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#2056588 - 03/29/13 11:37 PM Looking for piano selection advice
Dixbee Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/28/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Canada
Hello everyone,

I am looking to buy a digital piano in the next month or so and am at a bit of a loss as to what I should be looking for. I've been reading these forums and various Google-results quite a bit the last week and I'm hoping for some pointers because every time I think I'm figuring something out I come across three new options to consider. I'm in my 30s and my musical background (other than listening, of course) is virtually non-existent but I am just beginning some self-taught piano lessons and am planning on beginning proper lessons in the near future. Currently I'm practicing on an old Casiotone CT-380 that I got as a kid in the 80s.

I mostly want a piano and am not overly interested in bells and whistles beyond that. A decent sounding, decent feeling piano is my main interest. Of course, I don't know what "decent sounding" or "decent feeling" actually mean yet. I've yet to try out models in a store because I really don't know what I'm looking for yet.

Additionally, later I would very much like to be able to connect the piano to a computer and be able to access additional voices that way as well as combine multiple tracks to create a layered recording. I'm a little vague in the details of this sort of stuff too but I think I'd just need the piano to support USB MIDI (USB to Host?). I also assume a piano with more sensors and sensitivity in the keys would allow more data to be passed to the computer allowing for further options at that end.

My budget is about $1000 Canadian though if I could spend less I would of course be happy with that.

I suppose I'm conflicted because I want both a simple piano-focused product and a decent MIDI controller (proper term?) which I suppose opens the possibility of getting a good piece of hardware with terrible sound since I could just use better samples on the computer anyway.

I'm hoping others on here have the experience to see through this mess and either suggest some models for me to consider or some advice that would set me towards making a good decision.

Thanks in advance.

(Oh, I just noticed the "Intro to Buying a Digital Piano" link above the forums. I'll check that out.)

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#2056591 - 03/29/13 11:42 PM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9678
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Dixbee, welcome to the forum.

An entry-level Casio PX-150 or Yamaha P105 should be fine for your needs.

They feature reasonably good keyboard actions and piano sounds, without too many bells and whistles. In addition, I believe both boards offer USB-MIDI connectivity, allowing you to connect the instrument to a Mac or PC later down the line.

Best of luck!

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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#2056615 - 03/30/13 12:47 AM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
Dixbee Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/28/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Canada
Thanks, James. Costco Canada currently has the Casio PX-750 on sale for $649.99 CAD shipped. I've read on other posts that this is essentially the same as the PX-150 but with a few extras such as the 3-pedal unit, cabinet, and bench. Is that price worth rushing out to get one before the sale ends in a couple days or is there always another sale around the corner somewhere?

Link: http://www.costco.ca/Casio-PX-750-Digital-Piano.product.100008703.html

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#2056618 - 03/30/13 01:03 AM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9678
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
I'm not overly familiar with pricing, but that looks like a pretty good deal.

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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#2056691 - 03/30/13 06:20 AM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
CarloPiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 172
Originally Posted By: Dixbee
Thanks, James. Costco Canada currently has the Casio PX-750 on sale for $649.99 CAD shipped. I've read on other posts that this is essentially the same as the PX-150 but with a few extras such as the 3-pedal unit, cabinet, and bench. Is that price worth rushing out to get one before the sale ends in a couple days or is there always another sale around the corner somewhere?

Link: http://www.costco.ca/Casio-PX-750-Digital-Piano.product.100008703.html


Depending on your needs, it may be a good deal. PX-150 speakers are really weak but it is quite lightweight and portable (that's the reason I bought its predecessor, the PX-135, but for daily practice I have a grand piano and a Roland cabinet DP). The 150 only features damper resonance while the 750 has additional resonances. The more resonances, the more close to a real piano is the experience. The 750 is a compact cabinet with better speakers, although you can buy a cabinet and three pedals unit for the PX-150. So which one would I choose?

- If I wanted the piano for carrying it over (vacation and so on), I would choose the 150
- For daily practice at home if it was my only instrument, I would choose the 750.

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#2056790 - 03/30/13 11:04 AM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
two2the8 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/13
Posts: 24
I just bought the 750 on sale at Costco, and I can say it's quite a nice little machine. It's not a real piano, but it sounds good, particularly through headphones, and the action is decent. The nice thing about Costco is that they have a really good return policy, so if you don't like it, you can always take it back. Plus you don't have to be a member to order it online, and they'll ship it to your house.

I can also say that I watched for deals to come up on this stuff, and they're actually not that easy to come by here in Canada; I waited about 2 months, which was really kind of annoying. My advice: buy the 750 and try it out. It may well be the end of your search.

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#2057025 - 03/30/13 06:45 PM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
Dixbee Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/28/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Canada
Thanks for the advice everyone.
I think I may get the PX-750 while Costco.ca has it on sale but I find myself drawn to the PX-850. This is a significant (for me) step from $650 to around $1100. I know I may not notice much benefit now but I wonder if it's worth it for the future as I doubt I'll be able to upgrade anytime soon.
Does anyone know of anywhere to look for deals or cheaper prices in Canada?

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#2057040 - 03/30/13 07:10 PM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1535
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
$650 for a PX-750 is a good deal.

The PX-850 (as you know, if you've been poring over specs) has a "continuous" damper pedal, better than the "on / half-pedal / off" capability of the PX-750/PX-150/PX-350. It also has 20 watts per channel, instead of the PX-750's 8 watts. And it probably shares its woofer+tweeter with the PX-350. [Those loudspeakers will be the "weak link" in the sound chain. You'll get better sound from a good hi-fi system, headphones, or "powered monitor" loudspeakers].

I wish I could find an 850 to play -- I'd like to test the "string resonance" feature.

Neither the 750 nor the 850 has the extensive sound library (or rhythms, or accompaniment features) of the PX-350. That may not matter to you.

None of the Casio's, or the Yamaha P105 or P155, would be a bad choice. I prefer the Casio keyboard action to the P105 action, but the P155 action ("GH") is very good.

It's a fiercely competitive market, and -- whatever you buy now -- you'll have a better choice in a year.

If you wanted clear "Buy this!" advice -- sorry!<g>

. Charles

PS -- bias -- I own a PX-350.

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#2057041 - 03/30/13 07:12 PM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1535
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Quote:
Does anyone know of anywhere to look for deals or cheaper prices in Canada?


No -- but if you find anything, please share it!

. Charles / Richmond, BC

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#2057115 - 03/30/13 10:12 PM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
two2the8 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/13
Posts: 24
The 850 is now in stock at axemusic.com. You can't really go play it (unless you live in Alberta) but you could order it and see if you like it.

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#2057217 - 03/31/13 05:59 AM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3870
Loc: Northern England.
The px 850 sounds really good . . .like a scaled down pa 650 flagship model. wWith the extra sounds, you might not have to incur the hassle of online stuff for layering. I do this on my Yam Dgs because it`s so simple.

I`ll be looking at this one myself . .
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2057219 - 03/31/13 06:19 AM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
two2the8 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/11/13
Posts: 24
I can also add that if you feel really drawn to the 850, the 750 will probably leave you a bit wanting. I haven't demo'd the 850, but I did demo the 350, and the piano sound on it was quite a bit more realistic/pleasant than on the 750/150. I gather the 850 is quite similar to the 350 (wow, this is turning into a lot of numbers!) in terms of sound but with additional resonances, so I imagine the difference between the sound of the 750 and 850 is quite significant. Plus the 850 has more powerful speakers, which I can say would be nice. I'm not sure if all that is worth an extra $500, but it sort of depends how much money that is for you. Both axemusic & costco have good return policies though, so you wouldn't be too stuck either way.

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#2057222 - 03/31/13 06:27 AM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
pianomanvan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 19
Loc: Vancouver, BC
I'm also from Canada and have been looking for a deal the past 3 months and the px750 at Costco is a deal you should jump on. I ended up getting the p155 from Craigslist a couple of weeks ago and I'm very happy with it but my second choice was the px750 from Costco at $799!

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#2057306 - 03/31/13 10:57 AM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
Dixbee Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/28/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Canada
Wow, thanks again for all the input. I'll either get the PX-750 today or the PX-850 sometime soon, I'm still not sure which. I suspect that if I get the 750 I will feel like I compromised just because of a sale and the time pressure it created. I'm the type of person that would obsess over that and it would diminish my experience with the "lesser" product I settled with. Perhaps unnecessarily, but I can see that being a problem. The price difference is significant for me but I think I can manage the $1100 for the 850. I may wait and watch prices for a little though.

I actually do live in Alberta and spent the day in Calgary yesterday but I wasn't able to go to Axe Music unfortunately. I'm free today and considering an Edmonton trip which could include a stop at the Axe there. We'll see...

...I just reread this post and it sounds like I have decided to let the Costco sale pass and go for the 850. Either way, I appreciate the help in this thread and through my readings of this forum in general. It is an excellent resource. I'll post back here when I end up buying something.

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#2057632 - 04/01/13 02:39 AM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1535
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
I checked the PX-350 and PX-850 manuals -- there are complete specs at the end of each.

The PX-350 has rectangular woofers, 13 x 6 cm, 8 watts (woofer + tweeter) per channel.

The PX-850 has round woofers, 12 cm (roughly twice as large!), 20 wats per channel. So it should sound appreciably better than the PX-350.

There's also the "string resonance" effect, which is only shared with the PX-5S, as far as I know.

I suspect you'll enjoy it.

. Charles

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#2066027 - 04/17/13 01:40 PM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
Dixbee Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/28/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Canada
Well I ended up getting the PX-850. I've had it for about a week now and am happy with it so far. My skills aren't at a level which really lets me critique it that much but it's significantly better than the old 1980s keyboard I was using.

My only concern so far is the rather loud thumping noise from the higher keys. It starts around middle-C and by the last few notes seems louder than the note itself sometimes. It is not mechanical noise from my keys but comes from the speakers. I've done some googling and it seems that this is normal(-ish?) so I guess I'm just used to clean synth sound and not "real" piano sound.

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#2067325 - 04/19/13 09:05 PM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Dixbee
....
I mostly want a piano and am not overly interested in bells and whistles beyond that. A decent sounding, decent feeling piano is my main interest. Of course, I don't know what "decent sounding" or "decent feeling" actually mean yet. ...


You are doing what many beginners do, assuming you will ever only buy one piano in your lifetime. No. What you are shopping for is you FIRST piano. Get an entry level piano from one of the better companies. then plan to sell it in a year for 1/2 what you paid. You will know a lot more after a year of lessons. The total cost of ownership of an entry level piano sold after a year is about $1 per day.

You are NOT buying your last piano, you are buying your first piano. This is easier then you are making it to be.

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#2067756 - 04/20/13 07:13 PM Re: Looking for piano selection advice [Re: Dixbee]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1535
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Dixbee

. . .
My only concern so far is the rather loud thumping noise from the higher keys. It starts around middle-C and by the last few notes seems louder than the note itself sometimes. It is not mechanical noise from my keys but comes from the speakers. I've done some googling and it seems that this is normal(-ish?) so I guess I'm just used to clean synth sound and not "real" piano sound.


If it's coming out of the loudspeakers, and the "thump" volume goes up and down with the volume-control setting, you might be right. I haven't noticed such a thump on my PX-350, but I'm used to "real piano" sounds. Try an acoustic piano sometime -- see how _it_ sounds.

. charles

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