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#2053321 - 03/24/13 07:58 AM Portable Practice Piano
Cobra1365 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/11/10
Posts: 261
If you were to buy something that was very portable so you could practice when away from home, what would it be?

I'm thinking along the lines of being able to carry it when you go on a cruise or other such vacation.
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#2053331 - 03/24/13 08:17 AM Re: Portable Practice Piano [Re: Cobra1365]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
I've obsessed about this question more than I should have, and as far as I know, there's no good solution yet.

It's all about the tradeoff between performance characteristics and portability. Do you want 88 weighted keys? Or would 49 spring-loaded keys satisfy you?

If the latter, there are a lot of good, portable MIDI controllers that can keep you in the game while you travel with a fairly portable unit.

If the former, I'd recommend the Casio PX-150, but it's longer, heavier (though still light), and probably requires some kind of stand support (though you might be able to confect some kind of makeshift stand from furniture & chairs, etc.).

It's the "in-between" space -- between the 49-key MIDI controllers and the lightweight stage pianos like the PX-150 -- that is the great wasteland in this marketing space.

If I'm going on a driving trip, I take a PX-350. If I have to fly, I take a Yamaha NP-11 (61 spring-loaded keys).

I'm now thinking about the Roland RD-64 -- a 64-key unit WITH weighted keys. It would have been perfect for this purpose had they not put a set of controls on the left side of the keyboard, adding about eight inches unnecessarily (for my purposes) to the length of the board and putting it into another airline travel class. Even with that problem, though, it's probably more "fly-withable" than the PX-150, and I'm giving it some thought.

If you or anyone else can come up with better solutions than these for the traveling pianist, you'll earn the thanks of grateful nations!



Edited by ClsscLib (03/24/13 08:18 AM)
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"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2053335 - 03/24/13 08:24 AM Re: Portable Practice Piano [Re: Cobra1365]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9158
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
If money is no object, a VAX77 may be worth considering.

James
x
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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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#2053346 - 03/24/13 08:45 AM Re: Portable Practice Piano [Re: Cobra1365]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9158
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
_________________________
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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#2053351 - 03/24/13 09:03 AM Re: Portable Practice Piano [Re: Kawai James]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
James, I've thought about the VAX77, but three points:

First, to my knowledge, no one on this board has ever played one extensively and posted about it -- please correct me if you disagree.

Second, it's sold only by the manufacturer, and one cannot try it before playing it. If anyone thought it was hard to "test drive" a Kawai DP (and unfortunately, it is), the VAX77 is much worse. Your only option, short of finding someone else who would let you play theirs (good luck on that!) is to order one and then return it if you don't like it. (Supposedly their return policy is quite liberal, but some element of my dishonestly acquired Protestant ethic restrains me from ordering an item like this "on spec" when there's a significant chance I would return it.)

Finally, the VAX77 keys are, as I understand it, NOT weighted but rather based on spring resistance. I gather it's a very GOOD spring resistance system -- maybe the best of its kind -- but without playing it or at a bare minimum reading that a classical pianist on this board loves it, I'm disinclined to try it on spec. (See above.)

On the other hand, if it were a decent practice tool for someone who primarily plays classical music on an acoustic piano, I'd order one in a heartbeat, price be danged.

Anyone out there have any real experience with the VAX77?
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2053353 - 03/24/13 09:13 AM Re: Portable Practice Piano [Re: Cobra1365]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9158
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
There is a PW forum member here who owns a VAX, however I'm afraid I forget the username...

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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#2053357 - 03/24/13 09:26 AM Re: Portable Practice Piano [Re: Kawai James]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
I remember someone saying he was on the verge of ordering one, then I never saw another post from that person.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2053360 - 03/24/13 09:28 AM Re: Portable Practice Piano [Re: Cobra1365]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3215
Originally Posted By: Cobra1365
If you were to buy something that was very portable so you could practice when away from home, what would it be?

I'm thinking along the lines of being able to carry it when you go on a cruise or other such vacation.

I was recently trying to address the idea of a travel keyboard, though just for the pleasure of having it. So my criteria was not for any kind of "serious practice" but rather something I could likely carry on a plane. The best options to me looked like a Korg Microstation (5 octaves of mini keys) or a Yamaha MX49 (4 octaves of full size keys). If you'll be generating your sound from a laptop or iPad that may be coming with you, then a soundless controller could be possibility as well.

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#2053367 - 03/24/13 09:43 AM Re: Portable Practice Piano [Re: anotherscott]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Taking the MIDI controller route, for a time I travelled with one of these and used GarageBand on my iPad as a sound source:

http://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-OXYGEN49MK3-Oxygen-MIDI-Controller/dp/B009ZUKY52/ref=dp_ob_title_ce

Cheap, featherweight... but not as good for piano practice as the NP11, and only slightly more portable. (The NP11 itself is quite a creature of compromise, but good for what it is).
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2053383 - 03/24/13 10:12 AM Re: Portable Practice Piano [Re: Cobra1365]
fizikisto Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 511
Loc: Hernando, MS
James, I think that dbelmont2 might be the user you're remembering, but he apparently hasn't posted here in quite awhile.

Cobra, What's your price range? Do you want something with 88 keys or can you get by with fewer keys? Do you want something with weighted keys? synth action?

I love my nord stage so much, I'd probably look there first. The nord stage 2 SW73 has semi-weighted keys, access to all the great nord sounds, and weighs 21 lbs.

The nord electro 4D SW61 lacks a lot of the features of the stage 2, but it's much smaller and lighter (plus it has drawbars if you play organ at all smile.

Those may be out of your price range for what you want it for, but if not they might be good options.
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Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2053392 - 03/24/13 10:43 AM Re: Portable Practice Piano [Re: Cobra1365]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Here's the last thread in which I could find Dan (dbelmont2) discussing the VAX77: He had it on trial at the time, and it's unclear whether he decided to buy it -- although he clearly liked it a lot for the pop/rock/gospel/jazz that he plays:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1733383/1.html
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2053439 - 03/24/13 12:05 PM Re: Portable Practice Piano [Re: fizikisto]
Cobra1365 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/11/10
Posts: 261
Originally Posted By: fizikisto
James, I think that dbelmont2 might be the user you're remembering, but he apparently hasn't posted here in quite awhile.

Cobra, What's your price range? Do you want something with 88 keys or can you get by with fewer keys? Do you want something with weighted keys? synth action?

I love my nord stage so much, I'd probably look there first. The nord stage 2 SW73 has semi-weighted keys, access to all the great nord sounds, and weighs 21 lbs.

The nord electro 4D SW61 lacks a lot of the features of the stage 2, but it's much smaller and lighter (plus it has drawbars if you play organ at all smile.

Those may be out of your price range for what you want it for, but if not they might be good options.




I'm thinking a couple hundred or less. Don't really need the weighted keys for this...I'm thinking more mechanics and keeping my sight reading practice going.

I was looking at the NP-11 earlier today. Looks like a pretty good compromise.
Was also wondering if the Korg Mini Grand was any good. Looks like it may have the small keys and my fat fingering is bad enough as it is! crazy
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Started Playing May 2010, Primarily Self Learning, Some Coach Assistance

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