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#2167459 - 10/17/13 01:28 AM Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ - Buying Guide for 2016

This is a list of current models (by September 2016) of portable digital pianos (up to 25 kg or 55.11 lbs.) under 1000 US$, and the summary of most relevant characteristics to help you choose which one is the right for you.

This will be focus mostly on piano simulation, not in optional features. Outdated and really bad quality digital pianos will not be included.

I will keep this post updated so you can help me expanding or improving it.

The statements shown here are based on my experience, reading others opinions, watching YouTube videos, reading reviews (mostly on AZPianoNews), reading results from The DPBSD Project, etc. I understand a lot is about taste, but this is my humble attempt to help anyone trying to choice which one to buy.


All models listed here have:
  • Weighted 88 keys scaled key action keyboard, with lower notes play relatively heavier than higher notes, just like the keys on a grand piano.
  • Velocity sensitive keys.
  • MIDI or USB connectivity, so can be used with software (MIDI to USB cables are very cheap and easy to find).
  • Built-in speakers.
  • Headphones plug.


Characteristic I am focusing (posted on another thread)


Piano action terminology: We use some terms to describe the feel of a key action, so if you want to know what those words means, go to this article.


Color meaning:
  • Very bad
  • Bad
  • Medium
  • Good
  • Excellent



Models of Digital Pianos (from low to high price):

Yamaha P-35
  • Price: 450 US$
  • Key action: Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
  • Keytops: Glossy white keys and matte black keys
  • Key fulcrum: 40% of real Piano - Key dip: Front 10mm, Rear 2mm
  • Number of sensors per key: 2
  • Maximum polyphony: 32
  • Maximum number of pedals: 1
  • Repedalling: Yes
  • Half-pedal: 9 steps pedal using FC3 pedal
  • Pedal sympathetic resonance: No
  • Key sympathetic resonance: No
  • Note sample: 29 stretch groups - Stretch is audible over the entire range
  • Attack sample: Fairly short
  • Loops: Fairly short
  • Note decay: Medium - Long over the low end, rather short over the rest of the range
  • Dynamic velocity timbre: Very bad - 1 sample with very little timbre variation
  • Realistic key-pedal damper interaction: Yes
  • Silent soft key: Yes
  • Damper pedal noise effect: No
  • Key-up noise effect: No
  • Highest keys has no dampers: Yes - Starting on G6
  • Built-in speakers: 12cm x 2 Speakers; 6W x 2 Amplifiers
  • Weight: 11.5 kg (25.35 lbs.)
  • Warranty: 3 years (US)
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Country where is made: China

Summary: Very cheap. Basic key action but fair enough for beginners. Low quality sound generator, short sustain/decay time and very low polyphony, so overall the piano experience is poor, but adequate enough for beginners or people that are on a tight budged. Key action is less noisy than Casio's PX models, but if press a little hard produce a clicking sound, so even when is less noisier than the Casios is not silent at all.

Recommendation: In my opinion is decent enough, but will quickly bored you or let you wanting for more to experienced piano players. Going a step up is obviously recommended, but if you really want to pay the bare minimum, this is basically your only choice.





Korg B1
  • Price: 500 US$
  • Key action: NH (Natural Weighted Hammer)
  • Keytops: Glossy white keys and matte black keys
  • Key fulcrum: 60% of real Piano - Key dip: Front 10mm, Rear 3mm
  • Number of sensors per key: 2
  • Maximum polyphony: 120
  • Maximum number of pedals: 3
  • Repedalling: Yes
  • Half-pedal: NO DATA
  • Pedal sympathetic resonance: No
  • Key sympathetic resonance: No
  • Note sample: NO DATA
  • Attack sample: NO DATA
  • Loops: NO DATA
  • Note decay: NO DATA
  • Dynamic velocity timbre: NO DATA
  • Realistic key-pedal damper interaction: No
  • Silent soft key: Yes
  • Damper pedal noise effect: No
  • Key-up noise effect: No
  • Highest keys has no dampers: Yes - Starting on F6
  • Built-in speakers: 10x5cm x 2 Speakers; 9W x 2 Amplifiers
  • Weight: 11.8 kg (26 lbs.)
  • Warranty: 1 1 year (US)
  • Release Year: 2016
  • Country where is made: China

Summary: The key action feels hard at soft touch and sponchy, but less noisier than the Casio and Yamaha. Sound overall is bad, at least from what I could hear from the speakers.
Recommendation: I just don't like it so I don't recommend it. Go for Yamaha or Casio, if you are at this price range.





Casio PX-160
  • Price: 500 US$
  • Key action: Tri-sensor Scaled Key action Keyboard II
  • Keytops: Plastic with Ivory and Ebony texture. Even though looks fake is a nice feature if you care for it
  • Key fulcrum: 43% of real Piano - Key dip: Front 11.5mm, Rear 2.5mm
  • Number of sensors per key: 3
  • Maximum polyphony: 128
  • Maximum number of pedals: 3
  • Repedalling: Yes
  • Half-pedal: 3 steps pedal (OFF, HALF, ON) for sustain pedal only, and only supported using 3 pedal unit
  • Pedal sympathetic resonance: Yes, though the effect is very subtle
  • Key sympathetic resonance: No
  • Note sample: 34 stretch groups - Transitions are audible over the low and mid note ranges
  • Attack sample: Medium - The longest compared to all DP at this price range
  • Loops: Fairly short, but well implemented
  • Note decay: Long
  • Dynamic velocity timbre: Good - Good timbre variation and mostly smooth transition excepting for one step that is somewhat notable.
  • Realistic key-pedal damper interaction: Yes
  • Silent soft key: Yes
  • Damper pedal noise effect: Yes
  • Key-up noise effect: No
  • Highest keys has no dampers: Yes - Starting on E6
  • Built-in speakers: Poor with no bass - 13cm/6cm x 2 Oval Speakers; 8W x 2 Amplifiers
  • Weight: 11.5 kg (25.5 lbs lbs.)
  • Release Year: 2015
  • Warranty: 1 year (3 years if you register the product within 30 days of purchase in the US)
  • Country where is made: China

Summary: Overall a good option for the least amount of money. The key action is fairly good but quite noisy and a bit spongy. Also is a bit too light at soft touch. Still is the best option at that price, in my opinion.

Recommendation: Buy this over the Yamaha counterpart if you value more the realistic key action over the multi-steps half-pedal. But if you are an advance pianist, you might want to consider the Kawai ES100 too, although more expensive.






Yamaha P-115
  • Price: 600 US$
  • Key action: Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
  • Keytops: Glossy white keys and matte black keys
  • Key fulcrum: 40% of real Piano - Key dip: Front 10mm, Rear 2mm
  • Number of sensors per key: 2
  • Maximum polyphony: 192
  • Maximum number of pedals: 3
  • Repedalling: Yes
  • Half-pedal: 9 steps pedal (0,16,32,30,64,80,96,112,127 values) using FC3 pedal
  • Pedal sympathetic resonance: Yes
  • Key sympathetic resonance: No
  • Note sample: 29 stretch groups - Stretch group transitions are audible over most of the range due to timbre variation and some moderate L&R pan inconsistencies
  • Attack sample: Fairly short
  • Loops: Fairly short
  • Note decay: Medium - Long over the low end, rather short over the rest of the range
  • Dynamic velocity timbre: Fairly good - 3 samples, mostly well blended but not that great timbre variation on fortissimo
  • Realistic key-pedal damper interaction: Yes
  • Silent soft key: Yes
  • Damper pedal noise effect: No
  • Key-up noise effect: No
  • Highest keys has no dampers: Yes - Starting on G6
  • Built-in speakers: Good - 12cm x 2 + 4cm x 2 Speakers; 7W x 2 Amplifiers
  • Weight: 11.8 kg (26 lb)
  • Release Year: 2015
  • Warranty: 3 years (US)
  • Country where is made: China

Summary: A step up from Yamaha P-35 in terms of sound, but with the same key action. This model is overall comparable to the Casio PX-160, but with lighter key action, less noisier key action, more steps on the half pedal, etc. The key action feels too light at soft touch, but overall aceptable.

Recommendation: Buy this instead of the Casio PX-160 if you value more the 9 steps half-pedal and want less noisier key action. Or go at higher price range to get a better digital piano.





Roland FP-30
  • Price: 700 US$
  • Key action: PHA-4 with escapement
  • Keytops: Ivory texture on white keys and matte black keys
  • Key fulcrum: 62.8% of a real Piano - Key dip: Front 8.75mm, Rear 2.75mm
  • Number of sensors per key: 2
  • Maximum polyphony: 128
  • Maximum number of pedals: 3
  • Repedalling: Yes
  • Half-pedal: 128 steps (continuous) (0, 1, 2, 3...127 values) using DP-10 pedal
  • Pedal sympathetic resonance: Yes
  • Key sympathetic resonance: yes
  • Note sample: Very long
  • Attack sample: very long
  • Loops: No loops, as far I can notes. If it has loops, is at the end of the sound and is not really notable.
  • Note decay: Long
  • Dynamic velocity timbre: Excellent - Good timbre variation and smooth transitions.
  • Realistic key-pedal damper interaction: Yes
  • Silent soft key: Yes
  • Damper pedal noise effect: (need someone to test this)
  • Key-up noise effect: (need someone to test this)
  • Highest keys has no dampers: Yes
  • Built-in speakers: 12cm x 2 Speakers; 11W x 2 Amplifiers
  • Weight: 14.1 kg (31 lbs.)
  • Warranty: 2 years labor; 5 years parts (US)
  • Release Year: 2016
  • Country where is made: Malaysia

Summary: In my opinion the key action is better than the Casio and Yamaha, but still not as good and silent as the Kawai. The ivory texture is much more subtle than the Casio, but still noticeable (in a good way).

Recommendation: To be honest I still recommend the Kawai ES100 over the Roland FP-30, but both are good. The Roland is better in piano sound, but the Kawai is a bit better in key action. Ether of this two are a good choice.





Kawai ES100
  • Price: 700 US$
  • Key action: Advanced Key action IV-F
  • Keytops: Glossy white keys and matte black keys
  • Key fulcrum: 72.5% of a real Piano - Key dip: Front 12mm, Rear 4.35mm
  • Number of sensors per key: 2
  • Maximum polyphony: 192
  • Maximum number of pedals: 3
  • Repedalling: Yes
  • Half-pedal: 16 steps pedal using the included F-10H pedal
  • Pedal sympathetic resonance: Yes, somewhat audible on default; much more audible on high setting. Fairly good quality of the effect for the price, and reacts realistically when repedalling
  • Key sympathetic resonance: No
  • Note sample: 87 note sampling - Except for a stretch group of 2, all notes are sampled
  • Attack sample: Fairly short - Very short on low notes; average on mid-to-high notes
  • Loops: Fairly short, but well implemented
  • Note decay: Medium - The initial decay is a little fast, and overall the decay is a little shorter than Pianoteq
  • Dynamic velocity timbre: Very good - No layer switching and good timbre variation
  • Realistic key-pedal damper interaction: No
  • Silent soft key: Yes
  • Damper pedal noise effect: Yes, and is velocity sensitive so the faster the pedal is press or release, the louder is the noise
  • Key-up noise effect: Yes, and noise is a little different with keys that don't have dampers
  • Highest keys has no dampers: Yes - Starting on G6
  • Built-in speakers: Good - 8cm x 2 Speakers; 7W x 2 Amplifiers
  • Weight: 15 kg (33.06 lbs.)
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Warranty: 3 years (US)
  • Country where is made: China

Summary: The key action is better than the Yamaha, Korg and Casio at this price range, but similar to the Roland FP-30. Key action feels good and fairly realistic, and produce very little noise.

Recommendation: I, and many others, think Kawai ES100 is the best portable option as piano-simulator below 1000 US$ at the present moment. The only model that I think could be consider better is the Roland FP-30, but depends on the way you compare it.





Yamaha DGX-660
  • Price: 800 US$
  • Key action: Graded Hammer Standard (GHS)
  • Keytops: Glossy white keys and matte black keys
  • Key fulcrum: 40% of real Piano - Key dip: Front 10mm, Rear 2mm
  • Number of sensors per key: 2
  • Maximum polyphony: 192
  • Maximum number of pedals: 3
  • Repedalling: Yes
  • Half-pedal: 9 steps pedal (0,16,32,30,64,80,96,112,127 values) using FC3 pedal
  • Pedal sympathetic resonance: Yes
  • Key sympathetic resonance: No
  • Note sample: 29 stretch groups - Stretch group transitions are audible over most of the range due to timbre variation and some moderate L&R pan inconsistencies
  • Attack sample: Fairly short
  • Loops: Fairly short
  • Note decay: Medium - Long over the low end, rather short over the rest of the range
  • Dynamic velocity timbre: Fairly good - 3 samples, mostly well blended but not that great timbre variation on fortissimo
  • Realistic key-pedal damper interaction: Yes
  • Silent soft key: Yes
  • Damper pedal noise effect: No
  • Key-up noise effect: No
  • Highest keys has no dampers: Yes - Starting on G6
  • Built-in speakers: Good - 12cm x 2 + 5cm x 2 Speakers; 6W x 2 Amplifiers
  • Weight: 21 kg (46.3 lb)
  • Release Year: 2015
  • Warranty: 3 years (US)
  • Country where is made: China

Summary: Is like the Yamaha P-115 with the same key action and piano sound, but with more voices, a display, and a lot more features in general.

Recommendation: It competes to the Casio PX-360. Both have a lot of features, but something very clear is that the Casio PX-360 has a lot better display.





Casio PX-360
  • Price: 900 US$
  • Key action: Tri-sensor Scaled Key action Keyboard II
  • Keytops: Plastic with Ivory and Ebony texture. Even though looks fake is a nice feature if you care for it
  • Key fulcrum: 43% of real Piano - Key dip: Front 11.5mm, Rear 2.5mm
  • Number of sensors per key: 3
  • Maximum polyphony: 128
  • Maximum number of pedals: 3
  • Repedalling: Yes
  • Half-pedal: 3 steps pedal (OFF, HALF, ON) for sustain pedal only, and only supported using 3 pedal unit
  • Pedal sympathetic resonance: Yes, though the effect is very subtle
  • Key sympathetic resonance: No
  • Note sample: 34 stretch groups - Transitions are audible over the low and mid note ranges
  • Attack sample: Medium - The longest compared to all DP at this price range
  • Loops: Fairly short, but well implemented
  • Note decay: Long
  • Dynamic velocity timbre: Good - Good timbre variation and mostly smooth transition excepting for one step that is somewhat notable.
  • Realistic key-pedal damper interaction: Yes
  • Silent soft key: Yes
  • Damper pedal noise effect: Yes
  • Key-up noise effect: Yes
  • Highest keys has no dampers: Yes - Starting on E6
  • Built-in speakers: Poor with no bass - 13cm/6cm x 2 Oval Speakers; 8W x 2 Amplifiers
  • Weight: 11.8 kg (26.2 lbs lbs.)
  • Release Year: 2015
  • Warranty: 1 year (3 years if you register the product within 30 days of purchase in the US)
  • Country where is made: China

Summary: Is like the Casio PX-160 with the same key action and piano sound, but with more features and voices, a display, and a little better build-in speakers.

Recommendation: Is the competition of the Yamaha DGX-660, that also is design to have a lot of more features than simpler models. You would consider any of this two if you care about a lot of features.





Models not reviewed that qualify to be on the list but I could not get access:
  • Korg SP-170S
  • Korg SP-280
  • Korg Kross 88
  • Alesis Coda
  • M-Audio Accent
  • Kurzweil KA90
  • Kurzweil MPS10
  • Kurzweil MPS20
  • Kurzweil SP4-8
  • Lowrey EZP3






There are better models from the listed on this page, but they are at higher price. Also, the necessity of making them portable force manufactures to make the key action less realistic compare to a console digital piano where weight is not an issue.


Using with software
I have to add that the best "bang for the buck" option is to buy a cheap digital piano, or MIDI controller, with a good key action, and connect it to a computer (a cheap new laptop should be enough) to let a great software produce the piano sound. The drawback of this alternative is that can get a little complicated to set it up to work well.

My favorite software is Modartt Pianoteq that uses virtual modeling so is quite realistic replicating complicated harmonics. But choosing the best software is an entirely another subject.

Hope is helpful.


Edited by Daniel Richter (09/07/16 11:44 AM)
_________________________
Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2167460 - 10/17/13 01:36 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
helloworld1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
Casio pc 350 should be full progressive damper pedal.
Yamaha p155 doesn't have full progressive damper pedal, it supports only 0 24 48 72 100 127 values.

p155 doesn't have sympathetic resonance.

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#2167461 - 10/17/13 01:46 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: helloworld1]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
Thanks for the feedback. I really need it.

But I am quite sure Casio PX-350 don't have progressive half pedal. The 3 pedal unit that supports "half pedal" is a 3 states switch, like previous model. I read many people on this forum confirm it gives 3 values. If you really thing is progressive, please give me some kind of reference or something were I can see.

About Yamaha p155, I will take your worth for it and fix the post.

Thanks
_________________________
Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2167462 - 10/17/13 01:47 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
The Yamaha DGX-650 I tested showed "Made in Indonesia" on the label.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2167463 - 10/17/13 01:49 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
The Yamaha DGX-650 I tested showed "Made in Indonesia" on the label.

Thanks you. I will put that on the post.
_________________________
Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2167465 - 10/17/13 01:52 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
Kawai James Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 12262
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Great post!
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

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#2167467 - 10/17/13 01:57 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Kawai James]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Great post!

Thanks. I hope it turns like a project where all people help to improve it, and simplify the work of searching "what digital piano to buy" thing that is so common around here. At least at this price range.
_________________________
Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2167481 - 10/17/13 02:54 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: helloworld1]
helloworld1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
You are right. I was mistaken for 850.

reference, midi implementation chart

http://support.casio.com/pdf/008/nil%20(PX150-1200_AP250-650_MIDI_E_121101).pdf
page 46

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#2167485 - 10/17/13 03:05 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: helloworld1]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
Originally Posted By: helloworld1
You are right. I was mistaken for 850.

reference, midi implementation chart

http://support.casio.com/pdf/008/nil%20(PX150-1200_AP250-650_MIDI_E_121101).pdf
page 46

That chart shows what the instrument support as a midi player. If you send the MIDI message to the Casio PX-150 / PX-350 (and I think all models from Casio on that generation) of 0 to 127 values, the instrument will play them correctly. In that way they support full half pedal. But I am focusing on the hardware pedal on the Casio can do. The "half pedal" in the SP33 pedal unit only sends 3 values (ON, HALF, OFF). I read several people saying that.

If you still think I am wrong about this, please prove me so. I only want to reflect the truth, and sadly I can't test this myself

Thanks for the help.
_________________________
Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2167489 - 10/17/13 03:56 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
xorbe Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/12
Posts: 573
Loc: Mt View, CA
two words, excel spreadsheet

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#2167500 - 10/17/13 04:40 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
MacMacMac Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 4874
Loc: North Carolina
Four words: piano buyer dot com

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#2167511 - 10/17/13 05:46 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: MacMacMac]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
Originally Posted By: MacMacMac
Four words: piano buyer dot com

That is the thing. No reviewer or website give details like if have progressive half pedal or 3 states half pedal, or if have repedalling, or give a summary of what people say about specific things like hammer action. Nor mention where are made, how noisy is the hammer action, etc. They don't even bother to test this things. And it matters. Me, for example, I would not buy a digital piano that don't have full progressive half pedal. Where you find that info? Nowhere. Is only after reading a few costumers here talking about this that I realize things I could never get from other website.

Specifications and price is not enough. A formal review ether. We need a list that is more piano-simulation-oriented specific, made by all of us (the consumers) that can test this things. And simplify enough that people that are going to use it to choice their digital piano don't have to spend hours and hours to get the same info. Many of the info i am trying to give are in no website.

I hope you contribute.
_________________________
Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2167535 - 10/17/13 06:36 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
Doritos Flavoured Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/12
Posts: 580
Loc: Brazil
fine list and conclusion. yeah, cheap DPs with good action controlling software pianos via MIDI are a powerful combo.

I wish rear fulcrum got a bit more attention from manufacturers. how much more expensive would it get if they added keys 3 mm larger? and don't tell me you should only find that extra 3 mm on premium models starting at $15k: that's just the elitist BS argument of the piano industry as a whole... I want to know the real price for it.


Edited by Doritos Flavoured (10/17/13 06:37 AM)
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unlocked by keys
wordless poetry sings free
- piano music -

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#2167580 - 10/17/13 07:25 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Doritos Flavoured]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
Originally Posted By: Doritos Flavoured
fine list and conclusion. yeah, cheap DPs with good action controlling software pianos via MIDI are a powerful combo.

I wish rear fulcrum got a bit more attention from manufacturers. how much more expensive would it get if they added keys 3 mm larger? and don't tell me you should only find that extra 3 mm on premium models starting at $15k: that's just the elitist BS argument of the piano industry as a whole... I want to know the real price for it.

I totally agree with you about the fulcrum thing. That is why we most talk more about it and show we do care. No specification mention it, and hardly any reviewer talk about it. That is one of the reasons I post this. To show info normally you can't find any place, and maybe also show to manufactures that we care about these things. Like you say, how hard can it be, or expensive, to add a little more plastic to the key to make fulcrum farder? I think they think we don't care that much. I hope eventually some brand step up about many of these things that are cheap to implement, and see if the rest catch up.

Hope the post help to that. If not, well at least I hope help a few people to choice their digital piano.

Cheers.


Edited by Daniel Richter (10/17/13 07:36 AM)
_________________________
Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2167617 - 10/17/13 08:56 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3928
Yamaha CP33 does not have built in speakers. (It is, however, a much better MIDI controller than the P155.)

Other things that can differentiate these models...

* line outputs in addition to headphone outputs. This allows you to record audio out or connect to a better speaker system, without having to disable the internal speakers.

* audio inputs. This means that if you want to trigger an external piano sound you might prefer, you can still have it fed to you through the internal speakers.

*standard MIDI jacks vs. USB. For people who use the piano in live performance, the standard MIDI jacks are more useful, as they can easily trigger piano (or other) sounds that reside in a second board or module if desired. (If the sound you want to trigger is in a computer, either connection method works fine.)

* mono option, which is often useful for people playing in live performance.

Then there are the subjective things that can't be determined from a feature chart. Like I think that all the Yamahas sound better than the Casio PX... but the latter have the better feel. Ultimately, no one should buy anything without wrapping their fingers and ears around them. To many people, the sound and feel are more important than anything, and you can't tell that from the chart. Which is why, while I think people will find a chart like yours useful, I would quibble about some of the "recommendations."


p.s. -- I would not use the phrase "touch sensitive keys" as it is ambiguous. There are two kinds of touch sensitive keys... velocity sensitive, which is what you care about in a piano (i.e. keys play louder when you strike them with more force), and pressure sensitive, which is desirable for a lot of synth functions, where you can press the key harder after you strike it in order to introduce an effect (aka aftertouch). In modern days it is unlikely, but there have been touch sensitive keyboards in the past that responded to pressure but not velocity.

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#2167626 - 10/17/13 09:20 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
Psychonaut Offline
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Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 234
I applaud you for taking the time and trouble to put this together. Awesome quick comparison resource. Thanks!
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Yamaha P120, MO6, Steinberg MR816, Galaxy Vintage D, Komplete 8 & various other VIs, Reaper

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#2167684 - 10/17/13 12:01 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
rbeltz48 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/17/13
Posts: 9
Loc: Lansing, Michigan, USA
How about the Casio Privia PX-780?

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#2167758 - 10/17/13 03:39 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: rbeltz48]
Tritium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/13
Posts: 179
Loc: Western MA, USA
Originally Posted By: rbeltz48
How about the Casio Privia PX-780?


That is a "console" style model...so it wouldn't be portable, at least not in the sense of a traditional stage (slab style) DP.


Edited by Tritium (10/17/13 03:40 PM)

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#2167813 - 10/17/13 06:03 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
helloworld1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
Sorry I don't myself clear. Casio PX350 only support On/Half and Off from the midi chart I linked. Only 850 / AP 450/650 support continuous pedal.

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#2167826 - 10/17/13 06:42 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: anotherscott]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Yamaha CP33 does not have built in speakers. (It is, however, a much better MIDI controller than the P155.)

Yamaha CP33 don't have speakers? How I miss that? You are right. Then I have to remove it since I want to include models that have speakers. I want it to be oriented to home digital pianos, not stage piano. Thank you for the correction.

And about the advantage of P-155 (real MIDI connector or USB type, real mono line-out, line-in, etc). I didn't include them because I don't want to show too much info about things that are not really that relevant about "piano simulation". That is professionals needs. Although I will think to add them. Maybe worth mentioning, even though is not relevant for piano simulation.

And about your opinion, I agree. Noone should choice a digital piano only by looking charts or reviews. But it helps. Especially if they can't test them in person.

I want to be this more than just specs chart. Not only because I include detailed info about some relevant things that most website don't mention, but also kinda show a summary of opinions of pianist. I think many people do need that, a summary of what "experts" prefer or say about X product. Very simplified, but at the same time informative in regard of piano simulation. And by "experts" I don't mean me. I mean all of you. This post is kind of a project. A wiki if you will. I will add whatever all of you agree. If is divided, i will post both opinions and maybe tell how many people agree with one opinion over other. Besides things can be also clear, like Casio hammer action is heavier than Yamaha's GHS.

But like I say, nothing can replace the experience of trying them out in person.
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Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2167828 - 10/17/13 06:48 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: helloworld1]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
Originally Posted By: helloworld1
Sorry I don't myself clear. Casio PX350 only support On/Half and Off from the midi chart I linked. Only 850 / AP 450/650 support continuous pedal.

Really? I don't know how to interpret that midi chart, so I could not really understand what you mean. Now I get it.

Although what I say is true about that if you send the MIDI message to a Casio PX-350 to press half pedal, the DP will play the half pedal in all range. I know this because I hear the sample for that model in The DPBSD Project.

Anyway, bottom line is that we agree. The pedals of Casio PX-150 and PX-350 don't support progressive/continuous half pedal.

Thanks for the feedback
_________________________
Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2167866 - 10/17/13 08:55 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
helloworld1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
Midi chart can reveal this informaiton, on page 46, it has this state that "Continuous receive only" and the graph is like:
Off -- (Continuous receive only) -- Half -- (Continus receive only) -- Full

Casio did a better job revealing the midi. Yamaha didn't so you have to try in order to figure out.

Some more information about P155,
Source of country: Made in Japan

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#2167888 - 10/17/13 10:05 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: helloworld1]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
I see.

Thanks for the info about P155. I will add that.

I dig about Yamaha P-105 and found this:

1. NOTE ON/OFF
Data format: [9nH] -> [kk] -> [vv]
9nH = Note ON/OFF event (n = channel number)
kk = Note number (Transmit: 09H–78H = A-2–C8 /
Receive: 00H–7FH = C-2–G8)
vv = Velocity (Key ON = 01H–7FH, Key OFF = 00H)
Data format: [8nH] -> [kk] -> [vv] (reception only)
8nH = Note OFF event (n = channel number)
kk = Note number: 00H–7FH = C-2–G8
vv = Velocity
2. CONTROL CHANGE
Data format: [BnH] -> [cc] -> [vv]
BnH = Control change (n = channel number)
cc = Control number
vv = Data Range
(1) Bank Select
ccH Parameter Data Range (vvH)
00H Bank Select MSB 00H:Normal
20H Bank Select LSB 00H...7FH
Bank selection processing does not occur until receipt of next
Program Change message.
(2) Modulation (reception only)
ccH Parameter Data Range (vvH)
01H Modulation 00H...7FH
(3) Main Volume
ccH Parameter Data Range (vvH)
07H Volume MSB 00H...7FH
(4) Panpot (reception only)
ccH Parameter Data Range (vvH)
0AH Panpot 00H...7FH
(5) Expression
ccH Parameter Data Range (vvH)
0BH Expression MSB 00H...7FH
(6) Damper Pedal/Sustain
ccH Parameter Data Range (vvH)
40H Sustain MSB 00H...7FH
(6) Damper Pedal/Sustain
ccH Parameter Data Range (vvH)
40H Sustain MSB 00H...7FH
(7) Sostenuto
ccH Parameter Data Range (vvH)
42H Sostenuto 00H...3FH:off, 40H...7FH:on
(8) Soft Pedal
ccH Parameter Data Range (vvH)
43H Soft Pedal 00H...3FH:off, 40H...7FH:on
(9) Harmonic Content (reception only)
ccH Parameter Data Range (vvH)
47H Harmonic Content 00H...7FH

You understand all this? What it means about the half pedal?


Edited by Daniel Richter (10/18/13 04:05 AM)
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Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

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#2168162 - 10/18/13 02:57 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
helloworld1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/12
Posts: 82
The P155's midi implementation also said the same thing, but it turns out to be not continuous. So hopefully somebody else can give out more information. If you don't know how to get it, you can try pianoteq (trial version is OK), and in "Options", it can show all midi events.

Regarding the non-continuos pedal, For build-in sound is totally fine. But it is very noticeable when playing with virtual piano and pedal noise enabled. On P155, I can't avoid the noise no matter how genital I press the pedal. But on NU1, it is truly continuous and I do pedaling much more smoothly.

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#2168166 - 10/18/13 03:01 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: helloworld1]
bennevis Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 8391
Originally Posted By: helloworld1
....no matter how genital I press the pedal.

I hope that's a Freudian slip... wink
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#2168214 - 10/18/13 04:58 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
Celdor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/13
Posts: 342
Hi
I have read here:
http://www.keyboardmag.com/article/casio-privia-px-350/150865
that CASIO PX-350 "has sustain resonance, which simulates the sound of all the strings vibrating in sympathy with actually-played notes when the damper pedal is down" (4th paragraph) which sounds to me like "string sympathetic resonance". In your list CASIO PX-350 seems not to have this feature. I don't know, maybe I am wrong but it is worth checking.
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Zbigniew



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#2168257 - 10/18/13 07:47 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Celdor]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
Then we have to find someone that have a Yamaha P-105 with FC3 pedal so he can test this continuous half pedal. You know someone that could test this? I don't have that model (at this moment) so I can't.

About the CASIO PX-350 "has sustain resonance" I am quite sure is marketing thing (lie or misleading from manufacturer). I hear the samples from The DPBSD Project from Casio PX-350 and didn't hear any resonance at all. Maybe you can hear it and tell me if you can notes it.

Thanks everybody for the feedback. I think is important we all help each-other giving info that the rest could never get from anywhere else.

Anyone that have one of the models listed here, please do the tests or measurements necessary and post the results.


Edited by Daniel Richter (10/18/13 07:48 PM)
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Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2168305 - 10/18/13 11:54 PM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Celdor]
Tritium Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/13
Posts: 179
Loc: Western MA, USA
Originally Posted By: ZikO
Hi
I have read here:
http://www.keyboardmag.com/article/casio-privia-px-350/150865
that CASIO PX-350 "has sustain resonance, which simulates the sound of all the strings vibrating in sympathy with actually-played notes when the damper pedal is down" (4th paragraph) which sounds to me like "string sympathetic resonance". In your list CASIO PX-350 seems not to have this feature. I don't know, maybe I am wrong but it is worth checking.


That is a mistake...unless Keyboard Magazine is exclusively talking about Damper Resonance. The only Casio Privia PX-X50 model (currently) that features modeled String Resonance is the PX-850. Of the Celviano models, the AP-450 and AP-650 feature modeled string resonance.

For me, that was why the upgrade to the PX-850 was a no-brainer, in comparison to the PX-750 and PX-780. The modeled string resonance algorithm is excellent, and makes a distinct, positive sonic difference, in comparison to the other Privia models. The feedback, string/keyboard interaction and dynamics feels and sounds much more realistic and closer to a true acoustic grand piano sound, IMHO.

This Casio-International Comparison chart of the Privia and Celviano models may be helpful (see middle of page):

Casio International



Edited by Tritium (10/19/13 12:10 AM)

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#2168307 - 10/19/13 12:12 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Tritium]
Daniel Richter Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 239
Loc: Venezuela
Yeah, manufactures are using the term "Damper Resonance", confusing people they are talking about "String Resonance".

I am not even sure what they mean when they say "Damper Resonance".
_________________________
Long time piano player, with 7 years experience working in restaurants and doing gigs in random places.

My project: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$

Owner of Kawai ES100

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#2168316 - 10/19/13 12:50 AM Re: Comparison of Portable Digital Pianos under 1000 US$ [Re: Daniel Richter]
Charles Cohen Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 3253
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Daniel Richter
Yeah, manufactures are using the term "Damper Resonance", confusing people they are talking about "String Resonance".

I am not even sure what they mean when they say "Damper Resonance".


On the PX-350 (and many other DP's), the sound of a _single keystrike_ (one note) is different, depending on whether the damper pedal is "up" or "down".

With the pedal "up" (virtual dampers down, on the strings), the only sound is from the note associated with the key that was struck.

With the pedal "down" (virtual dampers raised), the note has all the open strings resonating with it. The sound is quite different from the "pedal up" sound. I think that's what "damper resonance" means, in the marketing literature.

This is different from the behavior of a synth. With a synth, "pedal down" means:

. . . "when a key is released, don't stop the
. . . sound -- let the note decay slowly".

There is no "damper resonance" on a synth. Notes sound the same, pedal up, or pedal down, as long as the key is held down. [Now somebody will test a MOX6, and find out that its "Grand piano" sound _does_ have "damper resonance" . . . ]

Yes, "string resonance" and "damper resonance" are _very_ different, and the manufacturers are trying to confuse us!

Daniel -- Thank you for doing this work. It is much appreciated.

. Charles

PS -- edit -- I just tested this on my PX-350. The sound (pedal up versus pedal down) is different, but not _very_ different. There's a lot more richness, pedal down, on an acoustic piano.

PPS -- I did some "string resonance" testing, reported in the "DPBSD" thread. Basically, the Roland "SuperNatural" pianos were pretty good, and everything else was pretty bad. "String resonance" is a tricky feature to add, and I suspect it costs a lot of processing time in the sound generator.


Edited by Charles Cohen (10/19/13 02:09 AM)
_________________________
. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker

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