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#1535376 - 10/14/10 12:56 PM Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions?
Fusi0n Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 2
I'm in the market for a digital piano under $1000. After some reading, I'm left with the big question: what is the difference in feel between the Casio based scaled hammer action (i.e. Casio PX-330) and a Yamaha graded hammer standard (i.e. Yamaha P95).
As I understand it, they are both 'graded' so that the lower keys have a heavier feel. I get the adjustability of the tri-level with the Casio, but what is the feel difference? Any at all?

Bells and whistles aren't important - I don't really need any other voices or beats. I'm looking for a digital piano with the most realistic feel and sound.

Problem is I live in a small town, and it will be a three hour drive to the nearest city that has a store with both for comparison. I may end up doing it anyway, but wanted to get the opinion of people who have experienced both.

Thanks very much!

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#1535397 - 10/14/10 01:37 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: Fusi0n]
voxpops Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 2929
Loc: Oregon
I would say that if you're looking for piano "authenticity" the Yamaha wins. However, the Casio action is very playable and, in its latest incarnation, responds very quickly. However, it feels more pneumatic than the Yamaha.

Some have reported key problems with the Casio, although I've not experienced this. The older Privias were a little "clattery," but this was resolved.

I have not played sufficiently on the latest Yamahas to offer an informed opinion, but every time I do tinkle on one in a store, they feel tight and well designed.

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#1535415 - 10/14/10 02:02 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: Fusi0n]
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4680
Loc: San Francisco
Yamaha's actions have a good reputation for durability and quality control. The company has been known to provide out-of-warranty replacements when problems do arise.

I *think* that the GHS actions have less touch weight - a lighter touch. If budget permits, try something like Yammy's Arius YDP 181. That one has the GH action - sometimes also written as GHE: Grade Hammer Effect. If you stay with piano, the heavier action will probably feel better under your fingers.

It'd be worthwhile to audition all the DP's that you can get your mitts on. Try "playing" DP's with the power off. Focus on how the keys feel under your fingers. Try depressing one key at a time and wiggling it from side to side. Less free play is better. Pay attention to key alignment. Know the store's return policy.


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#1535423 - 10/14/10 02:14 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: Fusi0n]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3076
Originally Posted By: Fusi0n
what is the difference in feel between the Casio based scaled hammer action (i.e. Casio PX-330) and a Yamaha graded hammer standard (i.e. Yamaha P95).
As I understand it, they are both 'graded' so that the lower keys have a heavier feel. I get the adjustability of the tri-level with the Casio, but what is the feel difference? Any at all?


They feel quite different, the PX-330 has a heavier action. It "fights" you a bit compared to the Yamaha.

I think "gradedness" is over-rated. There are so many aspects of a piano's feel, that's just one. However, it is one that is easily explained, easily engineered, easily marketed, and easily put into even relatively inexpensive models, so you hear a lot about it. But there can be not-so-great feeling keyboards that are graded, and much better feeling boards that aren't, so I wouldn't get too hung up over it.

Originally Posted By: Fusi0n
Bells and whistles aren't important - I don't really need any other voices or beats. I'm looking for a digital piano with the most realistic feel and sound.


IMO, the Yamaha P95 has a more realistic feel and sound then the Casio PX-330 in general playing. The PX-330's third sensor does add one aspect of realism lacking in the Yamaha, the ability to re-trigger a note without releasing it. However, overall, the Yamaha feels more like a real piano to me. As for sound, people may disagree... they both have their flaws, and some people may prefer one's flaws to the other, but the sound and playability of the Yamaha just seems more natural to me.

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#1535425 - 10/14/10 02:24 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: voxpops]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3076
Originally Posted By: voxpops
the Casio action is very playable and, in it's latest incarnation, responds very quickly. However, it feels more pneumatic than the Yamaha.

Some have reported key problems with the Casio, although I've not experienced this. The older Privias were a little "clattery," but this was resolved.


Pneumatic is an interesting way to put it. I was going to say rubbery. But yeah, there's this sense of some kind of nebulous artificial "push back" which you don't get in the Yamaha.

I think some of the older "clattery" ones actually felt better.

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#1535434 - 10/14/10 03:35 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: Fusi0n]
galaxy4t Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/28/08
Posts: 846
Loc: Lakewood, CA
The Yamaha P-95 has a lighter touch than the Casio Privia models. In playing a P-95 recently, I thought the touch felt heavier than on other Yahama models I have played that have GHS. Might also be because this piano is brand new. The one big flaw in this model is the single layer piano sample which lacks dynamic range.

The Casio has a heavier touch and a considerably better paino sample. However, there are lots of reports of keybed issues--everything from loose, wobbly keys to stuck keys. It seems to be largely a quality control issue. There is one other piano you could also try in this price range--Korg SP170. For a little more money there is also the Korg SP-250 which is also decent. I would make a day out of it and trek on over to your local music store. You really want to try these out, and bring a good pair of headphones.

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#1535442 - 10/14/10 03:45 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: galaxy4t]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3076
Originally Posted By: galaxy4t
The one big flaw in this model is the single layer piano sample which lacks dynamic range.


I think they actually do a nice processing job to get a decent timbral range out of the single layer. I wouldn't say the Casio has a more natural sounding dynamic range, despite having the additional layers.

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#1535452 - 10/14/10 03:59 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: anotherscott]
voxpops Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 2929
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
[quote=galaxy4t]I wouldn't say the Casio has a more natural sounding dynamic range, despite having the additional layers.

The problem with the Casio for me is the short decay and upper-mid range "dead" quality. It just put me off playing too much, even though the basis of the sound is "right". For a backup piano I even thought of going back to the lowly PX-310, which has completely different sound processing - not nearly as sophisticated, but somehow more pleasing.

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#1535474 - 10/14/10 04:35 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: voxpops]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3076
Originally Posted By: voxpops
I even thought of going back to the lowly PX-310, which has completely different sound processing - not nearly as sophisticated, but somehow more pleasing.


That's really the heart of the matter. You can't look at the specs and say "the one with more layers is better." The 310 was not as sophisticated... but it played better, it was more musical, more satisfying to play. There's something about the 330, I'm not sure how much of it is the action (which I think is not as good as the 310) and how much of it is the sounds (different samples, different sound engine), but it makes me sometimes feel like I'm playing a recording of an instrument, whereas on the 310, I felt like I was playing the instrument, if that makes any sense. I never heard the 330 and the 310's piano sounds side-by-side, so I'm not going to comment on which sounds more like a real piano, but the 310 *played* more like a real piano. The 310 also had better EP sounds. The 330 has the advantage of a display screen with sound names vs. the 310's 3-digit LED, and I like that you can switch to a new sound without having the previous sound cut out, but other than that, I think the 310 was a much better instrument. Plus you could actually read the button labels on stage.

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#1535481 - 10/14/10 04:41 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: anotherscott]
voxpops Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 2929
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
[quote=voxpops]Plus you could actually read the button labels on stage.


What is it with musical instrument designers: do they ever actually talk to the musicians who will use their products?!

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#1535493 - 10/14/10 05:14 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: voxpops]
Dave Horne Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5262
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
While graded hammers sound like a good idea in that it tries to emulate a real keyboard action, I've found two things - you don't miss it if you don't have it. Most (if not all) digital keyboards are lighter than their acoustic counterpart to begin with - it's active ingredient is marketing.

Don't let the presence or absence of a graded action be the deciding factor.
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#1535559 - 10/14/10 06:49 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: anotherscott]
galaxy4t Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/28/08
Posts: 846
Loc: Lakewood, CA
I think the newer piano sample is better on the new Casios. But I do agree, the sound is second rate compared to the older Privias. The ZPI chip has better sound than the current AIF. I noticed this comparing the Casio PX-575 with the PX-320 2 years ago. Playing the two side by side, the 575 had richer tone even though it has a lot less polophony. But I guess it also is a matter of better sounding samples especially the EP's. Now as for the decay in the octaves beginning at middle C, it does die out rather quickly on the piano but a lot of other digitals seem to do this in the upper registers also. Might be because the sound is produced electronically instead of by an actual hammer striking a string.

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#1535583 - 10/14/10 07:37 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: Fusi0n]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Fusi0n
.. what is the difference in feel between the Casio based scaled hammer action (i.e. Casio PX-330) and a Yamaha graded hammer standard (i.e. Yamaha P95).


I think people here might be talking about the general case of Yamaha vs. Casio. Mostly Yamaha has a better reputation for quality but "GHS" is their low-end, lower priced key action and I think it is debatable if it is better or not than Casio. I think GHS is to light.

But if you move up the Yamaha's "GH" it is clear that Yamaha wins. GHS and GH are not at all alike.

If you have a $1,000 budget, the lowest priced GH based Yahaha is the CP33 which sells for $999 and just makes it.

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#1535587 - 10/14/10 07:42 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: ChrisA]
voxpops Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 2929
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Yahaha

Perfect! LOL.

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#1535665 - 10/14/10 11:25 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: Fusi0n]
Fusi0n Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 2
This is some fantastic input - very much appreciated!

Despite my original reluctance to drive across two mountain passes to put in a 6hour drive, looks like I might have to do it to really determine what my fingers like best.

Thanks very much!

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#1535698 - 10/15/10 01:18 AM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: Fusi0n]
PianoWorksATL Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2636
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Personally, I think the graded or scaled action is an evolution - that is a basic requirement for weighted digitals now regardless of brand. There are digital pianos and there are keyboards, and there's nothing wrong with an unweighted synth keyboard for every other tone. What hasn't entered this discussion is when you play an off-brand DP, weighted, scaled, whatever...their feel is almost laughable. The truth is both brands do an amazing job at that price point.

2 Yamaha fans have dominated this thread with their opinions, but in this price range, Casio is dominating the market with less marketing and a shorter history with digital pianos.

In comparing actions, there's not a clear winner between the PX-330 & P95. Post on another day and you may get more Casio preference. Also, both companies are known to give good support for their products.

I also preferred aspects of the previous Casio sound engine, however its lack of sophistication needed to be addressed...and it was. The newer one is smoother, but tone preference is like arguing chocolate vs. vanilla. It only matters if you like what is in front of you.
.......................

To answer the OP's other question, variable touch (which I think both have) uses the sensors to stretch or compress the dynamic range. A "light" touch means that the pressure difference between pp and ff is small. A "heavy" touch means that the pressure difference between pp and ff is large. The action doesn't physically change, but the result is effective enough.

The general differences between the PX-130 & PX-330 are largely bells and whistles (depends on your needs) and connections (PX-330 has a full compliment, PX-130 is USB only)

Good luck!
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#1536007 - 10/15/10 12:41 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: Fusi0n]
NoFingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 84
Loc: USA
Personally I liked the Casio touch more than Yamaha's. Yamaha is too light for my taste, especially their GHS action. But I prefer a heavier touch.

I suggest you check out the piano sample project (BSD?) forum page for a more less opinionated comparison of sound. It is a sticky.

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#1536021 - 10/15/10 01:00 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: PianoWorksATL]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL

2 Yamaha fans have dominated this thread with their opinions, but in this price range, Casio is dominating the market with less marketing and a shorter history with digital pianos.


I'm a Yamaha fan but I agree. At the sub-$1K price point It is hard to beat Casio.

But Casio's problem is that all of their pianos use the same key action and sound. So the more expansive models are not better, thy just layer on features but under that you get the same basic key action and piano sound. So with Casio their lowest price models are by far their best values.

Yamaha on the other hand has a range of key actions and sound engines. So as you pay more you get technically better quality, not just not just more add ons.

I think the cross over point where I'd recommend Yamaha vs. Casio is if you could spend more than $1,000. With your $1K budget you are on the fence. With $1K that is to much to spend on a Casio and not enough to get you into the better Yamaha models. I recommend changing your budget to either $600 or $1200. At those each of those price points the choice is easier

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#1536069 - 10/15/10 02:08 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: ChrisA]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3076
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
2 Yamaha fans have dominated this thread with their opinions, but in this price range, Casio is dominating the market with less marketing and a shorter history with digital pianos.

I'm a Yamaha fan but I agree. At the sub-$1K price point It is hard to beat Casio.

But Casio's problem is that all of their pianos use the same key action and sound. So the more expansive models are not better, thy just layer on features but under that you get the same basic key action and piano sound. So with Casio their lowest price models are by far their best values.

Yamaha on the other hand has a range of key actions and sound engines. So as you pay more you get technically better quality, not just not just more add ons.

I think the cross over point where I'd recommend Yamaha vs. Casio is if you could spend more than $1,000. With your $1K budget you are on the fence. With $1K that is to much to spend on a Casio and not enough to get you into the better Yamaha models. I recommend changing your budget to either $600 or $1200. At those each of those price points the choice is easier

I agree with your point that Casios don't improve in sound and action, and Yamahas do. Part of that is that Yamaha has $1200+ models, and Casio doesn't.

I don't know that I'd agree that the lowest priced Casio is the best value... it's certainly true if you only look at it from the perspective of sound and action, but some of those "add ons" you sort of dismiss are genuinely valuable.

At the low end, I'd take a $550 Yamaha P-95 over a $500 Casio PX-130 because, to me, it feels more like playing a real piano. But the piano I'm taking to the gig tonight is a Casio PX-3. Yamaha has nothing that can compete with its features at its price and weight. No one does. To me, that's the real value piece in the line.

I guess you're looking at value within the line, and the bottom model does give you the same core piano features for the least money... but I'm looking at value compared to competing products from other companies, i.e. what each company can give you at a given price point, and I think that's where the top model shines. So, we're both right? :-)

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#1536199 - 10/15/10 07:06 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: Fusi0n]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
I'm probably going right out on a shaky limb, but the fact that the resistance of the Casio action (the new/current one) increases a bit near the bottom of the key travel may actually be authentic to a degree: a real piano's action also has some increasing resistance, due to the escapement. Apparently piano makers have been trying to eliminate that feel, but they haven't been able to.
Of course, the Casio's action doesn't suddenly "give" as the escapement resistance is overcome like a real piano, or like DPs that feature proper escapement feel.

Greg.

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#2224764 - 02/02/14 05:34 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: NoFingers]
Scribbler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/12
Posts: 32
NOFINGERS: I have a GHS Yamaha. It is too light, I agree. I tried a GH in the form of a Korg-250 which was a little heavier but still too light. Do you think the Casio Privia PX-150 would be worth it? My piano is getting better but my YPG-25 still works fine. All I am concerned about is heavier action, no bells or whistles.


Edited by Scribbler (02/03/14 01:52 PM)

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#2224771 - 02/02/14 05:45 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: Fusi0n]
Dwscamel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/13
Posts: 434
I have the older Yamaha P85. The action is too light for me. But the real disappointment is the lack of dynamic range. And I have never tried the Casio models, but typically people on this forum say that the Casios have better action, not-as-good sounds.

Your budget is already double what either of these two pianos cost. Why don't you save up a bit more and get something a step up? The Yamaha P155, cheaper Roland FP models, and secondhand Kawais would all serve you better in terms of action and sound.

Even if the Yamaha GHS action were heavier, I would probably search for another instrument because of the lack of dynamic range.

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#2224792 - 02/02/14 06:20 PM Re: Casio Scaled Hammer vs. Yamaha Graded Hammer - Opinions? [Re: Dave Horne]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
What Dave Horne said; and I played on many different kind of pianos regularly, and the paper spec often doesn't matter as much in practice. I play my Yamaha with AE action without grading. I play the N3 often, which has a "real" action. Bottom line, play, have fun; it's all good.
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