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#2237956 - 02/26/14 01:08 PM Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band
JR3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/26/14
Posts: 6
Hello! This is my first post! Thanks for allowing me to come and visit with you. I'm a long time musician, very bad pianist...I play guitar, sax, bass, and a little percussion. However, we do have a few decent piano players in the group and we would like to upgrade to a digital keyboard / stage piano.

At the moment we are using a very low end consumer grade keyboard that sounds like mud and is about 61 keys max. In the past the groups I have led have used Roland RD-700gx, Nord Stage, etc...which have been great, but we just can't afford new ones or even some of the used ones right now.

Any suggestions or advice for us? I've been browsing the forums and see a lot of different models, but am just not sure what to do. We are looking to spend about $750, give or take depending on quality and the deal. If there is something for $1000 that is night and day better than something for $750, we will go that route.

I've heard that the Kurzweil SP4-8 is decent...there is a Casio out that is nice, etc. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

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#2237989 - 02/26/14 02:17 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3602
Loc: Northern England.
There might be a member of your church wanting to get rid of one . . .at a good price! Ask your pastor to announce this requirement.

Similar thing happened to me, about 5 years ago now. I was using a PSR keyboard which was OK through external speakers when the church leaders notified me of their intent to get a piano.

Then they bought one, a hammer horror story, without asking me to look at it purely because it was cheap and they thought it`d be gone soon. At that time, I`d decided to sell my own Kawai. They could have had it. . . .250 was all I got for it eventually.

Others can advise on specifics . . .but you should get a decent one for that price.


Edited by peterws (02/26/14 02:19 PM)
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

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#2237999 - 02/26/14 02:48 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
JR3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/26/14
Posts: 6
Thanks for the reply! We are actually a 'start-up' church, so we've already exhausted the "does anyone have a good keyboard??" route. I really thought I could find a used Roland RD-700GX somewhere, but haven't had any luck on the normal sites and classifieds. We'd like to get in on the low end of the digitals that are generally keepers, so I'm assuming that is why there aren't a lot out there.

I did find a Nord Electro 2 for a great price, but I've heard that the piano voices are not that great.

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#2238055 - 02/26/14 04:46 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
lolatu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/13
Posts: 457
Loc: UK
If you can't find anything second hand, check out the stickied "comparison of portable digital pianos under $1000" thread here for suggestions.
_________________________
Kawai CA95 / Pianoteq Stage / Sony MDR-7506 / Steinberg UR22
In the loft: Roland FP3 / Tannoy Reveal Active / K&M 18810

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#2238093 - 02/26/14 06:21 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
briansaddleback Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/14
Posts: 220
Loc: Irvine CA
Originally Posted By: JR3

Any suggestions or advice for us? I've been browsing the forums and see a lot of different models, but am just not sure what to do. We are looking to spend about $750, give or take depending on quality and the deal. If there is something for $1000 that is night and day better than something for $750, we will go that route.

At 750 you got tons of great options to choose from all brand new, for just piano. If that is your total budget for piano and all accessories, you may have to go less due to speaker robustness as most of these at this price range , this is perhaps the most concerning issue if any if you choose to play on stage. Unless your church already has some.


Edited by briansaddleback (02/26/14 06:22 PM)
_________________________

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#2238564 - 02/27/14 03:43 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: briansaddleback]
JR3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/26/14
Posts: 6
Originally Posted By: lolatu
If you can't find anything second hand, check out the stickied "comparison of portable digital pianos under $1000" thread here for suggestions.


Yes! I checked that out shortly after posting this thread and found it really helpful. I probably should have been a bit more clear about our needs. We will probably settle for a good piano, but would prefer something that has a bit more keyboard/synth functionality. It doesn't look like we'll find it in the $750 range though.

From what I can see there are a lot of new digital stage pianos that do 'piano' really well. That may be the route for us at this time!

Originally Posted By: briansaddleback
Originally Posted By: JR3

Any suggestions or advice for us? I've been browsing the forums and see a lot of different models, but am just not sure what to do. We are looking to spend about $750, give or take depending on quality and the deal. If there is something for $1000 that is night and day better than something for $750, we will go that route.

At 750 you got tons of great options to choose from all brand new, for just piano. If that is your total budget for piano and all accessories, you may have to go less due to speaker robustness as most of these at this price range , this is perhaps the most concerning issue if any if you choose to play on stage. Unless your church already has some.


We do have a full sound system, so speakers aren't much of a concern. We've got a nice stand, pedals, and all that as well. So we'd be willing to spend the full $750+ on the unit itself if we could find one. I'll keep looking around here and in the various classifieds and update you all!

If you have any suggestions in that range, please let me know!

Oh - any feedback on the $750 Nord Electro 2 that I found? I read that the piano voices weren't great, but given our $150 keyboard we have now, will it matter? Any other thoughts on that unit?

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#2238689 - 02/27/14 06:35 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9141
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
The Electro 2's pianos are passable, but vastly inferior to what is possible with the Electro 3.

I would instead recommend opting for an entry level Casio (PX-150), Yamaha (P105), Kawai (ES100), or Roland (F-20)- the stickied 'DPs under $1000' thread at the top of this forum should help.

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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#2238760 - 02/27/14 10:08 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
Scott Hamlin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 552
Hi JR and welcome to PW.

I run the Casio PX-5S Group... We have several members that use the 5S very successfully in a worship setting. It does stretch you to the $999 mark, but it worth a look. It got a great review in "Worship Leader" magazine.. http://worshipleader.com/casio-px-5s-review/

Will be happy to answer any questions you have about it.

-Scott
_________________________
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#2238763 - 02/27/14 10:14 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1301
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Quote:
. . . We will probably settle for a good piano, but would prefer something that has a bit more keyboard/synth functionality. It doesn't look like we'll find it in the $750 range though. . . .


Check the PX-350. If "synth capability" means that it has a full range of voices (including the General MIDI set), it qualifies. [And it fits (or _almost_ fits) your budget. Also has MIDI in/out and Line In/Out jacks.]

If you want to able to _modify_ those voices -- e.g., with ADSR control and a full range of effects -- it falls short.

. Charles

PS - bias - I own a PX-350.

PPS -- Maybe a MOX6 or MOXF6 ? Limited 61-key keyboard range (there's a Big Brother, but outside your budget), but lots of other nice features.

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#2238768 - 02/27/14 10:28 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
FrankDaddy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/10
Posts: 68
Loc: Louisiana, US
Another PS bias. I used a PX-350 in a retreat environment. Excellent if you do not need the synth capacity. Also if you need internal speakers the PX 350 has them. Great keybed and piano sounds. If I need more I use my Kawai MP6 or Hammond SK2. But those are above your budget.

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#2238889 - 02/28/14 06:15 AM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
Dan_Raven Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/04/14
Posts: 10
Maybe, you'll find a cheap Kawai MP4. I use it in one of my bands for rehearsal and I used it a couple of times on gigs. The sounds are of course inferior to MP6's sounds, but I think it's a decent option with your limited budget. You'll find halfway decent A-Piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Clavinet and Organ sounds. Besides, you'll also find a couple of layering sounds. The synths are compared to more specialized keyboards not that great, but if you aren't that demanding they will do it.

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#2239033 - 02/28/14 12:47 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
JR3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/26/14
Posts: 6
Wow! Great responses...

I've been checking out the Casio PX-5S and the Casio PX-350 after the comments here. It looks like it may be the right choice for us. Does anyone have an idea of how this new keyboard compares to a five+ year old Roland RD-700GX? I'm using the RD-700GX as my comparison point because it is the only keyboard we've used of that type of quality. If these Casio's are at that level in 2014 at a lower price point, that would be superb.

Anything like the PX-350 or PX-5S in the Kawai lineup?

What is the biggest difference between the PX-350 and the PX-5S? Why would you decide to get one over the other? Thanks!!

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#2239177 - 02/28/14 06:29 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11900
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I'm pretty sure the action on either of the Casios is better than the 5 year old Roland. Not that the Roland is terrible, but the new Casios have a very nice action for the price. I'm thinking for your needs you probably don't need synth capabilities unless one of your pianists wants to really get in there and do a lot of editing and production type stuff. But for live music, the PX-350 should do quite well. Basically you want something that will allow you to switch voices, layer, split with relatively little searching though menus so it can be done quickly in between songs. I like the PX-5S, so it's not like that's a bad choice either, but it's pushing your budget. Definitely have your pianists try out the pianos you are considering before buying.
_________________________
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www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2239199 - 02/28/14 07:27 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9141
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: JR3
Anything like the PX-350 or PX-5S in the Kawai lineup?


The ES7 and MP6 respectively.

Originally Posted By: JR3
What is the biggest difference between the PX-350 and the PX-5S? Why would you decide to get one over the other?


The PX-350 has built-in speakers, but less control and sound flexibility.
The PX-5S does not have built-in speakers, but offers far more control and sound flexibility.

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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#2239213 - 02/28/14 07:56 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
FrankDaddy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/10
Posts: 68
Loc: Louisiana, US
While looking at older boards don't forget the Kawai ES4 and ES5. Good action and build like a tank. I still have an ES4 that stays in my office. I have used it recently in a P & W band. You can pick them up easily in your budget.

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#2319652 - 08/25/14 11:53 AM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
JR3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/26/14
Posts: 6
Sorry to resurrect an old thread!! We are still in the market, sadly...

I'm looking at the following due to availability and pricing of used equipment:

Casio PX350
Casio PX-5s

Are there any other models to consider if we want to stay below $750 used? Thanks again for all your help!

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#2319730 - 08/25/14 04:16 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1301
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Guitar Center has a used PX-350 in Pasadena -- $550.

That's going to be hard to beat. You can take a look through:

guitarcenter.com/usedgear

and see if you can do better. There's a P155 also, and probably more that would suit you -- lots of depth, at Guitar Center.

One problem you're up against:

. . . The technology (keyboard mechanism and (especially)
. . . sound generators) of "low-end" digital pianos has
. . . improved substantially in the past 5 years.

But people don't want to sell their used gear -- say, a DP that cost $1500, 5 years ago -- for really low prices. They want to believe that a digital piano depreciates slowly, like an acoustic piano -- not quickly, like a PC or cellphone.

So your best bet is _probably_ to get something manufactured recently.

But finding a "real bargain" on a used DP is going to be tough. And finding a used DP that's substantially better than a PX-350 or PX5S, in your price range, will be difficult.

. Charles

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

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#2319735 - 08/25/14 04:31 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1301
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: JR3
. . .
I've been checking out the Casio PX-5S and the Casio PX-350 after the comments here. It looks like it may be the right choice for us. Does anyone have an idea of how this new keyboard compares to a five+ year old Roland RD-700GX? I'm using the RD-700GX as my comparison point because it is the only keyboard we've used of that type of quality. If these Casio's are at that level in 2014 at a lower price point, that would be superb. . . .

What is the biggest difference between the PX-350 and the PX-5S? Why would you decide to get one over the other? Thanks!!


FWIW --

If you need built-in loudspeakers, don't get the PX5S. The speakers on the PX-350 aren't really good, but they're built into the box.

If you need user-editable sounds, don't get the PX-350. The PX5S has a full-scale, user-editable synth sound generator, as well as the special-purpose "piano" sounds that are in the PX-350. The PX-350 has a full palette of sounds ("General MIDI", plus some extras), but you can't modify them.

I've played the Roland RD-700NX (one or two generations newer than the RD-700GX), and it's better than the PX-350 (both better sound, and nicer action). But that was a $2500 keyboard, new. I haven't tried the RD-700GX.

GC also has a Roland FP7, used, in your price range. If that has the "SuperNatural" sound generator, it's worth considering.

. Charles

PS -- there's an aphorism that might be relevant to your situation:

. . . The best is the enemy of the good.

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#2320147 - 08/26/14 11:05 AM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
BaR Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 53
Here is something to consider. When running a digital piano through a PA system, there may be instances where the keyboard can't be run in stereo (for whatever reason). In that case, I would make sure whatever keyboard you are considering sounds good in mono. Yamaha does a very good job at this, speaking from experience. The Kurzweil's I have used sound horrible in mono. Not sure about other brands. I would highly suggest the Yamaha P-155. Great board, great sounds, sounds good in mono, has built in speakers, and it can be had on sale in your price range as it is being replaced by a newer model. Also the CP-33, as it has been replaced by the newer CP40.

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#2320202 - 08/26/14 01:04 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
JR3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/26/14
Posts: 6
Good thoughts all around, but it seems like our budget keeps coming back to the PX-350 or PX-5S. We don't need the speakers, so the preference would be the PX-5S, but I can't find one for as cheap as the PX-350.

I did find a Kurzweil SP4-8 for $899, it was a demo. That seems like a good deal, but I haven't heard much talk about them other than BaR saying they are bad in mono!!

The sound of a PX-350 for $550 is pretty attractive!

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#2320210 - 08/26/14 01:36 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3213
Since you don't need speakers, I would say that the sound and features of a Kurzweil SP4-8 are way ahead of the PX-350. However, the Casio action is better, and is a lot easier to move around (24 lbs, vs. 39 lbs for the Kurz).

I think the Kurz is okay in mono. In fact, at least one piano patch (Blues Piano) is a mono piano.

If you get the Kurz, check their web site for additional sounds you can load into it.

There's also the SP4-7 if you want to get the budget or weight down. The action is a semi-weighted, though if you must play piano from a non-weighted action, it's not too bad, as these things go.

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#2320258 - 08/26/14 03:19 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
bnolsen Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 43
Loc: Colorado
It seems like the px5s is more geared towards solo piano with all the specific tweakability with the piano sounds, etc. In a band/group situation going with a px350 is probably a good pragmatic choice.

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#2320264 - 08/26/14 03:31 PM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: bnolsen]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3213
Originally Posted By: bnolsen
It seems like the px5s is more geared towards solo piano with all the specific tweakability with the piano sounds, etc. In a band/group situation going with a px350 is probably a good pragmatic choice.

I wouldn't say that at all. The PX5S is a much better live performance keyboard because of the way it does splits and layers, plus all the live performance expressivity and adjustability afforded by the mod wheel, knobs, and sliders. It also has much more ability to control external sounds over MIDI (so you can also control/split/layer sounds from your iPad, computer, sound module, or another keyboard). It also has a bunch of just plain better sounds in it (and available for download). So if anything, I'd put it the other way... if all you care about is solo piano, the PX-350 is probably fine. If you care about pretty much anything else, you probably want the PX-5S. (Though yes, as a bonus, the PX-5S also lets you tweak the piano sound... though unlike the PX-350, it does not support the triple pedal, which again, might give the PX-350 a bit of an edge strictly as a piano.)

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#2320627 - 08/27/14 11:46 AM Re: Looking for Advice - Digital Keys/Piano for Worship Band [Re: JR3]
bnolsen Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 43
Loc: Colorado
my thought was that the keyboard is never star of the show, for typical modern band setting its vocals, guitar, bass and drums with some fill in key effects. I see bands use "trash" keys and it works more than just fine. I'm biased though. If you were to see me on stage I'd be doing bass and vocals :-p. Likely the sound system has more impact than the ability to tweak the keys up.


Edited by bnolsen (08/27/14 11:49 AM)

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