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#2605512 - 01/17/17 09:32 PM DP for 6 year old beginners
SSK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/17
Posts: 22
Hello all,

My 6 year old twin girls have started their piano lessons recently and I am in search for a good Digital Piano that they could use for practicing (and some fun) at home for next few years. I have no experience or knowledge about pianos, other than reading about them in this forum and some other.

After researching over a week or so, I identified the following models.
Casio AP460 - $1499
Casio AP650 - $1899
Kawai CN25 - $1499
Roland RP401R - $1199 (discontinued model, I think)

I have read that CN25 has great key action and 88 key sampling. The key action on the Roland and the Casios are comparable too.

I read some posts that say about abnormal key clicking sounds in Casios and very good reviews otherwise. As for Roland, the down side I read is that it records only one track - not sure what is the limitation of that in my case. The Roland and AP650 have very high number of sounds which I hope will be some fun for kids smile

Our budget was $1000 initially and now stretched to $1200, but for Casios I can get interest free financing for 3 years on kraftmusic.com (makes it affordable in the long run).

I would appreciate any help in suggesting a good option from these and anything that I might have missed (a Yamaha, may be?)

EDIT: Just noticed Casio PX-780 - $899 - specs seems to be similar to AP650 and will save a ton of money for me; is it any good?

Thanks!


Edited by SSK (01/17/17 10:55 PM)

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#2605541 - 01/18/17 12:21 AM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Goss Online   happy
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/04/16
Posts: 676
Loc: the Netherlands
Hi SSK

From your list, to me the Kawai CN25 is the most appealing - there may be some more substantial wiggle room with its price at a dealer as it is about to be replaced by the CN27 - this goes for all of them though, since the annual tradeshow where new models are introduced is just around the corner ( NAMM )
_________________________
Roland HP605|Senheiser HD558|MSFT Surface Pro 4|coffee

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#2605543 - 01/18/17 12:41 AM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Anwar Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/11/17
Posts: 9
Loc: Penang, Malaysia
The main differences between Casio AP-650 and PX-780 are the number of maximum polyphony (256 vs 128) and speaker output power. It is also important to go for a DP with LCD display; not all the models you listed have LCD/LED display. Without LCD display, navigating the menus and naming audio files to save will be harder.

I think the Casio PX-780 should be good enough for young kids.


Edited by Anwar (01/18/17 02:07 AM)
_________________________
Casio Celviano AP-700, Sunfire HRS-12 subwoofer, Odyssey Audio Khartago SE power amp, KEF LS50 speakers (placed on top of AP-700)

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#2605557 - 01/18/17 02:57 AM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
clothearednincompo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/16
Posts: 70
Loc: Finland
Originally Posted By SSK
I read some posts that say about abnormal key clicking sounds in Casios and very good reviews otherwise.


Apparently they are "okay" as brand new. Maybe a Yamaha or Kawai is quieter, but I haven't personally made any comparisons. All digital pianos say "thump" when played.

A Casio (Privia or Celviano, they are the same) may develop some clunky and rattly keys over time if played a lot. It's a common enough problem to have a few threads on the Casio forum:

http://www.casiomusicforums.com/index.php?/topic/6510-px5s-clunking-keys/

I got my (older generation) Privia as second hand, so I can't say what exactly it takes to introduce these problems. And theoretically at least some of them could be fixed by replacing some worn out parts with brand new spare parts. I haven't tried that out yet.

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#2605568 - 01/18/17 04:12 AM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
PBL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/15
Posts: 47
Sinde you have twins, you might look after the Twin Piano mode (pun intended). All Rolands from FP-30 up have it and it allows you to split the keyboard into two parts with the same tonal range. That way both your kids can practice at the same time with their own set of headphones and only hear themselves.

Many Kawais have twin mode too, but I'm not sure how it works with the headphones.

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#2605575 - 01/18/17 05:03 AM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Goss Online   happy
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/04/16
Posts: 676
Loc: the Netherlands
It might be worth mentioning the just new Kawai ES-110 - paired with a stand this might be very suitable, and its price is nice, has some good piano sounds and others, and its action appears to be pretty good. Could be handy to have something you can stowe away when your 6 year old has friends over and emphasizing the 'you're the reason we can't have nice things' problem we've experienced from time to time here ^^
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#2605576 - 01/18/17 05:04 AM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Goss Online   happy
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/04/16
Posts: 676
Loc: the Netherlands
Also handy about something portable like this, is that possibly when your little one goes off to piano lessons, practice could be done on their own piano - just pack it up and take it along.
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#2605579 - 01/18/17 05:16 AM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: PBL]
Kawai James Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 12684
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
PBL, good call on the 'Twin Mode' feature. wink

Originally Posted By PBL
Many Kawais have twin mode too, but I'm not sure how it works with the headphones.


Kawai's equivalent 'Four Hands' mode outputs the same stereo signal through both jacks. I like Roland approach of separating the sound, however I believe the output may be downgraded to mono in order to achieve this. Can you confirm?

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
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#2605596 - 01/18/17 07:58 AM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: Kawai James]
PBL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/26/15
Posts: 47
Originally Posted By Kawai James
Kawai's equivalent 'Four Hands' mode outputs the same stereo signal through both jacks. I like Roland approach of separating the sound, however I believe the output may be downgraded to mono in order to achieve this. Can you confirm?

Kind regards,
James
x

No, I don't know if it is mono. My Roland is too old for those tricks:-) I just know from the manual of never ones that you can chose between having the same signal on both jacks and separating the two. Very clever indeed.

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#2605599 - 01/18/17 08:07 AM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5809
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
You'll also need a sturdy stand for the keyboard, a bench, a light ... it adds up.

I always advise against X stands. Spend some money and by a stand that is rock solid.
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#2605673 - 01/18/17 12:40 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Charles Cohen Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 3444
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
The PX-780 is, essentially, a PX-350 (which I own) with upgraded amplifiers and speakers, mounted in a minimal cabinet. It comes with a 3-pedal unit, the damper pedal has half-pedalling (but not continuous half-pedalling).

It is perfectly adequate for six-year-olds, and well beyond that. It'll get you through "intermediate" repertoire without any trouble. It also has lots of fun features -- auto-chording, auto-harmonize, rhythms, a full "General MIDI" sound set -- which I haven't used much.

If you can get it at a reasonable price, it's a good choice. Ideally, you'd compare it against the Roland FP-30 (widely available) and the Kawai ES-110 (just released).

. Charles
_________________________
. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker

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#2605716 - 01/18/17 04:10 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Sekel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/16
Posts: 33
Hi SSK,
I will go against crowd and will NOT recommend Kawai ES110 nor CN25. Do not get me wrong, especially CN25 is very good instrument, but rather for adult pianist. From children perspective, it has like only 5 sounds.
Whatever pianos (= piano), Electronic pianos (= strange pianos), Organs, Choir, Strings. Lack of display makes it hard to find out "what the heck the children did".

I have no experience with Casios, so from your list, I would choose Roland RP401R. Its nice piano with pretty decent keyboard (3 sensors), lot of sounds (=lot of fun for children), bunch of features and very good price at the moment.
Also, I would avoid slab styles pianos with childrens unless you have good justification for it.


Edited by Sekel (01/18/17 04:13 PM)

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#2605723 - 01/18/17 04:33 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
SSK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/17
Posts: 22
Thank you all for the thoughts and suggestions.

I missed to add one thing in the initial post - I am looking for a console/cabinet type DP and not portable.

Does anyone have any opinion about the Roland RP401R model? The reviews I read say mostly good about it and one of the down side is the 1-track recording. I am not sure how important is multi-track recording and how will it affect my kids if they have to record.

Originally Posted By Goss
From your list, to me the Kawai CN25 is the most appealing - there may be some more substantial wiggle room with its price at a dealer as it is about to be replaced by the CN27 - this goes for all of them though, since the annual tradeshow where new models are introduced is just around the corner ( NAMM )

Due to the budget and the financing options available, we are inclined to the Casios or the Roland.

Originally Posted By Anwar
The main differences between Casio AP-650 and PX-780 are the number of maximum polyphony (256 vs 128) and speaker output power. It is also important to go for a DP with LCD display; not all the models you listed have LCD/LED display. Without LCD display, navigating the menus and naming audio files to save will be harder.

I think the Casio PX-780 should be good enough for young kids.

As I understand, polyphony value of 128 is more than sufficient for the first few years where they won't do any complex stuff. Speaker output is 30Wx2 (AP650) vs 20Wx2 (PX-780) which I think is not a huge difference. One other noticeable difference I see is that the AP-650 has "weighted" keys which is not present in PX-780 - is that a deal breaker?

As for the LCD/LED display, I am thinking of buying one which has it - which might move AP-460 to the lower half of the list.

I see you have a Casio, do you have those key rattling sounds?

Originally Posted By clothearednincompo
Apparently they are "okay" as brand new. Maybe a Yamaha or Kawai is quieter, but I haven't personally made any comparisons. All digital pianos say "thump" when played.

A Casio (Privia or Celviano, they are the same) may develop some clunky and rattly keys over time if played a lot. It's a common enough problem to have a few threads on the Casio forum:

http://www.casiomusicforums.com/index.php?/topic/6510-px5s-clunking-keys/

I got my (older generation) Privia as second hand, so I can't say what exactly it takes to introduce these problems. And theoretically at least some of them could be fixed by replacing some worn out parts with brand new spare parts. I haven't tried that out yet.

That is one issue that worries me about the Casios, especially if I opt to go with the expensive Celviano (460/650). I hope they have improved their quality lately smile

I think Casio gives 5 years of parts and labor warranty for both AP-460 and AP-650 DPs. Any idea how good is their support?

Originally Posted By PBL
Sinde you have twins, you might look after the Twin Piano mode (pun intended). All Rolands from FP-30 up have it and it allows you to split the keyboard into two parts with the same tonal range. That way both your kids can practice at the same time with their own set of headphones and only hear themselves.

Many Kawais have twin mode too, but I'm not sure how it works with the headphones.

Split is one main thing my kids' teacher told not to bother about. She insisted on having 88-key piano (acoustic preferred, but digital is fine too) and each of them should practice at home separately. So split is not a requirement.

Originally Posted By Goss
It might be worth mentioning the just new Kawai ES-110 - paired with a stand this might be very suitable, and its price is nice, has some good piano sounds and others, and its action appears to be pretty good. Could be handy to have something you can stowe away when your 6 year old has friends over and emphasizing the 'you're the reason we can't have nice things' problem we've experienced from time to time here ^^

I missed to mention in my original post that I am looking for console models that will sit in our living room. So portability is not required.

Originally Posted By Dave Horne
You'll also need a sturdy stand for the keyboard, a bench, a light ... it adds up.

I always advise against X stands. Spend some money and by a stand that is rock solid.

I am looking for console models, so no X stands.

Originally Posted By Charles Cohen
The PX-780 is, essentially, a PX-350 (which I own) with upgraded amplifiers and speakers, mounted in a minimal cabinet. It comes with a 3-pedal unit, the damper pedal has half-pedalling (but not continuous half-pedalling).

It is perfectly adequate for six-year-olds, and well beyond that. It'll get you through "intermediate" repertoire without any trouble. It also has lots of fun features -- auto-chording, auto-harmonize, rhythms, a full "General MIDI" sound set -- which I haven't used much.

If you can get it at a reasonable price, it's a good choice. Ideally, you'd compare it against the Roland FP-30 (widely available) and the Kawai ES-110 (just released).

. Charles

PX-780 is priced at $899 on kraftmusic.com and I suppose is a good price for the spec, which is almost comparable to the $1899 AP-650.
PX-780 vs Roland RP401R?
I am interested to know your experience with your PX-350, especially the key rattling issues (if any).

Originally Posted By Sekel
I will go against crowd and will NOT recommend Kawai ES110 nor CN25. Do not get me wrong, especially CN25 is very good instrument, but rather for adult pianist. From children perspective, it has like only 5 sounds.
Whatever pianos (= piano), Electronic pianos (= strange pianos), Organs, Choir, Strings. Lack of display makes it hard to find out "what the heck the children did".

I think the CN25 has 19 sounds, still no where near the AP-650 or the PX-780 or the Roland RP401R. I have read multiple people suggesting, same as you, to go for as many sounds as possible so kids can have fun and learn piano.

Originally Posted By Sekel
I have no experience with Casios, so from your list, I would choose Roland RP401R. Its nice piano with pretty decent keyboard (3 sensors), lot of sounds (=lot of fun for children), bunch of features and very good price at the moment.

I was told by a person who suggested CN25/CN35, that RP401R is the next best thing in that price range for key action since it has the "let off" similar to the CN series.

Originally Posted By Sekel
Also, I would avoid slab styles pianos with childrens unless you have good justification for it.


By slab type do you mean the portables? Then I am not looking for those, I am interested only in the console/cabinet type DP.

Thanks!

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#2605724 - 01/18/17 04:37 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
kickthetiger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/16
Posts: 50
The Roland RP401R is discontinued. Its replacement is very similar. It does have a lot of sounds, but the tiny LCD display won't tell you what they are. You might find yourself digging out the manual to figure out what tone number will sound like a harp (18) or saxophone (189-192).

https://www.rolandus.com/support/knowledge_base/202979499

https://static.roland.com/assets/images/products/gallery/rp-401r-rw_ipad_gal.jpg

You can see the screen is small. You can connect an ipad and run an app from roland that will let you use that as a screen to help navigate. Not ideal though. Wireless connection requires you have a wifi router at home and buy a wifi dongle for the piano. The app is not available for android unless you get the next version from Roland, either the FP140r or the RP501r.

Instead of the casios you've mentioned so far, you might like the cheaper casio CGP700 with its bigger display. Typical price is $800, add another $70 or so if you want to have 3 pedals - can the kids reach the pedals yet? It has plenty of different sounds, a 'duet mode', and two headphone jacks if they ever want to play together without making too much noise.

http://www.casiomusicgear.com/products/cgp-series/cgp-700

You said they were taking lessons, has their teacher offered any recommendations?

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#2605733 - 01/18/17 05:01 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
kickthetiger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/16
Posts: 50
If you ever want to record know that some pianos - including the RP401r only record 'MIDI' data. Think of the digital piano as three separate parts. You have the keyboard/controller, the sound engine, and the speakers. MIDI data is created when you hit a key, it'll be something like 'key e4 struck with velocity 65'. The sound engine uses that to create audio data, which is played back through speakers or headphones. It's perfectly fine if you want to play back through the piano. But you can't load MIDI data onto an mp3 player as if it was a song. If that's not an issue, I believe recording more than one song on the RP401r is doable if you connect a usb flash drive to the piano.

In your price range weighted keys should be seen as a necessary feature. The PX780 has the same weighted keys as the AP650. Both use the casio tri sensor scaled hammer action 2. Polyphony of 128 is perfectly fine. I don't have experience getting work done on casios during their warranty period, but one of the differences between the PX and AP lines is the warranty. I believe with the PX series coverage is one year, increased to three years if you register the product with Casio (free to do). It might be worth your time to look into where warranty work is done - do you have to disassemble the piano then bring part of it or all of it to a shop? Does someone come to your house?

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#2605763 - 01/18/17 06:38 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: kickthetiger]
Charles Cohen Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 3444
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By kickthetiger
. . .

In your price range weighted keys should be seen as a necessary feature. The PX780 has the same weighted keys as the AP650. Both use the casio tri sensor scaled hammer action 2. Polyphony of 128 is perfectly fine. . . .


+1.

My PX-350 keys don't rattle. The downward motion (pressing the key) is well-damped at the bottom. Pulling your finger off a fully-down key and letting it rise freely, there's one soft (and audible) bounce off its top stop, before it settles.

If you play the PX-xxx pianos at a reasonable volume -- either through headphones, or through speakers -- you won't hear any key noise. It's covered by the music.


You can find a DP with a quieter action, but it'll be considerably more costly than your price bracket. The newest Roland PHA-50 action is pretty quiet -- try one out on an HP603 / HP605 or one of the LX series.

Acoustic pianos also have key noise, but nobody complains about it -- it's just accepted as part of the instrument's sound. If you can find an acoustic, try it out. Play a note, let it die away, and see how loud the action noise is, when you suddenly lift your finger off the key.

My suggestion:

. . . Don't let "key noise" be a determinant of what you buy.

EDIT: As the previous post says, distinguish between "MIDI recording" and "audio (=WAV) recording". The PX-780 supports _audio_ recording to a flash drive, as well as multi-track MIDI recording.

FWIW, I've had the DP for several years, and haven't used its multi-track MIDI recording ability even once. But I _have_ used the audio recording feature -- it's handy, and simple to use.






Edited by Charles Cohen (01/18/17 06:46 PM)
_________________________
. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker

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#2605766 - 01/18/17 06:53 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
R111 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/14/16
Posts: 37
I'd also test drive a Yamaha DGX-660. It has lots of great voices and comes in under budget.

Keep your eye on what is rolled out in the 2017 NAMM convention over the next few days.


Edited by R111 (01/18/17 07:00 PM)

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#2605831 - 01/18/17 09:09 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: R111]
SSK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/17
Posts: 22
Originally Posted By kickthetiger
The Roland RP401R is discontinued. Its replacement is very similar. It does have a lot of sounds, but the tiny LCD display won't tell you what they are. You might find yourself digging out the manual to figure out what tone number will sound like a harp (18) or saxophone (189-192).

The RP401R is $1199 on kraftmusic.com and the newr RP501R is $1499 - same price as Casio AP-460. And I agree that one would need the manual to understand the selection from the LED display. But its better than having none, like on the Kawai CN25 or the Casio AP-460.

Originally Posted By kickthetiger
You can connect an ipad and run an app from roland that will let you use that as a screen to help navigate. Not ideal though. Wireless connection requires you have a wifi router at home and buy a wifi dongle for the piano. The app is not available for android unless you get the next version from Roland, either the FP140r or the RP501r.

kraftmusic.com has a WIFI bundle with the WiFi dongle, so wouldn't be an issue. But not sure how easy it is to access the functions using the Roland Partner app.

Originally Posted By kickthetiger
Instead of the casios you've mentioned so far, you might like the cheaper casio CGP700 with its bigger display. Typical price is $800, add another $70 or so if you want to have 3 pedals - can the kids reach the pedals yet? It has plenty of different sounds, a 'duet mode', and two headphone jacks if they ever want to play together without making too much noise.

This one looks like a portable which we are not considering at this time. But thank you for suggesting it and I will take a look at it.

Originally Posted By kickthetiger
You said they were taking lessons, has their teacher offered any recommendations?

Yes, they started their lessons last week. Their teacher did not specifically talk about any brands or models. The suggestion was to get a real piano. But if that's not possible now, get a digital one with 88-key piano. She insisted not to get a lesser key one since it will make the kids confused with the extra keys at her home during the class. Also suggested to get one with at least one pedal (3 is ideal) as the kids might require it sometime later. I am not sure when they will be able to reach the pedal - haven't checked their current reach.

Originally Posted By kickthetiger
If you ever want to record know that some pianos - including the RP401r only record 'MIDI' data. Think of the digital piano as three separate parts. You have the keyboard/controller, the sound engine, and the speakers. MIDI data is created when you hit a key, it'll be something like 'key e4 struck with velocity 65'. The sound engine uses that to create audio data, which is played back through speakers or headphones. It's perfectly fine if you want to play back through the piano. But you can't load MIDI data onto an mp3 player as if it was a song. If that's not an issue, I believe recording more than one song on the RP401r is doable if you connect a usb flash drive to the piano.

So with 1-track only recording the songs played on the piano cannot be shared with friends and family. That could be a limitation, I guess.

Originally Posted By kickthetiger
I don't have experience getting work done on casios during their warranty period, but one of the differences between the PX and AP lines is the warranty. I believe with the PX series coverage is one year, increased to three years if you register the product with Casio (free to do). It might be worth your time to look into where warranty work is done - do you have to disassemble the piano then bring part of it or all of it to a shop? Does someone come to your house?

Yes, AP-650 has 2 years additional parts and labor warranty. I have to double check if it includes in-house repair.

Originally Posted By Charles Cohen
My suggestion:

. . . Don't let "key noise" be a determinant of what you buy.

I am not too concerned about the key noise in normal working, but was asking about some of the posts on the casio forum about key rattling noise which usually shows up after using for a year or more. I need to check how effective is Casio's warranty.

Originally Posted By Charles Cohen
EDIT: As the previous post says, distinguish between "MIDI recording" and "audio (=WAV) recording". The PX-780 supports _audio_ recording to a flash drive, as well as multi-track MIDI recording.

FWIW, I've had the DP for several years, and haven't used its multi-track MIDI recording ability even once. But I _have_ used the audio recording feature -- it's handy, and simple to use.

Good to know PX-780 has audio recording.

Originally Posted By R111
I'd also test drive a Yamaha DGX-660. It has lots of great voices and comes in under budget.

Looks like a portable model, I am looking for a console type DP.

Thank you all for giving your ideas and suggestions.

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#2605835 - 01/18/17 09:18 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
SSK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/17
Posts: 22
One difference I see between AP-650 and PX-780 is that the former has Acoustic Resonance (String Resonance?) and the latter has Damper Resonance. How much important is this feature for a beginner to a student with 3-5 years piano learning?

Does PX-780 has sliding key cover?


Edited by SSK (01/18/17 09:31 PM)

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#2606010 - 01/19/17 10:00 AM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: Charles Cohen]
SSK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/17
Posts: 22

I am leaning towards PX-780 since it has most of the features that is required for a beginner and is priced below $1000.

The one concern I have now is will the lack of String Resonance in this model turn out to be an issue once my kids move to another level, say in 2-4 years?

Thanks!

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#2606048 - 01/19/17 11:43 AM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Gombessa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/25/16
Posts: 427
I would completely ignore string resonance for a beginner. I took a decade of Piano lessons and never knew it existed or used it as a technique in any way (not that I should be considered the ideal base for anyone).
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Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai MP11

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#2606076 - 01/19/17 12:45 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: Gombessa]
JoBert Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 595
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By Gombessa
I would completely ignore string resonance for a beginner. I took a decade of Piano lessons and never knew it existed or used it as a technique in any way (not that I should be considered the ideal base for anyone).

That's strange advice. I too spent my whole piano lesson years in my youth without knowing about string resonances, but still I was using them of course, unconsciously. Or rather, instead of "using them", I should probably say "reacting to them". When you overuse the sustain pedal on an acoustic and everything gets washed together in one big sound soup, which happens partially because of string resonances, no matter if you know about them or not, that's when you "react" and ease up on the pedal and refine your pedal technique.

So having or not having proper resonances allows you to build a better pedal technique. It's not a matter of actually knowing of or about them. But simply a matter of "having" them. Non existing or limited resonances are one of the main reasons why people who learn on digitals are prone to overuse the pedal when they happen to play on an acoustic.

If you had a decade of piano lessens (on an acoustic I assume) then you too were using/reacting to the resonances, even if you weren't aware of them.

Yes, a beginner won't learn pedal technique right away. So it becomes a question of how long the piano is supposed to last. Well into the time when you learn pedaling? Or is it to be replaced earlier anyway?
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Kawai CA 97 | previously: Yamaha P-115 | years ago: Roland HP-800
My piano recordings on YouTube

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#2606080 - 01/19/17 12:53 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: JoBert]
SSK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/17
Posts: 22
That's good to know. I am thinking of having it for at least 3-5 years. I am not sure when they will start using the pedals or at what stage of their learning they will use the pedals. So, its good to have that feature, you think? Also, what's this Damper Resonance that this particular model has?

Thanks!

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#2606082 - 01/19/17 01:02 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Gombessa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/25/16
Posts: 427
JoBert,

I do agree with you, but on digitals of this class IMO there is no pedal resonance or string resonance strong enough to reinforce these important concepts. You can have the pedal down the entire song and you will never run into the big muddy build up on these digitals, and making a decision based on the DP having an off-pedal string resonance feature won't help at all.

I do think forcing proper pedal technique is one of the biggest advantages for beginners to learn on acoustics rather than digitals.
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Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai MP11

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#2606098 - 01/19/17 01:33 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
clothearednincompo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/16
Posts: 70
Loc: Finland
Things will get muddy with the sustain pedal held down troughout a piece of music whether there are resonances or not.

So, damper resonance: emulates the sympathetic resonances of an acoustic piano when the sustain pedal (damper pedal) is held down and all the strings are free to vibrate and absorb suitable frequencies from other strings that are actively being played i.e. being hit by the hammers. It adds realism to the sound and could be considered the minimum these days for any "serious" digital piano.

String resonance: Even without touching the sustain pedal, the strings of any note (piano key) that's being held down are free to vibrate and absorb suitable frequencies from other strings being played. But why would you hold a key down if not to play that specific note? And if you play that specific note, are you going to notice any extra harmonic frequencies that the string might or might not absorb from the other strings? In some cases you might, but it's not as obvious as the damper resonance.

In product demos the string resonance is always demonstrated with a completely artificial use case: First they carefully press a key down ever so gently to not make any sound, then keep the key down and play staccato notes with other keys around it. And yes, you'll here the harmonic overtones as the piano is otherwise completely silent.

Yamaha's demo:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfQECR-40IM

Roland's demo:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuVoV6S12KY

It's not needed to practise scales. It's not even needed to learn the basic sustain pedal technique i.e. when it should go down and when it should come up. Many people are perfectly happy without it, but certainly someone who is used to an actual acoustic piano might miss it.

And here's a demo of a Yamaha without damper resonance vs. with damper resonance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpFknIGFATQ&feature=youtu.be&t=3m25s

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#2606108 - 01/19/17 01:52 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Gombessa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/25/16
Posts: 427
Yep, I was responding on mobile earlier and didn't get to clarify what I meant, but I do think for beginners, "undamped sympathetic resonance" isn't anywhere near the top of my list when considering a DP for a beginning child player.

While they're a part of a real AP, the effect is SO subtle that I can't imagine it having any effect on playing or technique for the few years of instruction. You have to not be using the damper. You have to play and hold one or more note. You have to hold it long enough for it to decay out. Then you have to be striking other notes in the harmonic interval of the held notes. And then the resulting effect is still pretty darned subtle.

Some high-end DPs don't even have undamped resonance (e.g., Yamaha CP4) and it doesn't stop honest to god professionals/performers from buying and using them.

Heck, I (and many others) never even noticed or really reacted to the fact that the top octave and a half isn't even damped, and you run into that range all the time.

I'm not trying to make the argument that it's useless. But I think once you make the decision to buy a DP for a beginning student, there are so many compromises being accepted that may all have an impact on actual learning and technique that all other things had better be equal before undamped sympathetic resonance is the feature that tips the scales for one piano over another.
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Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai MP11

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#2606113 - 01/19/17 02:01 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
JoBert Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/15
Posts: 595
Loc: Germany
Ok then, my mistake for mixing up the terms. I was talking about damper resonance. String resonance is indeed very subtle and can be ignored until advanced levels.
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Kawai CA 97 | previously: Yamaha P-115 | years ago: Roland HP-800
My piano recordings on YouTube

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#2606144 - 01/19/17 02:57 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Tone Deaf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/20/15
Posts: 49
Loc: Canada

SSK,

I am a beginner adult player, so my opinion may not count for much.
But, you did ask about Casio and clunking keys. So here it goes.

I had a Casio PX-800, console style which was purchased new. Right out of the box the action
was light, even when set to heavy, compared to my teacher's Yamaha grand, and the keys noisy, but not annoyingly so. Unfortunately over time it became worse, ~2.5 to 3 yrs. By then action became very bouncy, and pronounced lateral movement with all of the keys. The keys thudded so loudly the noise could be heard through out the whole house, especially when I used a headset during practice or with the volume lowered. The DP was played on average 1 1/2 per day, 5-6 days per week.

Another thing I noticed about the Casio console models; the spacing between the foot
pedal and size of foot pedal. On the Casio AP consoles the spacing is closer to that of regular AC piano, while the Privia PX series the pedals are closer spaced together and pedal depth is shorter. And yes, I did measure the pedals. I found it very frustrating trying to learn how to pedal on the PX. Now, at this point it may not matter to your girls, but if you intend to keep the DP for some time it may be a consideration.

If you do select a Casio, go with the AP series and yes, I agree that the extra sounds will make practicing fun for your girls. I now have a Kawai CA67 and though I had to stretch my budget it was worth the cost.

Good luck and happy music making.

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#2606146 - 01/19/17 02:58 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: SSK]
Charles Cohen Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 3444
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
My thoughts, for what they're worth . . .

Low-end DP's have improved considerably, over the past 10 years.

I found myself over-pedalling during lessons, when I was practicing on my PX-350, and doing lessons on my teacher's acoustic upright. As she said:

. . . "They're different instruments."

I don't think the problem was a lack of "string resonance" -- I think it was the too-short decay time of notes on the PX-350. It's better than previous generations, but not as long as an acoustic piano. It's no worse than other DP's in its price range. [The sleeping "DPBSD" thread is a good source of information.]

There are two "fixes", one costs nothing, the other costs a few hundred dollars:

a) Learn to listen to your playing. If it gets muddy -- on whatever instrument -- lay off the damper pedal.

b) Use either Pianoteq, or one of the good "sample-based" virtual pianos, as a sound generator.

Pianoteq has decays that match an acoustic piano, and "string resonance" that is quite strong in some of its models -- the Grotrian and "D" and Bluthner. The good "sample-based" players have similar decay times; I don't know about "string resonance", there.

You can feed the computer's "phone" output into the "Line In" jacks of a DP, and play the sound through the DP's speakers.

Once I started using Pianoteq, my problems with over-pedalling during lessons pretty much disappeared.

Most music (and composers) doesn't care much about "string resonance". But for _some_ music -- Debussy, for one -- you can see (and hear) that the composer _wanted_ those resonances. Look for pieces with long, sustained bass notes, and lots of softer stuff, high on the keyboard, as the bass sound dies away. For that music, inter-string resonances really make a difference.

I suspect that "string resonance" is one of the reasons that DP's sound "dry", "lifeless", and so on. Find a high-end DP that implements it (e.g. a recent-model "modeled" Roland, or Kawai), go into its "Sound Designer", and play with the "string resonance" setting. There's a substantial difference -- with "real" music, not test patterns -- between "resonance = 0" and "resonance = 10".

As people have pointed out, there are high-grade Yamaha DP's that don't implement "string resonance" at all. That doesn't keep them out of professional studios.

Back to OP's problem:

. . . "Does it matter for a 6-year-old?"

A 6-year-old has to master coordination, note-reading, rhythm, and God knows what else (I don't teach). Just getting the right notes, at the right time, with the right dynamics, is a lot of work! All of that is the same, acoustic or DP.

One of the things the kid will learn, as some of that is internalized and becomes easier:

. . . "My piano is different from my teacher's piano. I have to listen when I play,
. . . and _hear_ the sound I'm making, and make it come out the way I want."

You can increase your budget, and get a higher-end DP, and it will be _closer_ to an acoustic piano. But it won't be quite the same.
_________________________
. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker

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#2606160 - 01/19/17 03:35 PM Re: DP for 6 year old beginners [Re: clothearednincompo]
Frédéric L Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/13
Posts: 1002
Loc: France
@clotherednincompo : artificial use case ? See http://www.mtna.org/media/79410/2014_e-Journal_AOY.pdf. P12. Some scores use diamond notes which should be held silently. But I have to admit they are not frequent ! There are few chance that you will see them. The pdf shows an extract. You also have "Drei Klavierstücke" by Schönberg.

(The question is how good the sympathetic resonance is if you want to play such pieces of music : on my piano, I have only octava, fifths and fourths resonances)


Edited by Frédéric L (01/19/17 04:21 PM)
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Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq

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