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#1989186 - 11/21/12 12:47 AM Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Greetings,

I cannot seem to write this initial post efficiently. It ends up long. I have rewritten it a few times. I am just going to post this and hope people have the patience to read through it.

I have seen a few threads started by people looking for recommendations or advise on digital pianos. I am looking for a keyboard but also deciding the best way to deal with the one I currently have.

I am not a keyboardist, I play guitar and dabble in keyboard. This is all personal recreation. The gear stays at home.

I currently have a Yamaha MOX6. It has 61 keys and unweighted action. I have ended up using it as a controller and do not use its internal features. I find working with the software available on a computer much easier and enjoyable to use.

I want to focus on piano. I want decent piano action and 88 keys. (I know much of this is subjective i.e. what is decent? Action can also be a personal preference, etc.). Piano sound is not that important because I plan to use computer software.

One option is to trade with someone who has a MOX8 (supplemented with additional cash).

Someone with a MOX8 might want the smaller footprint, identical internal features and not need or want the piano action and 88 keys. These boards can control or be controlled by other boards.

The beauty of trading up to a MOX8 is that I would not lose anything. I would just gain more keys and the piano-friendly action. The most I would pay would be the difference of $500. It is a practical solution.

Though I am not currently utilizing the internal features of the MOX they would still be mine if I chose to use them at some point in the future. I would not have lost them with the switch to gain a piano style action.

The downside to this option is the limited number of candidates with a comparable MOX8 interested in switching to a MOX6. There are going to be more people interested in buying a MOX6 than people who own a MOX8 and are interested in a trade.

I do not need or want an extra keyboard. I would not be playing two at once and could make do with piano action when using the other voices. I am looking for a replacement (primarily the keybed action and number of keys) not an additional instrument.

I will have to sell the 2nd keyboard if I do not trade into the piano. It will likely cost me more in the long run if I sell the MOX6 and buy a different keyboard considering what I paid for the MOX6.

Another option is to trade the MOX6 for a piano-friendly keyboard. Again this limits candidates but it could work out if the circumstances align.

Another approach would be to ignore the MOX6 and select the digital piano that best suits me. Then sell the MOX6 independently. As mentioned, this would probably be the most expensive option.

Fortunately, I do not have to sell the MOX6 first to have the funds for a piano-friendly keyboard. I can deal with each giving them their required time.

I want a decent digital piano. I am not interested in a budget model just for the sake of having a piano. I want a good one.

Action and the ability to interface with the computer are most important. There is some additional benefit to an action like that found in the MOX8 in that the keyboard is designed for playing all of the voices that it comes with. It is not strictly a piano action.

On the other hand I am not going to be doing more than dabbling in the other voices and could manage with a better piano action keybed. If there existed a poll statistic I'd take the most popular action for piano in a keyboard even if it restricted playing other types of voices and styles.

I have considered the Yamaha p-155, CP33 and P-105, as well as the Casio PX-3 and PX-350. A piano-friendly keyboard under $1000 is what I am thinking of.

If you patiently read through to this point, thank you!

Any thoughts or recommendations regarding any of this are welcome.



Edited by o0Ampy0o (11/21/12 01:01 AM)

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#1989197 - 11/21/12 01:27 AM Re: Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action [Re: o0Ampy0o]
galaxy4t Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/28/08
Posts: 853
Loc: Lakewood, CA
I think you have a good starting point with the following: P-155, CP-33, PX-350, PX-3. If you don't object to buying used, you can likely do the older Yahama MO8 for around $1000. The P-105 lacks Midi IN/OUT jacks. It has USB Midi only. I think I would keep the MOX6 you currently have to give you flexibility in case you need additional sounds that you might not have in software. In any event, you could drive this with any of the boards mentioned above using them as a midi controller. These are all good boards. You would just need to nail down the action you prefer between them. The general consenses so far is that the PX-350 has a very good action for a board under $1000. There might be an upgrade soon to the PX-3. Maybe an announcement at NAMM 2013.


Edited by galaxy4t (11/21/12 01:28 AM)

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#1989687 - 11/22/12 06:54 AM Re: Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action [Re: o0Ampy0o]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3182
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
The downside to this option is the limited number of candidates with a comparable MOX8 interested in switching to a MOX6.

They don't have to be the same person. You can sell your MOX6 to someone, and buy a used MOX8 from someone else.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
There is some additional benefit to an action like that found in the MOX8 in that the keyboard is designed for playing all of the voices that it comes with. It is not strictly a piano action.

It was designed as a piano action (P95, etc.), they just happen to use it in a multi-function board. There's nothing specially "multi-purpose" about it... it is not inherently any more usable for non-piano sounds than numerous other weighted boards.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
If there existed a poll statistic I'd take the most popular action for piano in a keyboard even if it restricted playing other types of voices and styles.

"Most popular" doesn't mean "best" especially in an area as subjective as keyboard feel. Choosing an action based on what's most popular would be like deciding between a Strat and a Les Paul based on which one was currently the better seller, or which won a poll... it really wouldn't tell you which you would prefer, you'd have to try them for yourself. And especially since you want to stay in the under $1k range, all actions will have compromises, and different people will be happier with different compromises.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
I have considered the Yamaha p-155, CP33 and P-105, as well as the Casio PX-3 and PX-350.

The P155 and CP33 appear to use the same action, so then you would decide based on features or price. I believe the P105, P95 and MOX8 likewise share the same kind of action. The two Casio models you mention are very different from each other. I like the feel of the PX350 best of everything you listed, though I didn't find a velocity response curve on it that really worked for me. If you're just using it as a controller for a computer, you could also look at the less expensive PX150, which has the same action. One more sub-$1k model you could look at would be the Korg SP250. It's less popular because it's somewhat big and heavy, but if you're not gigging with it, you might not care about that. It has the same kind of action that numerous more expensive Korgs do.

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#1989964 - 11/23/12 02:51 AM Re: Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action [Re: o0Ampy0o]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Thanks for the replies. So many views but only two replies? That's what I get for writing too much in the first post, I guess.

I reconsidered a MOX8 and no longer believe that is a viable option. If I could not sell my MOX6 at a price absent of major loss I would just keep it. That means I would have two MOX's which would not make sense for my needs.

Before I saw Scott's post I was thinking I could just get by with the MOX6 until sometime next year hoping the new piano action of the Casio was available on an upgraded PX-3.

I was excited to hear that the Casio PX 150 had the same action as the PX 350. Many people do seem to like it and I did read Scott's opinion somewhere about it being his favorite under $2000. Getting a quality piano action for relatively little cost looked appealing. However, it does not have a mod wheel. If I was to eliminate the 2nd keyboard I would miss that when using the PX 150 as a controller.

It is only another $200 for the PX 350 though it is a lot more just to get that one feature. I could keep both but I would like to have only one. I would sort of be forced to have two. It is a discouraging consequence of this choice.

I like the idea of a controller with good piano action but it does need to have a mod wheel. I believe most of the other models I listed have either a wheel or at least a mod button (better than nothing). The P105 may not. Getting the better action in such an inexpensive keyboard was tempting. An extra $200 so I would not be forced to keep a 2nd keyboard or be without a mod wheel is not that much.

I need to read more about the MO and the Korg SP250. I suspect with the Yamaha MO it would be a similar situation as a MOX8 being too similar to the MOX6 to have both so choosing it would force me to sell the MOX6.


Edited by o0Ampy0o (11/23/12 03:52 AM)

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#1989994 - 11/23/12 07:03 AM Re: Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action [Re: o0Ampy0o]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3182
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
I was excited to hear that the Casio PX 150 had the same action as the PX 350
...
However, it does not have a mod wheel.
...
It is only another $200 for the PX 350 though it is a lot more just to get that one feature.

PX350 does not have a mod wheel either. Just a pitch bend wheel.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
I like the idea of a controller with good piano action but it does need to have a mod wheel. I believe most of the other models I listed have either a wheel or at least a mod button (better than nothing). The P105 may not. .

No mod wheel on the P105 or P155 (or the Korg SP250 I mentioned). Button only on the PX3.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
I suspect with the Yamaha MO it would be a similar situation as a MOX8 being too similar to the MOX6

FYI, the MOX has the sounds of the Motif XS, the MO has the sounds of its predecessor, the Motif ES. I believe it is also discontinued, though you may find a few around.

88 key weighted action boards with modulation control, in order of increasing price, short of a MOX8: PX3 (button only... and also no expression pedal input), CP33, Kawai MP6, Korg Krome.

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#1990218 - 11/24/12 05:00 AM Re: Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action [Re: o0Ampy0o]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
It had not registered in my mind that the pitch control was not the mod control even reading "Pitch" in the specs. Thank you!

It would be perfect (had I picked the MOX8 in the first place) if I could smoothly acquire a MOX8 and eliminate the MOX6. The MOX8 is looking better for my situation except the part where I must sell my MOX6.

It is not out of the question to step into something more expensive or in a different league now. I am adjusting to the reality of things. I might as well consider the $1500 range of options like the Korg Krome.

On the other hand, it works the same just starting from scratch and taking a loss selling gear bought brand new. I could get a nice piano and some small board for the applications that utilize a mod controller and synthy action. I'll spend, lose or spend and lose money. It is all worth it if I end up with what I want.

I noticed that the Yamaha P-35 is very limited but it has MIDI in/out. Not sure I would need that but it has the same 88 keys as the MOX8(?) if I decided to take the 2-board route. It represents the quickest solution though not the most desirable.

Is it correct that USB MIDI only speaks to a computer and not to other keyboards?


Edited by o0Ampy0o (11/24/12 05:13 AM)

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#1990222 - 11/24/12 06:25 AM Re: Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action [Re: o0Ampy0o]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3182
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
I noticed that the Yamaha P-35 is very limited but it has MIDI in/out. Not sure I would need that but it has the same 88 keys as the MOX8(?) if I decided to take the 2-board route. It represents the quickest solution though not the most desirable.

I actually think that's a great solution. A MOX6 plus a Yamaha P35 basically gives you a MOX8 with the extra advantage of having both weighted and unweighted actions at your disposal (and 149 keys for splits and layers, if you want to use it that way), and it costs less than buying a MOX8. To me, the main reason to buy a MOX8 is if you must have only one board, or you have some other unweighted board you want to pair it with.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
Is it correct that USB MIDI only speaks to a computer and not to other keyboards?
Pretty much. As with everything, there are always exceptions... USB MIDI keyboards can be attached to a Korg Kronos (although not Yamaha USB keyboards, as they are not USB class compliant); and there is a $200 box you can get to convert a USB connector to standard MIDI (and they did engineer it so it would even work with Yamaha keyboards):

http://www.iconnectivity.com/iConnectMIDI

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#1990561 - 11/25/12 02:02 AM Re: Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action [Re: o0Ampy0o]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Scott,

If I am using the P35 as a controller for either a computer software piano or the MOX6, would the 32 note polyphony become irrelevant with the keyboard relying on the software or MOX6 polyphony instead of its own?

When you spoke of 149 keys for layers and splits, does this mean that practically everything the MOX6 can do is available to the P35 through the MIDI connection? And, does this mean that only physical properties of the P35 limit MOX functions available to the P35 (i.e. not having a mod wheel)?

If for a moment we take your opinion of keyboard action and think of it as a standard can you describe the MOX8 action comparing it with your feeling about the new Casio PX 350 action and keyboards under $2000? ...something like the Casio being 8 or 9 on a 0-10 scale placing the MOX8 action somewhere. I may not be able to try anything in advance of buying it and to some extent your impression and abilities to assess the action would be more valuable than my own because I do not have enough experience. It is probably wiser to rely on your preference than my own at this stage.

I originally wanted an un-weighted action because I thought it would be easier to use and more versatile. I have read comments where seasoned piano players find un-weighted action to be a major hindrance when they are using it for piano. This is unfamiliar territory to me. I might like an action for completely wrong reasons.

One other thing that I'll voice even though it might not matter depending where you place the MOX8 action on that scale. I am generally happiest getting the specific item I want (well researched not impulsively) instead of settling for something. With that said, do you think the Casio action is worth sacrificing the MIDI connections in a PX 150 instead of a P35 or paying more and getting the PX 350 which has the MIDI connections?


Edited by o0Ampy0o (11/25/12 03:59 AM)
Edit Reason: clarification

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#1990787 - 11/25/12 07:07 PM Re: Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action [Re: o0Ampy0o]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3182
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
MOX6, would the 32 note polyphony become irrelevant with the keyboard relying on the software or MOX6 polyphony instead of its own?

That is my understanding, yes.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
When you spoke of 149 keys for layers and splits, does this mean that practically everything the MOX6 can do is available to the P35 through the MIDI connection? And, does this mean that only physical properties of the P35 limit MOX functions available to the P35 (i.e. not having a mod wheel)?

Yes, but even better than that... Once you connect the two, you have a choice of whether you want them to function as separate 88 and 61 key boards for 149 keys, or if you want the 88 key board to mimic the 61 except for having more keys. It's kind of how, when you hook up a second monitor to a computer, you may have the option to use the second monitor to increase the size of your desktop, or merely to mirror the first one. The reason you migh want to take the "mirror" approach is then even the one limitation you mentioned--the physical properties--no longer applies. That is, you could be playing on the 88, and the mod wheel you mention on the 61 would be completely functional on the sound you're playing with the 88. It basically comes down to whether you have the two boards operating on the same or different MIDI channels.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
If for a moment we take your opinion of keyboard action and think of it as a standard can you describe the MOX8 action comparing it with your feeling about the new Casio PX 350 action and keyboards under $2000?

I prefer the feel of the PX350, but I am not sure about its velocity response... I'd be curious myself to see how it feels controlling another board like a MOX.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
I originally wanted an un-weighted action because I thought it would be easier to use and more versatile. I have read comments where seasoned piano players find un-weighted action to be a major hindrance when they are using it for piano. This is unfamiliar territory to me. I might like an action for completely wrong reasons.

Yes, it is more difficult to play piano from an unweighted action than from a weighted one (and the reverse is true for organ). There are multiple issues. Once is that piano playing is very reliant on varying the sound based on how hard you hit the keys, and the unweighted actions are far less controllable in this regard... it's one of the situations where the physics are that too little resistance makes something hard to control with any precision. Another aspect is that, when you move your hand to jump to a distant key, you may brush against an adjacent key, momentarily sounding it in addition to the note you were aiming for. On an organ, that tends to sound good. On a piano, that tends to sound bad. Increased resistance makes it harder to unintentionally hit those adjacent keys with enough force to allow them to sound.

Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
With that said, do you think the Casio action is worth sacrificing the MIDI connections in a PX 150 instead of a P35 or paying more and getting the PX 350 which has the MIDI connections?

If you think you may ever want to connect the piano to something without getting a computer involved, I would say to definitely get something with standard 5-pin MIDI connectors.

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#1992235 - 11/29/12 01:01 AM Re: Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action [Re: o0Ampy0o]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
At this point I have ordered a Casio PX 350.

I changed my mind about having a single board. I would like to have both the MOX6 and piano actions. I thought about the 5-pin MIDI connectors and realized I could use the iConnect later if the piano I chose was USB MIDI only but that brought the price up fairly close to pianos that came with the 5-pn MIDI connectors. If I needed/wanted to acquire this in stages that would work but I decided to go ahead and step up to the better of the two new Casios which has 5-pin MIDI connectors.

Because I am most interested in a controller for software I was also hesitant to invest in multiple sounds and options of more expensive pianos. My choice was primarily based on action and the 5-pin connectors. When I factored in the price of an iConnect the extras of the relatively better models were practically free.

I am worried about the QC of the Casio with all of the talk about un-level keys and buzzy speakers. I will probably never use the speakers but it will come back to haunt me if I ever sell the piano. This leads to another concern buying a Casio with the stigma of the name. It seems like a sweeter package selling a MIDI'd up pair of Yamahas (MOX and whatever piano). If mine arrives flawless these will not be big enough concerns to offset the better action in the Casio though.

If the PX 350 comes up short I will return it and either get the P35 or a P155......most likely the P35.

Thanks for all of the assistance.

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#1996610 - 12/08/12 09:42 PM Re: Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action [Re: o0Ampy0o]
o0Ampy0o Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/12
Posts: 473
Update:

I received the PX 350 Friday.

I was impressed with the quality in the packaging. The Casio comes in a solid box with sufficient padding.

The actual instrument is more solid than I expected. The texture of the keys is not even on the radar. I was expecting something like the texture found on some parts of a dashboard. This is smooth as far as I care. The keys feel and look fine to my unseasoned piano noodler fingertips. I think they even attain elegance.

THANK YOU Galaxy4t for mentioning the PX 350.

THANK YOU AnotherScott for sharing your opinion of the options suited to my situation and especially for what you consider to be good piano action. I can only tell that there isn't anything standing in the way of using this keybed except my piano skills. There is nothing that jumps out that I do not like about it. There might be an action that feels better to me somewhere in the world but I will probably never discover it because there is no need to look.

As for the speakers, I did not consider this before, it is amazing that a speaker exists that can take the impact of piano playing at a high volume. This is a strong full-bodied signal. With it comes a shock audio wave. If all digital piano speakers do not develop a rattle or buzz it is credit to engineers.

My keys are uniformly spaced and level. The tape that secured them in the box was evenly applied. It was not crude masking tape but a plastic tape that was stronger and cleaner to remove.

Being accustomed to playing only a synth action there are immediate differences in the sounds that the weighted keys enable. My noodling instantly sounds more like a piano player. I thought it was just my undeveloped skills. With this piano I can do things characteristic of a piano style that I did not think I was capable of.

I expected to use this as a controller with sample software but the internal sounds are surprisingly good with headphones. I just don't think any built-in speakers can sound good enough. I am also spoiled with sampled piano sounds. I am certain the internal piano sounds would be great through well chosen external monitor/speakers. I now plan to use the internal piano sounds with headphones. I will not always have to boot up the computer.

So far I think will be happy keeping this Casio PX 350.



Edited by o0Ampy0o (12/08/12 10:30 PM)

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#1996641 - 12/08/12 11:15 PM Re: Advice needed: synth keyboard to keyboard with piano action [Re: o0Ampy0o]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3182
Originally Posted By: o0Ampy0o
Being accustomed to playing only a synth action there are immediate differences in the sounds that the weighted keys enable. My noodling instantly sounds more like a piano player. I thought it was just my undeveloped skills. With this piano I can do things characteristic of a piano style that I did not think I was capable of.

Yup. People sometimes think it will be easier to play an unweighted action, but for piano, it's actually more difficult. A weighted action makes it much easier to play "pianistically." (And for organ, it's the reverse.)

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