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#1887490 - 04/27/12 12:52 PM Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice?
groundH2O Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 53
Loc: Vanvouver BC
Hi There,

I lurked (mainly) and posted (sparingly) on these forums for a short time several years ago when shopping for a grand piano for my wife. Now, I am looking for some help to sort out my thoughts on a digital piano. I have ruled out an upright acoustic due to space limitations, weight, and tuning stability with temperatures fluctuating between 50-70 degrees F (10 to 20 deg. c).

The players: me (poorly - lessons for ~3 years), my wife (very well IMHO - plays for pleasure, classical and piano-based pop), our twin 10-year-old boys (getting to be intermediate ~RCM Grade 3, taking lessons, practicing most days).

So here's what I am looking for - excellent action and decent piano sound. As a bonus, I am also looking for fun stuff (different sounds, layering, MIDI, ability to connect to a computer, etc.). I'm not looking so much to duplicate our grand piano as to complement it. My current bias is that Roland models are the most fun (happy to be corrected).

My budget is less than $1000 (my wife hopes much less), so I'm thinking a bit older, better digital gets me a better keyboard - between sound and keyboard, I really want a "paino-like" keyboard and am willing to sacrifice some sound.

I live in Vancouver. Seattle is also in play as a place to visit (have friends). Any further afield and I would need to rely on internet good will and shipping.

I have been overwhelmed by the number of models for each of the main makers. I am primarily considering Roland, Yamaha, Kawai, and Korg - the list of models within these brands makes my brain hurt.

Any suggestions for specific makes and models to chase down, specific keyboards that will feel reasonably piano-like, or potential sources for used equipment (Lower Mainland BC or Greater Seattle) would be most appreciated.

Thanks for reading my rambling!
_________________________
what thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying "And another thing ..." twenty minutes after admitting he's lost the argument. - Douglas Adams

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#1887499 - 04/27/12 01:04 PM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: groundH2O]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3184
Loc: Oregon
Under $1000 with good action and controller functionality you might want to consider Kawai MP5 / MP8 (also MP6 if you can find one for that) in addition to Rolands.

BTW you might find a Roland RD-700SX for that as it's now two generations old. Good keyboard.
_________________________
"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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#1887515 - 04/27/12 01:20 PM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: groundH2O]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3493
Loc: Pennsylvania
And don't forget the ever popular Yamaha p155.

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#1887550 - 04/27/12 02:34 PM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: groundH2O]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5291
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
... or the CP33.
_________________________
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#1887606 - 04/27/12 04:41 PM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: Dave Horne]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 961
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
... or the CP33.


+1 given your criteria. It is within the budget, is more flexible than the P155 if you want to experiment with MIDI etc. It lacks the speakers of the P155 though.

If you want speakers, P155 is basically the only solid option within your budget.

Of the Kawais I'd prefer MP6 to MP5 due to its better action. Perhaps you can look at some of the cheaper Kawai console models as well.
_________________________
Shigeru Kawai SK-2, etc.

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#1887647 - 04/27/12 05:56 PM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: maurus]
CarloPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 177
Korg SP-250 is a another option to consider within your budget. It has a nice sound and a playable and in my opinion nice action.

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#1887650 - 04/27/12 05:59 PM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: maurus]
groundH2O Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 53
Loc: Vanvouver BC
Thank you for your suggestions!

I tried a couple of digital pianos today. My general impression is that new digital pianos with sufficiently piano-like action for my own tastes are generally more than $2000.

I tried the P155 and didn't care for the action (GH, not GH3). It was at a store with acoustic Yamaha uprights - there was no comparison. I did try the current crop of Clavinovas with GH3 actions the other day (some with wooden keys and progressively weighted) that felt quite good, at well over $2000.

I did like the Korg RH3 action (I have read elsewhere on these forums that it's the Yamaha GH3 action). I also liked the Roland FP-7F and 700NS, unfortunately, at about double my budget.

I am enamoured with the Korg-SV1. I haven't yet read up on it (also >budget). So warm sounding and so many dials to twiddle - hours of entertainment!

I don't think my wife could live with the Korg LP350 cabinet in her life (even at a cabin). Otherwise, the LP350 actually seems to be a pretty good option for about $1K. I only listened to the LP350 through the disappointing speakers.

The Kawai MP6 intruigues me. I'll try to find something with the same action to try out.

Thanks again!
_________________________
what thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying "And another thing ..." twenty minutes after admitting he's lost the argument. - Douglas Adams

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#1888199 - 04/29/12 01:29 AM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: groundH2O]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3493
Loc: Pennsylvania
I agree that the P155 action is not perfect, but it's typical of Yamaha pianos, so if you don't like it, I'd just look to Kawai or Roland. There aren't really any cheaper pianos with better actions that I know of. The wooden and progressively weighted actions are reserved for high-end pianos.

The MP6 is a fine piano but definitely will not be under $1K. However, consider the Kawai EP3 for a change of pace.

Unfortunately, the good pianos below 1000 dollars are slim pickings. I'm not aware of any good Rolands in that range.

Occasionally we will run into a person who likes the Casio action. Doesn't hurt to give it a try and they are pretty cheap. Consider the PX130 or PX330.


Edited by gvfarns (04/29/12 01:30 AM)

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#1890555 - 05/03/12 03:00 PM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: groundH2O]
groundH2O Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 53
Loc: Vanvouver BC
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. You have a particularly helpful group here with a generally high signal-to-noise ratio (at least in the buying a cheap digital advice department).

After poking around the internet and getting out to a couple local music stores, I have ordered a Yamaha CP33. In addition to decent action, decent piano sound, and some gadgets for the kids, portability turned out to matter (I wanted something that I could "put away"). The new requirement, combined with a firm $1K ceiling, made the CP33 a good option.

I ended up with the keyboard, stand, bench, and headphones for under $1,000 - better value than I could find locally on Craigslist. I have concluded that there is no such thing as a perfect digital keyboard and that I can adjust to the CP33 keyboard. Based on reviews, the piano sound seems to be pretty good. I will aim to check back in once everything arrives.

My next step is to get some speakers - any thoughts on speakers on the cheap? I have read recommendations on other threads for both active monitors and for a cheap amp/speaker combo. I don't think I can swing a subwoofer yet budget-wise - perhaps later.
_________________________
what thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying "And another thing ..." twenty minutes after admitting he's lost the argument. - Douglas Adams

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#1890597 - 05/03/12 04:56 PM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: groundH2O]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3493
Loc: Pennsylvania
Speakers are kind of the open question without a unique good answer. Not a bad idea to get them a piece at a time. Get an ok receiver (possibly a used one that's not bottom of the line) the you can add a couple of speakers and upgrade later to bigger ones, add a sub, etc.

The most mentioned brand around here seems to be Polk, but I don't have any experience with them and I'm not sure how popular they actually are. Just what I see mentioned when the subject comes up. Kind of like Sennheiser and headphones.

Personally I've used several brands of studio monitors for the purpose and didn't end up liking them. I think you'd have to get pretty expensive ones to get a pleasing sound. To me a nice sound is more important than brutal honesty where speakers for piano playing are concerned. Monitors are made for mixing so they favor the latter at the expense of the former.


Edited by gvfarns (05/03/12 04:58 PM)

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#1890645 - 05/03/12 06:07 PM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: groundH2O]
MacMacMac Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 4025
Loc: North Carolina
I don't know how cheap is cheap enough for you, but ...

I did just what gvfarns suggested, above. I bought a used 5.1 channel A/V receiver (Yamaha, $32 on ebay).

Then I added a pair of used tower speakers (JBL G400s, $100 on craigs list).

Then, not quite happy with the sound, I added a pair of bookshelf speakers (Polk RT15s, $40 on craigs list) and stands for them ($25 on craigs list).

With the receiver I can drive five channels. I'm using four to drive these speakers.

All for under $200.

Originally Posted By: groundH2O
any thoughts on speakers on the cheap?

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#1890663 - 05/03/12 06:38 PM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: groundH2O]
Bob M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/09
Posts: 208
Loc: North Carolina
Do you have a 2.1 speaker system connected to your computer--try it with the CP33. Or check this link:

http://store.cambridgesoundworks.com/Cambridge-SoundWorks-MicroWorks-Computer-Speaker/dp/B00345FI14
_________________________
Bob M

Charles Walter Model 1520
Yamaha NP 30, NP 11, PSR E333

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#1890667 - 05/03/12 06:54 PM Re: Have acoustic - What digital for fun and practice? [Re: groundH2O]
MacMacMac Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 4025
Loc: North Carolina
$250 for computer speakers? For a piano?

I'd say spend less and get more!

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