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  • Digital piano recommendations?

    My partner plays guitar and tactile MIDI controller. She wants to expand her musical horizons by adding piano.

    She wants 88 weighted keys, good piano sounds, and doesn't want to spend multi-thousands of dollars on it.

    It will probably be a living room instrument for years as piano is not an instant gratification instrument.

    Any suggestions from those who also play piano and can appreciate the sound and action of an acoustic as compared to an electronic?

    Thanks,
    Notes
    Bob "Notes" Norton
    Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
    Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
    The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

  • #2
    I've been looking into getting an inexpensive digital piano so that my daughter can start learning piano. But knowing that it may not last for her, I don't wanna spend a ton of money. But, being a piano player myself, I also want it to sound and feel as real as possible.

    I'm probably going to pull the trigger on this Yamaha. They have better ones that are more expensive that sound even better, look nicer, etc. But I thought this was pretty damn good for the money. I saw one set up at Costco a couple of weeks back and played it, and I liked it very well for what it is. Costco was selling the package with bench and stand for $499 I think.

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...tand-and-bench
    Last edited by guido61; 11-10-2018, 01:16 PM.

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    • pinkfloydcramer61
      pinkfloydcramer61 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there guido61 and Notes!

      I wandered into a GC a couple weeks ago and they had the new Yamaha P125 on sale for not much over $500. I thought it was a cut above, for both the action and sounds, of any other budget Yamaha DP I've played, including the P45 and P115 (which I currently own as a back-up piano). I also was surprised to find it had a good B3 patch- something I have not encountered on any Yamaha DP so far. It also had a good clav patch- other Yamaha DP's in that range just have harpsichord and pipe organ. But I was frustrated to see that it, like my P115, had no MIDI out other than USB MIDI, deal-breaker for me because I like to use modules on gigs, or MIDI into my Nord Electro.

      Another entry level but more expensive (currently about $700 street) DP worth checking out, which I also own, is the Kawai ES110. It does have MIDI in/out, but IMO is a better home piano than stage piano, mostly due to it's too-weak output.. It has a nice medium-light weighted action and an appealing, organic piano sound. It's speakers are OK. EP's, Rhodes in particular are decent although I prefer Yamaha's. Other patches are so-so IMO, strings almost unusable. I kind of like it's jazz organ patch though- with the internal Leslie effect disabled it sounds good through my Vent.


      My 2 cents..good luck!

    • guido61
      guido61 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the recommendation! I'll check out the P125! I'm not really interested in midi or a lot of sounds for this board. Other than maybe a Rhodes patch. Action and sound (including sounding decent on its own without having to go through an amp) is all I'm looking for here. For stage I use a MOX8 which I like very much. Great 88-key full-weighted synth for the $$.

  • #3
    I am by no means an expert on keyboards, but I have played them since I was in college in the early 70s....recently I tried a used Kurzweil PC88, my keyboard player was considering buying for the studio, and it was very good as far as action and responsiveness. I didn't try out all the sounds, but these can be had under $400...we have a couple of keyboards here at home, a Casio [terrible action, but 20+ years old, and a new Yamaha [it is at the other end of the house, so I don't know the model] which has nice action, but the sounds are kind of meh...
    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

    "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

    Solipsism is the new empiricism. -Alan Burdick

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    • #4
      I have a Yamaha P255. I am primarily a piano player and I love it. I play it in preference to my upright at home. Great action -- best I've played including real pianos -- and very good piano sound -- second only to Pianoteq, which requires a computer. The Rhodes sound is fine as are some others and the midi and recording stuff doesn't get in the way. The P255 is recently discontinued, so you may find it at a discount and I can't imagine that its successor is inferior. So… a hearty recommendation for the Yamaha P series.

      edit: I'll add that the onboard speakers are pretty good, but adding a powered speaker reinforces the bass and makes it sound *much* more like a real piano.

      another edit: Played a remembrance day service at the local nursing home. They already had the house piano set up. It was a Casio something like a yamaha p90 -- lower end portable with speakers. Anyway, I left my piano in the van and used that. Ugh. The action was light and springy and unresponsive and the sound was inoffensive (and unresponsive) and would never be mistaken for a real piano. If that was all I had, I'd play a *lot* more guitar. And I'd be embarrassed at gigs. This is not to slam Casios in general -- i wouldn't know -- but the message is: quality matters.
      Last edited by pogo97; 11-11-2018, 05:46 PM.
      There is more than one way to do this. Notes Norton

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      • #5
        Originally posted by pogo97 View Post
        I have a Yamaha P255. I am primarily a piano player and I love it. I play it in preference to my upright at home. Great action -- best I've played including real pianos -- and very good piano sound -- second only to Pianoteq, which requires a computer. The Rhodes sound is fine as are some others and the midi and recording stuff doesn't get in the way. The P255 is recently discontinued, so you may find it at a discount and I can't imagine that its successor is inferior. So… a hearty recommendation for the Yamaha P series.

        edit: I'll add that the onboard speakers are pretty good, but adding a powered speaker reinforces the bass and makes it sound *much* more like a real piano.

        another edit: Played a remembrance day service at the local nursing home. They already had the house piano set up. It was a Casio something like a yamaha p90 -- lower end portable with speakers. Anyway, I left my piano in the van and used that. Ugh. The action was light and springy and unresponsive and the sound was inoffensive (and unresponsive) and would never be mistaken for a real piano. If that was all I had, I'd play a *lot* more guitar. And I'd be embarrassed at gigs. This is not to slam Casios in general -- i wouldn't know -- but the message is: quality matters.
        The 255 is very nice. A little more than I wanted to pay, which is why I've been hunting around for "Best under a grand" digital piano I can find.

        As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. So you have to go into that knowing you're looking for what's the best fit for the price and the compromises one is willing to make.

        If I could find a used P255 somewhere for a good price? I'd be a very happy man.

        Comment


        • pogo97
          pogo97 commented
          Editing a comment
          I got mine new for $1400 Canadian (1067.1951823760339 US) a year ago. Saw the price at Steve's online. Price matched with the local Long & McQuaid. I wish I'd bought something this good years ago: my playing has improved immensely in the past year simply because it has such good action and sound.

        • pinkfloydcramer61
          pinkfloydcramer61 commented
          Editing a comment
          Haven't played the P255 but I don't ever see myself getting rid of my CP300. Due to the 73 lb weight (150 lbs in it's road case!) I keep saying it's going to stay at home, but still keep taking it out on some gigs. The speakers are best I've heard on a DP and powerful enough that I rarely need anything else for cocktail work. Plenty of room on top, and stereo 1/4" line ins to accommodate a smaller keyboard or module, which comes in handy because the thick, fat Yamaha piano sound doesn't work the best for all acoustic environments.

        • pogo97
          pogo97 commented
          Editing a comment
          38 pounds was a selling feature

      • #6
        Several years ago, wifey got herself a Roland RD-700SX for our "studio"... after auditioning approximately every 88-key model on the planet (Yamaha, Korg, etc etc etc.). She said her choice was very much about the feel of the weighted keys, and she was comparing to her grand in the living room. After feel, I think all the various digital tones were only marginally important, given that they mostly all sounded comparably good, boatloads of choices, etc.

        I expect there are newer models available now. My takeaway was that the auditioning process was important; on-paper specs didn't matter as much.

        -D44
        ************************************************** *********************************

        Old guy, just trying to play through the arthritis...
        - Balance is a virtue; loud for its own sake is not... and loud won't fix bad
        - I may not interpret ridiculous, crazy, or stupid the way you intended
        - Common retail products are never awesome (thermo-nuclear probably is, though)
        Assume the requisite list of stuff...

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        • #7
          After reading a review in Keyboard magazine several years ago I bought the Casio Privia PX-3. My wife still uses this thing frequently whenever we go to a jam or do a small gig because it's so lightweight (approx. 25lbs) yet is full size with weighted keys. Her keyboard at home is a 1920 Steinway Model O so it says something that this keyboard satisfies her!

          In the band I used higher end keyboards by Roland and Korg because I needed all the additional functionality but for everyday kitchen sink purposes, this thing is a winner for low price, light weight portability and sound. I know they've updated this thing once or twice in the years since I bought this one but I'd like to think the newer versions are even better.

          Comment


          • #8
            I'm a keyboard player, and there are several decent models depending on your budget. At the lower end of the budget wise there is the Casio privia PX-160 decent action and the sound isn't bad at all. These have a street price of $499, I had the higher model the 350 it had more sounds but was very similar to the PX-160, a friends son has the PX-160 its a very good first DP! The Yamaha 125 model mentioned above is also decent at about the same price. Stay away from from Williams brand! At the under the $1k mark but more than $500 there are a lot more options.

            The Kawaii ES-100 at $729 from Kraft has an excellent key bed. The Kawaii models are known for their realistic keys, this isn't their best but its not bad at all. Along with models from Korg (D1) and Roland (FP-30). Personally any of these you can't go wrong. I would go to the local music store be it, Sam Ash, Guitar Center, Music City or any other retailer and try out as many of these as you can. Even if you decide to buy online. I would not purchase anything under that $499 mark it just won't play like a piano or sound as good. The Kawaii and the Korg D1 have the most realistic keys in my opinion. In fact the Korg D1 has the RH3 action which is their finest most realistic action. To put that in a low cost keyboard was quite surprising! But the CASIO and the Yamaha aren't bad bad either. They are pretty good but feel is a subjective thing, as I stated earlier you can't go wrong if you stay away from Williams and stick with these well known brands. When I choose an action, I look for something as close to the real grand pianos I have played as I can get in my price range. The questions I ask myself are can I play this for a long time without fatigue. Does the key come back quickly after being pressed? Meaning can I play rapid repeats on a single note. And are the keys shiny plastic or do they have some texture to them? Polished plastic tends to play slippery you want to be able to quickly if needed and the black keys are thinner so your fingers can slip off quite easily if they are too shiny. Also look for even key spacing and height if the gaps are uneven that is a sure sign of poor quality. Too noisy of action when the sound is off is another sign of quality issues. There will always be some sound when the key hits bottom but the quieter the better! If you here any type of metalic click, run away fast. That is a sure sign the action won't last another 6 months! I had both an Alesis and an M-Audio piano that did just that. After about 6 months one or more keys were dead!

            I hope she finds the perfect piano for her and continues playing! Music should be an enjoyable family experience. Best wishes!
            Last edited by kbeaumont; 11-13-2018, 11:23 AM.

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            • #9
              Thanks for all the suggestions.

              Right now she is leaning towards the Yamaha 125. We're going to take a trip to a larger city (possibly West Palm Beach to Miami area) to see if she likes it and perhaps compare to others.

              Notes
              Bob "Notes" Norton
              Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
              Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
              The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

              Comment


              • #10
                I bought one of the Casio Previa models (used) a couple of years ago. Probably the same model that kbeaumont has. 88 weighted keys but only about 25 lbs. The down side is changing patches. Changing patches isn't user friendly. Have to press the function key and one of the keys on the keyboard at the same time. It would take some getting used to, memorizing which piano key to hit for the desired patch. You can also layer a couple of patches or do a split keyboard.
                BD

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