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#1645141 - 03/21/11 10:43 AM Decisions, decisions, decisions....
mrmacmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 91
Loc: Central Scotland
Thanks everyone for their input on my earlier thread smile

I don't quite have the funds in place to buy my new piano just yet (fingers crossed for very soon though), but did manage another trip into the City on Saturday to try out those models I missed first time around, and remind myself of those I had already tested.

This time I played the Roland FP4, FP7F and F110, Nord Piano, Kawai CN33 (no MP6 or MP10 sadly), Yamaha P155 and CP5. Oh, and just for good measure, the AvantGrand N2 as well.

Naturally each one felt and sounded different, had things I liked and disliked about it, and was a compromise in one way or another. What did strike me though, is that I could jump between the different models and play the same repertoire (or just noodle around) on them all – I adjusted to suit the weight, bounce and speed of each action.

Yes, some felt nicer or were more expressive or responsive than others, but none were overtly bad (although I really didn't care for the P155, which I thought odd considering I used to own a P200).

So it boils down to which DP did I enjoy playing the most......

FP7F – once again, I wanted to really like this but something niggled me about it. The action was pleasant and quick, but quite noisy. The sound of the default SuperNatural piano through the on-board speakers is poor, and whilst it can be tweaked via EQ and 'piano designer' it just didn't engage me at all. The wobbly double-braced X-stand didn't help.

CP5 – to me, the action was very responsive – happy to be tickled or pounded and sounded good too, but ultimately I'm tired of the "Yamaha sound" and I'm not a fan of the design (does that matter? Well, yes it does).

Nord Piano 88 – now this was the one I was most keen to try having not got my hands on one on my first trip! Unfortunately it didn't have the new big Bosendorfer XL sample loaded (boo!), so I only got to try the Grand Lady and Studio Grand. Physically, it's very different from 'traditional' DPs, but very easy to operate. I liked the action, if perhaps it played a little shallower than the Yamaha, and those big samples, string and pedal resonance touches really do make for expressive playability – the pedal modelling alone makes a huge difference to the overall sound. The grands, uprights and electrics were all very convincing – the uprights in particular all had character. Brilliant! However – and perhaps it was something to do with the positioning of the stereo monitors in the shop – all the time I was playing, I felt like I was playing a recording of myself, and didn't get the immersive experience I had expected. I still liked it an awful lot though.

FP4 – this was the most interesting test of the day. The first time I played it, the action felt a bit light and rattly (and being elevated high on a double height stand with RD700nx below wasn't helping its cause). I wasn't keen on it at all. However, as my day of testing went on, I kept going back and forth to it from the NP88 and FP7, and eventually left the first shop wondering why I would pay extra for an FP7, and also whether I could justify doubling up the cost for an NP88. Later in the day I played the FP4 again in another retailer, this time sat at a stool, and enjoyed it very much – and here I was also going back and forth between the P155, CP5 and N2! I know it's subjective, but despite the lack of a SuperNatural main piano sound, the FP4 sounded better through its built in speakers than the FP7 (perhaps this is because most of the sound comes out the back of the FP4 and reflects off the wall it is placed against, whereas the FP7 speakers face upwards).

Playing the N2 though reminded me why I miss my "old friend" (Steinway B if you didn't see my other thread). If I had £9k, I'd buy one of these AvantGrands in a heartbeat – forgetting for a second the touch and tone, simple 'physical' properties like the gloss black fallboard and weighted damper pedal ignited deep memories of sitting practising (and performing) on proper pianos back in the day. The N2 may be a facsimile, but it is astonishingly good.

Back to reality.... I'm left in a quandry over the FP4 – it is due for an imminent SuperNatural upgrade, however it was the DP I kept going back to and enjoyed playing most on the day despite its shortcomings. At less than £900 it is also currently very good value for money at almost half the cost of the Nord, but equally playable and portable. Were I to win the lottery, it would also be a nice playing-out companion for an N2 LOL!! Add to that a free 5 year Roland warranty if purchased and registered in March, and it's very hard not to just go for it...

But, will the upcoming FP4F be worth the wait I wonder (and extra cost)..? I've not given up on the Nord just yet, but I do sort of feel that I might get more out of an FP4 plus Ivory II for less money.

Happy to be pointed in the right direction folks wink
_________________________
A shadow of my former self, but still the same Mac guy - designing, taking photos, talking tech, being creative and finally playing the piano again!

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#1645147 - 03/21/11 11:02 AM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: mrmacmusic]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3047
Loc: Oregon
The FP-4 still holds its own despite its age. I bought one recently for gigging. Its compact dimensions and low weight make it very portable. Its main piano sound is fairly good, Rhodes is just about passable, Wurlitzer not bad at all, organs usable. I'm not sure I would invest in it purely for standalone home use, but with Ivory or similar it will be very nice - the action is surprisingly playable. It's also very well screwed together.

I have an Electro 3 with Bosendorfer, and I can say that it's very nice played from the FP-4.

If you can find one, I'd strongly suggest you try the MP6. My MP5 plays beautifully and is a more refined instrument than the FP-4 - but no speakers.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#1645161 - 03/21/11 11:24 AM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: voxpops]
mrmacmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 91
Loc: Central Scotland
Originally Posted By: voxpops
The FP-4 still holds its own despite its age. I bought one recently for gigging. Its compact dimensions and low weight make it very portable. Its main piano sound is fairly good, Rhodes is just about passable, Wurlitzer not bad at all, organs usable. I'm not sure I would invest in it purely for standalone home use, but with Ivory or similar it will be very nice - the action is surprisingly playable. It's also very well screwed together.

Thanks voxpops – all good to know!!

Unfortunately I can only invest in one piano, primarily for home use yes, but I am tempted to play live again so future portability is important. The FP4 was surprisingly playable – it obviously lacks the refinement of the Nord, but with the availability of software pianos like Ivory I'm no longer purely basing any judgement on sound alone.

Quote:
If you can find one, I'd strongly suggest you try the MP6. My MP5 plays beautifully and is a more refined instrument than the FP-4 - but no speakers.



I had hoped to test the MP6, but sadly wasn't able to. Maybe a third trip into the City is called for.... laugh
_________________________
A shadow of my former self, but still the same Mac guy - designing, taking photos, talking tech, being creative and finally playing the piano again!

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#1645233 - 03/21/11 01:16 PM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: mrmacmusic]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
If I am not mistaken, in the past there have been complaints about sore wrists from playing the FP4. Something about the keybed bottoming out very hard. On the other hand, it is one of the few full sized instruments that you could squeeze on board as carry-on on airplane back before the airlines became so strict.

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#1645255 - 03/21/11 01:49 PM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: theJourney]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3047
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: theJourney
If I am not mistaken, in the past there have been complaints about sore wrists from playing the FP4. Something about the keybed bottoming out very hard. On the other hand, it is one of the few full sized instruments that you could squeeze on board as carry-on on airplane back before the airlines became so strict.

I think that was the FP7 - although I stand to be corrected. I used to have a lot of problems with wrists and fingers from certain DPs I owned in the past; I don't get that from my current FP4 (YMMV).
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#1645378 - 03/21/11 05:56 PM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: mrmacmusic]
mrmacmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 91
Loc: Central Scotland
OK, so it's funny how things can change in a few hours... I now have the funds!!! The Tyros sold, has been collected, and the buyer paid cash. Wow! Now I finally get to actually go shopping smile

Sadly, I think the Nord is going to be out my £1600 budget unless I get a fantastic deal - I need to factor stand and stool (and with the Nord speakers too) into the equation.

Is jumping at a bargain FP4 with 5-year warranty a good idea, or should I wait until after Musikmesse? I reckon an FP4 plus Ivory II would give me the best of both worlds - playable, enjoyable portable and stunning soft-piano....

What would you do..?
_________________________
A shadow of my former self, but still the same Mac guy - designing, taking photos, talking tech, being creative and finally playing the piano again!

Top
#1645383 - 03/21/11 06:04 PM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: mrmacmusic]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3047
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: mrmacmusic
OK, so it's funny how things can change in a few hours... I now have the funds!!! The Tyros sold, has been collected, and the buyer paid cash. Wow! Now I finally get to actually go shopping smile

Sadly, I think the Nord is going to be out my £1600 budget unless I get a fantastic deal - I need to factor stand and stool (and with the Nord speakers too) into the equation.

Is jumping at a bargain FP4 with 5-year warranty a good idea, or should I wait until after Musikmesse? I reckon an FP4 plus Ivory II would give me the best of both worlds - playable, enjoyable portable and stunning soft-piano....

What would you do..?


Rush out and spend that cash before it burns right through my pocket - and then wish I'd waited/spent a bit more time making sure I was getting what I really wanted wink

Congratulations on the sale - it's a nice feeling to know you can start moving forward with your plans.
_________________________
Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

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#1645408 - 03/21/11 06:37 PM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: mrmacmusic]
kiedysktos. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 425
Loc: Europe, Poland
When I was buying an FP-4 in November 2010 I knew it will be replaced, and I received some advices that I should wait.
But I needed gigging tool NOW, and I bought it. I don't regret it at all, first I like it, second I have an instrument for almost 4 months and if I didn't buy it I'd still wait.. and you don't know will it be introduced tomorrow or in the winter...
And you can always sell your FP-4, there are many guys out there that aren't aware and don't care about SN.

But if you can wait, do it.
_________________________
Roland FP-4

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#1645414 - 03/21/11 06:51 PM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: voxpops]
mrmacmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 91
Loc: Central Scotland
Originally Posted By: voxpops

Rush out and spend that cash before it burns right through my pocket - and then wish I'd waited/spent a bit more time making sure I was getting what I really wanted wink

Congratulations on the sale - it's a nice feeling to know you can start moving forward with your plans.

LOL! It will take willpower not to go spend the cash for sure....

Thanks - it is great to finally be able to move forward (or is that backwards?) smile
_________________________
A shadow of my former self, but still the same Mac guy - designing, taking photos, talking tech, being creative and finally playing the piano again!

Top
#1645415 - 03/21/11 06:54 PM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: kiedysktos.]
mrmacmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 91
Loc: Central Scotland
Originally Posted By: kiedysktos.


But if you can wait, do it.

I'm not gigging, so technically don't "need" to buy right now, and having already waited what seems like an eternity surely a few more weeks can't hurt, right?
_________________________
A shadow of my former self, but still the same Mac guy - designing, taking photos, talking tech, being creative and finally playing the piano again!

Top
#1645488 - 03/21/11 09:15 PM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: mrmacmusic]
dewar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/11
Posts: 139
Originally Posted By: mrmacmusic
OK, so it's funny how things can change in a few hours... I now have the funds!!! The Tyros sold, has been collected, and the buyer paid cash. Wow! Now I finally get to actually go shopping smile

Sadly, I think the Nord is going to be out my £1600 budget unless I get a fantastic deal - I need to factor stand and stool (and with the Nord speakers too) into the equation.

Is jumping at a bargain FP4 with 5-year warranty a good idea, or should I wait until after Musikmesse? I reckon an FP4 plus Ivory II would give me the best of both worlds - playable, enjoyable portable and stunning soft-piano....

What would you do..?


Well a ski mask only costs about 6 bucks.....

That good ol saying patience is a virtue.

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#1645617 - 03/22/11 02:42 AM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: mrmacmusic]
bbent Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 95
Loc: CA, USA
MrMacMusic,

A few suggestions for your search.

First, in evaluating sounds from various DPs, I recommend that you only use your own, good-quality earphones. Alternatively, try to audition WAV or MP3 files produced by the DPs in your best home auditioning monitors/speakers. It is important to use the same listening hardware to evaluate the sound from different models because the hardware provided in the various music stores vary so widely (generally from lousy to abysmal). Also, although some of the DPs you are considering have built in speakers, I wouldn't advise using them for evaluation purposes, since they too vary considerably from one model to another, and their quality is generally only average at best.

Second, in our search for a new DP, we were most concerned with the action, since we had already discovered and use Ivory II, and found it to be superior to every other synthesized piano sound we have heard (by a wide margin). We mostly use Ivory and only occasionally the built-in sounds (never use the speakers).

If you are not using the DP for gigging and you intend to use it mostly as a controller for Ivory II, then I would think the DP's actions should be the most important feature for you also.

We ultimately chose the FP-7F and have been very satisfied with our choice. The optional triple pedal is also important for our use.

Good luck in your quest.
_________________________
Regards,
Bob

NY Steinway A 1907, FP-7F wi RPU-3
HW: GA-X58A-UD3R, i7-930, 6GB & 2ea WD2002FAEX, 1ea WD1001FALS1TB, UA1000, Yamaha 2.1 HSM80M/HS10W, DPA SMK4061, Mackie LM3204
SW: Win7 Pro x64, Sonar PE 8.5.3, NI Komplete 8 Ult, Ivory Grand Pianos II

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#1645647 - 03/22/11 04:53 AM Re: Decisions, decisions, decisions.... [Re: bbent]
mrmacmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/11
Posts: 91
Loc: Central Scotland
Originally Posted By: bbent
MrMacMusic,

A few suggestions for your search.

First, in evaluating sounds from various DPs, I recommend that you only use your own, good-quality earphones. Alternatively, try to audition WAV or MP3 files produced by the DPs in your best home auditioning monitors/speakers. It is important to use the same listening hardware to evaluate the sound from different models because the hardware provided in the various music stores vary so widely (generally from lousy to abysmal). Also, although some of the DPs you are considering have built in speakers, I wouldn't advise using them for evaluation purposes, since they too vary considerably from one model to another, and their quality is generally only average at best.

I totally agree, but does it not depend on precisely what you are evaluating? I wanted to see (and hear) what it was like to just sit down and play, and to get an instant, immediate gut response to what was in front of me. Also, since I was specifically looking at a number of models with built-in speakers, it was important what those particular DPs sounded like under their own steam, so to speak.

Quote:
Second, in our search for a new DP, we were most concerned with the action, since we had already discovered and use Ivory II, and found it to be superior to every other synthesized piano sound we have heard (by a wide margin). We mostly use Ivory and only occasionally the built-in sounds (never use the speakers).

Again, I totally agree – action is critical, and software such as Ivory will always knock the socks of a hardware DP, at least for now. However, if action were the only factor, I'd jump straight into an AvantGrand, but budget is the main issue here.

As mentioned earlier, all acoustic pianos feel different – I've played everything from wrecked uprights to exquisite 9ft grands and am happy to accept that I will get used to whichever action I end up with. Having said that, I'm not going to pick something I don't like – the FP-4 felt much better than the P155, and whilst the FP-7F felt nicer, I'm not 100% convinced it feels £600 nicer......

Quote:
If you are not using the DP for gigging and you intend to use it mostly as a controller for Ivory II, then I would think the DP's actions should be the most important feature for you also.

We ultimately chose the FP-7F and have been very satisfied with our choice. The optional triple pedal is also important for our use.

I'm not intending to use it for gigging (at least not until I've brushed up my dormant technique), and I'm not planning on using it primarily as a controller either – however if I go for the FP-4, there will be enough money in the kitty for a stand, stool, active monitors and Ivory II. If I wait for the FP-4F (or go for the FP-7F or even Kawai MP6 which I've not tested), the budget would be sunk!

Initially though, I know I'll be happy just having 88 notes to play again – I miss the piano, and I'm doing myself (and my kids) an injustice by not playing and sharing.... that's the primary reason I'm getting a DP.

Quote:
Good luck in your quest.

Thanks Bob smile
_________________________
A shadow of my former self, but still the same Mac guy - designing, taking photos, talking tech, being creative and finally playing the piano again!

Top

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