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Stage Piano recommendations

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  • Stage Piano recommendations

    Hard to believe myself that I'm interested in one, but I'm checking into possibly getting a stage piano. I'm tired of playing piano/epiano on my motif 6 and with my latest band I'm doing much more piano than before.



    Thing is, at home I use a weighted controller with softsynths, but I don't really want to try relying on a laptop in a bar. So normally this wouldn't be something to consider for my casual band use...



    ...until...



    Our acoustic piano is ailing and apparently would cost more to repair than it's worth. The wheels began turning....sure I'd rather get an acoustic (two kids learning also) but digital opens some options...you see where I'm going, a stage piano might kill two birds here. The hurdle of course is that it doesn't look like furniture and has no speakers, so will the wife go for nearfield monitors in the living room...to be determined.



    On the off chance she were to go for this scheme, I started looking. For junior(s)' use I'd prefer 88 keys; for my use the Nord Electro hammer action sounds great. I should mention that I'd loooooove to have a decent organ. I would consider a Kurzweil as well, for organ and all the other nice sounds, but I'm a bit leery of that triple-strike piano for solo playing...hard to find one around here to try. I tried the Roland 700NX and was pretty surprised at how nice it sounded, even the organ; but that thing is a beast! 55 pounds or so. Does the 300NX have the same organ from the VK-8?

    I imagine Yamaha might have come along with some better sounds since my motif classic, but I'd welcome a change...overall I find the motif a bit thin-sounding. Perhaps the Kronos...*cackles madly*



    Anyway, I welcome any thoughts!

  • #2
    Graded hammer action is supposedly not the best for a rig controller. The response would be too soft on the left side for much besides piano. I've not tried this out but I'll take the experts' words for it. Graded hammer is all I see advertised though. I don't know if there's still a choice.
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    • #3






      Quote Originally Posted by Strenge
      View Post

      Hard to believe myself that I'm interested in one, but I'm checking into possibly getting a stage piano. I'm tired of playing piano/epiano on my motif 6 and with my latest band I'm doing much more piano than before.



      Thing is, at home I use a weighted controller with softsynths, but I don't really want to try relying on a laptop in a bar. So normally this wouldn't be something to consider for my casual band use...



      ...until...



      Our acoustic piano is ailing and apparently would cost more to repair than it's worth. The wheels began turning....sure I'd rather get an acoustic (two kids learning also) but digital opens some options...you see where I'm going, a stage piano might kill two birds here. The hurdle of course is that it doesn't look like furniture and has no speakers, so will the wife go for nearfield monitors in the living room...to be determined.



      On the off chance she were to go for this scheme, I started looking. For junior(s)' use I'd prefer 88 keys; for my use the Nord Electro hammer action sounds great. I should mention that I'd loooooove to have a decent organ. I would consider a Kurzweil as well, for organ and all the other nice sounds, but I'm a bit leery of that triple-strike piano for solo playing...hard to find one around here to try. I tried the Roland 700NX and was pretty surprised at how nice it sounded, even the organ; but that thing is a beast! 55 pounds or so. Does the 300NX have the same organ from the VK-8?

      I imagine Yamaha might have come along with some better sounds since my motif classic, but I'd welcome a change...overall I find the motif a bit thin-sounding. Perhaps the Kronos...*cackles madly*



      Anyway, I welcome any thoughts!




      I just got done playing an away game show with all pro backline. the keyboard they provided was a 700nx. Its a pro level board with great electric pianos and good organs. Its gonna have a ton of features that you wont use. I rolled in and the keyboard tech said what do you need. I had him put 4 sounds in the stored presets. Percussion organ, electric piano, a mexicanan accordian and steel drums. My personal stage piano is a RD300sx. I also have a roland VR700 . I never use two board at a show. If i were you , I would find a RD300gx. its will do your job if you tend to be a guy who just plays all your parts and dont need a keyboard with arp features. When I got back into the band thing, I walked into the music store with a full wallet with enough money to buy anything I wanted. I left with the RD300sx. The preceeding models to the GX and the NX. Being an old guy I know what hammonds and rhodes, whirlys and the old classic stuff really sounded like. Roland had the best sounds comparied to the originals. Now that said , you wont get a hammond out of the stage pianos that sound as good as the nord or the VR700 or other clone wheels.. But they have good enough organs to get the job done. I would avoid the fake ivory keys. they looked like they would wear fast and would soak up skin oils.. I play a lot and I even wear into the plastic keys after a while. stick with plastic , especially if you have kids.
      <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;you mess with him and you mess with the whole trailer park&quot;</div><br>

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      • #4
        More stuff to consider, thanks! I didn't even think about the durability of the keys. My buddy has a VR700 and I really like it, though obviously it's got the waterfall keyboard.



        Does the RD300gx have the same organ as the newer 300nx or 700nx? As I mentioned I was pretty impressed with it and I think it would be more than good enough for the rock organ I play in a band setting (by way of comparison, one or two of the presets on my motif actually sounded decent when I heard the recorded shows, while just playing them solo at home I hate them....)

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        • #5
          To my uneducated ears and fingers, the 300NX/700NX have a much better sounding, more playable piano (and EPs) compared to the any previous Roland digital pianos. I mean SERIOUSLY better. But of course it is all down to taste and YMMV.
          <div class="signaturecontainer"><font face="verdana"><a href="http://www.reverbnation.com/christianschulze" target="_blank">http://www.reverbnation.com/christianschulze</a></font></div>

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          • #6






            Quote Originally Posted by Strenge
            View Post

            a stage piano might kill two birds here. The hurdle of course is that it doesn't look like furniture and has no speakers, so will the wife go for nearfield monitors in the living room...to be determined.

            ...

            I tried the Roland 700NX and was pretty surprised at how nice it sounded, even the organ; but that thing is a beast! 55 pounds or so. Does the 300NX have the same organ from the VK-8?




            You might want to look at the FP-7F. It has speakers that will be sufficient for your in-home use, it won't look as "out of place" in a living room. It doesn't have all the sounds of the RD-700NX, but it does have, I believe, the same main piano sound, and the same organ, which I believe is based on the VK-8 but does not have all the VK-8's features. Unfortunately, it is still 53 lbs.



            For other 88s with drawbar organ functions, besides the Kurzweil and Kronos you mentioned, you could look at the Kawai MP6 or a Nord Stage 2-88.

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            • #7
              For your needs, I would bet the Roland 300NX? would work. If you've got the moohlah though, the Nord Stage II is pretty freakin' awesome. I've got the Stage Classic and LOVE the sounds, and new Stage II has the latest organ sounds (other than the sampled pipe organ), plus they play the Nord Sample library (hundreds of different sounds).



              Of course the Kronos is the guy to beat, and because of its built-in sequencer and even audio recording capabilities, it's pretty damn tempting. But at 50 pounds and as wide all all the other starship 88 note boards, it's a lot to handle, and personally, I end up spending way too time on all the possibilities, esp. when they're endless like on that board.



              The advantages to the Nord Stage II is that the sounds are very expressive/playable, almost all controls are on the front panel, so very user friendly even on stage, and, it only weighs 40 freakin' pounds, and, they put the pitch/mod on top, so it's close to the length of a 76 note board. Highly recommended for someone that wants to play and not fuss with technology!

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              • #8






                Quote Originally Posted by 1001gear
                View Post

                Graded hammer action is supposedly not the best for a rig controller. The response would be too soft on the left side for much besides piano. I've not tried this out but I'll take the experts' words for it. Graded hammer is all I see advertised though. I don't know if there's still a choice.




                Personally, I could care less about graded hammer action. I think it's just "the thing we need to do to keep up with the competition", and doesn't really provide any benefit to anyone except the few serious players who perform on acoustics but have to practice on a digital. (Even then, I'd expect differences in actions to be more significant than whether it's graded -- into just 3 or 4 grading zones mind you.)



                Non-graded would be best for a multi-zone workstation controller, but only by a slight margin. No doubt most folks can play a graded action without noticing it. So, your left hand has to be a tad bit stronger. No big deal. I wouldn't let it kill the deal.



                Back to the OP.



                Consider a Casio Privia, which you can try out in an Guitar Center. They're very affordable, have built-in speakers, and are light as a feather; easy to gig. They have stands that look a bit like furniture (though not lovely furniture). A comparable (and IMHO even better) piano is Yamaha P95 or P105. P105 just came out, so P95's can be found on sale.



                That said, I'd love to have an NE3HP. That would make the ideal one-keyboard rig for rehearsals, jams, and short gigs. I currently use NE2, but I play piano a bit more than organ, and I'd rather play organ on weighted than piano on the NE2 kb.



                If you don't mind used, look for a casio CDP-100. It has MIDI DIN output, unlike the Privia bottom line (you have to ante up to the model with 300 sounds you'll never use to get MIDI DIN connectors). I've played one jamming with friends and it worked for me. You can still find them for $250 on craigslist, and then sell them for the same a year or three later. I wish the resale price on those would come down, but no luck.
                learjeff.net

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                • #9
                  I agree with learjeff about graded actions, and also about it being worth looking at some of the lightweight 88s with speakers i.e. Yamaha and Casio, provided you don't really need the organ functionality. (And yeah, the CDP-100 was an under-rated board. Great dark Rhodes sound. Some other nice used boards could be the Casio PX-310 and the Roland FP-4. All pretty light 88s with speakers.)

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                  • #10
                    Personally, I'm a fan of the Yamaha CP300. I know it's a beast in terms of weight ... but for pure piano - I've never connected with any of the other instruments I've owned and played (which includes an RD700SX and a Korg Kronos 88) like I have with the CP300. The built in speakers are pretty damn decent sounding - as well as provide a bit of tactile vibration that makes it feel like you're playing an accoustic instrument. I use mine as a controller as well (driving a Motif ES Rack module) - and find that it works pretty well in that regard too if all you're looking to do is trigger the module (if you're looking for lots of of knobs and faders to control MIDI parameters on the module ... not so much).
                    The SpaceNorman

                    www.facebook.com/SuperstarsOfRock
                    www.souldoutrocks.com

                    Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
                    Keyboard Rack: Samson SM10 Line Mixer, Motu MIDIExpressXT MIDI Interface, Shure PSM200 IEM system, M-Audio Wireless MIDI, Live Wires IEM ear buds, iPad wOnSong.
                    Stage Amplification: Stereo via 2 Yamaha DSR112s

                    Comment


                    • #11






                      Quote Originally Posted by ChristianRock
                      View Post

                      To my uneducated ears and fingers, the 300NX/700NX have a much better sounding, more playable piano (and EPs) compared to the any previous Roland digital pianos. I mean SERIOUSLY better. But of course it is all down to taste and YMMV.




                      I am not kid conservatory ,, but I didnt notice any difference in the sound. The feel,,I can see. Speakers to me are useless since i pretty much always use headphones in the woodshed. If you do need a monitor ,, just mono out into somthing.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer">&quot;you mess with him and you mess with the whole trailer park&quot;</div><br>

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, have to say, the CDP-100 has been pretty problematic in my experience. It's been part of a weekly jam for 5? years, and literally 3-4 keys have gone bad (seems like the actual keys are semi broken in half), and because it has this janky 1/8" line out, it's been a pain to have a reliable connection with that- we ended up just taping the **************** out of the messed up connector, and possibly even replaced it once? The power supply regularly pulls out as well from an oddly constructed connecting plug.



                        Speaking of sweet- I played a Yamaha P-140 recently and was pleasantly blown away with what a great sounding board it is. The Rhodes was really decent, the pianos were excellent, and the diminuitive looking speaker grill put out some serious sound- very enjoyable to play. It's only real minus is that it's on the heavy side.

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                        • #13
                          I have a Yamaha DGX-620 -- this is not a pro stage piano, but you can use it like one [except for MIDI] and it is inexpensive. It has an 88-key graded hammer action that feels *great*. Durability might be an issue if gigged heavily over a period of years. All the stupid features (drum beats, metronome, demo button) can be turned off in the menu to avoid accidental embarrassment.



                          Anyhow, purpose of my comment is to chime in on the patches -- Yamaha has grand piano *nailed*, as well as Rhodes. The Rhodes patch in this thing changes timbre if you beat on the piano, giving you that same whoahoho-eey sound you get on the real deal when the tines get hit too hard.



                          I was learning "Riders on the Storm" a few months ago when I clued into just *how good* the Rhodes patch on this thing is. I had my iPod hooked up to my keyboard amp. Ray would play a measure; I would play a measure. The sound was *identical*.



                          Organs suck though. And by suck, I mean, if you are not buried in the mix you'll wish you were.
                          <div class="signaturecontainer">--<br><br>Hammond: BC, M3, Split L111, L122 / Leslie: 51, 760 / Yamaha: DGX-620, PF-85<br><br>Follow my new band, <a href="http://DrBombay.ca/connect.html" target="_blank">Dr. Bombay</a>! We're going to be organasmic!</div>

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                          • #14






                            Quote Originally Posted by Randyman
                            View Post

                            because it has this janky 1/8" line out, it's been a pain to have a reliable connection with that




                            Tip: use 90 degree (right angle) plugs on devices with 1/8" jacks.

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                            • #15






                              Quote Originally Posted by AnotherScott
                              View Post

                              Tip: use 90 degree (right angle) plugs on devices with 1/8" jacks.






                              What's the advantage of using the 90-degree 1/8" plug, please?

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