features a full three-pedal unit for complete control over your playing.