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#1321173 - 12/08/09 03:22 PM Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help!
Smokyhousers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 7
Sorry to be yet another "Looking to buy first digital piano guy"

Here's my background: I know nothing about pianos. Zero. I have read these forums for days and finally feel like I need to write a post in order to get a final answer.

What I am looking for
I would like to buy a digital piano in the $700-$1200 range. I have three children who are ages 1-5. They all absolutely love music and are showing a huge interest in learning and playing it. (ok maybe the 1 year old shows no piano interest at this point). I would like it to have the wood console look similar to the models I have listed below.

From reading it looks like the 4 following options would be good for me:

Options so far
Casio PX-800
Casio ap400
Yamaha ydp140
yamaha ydp160

I am leaning towards the ydp 160. I am a fan of costco, but from my reading, Suzuki's are terrible pianos. I plan on owning this for 10 years hopefully. We live in a small house where I run a summer camp for kids. Please don't try to tell me why I need an acoustic piano. I want headphones and midi/computer ability. All I know how to play is "heart and soul" and my wife will go crazy if I play it all the time without headphones.

A Huge thanks to anyone who helps me. I played trumpet in school and I am super excited about my kids learning and loving piano.

I am an expert in games, outdoor recreation, camps, and fantasy sports if any of you guys need help. smile

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#1321196 - 12/08/09 03:57 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: Smokyhousers]
Masume Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/09
Posts: 90
Loc: Germany
My parents were in a similar situation 10 years ago and they chose a digital. I haven't regrettet it since (although I do want something better now). I still play the same digital piano and am rather content with it when I compare it to most new models. It might be a matter of taste, but I don't like yamaha digital pianos at all (don't know about the casio), I would suggest you consider Roland and Kawai too. I'm don't really know much about the roland pianos, but I had a good impression when testing the more high-priced model. My own Piano is a 10 year old Kawai from the Concert Artist series, and one of the lower-priced models back then and I prefer it over the newest most expensive Yamaha (I'm talking about the CLP 380, not the AvantGrand, that's a whole different story =)). Maybe you should look for some second hand Digital Pianos, it doesn't have to be the newest model and I can safely say that the older Kawai Pianos are nearly as good as the new ones.
So, my advice in a nutshell: I don't like yamaha, but strangly, many do, you'll have to see that for yourself and I know Kawai is a good choice.

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#1321198 - 12/08/09 04:01 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: Masume]
Smokyhousers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 7
thanks for the advice- i should have typed that I am definitely interested in used pianos - i have been searching craigslist in atlanta and knoxville - do you have any specific kawaii models in mind?

Thanks again

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#1321203 - 12/08/09 04:11 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: Smokyhousers]
Huygens Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 217
Loc: Sweden
You could look this thread up. <- link

I think the YDP-160 is ok, but a little old even if it has fairly good sound for its price. I would try to avoid the YDP-140 as it has weaker sound and keyboard action. Maybe the Yamaha CLP-340 has the best price/performance in the YDP/CLP range. The CLP-340 is also a little old by todays standard, but has quite good sound even compared to more (expensive) modern, competing brand models.

The Casio AP-400 has the weaker, but probably acceptable, CPZ MkII keyboard. If you go Casio you might want to consider Casio's Tri-Sensors keyboard instead. The price difference could be small if you look around.

I'm also afraid that the Casio PX-800 "scaled hammer" keyboard is even poorer than the CPZ MkII.

The more modern Casio you buy, the stronger it will be compared to equally priced Yamahas, including robustness when your kids play rough.
_________________________
P-85 cheap plastic imitation; not because of sound, but weight.

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#1321215 - 12/08/09 04:29 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: Smokyhousers]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
I think for a piano student the #1 feature to look for in a DP is the quality if the key action.

The YDP160 is the best choice. It has the much better "GH" key action. (the ydp140 has "GHS" keys But if you can swing the higher cost of a YDP223 then you get much improved speakers and audio amps for a much larger sound. Also the YDP223 has better controls. You have to keep the user manual handy for a 160/140 but the 223 you can figure out without reading the book. I would download both user manuals and read them to compare ease of use.

I just bought the P155 with it's matching stand. I think it has better internal sound samples than any of the YDP series, most of the controls are push buttons rather then menus or piano keys but the speakers are weak compared to the "223"

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#1321218 - 12/08/09 04:33 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: Smokyhousers]
Masume Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/09
Posts: 90
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Smokyhousers
thanks for the advice- i should have typed that I am definitely interested in used pianos - i have been searching craigslist in atlanta and knoxville - do you have any specific kawaii models in mind?

I only know my one and a few new ones from short testing, but I'd say you're on the safe side with anything from the CA series, I don't really know about the other Kawai Digital Piano series (like CN), I don't know what the difference is and how good they are, but I'm sure there are plenty of people here who know that better than me

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#1321233 - 12/08/09 05:01 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: Masume]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Masume
Originally Posted By: Smokyhousers
thanks for the advice- i should have typed that I am definitely interested in used pianos - i have been searching craigslist in atlanta and knoxville - do you have any specific kawaii models in mind?

I only know my one and a few new ones from short testing, but I'd say you're on the safe side with anything from the CA series, I don't really know about the other Kawai Digital Piano series (like CN), I don't know what the difference is and how good they are, but I'm sure there are plenty of people here who know that better than me


Kawai has several levels of sound generation. The base line seems to by called "Harmonic Imaging" the newer best technology they call "Harmonic Imaging with progressive 88 note sample" I don't think the base line sound is as good as any of the newer Yamaha or Roland DPs. It does not sound bad just less fidelity. Kawais with their newer sound cost more

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#1321354 - 12/08/09 08:30 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: ChrisA]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8370
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Smokyhousers, from the list that you provide, I would recommend the Casio PX-800 or Yamaha YDP-160. Both instruments offer exceptional value for money. Casio have recently refreshed their Privia range, and I believe an updated PX-800 will be available in the near future, so you may wish to hold on a little longer.

Please note that ten years is a relatively long time within the digital piano world - technology progresses incredibly quickly. And while any Casio or Yamaha model that you eventually decide upon should remain relatively trouble-free for this period of time (provided it is properly looked after, of course), you may find yourself upgrading to a newer model in less than five years or so.

Originally Posted By: Masume
I don't really know about the other Kawai Digital Piano series (like CN), I don't know what the difference is and how good they are...


CA instruments use long wooden key, with the pivot point in the centre (like a grand piano key).
CN instruments use plastic keys, with the pivot point at the rear of the key (like most other digital piano manufacturer's actions).

Of course, there are a number of other differences related to specifications, however the keyboard action is arguably the most significant difference between the two product ranges.

Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Kawai has several levels of sound generation. The base line seems to by called "Harmonic Imaging" the newer best technology they call "Harmonic Imaging with progressive 88 note sample"...


Essentially, all KAWAI digital pianos utilise some form of Harmonic Imaging technology to recreate the piano sound, however the authenticity and expressiveness varies across the different product ranges and generations:

Harmonic Imaging - KAWAI's original sound technology, utilised by older instruments.

Harmonic Imaging, 88-key piano sampling - An updated version of Harmonic Imaging, with all 88 keys of an acoustic piano sampled.

Progressive Harmonic Imaging - A more expressive version of Harmonic Imaging, 88-key piano sampling.

Ultra Progressive Harmonic Imaging - An even more expressive piano sound than Progressive Harmonic Imaging. Please note that this technology is utilised by the latest instruments that are currently unavailable outside Japan.

I hope this helps to clarify things.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1321362 - 12/08/09 08:43 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: Huygens]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Originally Posted By: Huygens

I think the YDP-160 is ok, but a little old even if it has fairly good sound for its price.


Not exactly important, but what do you mean by old? I believe the YDP is the Arius's newest model, and it hasn't been on the market for 2 years (I might be wrong about that, I bough my YDP160 in Dec 2008, and I recall that the line hadn't been out that long then).

But in any case, in that price range, the YDP160 is a great piano. Yes, I own one, so I am bisaed, but my mother has a YDP140 at her house, so I have played both extensively. The money difference in the 140 versus the 160 is worth it.

Also, the YDP 140 and 160 both look really nice. I don't like the look of the ones that have all those buttons and controls, and I don't find the 160 all that hard to use, I just keep the quick reference handy. (Although, I have memorized how to set and use the metronome, since I use it all the time). I think if you're mostly playing with a piano sound and don't need/want to get different sounds, then the YDP140/160 models aren't difficult to use.

Having played both 140 and 160, I would stongly encourage anyone to get the 160 (don't tell my mom I said that). The money isn't all that different, especially when you think about using the instrument for several years.

Other than that, good luck!
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1321394 - 12/08/09 09:50 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: Huygens]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3666
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Huygens
I think the YDP-160 is ok, but a little old even if it has fairly good sound for its price.
Old? It's a current model. It think it's a good choice for the OP, but just a smidge above his $700-$1200 range. (Kraft and Zzounds both list it at $1350.)
Originally Posted By: Huygens
The CLP-340 is also a little old by todays standard ...
Again, this is a current model, released last year. Not sure what you mean by "old". Anyway, this one is WAY above the OPs stated price range.

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#1321540 - 12/09/09 01:20 AM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: MacMacMac]
Smokyhousers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 7
Man, thanks so much to everyone who has replied. Does anyone else have experiecnce with the Casio px800 or is there another one I should look at? Still leaning heavily toward the yamaha 160, kawai seems to be a bit out of my price range.

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#1321546 - 12/09/09 01:39 AM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: Smokyhousers]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4264
Loc: Northern NJ
Get a Yamaha P-155, a Quik-Lok M-91 stand, and a On-Stage KT7800+ bench and forget about it.

Get it all this month at www.music123.com with the 20% off coupon code "CCABIN" and free shipping.

You're welcome :-)
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1321645 - 12/09/09 09:29 AM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help [Re: dewster]
Smokyhousers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 7
Mountain Dewster, Awesome Coupon code - thanks a ton. Whatever I buy, I am getting it from there!

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#1321727 - 12/09/09 11:58 AM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help [Re: Smokyhousers]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Smokyhousers, every time I see your screen name, I accidently read it "Smoky trousers"

Sorry!
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1321781 - 12/09/09 01:06 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help [Re: ShiroKuro]
limavady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 379
Loc: California
I think the YDP160 has been out since 2003 from looking at the reviews on Musicians Friend. I do think too though as a couple of others have also suggested, that it is probably your best choice among your selections. Oh, I see someone mentioned the coupon code....funny though it doesn't seem to apply to the 223....but yes on the 160 it gets it down to 1079 i think.

As ChrisA said above too, the weighted action is a better grade on the 160 over the 140 and the speakers are 20w per channel as opposed to 6w per with the 140. What's kind of neat, not a doorbuster but still nice, is you'll get not only the 50 classical pieces recorded on the 160 (and 140 as well) and also the book for all the music to these.

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#1321837 - 12/09/09 02:05 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: MacMacMac]
Huygens Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 217
Loc: Sweden
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
Originally Posted By: Huygens
I think the YDP-160 is ok, but a little old even if it has fairly good sound for its price.
Old? It's a current model. It think it's a good choice for the OP, but just a smidge above his $700-$1200 range. (Kraft and Zzounds both list it at $1350.)
Originally Posted By: Huygens
The CLP-340 is also a little old by todays standard ...
Again, this is a current model, released last year. Not sure what you mean by "old". Anyway, this one is WAY above the OPs stated price range.

Originally Posted By: ShiroKuro
Originally Posted By: Huygens

I think the YDP-160 is ok, but a little old even if it has fairly good sound for its price.

Not exactly important, but what do you mean by old? I believe the YDP is the Arius's newest model, and it hasn't been on the market for 2 years (I might be wrong about that, I bough my YDP160 in Dec 2008, and I recall that the line hadn't been out that long then).


The YDP-160 has 3-levels of sampling, few voices and few sound effects compared to similar priced Rolands, Casios, and Korg, which I think are closer to the front line of current DPs in the range $500 - $2000. My feeling is that also Kawai and Kurzweil are close to the front line with the combination of plenty features, good keyboard, acceptable sound and nice price.

The strength of the YDP-160 & CLP-340 is the excellent sound for the price. I think the GH (and even the GH3) keyboards, in my mind, are a little weak and lack richness through the hammer movement, if they are supposed to mimic an acoustic. Even the fairly simple Korg SP250 can easily compete with hammer action that the CLP-340 could have done better. The Korg SP250 does not really reveal if it has more than 1-level of sampling, which may seem weak compared to the Yamahas, but the SP250 has for example a very long sampling of each note (click link).

Several other contemporary manufacturers have more than 10 voices in their DPs. So yes, with todays standard I regard the YDP-160 (and even the rather good CLP-340) a little old.

Though, the CLP-340 has 28 voices, which is pair with the Korg SP250 that has 30 voices.

Consider also the Yamaha P-155, it is much more comparable to other contemporary DPs, with 4-level sampling.

Which one seems a little old and which seems to be at level with todays standard, the YDP-160 or the P-155? Yes I know that the P-155 only has a 1-pedal, but still, I know my answer.
_________________________
P-85 cheap plastic imitation; not because of sound, but weight.

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#1321850 - 12/09/09 02:21 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: Smokyhousers]
SpeedKeys Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 2
Loc: Illinois
I have a Kawai ca 500 digital piano that was given to me by my grandmother and its a great piano...in mint condition...to bad I don't play or have the time and patience to learn...from the few who have played it...they loved it and said it was the closes to a baby grand (with headphones) that they have played...have you tried Ebay? Look up Digital Pianos and even Kawai...you might get some good leads there...good luck.

SpeedKeys

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#1321882 - 12/09/09 02:58 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: SpeedKeys]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4264
Loc: Northern NJ
Consider:

The Yamaha P-155 is pretty much a Clavinova in a portable case.

Wood cabinets are heavy, hard to move, are often poorly built, and can really add to the price.

A nice generic stand is a thing of beauty, an investment, and can be used with your next keyboard, and the one after that, etc. Pick one carefully and avoid X stands as they have poor leg room that hampers your position at the keyboard and also the use of pedals.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1321896 - 12/09/09 03:15 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: dewster]
limavady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 379
Loc: California
I notice whenever someone says they are looking for a console type Dp that people invariably try and steer them toward a portable anyway. That said the P155 would be a better choice. You're getting newer technology and not paying for the console. On the other hand the sound from the YDP160 may be more pleasing because the speakers are enclosed in more of a cabinet and are stronger in watts per channel than the 155. You could get a 'sound stystem' for the 155 and that would upgrade the sound, or use headphones but getting a decent speaker system will add some bucks of course. ---It might be an idea to go to a guitar center, if they had both the P155 and ydp160 and compare the sound and taking into consideration if you could do without the cabinet look choose which you'd prefer. I have a feeling though the OP is looking for a DP that sort of resembles a piano in stating they're looking for a console.

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#1321932 - 12/09/09 03:55 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: limavady]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4264
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: limavady
I notice whenever someone says they are looking for a console type Dp that people invariably try and steer them toward a portable anyway.


Guilty as charged! :-)

I just have a thing about fakey wood console DPs. I've been emotionally damaged ever since I saw the insides of one. You really pay through the nose for a pile of crappy chip board.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1322117 - 12/09/09 08:02 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: dewster]
marimorimo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/09
Posts: 429
Loc: Kingdom of Nodame
^Some people just really want consoles for the look of them (including myself). I do not like the look of a portable with a stand and the wires for the pedal(s) sticking out. It would look geeky in the living room and will not fit in with the rest of the furniture. And usually the speakers on consoles are better (though only marginally in some cases). If I were just playing in my own room, I wouldn't mind a stage piano type, though.

It was obvious to me from the start when assembling my first console DP that cheapo chipboard was used. That didn't stop me from getting a second console DP.
_________________________
Alfred's AOI Course Bk 2
Frances Clark Contemporary Piano Literature, Bk 1
The Festival Collection Bk 3
30th Week Playing Piano
--------------------------------------------
+ CASIO PX-720 and PX-730 +
--------------------------------------------

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#1322171 - 12/09/09 09:10 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: marimorimo]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3220
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Yep, I prefer the console look. Sorry, that instrument is in my living room. If I had a dedicated studio, maybe I would feel differently, but in the living room? If I can't have an acoustic, then I want something that still looks "living room-esque." And I'm willing to pay for it. For me, any DP is going to be an unsatisfying substitute soundwise, I'm just biding my time till I can go back to being an acoustic-owner, so that probably informs my opinions too.
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1322278 - 12/09/09 11:13 PM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: ShiroKuro]
Smokyhousers Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 7
Man, I really appreciate everyone's input. I am looking for the console type. Its going in our large family room it really needs to have the wooden look. Sounds like some of you understand. the p-155 is super nice, i just dont think it is for me.

What do you guys think about buying used/ebay?

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#1322358 - 12/10/09 01:24 AM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: Smokyhousers]
limavady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 379
Loc: California
I think those are all decent points above including dewster probably just wanting to point out that in getting a model like the P155 you'd probably be paying twice for a comparable console model. I have the P155 myself by the way and love it but i can understand how with a family and the kids learning you'd feel better with something more formal, permanent looking and a nice look in the living room or where ever...

oh boy i don't know if i should even say anything about used. The read here though is that it's not a bad way to go; i've read lots of people suggest craigslist and the like....if you're going the ebay route you'll probably be paying a bit for shipping something that size as opposed to the online places that seem to be able to absorb that somehow in the price...but like anything on ebay just make sure the seller has at least a 99% approval rating; maybe i'm paranoid but i never trust anyone there who has anything less...I just don't like used stuff to tell you the truth so i'm not going to be able to give you a fair opinion actually. ---The 1079 price total for the 160 seems pretty decent i think. On the other hand if you could get something like a CLP330 or 340 for around that price used (i don't know what gently used ones go for??) that might be tempting.

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#1322562 - 12/10/09 10:53 AM Re: Dad buying Digital Piano for Kids - Yamaha, Casio ? help! [Re: limavady]
Knights Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 8
Loc: Maryland
I ordered the YDP160 from Music123 during Thanksgiving with the 20% off code and they shipped it 2 days later. My daughter loved it, and now I'm starting to learn to play it also. I'm very happy with it.

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