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#1699040 - 06/21/11 12:12 AM Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too)
RafaPolit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 263
Loc: Quito, Ecuador
Good afternoon friends,

This is my first post here after having read this forum for several years learning a lot from both electronic equipment as well as acoustic pianos. I was hoping if you very knowleadgable and helpful friends could provide some insight into my current decision making process.

I'd like to add a bit of my background if it helps a bit with the questions I am about to ask:
- I don't play music for living, I am a webpage designer, but I have a profound passion for playing music and making arrangements for choir, orchestra and instruments. So, budget IS an issue.
- I am a trained classical piano player and I have been playing since I was 5 (I'm now 33).
- I play both classical and modern piano and I accompany myself singing and a group of friends for mass and also for small receptions.
- I have my own vertical piano which I love (and have used since I was 8) but, as for digital pianos, I have always borrowed one from my step dad who owns a recording studio. Those digital pianos include an incredible array of brands, makes, models and qualities: I have used (in order of subjective overall preference) a Kurzweil PC2X, a Kurzweil SP3X, a Kurzweil SP2X, a Roland Fantom G6, a Kurzweil KME61, an Alesis Q8, some Korgs of which I don't remember the models and some Yamahas and Casios.
- I find it more difficult each time I need to borrow equipment, so I am ready to buy a Digital Piano smile
- I live in Quito, Ecuador, in South America so stock is very limited, import options are not great, testing out equipment is near impossible and prices are about USD$500 to USD$1000 more expensive than in the US, which makes purchasing a minor pain.

Ok, enough with the background... I have a few choices available to me locally, I may be able to import some other models at extreme extra expense if the benefits are really worth it.

So, here's the research I have already done and what I hoped to get:
- I was aiming for a Kurzweil SP4-7.

Here's my actual first group of questions: I have no way of testing ANY semi-weighted keyboard and cannot test the SP4-7 here. Having played the SP3X and the un-weighted plastic keyboards like the KME61 or the likes (which are nearly identical all the way back to my 20 year old Yamaha PSR-500), how is the actual feel of the SP4-7 keyboard? Does it feel more towards the full weighted feel or more towards the plasticky feel of the 61 key keyboards? Perhaps its a perfectly in-between feeling? Can classical music be played semi-decently on a Semi-weighted keyboard (I find it hart to play fast repetitions on the plasticky keyboards).

I have the feeling that the fewer number of keys over the 88 will not be too detrimental and the portability will increase significantly! (for one thing, I will be able to put the keyboard on the back seat of my car, thing that an 88 keyboard can't fit!)

Now, the SP4-7 is not able to be acquired locally, so the additional cost will be significant!!! Do you think that, giving that issue, the SP4-8 is actually a better choice?

Now, onto the local alternatives.
I can buy locally:
- Kurzweil SP3X
- Kurzweil SP2X
- Kurzweil SP2XS
- Roland FP-7F

I have always liked the Kurzweil piano sound (I know about the 'you love it or hate it' issue, I'm on the 'love it' side wink ). That said, I had the opportunity today to try the Roland FP-7F and was very impressed with the sound and feel of the piano. I think the Fantom G6 is a fantastic equipment and I know how Roland takes cares of little details, so its the only non-Kurzweil brand I was considering and this did not disappoint. It is a good deal more expensive than the other alternatives, but I'd like some comments on it vs. the Kurzweils, which I was not able to find.

So, of this choices, I'd love some input on several key aspects of this options:
- How much better is the SP3X than the SP2X other than being newer and having the worst color choice in the history of digital pianos? I played them both today, but on the demo floor where loud stereos and amplifiers where being tested, so I'm not really sure of what I heard. Both seemed really leveled, I *might* have liked the SP2X keyboard a bit better, but the dynamics of the SP3X where clearly better and the sounds seemed better tweaked.
- Having the loudspeaker options of the SP2XS has some advantages: it would allow me to save on an amplifier, and, if doing bigger gigs, we have external amplification anyways. BUT, it lacks some key features: mainly, balanced 1/4" outputs and mod wheel and control wheel. How much of a deal breaker are those issues?
- Those Roland fans out there, what are the key advantages of the SuperNATURAL piano of Roland vs. the Triple Strike Piano of the SP3X or SP2X?
- How much better would the SP4-8 be to the SP3X? (if at all!, the new version has less sounds, so some might think the SP3X is actually better)

And, finally (sorry for the long post)... which would you subjectively pick (considering my background and demands) and why? I'm open to every and all comments and the more you write, the better smile . Obviously, if you believe there is a KEY alternative I am missing, I'm all ears! It doesn't matter if the possibilities turn from 6 to 20!

This is probably a once in a lifetime purchase cause I'll probably never have the money again and I will not be able to justify upgrading since this is a hobby in which I have already have the basic tools (save this final piece), so I want it to be as thought as possible, and try to remove as much as possible the problem of lack of testing options.

Thanks, truly, for all and every bit of help, and, since this is my first post, please be gentle! (I'm also not a native English speaker, so forgive any errors).

Best regards,
Rafa.


Edited by RafaPolit (06/21/11 12:19 AM)
_________________________
Roland FP-7F

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#1699047 - 06/21/11 12:24 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8437
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Hello Rafa,

I'm afraid I'm not terribly knowledgeable about Kurzweil instruments, however I am confident that two or three forum regulars will step in an provide the assistance you require.

Anyway, just wanted to say welcome to the forum!

By the way, your English is terrific! wink

Cheers,
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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#1699187 - 06/21/11 07:40 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
thomsurf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/01/10
Posts: 152
Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
Hi Rafa
I just got the Kurx SP4-7 as a secondary, lightweight bread and butter kinda instrument to use for band gigs and rehearsals across town.

The keys are actually better than I'd expected. I didn't take long for my fingers to accept that it's a semi-weighted action using shorter keys. They sit right between synth action and weighted.
The only issues I have is when pressing the black keys on the middle part of the key. It takes more pressure to press down (because of the shorter length). This limits my expression a bit while playing. If you enjoy playing fast, technical pieces, my verdict would be that you wouldn't be happy with this board.

I also have a Roland RD300NX which use Supernatural technology. The kurz pianos don't hold up to this standard at all. The decay is WAY shorter and the sound is a bit more metallic. BUT the Kurz pianos are way easier to get to sound good when playing through various PA systems.
_________________________
Roland RD800, JBL PRX612M.

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#1699540 - 06/21/11 07:55 PM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
RafaPolit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 263
Loc: Quito, Ecuador
Thanks James for the warm welcome!

Thanks a lot Thomsurf for the insight... yeah, my test of the Supernatural piano was really exciting. One of the problems is budget: the FP-7F is to be had locally for $2600 while the SP2X can be purchased for $1550. So, paying $1000 for that small difference when I can always use Pianoteq for recordings and use the Kurz piano for gigs is something worth analyzing.

Now, if there is a Roland in the same price range with the supernatural piano AND the superb piano feel of the keyboard, I may be tempted.

As for the 76 keys, thanks a lot, that was precisely the type of insight I was looking for. I have used the 61 keyboards and that is exactly where they fail, so you have helped a lot and actually manage to get me to spend at least $500 more on the options, so you are not my favorite person at the moment! wink .

Sorry for the ignorance, but not being native English speaker and not yet familiar with abbreviation terminology, what are PA systems?

As I said before, I of course do my research and testing locally, but there are tons of minor details that will only surface days, weeks or months after purchase, so the subjective perspective of users of the keyboards is of invaluable worth to me. Also, since I'm not a pro, I value advice from others and weigh it into my own judgment. For instance, lets say that the SP2X has more 'punch' in the sound, but less dynamic range (I'm only speculating an example, not stating any fact!)... a seasoned player could advice: that difference in punch can be solved with gain but you keep the better dynamic range... or the likes smile (as an example)... so, I'd love to hear everything and anything you friends have to say about my options.

Thanks again,
Rafa.
_________________________
Roland FP-7F

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#1699593 - 06/21/11 09:15 PM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2505
Hi RafaPolit,

The "PA" in PA systems stands for:

"Public Address"

pv88

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#1699687 - 06/22/11 02:54 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: pv88]
moleskincrusher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/10
Posts: 169
RafaPolit -

For quality control and up-to-date technology, I wouldn't recommend Kurzweil. They don't feel well-made or sound especially good to me. I have a Roland FP-7F and love it but for the price they are quoting you in Quito you would not, in my opinion, be getting value for money.

It appears that, as you say, your options are limited. May I recommend a Yamaha P155, which sells in the US for $1,000? The Yamaha distributor for Latin America (covering countries other than Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela) is in Panama, and the Piano Music Center in Pembroke Park, Florida seems to specialize in export sales to all of Latin America.

Good luck whatever you decide.

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#1699697 - 06/22/11 03:56 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
Bogs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/17/10
Posts: 132
I have never tried any of the pianos you mentioned, but I have tried 2 semi-weighted pianos [no brand names though] and I was very disappointed by them. Control over the tone you want to produce is basically 0. The difference between an acoustic and the semi-weighted touch is sky-high. You said you're a trained classical piano player..you will miss the full weight of the key and the beautiful phrases you can create in your music. I don't think it's worth it, especially since it's that expensive! One piece of advice I found on this forum is "Buy the best, you'll only cry once".

So my advice is to consider only fully-weighted digital pianos.
_________________________
old Gaveau upright & Kawai CA63; previously Korg SP250

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#1699723 - 06/22/11 05:39 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
thomsurf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/01/10
Posts: 152
Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
Korg makes a DP with 73 weighted keys. 'SV1 73'. That might suit your needs. I believe it sounds rather good with the latest OS update. But the key quality is not quite on par with Roland. Still weighted though.
_________________________
Roland RD800, JBL PRX612M.

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#1699761 - 06/22/11 07:50 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
JFP Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 1318
Loc: The Netherlands
I don't fully agree about the quality control issue concerning Kurzweil's . There may have been problems in the past with the keybeds (up untill the K2500 series), but later on other FATAR models we're used and the boards are considered much more reliable since then. Having owned several Kurzweils I know them a bit (still got a PC3 as well).

For a lightweight gig-board with 88 keys and reasonable touch you might consider the new SP4-8. It has the Fatar TP100 keybed which is somewhere between weighted and semi-weighted action. Not the ultimate grand piano feel, but therefore the better for general use (playing Piano, Organ, synth sounds etc). The acoustic piano sounds are indeed quite old and don't stand a chance agains SN boards or software piano's , but they are not 'that' bad and quite usable in practice. EP's are fine and sounds like strings and organ actually quite good. As for after sales support; Kurzweil continually provides firmware updates and additions while really listening to customer requests. Something many other brands could learn from. In the same price range AND lightweight you have the Casio PX3 BK as an alternative and a bit higher up the RD-300NX. The rest goes up higher in price and/or is heavier to carry around (Kawai MP6, Yamaha boards, Clavia Nord series and others). The SP4-8 might fit your needs, but as always; try before you buy ;-)

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#1699800 - 06/22/11 09:30 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: JFP]
Coker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/31/11
Posts: 182
Loc: Connecticut,USA
You may want to try to get a Roland FP-7 or FP-4, the previous generation of the FP-7F and FP-4F. Very good sounds, just not "Supernatural." I'll bet these can be purchased at or near your budget level at this time.

Welcome
_________________________
Yamaha CP4, Kawai CA93

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#1700029 - 06/22/11 04:25 PM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
RafaPolit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 263
Loc: Quito, Ecuador
Thanks again friends for all the input!!

Well, I think its harder than I thought to explain my situation. Locally the models available are the ones I listed above... NOTHING ELSE! So options like 'try' or 'test' are actually non-existent at this point. It is either those 4, kids sub $500 Casios, or importing. Importing voids any option of 'try before you buy'.

Moleskin, about price ranges, well, its something we have to learn to live with... I agree that $2500 on the FP-7F is too much, but the P155 you mentioned may well be $1500~$1600 here, so that is too much as well. But thanks for the recommendation, I'm looking into that one as well, but, while other sounds are not as important as Piano and EP, I would still like some more variety than the 17 patches available to the P155 at this point (I might change my mind though smile ).

Bogs, I agree, I'm decided to go with a fully weighted keyboard at this point.

Thomsurf, this may seem to contradict what I said to Moleskin, but I want first and foremost a piano, and those Korgs seem to be more oriented to jazz type of synth sounds and piano being a 'secondary' option of the keyboard. So, while I appreciate having different sounds, the piano is the focal point, so I don't think that line of Korgs are what I'm looking for at this point.

JPF, I agree mostly with you on the way Kurzweil handles some things, but I have to admit at being utterly disappointed about the info available on the site for purchase-making decisions. Every audio sample for a particular patch is identical from one model to the next. What use does anyone get from that? I want an audio sample of a pianist actually playing the keyboard!!! Of course a midi file passed onto the patch will sound identical if samples and engines are the same, but that is not considering how THAT particular keyboard reacts to the touch. So, the audio samples demoed on the 61 key models could only be achieved with external controllers, so that is kind of absurd to give as audio demos, IMHO. Also, I pay attention to my ears and fingers, not marketing strategies, so all that talk about resonance and non-step velocity changes, on paper, does not impress me, but I have to admit feeling more comfortable with the FP-7F than I was with the Kurzweils I tested. What does come as a big surprise to me is that the SP4-8 is not actually fully weighted!!! frown I assumed it was at least as good as the SP3X, but that has given me a pause on that model. Have you (or anyone for that matter) tested it and could elaborate on how does it compare to a fully weighted? If that is the case, perhaps the SP3X is the best option on the Kurzweil front at this point. Again though, no testing of the SP4-8 available, it will have to be theoretical knowledge only.

Coker, I have access to the Fantom G6, which I consider a fantastically versatile instruments, but the piano sounds/engine is not really what I would hope for, so I'm not sure I'd prefer the FP-7 over the SP3X. The FP-7F was considerably better (to my ears at least) than the Fantom G6.

Thanks a lot friends, still browsing through choices and options, so please, keep the ideas coming smile

Best regards,
Rafa.
_________________________
Roland FP-7F

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#1700325 - 06/23/11 04:48 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
JFP Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 1318
Loc: The Netherlands
If acoustic piano sounds are you're main thing and you want a weighted keybed and good sound and shell a certain amount of money , consider for instance the Kawai MP6, RD300NX and FP7F . The 300NX keybed is not as good as the other two, but it is also lighter. I thought you we're looking for a transportable (!) allround keyboard solution in a low price range; that makes the SP4-8 a good contender. If weight is of no concern to you, I would suggest you take a look at the MP6 or a comparable product. If price is also not an issue , look at the RD700NX, MP10 kind of instruments. Again, I assumed you needed a sturdy, leightweight and reliable allround board for a reasonable price and that's where the Kuzrweil might fit in. Also you suggested using Pianoteq if you needed better sounds in the studio/at home; so the inferior, but usable Acoustic Piano would not be such a big issue. Perhaps you can restate you're requirements in order of most importance (Keybed, AP sounds, Price range, Weight etc). Makes it more easy to point you to the proper products ;-)

Cheers, J

Edit: By the way , I would never buy an SP3X over the other options; it's aging and the keybed is worse than the other options - the SP4 has a better sound engine (coming straight from the PC3) and EFX as well. If SP3X is on your mind , please consider the RD300NX, MP6, Casio PX3BK (cheaper) , or...SP4-8


Edited by JFP (06/23/11 04:51 AM)

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#1700762 - 06/23/11 06:32 PM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
RafaPolit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 263
Loc: Quito, Ecuador
Thanks once more JFP for a great insight taking into account my actual needs. You have asked very good questions regarding my decision, but given my location, they are not as easily answered as I would have hoped for. For instance, weight is a bit of a concern as it has to be transportable, but I could cope with more weight if the DP is worth it... the problem is that, if the model is not found locally, the price of transportation will be prohibitive for certain weights, even if I wouldn't care much about that weight for taking into a local church, for instance.

But I believe your questions are the best place to start, so, here are my requirements in order of importance:
- Tied in first place: Keybed (fully weighted now a must after all my trials and testings) and Acoustic Piano sound and feel.
- Second: price range of the item delivered to my front door. This is critical, I'll explain why later.
- Third: weight (for transportation purposes, but, if not acquired locally, for shipment value as well)

The models you have suggested (safe for the Casios for which I don't care really much) are precisely the ones I have been looking at this past few days. I had just recent heard about the MP6 but I have yet to fully read about it... I was not ultra convinced with the online piano sample sounds, nor I know anything about the keybed, if you'd like to share about it, I'd love to hear it. I must confess the RD300NX had climbed to the very top of my list. How is its Keybed compared to the FP-7F or the SP3X, for instance?

Now, here's the issue: if the DP is not to already available in the local market, I'll need to import it. To do that, I'll have to pay full retail price plus US shipping. Then around $200 to $400 for shipment from US to Ecuador and then 12% of the retail price + US shipping + international shipping. I hate living here when this type of scenarios occur. Also, the local prices are just absurd!!! Let me give you a for instance:
- I found today a Yahama P-155. You can only buy the floor model which may be on display and abused by customers for a year or so, for the bargain price of USD $2500!!!, since its the floor model, the manager was so gentle as to agree to sell it for $2000.
- I found a Yamaha s90 ES in a very respectable store for the amazing price of (grab to your seats) USD $3500 frown and a CP300 for $3000.

At this point, the Roland FP-7F (of which I probably would need to purchase the floor model as well!) at $2500 is starting to look like a bargain!!! frown

The other local prices are the SP2X for $1536 and the SP3X for $2000 (on this I *may* get a 7%~10% discount). I still need to think about a good frame or stand, an amplifier or monitors (by the way, which will you recommend?), and a carrying case, which will amount to $500 or so, right? So, the SP2X is starting to sound like my only viable choice frown .

I *could* try to import the SP4-8 for which the lowered weight makes it an attractive choice. But with those prices, I may very well purchase an airline ticket to the US and bring the keyboard myself.

Same goes for the RD-300NX, depending on the quality of the keybed.

Sigh... this should be a fun process instead of a nerve wrecking decision. Thanks again for all the help friends, I'm still open to every and any ideas.

Rafa.


Edited by RafaPolit (06/23/11 06:33 PM)
_________________________
Roland FP-7F

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#1700969 - 06/24/11 02:37 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
bbent Offline
Full Member

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

My wife and I recently went through the difficult selection process to find a replacement for our aging (10 year old) Kurzweil PC88MX. It was still working fine, but the keyboard feel wasn’t too good and the piano sound just wasn’t that great, compared to the latest DPs. We had mainly been using it as a MIDI controller for Ivory.

We considered the Yamaha CP5 and CP50, Roland FP-7F, Kawai MP6 and MP10, and Kurzweil PC3K8. For us, the winner was the FP-7F. Our main objectives were keyboard feel and piano sound. We didn’t intend to gig with it, so size/weight wasn’t too important.

Here are some suggestions for you to consider:

1) Always use your own, good-quality earphones when you audition a DP. If you don’t, the variations in room characteristics and quality of amplifier/speaker used at one dealer compared to another will make it impossible to compare the sounds in a fair way. Also, if you always use the same earphones, the only variables are you and the DP you are listening to.

2) In reading your posts, it seems clear that the most important qualities for your new DP are keyboard feel and size/weight. As long as you choose a keyboard that meets these requirements, you can always use the DP as a MIDI controller for a software piano (or other voice). While it would be nice to not have to use any other equipment (e.g., laptop and software synthesizer), I don’t believe you will be able to find a keyboard in Ecuador that meets all of your criteria. Some people on this forum swear by the Nord Piano, although quite a few aren’t crazy about the feel (action). I couldn’t get my wife to even look at it because of the color.

3) My last suggestion is to consider taking a vacation to a country that has a better selection and price for the various DPs you are considering and bring it back as baggage on your plane trip home. You would need to be sure you understand the import/export laws for both countries, but I have read on these forums of others using this approach. You might even be able to buy a second-hand DP (e.g., eBay or Craig’s List) for considerably less than in Ecuador.

Good luck on 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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#1701640 - 06/25/11 04:06 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
RafaPolit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 263
Loc: Quito, Ecuador
Friends, I'd like to extend once more my gratitude towards all the help received here.

I'm very proud to say, I finally decided to pull the trigger. After the terrible ordeal of finding out some dealers are charging more than twice the retail US value, I went back to the house that sold the Roland and asked them for their very best price on the FP-7F.

As stated by Bogs, "Buy the best, you'll only cry once", applied here... I knew that, after testing the FP-7F (and without having read anything about it), if I went with one of the other models I would only have that annoying 'what if' feeling. So... I swallowed hard, and asked for the best price. He gave me a $2300 quote, with a nice X-type pedestal. Considering the retail value in the US of $1900, I knew I would not get any better (we have a 12% VAT, that alone puts the keyboard on that price range)... so, I'm now the proud owner of a fantastic!!! Roland FP-7F!

I couldn't be happier, and once the dizziness of the shear amount of money washes away, I'll be left with a top of the line keyboard.

I have all of you friends to thank for all the support, as its hard to find a person to talk about this things that shares the passion and/or internal conflict these type of decisions involve, so I felt amongst friends here.

Thanks once more, and see you around! smile

Best regards,
Rafa.
_________________________
Roland FP-7F

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#1701662 - 06/25/11 06:04 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8437
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Congrats Rafa!

The FP-7F is a terrific instrument!

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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#1703328 - 06/28/11 12:43 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
BHCGY Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/13/11
Posts: 24
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
Congratulations! I hope you enjoy the FP-7F for many years.

b
_________________________
Brent Hay
Steinway and Sons dealer for Calgary, Canada
Roland Foresta Digital Piano location for Calgary, Canada
www.SteinwayPianosofCalgary.com
Brent@SteinwayPianosofCalgary.com

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#1703383 - 06/28/11 03:06 AM Re: Help narrowing down Kurzweil options (one Roland choice too) [Re: RafaPolit]
RafaPolit Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 263
Loc: Quito, Ecuador
Thanks a lot friends for all the input and the support. BHCGY, I too hope I'll enjoy it for many years (or forever! smile ) as I'm not going to be able to replace it, ever. I don't like any of you very much at this point, since my bank account has emptied!!! smile , but I have more or less completed the purchase today:
- M-Audio BX5a Deluxe
- PBU-3 Pedal Unit

I went for the pedal unit since it was sold cheaper than in the US, which, quite frankly, is nothing short of a miracle here, so, since I knew I'd get it some day, I thought, what the heck, why not do it now.

The monitors were a harder decision. They are not really the best I could think of, but they were the cheapest choice (amongst the reasonable options, excluding non-active options or some that have the 'activeness' on only one speaker!).

I have now installed everything, and I'm really, really happy! The monitors are very capable once you set up the correct volume - gain - EQ settings, and the pedal unit is interesting as it mimics the piano pedals but allows to configure them for other things, like turning on/off harmony for the mic, etc. This is another advantage over the Kurzweil models: 3 unit pedal against 2 pedals. I must confess that the sostenuto pedal will require me to grow an additional brain portion, but I'm willing to try!

I do have something to say on the FP-7F though: the Acoustic Piano sound is nothing short of breathtaking for me! I have the complete Mozart Concertos played by Alfred Brendel and I played them today through the new monitors and I offset-played the concertos in the keyboard and the sounds from both him and me were indistinguishable from one another (please, read carefully, the SOUNDS!! the playing is quite another issue! smile ). I then played my Richter's live performance of the K.310 sonata... its live recorded on a large hall, so I upped the reverb depth to 10 and, voila, the sound was almost identical.

That is, for me, quite astonishing! I played a piece I played (the Schindler´s list theme) through PianoTeq 2.3 and through the FP-7F sound and I actually thought the PianoTeq was a bit muddy, and the woody yet warm tone of the FP-7F was really great! Mind it, this is the first time I've heard the sound of the Roland through semi-decent monitors, so what I already thought a good sound has gone into being a fantastic sound! I believe that, short of the very best samplers out there like Ivory 2, I would choose the FP sound for even a good recording.

The keybed is actually better than my own vertical piano (which is a brand-less one that has stood by me for 27 years now.

Of course, there are things that are not exactly what I would have expected. My main cons of the FP-7F are:
- Only one saveable Piano Designer settings! What's up with this? Why can't the Registrations save these settings as well so I can configure a hard hammered brightly open-lid option and then save also a light hammered mellowy closed-lid version for other moods of play? You can save to memory one or the other, but if you want to switch, you'll need to do it every time! That's absurd!
- I'm unsure why they wouldn't include the pitch bend and mod wheel on the model... they would come really handy when using it as a controller for non-piano voices. Haven't tried the pedals configured as semi-pitch-bend options, but seems weird.
- The Harmony option for the Mic is fantastic!!! it really helps a lot to the performance when one is alone, but, its not great to have it on all the time, right? Well, if you turn it off for, say, the start of a song, and then switch it on for the choir of the song, the moment you turn it on, the piano sound mutes for a split second before engaging the mic harmony engine, killing the smoothness of the performance.
- The ability to record WAV from the piano and/or Mic into the USB keyboard would have been very useful. As it is, you can only record a midi performance.

All in all, those are very minor in the overall awesomeness of the unit, but for some they might be deal breakers.

Oh, and I'd like to particularly thank James... you were the first to welcome me here, you took the trouble of finding the close by dealers of Kawai, but, first and foremost, for being able to be part of a company yet advice and be objective about other brands as well. That, for me, tells a lot about the character of a person. Thank you, truly!

Best regards,
Rafa.



Edited by RafaPolit (06/28/11 03:12 AM)
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