Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#1976938 - 10/22/12 12:09 AM Choosing a Sailboat Piano
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
HI folks...

I've hesitated about starting another "which piano" thread, since there are already so many covering a huge range of priorities, but I still find myself a bit stuck in the quest for a suitable boat keyboard. A quick background:

I was posting actively here about 5 years ago when adapting a home studio desk to support my RD-700SX, four KRK monitors, Mackie mixer, and music stand... all described here. That came together well, and I settled into playing... but my needs have changed as I have moved aboard a 44-foot sailboat.

It's not a normal cruising situation, however... I have converted the original dinette region of the salon into a lab, and am in the process of building three 12U rack spaces focused on audio, communications, and test equipment. These are flanked by an iMac on the left and tool cabinet on the right, making a 180-degree wrap-around console facing a sliding swivel chair... and a nearby Zone of Hackage is integrated with an Internet Alcove in addition to the usual pilothouse and helm stuff (power, navigation, galley, etc). The piano will be integrated into a drawer-slide assembly, and will pull out from under the lab desktop. If you're curious, there is a quick tour of the boat, along with a photo of the lab desk before the racks were in place, over yonder.

The RD-700SX is getting a bit long-in-the tooth sound-wise, and is also very wide and heavy. While it would be barely possible to squeeze this in, I don't really want to... my plan is to sell that whole system and buy something a bit more svelte with excellent hand feel, more modern sounds, and good interfaceability for a rack synth or software pianos.

Like many here, I am frustrated by the lack of a decent controller-only product; if there were one that did not attract howls of frustration, I'd go that way and do all sound-generation externally with something like the Motif Rack XS or software emulator. But given the current market, it seems that the more realistic approach is a digital stage piano... and among those, the most tempting options are physically too large. My first choice, in fact, thanks to excellent presence in this forum (hi, James), would be Kawai... but the MP6 and MP10 are 7" tall and the ES7 is 6", and both are 54" long.

My notes are full of observed trade-offs, and it's probably wise to nudge things down toward a more modest price range given the harshness of the environment (water corrodes; salt water corrodes absolutely). In other words, I'd really love a Nord Stage 2, which vigorously pushes my geek buttons even though I've never actually seen one, but it's too big a risk!

Realistically, I'm probably looking more in the range of EP3/P95/SP-250/PX-3/Numa (not to imply equivalence among those, but they are all of manageable size and lower cost). 88 keys are a must, and I prefer piano action to the lighter synth or organ touch. A large sound library seems to be a common trade-off versus Really Good Piano, and I would have to say the latter is more important... there's a lot to be said for having excellent on-board sound without having to fire up a computer or external synth module, but otherwise the more voices the merrier. Internal speakers are not particularly desirable although I would probably use them; the audio console has an Edirol M-16DX mixer feeding a Fusion MS-IP700 and local speaker system with subwoofer. Svelte size and excellent construction (in addition to a decent keybed) are critical issues.

I know this is not too much of a departure from the general quest for a lightweight gigging piano, and I have spent hours reading the informative threads here and wandering off to product pages and YouTube demos. But with my added space and packaging constraints, I thought it worthwhile to ask your advice... what will fit best in a pull-out drawer below the desktop in this photo?

Since that picture was taken, the three 12U racks (Middle Atlantic CFR) have been added, forming a nice wrap-around workspace that exactly matches the tool cabinet height. These will be roofed by a wood shelf with overhang that supports a curtain to shed droplets when crew is galumping through the cabin with wet foulies, and the space above carries a down-angled speaker system (though I will miss my near-field monitors). I don't want to stow the keyboard and put it on the desk for use; it would be too high, and stowage space aboard is precious. Pull-out is ideal, and the space was designed to accommodate it; my seat slides forward and back as needed to achieve proper ergnomics.

Key issues in the selection, other than the obvious ones, include physical robustness... given limited knee clearance, I'd love to support this from the ends and not have to add a shelf for it to rest on. Without physically examining the candidates, I have no way to judge construction quality. Vertical height is critical... the thinner the better. Depth doesn't matter much, and length should be less than 52 inches although I can handle a little more if necessary.

My preconceived notions and biases, for what it's worth, roughly rank the Kawai first (thanks again to the responsive vendor presence here), followed by a smaller Roland, Yamaha, Korg, Privia, and Numa. But these are based mostly on what I have read here... it's a lot to sort out. For context, my playing is classical/lyrical with desire to foray into jazz and blues; I'm more interested in rich voicing than punching through a mix, though visiting friends play a wide range of styles.

Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions! I look forward to posting photos of the finished system here...

Cheers from Nomadness, currently docked in the San Juan Islands...
Steve
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
(ads) Sweetwater / Roland
Your Next Keyboard is at Sweetwater

Click Here


#1976956 - 10/22/12 01:33 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9325
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Hi Steve!

Wow, I have to say, this has got to be one of the coolest projects I've ever seen on PianoWorld! Your sailboat looks absolutely terrific - and what a wonderful life, sailing from one island to the next, enjoying the ocean during the day, and playing music at night. Fantastic!

Okay, back to your query, how about the new Roland A-88 keyboard controller? It's very compact (albeit with the controls on the bass side...), with a reasonably good keyboard action, and should be idea for driving a Motixf rack or software piano on a laptop. Alternatively, the Roland FP-4F utilises the same keyboard action, but includes speakers and a good selection of sounds.

If you're weary of spending too much money, I would also consider the new Casio PX-150/PX-350 boards.

Finally, if you do decide to spend (risk?) a little more, perhaps the Nord Piano is also worth thinking about? Very lightweight and portable, reasonably good action, and excellent interchangeable sounds.

Regardless of which instrument you eventually opt for, please do return to the forum to post some pictures!

All the best!

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
#1976962 - 10/22/12 02:11 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
HI James, and thanks for the suggestions!

I should have mentioned the A-88... I was very excited to hear of that, but initially concluded that the length is just too great... the controls at the left would end up tucked under the iMac. But now that you have prompted me to look at it again, I can see that once the Mac is on its VESA mount instead of the current non-seaworthy base, I'd have about 4.5" of vertical clearance over the A-88 controls. So maybe, maybe... that does look sweet, and it would play nice with iPad, Mac, and dedicated sound modules. Hmmm.

As to the Nord... oooh, you're a dangerous influence! My GAS needs but a trigger to rationalize such a purchase. Hmm, let's see, what can I get for my current rig... *grin*

Interesting on the FP-4F; I had not seriously looked at that. Same size as the PX-350, but probably a whole different experience. Part of me wants to conservatively minimize risk in the harsh environment and go with a low-cost but capable cheapie; the rest of me wants to maximize the aesthetic quality of the sound and feel, which is what most encourages growth. Tough call!

I'll definitely be posting with updates, and thanks again for the comments... they are really helpful.

Cheers,
Steve






Edited by Nomadness (10/22/12 03:51 AM)
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
#1977011 - 10/22/12 08:23 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Dr Popper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 1718
Loc: Hancock Park LA (not again)
Yeah the A-88 and a Integra 7 would be a good combo for 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

Top
#1977090 - 10/22/12 12:37 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
StefaanBelgium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/12
Posts: 53
Loc: Belgium
Another thing to consider is the humid environment of a sailing boat... I have no idea how good the electronics will survive in the long run !
_________________________
Kawai CA65

Top
#1977110 - 10/22/12 01:16 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
Stefaan - yes, that is a very important consideration, and I'm dealing with it throughout. Generally, I take a multi-layered approach starting externally to keep physical droplets away, protect boards with conformal coating, and use vapor-phase-corrosion inhibitors where possible. A keyboard has three classes of problems: the PC board stuff is easy to protect, front-panel controls tricky or not depending on type (Nord would be relatively easy here), and the keybed itself is fine *if* all the sensors are purely electronic rather than any kind of open contact. Anyone know the guts of the Fatar in that regard? Sometimes the worst problems are not so much electronic as just corrosion of cheap steel hardware. (And, of course, all bets are off in a knockdown or other serious event.)

Dr Popper - yah, that Integra 7 is a beauty! Same price for that combo as a Nord Piano 2, which makes it more tempting than I would have guessed (at twice the rack module cost of the Motif). Interesting. This combo has "more bounce to the ounce" than anything else I've seen, though that long keyboard is a challenge.

As to the Nord, I'm currently leaning toward that because the packaging looks (from afar, anyway) to be the most robust and amenable to bolting on drawer slides, not to mention the minor detail that it sounds like a pretty awesome machine. But that Integra would certainly be more flexible and has a much richer user interface, not to mention having less money tied up in a relatively vulnerable keyboard assembly and more in a relatively protected rack unit.

This will be fun.
Steve




Edited by Nomadness (10/22/12 01:34 PM)
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
#1977146 - 10/22/12 03:01 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
StefaanBelgium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/12
Posts: 53
Loc: Belgium
Ok, looks like you have experience with the humid environment and the consequences. I just wanted to mention this, because my parents had a sailing boat ( although a bit smaller than yours ! ) and during the years they had it, the most common problems were electrical because of corrosion.
It's a nice boat you have by the way smile
_________________________
Kawai CA65

Top
#1977409 - 10/23/12 03:35 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: StefaanBelgium]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
Thank you, Stefaan...

The environment really does call for constant awareness... with connectors, choices of hardware, cooling (forced air through cabinets can be deadly), types of wire, sealing, encapsulation, and more. It's a huge issue, and even the big-name manufacturers of "marine" electronics often get it wrong in the interest of saving a few pennies (or just not paying attention). Very common: fancy sealed VHF radios that claim JIS-8 waterproofing, but which use open-frame inline fuses and cheap copper power wire that will wick moisture all the way to the circuit board if the distal end gets splashed. Very frustrating.

A lot of the work I'm doing with the console systems is related to this, so of course I'm nervous about a $3K piano. It will be well drip-isolated and does not need ventilation for cooling, but there's no realistic way to "seal" the control-panel components or keys. So I'll probably open it up and see what needs extra attention, then just keep a close eye on it. My boat is not terribly wet while voyaging in Northwest waters, but ocean crossings will be another matter... I'll probably want to shrink-wrap the whole mess!

Still leaning toward the NP2, fantasizing about the Stage 2 (not that I need it, of course, but...).

Cheers,
Steve


Edited by Nomadness (10/23/12 03:36 AM)
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
#1977465 - 10/23/12 07:41 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Dr Popper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 1718
Loc: Hancock Park LA (not again)
Got a motif XS7 on my boat ....it's had no issues with condensation etc ...but my boat doesn't leak really at all so YMMV.
_________________________
"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

Top
#1977488 - 10/23/12 09:00 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3277
Originally Posted By: Nomadness
Interesting on the FP-4F; I had not seriously looked at that. Same size as the PX-350, but probably a whole different experience

Most people feel that the action of the FP-7F is far superior to that of the FP-4F. It has more features as well, and the price difference isn't that great. I think the real selling point of the 4F is the lower weight, but it sounds like that would not be an issue for you.

Have you given any thought to using whatever board meets your ergonomic requirements, combined with running a software piano from the computer I assume you'll have with you anyway?

Top
#1977602 - 10/23/12 02:50 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
Scott - thanks for that data point; I have not had my hands on either of the FP models, but that certainly makes sense. I really should get off this island and try to actually see some of these things!

And yes, I am definitely looking at the software piano option, though I have only played with Pianoteq demos and don't yet have a sense of the possibilities with this, Ivory, and others. The trade-off, as I see it, involves power/complexity overhead: there is a lot to be said for just switching on a piano and playing without having to bring the "big iron" online (I understand there are some iPad options as well, but how good they are, I don't know). The option to fire up Logic and/or software piano models is then a separate issue from just turning on the piano and sound system.

I get the impression that some of the truly great sounds are best acquired with software pianos... so I would not rule that out as a later upgrade path. I think it gets down to the realization (and I know I'm contradicting some of my own comments in the original posting at the top of this thread) that I'll be more likely to spend time in skill-development if the board itself provides gratifying touch and sound. When I think about some of the light plasticky keys and cheesy sounds I've observed while wandering through music stores or visiting friends, I have to admit that my motivation would probably be negatively impacted if I don't choose carefully and get this part right, even if it's more than I originally wanted to spend.

So the decision looks like it will be driven by that, dimensional considerations that rule out too-long or too-tall options, geek/aesthetic appeal, and advice from folks who know the products. All this still has me leaning toward a Nord, with packaging that I find very appealing...

Dr. Popper - cool re the XS7 aboard! I have no leak issues either, and condensation is only a factor with surfaces that get markedly colder than the rest of the insulated interior (aluminum window frames in the pilothouse). My main concern is what happens when things get a little crazy and crew is running around with wet foulies, or spray is coming through the companionway in a following sea. The "gross packaging" should handle all this just fine, assuming no knockdowns or rollovers *shudder*, and the rest is not expected to be any worse than being in any environment with variable humidity and temp.

By the way, I've been zeroing in on the audio part of this system. The piano and other sources feed an Edirol mixer (the M-16DX which is neater for console mounting since it separates the control surface from the interface box bristling with cables), then the main output of that feeds the aux input of a Fusion MS-IP700 marine stereo with iPod dock. This drives a pair of box speakers over the console as well as a powered sub under the desk. It's a small intimate space about 8 feet wide, so this should be more than enough oomph (just now trying to choose those speakers... probably Boston Acoustics or Klipsch, with a Fusion sub). I'm used to powered monitors, but don't have the luxury of space or electrons... and a while back I bought a sweet Crown rackmount mode D amp, but that is crazy overkill and now for sale.

Also, while redundant with the Mac in the console, there is also a panel-mounted Tascam Portastudio for quick recording and mix-downs of the multiple audio sources around the boat including mics, hydrophone, communications, hailer listen-back, speech synth, and so on. Again, this is a power issue similar to the keyboard choice... I like having non-computer options when counting amp-hours.

Cheers,
Steve


Edited by Nomadness (10/23/12 02:54 PM)
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
#1977842 - 10/24/12 03:28 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Amazing boat Nomadness! I'm a sailor myself though I've never kept a full 88 keys to a boat. No really good spot to place it. Given weight issues, I think I brought in a Casio once. And then long ago, I just left a Yamaha PSR (toyish) keyboard on board. Ran on batteries.

Anyway, given your space, I'd think of a lightweight Casio Privia of some sort. You can always turn it into a controller. I think those are 26lbs or so. Then beyond that you're in Nord territory.

Nord does offer more flexibility since it already has the nice sounds and is also not as deep as others.

I wish I could have a keyboard on board. There is potential of corrosion on metal parts. The salty ocean environment is not kind to anything. It can literally suck the chrome off a Mack truck (as you know). I'm thinking of that Nord encased in what, aluminum? Is that coated with zinc-chromate? Unless it's stainless steel, I'd be concerned. And I'm not even talking of innards.

In contrast boat electronics are made to be sealed from the elements. Of course you have a pilothouse so that may lessen concern about salt spray etc. but wet hands from salt water? Anyway, I just have this respect for nature and know that nature tends to win...
_________________________
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Electro 4 HP
My Blog

Top
#1977847 - 10/24/12 03:48 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9325
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Nomadness, if you do opt to buy the Nord (and perhaps do some case modifications to preserve the electronics/casing), you should definitely take some pictures and send them to Clavia. You could perhaps even email them to explain your requirements, and ask if they have any useful suggestions.

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
#1978060 - 10/24/12 02:42 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
Jazzwee - good to hear from you, thanks for the thoughts! I was just having a fantasy of a raft-up with a bunch of folks, keyboards and other instruments on foredecks, jamming away in a cove somewhere. Maybe I should keep that 1000-watt rackmount Crown amp that is slight overkill for use in the salon! <grin>

Anyway, yes indeed on the sealing issue. I can't tell from the photos, but that red is probably paint, not anodizing... aluminum is notoriously tricky when it comes to coatings, so I'm hoping there is a passivation layer. Truly sealing is pretty much impossible given the keybed and some of the control panel hardware, so I'll definitely make a few improvements internally as well as make sure that no actual wetness can ever find its way to the unit. In practice, this means a flap that covers it when retracted into its slot under the desk, making that enclosed rather than the originally postulated open drawer assembly, and having a spot to stash it in a truly sealed bag when offshore.

James - very good idea. I'll tongue-in-cheek propose that they make NP2M and Stage 2M marine versions! crazy

Cheers,
Steve


Edited by Nomadness (10/24/12 02:43 PM)
Edit Reason: smiley enhancement
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
#1978216 - 10/24/12 08:58 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: Nomadness
Jazzwee - good to hear from you, thanks for the thoughts! I was just having a fantasy of a raft-up with a bunch of folks, keyboards and other instruments on foredecks, jamming away in a cove somewhere. Maybe I should keep that 1000-watt rackmount Crown amp that is slight overkill for use in the salon! <grin>

Anyway, yes indeed on the sealing issue. I can't tell from the photos, but that red is probably paint, not anodizing... aluminum is notoriously tricky when it comes to coatings, so I'm hoping there is a passivation layer. Truly sealing is pretty much impossible given the keybed and some of the control panel hardware, so I'll definitely make a few improvements internally as well as make sure that no actual wetness can ever find its way to the unit. In practice, this means a flap that covers it when retracted into its slot under the desk, making that enclosed rather than the originally postulated open drawer assembly, and having a spot to stash it in a truly sealed bag when offshore.

James - very good idea. I'll tongue-in-cheek propose that they make NP2M and Stage 2M marine versions! crazy

Cheers,
Steve


Nomadness, I guarantee that Nord isn't going to worry about Zinc Chromate on Aluminum - LOL. Now my aluminum mast with Zinc-chromate and LP paint is doing great after 10+ years and exposed to salt water daily.

You're right though. Just even a cover on the keyboard might do the trick. On my (smaller) boat, I have a dehumidying heater running all the time to make sure there's minimal mosture inside the boat. I presume you take that kind of precaution too since it isn't just about direct water but the moisture in the air. In theory it shouldn't have anything corrosive in water vapor, but in practice, things corrode without direct water contact on a boat. Don't know why...

Raft-up jam session! Sounds like a good deal! I wonder if anyone has ever tried that. Are you in Washington? Well let me know when you cruise down to Southern Cal.

I am envious of having a permanent keyboard on board. Sailing and Piano are my two biggest passions and seriously, I'd rather be able to do both, like you. If I can play piano while on the boat, I may never leave.

Good sailing and good piano playing my friend! Glad to see someone with the same interests.

BTW - I have a blue boat too and I just want it to grow up a little to 44. LOL. But I'm a racer, not a cruiser, so that's probably not likely.
_________________________
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Electro 4 HP
My Blog

Top
#1978221 - 10/24/12 09:06 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
signal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/10/07
Posts: 98
Loc: Florida
A88 is a great choice. The SP90ES is nice too, sometimes you can find those cheap. Both have excellent actions, and the SP90ES has great piano sounds.

Now, about your predicament. IMHO, the BEST controller to get for those that need space with NO compromise, are those by Deopfer: http://www.doepfer.de/home_e.htm

The PK88 is the smallest, the LMK series are top of the line.
_________________________
Kawai US-50 52" Upright

Top
#1978255 - 10/24/12 10:34 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
Signal - ah, I was not aware of the Doepfer products... interesting! Thanks for that; I'll do some research. I keep looking at the A-88, but that cluster of stuff at the left end really would get awkward (especially if I tried to use the D-beam controller... ouch!). Nord is holding my attention, but a Doepfer with a Motif Rack XS would knock a grand off the price tag.

Jazzwee - RaftJam would be such a hoot! I'm nowhere near your league on the piano, but heck, I could always run the electronics and turn a Real(TM)Pianist loose on my board while I pick up the trusty old flute and noodle along.

I've been aboard one boat with a full-time keyboard/studio installation (though not 88 keys; I got disoriented quickly on his 61 or whatever), and there's a quirky sailboat down the bay with an acoustic upright installed (how it stays in tune, I don't know, but dang, he's good). On my boat, the project has one clear objective: integration of all my passions into a technomadic lifestyle. That makes it relatively easy to give up a perfectly serviceable dinette in favor of a lab/studio space, despite the loss of lounging area.

At one point, I was considering hacking a keybed with a hinge and just stowing it when not in use, but then figured out how to do a permanent under-desk installation that integrates nicely into the overall plan... though there will be some ergonomic compromises.

(It is going to be extremely weird when I get too old and have to sell the boat someday... I'm working on a documentation binder and publishing design packages about the subsystems, but am trying to imagine a typical yacht broker trying to make sense of something that looks like a marriage of the Starship Enterprise and the Nautilus. That's going to seriously challenge their BS skills, which are legion. I had one tell me, as I stood in a too-short salon with a crook neck, "no, mate, that's a good thing! In a seaway, you brace with your neck muscles and have both your hands free!")

Cheers,
Steve
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
#1978264 - 10/24/12 11:13 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
Nomadness, LOVE IT! Love those stories. I gig at Yacht clubs pretty often (weekly in fact) so I'm always in sight of boats when I play. It's my way of connecting the two interests. At least I don't have to redo my interior. Hehe. But it's really great to play music while looking the blue water of the harbor.

I like that word "RaftJam". smile I'll have to remember that. The only problem for a real jam is putting a drum set on a boat. There's actually someone on the dock across that has Roland V-Drums (MIDI) on his powerboat. Can't fit a full kit but at least he's got his something. He lives on the boat so that must be really tight. Be glad you're into keyboards instead of drums. LOL.

Who cares what a future buyer is going to think. Gotta enjoy it now.

Talking about Acoustics near the ocean though, my tuner told me of a brand new Steinway kept in a Malibu beach house. Of course windows are always open. Piano was wrecked. Rusted and just beat up. Sad (for the piano).
_________________________
Hamburg Steinway O, Nord Electro 4 HP
My Blog

Top
#1978357 - 10/25/12 05:18 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
Jazzwee - X-stand on the foredeck? laugh

I just had a vision of a kayak version of the RaftJam... everybody with iPads and various music apps...

You are SO right about the future buyer thing; I wasn't really stressing about that, but it makes me chuckle occasionally. It took over a year after buying the boat for me to relax and feel OK about changing things, especially where it involved hacking into the gorgeous joinery... now it doesn't bother me much. She's going to be very, very geeky before this is all over. (Occasionally I take flak for "complexity," which always cracks me up, especially when it comes from a sailor with NMEA2000, AIS, inverter/charger, SSB, WiFi, iPod dock, radar, etc...........)

Anyway, back to the piano, I think the thing to do will be to slather on corrosion inhibitors (which actually work pretty well), conformally coat the boards, carefully isolate the whole thing from liquid water, and keep a close eye on it. That's pretty much what I'm doing with all the rest, so I'm not too worried... at least in normal cruising and live-aboard conditions.

As to the choice, the maddening thing about this wonderful forum is that almost every product has flaws, and there's nothing like a community of experts to identify them all. I don't need the perfect piano, but of course that's what I want! Hard to make such a choice on an island with no way to actually get my hands on any of them, so I'm listening closely to all the voices here. Thanks, folks.

Steve
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
#1978613 - 10/25/12 05:57 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
MertYazan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/02/10
Posts: 10
I own Yamaha Piaggero NP-V60 Lightweight Digital Piano as a spare DP.With 76 keys instead of 88 ,maybe suitable for your boat.(330 $)
Weight: 15.65 lbs
Width: 49.76 in
Depth: 12.28 in
Height: 4.37 in
you can play with chargable 6 x AA-size Batteries

Top
#1981214 - 11/01/12 04:28 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
Hi folks...

A little update... for the past week or so I've been settling into the idea of a Nord NP2 (and lusting after the NS2), though it seriously pushes the justification envelope. I do always "err on the side of maximum geekiness," so there is that...

But I want to at least consider a cheaper, but equally flexible alternative. I have 1U of rack space remaining on the console for a Motif Rack XS, and if there is an 88-key controller that can fit the space requirements and feels excellent, then that is probably a wiser choice than the Nord... reducing the amount of money tied up in the most vulnerable part and offloading sound production to the module and/or software. Basically, it should not be much wider than the keybed, nor any taller than necessary (3-4 inches max). Depth is not a huge issue, but less is better... I just want a board with low physical overhead.

I know that pure controller products are relatively rare (StudioLogic with highly mixed reviews, the super-long Roland A88, obscure Doepfer, and M-Audio which I don't care for). An equally acceptable alternative, and probably easier to find, is a basic DP. In that product space, what sleek one has the nicest touch?

The benefit of that approach is scaling... I could practice with on-board voices and not have to turn anything on; if the power budget permits, I could crank up the rack synth module or launch a software piano on the Mac. And the keyboard would probably be sub-$1K instead of $3K or more. (I have started advertising my Roland/Mackie/KRK system locally to ease the pain.)

Thanks again for the brainstorming help! Progress report: the console layout is taking shape, with actual-size cutouts of all the devices taped to temporary Coroplast panels (36U total, or 63 inches) screwed to the rack cabinets aboard. It's going to be a nice environment for audio production, communications, and lab work... with a piano that can be pulled out whenever the mood strikes.

Yarrh!
Steve


Edited by Nomadness (11/11/12 04:56 AM)

Top
#1983965 - 11/08/12 12:44 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
I just did a blog post about the console region of the boat. If you skip past the hovercat and radio stuff to the section entitled "Console Development," there's a discussion about the audio equipment that will put some of this thread into better context.

Still haven't chosen a controller or DP... has StudioLogic's customer-service reputation improved? Am I worrying too much in response to the earlier thread here? I mean, Nord uses Fatar... and the Numa series is a reasonable size. That plus a rack synth and/or software pianos might be a nice solution for quite a bit less than the $3K NP2.

Also, is it OK to list an item for sale here? I'd like to find a Pacific Northwest home (not involving shipping) for my existing rig...

Cheers and thanks,
Steve
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
#1983974 - 11/08/12 02:12 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9325
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: Nomadness
An equally acceptable alternative, and probably easier to find, is a basic DP. In that product space, what sleek one has the nicest touch?


Would a Kawai MP10 be too big/heavy?

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
#1983993 - 11/08/12 03:23 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Kawai James]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
Quote:
Would a Kawai MP10 be too big/heavy?


Interesting question, and my first thought, looking again at the product specs, is yes... too tall. But after a close look at the "nekid pictures" thread started by Dewster last year, I have a completely different take. This is exquisitely hackable, with all the electronics nicely independent of the keybed and very flexible cabling. It would be quite easy to repackage this, moving the user-interface to a nearby location instead of the stepped top panel of the standard cabinet.

I'd go for a minimum envelope on the keybed itself, since it's under the lab desktop where knee clearance becomes an issue. It looks like it can fit within about a 4" vertical space including enclosure, which is perfect. The panel appears to be about 36" wide and 3" tall, and there is a chance it could snuggle into the space between keys and hammers, but that would probably feel way too cramped. Most likely it would be split at the blue cable bundle, and remoted to a rackspace (if I eliminate the overkill Crown XLS1000, there is room!).

How would you feel about seeing one hacked and integrated on that level? It looks (and sounds) ideal, and this approach would eliminate the frustration of being limited to off-the-shelf cabinetry.

Cheers,
Steve


Edited by Nomadness (11/08/12 04:06 AM)
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
#1984453 - 11/09/12 02:09 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
KHen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 183
Loc: North America
This is an exciting thread! After looking at your boat and the live aboard forums it makes me want one. I was already looking into alternative housing options anyways, plus I'm single and don't own hardly anything. Sure beats paying the monthly rent where I live for an apartment that I don't get to keep.

If you can rework the Kawai MP10 I think it would be a great piano. It sounds like you've looked at all the options, nord, the A88, Numas, Dopefer, and others.. Good luck!

Top
#1984508 - 11/09/12 06:36 AM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9325
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Steve, I would be rather cautious about hacking an MP10 apart - it's quite a big risk if you end up damaging the components etc.

Are you no longer planning to use a software piano running on your PC?

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
#1984655 - 11/09/12 01:27 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
James - I am not too concerned about the boards (assuming proper care in handling), and the keybed looks very robust... the trickiest bit would probably be the PCB-mounted controls on the panel which might make it a little flexible on the mechanical side until well-supported by a new panel. At first glance, that split point near the LCD might be a challenge given the width of my enclosure (standard 19" rackmount)... though it looks like the board is in two parts with the boundary right there, so I think it's easy if the dimensions work. Otherwise, it looks pretty modular.

I am still planning software pianos (not sure which yet, but there are both Mac and iPad environments at the console). There are three layers here, involving power budget and redundancy: bare piano (unless just a controller, of course), rack synth like the Motif XS (overkill for my needs), and software voicings. The latter is architecturally most appealing, though requiring "big iron" computer to be on when it is not a continuous duty machine does make it much more of an event to just pull out the keyboard and practice for a few minutes (my favorite mode, and a huge argument for a pure DP... especially when we're looking at one with excellent voice quality).

I've been assuming that the iMac 27 would host software pianos, but there is also an almost-always-on Mini Server that runs headless... perhaps the voices could live there, be invoked by a remote (VNC) session from the laptop, and then left to their own devices. That would make sense. Having never used software instruments other than a Pianoteq demo and Garage Band, I don't have an intuition about that... I'd love to hear comments from folks who know them.

This repackaging hack is an alluring alternative, since space constraints under the lab desktop have been limiting me to a very small subset of products. Mounting a decent keybed on its own enclosed drawer and remoting the circuit boards is very appealing if the process doesn't take too much surgery. (Technically, I could probably do the same with my Roland, though now y'all have me wanting the RM3 action and Kawai sounds!) The way the circuit boards are isolated on a wiring harness makes this kind of thing pretty easy; boards themselves would be pretty much untouched and mounted on stand-offs, with little or no hacking beyond cable extension.

In other news...

KHen - living aboard is great, with a few challenges and firm boundaries on tonnage. The mobility is wonderful, and the views are hard to beat... and there are a lot of small boats out there that can be had for a song if you don't mind taking a spartan approach (a friend here just got one for free).

Steve


Edited by Nomadness (11/09/12 02:35 PM)
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
#1984658 - 11/09/12 01:35 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
By the way, I just have to share this. I'm reminded of my keyboard interface hack of yesteryear... back in 1978, to be exact, when achieving polyphony (more than one note at a time) in a homebrew system was non-trivial. Here's my Byte article about the project... click to embiggen the photos:

Polyphony Made Easy

Good times...
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
#1984709 - 11/09/12 04:33 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
KHen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 183
Loc: North America
One thing that I didn't see mentioned and that I totally forgot about, also you seem very mechanically inclined and you could pull this off with ease from what you have previously done, is buying a keybed, such as the Fatar TP40Wood, arguably one of their finest actions, combined with a PNOScan Midi strip and build your own piano. It would have the dimensions you need and be cheaper than an NP2. The sounds would come from a virtual piano such as Ivory, Alicia keys, pianoteq, etc. You'd also need to build your own housing around the keys, otherwise they would just be exposed piano keys. You would essentially make your own controller with a nice action.

Here is a link of someone doing this. http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/viewtopic.php?id=2043

Also, this is probably vaporware, but it shows what the PNOscan is capable of http://www.ltecpiano.com/ltecpiano.com/Playing.html


P.S. If I were live aboard I'd need room for not only a piano, but ALSO my cello.

Top
#1984737 - 11/09/12 06:07 PM Re: Choosing a Sailboat Piano [Re: Nomadness]
Nomadness Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 145
Loc: Friday Harbor, WA
KHen - that is beautiful; thanks for telling me about it! I'm hoping not to have to dive in that deeply, but it is really good to know that the tools are available and well-documented. Links have been saved!

I'm off to learn more about the system requirements of virtual pianos, in case things end up going that way. As I mentioned earlier, my standard practice mode is interwoven with other activities, often a dozen or more short sessions throughout the day instead of single marathons. Whatever form this takes, it needs to be no big deal to pull it out and play... but I suspect that's possible with any of the options under serious consideration, since a 2 GHz quad-core Mac Mini Server will be continuously running the database engine for all the ship monitoring, as well as the web front-end for the user interface. That sounds chewy, but it's pretty lightweight computationally.

Thinking about it, and my needs, a virtual piano probably makes more sense than a rack synth if internal sounds are not an option... space is at a premium anyway, and there's a lot of nearby processing horsepower that's usually just idling. Ivory II looks great, but that iLok key is offensive. Maybe Galaxy Vintage D...

Cheers,
Steve


Edited by Nomadness (11/09/12 06:52 PM)
_________________________
Nomadic Research Labs
PX-5S aboard sailboat

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  Piano World 
What's Hot!!
8 Live Ragtime Piano Players on the Cape!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Advice? First digital piano for family--already own a GP
by SCD
33 minutes 53 seconds ago
Help with my DGX-650 and Synthesia!
by Jtreimer
Today at 07:21 PM
Piano tuning career prospects 2014
by Morrisos
Today at 06:56 PM
Ack! My piano is diseased!
by TwoSnowflakes
Today at 06:34 PM
Painting Piano Keys
by imustlearn
Today at 06:00 PM
Who's Online
139 registered (Alkanaut, accordeur, 88 Fingers Jeff, angga888, 44 invisible), 1428 Guests and 8 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76599 Members
42 Forums
158391 Topics
2325831 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission