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#1629400 - 02/27/11 04:36 PM What's the best keyboard for a piano player?
rumfoord Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Toronto
Hi,

I am looking to buy a keyboard/electric piano and would appreciate some help making my decision.

I plan to use this at home for recording midi sounds and to use for playing live when there is not an acoustic piano available.

I want something that feels as much like a real piano as possible. That is the most important. Otherwise I would like it to be fairly light so that I can transport it easily. I would also like built in speakers. I just need 88 keys and a good piano sound. Anything beyond that is nice but not needed. I am willing to spend what it takes to get the right instrument. I am very interested to hear some thoughts and opinions.

Thanks.

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#1629613 - 02/27/11 10:36 PM Re: What's the best keyboard for a piano player? [Re: rumfoord]
Dr Popper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 1706
Loc: Hancock Park LA (not again)
Built in speakers are pretty much your limiting factor.

Most DP's have rubbish built in speakers and they are going to sound like crap.

A truly good DP like a Roland RD700NX, Kawai MP10 or Yamaha CP5 ...or even a Roland v-piano or Yamaha CP1 does not have built in speakers.

The only piano I can think of with built in speaker that sounds good is the Roland FP7F but it doesn't sound great through its speakers and its not light or small.

I'd dump the speaker requirement and get yourself a pair of good monitor speakers or a quality stereo keyboard amp (Motion Sound KP-500SN) and then get a proper stage piano ... any of the ones above would fulfill your requirements it just depends on which one feels right and sounds right to you.
_________________________
"I'm still an idiot and I'm still in love" - Blue Sofa - The Plugz 1981 (Tito Larriva)
Disclosure : I am professionally supported by but not beholden to various musical instrument manufactures including Yamaha

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#1629635 - 02/27/11 11:24 PM Re: What's the best keyboard for a piano player? [Re: rumfoord]
PianoZac Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1417
It's quite difficult honestly. I thought my old RD-700GXF (which felt nearly the same as the RD-700NX-the only difference being the PHA III on the NX was a tad faster) felt like a real grand, but when my piano teacher came over to give a lesson, he said it sounded great but felt cheap. Maybe he's cynical, I don't know. He's used to playing on a 7' Baldwin grand piano daily. When it comes down to it, even the better DPs, at least stage pianos, really don't feel like a grand when comparing back to back, but that's not necessarily a bad thing at all. They're just tools after all.

I was on the search for the best feeling DP for a long time, but when I realized that was all in vain, that it's really a case of best compromises on a very individual basis, I settled on the NP88, which suits my needs perfectly for the most part. Oddly enough, though it doesn't feel like an acoustic grand, it feels the most organic of any DP I've played. The connection between the keys and the sound, with all of its nuances, is really terrific.


Edited by PianoZac (02/27/11 11:26 PM)
_________________________
Kawai RX-2
Nord Piano 2


"Life is a lot like jazz...it's best when you improvise."

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#1629697 - 02/28/11 02:57 AM Re: What's the best keyboard for a piano player? [Re: rumfoord]
Suryaman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/05
Posts: 131
Loc: Italy&Orange County, CA
You want speakers and the best action. Impossible to find in the same instrument.

There's only one digital stage piano that has decent speakers, the Yamaha CP-300. It also features a very good piano sound and a good and responsive action. The major con is that it's heavy. You might want to check it out anyway.

The best (most realistic) action is in the Kawai MP10, with Roland RD700NX close second. I believe the MP10 is as heavy as the CP-300, so it's a beast. The main piano sound is nice but to me is inferior to both RD700NX and CP-300. Maybe for you not. Anyway it doesn't have speakers.

One of the best reproduction of a piano sound is (for me) in the RD700NX. It has also a really good action, 25 Kg of weight (feasible...), but no speakers.

Also you might want to consider the Yamaha CP-5 (no speakers, good quality but light action), Yamaha CP1 (best sound togheter with Roland but expensive, heavy, no speakers etc..) and Nord Piano.

Also with speakers (but way inferior to Yamaha Cp-300's):

Yamaha P155 (good action and nice piano sound, low cost and portable)
Roland FP-7f (very good action and one of the best piano sound in the market, the same as RD700NX).





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#1629795 - 02/28/11 08:58 AM Re: What's the best keyboard for a piano player? [Re: rumfoord]
Chris G Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 737
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I would also lose the requirement for built in speakers. You say that you want it for playing it live in which case you need more volume than the built in speakers will give you. Apart from that it's mostly a question of going to a music store and trying a few different models out, be sure to check out how the DP sounds when you use the pedal.

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#1629864 - 02/28/11 11:04 AM Re: What's the best keyboard for a piano player? [Re: rumfoord]
PianoZac Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1417
rumfoord, may I ask why you you are seeking a keyboard with speakers since you plan on using the board on stage? I think the best keyboard as far as action and sound goes with speakers has been suggested above-the FP-7F. But it's probably not as good of an instrument for stage use.

Since you're planning on using the keyboard for both home and on stage, if you decide you don't need speakers, you may want to check out the MP6, CP50, RD300NX, NP88. Those are the four best sounding/playing keyboards that are light weight. I haven't played the MP6 or RD300NX, but the CP50 is a great playing/sounding board and of course I'm naturally biased towards the exceptional NP88! smile As a piano player, I thoroughly enjoy the NP88.


Edited by PianoZac (02/28/11 11:04 AM)
_________________________
Kawai RX-2
Nord Piano 2


"Life is a lot like jazz...it's best when you improvise."

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#1629907 - 02/28/11 11:52 AM Re: What's the best keyboard for a piano player? [Re: rumfoord]
rumfoord Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/09
Posts: 26
Loc: Toronto
This is very helpful. I didn't realize the built in speakers made such a big difference. I just thought it would be easier and more versatile but if the trade off is quality of the action I can probably sacrifice it.


Edited by rumfoord (02/28/11 11:54 AM)

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#1629922 - 02/28/11 12:26 PM Re: What's the best keyboard for a piano player? [Re: rumfoord]
PianoZac Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1417
Yeah traditionally I think the best stage pianos don't have speakers (with the exception of the CP300). Quality action in DPs with built speakers usually come in console/cabinet styles, with an exception of say the P155 and FP-7F. Once you remove the need for speakers, you open a nice big variety of keyboards with great action/sound. A list of some options without speakers:

Yamaha:
CP5
CP50
CP33

Roland:
RD700NX
RD300NX

Kawai:
MP10
MP6

Korg:
SV-1 73/88
Kronos (more of a workstation)

Kurzweil:
PC3K8

Nord:
Nord Piano 88
Nord Stage EX 88
Nord Stage 2 88

The keyboards with the best action IMHO are the Kawai MP10, followed by the Roland RD-700NX. Both are excellent sounding as well.
_________________________
Kawai RX-2
Nord Piano 2


"Life is a lot like jazz...it's best when you improvise."

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#1629967 - 02/28/11 01:30 PM Re: What's the best keyboard for a piano player? [Re: rumfoord]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

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

I am looking to buy a keyboard/electric piano and would appreciate some help making my decision.

I plan to use this at home for recording midi sounds and to use for playing live when there is not an acoustic piano available.

I want something that feels as much like a real piano as possible. That is the most important. Otherwise I would like it to be fairly light so that I can transport it easily. I would also like built in speakers. I just need 88 keys and a good piano sound. Anything beyond that is nice but not needed. I am willing to spend what it takes to get the right instrument. I am very interested to hear some thoughts and opinions.

Thanks.



Built-in speakers are OK for low volume practice but never for performance in a space larger then a small bed room. For performances in spaces where there might be a dozen people or more than you will need some external speakers.

The problem with matching the feel of an acoustic piano is "which acoustic piano" they are all different. You will just have to try the better key actions from Roland, Yamaha and Kawai and see for yourself which you like. Each company makes two or more different key actions.

Weight is always going to be a problem. The feel of a piano is created by using weighted hammers under the keys and when you add up 88 weights it's never light. Ok, well in some cases they use lighter weights but then the keys don't seem like those on an acoustic piano.

In your case, the Roland FP7F might be worth looking at. But Yamaha and Kawai's keys have quite a bit different feel to them Either way I think you'll be looking at just under $2K

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#1630006 - 02/28/11 02:44 PM Re: What's the best keyboard for a piano player? [Re: ChrisA]
PianoZac Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1417
Originally Posted By: ChrisA


In your case, the Roland FP7F might be worth looking at. But Yamaha and Kawai's keys have quite a bit different feel to them Either way I think you'll be looking at just under $2K

Well he mentioned he will spend what it takes, so perhaps he should look to the CP5, MP10, RD-700NX. All in the ~$2500 price range.
_________________________
Kawai RX-2
Nord Piano 2


"Life is a lot like jazz...it's best when you improvise."

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#1630342 - 02/28/11 11:55 PM Re: What's the best keyboard for a piano player? [Re: PianoZac]
moleskincrusher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/10
Posts: 169
All the advice above, I second.

However, if you're willing to wait till later in the year, Roland's undoubtedly forthcoming FP-4F ought to fill all your original requirements: good piano sound/action, relatively light weight, AND built-in (though probably only so-so quality) speakers. Also, the affordability factor should not be overlooked, whatever your budget.

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#1630381 - 03/01/11 01:29 AM Re: What's the best keyboard for a piano player? [Re: rumfoord]
erichlof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 357
Hi, I would like to suggest the Yamaha P-155. For what you are asking - good piano-type action, good sound, speakers, and able to be carried under your arm, I think this keyboard might fit the bill. My mom owns a Yamaha grand and I own a Yamaha upright, and when I play this keyboard, the keys react pretty close to a Yamaha acoustic. The piano sound samples are very even, just like the even Yamaha grand sound. I find I had to turn up the soundboard resonance and sympathetic resonance almost all the way to get a loooong sustain and nice wash of sound when the damper pedal is depressed. If you are playing at home, just turn it on in a small room, it will fill the room no problem - good for practicing when you don't want to power up monitors or external amps. For gigs, follow others' advice and get a powered PA speaker set that throws the sound out to the audience.
The only drawback to this keyboard and DPs in general is that very fast and light passages are not always clean because of velocity layers switching, where as the acoustic is more even and forgiving to slightly different finger pressures. The VAX 77 fixes this issue, but then you're left without 11 keys, speakers, and built in piano library, and some say it doesn't 'feel' like an acoustic (but it is portable I guess). :-)
Hope this helps!

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