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#2340666 - Yesterday at 05:03 PM Novice in love with Kawai and seeking advice!
Ellisande Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 10/23/14
Posts: 3
Hi all,

I'm very pleased to join what looks like a great community (thanks Pierre for telling me about this forum!).

I've been playing the guitar for some years but not very regularly. I recently had to stop playing guitar but found that something was missing in my life so... I decided to start learning the piano (despite my age :-p).

I bought a 49 keys MIDI keyboard (Akai MPK249) and hooked it up to Pianoteq VST. Very easy setup, very good sound (to my novice ears), perfect to start playing... Three months later... here I am with tons of questions :-)

I won't ask them all in this very first post of mine so let's start by the question that runs in circle in my head since a couple of weeks...

Would I benefit from a more advanced keyboard?

I must confess that I'm in love with two Kawai beasts.... The VPC-1 and the MP11.

I'll come back later to better explain why I have these two specific models in mind but I'd really like to hear from previous beginners if they regret not having bought such a keyboard earlier in their learning journey or if they consider that it's way too early for such a jump.

Thanks a lot!

Elli.

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#2340680 - Yesterday at 05:21 PM Re: Novice in love with Kawai and seeking advice! [Re: Ellisande]
spanishbuddha Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2385
Loc: UK
If you are serious about learning piano, and not keyboard, organ or synth, then it's best to start with a decent graded hammer key action and with 88 keys, the best you can afford. In that sense 'advanced' - yes.

As you have found, software piano sounds offer more flexibility and arguably a better sound than most DP inbuilt sounds.

The MP11 is a long way in functional terms from the VPC1 so you will have to explain further your reasoning for picking those two. There are other brand slabs as good as the MP11, but the VPC1 is quite unique although you could buy other boards for use as controllers, with strengths of more flexibility depending on use in some areas, and even better in some (narrow) technical areas.

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#2340685 - Yesterday at 05:33 PM Re: Novice in love with Kawai and seeking advice! [Re: Ellisande]
Banshee Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/11/14
Posts: 12
I do not think that any reply will be able to match your very own situation.

Me for example, I would consider myself an intermediate player. For sure no beginner but definitely not pro level yet. I tried the Kawais you have mentioned besides some others by Roland and Yamaha and finaly decided to go with a MP7.

The VPC-1 was way too advanced for me, it felt to heavy and I did not manage to get this beast connected to my fingers. I am a strict opponent of the strategy "you will grow into it". Just because if it is no fun to play from the very beginning, you will have a hard time and might get frustrated.

The MP11 was much better but still the action was not really my thing. In three to five years I might love it but right now I need something that works out better for me...

Eventually the MP7 was exactly my thing. It is amazingly fast, feels realistic enough and is not too heavy. Yet it does not feel cheap or simple by any means so I immediately got the feeling that this baby would be my perfect choice for the next years until I am good enough to value a more advanced action...

Hence you should not just look to the specs and head for the very best action around. If you are not yet the level to master it, maybe it might frustrate you or at least you will not have as much fun with it as you could have with something else...

But maybe all of these will not please you and you would prefer a Roland action or even look for a CP4... If possible, check them out and make up your mind on your own, this will assure you the best fun and do you a big favour...

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#2340698 - Yesterday at 05:57 PM Re: Novice in love with Kawai and seeking advice! [Re: Ellisande]
Ellisande Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 10/23/14
Posts: 3
Thanks spanishbuddha and Banshee.

Very good common sense comments :-)

Of course, I shouldn't buy any of those keyboards without first trying them to verify if they feel as good below my fingers than from the specs ;-)

Initially, as I'm used to VST instruments, I thought that the VPC1 could be a perfect match for me (hoping that my fingers would confirm what my brain was thinking of course). But when I noted that there were no pitch/mod wheel, no transport keys, no faders, on the VPC1 I was a little bit disappointed (as I'm also enjoying playing Synth and other VST, not only piano). That's why I added the MP11 (but MP7 would also be a very good candidate, I agree) to my list.

Before discussing which model may end up below my fingers, I was more hesitant regarding the "timing" of such a move to a fully weighted / 88 keys keyboard. I should have restricted my post to this question only to start with.
I have no plan to become a professional piano player, that's for sure. But I REALLY enjoy learning piano (I spend 1 h every day on my keyboard and up to 3 h during weekend) and if there'd be a real benefit of switching to a "real" keyboard now instead of waiting for a year or two; I'd prefer to know it now and not in two years ;-)

To be honest, I don't feel right now that I'm limited by my midi controller and the 49 keys are already a lot for my brain and fingers :-)

So, don't hesitate to let me know if I should keep learning on my MPK for several months or years before raising the question again!


Edited by Ellisande (Yesterday at 05:59 PM)

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#2340732 - Yesterday at 07:47 PM Re: Novice in love with Kawai and seeking advice! [Re: Ellisande]
Kawai James Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9364
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Ellisande, welcome to the forum.

Originally Posted By: Ellisande
Would I benefit from a more advanced keyboard?


Yes!

However, more advanced does not necessarily mean jumping-up to a premium board such as the VPC1 or MP11.

I'm sure the 49-key Akai you are using is great for synth playing, but I doubt it offers a very realistic keyboard action, nor does it have the full 88-keys of an acoustic piano.

As a Kawai employee, I'm naturally inclined to recommend the VPC1/MP11/MP7 - especially if your focus is on piano playing and keyboard action realism. However, if you believe this is too much of a leap (either in terms of quality or price), perhaps an entry-level instrument such as the Casio PX-150, Yamaha P105, or ES100 would be preferable? All three of these instruments feature 88-keys and grade-weighted actions, and will almost certainly offer a more realistic key touch than your small Akai.

It really comes down to you priorities. How much are you willing to pay? Do you want to purchase 'the best', or will 'better' be good enough to satisfy you?

As others have suggestion, I would strongly recommend visiting some piano stores and musical instrument retailers to check what's out there, and get a feel for the various brands and keyboard actions etc.

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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#2340738 - Yesterday at 08:01 PM Re: Novice in love with Kawai and seeking advice! [Re: Kawai James]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Kawai James
Ellisande, welcome to the forum.

Originally Posted By: Ellisande
Would I benefit from a more advanced keyboard?


Yes!
. . . .

As others have suggestion, I would strongly recommend visiting some piano store and musical instrument retailers to check what's out there, and get a feel for the various brands and keyboard actions etc.

x


+1.

You can't really judge a DP from specs alone. And there's a wide range of keyboards available to you.

. . . But if you want to play _piano_, especially classical
. . . repetoire, you need 88 weighted keys.

. Charles

PS -- it's possible to play lots of material on a 61-key keyboard. But don't try Beethoven, Chopin, or any post-Baroque keyboard music on that.

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#2340746 - Yesterday at 08:19 PM Re: Novice in love with Kawai and seeking advice! [Re: Ellisande]
fizikisto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 552
Loc: Hernando, MS
Ellisande,
You may not feel limited by your 49 key, unweighted midi controller, but you may be limited in ways that are hard to see right now. The obvious limitation (too few keys) is not even the most important one. I would suggest that it is much more important to learn on a keyboard that has a weighted action (not just that the keys are harder to press down, but that they simulate to some degree the feeling of the hammers being lifted/swung on a real acoustic piano). The reason for this is that as a beginner you are developing habits that will be hard to break. It is much easier to make the transition from playing an acoustic piano (or digital piano that simulates the weight of acoustic piano keys) to playing an unweighted synthesizer style action than to go the other way. A lot of learning piano involves learning to control the weight of the piano keys, to play evenly, to play with different dynamics (loudness levels), etc...and also to learn to play without unnecessary tension (absolutely the most important aspect of learning to play the piano). If you think you might ever want to make the transition to a more realistic digital piano, or perhaps to some day play an acoustic piano, you should make that transition as soon as possible.

If you do that today, you might even find it a bit frustrating, but if so think how much more frustrating it would be if you wait 2-3 more years before trying to make the switch.

If you're seriously considering the MP11, then you have the financial means to get something that will be a vast improvement over what you have now -- and one that will help you learn better technique right from the start.

As to which piano you should get, there are several excellent options. Almost any digital piano will have some form of midi connectivity (either old style midi connectors or midi through a USB cable -- the latter being more useful for direct computer connections...for VSTs)

If you have a teacher, talk to your teacher and they may have some recommendations. If you're self-learning, then I think the advice to simply try some digital pianos out in shops is the best way to go. Even with your limited experience you should be able to find the one(s) that feel and sound the best to you. And as kawai james noted, even an entry level digital piano will be a vast step up from what you currently have. If you do have the financial means to upgrade, and you really want to get the most out of your piano journey, I would vote for upgrading as soon as you can find something suitable.

Warm Regards
_________________________
Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800

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#2340753 - Yesterday at 09:15 PM Re: Novice in love with Kawai and seeking advice! [Re: Ellisande]
bnolsen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 116
Loc: Colorado
For your level since you are using a board as just a midi controller you should at least give a casio px150 a look-see. Value wise its the best you can do for just a midi controller, especially since the casio action is the same across all the privias and celvanios.

A serious question: Are you wanting to play hardcore classical music at a competition level or are you more into pop/jazz/etc ?

There are plenty of people using the casio actions at the non classical professional level.

If it weren't for my daughter learning classical piano I would probably still be fine with my 20yro yamaha clavinova. If I were buying for myself today I might be tempted to get something like a kawai es100 or perhaps even a yamaha p155 with a nice stand which I could occasionally take to my parents' to play christmas songs, etc (they live within driving distance).

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#2341118 - 21 minutes 13 seconds ago Re: Novice in love with Kawai and seeking advice! [Re: Ellisande]
Ellisande Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 10/23/14
Posts: 3
Many thanks KJ, Charles, Fizikisto and Bnolsen. I really appreciate you took time to help me!

What I keep in mind is that I need to find time to visit some piano stores and to try playing on several keyboards, including entry level ones.

I understand also that it would be good for me to acquire a 88 weighted keys keyboard now, no "need" or reason to wait for a few months or years.

I also understand that I may not "need" one of those premium keyboards even if, of course, my natural tendency is to buy the best that I can afford! (This isn't my best quality according to my husband ;-)).

Last, but not least, to answer to bnolsen, I don't have any plan to play hardcore classical music! As you guessed, I'm more into Jazz, Pop, as well as song accompaniment. Now, I also like listening and playing classical pieces, just that this is far from being the only style that I'd like to play.

Since yesterday, I've read a little on the MP7 and it seems a good compromise between a pure piano keyboard and a pure synth keyboard. Am I thinking correctly? Could I use such a keyboard for Jazz as well as Classical, Pop comping as well as Intimate song accompaniment?

Anyway, first things first... let's schedule a couple of visits to Paris shops! :-)

Again, thank you all for your valuable help.

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