Chances are you have some familiarity electric pianos, organs, and keyboard synthesizers. These are electronic keyboards with internal sounds that can be played and heard via built-in speakers or an external amplifier. Well, there's another type of keyboard that doesn't have any internal sounds at all! These are called Keyboard Controllers, and they're designed to send note and other control data to an external computer or sound module via MIDI or USB. Another variation on this theme is Drum Pad Controllers, which are designed to trigger drum sounds or other "samples" in external sound modules or computers running drum emulation software. And some controllers have both keys and pads.
The computer will typically be running sequencing and/or instrument emulation software that is triggered from the keyboard or pad controller. Sequencing software will basically "record" the performance in note data, as opposed to actual sound. That performance can then be edited (much like a word processor), then assigned to "play" virtually any sound contained within the computer itself or in an external sound module. The main benefit to this setup is that just one compact keyboard and/or pad controller can play literally thousands of instruments and drum sounds, limited only by the capabilities of your computer and software.
It's a brave new world, keyboardists! But fear not, because PhotoSavings has everything you need to get started with electronic music, including convenient bundles that feature a high-quality controller and all the appropriate accessories you'll need to being recording right away. And if you're not quite ready to dive into the deep end of the pool, we also have a wide variety of traditional electronic pianos and synthesizers that are virtually plug-and-play!