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#2552956 - 06/29/16 02:21 PM NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
For some reason, it appears that I'm spending the rest of the summer in NYC... So, I'm in the market for an ULTRA portable keyboard that (a) has decent action; (b) has decent sounds and (most importantly) (c) weighs next to nothing: like 6 to 15 pounds, with 6 being a lot better than 15.

I will be busking with said keyboard (in addition to my primary axe, tenor saxophone). Thus, I'll be schlepping both sax and keyboard, as well as small amp, busking goodies, etc. - all on subways, buses, walking up and down staircases, etc.

I'll also be taking it to "real deal" jam sessions (Smalls, Fat Cat, Cleo's Needle, Dizzy's, etc.), so it has to sound good. The idea here is to take a solo on tenor sax, wait for the other horn players to do their thing, then take a solo on the keyboard (without having to BE the piano player on the tune). So it's critical that the keyboard have good non-piano sounds. I'm particularly interested in organ and EP.

I currently have a 6 pound Nektar Impulse 61 key hooked up to several VSTs in a Windows tablet, which works pretty well, except that the keybed on the Nektar is designed for MIDI input as a controller, not as a player's keybed.

I'm considering:

1. Roland VR-09 - 61 keys, 12 pounds, runs on batteries, apparently good sounds and Hammond drawbars (a nice organ implementation is a desired feature for me), diving board style keybed with shallow key travel; I'd prefer waterfall); $900;

2. Studiologic Numa Compact - 88 keys, 12 pounds, 10 sounds, no drawbars, (batteries?); $400;

3. Hammond XK c-1 - 61 keys, 16 pounds, organ only but a Hammond and waterfall keys, drawbars, leslie, etc.; $1400;

4. Hammond SK1 - 61 keys (they make 77 and 88 as well ...); 15 pounds, organ plus other sounds, otherwise, same as the KX c-1; $1900

5. Maybe a used Nord something or other....

I'd rather spend $400 than $1900. Battery problem can be solved with a Rav Power phone charger, but I'd rather have batteries.

Of course I'm between a rock and a hard place as to the keybed - fully weighted is not lightweight nor good for organ playing, so I'll have to compromise here.

As to weight, I may try to turn whatever I buy into a keytar, so weight really is an issue. I'm used to hanging a kid's bowling ball (tenor sax, 8 pounds) around my neck, but 15 will require a harness. Not sure if 12 will, since that's in bari sax territory. Actual keytars are only 49 keys; not enough for me....

Any other suggestions? Thanks!
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2552959 - 06/29/16 03:03 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
pwl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/31/13
Posts: 303
Loc: Bay Area CA
I LOVE the question - looking forward to folks weighing in . . .

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#2552993 - 06/29/16 06:22 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
ElmerJFudd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1321
Casio PX-5S is 24.47 lbs with a nice 88k weighted action in its price class (a little jiggly but feels pretty good). It can run a long time on 8 AA batteries. But no built in speakers, not that they'd be adequate in most noisy situations. It's 52.05" wide. They make a gig bag for it with shoulder straps. Sells for $999.99 new but I've seen them for $650 used. Sounds great really for the price on acoustic, electric pianos and synth sounds. It also has organ patches, which as usual are totally useable but enhanced when you use something like a $179 Lester K, or a $349 Mini Vent II. You'll be very surprised at what Casio has been doing in light weight cost effective keyboards.







Also, even less expensive with surprisingly decent sound is the Casio WK7600 , $449, loaded with sounds, does a passable organ with faders for drawbars (50 organ tones are included and it can get pretty good if you add something like a EHX Lester K rotary simulation pedal for about $179. The WK7600 is 19.5lbs and has 76 "piano style keys" which aren't particularly piano like or organ like, so a middle of the road feel you might like. Two 7 watt amplifiers driving two 4.7" speakers with 1.2" tweeters. This cat does a pretty convincing job of proving this sub $500 workstation can pull off a busking gig. Also runs on 6 D size batteries.





Much more expensive, you've got the $1499 Crumar Mojo61 which doesn't run on batteries, no internal speakers. No acoustic piano sound, but a killer B3 organ (Farfisa and Vox) and Leslie simulator, drawbars, 61 waterfall key action, and two electric piano sounds - rhodes and wurly. 24lbs, 37" wide.






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#2553054 - 06/30/16 03:43 AM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
Nice Post! I own (and love) the Casio PX5S. But it's far too heavy to hang around my neck! I'm 6'6" and in good shape for 58, but it's just too heavy, as are the others (all good boards).

Whether I can hang ANY 88 note board around my neck and pull it off is another question - my arms ARE long enough, but it's still a bit unwieldy for such a thing.

Now, I HAVE busked with it, using a PVC stand I made up. As to bringing it to a jam session in a basement club in the Village, well, it would be possible, as long as there is space and I can keep other players from mucking it up.

Whether it's logistically workable on NYC subways is another matter; I'll try it out.

In any event, the immediate quest is for something much lighter than 24 pounds and probably less than 88 keys (except for the Numa; I've not seen anything else in 88 and 12 pounds).

The idea is to have one board to (a) busk with and (b) take to jams. At jams, I'd play a solo on tenor, then maybe the next tune on organ or electric piano, with whomever is playing acoustic piano on the tune still doing that. I want the flexibility of a horn player (to lay out) on keyboard, if you will. That way, I can play sax or keys as I see fit.

Today, I tried the Roland VR-09 at Guitar Center. It is 12 pounds, runs on batteries, has 61 synth keys and organ, piano and synth sounds. It was really fun to play, and the sounds were excellent. The keybed is really fast (not weighted at all, of course, at 12 pounds). I did miss having any notes below the lowest "C" - Roland goes down to "A" on their FP-40, so why they didn't on this one is a mystery. The octave change button is really usable, though (as are all of the controls - it's pretty brain dead easy to use).

I primarily played it on my lap, without a stand. It worked fine for that, and this will suffice if I can't figure out a strap methodology. I held it up, keytar style, and played with my right hand only. 12 pounds is absolutely the upper limit for this sort of thing. The Hammonds at 15 or 16 pounds will be too heavy for keytar land.

Does anybody have any experience with the Roland or any direct competitors to it? Thanks...

(PS - regardless of what I get, I think the GSI organ VST may well come into play if it will play nice with my tablet...).


Edited by Skyscrapersax (06/30/16 03:51 AM)
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2553101 - 06/30/16 10:57 AM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
ElmerJFudd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1321
Sure the VR-09 is highly popular and rightfully so. Just over 12lbs 3oz with Organ, Piano, Synth, Drums and GM parts, it's loaded with sounds. Runs on 8 AA batteries. It's a good compromise if you want this thing for busking and more typical gigs. Here's everything you did or didn't want to know about the VR-09 from owners lovers and haters: VR-09 Thread at KC Forums

I didn't realize you plan on hanging a keyboard around your neck like a Keytar because none of the keyboards you mentioned have shoulder strap connectors and I doubt duct tape is going to do it! smile

It's going to be tricky picking a board that meets your super light needs for subway performances that you are also happy with at the club Coca-Cola. Maybe you need a cheapy and a better board. Take a look at the Yamaha Piaggero series. 61 or 76 keys. 9lbs 15oz - 12lbs 9oz. Runs on 6 AA batteries. Onboard speakers. Either packed with tones, or less tones but of better quality. $279.99-399.99. $49.99 for the bag. Obviously more piano tone focused than organ though.






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#2553204 - 06/30/16 03:23 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
Just a quick note for the moment, Elmer ... thanks for that VR-09 thread! I'll look at those new Yamahas - of course, they're NOT on the shelf @ Guitar Center...

Right - this will be a DIY keytar, as no actual keytars are more than 49 keys; useless for actual piano playing. Check "Frankenstein" on Moo Tube to see what Edgar Winter is doing (no, I'm not Albino, I don't wear a cape, and I play Jazz, but you get the idea).

I can also sit down with the keyboard at the club (after briefly standing to announce my position in que). For busking, standing seems essential to get the passerby to drop paper in the offering vessel. I probably won't be busking in the subway though, just taking it. Too loud for my tastes. I like outside.

So yeah, this is a tri-purpose board - busking, jamming at jam sessions, and maybe playing gigs. I also have the Casio PX5S, which I can drive into Manhattan in my car with if a club owner hires me and pays accordingly.
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2553287 - 06/30/16 08:51 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Charles Cohen Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 3257
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
I have never travelled the NYC subway with a keyboard. But I did grow up in New York, and visit from time to time:

. . . The cheaper, the better!

From that point of view, the Yamaha Piaggero or PSR-series, or the Casio WK-series (there are many of them), or something beaten-up, from a pawnshop, is a good bet.

I'd be afraid that a Roland VR-09 would be "thief bait".
_________________________
. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker

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#2553330 - 07/01/16 12:31 AM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
Yeah, that's a good point, Charles! Of course I'll have my Selmer Mark VI tenor sax with me, and that's an even bigger concern. NOBODY will ever steal that from me!

However, for going to the jam sessions, I need to sound good. I'll be insured.

But you make a good point - buskers are sitting ducks, and the cops are far more likely to harass you than to come to your aid.
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2553339 - 07/01/16 01:49 AM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
FrankCox Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/03/15
Posts: 301
Loc: Melville Saskatchewan
I really don't mean to offend anyone here, but what's the deal with "busking", anyway? I have had almost no exposure to that, but it's my understanding (subject to one of you fine folks correcting me) that it amounts to tin-cup begging on the street using a musical instrument to get attention.

Uhhhh... maybe it's just the way that I was brought up, but my grandmother would have disowned me if I ever said I wanted to do something like that.

I really must be missing something, but I just looked up the definition of busking and I honestly don't understand.
_________________________
If you're a zombie and you know it, bite your friend!
Casio Celviano AP-650

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#2553340 - 07/01/16 02:20 AM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: FrankCox]
pwl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/31/13
Posts: 303
Loc: Bay Area CA
I, for one, have on numerous occasions enjoyed the musical sounds emanating from a street corner "busker". And if I enjoy it, I contribute. If not, I do not feel any pressure or obligation to contribute.

I'm sure there are situations where the potential "audience" is annoyed - perhaps I've been fortunate to have mainly positive exposures. Two pop into mind immediately: A fabulous sax player on a Union Square (SF) corner many years ago, and a soulful violinist in a Tuscany town playing a heart-tugging rendition of an Elvis ballad.

My life would be at least a tad less full without these (and other) busker experiences.

One more: Some awesome doo wop (acapella, of course) by 3 guys at Navy Pier in Chicago - coulda listened to'em all night, but had to go to dinner.


Edited by pwl (07/01/16 02:23 AM)

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#2553383 - 07/01/16 09:24 AM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: FrankCox]
Tim P Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/15
Posts: 218
Originally Posted By FrankCox
I really don't mean to offend anyone here, but what's the deal with "busking", anyway? I have had almost no exposure to that, but it's my understanding (subject to one of you fine folks correcting me) that it amounts to tin-cup begging on the street using a musical instrument to get attention.

Uhhhh... maybe it's just the way that I was brought up, but my grandmother would have disowned me if I ever said I wanted to do something like that.

I really must be missing something, but I just looked up the definition of busking and I honestly don't understand.


It's not begging at all but rather musicians playing for tips. In other words, they're working. In many places it requires a license of some sort. Even where that's not required there are typically only certain spots/places where it's allowed and, often, there may be a regular. They won't harass anyone if they don't pay nor give tales of woe (well, except when playing the blues) and in many places buskers are astoundingly good. Then in some places they aren't, but they usually don't stick around for long. When I was in Chicago, for instance, there was one tenor player who was regularly in one subway station; he was one of the best musicians I've heard. I've also never heard anyone complain about not being able to go somewhere without having to hear buskers, but I'll guess someone somewhere thinks that.

Finally, places where it's allowed and common typically also have a large number of musicians and, in addition to getting a little rent money, it can be kind of a networking thing or at least getting yourself heard.

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#2553388 - 07/01/16 09:49 AM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
ElmerJFudd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1321
I occasionally run into an act I like in NYC. Seen some that made me quicken my step onward too! Haha. But I tell you what... I've scene some really outstanding musical acts on the streets of Nashville. Not necessarily country music either. All sorts.

Street performances are also recorded on phones regularly and shared on social media. Sometimes going viral. Very useful when looking for more conventional gigs.

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#2553396 - 07/01/16 10:11 AM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Charles Cohen Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 3257
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Many years ago in Toronto, the subway administrators decided to open the subway platforms to buskers. They held auditions, and set up a schedule.

One of the teachers at the Royal Conservatory of Music entered his student string quartet, and got a spot. So, a few times each week, when I took the train home after a long day at work, I got to hear Haydn / Mozart / Brahms between trains.

It was a life-affirming experience.
_________________________
. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker

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#2553468 - 07/01/16 02:46 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
ON BUSKING:

1. I'm giving away the art that I've invested nearly a half century of blood, sweat and tears in - for free. I'm also fulfilling my artistic obligation to expose the public at large to Jazz. FrankCox, no offense taken, but your position is that of the police. Give a bum with a "homeless, god bless, will work for food" sign a tenor sax and let's see what they can do!

2. The original musician was a troubadour. Same thing. Remember we've been replaced by DJs, who push "play" and make $1500+ a night. THAT, I don't "get."!

3. It pays better than bar gigs. Repeat: it pays better than bar gigs.

4. You can play whatever you want - great for artistic chop building! In a "horn band" I get stuck playing the same lines I could play in my sleep, and maybe a couple of solos a night.

5. Pop up gig! No need to deal with greedy and art-hating bar owners, drunks (OK, well, maybe drunks...), etc. No need to book in advance, play music you don't want to play, rehearse, find a bass player, blah, blah blah. Try playing Coltrane or Monk on your next bar gig and watch what happens!

6. Tax free (if you're so included. I, myself, file).

7. Instant money. No need to wait.

8. Go anywhere! Travel, and busk your fare.

9. I've supported myself fully on busking. I don't do that now, but it can be done.

10. It's hard to suck when you play your instrument, for pay, 4-10 (or whatever) hours a day.

11. Just like music school, except instead of paying, you get paid!

12. Some buskers have been discovered. Ted Hawkins, Stanley Jordan, etc.

23. Go ahead, admit it: EVERY bar gig you've ever played - you had a tip jar out, right? Same thing, just without the "I just helped this bar owner sell booze" cut of his/her take. You think you're there for art? Nope! You, musician, are there to sell - and ONLY to sell, booze, food, etc.

Frankly, I don't see why ALL musicians don't busk (well, at least most. Paul McCartney; he doesn't need to busk... wait. wait. PAUL BUSKS!)

As to NYC, it will cost me money every time I go into the city - bus, subway, cover, drink (and I don't drink), all just to go to a jam session. At least $30. If I go every day, that's $900 a month. I can cover that easily by busking. So why wouldn't I busk? Oh... and when I hit that jam session, my chops will be all warmed up, unlike the rest of the lot, which will be cold, especially the horn players.

So, busk! Cat in Venice beach has a spinet; cat in Union Square in NYC has a baby grand.

OH.. and one more thing... IT'S REALLY FUN!!!! (usually...)




Edited by Skyscrapersax (07/01/16 02:49 PM)
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2553471 - 07/01/16 02:53 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
petes1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/05
Posts: 378
You had me at "it pays better than bar gigs."

Sounds like for you love doing it, so payment is frosting on the cake. Please do make sure to post here a video of you doing it, once you've settled on the equipment.
_________________________
Keys: Yamaha GC2, Casio Privia PX-3, Roland RD800, Pianoteq 5.5
My motto: Play and Let Play!

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#2553484 - 07/01/16 03:42 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Charles Cohen]
bennevis Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 8391
Originally Posted By Charles Cohen

One of the teachers at the Royal Conservatory of Music entered his student string quartet, and got a spot. So, a few times each week, when I took the train home after a long day at work, I got to hear Haydn / Mozart / Brahms between trains.

It was a life-affirming experience.



I've seen students from London's conservatoires (Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music etc) making good pocket money by busking in Underground stations and other public sites - usually string or woodwind players and guitarists. I've heard wonderful performances of movements from Bach's solo violin partitas and Spanish guitar music like Recuerdos de la Alhambra from student buskers. If you're going to practice your instrument, why not in public, and earn some money?

This busking duo even got a TV show and a recording contract thumb:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI5LCCaMoCo

Once, when playing a public (acoustic upright) piano in St Pancras train station in London, a few people mistook for a busker, and dropped me some coins on the ground (I didn't put a hat out......) - one gave me a whole £2 coin because I played his request (a Schubert Impromptu). grin

I gave the money to charity - honest wink .
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2553485 - 07/01/16 03:43 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
It's been rent, food, and everything else at one time or another!

I don't know how to post videos, but a guy video'd me a couple of years ago and put it on you tube. Just sax, not piano, and I'm playing along with pop tunes, but:

moo tube

in search bar: "senior sexy sax man"

enter


Of course, that's a play on the famous "sexy sax man" videos of "Careless Whisper." That cat (who, ironically, made the video shortly before I stupidly ASKED the very same place if I could busk [it's private property...)] parlayed it all into a career.
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2553717 - 07/02/16 06:09 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Rusty Mike Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 44
I suggest you take a look the Korg Kross. It definitely checks a lot of your boxes, particularly the 61 key.

http://www.korg.com/us/products/synthesizers/kross/

I'm not a huge Korg fan myself, but it's certainly worth consideration for your needs.
_________________________
Pramberger PS-157, Roland RD800, Nord Stage 2EX 76HP

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#2553740 - 07/02/16 08:09 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
Thanks, Rusty Mike! I see it's 3 pounds lighter and $100 less than the Roland VR-09. How else does it stack up to that board? Thanks...
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2553759 - 07/02/16 11:39 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
ElmerJFudd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1321
Both these boards are equipped with a good selection of sounds to cover whatever you want to throw at them. Obviously, if your true heart's desire is very organ centric the VR-09 would be preferable. The actions on the both of them are pretty weak. You can throw the Roland FA-06 into this equation as well if you want to talk about boards packed with timbres with less than stellar actions. However, I'll forgive it of the VR-09 and Kross at their price points. The FA-06... not so much at $1200. Of course, everything is a trade off, plenty of boards in this thread with only passable actions, but we're talking about busking here. YMMV

With that said, you should look at the Roland DS-61 - very similar to the Korg Kross. It's 11lbs 12oz, can run 4-5 hours on batteries, and costs $699. I would imagine the action here is similar to the VR-09/FA-06.

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#2553786 - 07/03/16 04:03 AM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
Although busking is half of the equation, it's not all of it - the other side is real-deal Jazz jam sessions in NYC (Smalls, Fat Cat, Dizzy's, etc.). For that, organ or EP - I don't want to play acoustic piano when there is already a piano player on the tune..

A third possible function is actual gigs - although I have my Casio PX5S for that - but its 24 pounds on a subway, so it would be nice to have something lighter.

Probably any of these boards, including the Roland DS-61, would suffice for busking, with the lightest weight being preferable (for keytar purposes or just holding it in one hand).

As to the Jazz jam sessions (or gigs), I'm thinking the organ on the VR-09 may carry the day.

How good are the organ, piano and EP sounds in the Roland DS-61 and the Korg Kross?

Thanks....
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2553824 - 07/03/16 10:23 AM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
ElmerJFudd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1321
They wouldn't compare with what you can do with the VR-09. They'd be basically static PCM samples of organ tones.

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#2553838 - 07/03/16 12:26 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
Static, eh? So, it looks like it's the VR-09's drawbars and other real-time manipulation goodies vs. the Korg Kross' 3 pounds lighter weight, many more sounds and multi-track sequencer (not on my "list," but that would be fantastic to have, now that they mention it...).

Here's a lively discussion of these and other "lightweights":

http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2720627/1

And, apparently, Korg deems the Kross "NYC Friendly...":

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2013/0...tarting-at-700/


Edited by Skyscrapersax (07/03/16 12:53 PM)
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2553840 - 07/03/16 12:58 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
ElmerJFudd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1321
Always a lively discussion at the KC forums. wink

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#2553861 - 07/03/16 02:59 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
Out of the following 3 applications, it looks like the winner is:

BUSKING, NYC SUBWAY SCHLEPPING: Korg Kross (9 pounds!);

NYC JAZZ JAM SESSIONS: ROLAND VR-09 (more dynamics, slightly better keybed);

FOR REAL GIGS: ?????

Any thoughts on the "real gig" differences between the Roland and the Korg?

Thanks....
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2553863 - 07/03/16 03:08 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
ElmerJFudd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1321
I think this depends on the gig. It sounds like you're on sax a lot and filling in on the keyboard, usually organ parts. In which case, I'd take the VR-09.

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#2553881 - 07/03/16 04:37 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
I'm looking to play solo keyboard gigs as well as trio gigs without another keyboard player, in addition to situations where there is another keyboard player.

Are you implying that the Kross organ sucks? Certainly the Roland VR-09 is going to be superior with the drawbars, in any event...
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2553887 - 07/03/16 05:29 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Rusty Mike Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 44
The quality of the sounds between the Kross and the Juno DS are going to be comparable. If you are in the City, you should go do Sam Ash down on 34th Street, as they probably have them both on display. I've never been to the Guitar Center near Times Square, but I would assume they have something on the floor. There's also a GC down in the area of 25th Street I believe. N&H Photo might also have something on the floor.

As I said above, I myself am not a huge Korg fan, and would personally favor the Roland over the Korg. But there are many who love the Korg sound.

The real compromise here is going toe the action. Pretty much any keyboard in this weight and price range is not going to have the best action. Once again, going to actually play these instruments will tell you how you feel about the action, and whether it's something you can live with.

Regarding organ, both of these instruments do not have organ emulation to the degree that the VR-09 does (or the PX-5S, for that matter). You can probably get by with the organ patches, but there are no drawbars, and control over things like chorus/vibrato and percussion are next to nonexistent. The EPs on both are more passable, but you'll need to play with a light touch.

They will work for busking, where the acoustics on the street and in the subway are not stellar.
_________________________
Pramberger PS-157, Roland RD800, Nord Stage 2EX 76HP

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#2553889 - 07/03/16 05:40 PM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 137
Loc: Suburban Detroit, Michigan
NYC in a couple of weeks.....; I'm currently still in suburban Detroit, and Guitar Center is on my "to do" list this week - assuming they actually have product on the shelves!

My current busking rig is a controller and Pianoteq, which works pretty well, except for latency. It won't cut it for jam sessions, which I need no latency and more flexibility to change sounds. As far as I can tell, nobody makes an audio ASIO interface (I can't hang with "Asio for All" at all) for a tablet (or that isn't a physical box), where Pianoteq resides.

If I were ONLY busking with this thing, I'd either just keep what I have, or get the Korg. But I need to up the equipment to hang with the excellent cats at those jams.

Weight aside, I'm leaning towards the Roland VR-09 on paper.
_________________________
"Music Is Inherently Evanescent. Once You Play It, It's Gone In The Air" ~ Eric Dolphy

Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone (1973), Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone (1956), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Saxophone (1987), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (2013), Kawai 11, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (1969).

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#2553968 - 07/04/16 06:36 AM Re: NYC SUBWAY-FRIENDLY KEYBOARD WITH DECENT ACTION AND SOUNDS [Re: Skyscrapersax]
Lester Burnham Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/13
Posts: 640
Just on the busking, front - I love encountering music in that way.

Sure, you can walk around city centres and there's some mediocre, easy listening stuff, frequently, that I have no personal interest in - but all the same, plenty of others seem to enjoy.

Then there's the times you move around busy cities, through tube stations and are exposed to a variety of different styles, and often quite talented musicians. Even if you don't have time to stop and listen, a brief snippet can be enough to cheer you up, or put a smile on your face on a busy day.

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