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Topic Options
#1960204 - 09/17/12 02:37 PM Casio AP-220 & General MIDI
MacDan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Tampa, FL
I am a new adult student who is trying to narrow down the possibilities for a DP to use for practice and play until I become proficient, at which time I would expect to move on to an acoustic piano.

I have been considering the Casio AP-220, and possibly the AP-420. One of the sellers I have been speaking to about my choices is trying to get me to move up to the AP-620, primarily due to its ability to play general MIDI files, a feature which the other two models do not possess.

The impetus for such would be to have the ability to utilize some of the resources available for the Faber method, which my teacher will be using. I am told that there are a number of resources for practice and such that are available, but only in the general MIDI format.

I am a long time Mac (Apple) computer user, and have several programs on my various Macs that can play general MIDI files. With the USB interface that even the AP-220 has, is the piano's ability to play general MIDI files itself even an issue?

I love the AP-620, but it's really out of my budget range. Not only that, but I really want to concentrate on piano, and I'm not interested (at this time) in all of the additional features.

Thanks,

Dan

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#1960299 - 09/17/12 05:03 PM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: MacDan]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9705
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Dan, I believe the Privia PX-330 features the same keyboard action and sound technology as the AP-620. If you do not require a 'cabinet-type' instrument, it may be worth considering the cheaper 'slab-type' model.

I believe the PX-330 can playback MIDI files also.

Kind regards,
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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#1960321 - 09/17/12 05:48 PM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: Kawai James]
MacDan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Tampa, FL
Thanks, James. I want a cabinet model rather than a "slab", so the AP-220 is going to be the one, most likely. My question is whether or not the ability to play general MIDI files from an external connection is something this model is capable of doing.

The literature is rather vague, only suggesting that the USB port is compliant with USB standards. Assuming that an external computer can play back general MIDI files with an appropriate application, I want to know if the AP-220 can do so from an external (computer) connection.

Dan

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#1960332 - 09/17/12 06:04 PM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: Kawai James]
susanmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 117
Piano teacher here. Use Faber. Use General MIDI Files. Have PX-330. Use Windows software-plus-sound-module OR iPad app Home Concert Xtreme for MIDI playback.

Since you seem to know how to play back MIDI files via Mac, I don't think you NEED a DP with General Midi capabilities. It's possible that you'd like the Casio sounds a little better than whatever software synths you'd be using on your MAC.

BTW, for the PX-330 (and I'd presume the AP-620) Casio gives instructions for modifying MIDI files to make them playable in the DP. Not necessary if you use a computer with a USB-MIDI adapter connected to the MIDI-IN of the Casio. Just select the USB-MIDI interface as the MIDI-OUT from the sequencer on your Mac. With that procedure, you don't need to modify the files at all. (I'm saying all this from memory as my PX-330 happens to be in a closet at the moment. But meanwhile I went ahead and bought the stand and pedal board for it because once the PX-350 is released, I'm afraid the pedalboard for the PX-330 won't be available.)

If you buy a Casio without General MIDI sounds but find later that you're not satisfied with the software synths awailable on your Mac, you can always get a standalone General Midi module.

Personally, I think I will be NEEDING a Roland Integra-7 for MIDI playback during piano lessons. (In case anyone from the IRS is reading this.) But I just got my Ketron SD-2 out of a closet for use as my MIDI module and I think it sounds VERY good for $380.
_________________________
Teacher. 1926 Steinway M. Kawai CE200. Casio PX3. Yamaha P-60. Yamaha NP-30. Roland C-30 Digital Harpsichord. Roland Integra 7.

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#1960333 - 09/17/12 06:05 PM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: MacDan]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9705
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Dan, the AP-220 can send and receive MIDI data via the USB connector. Assuming you are using a Mac, it should just be a case of connecting the piano to your computer, confirming some system settings, then starting your MIDI sequencer/player software.

Kind regards,
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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#1960339 - 09/17/12 06:14 PM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: MacDan]
susanmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 117
I seem to be typing the same time as you guys. Went to Casio's website. In the AP line, you would have to go to the 620 to get the full General MIDI soundset which would be needed for the SMF files that Faber and other educational houses publish for piano methods.
_________________________
Teacher. 1926 Steinway M. Kawai CE200. Casio PX3. Yamaha P-60. Yamaha NP-30. Roland C-30 Digital Harpsichord. Roland Integra 7.

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#1960356 - 09/17/12 07:09 PM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: MacDan]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9705
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
susanmusic, ah, that's a good point. The AP220 probably does not have the full 'General MIDI' soundset, meaning that some MIDI files that utilise these sounds may play a little strangely.

This may be an issue when playing back multi-part (up to 16 track) MIDI files, with a drum pattern accompaniment etc., however for piano-oriented pieces, the AP220 should correctly map the instrument voices to the available sounds.

Kind regards,
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

Top
#1960391 - 09/17/12 08:27 PM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: Kawai James]
MacDan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Tampa, FL
What about the PX-750? Would it be much the same as the AP-220 in this regard?

I ask because I may go with the PX-750, since it has a newer design and is at the same price point. I'll have to get a bench, since the PX-750 does not have a bench like the AP-220, but that's a minor issue.

I have been told that te PX-750 will start shipping next week, so I may wait to get the newer model and technology.

Dan

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#1960392 - 09/17/12 08:29 PM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: MacDan]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9705
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Yes, I would definitely opt for the PX-750 - it's the latest model and features improved keyboard and sound technology.

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

Top
#1960397 - 09/17/12 08:35 PM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: MacDan]
susanmusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 117
Had to leave to give some piano lessons.

Now that I'm back, I wouldn't especially recommend paying extra just to get General MIDI sounds on a Casio. Many folks like the Casio piano sounds (and the new models should be even better) but nobody raves about the General MIDI sounds.


So you could go with the PX-750. Then, for playing the SMF's, start with your Mac. If you don't like the softsynths on your Mac, you can buy a standalone GM Module. I really prefer to have my MIDI module separate from my DP so that I can easily adjust the balance between the piano and the accompaniment.

_________________________
Teacher. 1926 Steinway M. Kawai CE200. Casio PX3. Yamaha P-60. Yamaha NP-30. Roland C-30 Digital Harpsichord. Roland Integra 7.

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#1960423 - 09/17/12 09:56 PM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: susanmusic]
MacDan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Tampa, FL
I am really only interested in the digital piano aspect of the instrument - MIDI is just another feature that I may or may not utilize. Since an emphasis was placed on the AP-620 being able to do "general MIDI" I wanted to grasp exactly what that meant and the bearing it had on the other possible choices without it.

Since like I can easily do without.

Glad this came up, however, because it allowed me to become aware of the PX-750 and it's newer features and technology.

Thanks to all for your input.

Dan

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#1960452 - 09/17/12 11:45 PM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: MacDan]
galaxy4t Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/28/08
Posts: 855
Loc: Lakewood, CA
Dan,
The new Privias that are about to hit the market have better sound technology than the current line of Privias/Celvianos. Mike Martin of Casio recently recorded a demo of the PX-350 on the Casio Releases 4 New Models thread. It has impressive AP piano sound. If you decide to check it out, be sure to listen through a good pair of headphones. These new Privias have an updated processor called AiR and a new piano sample. The action is also new and all models have the ivory matte finish. The Privia PX-850 would be the one to look at as it has sympathetic resonance, 256 polphony, and a circuit that simulates opening the cover of a grand piano. The new Celvianos won't be out till next year. I would wait if you can.


Edited by galaxy4t (09/17/12 11:51 PM)

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#1960545 - 09/18/12 08:31 AM Re: Casio AP-220 & General MIDI [Re: MacDan]
MacDan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 91
Loc: Tampa, FL
While it is certainly a nice model, the 850 is outside of my budget. The 750, however, is not, nor do I really have a desire for all of the bells and whistles the 850 has. I want a good quality digital piano at this point so I can concentrate on my practice and play. I view this as an intermediate step until I establish my abilities and am positive I will move forward. Once I am comfortable with this, I will purchase a good acoustic piano.

I have seen Mike's videos of the PX-350, but not listened to then with headphones. They are quite impressive through my speakers.

Thanks!

Dan

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