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Thread: What digital piano to get?

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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Lightbulb What digital piano to get?

    OK We have now decided to get a keyboard. We are looking for a reasonably priced full size (88 key) one with a good piano action - weighted keys etc. The thing should also have at least a sustain pedal.

    We are also looking for some effects - harpsichord, church organ at a minimum. The beast should be portable and reasonably rugged.

    Anybody got any good recommendations or ones to avoid?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    Senior Member Sonata's Avatar
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    Portable + rugged, probably a stage piano would be a good way to go. But don't ask me which one, I have no idea

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    Depends a lot on the budget. It also depends if you need it to look like a piano.

    If it is low budget and is does not need to look like a piano I would recommend buying a second hand Kurzweil K2500X/ K2600X. You should be able to buy it below 600 pounds. I would avoid those silly look alike digital pianos.

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    Senior Member Mesa's Avatar
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    I cracked out a bit of Satie on an £1800 Yamaha 'lookalikey' Grand yesterday, and while the action was nice and sound most agreeable, i'd rather have a £200 Fatar midi keyboard with very similar action and a cheap 'n' cheerful yamaha piano sound module/sample set for £1400 less.
    You're a crazy, penniless lobster doctor. No combination of you should be a comedian.

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    Senior Member hreichgott's Avatar
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    Go to a store and play a bunch of them. As with an acoustic piano, your own personal sense of the sound and whether it's right for you will make all the difference.

    In 2002 I bought my Yamaha P60 for just over US $700. It required a major repair within the year; however, since then it's still going strong with no more repairs, and has been taken to several gigs, carried through the rain and dropped. My understanding is that 10 years is about normal lifespan for a digital piano so I don't know that I expect to have it for much longer! Mine has all the traits you're looking for except that the keys are only touch-sensitive, not weighted. Between 2002 and 2008 I changed residences quite frequently and at times I was forced to use the Yamaha as my primary practice instrument. I did notice that at those times I lost muscle since the keys are much easier to press down than real piano keys (or weighted keys) and had to adjust back again, carefully so as not to aggravate old injuries, when returning to an acoustic. Weighted keys do have disadvantages as well: fragility and of course weight, making them less portable and less rugged than non-weighted.

    Two things that can artificially inflate the cost of digital pianos are furniture and computer. The more cabinetry and whatnot is attached, the more expensive. And if there's a built-in computer sequencer or anything that says "DJ" in the advertising copy, you'll be paying for electronic capabilities that you will probably never use.

    You will most certainly have a harpsichord and organ sound built in. I don't know that I've ever seen a digital piano without those!

    Brand-wise, everyone I know with a Yamaha or Kawai has been happy. Roland is decent too although they concentrate more on the DJ/computerized end of things. Avoid Casio.
    Last edited by hreichgott; Jun-12-2013 at 04:16.
    Heather W. Reichgott, piano
    http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Thanks. That confirms what I've been hearing on the web.
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Yamaha, Kawai: 88 key, weighted "graded" touch sensitive. The studio models (unless you want portability) are most like sitting at a real piano, three fully functioning pedals. The studio models have a cross piece at the bottom with the pedals fixed in it, don't rock 'n' roll when you're really going at it, and you don't have the odd pedal device connected with a cable which you inevitably have to tape down to the floor. This is an upright, taking that footprint as far as space goes.

    The less on-board sounds, other midi "work station" items, the better -- the more byte space is fully dedicated to piano sample. The least will still have a Church organ stop (monotonous, no changing ranks) and a harpsichord stop (also monotonous) - a string pad which is usually a joke.

    Where you are from, people hang on to goods and maintain them much longer. In the states, my niece just picked up last year's Yamaha studio model, still listing discounted to $1500 from its former $2000, for $900, bench and manual included, via a Craigslist ad. It had been purchased for a promising high schooler, who did follow through, but her interest waned. Dad was selling it because she was off to college and would not continue with the piano :-)

    Any and all of them will have a midi connection (usb) which hooks up to a computer, then, if you wish, to a destop recorder / playback / editor. Any digital keyboard with midi can also be used as the 'controller' to play off of other sound samples through those desktop recording softwares.

    P.s. Virtually every classical oriented player I've met who will even accept a digital piano has named Yamaha, consistently. The tone, sound, are more like what is expected. I have not heard the recent Kawais, and the Roland is totally geared, by sound quality, to pop music, the tone very hard and bright, which is ideal for cutting through a pop mix, and imo, not desirable for classical, whether older rep or contemporary.
    Last edited by PetrB; Jun-14-2013 at 22:52.

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    One single word: Yamaha!

    I have a Yamaha P90 I bought in 2006. Good sound, minimalistic interface (i.e., only a few buttons!), only a few extra sounds (just the standard: piano, harpsichord, organ,..., Rhodes piano sound, lol, I must confess sometimes I use it for fun, improvising some jazz, etc.).
    The pedal has various degrees of sensitivity, i.e., it makes a difference between the pedal half pressed or fully pressed, etc.
    Also the usual tools, e.g., midi interface, etc.

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    We finally jumped. I bought a Yamaha P105 from our local music store and just had it delivered. As a basic portable piano it's excellent. I'm going to have a good play and see what it does now.

    Thanks for all the advice!
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    Senior Member maestro57's Avatar
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    Edit: GRR!! Didn't read your last post. Congratulations, anyway!!!!

    -----------------

    Written earlier before I saw your last post:



    I'm currently playing on a Yamaha P-155 that I picked up for CAD$1000 used.

    It simulates the organ and harpsichord (and plenty more). The weighted keys/action are great (full 88) and you can set the sensitivity of the keys.

    With Ingenue to help you, this thing is very portable (unscrew the screws from the L-bracket that hold the stand and keyboard together and you're good to go), while at the same time it is very sturdy/rugged.

    The ONLY complaint I have is that the keys don't mimic the vibrations you'd feel on an acoustic piano when pressed. I guess it's not really a complaint, but more so a wish. If you want that feature, you'll have to fork out extra (extra!) amounts of money. The Yamaha N3, N1, and NU1 are examples of some digital keyboards with that vibration feature.

    Good luck to you both with the hunt! Please let us know what you decide on.
    Last edited by maestro57; Jul-31-2013 at 07:13.

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    I've got a Roland RD600 which I got for around US $500 secondhand. It's an old one but it's great and it's built to last! It's pretty heavy though. It has a beautiful sound to it and so many different piano settings. It also feels like a piano which is great.
    Roland's got a really good name, but it's a good idea to check online first at the reviews and demos before you buy one. Don't be scared of buying one second hand either so long as the keyboard is durable it'll be fine.
    Korg, Kawai and Yamaha have got some pretty decent ones too for your sort of budget.
    I used to have a casio px100 but I didn't like it so much.

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    Grats on your purchase. Yamaha is indeed a good brand. They were into music items before they got into motorcycles

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VinylEupho View Post
    Grats on your purchase. Yamaha is indeed a good brand. They were into music items before they got into motorcycles
    Yep. Look at the side of the gas tank on a Yamaha motorcycle and here's the logo you'll see. Guess what it depicts.



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    When I progress a bit more, I plan to buy a Yamaha CLP 545. It might be overkill for an amateur, but I think it's false economy to buy cheap then replace it. Of course, I'd prefer a nice acoustic upright piano, but we don't have the wall space for one, and the 545's footprint is no greater than my current Casio/stand in my office. (A digital piano needs open space for the sound, unlike an acoustic upright.)

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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Great. It may be overkill, but so what. You're getting all the features of a nice acoustic upright piano at around half the price. Enjoy!
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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