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#657394 - 04/15/08 11:21 AM Casio AP80R vs AP500
wutsup Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/15/08
Posts: 7
Hi,

I want to start playing piano again after a hiatus of about 8 years. I live in New York now, so having an acoustic piano is out of the question. The choices for my price range ($800-$1500) are the Casio AP45, AP80R, and the AP500.

I heard the sound samples for the AP500 and they sound amazing. I played the AP45 on demo, and it was pretty good. From what I've read on here, the AP80R is the oldest of the bunch, with the AP500 being the newest. I'd like the option to record to media, so the AP80R and AP500 look like good choices.

The AP500, since it is newer, sounds like it will be a better option sound-wise. But how come the console looks a lot less advanced than the AP80R? On the AP80R, there is a larger LCD display which displays more information like metronome, etc...

The AP500 looks bare like the AP45 except for a small LCD display. Please help me with my decision. I'd like to know of your experiences with these digital pianos.

Thanks.

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#657395 - 04/15/08 11:44 AM Re: Casio AP80R vs AP500
BeowulfX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 263
There's a more recent/newer model than the AP-500:

Casio AP-200

It uses the same sound source/engine and has the same 128-note polyphony as the AP-500 but without the other bells and whistles.

As far as the AP80R is concerned, it would depend on how much emphasis you place on features.

It is quite important to note, however, that despite the larger LCD screen, 250+ instrument tones, 120 built-in rhythms of the AP80R, it has two limitations (that may or may not affect your piano-playing...depending on your repertoire and attention to dynamics):

1) it only has 32-note polyphony (I find this a "crippling" feature by today's standards especially in full-featured DPs/Keyboards since it negates using several instrument tones simultaneously EVEN if the DP has several hundred tones...this becomes a "liability" if you have interest in creating various tracks containing individual music instruments: multi-track instrument recording/play-back such as MIDI music arrangements and playing more demanding complex arrangements or piano pieces with extensive damper/sustain pedal use)

> this 32-note polyphony may choke when you play songs with the built-in accompaniment rhythm running...This may be evident if you use stereo-sampled instrument tones and layer it with another tone while using accompaniment rhythms and a "SPLIT" mode for a third instrument tone on the lower register.

2) it only uses the Dual-element sampling for each note.

EDIT (thanks to MarkL and jrcallan) for clarifying this: Although the AP80R and other models of the Privia and AP series use DUAL-ELEMENT (loud and soft samples), the sound engine interpolates between the two samples to provide varying timbres and volume range depending on the amount of pressure/force applied in pressing the keys.

> With the AP500 and the newer AP200, it uses 3 samples per note...this time you have a soft tone, a so-called "normal" or medium-loudness tone and a Loud tone per note. If you think about it, when accompanied with good piano technique, this so-called "Tri-Element" sampling adds more to over-all expressiveness and dynamics in playing musical pieces.

If you ask me, I'd rather go for the AP-500 or even the AP-200 (if I don't mind losing out some features). I'd pass up that larger LCD screen of the AP-80R for the added polyphony and better piano-sampling of the AP500.
_________________________
PX-5S PC361 PX-320 Graphite 49 Pianoteq 4.5-Standard+Bluethner EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Komplete Elements + other VSi TS110A KS40A DAW: AMD PhIIx4 16GB DDR3 1TB HDD 64GB+120GB-SSD Sapphire 6i6 EMU XMIDI 2x2 Sonar X3 Pearl Acoustic Drumset
Contemplating on: Yamaha MOXF6 or Roland FA-06

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#657396 - 04/15/08 12:26 PM Re: Casio AP80R vs AP500
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Manufacturers don't put all of the best
features on one instrument, in order to have
a varied line of products. One model might
have 32 polyphony but be loaded with more
features than a model with 128 polyphony,
in order to make it attractive. For
example, one manufacturer puts one of
its best grand piano voices on its
inexpensive 61-key portable keyboards.

I personally don't regard the polyphony
issue as that important. I've owned
3 digital consoles since 1989: a Korg
C-800 console, bought in 1989 for $1700, had 16
note polyphony; a Casio AP-24 console, bought
online in 2005 for $700, had 32 poly
and an optional 64 poly grand piano--
I could not tell the difference and just
used the default 32 poly grand piano all the
time because it was the most convenient;
and my present Korg SP-250 lightweight
console, bought online in 2006 for $900,
has 60 note polyphony. I used the 3 to
play the same music and did not notice
much difference between them. My
favorite of the 3 was the least expensive
one, the Casio.

This thing about "notes dropping out" with
"low" polyphony is a mystery to me. I
cannot, for the life of me, understand what
this means, and I have not experienced
it, to my knowledge. In practical, real
world playing all three of my digitals
performed similarly. My neighbor now
owns the Korg C-800 with 16 note polyphony,
and in my opinion it sounds the best of
the 3, with a much purer tone because it's
not bloated with software. I've tried
pianos with 128 poly and the sound is
maybe a little better, but not by that
much. So 32 poly is more than adequate
in my opinion. I personally can't tell
the difference between 32 and 64 poly.
No human can play so well that 16 or 32 or 64 or
128 polyphony is going to make any difference,
in my opinion.

My view on pianos is that you should get
the least expensive one that will serve
adequately, because you won't be able
to play so well that a more expensive
piano is going to make any difference in
your playing. Of the three pianos you listed
I'd get the least expensive, the AP-45.
This will be more than adequate for
any classical music.

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#657397 - 04/15/08 12:43 PM Re: Casio AP80R vs AP500
SSB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Cumbria, UK
Absolutely,
I agree with Gyro ...
get the cheapest piano you can find,
preferably one that's at
least 20 years
old. ;\)

I keep
wondering, Gyro,
when you're going to compile your
most frequently posted views into one handy
thread that you can just direct people
to, rather than cutting and
pasting it in every
time?
_________________________
User ratings are the work of the devil

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#657398 - 04/15/08 01:07 PM Re: Casio AP80R vs AP500
MarkL Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 728
Loc: Chicago Suburban
 Quote:
Originally posted by BeowulfX:

2) it only uses the Dual-element sampling for each note. So, in the AP80R, it's either a soft tone OR a loud tone when you press a key.

>[/b]
I must be misreading this. Are you saying the volume levels are binary? If I press a key below a certain velocity I get soft volume, above that velocity I get loud volume?
_________________________
Yamaha P90

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#657399 - 04/15/08 06:37 PM Re: Casio AP80R vs AP500
BeowulfX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 263
 Quote:
Originally posted by MarkL:
I must be misreading this. Are you saying the volume levels are binary? If I press a key below a certain velocity I get soft volume, above that velocity I get loud volume? [/b]
The older models of CASIO Privias (PX-100, PX-500L, PX-400R) as well as the older AP cabinet-type DPs (AP-80R, AP-45, AP-28, AP-38, AP-33, AP-24 and AP-25) all use DUAL-ELEMENT sampling.

Check this out:
DUAL-ELEMENT Sampling

The TRI-ELEMENT sampling was only introduced in the PX-110/310/410R and the more recent PX-120/320/200 and the AP-500/AP-200.

Check this out:
TRI-ELEMENT Sampling- scroll down and look for "Tri-element"
_________________________
PX-5S PC361 PX-320 Graphite 49 Pianoteq 4.5-Standard+Bluethner EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Komplete Elements + other VSi TS110A KS40A DAW: AMD PhIIx4 16GB DDR3 1TB HDD 64GB+120GB-SSD Sapphire 6i6 EMU XMIDI 2x2 Sonar X3 Pearl Acoustic Drumset
Contemplating on: Yamaha MOXF6 or Roland FA-06

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#657400 - 04/15/08 07:13 PM Re: Casio AP80R vs AP500
jrcallan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 367
Loc: Pennsylvania
WHOA! there's some serious misinformation here. I have an AP-45, and even if it is dual element sampling, the piano interpolates between the samples depending on the energy with which the key is played. I can get an infinite variety of loudness from any key depending on how hard or soft it is struck. This is not "binary" in the least.

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#657401 - 04/15/08 07:39 PM Re: Casio AP80R vs AP500
BeowulfX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 263
 Quote:
Originally posted by jrcallan:
WHOA! there's some serious misinformation here. I have an AP-45, and even if it is dual element sampling, the piano interpolates between the samples depending on the energy with which the key is played. I can get an infinite variety of loudness from any key depending on how hard or soft it is struck. This is not "binary" in the least. [/b]
@MarkL and jrcallan:

Alright, I may have missed that "interpolation" thing between the loud and soft wave samples of notes (or "not binary"). And thanks for clarifying that.

However, it may not be as "infinite", as you say it is. But there are of course limitations as to the gradients of pressure that a dual-element sampling can recognize. And this limitation, is probably the reason why manufacturers are introducing more sampling per note (like those in high-end Yamaha clavinovas using 4-samples per note) or even the Tri-element sampling of the Casio and other DP manufacturers. All these increase in sampling notes being done in an effort to create more realism from a DP. If there weren't any limitations, then these increase in sampling wouldn't be needed...We, as well as the DP manufacturers, should just stick then to dual-element sampling...if all is well and fine.

I refer you to the links that I placed in my 2nd post-reply regarding the Dual-element and Tri-element in Casio's website. The descriptions of "soft", medium, "loud" sample per note may be misleading. But then again, it is exactly what was written in that webpage.

Would linking to that information about the sampling of Casio's DPs and basing what I said earlier in my post be "misinformation"?

Original post-reply edited. Thanks again.
_________________________
PX-5S PC361 PX-320 Graphite 49 Pianoteq 4.5-Standard+Bluethner EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Komplete Elements + other VSi TS110A KS40A DAW: AMD PhIIx4 16GB DDR3 1TB HDD 64GB+120GB-SSD Sapphire 6i6 EMU XMIDI 2x2 Sonar X3 Pearl Acoustic Drumset
Contemplating on: Yamaha MOXF6 or Roland FA-06

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#657402 - 04/16/08 06:59 AM Re: Casio AP80R vs AP500
SSB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Cumbria, UK
I think the issue with the number of samples per note isn't so much about the volume or the ability to blend / interpolate the samples, it's to do with the way the timbre of a note changes depending on how hard it is struck. Adding more samples theoretically improves the piano's ability to dynamically recreate the changing timbre as well as volume.
_________________________
User ratings are the work of the devil

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#657403 - 04/16/08 07:00 AM Re: Casio AP80R vs AP500
SSB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/08
Posts: 184
Loc: Cumbria, UK
Sorry - reposted instead of edited.
_________________________
User ratings are the work of the devil

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#657404 - 04/16/08 07:18 AM Re: Casio AP80R vs AP500
MarkL Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 728
Loc: Chicago Suburban
 Quote:
Originally posted by SSB:
I think the issue with the number of samples per note isn't so much about the volume or the ability to blend / interpolate the samples, it's to do with the way the timbre of a note changes depending on how hard it is struck. Adding more samples theoretically improves the piano's ability to dynamically recreate the changing timbre as well as volume. [/b]
Agreed. I've not played any of Casio's better pianos, and couldn't believe they did something so different from everyone else.
_________________________
Yamaha P90

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#657405 - 04/16/08 05:48 PM Re: Casio AP80R vs AP500
jrcallan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 367
Loc: Pennsylvania
I believe that is completely correct, i.e., the desire for more samples addresses the change in the timbre of the note depending on the velocity/energy. Otherwise all you would have is volume differences for the same sample. Increasing the sampling to 3X or 4X increases the system's available "vocabulary" so to speak. Then the software does the interpolating/blending part of actually generating the specific tone/volume you request with each key strike.

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