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#2110112 - 06/29/13 09:25 AM M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner?
michaelvi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/29/13
Posts: 7
Hello!
With 625 pages each listing 25 topics in "Adult Beginners Forum" I am not sure my question hasn't been covered yet. So I first apologize if my "new" topic is redundant. Hope forum administrators will merge it with right topic if needed.

Here is the story. Given:
1. Absolute beginner almost 50 years old. Never played piano any musical instrument, never even started (few 10 minutes episodes of hitting keys of sister's piano when was ~7-10 years old not counted)
2. Listening music all the time that remember myself. (Have huge collection of vinyls, than CDs, now mp3, etc.)
3. Want to start leaning now.
4. Have limited budget that allows something like M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es.
5. Not interested in any "add-on" effects. Just classical piano voice!

I did read some guidances. They all bring more or less the same criteria: weighted keys, velocity, full size keys etc. But in regards to number of keys they often contradict. Some say that 61 keys is enough to begin with, other say that I will run out of notes quickly and anything less than full 88 keys keyboard is wasting money (my dream is classical music mainly). But probably there are other differences between those two keyboards besides number of keys.

What would this forum suggest?
Thank you all in advance!

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#2110118 - 06/29/13 09:50 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
I do not believe either of these has weighted keys. If your ultimate interest is playing the piano, you need a weighted-key keyboard.

For similar money, you might look for a used Casio PX-150 or -130 or -120, or a Yamaha P-95 or -85.

I know that the budget-conscious person wants to pay less rather than more; but below a certain threshold, it's a waste of money, no matter how "cheap" it is. Don't make that mistake.
_________________________


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

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2110123 - 06/29/13 10:07 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1049
Loc: Southern California
Welcome to the forum Michealvi

Unfortunately, neither model is suitable for learning classical piano. If a person wants to learn to play keyboard that is another branch of a similar tree. MIDI keyboards also require piano sounds from the computer, and decent sets of samples will add to the cost and complexity.

The other bad news is that there is nothing in the $200 range that gets recommended on this forum. The lowest priced new digitals that get a positive mention are the Casio CDP120 and Yamaha P35. These have a street price in the $400 to $450 range. Once in a while there are sales or coupons. Much more popular are the Yamaha P105 and Casio PX150 which are about $600 new.

The used market is thin at $200 as well. Unless a person is very lucky and quick, they won't be able to buy a used digital piano for that money.

Where does that leave a person? Used is still an option, but it will likely be more than $200. Watch for sales or coupons or demo units and that might be the same price as a good used unit.

There are keyboards, such as the 61-key Yamaha NP11, which will fit into the budget. However, the keys are unweighted, and for classical music the five octave range will be an issue. The Yamaha NP11 is what I started on, and I learned a lot on it. I upgraded after nine months to a Casio PX150 (which is about $600 new).
_________________________
my piano uploads

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#2110141 - 06/29/13 11:07 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: Sand Tiger]
ClsscLib Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
Welcome to the forum Michealvi

Unfortunately, neither model is suitable for learning classical piano. If a person wants to learn to play keyboard that is another branch of a similar tree. MIDI keyboards also require piano sounds from the computer, and decent sets of samples will add to the cost and complexity.

The other bad news is that there is nothing in the $200 range that gets recommended on this forum. The lowest priced new digitals that get a positive mention are the Casio CDP120 and Yamaha P35. These have a street price in the $400 to $450 range. Once in a while there are sales or coupons. Much more popular are the Yamaha P105 and Casio PX150 which are about $600 new.

The used market is thin at $200 as well. Unless a person is very lucky and quick, they won't be able to buy a used digital piano for that money.

Where does that leave a person? Used is still an option, but it will likely be more than $200. Watch for sales or coupons or demo units and that might be the same price as a good used unit.

There are keyboards, such as the 61-key Yamaha NP11, which will fit into the budget. However, the keys are unweighted, and for classical music the five octave range will be an issue. The Yamaha NP11 is what I started on, and I learned a lot on it. I upgraded after nine months to a Casio PX150 (which is about $600 new).



I have an NP-11 too, and I use it for practice when I go on trips and cannot manage to take a weighted-key digital.

For what it is, the NP-11 is decent. I'm glad I have mine.

That said, I'd still recommend deferring the purchase until you can save enough funds to go to the next level, that of new or used weighted-key instruments of the types described in the two prior posts.
_________________________


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

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2110143 - 06/29/13 11:19 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: ClsscLib]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
michaelvi, I have read your post, here:

With 625 pages each listing 25 topics in "Adult Beginners Forum" I am not sure my question hasn't been covered yet. So I first apologize if my "new" topic is redundant. Hope forum administrators will merge it with right topic if needed.

Here is the story. Given:
1. Absolute beginner almost 50 years old. Never played piano any musical instrument, never even started (few 10 minutes episodes of hitting keys of sister's piano when was ~7-10 years old not counted)
2. Listening music all the time that remember myself. (Have huge collection of vinyls, than CDs, now mp3, etc.)
3. Want to start leaning now.
4. Have limited budget that allows something like M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es.
5. Not interested in any "add-on" effects. Just classical piano voice!

I did read some guidances. They all bring more or less the same criteria: weighted keys, velocity, full size keys etc. But in regards to number of keys they often contradict. Some say that 61 keys is enough to begin with, other say that I will run out of notes quickly and anything less than full 88 keys keyboard is wasting money (my dream is classical music mainly). But probably there are other differences between those two keyboards besides number of keys.

What would this forum suggest?
Thank you all in advance!

_____________________________________________________

Nice and interesting post. I am 63 and have been playing a year. Want to play classical music. I do not have a music record/CD collection.

Age is not an issue. Kids start playing the piano as early as 3 or 4, and they started from the beginning.

Desire and commitment are important in any learning process.

On the subject of pianos. Not everybody can afford a Stradivarius violin but a violin could be found in a garage sale for 15 dollars.

The rule is that one should get the best instrument that you can afford. But some cheap instruments are so poorly made that they are not playable - not real instruments - like guitars and drums, etc. When I went looking for a piano I told the piano people I was a serious beginner and wanted a student model of
a piano - had good action and playable for a student. What you may not know is that band instruments have student and professional models of the instrument ranging from probably several hundred dollars to many thousands. But we are talking about pianos that range from throw away instruments these days to better pianos and we are also talking about digital pianos that are as different as an acoustic guitar is to an electric guitar.

So you should take your time to get an instrument of your choice. There are considerations like renting which can be very expensive. It is true that you can start by playing a lesser quality piano - but that isn't a realistic option if you have a limited budget because every penny is precious. Also if you have never played an instrument - or played in a band, etc. - people don't always realize when they want to do an activity that in the end they may or may not enjoy it for some reason. In piano - many people want to learn a particular type of music or pieces of music. What people don't realize is that the ability to play a piece of music can take many, many hours, days, weeks or months to learn to play a simple child's piece of music of 10 or 20 measures. It is not bad or good, it is just what any piano player must face each day of their piano life. My sax teacher told me that guys on the street corner stumming a tune that you know when you hear them play as you walk by, have probably been playing for 10 years. So that is a good example. I have been playing, as I say, for a year or a bit more and it is only now that I am at the level of play that I am starting to play 16 measures of Bach music and play 20 measures of Chopin music - simple classical music.

The difficult of trying to find an instrument is that even as a beginner, when I found a piano, I went to play it and could play from a beginner book, so that was fine. So I played the little tunes and bought the piano. When it was delivered, I started playing the piano but realized that at the high end of the piano, the piano didn't sound right. But beginner piano players never play much beyond middle C so I never even thought of pressing or playing any keys on the piano beyond that I could play. It turned out that the piano was very good and it only needed to be tuned in my place - and all was good. But you can see how difficult it can be to find a good instrument when can't play much, so you need to get a person to help you who knows enough to find you an instrument you can play.

I love playing the piano everyday, and I am sure you will, too.

good luck





Edited by Michael_99 (06/29/13 11:22 AM)

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#2110340 - 06/29/13 08:57 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1586
Loc: Australia
Welcome to the forum michaelvi. I had very similar criteria when looking for my first piano seven months ago. Money was an issue not because I am Scottish (ok partly because of that) but because I could not trust that I would continue to be dedicated. I need not have worried as it is now my main hobby and satisfies a lot of my requirements in a pursuit.

I can only say that I am more than happy with my 88 keyed Yamaha P105. This piano is considered to be on the lowest rung of the scale for anyone who wants to take the piano seriously. If I had gone to anything less I may have resented it or worst still had to sell and upgrade to something more practical. I can only wish to luck in your search but keep in mind it is a long term investment so a good second hand model will beat a new out of the box cheapie.

This site offers the best reviews in my opinion:

http://azpianonews.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/review-20122013-digital-pianos-under.html
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2110380 - 06/29/13 11:01 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1313
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
One more thing:

. . .the M-Audio Oxygen is a MIDI keyboard _only_. It doesn't produce sounds.

What were you planning to use as a sound generator?

FWIW, I agree with what's been said:

. . . If you want something that "plays like a piano", get the money together
. . . for a Yamaha P105 or Casio PX-150 (or previous versions of those -- the 'azpiano'
. . . website is a pretty good source)

. . . If your budget is really limited, get a Yamaha NP-11, and start learning simple
. . . pieces and get your fingers used to playing scales.

And one more thing:

. . . If you can find a teacher, your life will be easier, and
. . . your progress will be faster.

Group lessons (at a local school or community college) are worth investigating.

. Charles

Bias -- I own a PX-350


Edited by Charles Cohen (06/29/13 11:14 PM)

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#2110467 - 06/30/13 05:55 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1223
I echo many of the comments you've gotten here. I don't know very much about digital pianos (I have an acoustic piano) but I can definitively say that getting a sufficiently good instrument is crucial, and almost more so for a beginner. As a beginner, you will not be able to tell the difference between what is simply something you are finding difficulty with and what is a limitation of the instrument. And MANY people give up an instrument, or declare themselves unable to improve when they are really playing such awful instruments that nobody would be able to really coax a good sound out of it.

And that's not even talking about digital instruments which are, at best, approximations of the real thing when it comes to playing acoustic music on a digital instrument--i.e. playing electric guitar music on an electric guitar is not approximating anything, but playing Chopin on a digital piano is always going to have some limitation in terms of the sound because there are important parts of the sound generated by an acoustic instrument that these pieces make use of. Which means that because you, like me, are interested exclusively in acoustic music (classical, baroque, romantic, etc., rather than electric or pop or rock) then you are already accepting some element of simulation if you choose a digital piano and will need to choose wisely.

A digital keyboard without weighted keys is not, I submit, a piano really at all. It's an electric sound generating machine with black and white buttons. And I'm sure I don't need to say that this applies to keyboards on which the keys aren't piano-sized. Point is, you can go REALLY wrong on digital pianos and not be learning piano really at all, but how to read music and then how to peck it out on a machine that will make piano-like sounds. You won't be learning control, expression, or technique. Well, you might be, but it will be specific to the particular keyboard you are playing and not applicable to a piano. Like you decided to play flute music on a kazoo to start--not going to really help you later on the flute even if you become the world expert on kazoo. On the other hand, even things learned on a low-quality acoustic will still be largely applicable to a better piano later.

Anyway, if you go too inexpensive, you have not saved money but simply thrown it away because you won't like what you bought after a very small amount of time, and will either a) decide erroneously that playing piano is a frustrating, low-reward endeavor and you, and not your keyboard, are constitutionally incapable of generating the sophisticated sound you associate with good piano-playing, or b) you realize you need a new keyboard/piano at which point you will simply have made the whole endeavor more expensive by buying something twice.

I am without my piano this summer, but actually am renting a keyboard for myself and hope it comes tomorrow! It's a Roland RD700NX, but I think it's a fairly expensive one in the pantheon of digital keyboards. I was just very insistent that the action be as close as I really can get to my grand piano so that what I learn on it this summer will not take much adjustment back to my own piano, or have been a waste of time. But it stands to reason that if that's the keyboard that people generally agree will not erode acoustic skills in the short term, you have to wonder how much lower past it you can go and not simply be learning how to play, ultimately, something like a piano but not a piano. I'm not sure where that line is (I am not familiar with digital pianos because the last time I played piano seriously, this whole genre didn't exist) but my guess is that there are a lot of people here who have wrestled with that very question and if you follow the advice here, you will do ok, I suppose.

I still wonder how appropriate they are for rank beginners to learn on--there's just so much to the acoustic parts of a piano that can't be replicated on a digital--but I absolutely get that there are some pretty bad acoustics out there that often are the sort of pianos that end up in the hands of rank beginners anyway, so it's possible that in certain situations a good digital is better than what that student would have ended up trying to play. But that doesn't mean that digital pianos and pianos are equal overall, just again underscoring the importance of having a real instrument to learn on, especially when one is forming new skills.

Good luck! If you get the right instrument I am sure you will love it, if you are already a music-lover.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2110472 - 06/30/13 06:10 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1223
Ha, here's an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal about digital pianos and classical music. Even more interesting, though only for me, is the fact that it randomly quotes in the sidebar a woman (Yocheved Kaplinsky) whose mother-in-law was my first piano teacher!

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323605404578384472502632956.html
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

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#2110475 - 06/30/13 06:17 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2091
Loc: Rocky Mountains
You want to keep the price down on a keyboard. Looks like you're looking at software piano's for sound.

For right now....
You won't go wrong if you buy a Casio PX-150. It is really good for the price. Way better than those M-Audio's.
Then, later, you can think about upgrading to something like a Kawai ES-7 or a VPC. A Kawai VPC is what you really want.

Software Piano's....
True Keys looks real interesting. I don't have one yet. Can get one of them for about $150. I'd have one if I had a little spare money. I do have IvoryII.
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2110522 - 06/30/13 08:55 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11927
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
The M-audio and anything that is a "MIDI Controller" will have no sounds, and most likely it will not feel like a piano within your budget. I would definitely check out craigslist for a DP within your range. I'm almost positive you will find something.

People have probably said this before (sorry, didn't have time to read all the responses), but you will want these features:

-weighted keys
-88 keys (if you find one that has all of these things but only 76 keys, that will be fine, but anything less than 76 and chances are the keys will not be weighted at all)
-at least one sustain pedal
-keep in mind that you will probably need a stand which will have the piano at the right height for playing (too high or too low can cause problems in your playing)
-you will also need a decent chair or bench. This also should be at the right height for the same reasons as the piano stand.
-a music desk. This is a stand where your music will go while you play.

If you're lucky, you can find a DP that comes with all of these things within your budget. It will most likely be older technology, but when you have enough money saved up you can always upgrade to the PX-120 or so (and you probably will want to upgrade at some point)

Where do you live? Is craigslist available there? After a very quick search in my area, I've already found one for you!
http://wausau.craigslist.org/msg/3900550616.html So I'm sure you will be able to find exactly what you need in your area now that you know what to look for smile

Welcome to the forum, and to a new adventure in making music! laugh
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2110541 - 06/30/13 09:50 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
Bamburg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/13
Posts: 82
Ebay is also an option, and it's where I got my instrument actually.

I got a Yamaha P-155, which is usually 850-999$ for just $600, brand new. I will say Ebay is a little tricky to use, and it's easy to get scammed if you aren't familiar with it, so make sure you get some help if you've not used it before.

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#2113780 - 07/06/13 02:21 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: Charles Cohen]
michaelvi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/29/13
Posts: 7
Many thanks to everybody who took time to answer my question! I am amazed just by the fact that so many answers were given within first 24 hours after I posted my question! And I really apologize for my reaction being so late! (everyday work and other duties, you all know that...)

All answers are invaluable and will definitely change the direction I am looking to.

But I also want to clarify one important point that I have gotten from other sources before I found this forum. I will really appreciate if you tell me how much the following consideration is right or wrong:

Digital piano vs keyboard. I know that keyboard doesn't produce sound itself

Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
What were you planning to use as a sound generator?


The answer is simple: my computer with its sound card and headphones connected to it.

I still believe (tell me how much I am wrong) that at bottom line any full digital piano has the same electronic circuitry as good sound card does. (And MIDI-command-to-sound converter in DP is actually a software written by some of my colleagues, so I see no reason why a computer software cannot do the same job at least not worse.) And doesn't matter how good those cards (computer or that inside DP) are I will never get sound better than from CD or, at best, DVD-Audio player. It will not get any close even to vinyl sound, not to talk about real acoustic piano.
Next, when I use vinyl or CD/DVD players I always listen through headphones because even 90cm 3-channels wood-made loudspeakers (each one from the pair I have were priced like those of good DP mentioned here) are cutting out good part of range and colors, so should I believe that those speakers of DP sound better?

That's why I thought that MIDI controller should fit the bill and didn't consider DP with bundled sound card and software, which I already have, plus low quality speakers that I will not use anyway (even if I will buy DP I'll plug my headphones to it). I have read somewhere that some controllers also have weighted keys and in companion with decent computer sound card and right software will act as good digital piano.

May be there is some other important point(s) that I am missing? I will really appreciate you answers!

Thank you again!


Edited by michaelvi (07/06/13 02:27 PM)

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#2113791 - 07/06/13 02:39 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
Allan W. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 375
Loc: Michigan
Yes, PC-based digital pianos have better sound than the ones built in to a digital piano. But you'll have to pay to buy those software packages.

You definitely need a keyboard marketed as a digital piano. MIDI controllers typically do not have good action.

If your budget is only around $250 then you probably won't get a good feeling keyboard anyway. Once you're more experienced you'll want to upgrade. You can look into these:

http://www.amazon.com/Williams-Allegro-88-Key-Digital-Piano/dp/B0049SBVLG/

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-Series-P35B-88-Key-Digital/dp/B009CN8WZ6/

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#2113839 - 07/06/13 04:11 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: Allan W.]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1049
Loc: Southern California
A lot of folks recommend software pianos. The Kawai VPC (about $1500) is highly recommended and in short supply. What you are missing is the action. There is a reason the VPC cost so much, even though it is basically a controller. The reason is a very good piano action.

An inexpensive keyboard or MIDI controller has no action, or perhaps some springs. A digital piano has weighted keys. Newer digital pianos have tri-sensors allowing a wide range of dynamics. While not as refined as a good acoustic, it still allows for expression.

Stock MIDI samples are not so good. Most purchase better piano sound samples, and that is an additional cost. There is also complexity. A simple digital piano goes on and a person can play. A MIDI setup is more complicated. It sounds like you can handle the techie part of it. However, it adds time and complexity which can take away from practice time.

Dynamics (pressing harder generates a louder sound) are a key difference from learning to play a piano vs. learning to play keyboard (or organ or harpsichord). Again, if a person wants to learn to play keyboard go ahead with the cheap models. However, that person won't learn to play with dynamics, and won't be learning to play piano. There is still a world to learn without dynamics.

If a person is working (and it seems so from the second response), and can spare some money (hard to say), the cost of a basic digital piano at say $600 will pay off. It might be different for a person that has no access to money.

Most that have walked the beginner path, would strongly suggest that a working person save for a bit and buy an entry level digital piano rather than an inexpensive MIDI controller. Nothing that the original poster has written indicates that a low end MIDI controller would be a better choice. One key being the desire to learn classical piano. Unless a person buys a high end MIDI controller, costing much more than a basic digital piano, it won't be suitable for learning classical piano. The many hours required to learn how to play, mean the cost is relatively low considering how much use a person will get out of the instrument.
_________________________
my piano uploads

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#2113849 - 07/06/13 04:42 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: Michael_99]
michaelvi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/29/13
Posts: 7
Thank you Alan and Sand for your answers!
I am now reading this: http://azpianonews.blogspot.com/p/buy-piano-which-piano-should-i-buy.html
Trying to understand better diffs between Yamaha P105, Yamaha PX150 and Casio
(yes, ~$800 in my area, so I'll probably postpone my purchase a bit and will train my ears here http://pitchimprover.com/index.php?type=Relative meanwhile ))) )

Originally Posted By: Michael_99
I am 63 and have been playing a year.


From the page linked above I know at least that we are not alone trying to learn piano playing after 50 ))))


Edited by michaelvi (07/06/13 04:53 PM)

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#2113901 - 07/06/13 06:51 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
Sweet06 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/13
Posts: 408
michaelvi,
its nice to see another fellow software junkie smile
as a new person myself to piano, about 3 months in, i strongly recommend something that has a solid weighted action. the keyboards you are looking at while will sound superb thru the headphones, however, that is not the sticking problem. its all about how the keys interact and you just won't get what you need with what you are looking at. check out craigslist.com or ebay.com for some cheaper models that were previously mentioned, all superb.
_________________________
"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"

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#2114038 - 07/07/13 01:48 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: Sweet06]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1313
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
You understand the situation.

The problem you're facing is that there's a _very_ thin market for inexpensive, weighted-action MIDI stand-alone (no sound generator) keyboards. So the big makers don't bother making them, and the small makers can't do it at a decent profit. The Kawai VPC is doubtless a nice piece of gear, but you could buy a Roland FP-7F for a similar price.

One possibility:

. . . Get a Casio PX-150 (or Yamaha P105, or P155);
. . . . ignore the sound generator, and just use the MIDI
. . . . output from the keyboard

. . . Get a copy of Pianoteq 4.5 'Stage' software piano,
. . . or some other software piano if you prefer.
. . . "Vintage D" seems popular, here.

I assume you already have good headphones, and that your computer has adequate CPU speed and a soundcard.

That will probably give you as good a combination of "touch" and "sound" as you can get for the cost. Improving "touch" (from the P155 level) is going to be expensive.

I'd also point out that some people are _reasonably_ happy with the sounds that come of the P105 and PX-150. Not that they sound "just like acoustic pianos", but that they're good enough to learn with (especially with headphones).

I wasn't happy doing classical piano on a synth-action keyboard. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else -- there is too much to "un-learn" when you change over to weighted keys.

. Charles

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#2118911 - 07/17/13 05:00 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
michaelvi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/29/13
Posts: 7
Hello again!

Yesterday I have been in a local store and saw both Casio PX-150 and Yamaha P105. (Yes I know they cost more than budget I mentioned in my first post but thanks to you guys I already decided not to waste small money but spend a bit more instead). Yamaha definitively sounds better (IMHO), but as I said I don't care much about internal sound system. But, Yamaha's keys feel a bit heavier then what my home piano had (as far as I can remember after 35 years). At the same time my personal feeling was that those heavy Yamaha's keys are more "real" - I cannot explain this feeling, it's just feeling...

Today I visited another store. Strange enough, they don't have any Casio, nor Yamaha. But they offered me Medeli sp 5100 for about the same price. Quick googling brought me ... to this forum - Considering Thomann/Medeli SP5100so I will not ask the same question about Medeli again...

Now (while waiting for budget to grow) trying to collect more info about Casio and Yamaha. My son likes Casio better, but I am thinking more about Yamaha...
Do you think those samples at Youtube give relevant info/sound/etc. or they all are just promotions?


Edited by michaelvi (07/17/13 05:18 AM)

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#2118958 - 07/17/13 08:09 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1586
Loc: Australia
I have a Yamaha P105 which I bought in Nov 2012. There are three touch sensitivity settings and by default I think it is set to medium. After months of not caring one way or another I was attempting to play high into the black notes and resolved to set it at the lower setting, just that bit easier to play.

The sound is another thing entirely, yes I think the youtube clips are accurate (but being played by experts getting the very best out of the unit) and indeed for the beginner the sound is adequate. So the thing you got to remember is this is only an entry level dp, go much lower and you will not get a full keyboard and weighted keys. I was happy with the sound at first but as I improved and the more I listened to other pianos here on the forum the more I wanted a better sound. A couple of months ago I hooked the dp up to my computer and ran it through a vst piano (Galaxy Vintage D) which for a $125 AU gave it a real lift and now I can't bear to listen to the dp on it's own.

I had done a lot of research and for me it was the same choice, the Yamaha or the Casio, and it could have been one or the other only the Yamaha was on a pre Christmas special at the time. I don't regret the purchase I went for an entry level because I am a cheap Scot and I wasn't sure if I would stick at it. Piano seems to be one of those things though, once you know it's for you it's time to sell your soul to the devil or pull off a bank job because you are just going to have to have a really good one eventually.
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#2118993 - 07/17/13 09:46 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: earlofmar]
michaelvi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/29/13
Posts: 7
Thank you earlofmar for your post. It is very interesting that Yamaha has three touch sensitivity levels. Do they make a real difference? Do you know if Casio has a similar tuning? And should this be considered as feature when making a final choice? (My son prefers Casio and I'll want to convince him )))) )

Originally Posted By: earlofmar
I was happy with the sound at first but as I improved and the more I listened to other pianos here on the forum the more I wanted a better sound. A couple of months ago I hooked the dp up to my computer and ran it through a vst piano (Galaxy Vintage D) which for a $125 AU gave it a real lift and now I can't bear to listen to the dp on it's own.

I am planning to use computer from the start anyway (originally I even though about MIDI controller but was convinced for DP). But I think once this thing is at home eventually someone will want to use its sound. (My son showed interest and my wife told today she'll also play if we have instrument (and, unlike me, she learned piano). (hey... I wanted personal keyboard to listen to myself through headset... ending up with piano for whole family... grin ). So yes, I understand that later on a better amplifier and speakers are coming and so on.... But not before I learn to press three keys in right order smile

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#2119043 - 07/17/13 12:07 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
kapelli Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 382
Loc: Poland
michaelvi
check also the Korg. They have two pianos that can be in your interest - SP250 and 280 and SP170.

They are also good pianos in the low price range.

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#2119056 - 07/17/13 12:31 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
michaelvi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/29/13
Posts: 7
Thank you kapelli for your suggestions. As I see in spec SP170 doesn't have USB out, so I'll need to add MIDI-USB adapter (+ ~$100?). What will you say about this review - REVIEW - Korg SP170 Digital Piano - Disappointed? I understand that many things are very subjective. Does this Korg have any advantages over Casio or Yamaha suggested here?

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#2119077 - 07/17/13 01:07 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
I'd think you would want the SP170S, which the reviewer was "less dissatisfied" with that the originally reviewed older model.

But I'm pretty sure its only advantage over entry-level Casio or Yamaha DP's would be a couple hundred bucks lower price.

If I recall correctly, before deciding to acquire an acoustic piano I played a Yamaha P105 (almost certain that was the model) along with some higher-priced nicer models from Roland and ??? (can't remember what was the other). While I could discern the difference between a $5,000 Roland DP and cheaper entry-level ones, the entry-level ($1,200) Roland one seemed much of a muchness to the P105.

What I'm trying to say is, if your budget is for an entry-level digital piano and you're not looking to spend acoustic-piano money on a high-end DP then I'll bet the differences among the P105, a Casio or that Korg are probably fairly minor. They'll all have a workable action that isn't synth-like but the key feel is not perfect by any means. You can make good music on them, though.
_________________________
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#2119195 - 07/17/13 05:21 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
earlofmar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1586
Loc: Australia
michwelvi, the touch sensitivity made a little difference but I would not consider it a selling point I am sure it is probably included with the PX 150. For this feature it's such a personal choice anyway, depending on what your playing and your own response to the overall feel.
Checking out an updated review of both pianos this trusted source falls on the side of the Casio, so if I were buying today I would choose the Casio. Also of consideration is the pedal unit, I had to upgrade the Yamaha one straight away as it was just too flimsy.

http://azpianonews.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/review-yamaha-p35-casio-cdp120-digital.html
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2119291 - 07/17/13 08:56 PM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1049
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: michaelvi
Hello again!

Yesterday I have been in a local store and saw both Casio PX-150 and Yamaha P105.
...
Now (while waiting for budget to grow) trying to collect more info about Casio and Yamaha. My son likes Casio better, but I am thinking more about Yamaha...


I bought in January 2013. For me it came down to those two units, a coin flip really. I bought the Casio PX150 because I could get it a bit cheaper as a demo unit. If money is a factor, here in the U.S. there are relatively frequent promotions from the big online sellers, and also sometimes demo and refurbished units. I'm sure one of the big online retailers will have a Labor Day sale. If that is too soon, then we are into holiday season and there always promotions at Thanksgiving and then Christmas and after Christmas.

Sometimes a person has to call instead of place an Internet order so as to use a coupon or similar, but many have reported being to do that in the prices paid thread near the top of the digital forum.

By the way, as far as I know, the AZpiano review site is not a trusted source. They are a grey market Casio dealer and tend to rate Casios above similar units from other makers. The stock Casio pedal is rated worse than the stock Yamaha pedal.
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my piano uploads

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#2119459 - 07/18/13 04:03 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
kapelli Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 382
Loc: Poland
michaelvi,
about Korg pianos - I do not see this review as "bad". Just go to the shop and play. If you're tight on budget this can be the best option. At this basic price level perhaps you cannot go wrong either with Korg Yahama or Casio.

http://www.korg.com/sp170s
You can also hear the samples here. This is grand Steinway sampled.

But this new version for the money is and many like likes the sound of Kord far more than cheap Yamaha (and me as well, go to the digital piano section here).

On the forum is so littleabout Korg, because they do not have anything in the >1200 USD level so there is no competition for more advanced Kawais, Rolands and Yamahas.

So go and look on the Korg sp170 with "S" at the end. Look at the specification it should satisfy you. I am not a Korg representative lol, but nobody here mentioned it, while it's the 3rd wise option besides Casio and Yahama in chep pianos. And - who knows, maybe even the best. And for sure has much better piano samples than Casio, and I like them more then Yamaha, which sounds tinny for me.

And yes, I also do not like the guy from A-Z pianos. He is like favorizing the pianos he is selling so be aware while reading, I mean - read with the eyes wide open.

And - DO NOT LOOK at the Graham Howard from UKPIANOS reviews and his Piano Score list (or something like that, I do not remember the exact name). The only good piano for him is Yahama (becase he is selling it) and some chinese stuff and his scoring in my opinion is a crap.

So,
go and play SP-170S, Casio PX150, PX 130 and CDP 120, Yamaha P95 (if you find one) and 105 and take the one that you like the most. Considering the fact, that money is important to you, I would lean into Korg.

BUT - Yamaha and Casio have more bells&whistles, some are functional like metronome. No one of us will decide which piano you should buy to stick to your requirements and budget. I just wanted to give and another option.

In this price range you can find also Kurzweils - but while the action would acceptable, the sounds are being described as "the same as 30 years ago" and are kinda harsh and to open, so you can also try, but Kurzweil is not any competitor to Japan pianos today.



Edited by kapelli (07/18/13 04:22 AM)

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#2120091 - 07/19/13 10:06 AM Re: M-Audio Oxygen 61 or Keystation 88es for absolute beginner? [Re: michaelvi]
michaelvi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/29/13
Posts: 7
Sand, kapelli thank you for your answers!
I'll take all your words into consideration.

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