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#2337998 - 10/16/14 12:04 PM Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions.
Zanna83 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/14
Posts: 10
Hi guys, this is my first post on this forum.

I'm not new to music, i'm a guitar player, but now i would like to explore new instruments and i'd like to learn how to play piano/synth.

Considering the following points :
- No chance to have a fix placement for the keyboard (i need to remove it at the end of the session and place it back the next time). The configuration shall be easily transportable (from one room to the other)
- I would like to learn playing "general" piano so i prefer to start with graded hammer action keys.
- Budget is low.. no more than 500-600.
- I would like to understand if a 61 keys keyboard can be enough or if it will appear "limiting" after a short time. How frequently i will need the missing 27 keys ?
- I would like also to play virtual synth, consequently an USB connection, midi out and (possibly) midi in are required.

I was thinking about buying a compact digital piano with midi interface and a Behringer BCR2000 to have VST control and to be able to connect the whole equipment to the PC. Another advantage is the built-in speakers to be used for short sessions.

Another solution may be to search for a 61 keys master keyboard to make it easier when i need to remove/replace the keyboard from its position (with graded hammer). In this case i will connect to my Marantz MCR-510 and couple of Davis speakers through optical cable.

Finally i fell in love for the Arturia Keylab 88... it may be the only reason to spend something more... This is obviusly not a compact solution and it requires to connect PC and speakers every time.. also for short exercise sessions.

Can you please suggest me some model or some alternative configuration?

Thanks in advance and sorry for this great confusion!

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#2338022 - 10/16/14 01:19 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
Valhalun Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/14
Posts: 19
To answer some of your questions, you probably will want an 88 key board if you don't have one. You can get away with using them for gigging sometimes but you will want all the keys for practice. I am not familiar with the Arturia board so I can't comment on it but my recommendation for an 88 key board that matches your requirements in that price range would be the Casio PX5S. For the money you really can't get better action, it has pretty good built in sounds, is VERY light, and looks pretty good to boot. As far as portability goes while still having a good piano nothing beats the px5s until over double the price.

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#2338023 - 10/16/14 01:22 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3288
Originally Posted By: Zanna83
i prefer to start with graded hammer action keys.
- Budget is low.. no more than 500-600.
- I would like to understand if a 61 keys keyboard can be enough

For piano, yes, hammer action is important. Whether or not the keys are graded is less so, but most are anyway. There are virtually no 61-key hammer action boards, or really, in your price range, anything less than 88. You're probably looking at Yamaha P35, Casio PX-150, Kawai ES-100, Kurzweil SP4-8. Kurz is most fully featured, but heavier and so not as easily transportable.
Originally Posted By: Zanna83
I would like also to play virtual synth, consequently an USB connection, midi out and (possibly) midi in are required.

USB is not necessary, in that even the boards that only have regular MIDI connections are easily used over USB via an inexpensive adapter.

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#2338025 - 10/16/14 01:23 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Valhalun]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3288
Originally Posted By: Valhalun
my recommendation for an 88 key board that matches your requirements in that price range would be the Casio PX5S.

It's a great board, but well out of his specified price range.

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#2338032 - 10/16/14 01:47 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
bnolsen Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 114
Loc: Colorado
At your price level its hard to beat a casio px150. You'll want to include a stand and bench as well. I think your other option would be the yamaha p35 but the px150's action is definitely better.

here's a professional pianist who uses a px150 as a controller:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RP21DQ2zoM

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#2338036 - 10/16/14 02:04 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: anotherscott]
Valhalun Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/14
Posts: 19
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Originally Posted By: Valhalun
my recommendation for an 88 key board that matches your requirements in that price range would be the Casio PX5S.

It's a great board, but well out of his specified price range.


My apologies, failed pretty hard on the euro to dollar math there. In that price range, especially if you're using extra speakers, I second the Casio px150. It has the same action as the px5s and if you're using software sounds will work just as well in almost every way. The only downside of the 150 is the on-board speakers are absolutely awful, don't expect to use them for much.


Edited by Valhalun (10/16/14 02:06 PM)

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#2338050 - 10/16/14 02:29 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
emenelton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 492
It's worth it to step up to the px350 for hook up flexibility and a little bit better speakers.
The px5s is $1000.

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#2338084 - 10/16/14 04:15 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: emenelton]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1389
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: emenelton
It's worth it to step up to the px350 for hook up flexibility and a little bit better speakers.
The px5s is $1000.


As well as hookup flexibility ("Line In", "Line Out", real MIDI In/Out as well as MIDI-over-USB), the PX-350 has hundreds of built-in sounds. It is _not_ a "synth" -- there is limited control over the sound generator.

It would be a good choice, if it's within the budget.

If the OP intends to rely on virtual instruments, the PX-150 would be OK. But it only has MIDI-over-USB, and a headphone jack.

Note that "very light" means around 25 pounds. You can't make an 88-key, _weighted_ keyboard much lighter, it seems.

. Charles

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#2338087 - 10/16/14 04:19 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
Zanna83 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/14
Posts: 10
Thanks to you all guys! Very helpful suggestions. I checked the prices of many pianos suggested in your previous post on the website of a famous european seller.

Casio PX-5S ( 888,00)
Kurzweil SP4-8 ( 699,00)
Casio PX-150 ( 598,00)
Casio PX-350 ( 744,00)
Kawai ES-100 ( 649,00)

Considering that i will need to include also the knob controller ( 130,00), the complete equipment becomes more expensive than what i've foreseen at the beginning. However i understood that for a good practice 88 keys are essential like the hammer action (graded is better but avoidable). Usb is replaceble by a cheap midi to usb adaptor. Am i right ?

Unfortunately i cannot place a fixed stand and chair. I will use a foldable one.

Actually i'm thinking about a little sacrifice for a Kawai ES-100 + Behringer BCR2000... what do you think about this combination ? (About 800,00 with foldable stand)

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#2338095 - 10/16/14 04:55 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
Valhalun Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/14
Posts: 19
The es100 is a great board and you will likely be very happy with it. I would suggest playing it a bit as well as the 150 if at all possible before you make a decision though. For less money you could end up liking the Casio more.

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#2338096 - 10/16/14 04:57 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
emenelton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 492
As mentioned, ES100 is nice as a stand alone DP. As a controller for a computer, not so much. Doesn't have Line Outs either.
Best advice, get the PX5s and hook it up to your stereo for starters. Then connect the USB to your computer and get that going.
The Casio's have a case that is form fitting too. Easy to wrap up and lean against the wall in the other room. No other board makes it that easy.

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#2338098 - 10/16/14 05:01 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
Giancarlo Robles Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/14
Posts: 26
Loc: San Juan, Puerto Rico
I agree with emenelton. The Kawai is a bit better in its action than the Privias (not by that much IMO), however the lack of connections really make it limited in terms of use. If you want to connect, use, and modify virtual instruments, having more connections and options is always a plus. Basically the reason why I myself chose a PX-350 over the ES100. I just couldn't deal with the fact that there was no line out in a digital piano. I know I could use the headphone jacks, but it became a deal breaker for me.
_________________________
Casio Privia PX-350 | CS-67 Stand | SP-33 Pedal Unit | Audio Technica M40x Monitor Headphones | Galaxy Instruments Vintage D and Grand Piano Collection (Steinway, Bosendorfer Vienna Grand Imperial and Bluthner German Baby Grand) VSTs

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#2338106 - 10/16/14 05:34 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
emenelton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 492
The 350 has internal speakers which is a big plus for practicing. For a person that wants to learn piano it's a really good choice.

The moment you start talking about computer control, the px5s has a special place in more ways than one in Casio's line.

I use mine for piano only how-ever, it is really something else.

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#2338118 - 10/16/14 06:16 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: emenelton]
Zanna83 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/14
Posts: 10
Originally Posted By: emenelton
The 350 has internal speakers which is a big plus for practicing. For a person that wants to learn piano it's a really good choice.

The moment you start talking about computer control, the px5s has a special place in more ways than one in Casio's line.

I use mine for piano only how-ever, it is really something else.


Can you explain me why you consider the PX5S as a better choice talking about computer control ?

Between 150 and 350 speaker is the only main difference ?

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#2338130 - 10/16/14 06:45 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
emenelton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/09
Posts: 492
The px5s has 6 sliders and 4 knobs that can control your computer through usb.
If you look at Giancarlo's post he details some of the reason's he choose the 350 over the ES100. The same differences exist with the 150 except the 100 has better built in speakers than either Casio.

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#2338148 - 10/16/14 07:21 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9354
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
The knobs and faders can be useful for controlling virtual instruments, however if you're primarily playing a software piano, I doubt there is a strong need to make adjustments in real time.

I expect the majority of players initially change settings with the mouse, then, after they've found the sound they're looking for, concentrate on actually playing.

Kind regards,
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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#2338200 - 10/16/14 11:01 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1389
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Zanna83
. . .

Between 150 and 350 speaker is the only main difference ?


Main differences:

1. PX-350 has "Line In", stereo "Line Out", MIDI In / MIDI Out jacks.

2. PX-350 has auto-accompaniment ("chord following") feature,
and lots of built-in accompaniment styles. Also many rhythm patterns. Also has "auto-harmonization" for melody lines.

3. PX-350 has (I think) over 200 built-in tones, including full "General MIDI" set. PX-150: 18 tones.

The keyboard mechanism, and basic "grand piano" sounds, are the same for both PX-150 and PX-350.

If you only want to play piano, the PX-150 is OK. If you want a more flexible instrument, the PX-350 is a better choice.

. Charles

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#2338227 - 10/17/14 02:10 AM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
fizikisto Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 551
Loc: Hernando, MS
I'll add my opinion to the chorus suggesting that the Casio PX-350 probably meets your stated needs best (while remaining in your price range). It has a surprisingly good action (considering the low cost and weight of the board) and very acceptable sounds. It has the connections that let you run it to PA speakers, or connect to a computer to run virtual instruments for better sounds, or other midi instruments. It has built in accompaniment features and rhythm patterns to play along with. it has a built in multi track sequencer. It's an excellent board to learn on, and it's sophisticated enough to grow with you as you do so. Were I in your shoes, it would be at the top of my list of boards to check out.
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2338232 - 10/17/14 02:40 AM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Charles Cohen]
Zanna83 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/14
Posts: 10
Guys, I think that PX-350 is actually at the top of my list! smile

Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen

Main differences:

1. PX-350 has "Line In", stereo "Line Out", MIDI In / MIDI Out jacks.



With the Line In, can i work as follows ?

PX-350 Midi Out --> Behringer BCR2000 Midi In
Behringer BCR2000 USB --> Computer USB (Running VST)
Computer Line Out --> PX-350 Line In
PX-350 Speaker --> WONDERFUL SYNTHESIZER SOUND TO MY HEAD ? smile smile

The only doubt I have is related to the downsides listed in this post :
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post2167459

In particular "Note Sample : 34 strecth groups" and "Built In Speakers : Bad". What do you think about those "defects" ?

Thanks to all!


Edited by Zanna83 (10/17/14 06:04 AM)

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#2338309 - 10/17/14 08:47 AM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
bnolsen Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 114
Loc: Colorado
just go direct from px350 to computer withh the usb and bypass the unnecesary midi converter. the piano already has one! for pure midi controller the px150 doesn't have unnecessary stuff. Also for limited px150 sound set you can use headphone out to go direct to an amp although you lose the onboard speakers.

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#2338314 - 10/17/14 09:01 AM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
Giancarlo Robles Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/14
Posts: 26
Loc: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Originally Posted By: Zanna83

With the Line In, can i work as follows ?

PX-350 Midi Out --> Behringer BCR2000 Midi In
Behringer BCR2000 USB --> Computer USB (Running VST)
Computer Line Out --> PX-350 Line In
PX-350 Speaker --> WONDERFUL SYNTHESIZER SOUND TO MY HEAD ? smile smile

The only doubt I have is related to the downsides listed in this post :
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post2167459

In particular "Note Sample : 34 strecth groups" and "Built In Speakers : Bad". What do you think about those "defects" ?

Thanks to all!


I don't see a problem with that connection setup. However I agree with Charles and it would be easier just to do the USB Midi to Computer. That is my personal setup. Also, I do use the line in to pass the output sound from my pc to the onboard speakers. I will continue to do this until I purchase an appropriate monitor (considering a Roland Cube CM-30 at the moment)and then just output the sound that way.

The stretch groups to me are not very noticeable. Instead of sampling every note individually, Casio (and other companies) use a standard note and just transpose it to other notes. To me its a non-issue and I enjoy the sound that comes out of the board as is, especially with monitor headphones. Of course VSTs sound much better.

In terms of the speakers, they are better than having no speakers, however don't expect to give out a great sound. I use them for practice when not having my headphones on and when people come to my house and want me to play something for them, but I would like to have something that does sound a bit better, hence my current desire for a monitor speaker smile
_________________________
Casio Privia PX-350 | CS-67 Stand | SP-33 Pedal Unit | Audio Technica M40x Monitor Headphones | Galaxy Instruments Vintage D and Grand Piano Collection (Steinway, Bosendorfer Vienna Grand Imperial and Bluthner German Baby Grand) VSTs

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#2338328 - 10/17/14 10:02 AM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
Zanna83 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/14
Posts: 10
Thank you Giancarlo Robles and bnolsen.

The Behringer BCR2000 hovewer is just a midi controller for knobs... it's just to live an extremelyneartoreality synth experience smile

What about the connection between "Laptop 3.5mm stereo jack headphone/line out" and "2 x 6.3mm mono jacks PX-350 line in" ? I found a very cheap Y cable for this task!

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#2338330 - 10/17/14 10:15 AM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3288
Originally Posted By: Zanna83
The only doubt I have is related to the downsides listed in this post :
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post2167459

In particular "Note Sample : 34 strecth groups" and "Built In Speakers : Bad". What do you think about those "defects" ?

Every budget model has "defects"--that is to say, trade-offs-of some sort or another. If you use headphones, then the speaker quality isn't an issue. (The Kurzweil I mentioned doesn't have speakers at all.) But the PX-350 speakers aren't the worst... they are still at least better than the PX-150 speakers!

Though I would be inclined to take the PX-150 over the PX-350. For less than the difference in price, you could get better speakers than you'd find in either one of them. If you don't need the PX-350's MIDI jacks (for connecting multiple MIDI devices together without a computer), its other sounds (which aren't great, and easily beat by what's available in your computer), or auto-accompaniment/rhythms, a PX-150 with, say, a Roland CM-30 should sound better for less money (see http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2337601 ).

The stretch group figure is still better than most in this price range, including the Yamaha and Kurzweil I mentioned, though not as good as the Kawai. But really, that's the kind of spec that I wouldn't base a decision on anyway, because it's perfectly possible to prefer the sound of a particular model that has more stretching to another model that has less, just because of what you feel about the tone overall or other characteristics of the sound. Certainly there are people who prefer the sound of comparably priced Yamaha to Casio despite the fact that the Yamaha has more stretching. You don't play specs. ;-)

Another poster mentioned the PX5S which is out of budget, but it may be worth pointing out that the PX5S has 6 sliders and 4 knobs... not nearly as many controls as a BCR2000, but if it gives you enough for your purposes, maybe buying the PX5S would mean not having to also buy the BCR2000 (or at least right away), so while it would still be beyond your budget, it wouldn't be out by as much, if it were partially offset by the savings of not having to buy the BCR2000. From a piano perspective, the PX5S piano sound is far more adjustable than the PX150/PX350, and I think some of the tweaked pianos you can download into it play better than the "stock" ones of the lower models. OTOH, this only matters when you're not hooked to a computer, since when connected to computer, you can get a better piano out of software anyway. The PX-5S also has many other nice capabilities, but it does not include speakers.

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#2338386 - 10/17/14 12:16 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
Zanna83 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/14
Posts: 10
anotherscott,

Thank you for your clarification! But PX-150 does not fit my requirements : i've got no place for an external speaker and it would be an additional element to be placed, connected and removed each time i will play. In addition, line in/out are very useful to receive the synth sound from the computer. Difference is about 150,00 and i don't think that a good external speaker will cost less.

Regarding the number samples everything is clear. It's also important for me to know that using a the piano as a controller for PC virtual instrument, this issue can be improved.

PX5S is wonderful but no speaker is a problem for me.... also its price smile

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#2338396 - 10/17/14 12:33 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3288
Originally Posted By: Zanna83
Thank you for your clarification! But PX-150 does not fit my requirements : i've got no place for an external speaker and it would be an additional element to be placed, connected and removed each time i will play.

Well, it wouldn't necessarily have to be each time you play, the PX-150 does have internal speakers which you can use as well, but yeah, you would probably prefer playing with better speakers more often than not. OTOH, even the PX-350 speakers aren't wonderful, and based on that thread I linked to, the CM30 sounds better than the PX-350 internal speakers. So maybe it's a kind of trade-off: The PX-350 would never sound as bad as the PX-150 alone, but it would also never sound as good as the PX-150 with amp.

Having the room for it is a different issue, but the CM30 is pretty small. There are even smaller (and cheaper) speakers, but I couldn't tell you off-hand whether they would sound better than what's in the PX-350... things like the iLoud or the Roland Cube Lite Monitor, maybe some else can offer an opinion there. They are tiny. (And actually, a low-priced speaker I like a lot is the Behringer B208D, and it has lots of oomph, but it's a little bigger even then the CM30, and it does not include mixer functionality, which it sounds like you would probably find useful.)

Originally Posted By: Zanna83
Difference is about 150,00 and i don't think that a good external speaker will cost less.

I had been looking on Thomann, where the price difference between the PX150 and PX350 is 250, that's why I felt you could definitely get better sounding speakers for less. If the difference where you are is only 150, it's a closer call.

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#2338464 - 10/17/14 03:45 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
Zanna83 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/14
Posts: 10
Guys, i think tomorrow will buy the PX-350! smile

Just a last question. I've noticed that this keyboard has the split function (2 zones). When playing with VST, i think I may need maybe 3 or 4 zones. Is it possible to achieve this with my PC ?

I mean... is it correct to say that the 2 zones split are a limitation for built in function but, when using the piano as a midi controller for VST i can configure via software 3 or 4 split zone with different patches playing together ? I hope i've been able to make myself undestood! Difficult sentence for an Italian like me...! smile

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#2338512 - 10/17/14 07:18 PM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3288
Originally Posted By: Zanna83
is it correct to say that the 2 zones split are a limitation for built in function but, when using the piano as a midi controller for VST i can configure via software 3 or 4 split zone with different patches playing together ?

correct

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#2338673 - 10/18/14 07:38 AM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: anotherscott]
Zanna83 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/14
Posts: 10
Bought from Thomann !

Now the long waiting... grin


Edited by Zanna83 (10/18/14 07:39 AM)

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#2340457 - Today at 03:29 AM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
Zanna83 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/14
Posts: 10
Hello again!

The piano arrived yesterday! I'm a beginner but for me it's fantastic! Nice sound and very good looking!

Just a question : it seems to me that the volume is quite low (from internal speaker) also at maximum level.. i mean that for me playing it's enough but when at maximum level, i would define it "normal" rather than "high" volume. Is it normal ? Sorry, not very technical consideration smile.

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#2340501 - Today at 08:30 AM Re: Help for first purchasing! Need some suggestions. [Re: Zanna83]
bnolsen Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 114
Loc: Colorado
volume is not high on these. At ~12kg something's gotta go and the drivers are pretty small. place it against a wall to get a bit more sound.

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Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
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