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) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(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
Topic Options
#1980031 - 10/29/12 10:12 AM Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)?
cornerstone Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/29/12
Posts: 3
Hi all, thanks for the great forum, I've been reading and learning a lot. Today my wife and I fell for a Roland F-120 in a store, but it was above our initial budget. We made the budget choice of a Yamaha P-105, and they were out of stock. Which has given us more chance to persuade ourselves to go for something better (even though we don't really need it, we just want to love it).

[EDIT: Meant to add, this is just a family / home piano we're buying]

We really like the Roland F-120, but is the fact that it's only MIDI out a potential problem? The newest Yamahas are USB only. It feels a little retarded for it not to have a USB connection these days - I'd really appreciate any input and thoughts on this.

The other piano we've come across is the Yamaha YDP-S51. We haven't managed to find one near us to try (or we would), but the action is important to us, and perhaps if we try another Yamaha model with the same action that would help us compare with the Roland? I'm very open to thoughts on comparisons between the actions. The GH Yamaha one seems to be used on quite a few models, but apparently is a little old. I liked the ivory feel on the Roland (bearing in mind I was comparing with other brands, not that particular Yamaha model).

Many thanks for any help and advice you can give on the better piano.

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

Pearl River World's Best Selling Piano

Click Here


#1980037 - 10/29/12 10:48 AM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: cornerstone]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3144
Originally Posted By: cornerstone
We really like the Roland F-120, but is the fact that it's only MIDI out a potential problem? The newest Yamahas are USB only. It feels a little retarded for it not to have a USB connection these days - I'd really appreciate any input and thoughts on this.

If you can only have one interface, the Roland's standard MIDI out is better. There are many adapters available to convert it to USB if needed, starting at around $5-$10 for cheap no-name ones, to $30-$40 for name brands. It is not nearly as easy to go the other direction. Only one company makes an adapter that will work to go from a Yamaha's USB to standard MIDI, and it's $180. And if that company stops making it or goes out of business, there will be no solution at all.

Standard MIDI ports work with everything, and probably will for the rest of our lives. A 30 year old MIDI keyboard works on today's computers just fine, with one of those cheap adapters. USB is not so universal... for all we know, it may not work on the computers we'll be using 10 years from now. After all, it wasn't that long ago that people couldn't imagine that they wouldn't be able to hook up their assorted parallel and serial devices to any computer they might buy.

The point is that if you ever want to hook your piano up to some other MIDI device without using a computer, you'll almost definitely need standard MIDI ports. And when you do want to connect your piano to a computer, it is cheap and easy to adapt it to USB... and it will probably continue to be cheap and easy to adapt it to anything else that comes out in the future. Standard MIDI's ubiquity makes it the de facto professional standard.

Bottom line: I would try to avoid any keyboard that was USB only.

Top
#1980050 - 10/29/12 11:30 AM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: anotherscott]
PianoWorksATL Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2684
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Bottom line: I would try to avoid any keyboard that was USB only.
I appreciate your point of view and the points you made right now about ease of adapters, but I think your last statement is overly strong. You've scared this poor person when I think it is much more likely that more companies will develop backward compatible adapters, not less.

MID is great. MIDI is not antiquated, but computer companies do not put MIDI ports on our devices. I feel usb only is a headache for about 3% - 5% of advanced or entrenched users while comforting and familiar to the other +95% of the public. The truth is that usb is more likely to become antiquated in 5-10 years than MIDI, however I cannot predict what other devices will come to depend on usb to slow that change.

For the OP, the digital instrument industry is obviously slow moving. For most people's relevant uses, to connect to a computer or tablet, usb is great and familiar. MIDI to usb is easy and fairly cheap to adapt for use with both computers and tablets.

The F-120 is great and a better DP than the P-105. If your dealer is out of P-105, the next shipment is already on its way. The model closest the the YDP-S51 is the YDP-161 or YDP-C71PE which can be found all over.

Personal reaction to features like the textured keys can be a tie breaker, but I would focus on sound and touch. Happy shopping!
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta

Top
#1980061 - 10/29/12 12:17 PM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: cornerstone]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Roland sells a midi to usb cable. Here in Canada it cost me just under $50 (we are expensive here.) So you shouldn't have any problems hooking it up to anything with usb.
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

Top
#1980069 - 10/29/12 12:33 PM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: PianoWorksATL]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3144
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Bottom line: I would try to avoid any keyboard that was USB only.
I appreciate your point of view and the points you made right now about ease of adapters, but I think your last statement is overly strong.

I did include "try to" in my statement to indicate that it wasn't an absolute rejection of any such model... but if you can get what you want in two models, and one of them has the real MIDI port, that's the one I would go with.

Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
I think it is much more likely that more companies will develop backward compatible adapters, not less.

People who buy something based on what they think/hope will be made available in the future are opening themselves up to decent possibility of unnecessary disappointment. ;-) I hope there will be more USB-to-MIDI adapters, but it took this many years just to see the first ones, it's apparently not trivial to design. Even the piece I mentioned was plagued by long delays after its announcement, and here we are years after that, and it still has essentially no competition. There is one British company who also makes something, also not particularly inexpensive, but more limited... and it doesn't work with Yamaha gear. (That's a complication created by the fact that Yamaha's USB implementation itself is not class-compliant, which is also why I would not be at all surprised if we never see any device to adapt a Yamaha USB keyboard to standard MIDI except for the one I mentioned.)

Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
I feel usb only is a headache for about 3% - 5% of advanced or entrenched users

I guess that's really the bottom line... USB will be a headache for some percentage of users, while standard MIDI is a problem for no one, because the conversion in that direction is so easily addressed. I think you put your finger on it with the next part... that USB is "comforting and familiar to the other +95%." In the case of MIDI, the advantage of a USB port is really just psychological, while actually providing, in effect, less functionality. And as you agree, it is more likely to become more antiquated, i.e. obsolete more quickly. So it's not surprising to me that the cheapest boards usually now only have USB, and any "serious" board will have a standard MIDI port, even if it has USB as well. (And USB is a great advantage for some things, like mass data transfer and firmware updates... but this is not the kind of thing that is typically relevant in a plain DP.)

Top
#1980211 - 10/29/12 06:27 PM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: cornerstone]
cornerstone Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/29/12
Posts: 3
Thank you so much for the advice and input there.

That has definitely put a worry aside with the Roland, so I'm pleased to hear it's the better set up that it has in that respect.

On the Yamaha front, I imagine that down the track adaptors from USB to "port of the future" would be very common too since it's so ubiquitous in computers, in the same way you can get adaptors for serial ports or whatever.

Top
#1980248 - 10/29/12 07:40 PM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: cornerstone]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3144
Originally Posted By: cornerstone
On the Yamaha front, I imagine that down the track adaptors from USB to "port of the future" would be very common too since it's so ubiquitous in computers

Again, there is the issue that Yamahas are not USB-class compliant. So unlike most USB devices, any future generic USB-to-something adapter is unlikely to work with a Yamaha keyboard. Someone would have to write a custom Yamaha-specific driver. OTOH, class compliant USB instruments (like the newer Casios, for example) should theoretically just work with whatever adapter might come out.

Essentially, if you can plug your instrument into the USB port of your computer today and have it just work, there is a much better chance of it remaining usable further into the future, compared to those that require that you install factory-supplied driver software to get it to work. Those could even fail with a new version of Windows or MacOS. Yamaha has been good about keeping on top of that, but it would be better if they didn't have to!

Top
#1980270 - 10/29/12 08:45 PM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: cornerstone]
1John Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/12
Posts: 43
Loc: Adelaide, Australia
Having MIDI ports is a major reason why I bought the Yamaha P-35 instead of the P-105, which only has USB, and not class-compliant at that. USB is mainly so you can transfer files between the computer and piano easily, but I don't think it's worth giving up the flexibity of MIDI for. Certainly it's not retarded to have MIDI rather than USB.

Also, doesn't the F-120 come with stand, pedals and cover, compared to the slab of the P-105? That can also affect the value proposition.

Yamaha have advertised their keybeds as "GH" grade and "GHS" grade for a while now, but that doesn't mean that the current keybeds are an old and fundamentally inferior design. New GH models appear to be more developed designs than older GH models. It's just they don't give each new one a different name like Roland do. So I wouldn't worry too much about the age of the design so much as what you like the feel of.

Top
#1980328 - 10/29/12 10:27 PM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: anotherscott]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3763
Loc: North Carolina
This item surfaces here from time to time ...
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
There is the issue that Yamahas are not USB-class compliant. So unlike most USB devices, any future generic USB-to-something adapter is unlikely to work with a Yamaha keyboard.
...
Those could even fail with a new version of Windows or MacOS. Yamaha has been good about keeping on top of that, but it would be better if they didn't have to!
This is really a non-issue. Yamaha still supports Windows 98. And every subsequent Windows OS. As long as they intend their pianos to work with Windows, they'll supply a driver that works with it.

Indeed, how could they NOT do so? If they make pianos with only a USB port and no MIDI ports, they have to offer a USB driver. How else would the piano play into a Windows box?

On the other point ... why would you want a USB-to-something adapter? People here seem to be looking for quite the opposite: a MIDI-to-USB adapter so that their MIDI piano can hook into the USB port of a Windows/Mac box. These are available aplenty.

But with a USB-only piano, all you need is the USB cable, available anywhere ... for cheap. No adapter needed.

Top
#1980339 - 10/29/12 11:01 PM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: MacMacMac]
1John Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/12
Posts: 43
Loc: Adelaide, Australia
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
This is really a non-issue. Yamaha still supports Windows 98. And every subsequent Windows OS. As long as they intend their pianos to work with Windows, they'll supply a driver that works with it.

Indeed, how could they NOT do so? If they make pianos with only a USB port and no MIDI ports, they have to offer a USB driver. How else would the piano play into a Windows box?


Clearly they need to support current products under currently available versions of windows. However, in a few years time when some fancy new operating system is released, they won't necessarily have so much need to support new drivers for what will then be older models. This problem was seen with some printers and scanners when Vista came out. At least with a class compliant interface, the operating system would more likely come with a driver for it.

There's also the issue for other operating systems, such as iOS, Android or Linux, which may not be able to develop drivers if Yahama doesn't open up their spec. In a few years we'll be able to have high quality piano sound modules the size of a phone, which likely moves this outside simply a question of compatibility with Windows.

They break away from class compliance so that they can add features that the class device doesn't allow. However, this issue has been addressed in devices like phones and mp3 players for a while now, by having an option to select between different device operation modes - class or a proprietary one.

Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
On the other point ... why would you want a USB-to-something adapter?

  • To connect the piano to synth that uses MIDI.
  • To connect to some fancy computer/portable device of the future that doesn't have built-in USB
  • Wireless operation

Following open standards is just a good thing - it gives a much better chance of different devices working with each other over the longer term. For some people MIDI over YamahaUSB will be fine, but it may not be for all.

Top
#1980341 - 10/29/12 11:05 PM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: 1John]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3763
Loc: North Carolina
But they do! The old pianos work with the new OS's and new drivers.
Originally Posted By: 1John
Clearly they need to support current products under currently available versions of windows. However, in a few years time when some fancy new operating system is released, they won't necessarily have so much need to support new drivers for what will then be older models.

Top
#1980351 - 10/29/12 11:29 PM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: MacMacMac]
1John Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/12
Posts: 43
Loc: Adelaide, Australia
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
But they do! The old pianos work with the new OS's and new drivers.

Yes, so far, so good - and that's a good sign that they will most likely be supportive of Windows for a while.

Top
#1980386 - 10/30/12 01:53 AM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: cornerstone]
cornerstone Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/29/12
Posts: 3
Now have a brand new Roland in the house! And midi-to-usb cable on its merry way from Hong Kong! smile

Top
#1980429 - 10/30/12 07:59 AM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: cornerstone]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
Congrats Cornerstone! I hope it gives you many hours of satisfaction! smile
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

Top
#1980525 - 10/30/12 01:09 PM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: MacMacMac]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3144
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
Indeed, how could they NOT do so? If they make pianos with only a USB port and no MIDI ports, they have to offer a USB driver. How else would the piano play into a Windows box?

As I said, Yamaha has been good about it. But they promise that a Yamaha piano that you buy today will work with a current Windows system. There is no guarantee that it will work with every Windows system that comes out for the next 20 years. That wouldn't make the piano functionless, of course. Many (probably most) people who buy a Yamaha piano with USB never hook it up to a computer at all! And if it ever comes to that, you could keep an old Windows machine around just for compatibility's sake. But if they were class compliant, they would be assured with working in more/unpredicted future situations... and if they have a real MIDI port, even more so.

I think 1John addressed the rest of your post pretty well.

Top
#1980562 - 10/30/12 02:32 PM Re: Roland F-120 (MIDI only) vs Yamaha YDP-S51 (USB only)? [Re: cornerstone]
PianoWorksATL Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2684
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: cornerstone
Now have a brand new Roland in the house! smile
Congrats!
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta

Top

Moderator:  Piano World 
What's Hot!!
European Piano Party 2014, Picts & Stories! (Piano Party in Portugal)
-------------------
75,000 Members and Growing!
-------------------
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
(ad) Purely Piano Practice Software
Purely Piano Practice Software
(ad) Piano Guide Lessons
Piano Guide Lessons
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
123 registered (ando, accordeur, Abby Pianoman, 31 invisible), 1635 Guests and 19 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
75369 Members
42 Forums
155829 Topics
2288252 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Digital piano plays keys that aren't being pressed
by symphonicfinale
53 minutes 19 seconds ago
Baby Grand - Knabe or J. Strauss & Son?
by NYC Producer
Today at 01:11 PM
New to the digital piano world! Can anyone help?
by blackwhitekeys
Today at 06:26 AM
Yamaha Swap For Roland ???
by musicmad
Today at 05:57 AM
midi over the internet
by chopin_r_us
Today at 04:56 AM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
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