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#1287228 - 10/14/09 11:23 PM Yamaha P155
toyboy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 337
Loc: Vermont
I suppose this question has been discussed in countless ways before but I want to hear what people have to say, as each iteration comes with new viewpoints.

I just tried out the P155 today. The store also had a 140 right next to. They actually had to pull the 155 out of the box for me because they are trying to sell the 140 before they bring out the 155. I have a feeling it's a tough sell in this economy.

But anyway.... I was eager to try the 155 because of various glowing reports I've read about it, both here and elsewhere. I was greatly impressed on the ability to play a wide variety of dynamics, which is something that has come through as advertise d. I would play just one note, in various degrees of pressure and strike, first on 155 then on 140 and the difference was quite obvious.

But the sound was absolutely no different. The only difference in control was that with the 155, the three levels of bright, normal and mellow, you could also do a bright/normal, and a normal/mellow, but the sound difference was too subtle to really notice much. Maybe with better speakers? Also, the settings of different "rooms", stage, hall, etc had no effect that I could hear, on either model. And I have to say I have very acute and sensitive hearing. I found that very strange to say the least.

What is most disappointing to me is the actual sample sound. Again, maybe I would feel better about the sound if I piped it through better speakers (and maybe someone can speak to that), but with all the stage/digital keyboards I've played (albeit in the price range of 800 to 1400$, there is just too much of an "electronic" sound to everything. I don't know any other way to describe it.

I can only attest to the glowing reports of how good this piano sounds to either of two things: a lack of experience with any decent acoustic piano (or any experience with one at all), or else a rather low set of standards as to what is a "good sound".

The problem for me I suppose is that I want to perform not just classical music per se on this, but music that is so specific to piano sounds, call it impressionistic, meaning the dynamics of the piano and all its possibities are important to playing this sort of music. While I know that the majority of the audience wouldn't care, the problem is that I do care and I fear it hurting how I play.

I've been told I need to try the Roland V and I've yet to find a store in my area that has one. Perhaps that's the answer for someone like me. But right now my budget has been set at the $1200 range and I've been holding out hope to find something good at this price. But playing the 155 today has pretty much dashed it.
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#1287235 - 10/14/09 11:32 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: toyboy]
Michael Darnton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 243
Loc: Chicago
Go back to the store with a set of (good) headphones and I bet you'll feel differently. I think a lot of what you're responding to is the crummy internal amp and speakers, not the piano. If you look at the thread that's running in this forum of pix of peoples' setups-- http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...html#Post691417 -- you'll see a lot of auxilliary studio monitors hooked up, and a goodly amount of discussion of what speakers people have chosen; that seems to be what's necessary for the best speaker-type sound with all of these small pianos with itty-bitty speakers inside. I'm just shopping at this point, but I bring my phones with me so I can hear the instrument at its best.


Edited by Michael Darnton (10/14/09 11:36 PM)
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#1287466 - 10/15/09 10:51 AM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: Michael Darnton]
UpNorth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 70
FWIW, here's my noob experience with my P155.

Built-in speakers/amp: acceptable for my purposes, but much of the subtleties of the recorded tone is lost.

Nice headphone use (in my case, Sony HDR-7506): way, way better.

Hooked up to a modest external home hi-fi setup, 60W system, 2 speakers: better yet. All of the subtle sounds are there. Combining the onboard speakers with the external speakers provides some vibrational feedback in the keyboard that's lost with headphones or the onboard speakers disabled.

Now I find myself wondering if, say, a CLP-380 would sound all that much better than my P155 with this external sound setup. Clearly the CLP-380 would look nicer, have slightly improved action, and some additional, subtle sound effects. But still...I better go find one and try it out. :-)


Edited by UpNorth (10/15/09 11:00 AM)

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#1287505 - 10/15/09 11:44 AM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: UpNorth]
Mr Romance Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/11/09
Posts: 102
Loc: USA
I tried the P155 and was not at all impressed and yes I'm a newbie. When I tried it and then tried the MP8II, RD 700gx, even the MP5 an the RD 300gx out perform the P155 by far. You can also get a MP5 for about $900 and the RD 300gx for about $1200.


Edited by Mr Romance (10/15/09 11:45 AM)
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#1287537 - 10/15/09 12:30 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: Mr Romance]
Martin C. Doege Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 448
Loc: Hamburg, Germany
I'd say spend either significantly less than $1,000 or significantly more than $2,000 on a DP (such as on the RD-700X). The DPs between $1,000 and $2,000 are the worst in terms of performance vs price IMHO—not a huge improvement over the basic models but at the same time too inferior in comparison to the $2,000+ DPs.
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#1287559 - 10/15/09 12:54 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: Martin C. Doege]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3050
Loc: Oregon
My take on the 140/155 is that they "suffer" from Yamaha's perfection syndrome. Most Yamaha products are superbly engineered and built, but IMO they tend to engineer the life out of them - even their acoustic pianos, to my very subjective ears. Everything is pristine and lacking a certain organic quality. I played a 140 recently and loved the action but was totally unmoved by the sound. Admittedly, I was listening through the built-in speakers, so that's not a totally fair assessment; I remember being far more impressed three years ago when I tried that model with headphones. However, I'm not sure I would want to spend $1,200 on a P155 when the Casio PX-330 comes in at $700. In that sense, I agree with Martin, but it might be worth investigating Kawai's offerings in the $1k-2k range (which I haven't been able to try).

A lot of people are very happy with Roland's FP4 and FP7 models. The FP7 has similar sounds to the RD700SX and may be picked up for around $1.5k.
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#1287581 - 10/15/09 01:31 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: voxpops]
Martin C. Doege Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 448
Loc: Hamburg, Germany
Originally Posted By: voxpops

A lot of people are very happy with Roland's FP4 and FP7 models. The FP7 has similar sounds to the RD700SX and may be picked up for around $1.5k.


Yes, but the action on the FP4/FP7 is so clunky. I think the higher price tag of the RD-700GX is definitely worth it. It's sort of the first Roland instrument that I like enough that I could see myself buying it...
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Yamaha P-85; Pianoteq Pleyel

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#1287600 - 10/15/09 01:58 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: Martin C. Doege]
toyboy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 337
Loc: Vermont
Thank you everyone for all this. Just hope Yamaha doesn't come and break my kneecaps for starting a Yamaha bashing thread.

Interesting observation about the $1000 - $2000. I wonder how true it is. smile
But then I haven't tried any cheaper models, including Casio, figuring in the very least their touch would be too plasticky. If nothing else the touch on the 155 was adequate. Not great, but adequate.

I have tried the FP4/7, which are the obvious competition to the 140/155, and I didn't like both the action or the sound. That was kept me looking. I don't know this RD-700GX (note to manufacturers: how about naming these things more poetically?). My problem is that i'm in a relatively rural location and the dealers tend to be small and focussed on which brand they sell.

If nothing else I'm convinced these are not the sort of thing I want to just buy blind from a website!
_________________________
"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."
Gertrude Stein

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#1287629 - 10/15/09 02:38 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: toyboy]
Martin C. Doege Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 448
Loc: Hamburg, Germany
Originally Posted By: toyboy

Interesting observation about the $1000 - $2000. I wonder how true it is. smile


If you can find an instrument that proves me wrong, I'll accept that of course. The selection at my usual Guitar Center location (Denver) is a little limited, so there might be exceptions to the "rule." smile

Originally Posted By: toyboy

But then I haven't tried any cheaper models, including Casio, figuring in the very least their touch would be too plasticky. If nothing else the touch on the 155 was adequate. Not great, but adequate.

I have tried the FP4/7, which are the obvious competition to the 140/155, and I didn't like both the action or the sound. That was kept me looking. I don't know this RD-700GX (note to manufacturers: how about naming these things more poetically?). My problem is that i'm in a relatively rural location and the dealers tend to be small and focussed on which brand they sell.

If nothing else I'm convinced these are not the sort of thing I want to just buy blind from a website!


Well, I think the DP actions always require a modicum of imagination, especially if the instruments are supposed to be very portable. I'd say in terms of key weight the 700GX is quite similar to a Yamaha, the main difference is that the key dip on a Roland is less. On the Yamaha, it feels more like sinking into the keys, on the Roland the fingers seem to stay more "on top of" rather "in the keys", if you know what I mean. The Roland also has a key finish that is non-slip (good) but not as white (matter of taste). So I'd say the 700GX action is a little unusual, but not in a bad way.

Originally Posted By: toyboy

Just hope Yamaha doesn't come and break my kneecaps for starting a Yamaha bashing thread.


Yamaha actually gets quite a lot of bashing around here. Everybody seems to be rooting for the underdogs (Casio, Roland, Korg, Kawai). smile
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Yamaha P-85; Pianoteq Pleyel

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#1287638 - 10/15/09 02:49 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: toyboy]
Martin C. Doege Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 448
Loc: Hamburg, Germany
Originally Posted By: toyboy

Interesting observation about the $1000 - $2000. I wonder how true it is. smile


Come to think of it, the YDP-223 goes for about $1,500. Then again, it's already a little long in the tooth (7 years), so in fact it might be a better idea to get a CLP-something. Quod erat demonstrandum. smile
_________________________
Yamaha P-85; Pianoteq Pleyel

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#1287658 - 10/15/09 03:23 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: Martin C. Doege]
UpNorth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 70
FWIW, I feel that under for $1100, my P155 was a great deal for a DP that offers features and action of higher-priced DPs, and adequate onboard sound. (I only use it for its Grand Piano option.) When used with a good pair of headphones, or a home stereo setup that was collecting dust, it shines, and then it really seems like a bargain.

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#1287701 - 10/15/09 04:27 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: Martin C. Doege]
EmmaElise Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/09
Posts: 37
Loc: N. California
Hi Toyboy.

I couldn't help but feel insulted by your reasoning as to why you think people like the p155- little or no experience with acoustic pianos and a low set standards for what sounds good-ouch! That last one is a low blow! Yes, I own a p155 but, of course, I don't agree with your reasoning. smile Firstly, I've only ever played on acoustics until now (and some mighty nice ones at that) so, I understand the sound and feel of a great acoustic. My acoustic is the craps so it was time to move up!

So, does that mean I have a low set of standards for sounds? Gosh, I don't think so! I cringe when I listen to out of tune pianos on you-tube. Some digital pianos sound awful there, too. Anyhow, I've spent a lot of time listening to various recordings of digital pianos and *to my ears* the best ones sound best directly lined out from the DP, not recorded from the room w/ the onboard speakers. So, definitely take a pair of headphones when you test ANY piano. I agree that the onboard speakers on the p155 are nothing to write home about, and I have yet to hook it up to a speaker system. If I really want the full effect, I put on my headphones.

Your experience with testing the brightness and reverb settings had me jump into the keyboard and really check it out. I tested it with the onboard speakers in my bedroom with not a soul besides myself in the house. With loudness at less than 75% and key pressure the same to the best of my ability, I noted graded differences in brightness with a significant difference from mellow and bright. I mostly play classical and I keep it on mellow which I've been quite happy. As far as the reverb, I played a staccato note and paid close attention after the release. Room, almost no reverb- itty bitty. Hall 1- definite reverb (this is where my i keep it), Hall 2 - bigger yet, Stage- different, subtle, similar to hall 1 but not as natural sounding to me. You didn't have headphones, so it didn't seem like you gave it a fair assessment. Unless you are looking for HUGE differences, maybe a Roland might be a better option where you can tweak the sound a lot.

Obviously, you're not a big fan of the p155 or possibly the Yamaha sound, so by all means DON'T get one! But please don't assume p155 owners are a bunch ignorants. Really, it's about different strokes for different folks. I'm a satisfied customer that now can't find enough time to play her new DP. I truly hope you find the DP that rocks your world, too! wink
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#1287829 - 10/15/09 08:03 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: EmmaElise]
toyboy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 337
Loc: Vermont
Emma, I think you're being way too sensitive here. Obviously you have a broader definition of what an acceptable "keyboard" sound is. I obviously don't. Also, I can't take responsibilty for whether I insult someone, in this day and age, by simply airing thoughts. There's too many people to insult, over 4 billion, and only one of my brains to have thoughts with. What I mean is that if I were scared of insulting someone everytime I opened my mouth, let alone enter something into a global web system, I'd never do either.

But whether you agree or not, there is more magic (a loaded word I know) in natural acoustics than something electronic. (Although I suppose it could be argued that like bringing a camera into an aboriginal tribe, such would look like magic. But let us agree that we are not of aboriginal stock, at least for argument's sake.) And of course I wasn't talking about out of tune, klinky Acrosonics, or any such thing. Last night, I finished a piece on my grand, and decided to just let the sound naturally decay, with full pedal. It must have taken a full minute, and it was glorious to hear. The magic, at least for me, comes from a wonder of just where all that sound is coming from; that all that wood somehow produces such an etheral sound. If you don't agree with that, or have ever felt that, that's fine. I'm not foolish enough to consider a magical experience akin to universal fact, but I'm also not foolish enough to equate what an electronic keyboard can do versus a decent, let alone high quality acoustic piano can do either.

I also fully understand that at some level, it's all relative. And if I weren't so anal to be comparing a digital keyboard to an acoustic one, I might "lighten up" and enjoy it more. The fact is though I find most I've played harsh. I haven't as yet been able to get over that.

Just the same, I don't think people like me should be ignored or brushed off, most certainly by the manufacturers. My guess is that the digitals have come as far as they have because the engineers are consulting with working artists, or at least people with extremely good ears, and are challenged to replicate an acoustical sound. However, I remain skeptical, in the same way alot of people remain skeptical that a real live, feeling responsive emotional robot is possible.

I'm surprised you hear a difference in the hall settings (I did hear difference with the brightness settings myself.) All I can say is that it really must be subtle, or the internal speakers are really that lousy. The problem with the directive of using headphones doesn't work for me simply because the only reason I'm in this market is to have a (decent) keyboard that I can bring into a public venue to play.

Finally, I never used the word ignorant.
_________________________
"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."
Gertrude Stein

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#1287860 - 10/15/09 09:09 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: toyboy]
EmmaElise Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/09
Posts: 37
Loc: N. California
Ha! Ha! Honestly, I wrote that post with a smile on my face because your post made me LOL. Hey, when you have a great Estonia at home that you love to play, it’s going to be hard to find a DP that will rise to those expectations. Good luck on finding one that meets your high standards. It would have been nice to know what your intentions were regarding playing at outside venues. You will more than likely need to purchase a separate speaker system for any DP to get the quality sound you want, that is, once you find an acceptable sound.
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#1287866 - 10/15/09 09:24 PM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: toyboy]
emenelton Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 485
The Kawai ES 6's internal speakers have a nice tonal balance.

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#1288188 - 10/16/09 11:51 AM Re: Yamaha P155 [Re: EmmaElise]
toyboy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 337
Loc: Vermont
Originally Posted By: EmmaElise
Ha! Ha! Honestly, I wrote that post with a smile on my face because your post made me LOL. ..snip...It would have been nice to know what your intentions were regarding playing at outside venues. You will more than likely need to purchase a separate speaker system for any DP to get the quality sound you want, that is, once you find an acceptable sound.


Well dang it girl, use more smilies then! Sheesh.

Actually, the absurd thing in all this is that I'm not clear about my intentions. It's more like "Have Fingers Will Play". I think I have something to offer, in the sort of stuff I play. (I play alot of obscure impressionistic music, for lack of a better description.) I've been playing on some pianos at a local hospital (they have two, not one, two Steinway grands in their lobbies) and the response, albeit small and very indvidual, has been gratifying. I certainly will continue doing that, but I want to find some small dive somewhere that would let me do my thing. And if that doesn't work maybe even just ask a store if I can plug into their grid, and play on the street.

If the latter, it hardly matters what I'm playing. But an indoor thing would, at least for me playing it. You're right about high expectations. I don't think spoiled quite the right word, but I'm spoiled in that after hours and hours of practicing on my piano, I find myself getting frustrated with not being able to do what I've been practising doing....which isn't just hitting the right notes. It's getting the right sound.
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