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#1316453 - 12/02/09 02:52 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: snazzyplayer]
7even Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/09
Posts: 151
Lol I saw a Williams baby grand - style DP earlier today (for $1299). Felt pretty cheap and it didn't sound too great either. It seems like all the Williams models have wobbly keys and pretty terrible sampling. Stay away from them.
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Now: RD-700NX
Someday: Steinway concert grand :|

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#1316577 - 12/02/09 08:53 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: snazzyplayer]
AdventCloud Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 25
So far its CDP-100 For the win unless someone has a horrible review about it or something even more amazing to say about it for a piano in that price range.

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#1316587 - 12/02/09 09:11 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: AdventCloud]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
What! Are you still waiting? Get the Casio and get started with your music. wink

Only other great little piano keyboard for very little money I can think of is the Yamaha NP-30, which has 76 keys, Graded Soft Touch, transposer, dedicated MIDI ports, and weighs only 12 lbs.

A friend of mine has one for playing in church, especially for choir practice.

The piano sound is excellent, and you can layer piano and strings for a really nice orchestral sound...it has reverb as well.

Good luck with your music.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1316667 - 12/02/09 11:16 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: snazzyplayer]
FormerFF Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 476
Loc: Roswell, GA, USA
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
Originally Posted By: FormerFF
[quote=Lhowatt] We have some kind of crummy DPs at the studio where I take lessons, and I swear that the PSR's touch sensitivity is more useful than is the Williams DP's is.


Ahhhhh, so we have someone else besides Gyro who is familiar with the Williams. My good buddy, Zeke, is tracking down one at a music store and we're going to test it out, but in the mean time, perhaps Mr. FormerFF can elaborate on this instrument.

Why did you not like the William's action?

What about the sound...the piano okay?

Alternate sounds okay?

Considering the instrument in question costs about $700, do you consider it a good beginner piano to use for several months until you trade it in on something, shall we say, better?

A short review, Mr.FormerFF, if you please, if it is not too much trouble?

Snazzy


Let me preface this by saying the one that I am familiar with is the Etude Mk 2, which is what we have at the studio where I take lessons. If the current model is a clean sheet design, these comments may not apply.

You asked about the action. It has a lot of friction when you first press the key, then it seems to all go away and the key quickly drops to the keybed with little additional force. My main frame of reference is an older but still nice 49" Kawai upright that we have at home, and the keypress of the Williams is very different from the smooth, consistent weighting of the acoustic. What bothers me more is how utterly unresponsive the Williams is to touch. A very soft press gets the same tone, and more distressingly, almost exactly the same volume as a hard get-the-whole-arm-and-wrist-going motion does. Like I was saying, the PSR keyboard we have at home has a considerably better velocity sensitivity than does the Williams.

I would say that most inexpensive DPs sound (through their speakers) like a good recording of a nice grand played on an inexpensive stereo. The Etude's tone is ersatz sounding, almost as if it is synthesized rather than sampled. It's perfectly usable for learning, but that's about it. The speakers are fine at a moderate volume level. As far as the other sounds go, I've only ever tried the elecric pianos, and they were both disappointing.

The Etude has a few other odd features. If you hold the key down for an extended period of time, the sound drops to a low level, then remains constant. It's kind of odd, but since it's not something you'd need to do, it's not an issue.

I would not recommend this piano to anyone, mainly on the basis of its odd touch and lack of dynamic range. I've tried the Casio PX-120 and PX-575, Yamha P-85, P-120, and YPG-635, and Korg SP-250 in music stores, and would choose any of them over the Williams. To my fingers, the Casios feel best, but that may have more to do with the piano we have at home, since I'm used to a heavier touch.

I suspect there's a good reason you're having a hard time finding the Williams in a music store.
_________________________
Piano self teaching on and off from 2002-2008. Took piano instruction from Nov 2008- Feb 2011. Took guitar instruction Feb 2011-Jul 2013. Can't play either. Living, breathing proof some people aren't cut out to make music.

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#1317117 - 12/02/09 10:36 PM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: snazzyplayer]
Lhowatt Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 13
Loc: Ohio, United States
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
What! Are you still waiting? Get the Casio and get started with your music. wink

Only other great little piano keyboard for very little money I can think of is the Yamaha NP-30, which has 76 keys, Graded Soft Touch, transposer, dedicated MIDI ports, and weighs only 12 lbs.

A friend of mine has one for playing in church, especially for choir practice.

The piano sound is excellent, and you can layer piano and strings for a really nice orchestral sound...it has reverb as well.

Good luck with your music.

Snazzy



the NP-30 does not have weighted keys does it?

I am thinking more on the Casio now but im not sure if it is a good idea to spend $300 on a keyboard when i have never tried to play piano before and am moving off to college in a while. Would going form non weighted keys to weighted be a difficult transition? I am somewhat confused from these posts.
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~T

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#1317161 - 12/03/09 12:00 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: Lhowatt]
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8482
Loc: Ohio, USA
NP-30 doesn't have weighted keys, but it's labeled as 'semi-weighted'? i wouldn't go for it.

the point is that playing weighted or non-weighted keyboard makes huge difference on your techniques and dynamic control. the transition from non-weighted to weighted will be a 'shock' for you at first, if you're used to non-weighted keyboard. basically, you have to retrain yourself to get used to the action on an acoustic or a good digital piano, which means that you'd have wasted a lot of time playing on non-weighted keyboard which gives you nothing on real piano techniques. you can learn notes and pressing keys on any keyboard, but to gain the dynamic control of your touch and good piano techniques, you'd have to play a real piano or a digital piano (with graded weighted action). my point is that if your goal is playing 'piano', not a synth keyboard, then you'd be better off starting straightly from something with weighted action.

Casio CDP100 is an old DP (really old Casio DP, 1st generation like Casio PX100), and it has a new replacement model CDP200 out now. but even just this one is far better than any cheap keyboard, since its weighted keys at least will train your hands and fingers properly. so, if that's all you can afford, then go for it or find some used Yamaha DP, like P60/70.

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#1317182 - 12/03/09 12:47 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: signa]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
I stated the NP-30 had "Graded Soft Touch".



Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1317183 - 12/03/09 12:47 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: signa]
munkeegutz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/08
Posts: 63
Loc: Orlando, FL
Lhowatt,

I have a DGX 220 (unweighted variant of the DGX 230) and have been looking for a new digital piano for quite some time now. I finally settled on a PX330 (more expensive version of the PX130). This gave me the 'benefit' of switching often between weighted and unweighted keyboards. It's not impossible, but it is quite frustrating sometimes. Whenever I switch from unweighted to weighted, I can't play for very long, and whenever I go back from weighted to unweighted my technique is very very sloppy until I get used to it.

Especially if you have huge hands/fingers like me, weighted is WAY easier to play on, because the keyboard is much more forgiving on mistakes. on my unweighted keyboard, the friction from the side of my index finger (when playing a white key, E for instance) and cause an adjacent black key to sound as well. My musically inclined friends say that while my technique is fine, my dynamics are absolutely awful, especially on weighted.

If I were you, I would get a PX-130 for like $300 (if you can manage...I expect you to pay $350 for it). keep in mind that if you buy online through the right companies, you can avoid paying sales tax. look in their help sections to see if they do or dont.

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#1317184 - 12/03/09 12:48 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: munkeegutz]
munkeegutz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/08
Posts: 63
Loc: Orlando, FL
woah snazzy, thats creepy...

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#1317284 - 12/03/09 06:50 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: munkeegutz]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
I suppose so, Munkyeegutz, but the NP-30 is actually a pretty nice budget piano, and it does have 76 notes with at least a bit of resistance as opposed to the 5-octave fly-weight el cheapo jobbies that Lhowatt was actually considering only a few posts back. wink

And, it's piano sound is actually pretty nice...and, we both know that if'n it don't sound nice, you ain't a gonna spend as much time playing it. The word "play-ing" seems to be derived from the word play which means, at least to some of us, "Engage in recreational activities rather than work; occupy oneself in a diversion"

Now, what was so creepy that tugged so hard on your little Munkee tail? wink

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1317316 - 12/03/09 07:58 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: snazzyplayer]
Martin C. Doege Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 448
Loc: Hamburg, Germany
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
I suppose so, Munkyeegutz, but the NP-30 is actually a pretty nice budget piano, and it does have 76 notes with at least a bit of resistance as opposed to the 5-octave fly-weight el cheapo jobbies that Lhowatt was actually considering only a few posts back. wink


And you can put different springs in the NP-30, as one of the forum contributors has done a few months ago, to make the touch a little firmer. Of course that voids the warranty.
_________________________
Yamaha P-85; Pianoteq Pleyel

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#1317361 - 12/03/09 09:01 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: Martin C. Doege]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Martin,

I remember a friend of mine putting new springs in his Roland RD-1000. It used a "stretched spring" approach, rather than a "compression spring" design, which appeared on later RD models, like the RD-300S/250S, the "S" signifying the new action. As you can imagine, the stretched springs eventually lost their return strength, and the action became rather flimsy feeling.

He did a great job, although my mind's picture of him chasing around several springs on the shop floor, still makes me chuckle.

I was very impressed at the Yamaha NP-30's sound...and features like transpose, layering (and a lovely strings ensemble patch with which to do so), and actual dedicated MIDI ports make it a steal, and very useful for those basic controller jobs, where weighted action isn't a necessary requirement...the NP-30's velocity response was very good; easily as good as some semi-weighted actioned instruments costing three or four times as much.

Apparently, a lot of NP-30 are sold to beginner piano students, so the action can't be that abhorrent to many teachers...plus, I don't think the transition from semi-weighted 76 to an actual weighted 88 note hammer action would be as traumatic as coming from a 61-note zero resistance portable keyboard.

I'm having trouble resisting buying the Avant Grand before Christmas...and considering I'm my own Santa, I'm wearing him down more and more with each passing day. wink

I think he's about to give in.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1317373 - 12/03/09 09:19 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: snazzyplayer]
Martin C. Doege Offline
Full Member

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

I was very impressed at the Yamaha NP-30's sound...and features like transpose, layering (and a lovely strings ensemble patch with which to do so), and actual dedicated MIDI ports make it a steal, and very useful for those basic controller jobs, where weighted action isn't a necessary requirement...the NP-30's velocity response was very good; easily as good as some semi-weighted actioned instruments costing three or four times as much.


Yes, the sound is great (same as on the P-85), and you can run the NP-30 on batteries. And it's lightweight. Perhaps they should not have placed the speakers at the sides, which would have made the instrument even smaller. But other than that, I think it really fills a niche.

Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer

Apparently, a lot of NP-30 are sold to beginner piano students, so the action can't be that abhorrent to many teachers...plus, I don't think the transition from semi-weighted 76 to an actual weighted 88 note hammer action would be as traumatic as coming from a 61-note zero resistance portable keyboard.


Not to mention 61 keys are too limiting, especially if one is interested in the Classical repertoire. 76 keys is a decent compromise between size and musical versatility. Still, for a beginner, something with weights instead of springs is probably better. I see the NP-30 more as an instrument for somebody who can already play piano and simply wants something more lightweight.

Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer

I'm having trouble resisting buying the Avant Grand before Christmas...and considering I'm my own Santa, I'm wearing him down more and more with each passing day. wink


Somehow I don't think there will be a price drop or anything on the AvantGrand after Christmas, so you might just as well buy it now. And as opposed to the V-Piano, the AvantGrand seems to be a mature product without any obvious areas for improvement, so I suppose there's little reason to wait for the next product version.
_________________________
Yamaha P-85; Pianoteq Pleyel

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#1317435 - 12/03/09 10:40 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: Martin C. Doege]
AdventCloud Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 25
Wow thanks for telling me theres a newer version of the CDP out now I can take a look at that. Im still saving up to buy it so ill have alittle more time to decide but so far the CDP is having my win.

Edit: Just looked up the CDP-200R and it is ten times better then the CDP-100 I just have to figure out where I can buy it. Ill give you more information as I find it. If anyone else has any info on it i would love to hear it, especially about the sound quality if it changed much from the 100.


Edited by AdventCloud (12/03/09 10:52 AM)

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#1317606 - 12/03/09 02:03 PM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: AdventCloud]
munkeegutz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/08
Posts: 63
Loc: Orlando, FL
yeah I've never given the NP30 a shot, so I can't say one way or another. I've heard good things about it though!

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#1317763 - 12/03/09 05:13 PM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: munkeegutz]
Lhowatt Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 13
Loc: Ohio, United States
I will probably end up with the NP30 since it is closer to my budget and the casio is no longer on sale.
_________________________
~T

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#1317814 - 12/03/09 06:06 PM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: Lhowatt]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
You know something Lhowatt?

I just sold myself on the NP-30 and just got off the phone from talking to my local music store owner. blush

He put one aside for me.

I just thought of a buddy of mine who is using an NP-30 on batteries, with a wireless MIDI system that is linked to a Kurzweil rack-mount synth. He works in a Celtic group, and moves the piano to different areas of the stage during the show.

At 12 lbs, it is lighter than a lot of electric guitars...and it manages to look pretty cool as well...slim and sleek.

I'll have mine sometime tomorrow. smile

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1317818 - 12/03/09 06:14 PM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: snazzyplayer]
Lhowatt Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 13
Loc: Ohio, United States
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
You know something Lhowatt?

I just sold myself on the NP-30 and just got off the phone from talking to my local music store owner. blush

He put one aside for me.

I just thought of a buddy of mine who is using an NP-30 on batteries, with a wireless MIDI system that is linked to a Kurzweil rack-mount synth. He works in a Celtic group, and moves the piano to different areas of the stage during the show.

At 12 lbs, it is lighter than a lot of electric guitars...and it manages to look pretty cool as well...slim and sleek.

I'll have mine sometime tomorrow. smile

Snazzy

Lol hopefully i can join the NP30 owners club :P

Does anyone know of any good deals on the NP30?


Edited by Lhowatt (12/03/09 06:15 PM)
_________________________
~T

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#1317960 - 12/03/09 11:17 PM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: Lhowatt]
Bob M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/09
Posts: 208
Loc: North Carolina
Martin, Snazzy, Lhowatt,

Fresh air for me to see a few posts that don't totally pan the NP 30. I'm the guy who took mine apart to make the three middle octaves as "heavy", shall we say, as the first full octave. I bought mine "opened box, free shipping" for $260 about 18 months ago, so by the time I took it apart it was out of warranty, not that would have stopped me.

The key feel of the NP 30 is VERY LIGHT compared to a DP or acoustic instrument, but what sets it apart from most of the keyboards and midi controllers out there is, in MHO, the soft rubber material that is the "spring" and triggering device under each key. There is a higher resistance at the top of the key travel as you strike, this simulates the initial resistance of a weighted action, and makes the NP 30 more tactile, piano-like than the keybeds with metal springs that feel so......nothing. I think this is what Yamaha calls "graded soft touch".

Two friends who play both organ and piano have told me they really like the feel of the NP 30--I guess it does fit quite well between synth and piano actions. I don't like the built-in speakers, and also wish they were on top, rather than sides, which would mean the 76 key instrument could be 43, instead of 49 inches wide!

It is easier for me to adjust between the NP 30 and our acoustic console than between the console and the two grand pianos I can put my hands on. I would much rather go to the NP 30 than to a keyboard or controller, though I do use a 49 key M-Audio unit when traveling.

I use the NP 30 about an hour a day, the console less, out of respect for my wife's ears. If I didn't have the console however, I would be ordering a PX 330. A lot of bang for the buck there.

Watermen are known to say "a man can never have too many boats"............
_________________________
Bob M

Charles Walter Model 1520
Yamaha NP 30, NP 11, PSR E333

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#1317976 - 12/04/09 12:08 AM Re: Keyboard for first timer. [Re: Bob M]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Hi Bob,

I can't imagine panning the NP-30. shocked

It is so honest about what it is.

I think the action is super...not a piano, not organ-like, not even like the semi-weighted keybeds on my TOTL arrangers...it is closer to my recently acquired PSR-S910 (except the latter is not graded).

All my instruments have different feeling actions...I'm like a guitar player that has a bunch of guitars; some acoustic, some electric, Strats, Les Pauls etc.

You adjust to a new feeling action relatively quickly....or at least I do.

I was interested in the PX-330, but it's arranger section is not so hot, and I'd rather use my P-85 which has a terrific action as well...another honest keyboard.

For it's inexpensive price, ruggedness and very nice feeling keyboard(not to mention great sounds and MIDI) the NP-30 is somewhat of a terrific bargain.

I actually don't mind the speaker placement...it also makes it look a little more substantial, and rather cool, in my humble opinion....it doesn't look cheap.

Several friends of mine use them as lower manuals for a two manual arranger set-up, and even the silver color matches their Tyros keyboards.

I feel the Yamaha P-85 is a similar bargain (I bought two of them)...and it's only 25 lbs...when I tell someone that's trying it out, what it costs, they are always shocked at the low price.

My wife said to me one time, "Snazzy, it's me or the keyboards!"

I do miss her now and again. wink...or as my buddy says, "I miss my wife a lot, but my aim is improving." crazy

Thanks for the great post, Bob.

Snazzy

_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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