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#2030416 - 02/10/13 11:42 AM The best digital I can afford
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 2036
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
I should have posted here but I posted in piano forum.
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
Hi I own a grand but would like to get a nice digital so that I can play late at night. My hubby says he wants to sleep at 10:00. I'm a night owl who is up until 1:00 during weekdays. I heard that there are nice digitals with weighted keys that's similar to acoustic piano. My budget is between $1,000 and $3,000 including everything (stand, headset etc). Really appreciate your input in this. Thank you.
_________________________
Solo - Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Schumann Op 12 Warum, Grillen and a few short pieces by various composers
Collaboration - Concerto in C for Oboe and orchestra attributed to Haydn edited by Evelyn Rosewell and some duets


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#2030428 - 02/10/13 11:52 AM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
personne Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 127
Loc: Toronto, Canada
If you increase your budget, you can take a Yamaha NU-1 - a hybryd with a real action.
But for 3K you can buy a very nice digital - for example, Roland HP-505 and Kawai CA-65 fit your budget. Both have the same action as higher models HP-507 and CA-95 but less sound features.
Or you can go for a slab within your budget as well (like Roland FP-7F) if space is important.
_________________________
Roland HP-507RW | Yamaha U1

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#2030437 - 02/10/13 12:00 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 2036
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Personne, thank you for a great suggestion. Do you buy these in a store or is it ok to buy it on-line? For an acoustic, it is often recommended to buy it from a reputable store where you live.
_________________________
Solo - Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Schumann Op 12 Warum, Grillen and a few short pieces by various composers
Collaboration - Concerto in C for Oboe and orchestra attributed to Haydn edited by Evelyn Rosewell and some duets


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#2030479 - 02/10/13 12:59 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3442
I tend to prefer slabs, because as a rule, more of your budget goes to sound and action rather than cabinetry, and if you ever want to sell/upgrade, it is easier to find a buyer for something that someone doesn't need help and a van to move, or something you can even easily ship for an eBay sale. The models with cabinetry often have better speakers, but since the reason you're buying is for late night headphone playing, that isn't an issue.

In order of decreasing price, I'd look at:

Nord Piano 2 (may require a bit of aggressive shopping to get into your budget, but should be do-able)

Yamaha CP5

Kawai MP10

Roland FP-7F

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#2030484 - 02/10/13 01:06 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5530
Unlike acoustics, where every piano is different, not just in their sound but also in action even among the same models, digitals are (or should be) exactly the same if they are the same model: they are mostly factory made and machined.

You should still try out the DPs first in the stores to make sure the model suits you and what you want out of it. But the DP should then arrive at your home brand new, boxed and untouched by anyone outside of the factory it came from - not the one you tried out in the store. Whether bought online or not, it shouldn't make any difference, except maybe in its cost - DPs are really electronic instruments, more computer than mechanical, and therefore should be as reliable as computers with the same guarantees.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2030491 - 02/10/13 01:11 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3484
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
Personne, thank you for a great suggestion. Do you buy these in a store or is it ok to buy it on-line? For an acoustic, it is often recommended to buy it from a reputable store where you live.


For slab-style pianos it is often easier and cheaper to buy online in the US. Typically they don't come with speakers or don't have great speakers. For console-style pianos you usually don't have a choice and must go to a brick and mortar store. You should decide which form factor you want.

Within $3000 you can have almost the very best. In slab pianos that's the MP10 on the Kawai, the RD700NX in Roland, Maybe the CP5 on the Yamaha side. Or save a little money and get the FP7F in Roland, ES7 in Kawai, or CP50 in Yamaha.

In console models, look to one of the Clavinova models in Yamaha (if you don't want to shell out for an NU1). The cheapest actual Clavinova (model number starts with CLP, not YDP) you can find is probably fine. You have had some good Roland recommendations. On the Kawai side the CA65 is about as good as it gets at the moment--probably my choice if I was going to get a console. Save a little money going with the older CA63 if you want.

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#2030498 - 02/10/13 01:19 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: bennevis]
Clayman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 300
Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
Originally Posted By: bennevis
...
DPs are really electronic instruments, more computer than mechanical, and therefore should be as reliable as computers with the same guarantees.


Being a programmer by profession, I sincerely hope DP's are much more reliable than computers. laugh But I guess they are indeed. It's the rotating parts (fans and disks with spinning platters) in a computer that usually go first and to my knowledge, DP's have none of that. Or do they?

Still, I believe FarmGirl should at least get the hang of the key action and sound of the piano she picks to make sure it suits her taste in those aspects.
_________________________
-- Zbynek N.

Learning to play the piano since 06/2013 on a Kawai CA-95.

Music is what feelings sound like. ~ Author Unknown

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#2030521 - 02/10/13 01:41 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: Clayman]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3484
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Clayman
It's the rotating parts (fans and disks with spinning platters) in a computer that usually go first and to my knowledge, DP's have none of that. Or do they?


Actually I'd say it's usually the buggy programming and bloatware that usually make a computer unreliable first. Glitches that interrupt your playing don't need to be hardware related.

DP onboard software has few bugs (or extraneous features) and no bloatware. Also few or no moving parts, so it's more reliable in several ways.


Edited by gvfarns (02/10/13 01:42 PM)

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#2030524 - 02/10/13 01:45 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: gvfarns]
Clayman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 300
Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
I was thinking in terms of hardware faults and sort of forgot that DP's have firmware as well. Good point.
_________________________
-- Zbynek N.

Learning to play the piano since 06/2013 on a Kawai CA-95.

Music is what feelings sound like. ~ Author Unknown

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#2030536 - 02/10/13 01:57 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
personne Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 127
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
Personne, thank you for a great suggestion. Do you buy these in a store or is it ok to buy it on-line? For an acoustic, it is often recommended to buy it from a reputable store where you live.


You can but it anywhere. But it can be nice to have exchange option, if you decide to go with other piano.
The only advice is to listen carefully before you buy - probably the same way as you listen to an acoustic piano. Take a pair of good headphones with you. Spend some time playing the piano - do you like the touch and the sound? Especially you have a grand at home already, it you do not like either touch or the tone, you can be reluctant to play your digital.
_________________________
Roland HP-507RW | Yamaha U1

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#2030553 - 02/10/13 02:29 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
fizikisto Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 724
Loc: Hernando, MS
Farmgirl,
As others have noted, you need to decide if you want a furniture style (looks like a real upright piano) or a slab style (much more portable) digital piano (DP). Since you already have a real piano, probably a portable slab style piano may be a better choice. The next thing to decide is whether you want one with built in speakers or not. Generally, external speakers will sound a lot better than the internal speakers that come on slab style DP's that have speakers. But, it's an extra expense, plus you have to cart them around if you move the piano, plus they can be unsightly. On the other hand, if you're only going to play through headphones, that might not matter either way. Next, you should decide what you want from your digital piano. Do you want/need to have lots of instrument sounds and synth textures to play with? Or would you be happy with some really good piano sounds and maybe a few other "bread and butter" type sounds (electric pianos, strings, maybe a harpsichord or organ sound, that sort of thing). Also, you should ask yourself something: if this is mainly a second piano for late at night practice, do you really need a top of the line digital piano? Would something less expensive meet my needs? Maybe you want the best you can get that you can afford. Or maybe you just want to get something that is satisfying to play and that meets your needs. Knowing that a priori will help you to make an informed choice.

A few options worth noting:
First I'd consider something lower end, the Casio PX150. This is a piano with just a few bread and butter sounds, but it has great sounds for what it is, has a good feeling action (at least according to a lot of people, that's such a subjective thing though), and would save you a ton of money compared to some of the higher end models. If it's just for late night practicing with headphones, this might be a great option. It also has built in speakers. You can also get a matching furniture stand and triple pedal (sustain, sostenuto, and soft) to go with it, which gives the unit a nice appearance but does not sacrifice portability (the unit can detach from the stand).

Similarly, the PX350 is the PX150's bigger brother with a lot more sounds and features as well as much better sounding speakers. Were I in your shoes, I'd look really hard at the PX350. With stand, triple pedal unit, and a good set of headphones you'll find it costing probably $1200-ish.

If you're looking for something higher end, I'd consider a similarly equipped Kawai ES7 (which can also have a furniture stand and triple pedal unit). It's probably double the price, but it has beautiful sounds and a very playable action. It's also very portable. The kawai MP10 is getting a lot of love in this thread, but you should be aware that it lacks built in speakers. It has arguably the most realistic action on a DP, and even has wooden keys. However, the thing is a beast. It weighs around 70 lb. So it's not as portable as some of the other options.

There are other pianos you might like from Roland, Yamaha, etc... I'm sure you'll get lots of other suggestions here. But make sure that the piano has everything you need. For example, a lot of people love the Roland rd700NX, but that model lacks a sheet music stand. That's such a minor detail for a lot of people, but if you mainly play from sheet music, that could be a deal breaker.

Also, just a note: Don't skimp on the headphones. A good set of headphones can easily run you $200+. You want something that's comfortable to you and that has a great sound.

Good Luck!
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2030565 - 02/10/13 02:44 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6469
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
Personne, thank you for a great suggestion. Do you buy these in a store or is it ok to buy it on-line? For an acoustic, it is often recommended to buy it from a reputable store where you live.


FarmGirl -

I'm going through the same process now myself - for the same reason. Perhaps we can discuss next Saturday !!!! grin
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2030599 - 02/10/13 03:42 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5530
I definitely second what others here have said about getting a slab DP. There's no point getting a cabinet DP if you're using headphones with it.

When I set about choosing my DP three years ago, I brought my own headphones with me and only used them (not the ones provided by the stores, which are of variable quality) to audition all the DPs that I was interested in. Cost wasn't the issue for me - I wanted the best, because it was to be my only 'piano' to play on at home, and unlike most DP owners, I had (and still have) no intention of ever 'upgrading' on an annual (or even six-monthly, like some people here) basis.

Among the things I discovered - all new to me then, because I had no prior experience of DPs - were:
a) Cabinets increase the cost by around $1000, but the sound quality through my headphones was still invariably better than what I heard through the DP's speakers.
b) The more flashing lights and dials and levers and extra sounds (electronic piano/synth/organ/harpsichord etc) the DP has, the more expensive it is, for the same purely piano quality. If you don't need that kind of stuff, avoid those DPs with lots of fun stuff.
c) Make sure its action and 'connection'/playability/responsiveness is close enough to what you want - especially as you already have a grand at home. You may find that Clavinovas aren't for you because its key action is (too) smooth all the way down its travel. If you press a key down slowly on your grand, you'll feel a 'notch' (its double escapement system, common to all grands) part way down, which helps with control on very soft playing. Clavinovas uniquely among higher-end DPs lack this (simulated let-off) feature, and for me, that's enough to knock them out of contention. But this may not bother you.....
As for playability/responsiveness, for me it's whether you can lose yourself into your playing while at the instrument, whether it feels 'real' enough to you, whether its tonal characteristics change in character depending on how you play, whether the overall sound picture - not just its sound per se, but also the way the sound behaves during decay sounds convincingly real, not processed/electronic. (This is most obvious when playing slow, sustained music). In your price range, I think Roland SuperNatural DPs like the RD-700NX are the best in this regard.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2030617 - 02/10/13 04:03 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
Dustin Spray Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/13
Posts: 51
Loc: Central Illinois
I vote for the Kawai CA65/CA95 series.

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#2030631 - 02/10/13 04:24 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9678
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
FarmGirl, if you own a reasonably modern laptop (Windows or Mac), you may wish to consider virtual piano software being played on a controller such as the Kawai VPC1.



Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#2030663 - 02/10/13 05:08 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
JFP Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 1336
Loc: The Netherlands
Did this watching guy just faint in the middle of the movie, or was he going to propose (which he seemed to be willing to do from the start) ?

The man with the beard is included with the VPC by the way as your VPT (virtual piano teacher).

Other than that I second the advice to consider the new Kawai . Leaves enough budget for a good software piano of your choice.


Edited by JFP (02/10/13 05:11 PM)

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#2030798 - 02/10/13 08:58 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
fizikisto Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 724
Loc: Hernando, MS
Kawai James
The VPC1 is a very interesting controller, but apparently the editing software is for windows based computers only. One assumes that it should be pretty plug and play with the OSX midi implementation, but without the editing software I assume you can't change the customized velocity/touch curves, for example. This suggests very limited usability with OS X based computers. Is that accurate? Do you know if there are plans to release an OS X version in the near future?

Thanks smile
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2030799 - 02/10/13 09:01 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9678
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
fizikisto, for the sake of keeping FarmGirl's thread on-topic, may I ask you to raise this query in the VPC thread, please?

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

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#2030810 - 02/10/13 09:27 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
fizikisto Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 724
Loc: Hernando, MS
James, of course, sorry, didn't mean to threadjack.
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2030816 - 02/10/13 09:50 PM Re: The best digital I can afford [Re: FarmGirl]
pv88 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/31/10
Posts: 2718
@FarmGirl,

Here's a short excerpt of the Rachmaninoff Elegie to demonstrate the "Studio Grand 2" preset of the Kawai EP3:

https://www.box.com/s/c1oewwbnd9jrepdsgmno

And, here's another recording using the main "Concert Grand 1" preset:

https://www.box.com/s/wineumnawhstpluxj2di

The Kawai EP3 costs only $1,100, online.

Extra note:

Since you are willing to spend more (up to $3,000) then you might want to look at the Kawai ES7 instead, as it is the latest version of the portable models and you can get a nice furniture style stand with it, plus a triple pedal assembly.

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