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#1325538 - 12/14/09 08:41 PM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: mariu]
dewster Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4264
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: mariu
What do you think about YAMAHA DGX-530 ? There is a store near my hometown where I can buy it for 530 EUR (780 $ - suspicious low price !?).
Is it much weaker than a DGX-630 ?
Is it comparable with P85 or Casio PX-130 in matter of sound and touch >?

Personally I like it because it has lots of features like: USB, Yamaha Education Suite version 4, lyrics and score display...my boy will like these too, I'm sure. But, I don't want to sacrifice quality of sound and touch for a little more fun...

Thanks again.


Trust me, your kid might play with this for a day or two max, but that's it. Very limited pedagogical value. Concentrate on getting the best hammer action and piano sound samples that you can, forget the rest.

A crap action and/or lame sound keyboard will gather dust in the corner, regardless of how many LCD screens, games, or other bells and whistles it has.

No offense. I just want kids (as well as other players) to get the best instrument they can, because the quality of the instrument can be an enormous inspiration or an enormous impediment to playing.

I just came back from demoing DPs at the local Sam Ash, and the only thing I could recommend is the Casio CDP-100 (you will need to trade-up if your kid sticks with it more than a couple of years, but your kid may be uninspired by it), Yamaha P-85 (obvious stretching of samples, rather quick blend to looping, maybe not the best compromise), Yamaha P-155 (multi-strike, generally nice blend to looping, stretching not so evident). The P-155 might last your kid 10 years or so.

If it were my kid and he/she had any talent at all, I'd get him/her the P-155 - anything less is really not worth a major investment. If they quit you can always resell it. Better yet, a real, but decent, piano, but be prepared for the upkeep costs (do keep it up, nothing worse than an untuned, crappy piano).
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#1325541 - 12/14/09 08:47 PM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: snazzyplayer]
mariu Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 10
It is true he does not have experience with electronic piano, but he's not against. It was some reticence at the beginning, but we already agreed that is better to buy a DP for my son. Old fashioned...maybe it was to much to say, he is still young, normally has enough time to become a DP fan smile ...and I guess that somewhere over there he is thinking about trying a DP. I believe, in my country, DPs weren't so propagated until a few years ago, that is why he does not have so much knowledge about them.

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#1325544 - 12/14/09 08:51 PM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: dewster]
mariu Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 10
I see what you mean. Thanks!

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#1325560 - 12/14/09 09:07 PM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: dewster]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
I agree with the above poster to a certain degree.

Having the "extras' on a piano can enhance a learning experience, if the teacher is progressive enough to utilize these features.

Otherwise, the simplest digitals, like the Yamaha P-85, and comparable pianos from Roland or Korg, still allow for exploration, as they have other sounds, like vibes, or electric piano, as well as being able to layer two sounds; the classic piano and strings being one example, the David Foster sound with Grand Piano layered with Electric Piano being another.

Most importantly, it should be weighted firm enough to allow the strengthening of the hands, but not so firm as to be difficult to play, especially if the child is quite young.

I would wholeheartedly recommend a digital piano, for the simple fact that it can be placed in a child's bedroom (their sanctuary...their "space") and can be played in total privacy with earphones. Kids love earphones! Check out all the i-Pods.

The maintenance free nature of the digital piano is another fringe benefit.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1325733 - 12/15/09 04:28 AM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: dewster]
Huygens Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 217
Loc: Sweden
Originally Posted By: dewster
I just came back from demoing DPs at the local Sam Ash, and the only thing I could recommend is the Casio CDP-100 (you will need to trade-up if your kid sticks with it more than a couple of years, but your kid may be uninspired by it),

The US is overstocked with CDP-100, and even if it is a good DP for its price, I would recommend the Casio CDP-200R instead, as it has better sound and somewhat better keyboard.

Originally Posted By: dewster
Yamaha P-85 (obvious stretching of samples, rather quick blend to looping, maybe not the best compromise), Yamaha P-155 (multi-strike, generally nice blend to looping, stretching not so evident). The P-155 might last your kid 10 years or so.

Detecting looping is quite easy, but how on earth do you detect stretching? I listen and listen to my little P-85, but I haven't figured out how to detect stretching. Please help me, as I probably will go and buy a not-so-cheap and used DP next year. I don't want to buy a DP just for detecting after half a year that I can't stand its sound anymore, due to technical shortcomings.

So, how:

1. Do I play on the keyboard to detect stretching?
2. What do I listen for to detect stretching?
3. Is there any special tuning of the DP that might help me detect stretching?

Originally Posted By: dewster
If it were my kid and he/she had any talent at all, I'd get him/her the P-155 - anything less is really not worth a major investment. If they quit you can always resell it. Better yet, a real, but decent, piano, but be prepared for the upkeep costs (do keep it up, nothing worse than an untuned, crappy piano).

I agree on buying a better DP if the person is talented. It will pay in the long run. The Yamaha P-155 might be one choice, Roland HP203 or Casio AP-620 might be other comparable choices. If you like the sound of the Korg LP350, it is also feasible because of its strong keyboard action and lower price. The Casio PX-830 is also a hot candidate, but you have to listen to its sound to decide if you like it.
_________________________
P-85 cheap plastic imitation; not because of sound, but weight.

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#1325875 - 12/15/09 11:33 AM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: Huygens]
dewster Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4264
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: Huygens
Detecting looping is quite easy, but how on earth do you detect stretching? I listen and listen to my little P-85, but I haven't figured out how to detect stretching. Please help me, as I probably will go and buy a not-so-cheap and used DP next year. I don't want to buy a DP just for detecting after half a year that I can't stand its sound anymore, due to technical shortcomings.


With one finger, play one note at a time, going either up or down the keyboard (C, C#, D, D#, E, F, etc.). Try to play each note with the same velocity. I play and hold each note for roughly a second before moving quickly to the next note.

On the P-85, particularly on the lower end, I hear groups of three consecutive notes that sound pretty much the same, with noticeable timber differences when transitioning between groups. For instance, if one same-sounding group is [C, C#, D] and the next one up is [D#, E, F] a difference in timber will be noticeable between D and D#. I can't remember exactly where the transitions between groups occurs on the P-155, the above is just an example.

This obviously indicates that Yamaha sampled every third note for the P-85. At playback, the P-85 either plays the sample directly, or stretches it up and down one 1/2 step, thus making the sample memory 1/3 of what it would be if they had sampled every and key and put it in memory. This is a very cheap and straightforward form of compression, and I really hate it.

On many toys, DPs with too little sample memory, and synths, (particularly when playing an instrument outside of it's natural range) stretching is super obvious when they stretch the highest / lowest note over an octave or more to fill the 88 keyboard keys. Try the high / low ends of a human vocal patch. The harpsichord sample on the Korg SP250 is fairly stretched IIRC, the entire soundboard goes flatter and flatter on the low end, the pick gets slower and slower - very unnatural sounding.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1325893 - 12/15/09 12:03 PM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: dewster]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Clearly this "stretching" issue doesn't seem to matter much to most players, as the P-85 seems to be more than satisfactory to those looking for a reasonably priced portable piano.

It is obviously done well enough that you really have to be backside retentive to be concerned about it.

I know several pros using P-85's...two of them are exceptional jazz pianists, and they love the sound, touch and especially, the portability.

We haven't ever discussed "stretching" except maybe before a gig to loosen up. wink

Snazzy.
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1325896 - 12/15/09 12:04 PM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: snazzyplayer]
dewster Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4264
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
Otherwise, the simplest digitals, like the Yamaha P-85, and comparable pianos from Roland or Korg, still allow for exploration, as they have other sounds, like vibes, or electric piano, as well as being able to layer two sounds; the classic piano and strings being one example, the David Foster sound with Grand Piano layered with Electric Piano being another.


I agree, if the other voices are done well enough they can encourage the student to play a little more. The piano sound needs to be good though, other voices are pretty much in the gravy category.

Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
Most importantly, it should be weighted firm enough to allow the strengthening of the hands, but not so firm as to be difficult to play, especially if the child is quite young.


Yes. Some less expensive keyboards have a stronger "spring back" force that might be particularly difficult for small fingers. To feel and compare this, try pressing a key slowly to minimize the force of the hammer action. I think current Casio DPs have stronger key return springs than Yamaha DPs, which is why I generally recommend Yamahas for younger students.

I read an article in a magazine or journal aimed at music teachers that wondered, with all the people with smaller hands out there playing piano (children, women) piano keyboards are invariably dimensioned for a large male hand. It's a strange industry.

Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
I would wholeheartedly recommend a digital piano, for the simple fact that it can be placed in a child's bedroom (their sanctuary...their "space") and can be played in total privacy with earphones. Kids love earphones! Check out all the i-Pods.


I used to think that children practicing through headphones for was a good idea. This may be an option for teens or older at an intermediate level or above, but not for kids.

For one thing, the parent should know when and for how long the kid is practicing so that they can have some idea of how the kid is progressing, and maybe offer some help to the child or give the teacher feedback. Kids generally don't practice enough, which slows their progression and eventually leads to boredom and discouragement. A Parent shouldn't be shelling out serious bucks for lessons if the kid isn't moving forward at a decent rate. (Another pet rant of mine is that parents will dump truckloads of $ into lessons but then won't buy their kid a decent instrument. And then they wonder why the kid isn't progressing.)

For another thing, it is ridiculously easy to sustain permanent hearing damage over time with earphones or headphones, I'm rather shocked that most parents don't seem to even think about this.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1325910 - 12/15/09 12:25 PM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: dewster]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Most kids will practice if they have genuine interest and are supported by their parent(s). The teacher also must make the course interesting and fun. It's a big responsibility, in my opinion.

I've experienced parents buying instruments that had 61 keys, no touch sensitivity...bargain basement instruments(hardly would call them instruments) and then wonder why the child is discouraged.

I had one kid who was playing on a 49-note mini keyboard; all in the name of, "When he gets better, we'll invest in something more substantial."

What a joke.

The P-85 and similar Casio units can last for several years, and then one can move up to a nicer unit, but the basics have to be met.

Don't get me started on what kids end up having to practice on. mad

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1325914 - 12/15/09 12:29 PM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: snazzyplayer]
dewster Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4264
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
Clearly this "stretching" issue doesn't seem to matter much to most players, as the P-85 seems to be more than satisfactory to those looking for a reasonably priced portable piano.

It is obviously done well enough that you really have to be backside retentive to be concerned about it.


I wasn't even trying to detect stretching when I was demoing the P-85, it kind of jumped out at me.

A successful DP would not constantly shatter my suspension-of-disbelief. Once you hear looping and stretching and too few velocity layers it can nag at you. I really just want to hear the rich sound of a piano, with no obvious compression artifacts. In this day and age it really isn't asking too much IMO.

I wish the cranky "audiophile" set would take on DPs. They get worked into a lather over inaudible lossy compression like MP3. They'd probably all have instant brain aneurysms after listening to any DP for a few seconds.

DP manufacturers might then be forced to improve their products, and all "audiophiles" would be dead - two birds with one stone! :-)

Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
I know several pros using P-85's...two of them are exceptional jazz pianists, and they love the sound, touch and especially, the portability.


For what it is, particularly when compared to other DPs, the P-85 is an OK package. The single velocity layer is particularly well implemented (as these things go). It is indeed very portable, the sample is fair compared to other DPs, the key action is decent. I don't hate it, but I would have difficulty listening to the single layer, quickly looped, stretched samples for any length of time. As a second instrument (perhaps with a real piano at home) I can see how it might really fill a need.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1325923 - 12/15/09 12:47 PM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: dewster]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Well, dewster, I've been pro for about 44 years, and I find the P-85 more than satisfactory for gigging, as well as using it as a lovely weighted MIDI controller. In fact, I bought a pair of them.

Now, mind you, if Yamaha makes a better model, and retains the portability and decent action (and the dedicated MIDI ports), I'll trade up quicker than you can say "Yamaha".

But, for the time being, it more than meets my needs, and would definitely make a terrific piano for a student or even a more experienced player.

I know pros that have been playing for 30 years that seem quite content with their P-85. That's where I first saw one being used...at a jazz club.

So they must have an appeal that goes beyond their stretched samples and single layer sounds.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1325932 - 12/15/09 01:05 PM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: snazzyplayer]
dewster Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4264
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
Most kids will practice if they have genuine interest and are supported by their parent(s). The teacher also must make the course interesting and fun. It's a big responsibility, in my opinion.

I've experienced parents buying instruments that had 61 keys, no touch sensitivity...bargain basement instruments(hardly would call them instruments) and then wonder why the child is discouraged.

I had one kid who was playing on a 49-note mini keyboard; all in the name of, "When he gets better, we'll invest in something more substantial."

What a joke.

The P-85 and similar Casio units can last for several years, and then one can move up to a nicer unit, but the basics have to be met.

Don't get me started on what kids end up having to practice on. mad

Snazzy


Agree wholeheartedly with everything you say.

My wife works tirelessly to individually tailor the lessons to her students.

She has kids that play on 49 key toys & old reed chord organs, who then go on extended vacations with their folks to Cancun and such. Can't get them to buy a decent instrument to save their lives. Go figure.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1326471 - 12/16/09 08:54 AM Re: DP for a child - making the right choice [Re: dewster]
mariu Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 10
I just made the order for Yamaha 85. It costs me exactly 605 EUR(880 $), including a stand. Shipping and T.BONE HD 800 speakers come as bonus. I think it is a very good price.
I would have loved to buy Yamaha 155 or Roland RD 300GX...or something similar at their price. Unfortunately I cannot afford it. It would have been more than double.

Thank you very much for your kindness and helpful answers! smile


Edited by mariu (12/16/09 08:57 AM)

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