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#673647 - 05/27/03 02:59 AM Digital Piano advice
Anna_dup1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/26/03
Posts: 5
Loc: switzerland
Hi all,

I have decided to buy a Digital Piano. The reason is that the regular piano I' ve been playing since I was a child is at my parents' and I can't transport it to where I live.
Being new to digital I have no idea what instruments I should look at. What is really important to me is that it sounds as close as possible to the normal pianos, that it feels like it, and that it has the same number of keys (wooden keys would be great)and pedals. I do not care at all about having different sounds, connecting it to the pc and all the technological stuff, as long as it has a headphone jack. My budget is at most 2000$ better would be under 1500$. What digital pianos should I consider?
Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Thanks

Anna

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#673648 - 05/27/03 09:09 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
OlderGuy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/02
Posts: 40
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Anna, my vote is for Yamaha P250, I think it is the best stage piano on the market today. It is heavier than the usual keyboards (71lbs) so I would not recommend it for everyday gigging.
On the other hand, it has very realistic piano sound and feel. The polyphony is so great (128) that you won't loose sound even when you do glissando with pedal down. It has even string resonance. Onboard speakers easily fills up a room. Plus it has a bunch of other voices, midi, sequencer, etc if you're into it. It is really worth checking is out It will cost you between $1800-$1900.
Peter

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#673649 - 05/27/03 09:14 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
OlderGuy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/02
Posts: 40
Loc: Ithaca, NY
One more thing: It recommend to check out www.harmony-central.com . - it has a discussion session just like this for keyboards, I saw a lot of comments on various kinds. Also: it has a user review session when keyboards are sorted by manufacturers and reviewed by users. Peter

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#673650 - 05/27/03 04:40 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
franzooey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/03
Posts: 95
Anna,

I think you'll first need to make one key decision. A) Do you want a stage (i.e. portable) digital? B) Do you want a full-sized digital?

Stage pianos are great because, well, they're portable! You can take them anywhere (even if you don't perform professionally), and they don't take up too much room in your house/apartment. There are tons of quality stage pianos, and a lot of people like Yamahas and Rolands. There are too many models to mention here, but I agree with the last poster who suggested you visit Harmony Central. There are a lot of user reviews there. The Yamaha P120 and P250 are both popular models. The negatives? Stage pianos usually come with weak, tinny speakers, so you'll need to play the keyboard through your stereo system or amp. I once owned a Yamaha portable, and although the built-in speakers sounded lousy, the unit sounded much better through my stereo.

Full-sized digitals look like upright pianos (more like console pianos, really), but they're much lighter. A real piano is incredibly heavy, but most full-sized digitals weigh around 150 pounds. You wouldn't be able to take this piano on a road trip, obviously, and you couldn't perform with it, but if you needed to move, you wouldn't have much trouble at all placing it into the moving van. Two average men (or women!) could lift it. The positives? Full-sized digitals (such as the Yamaha Clavinova, and Roland HP and KR lines) look like pianos. They're pieces of furniture, and although they don't quite add the sort of lustre to your living room that a real piano does, they tend to be more aesthetically pleasing than a stage piano. Full-sized digitals also pack more powerful speakers, so you'll already receive pleasant sounds without extra hookups (not that the hookups are difficult). The negatives? Well, I think I've already mentioned these: A) You can't take it with you. B) You can often find the same sound quality in a smaller, and sometimes cheaper, stage piano (you'd just need to improve upon the provided output sound). Lots of companies make full-sized digital pianos (Yamaha, Roland, Technics, Kawai, etc.). Every person has his/her preference. Roland and Yamaha seem to be the most popular. You might want to check out www.cvpug.com to visit a Yamaha Clavinova users group. You'll probably find a lot of great info (even general digital piano info) by scrolling through the archives.

I hope this feedback helps, and be sure to post back when you've narrowed down your choices.

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#673651 - 05/27/03 05:19 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
Anna_dup1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/26/03
Posts: 5
Loc: switzerland
Thanks Peter, I will look for in the shop to try it out. However, I just saw it in a german online shop and it looks like here in Europe it's much more expensive, about 2400 Euros, i.e. more than 2500$, which for me is way too expensive. Also, I was actually thinking of something that would look more like a piano, something like the Yamaha Clavinova. But what are the features that make a digital piano as similar as possible to a classic one?

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#673652 - 05/28/03 03:09 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
Anna_dup1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/26/03
Posts: 5
Loc: switzerland
Sorry, I posted my reply without reading the last one first \:\) !

Thanks to both for the replies and the useful links. I'll check them out.

Yes, so I guess from what you say what I am looking for is not a stage piano, but rather a full sized one,Again, when I read the specs. I don't know what I need to look for, in terms of "polyphony", speakers, key technology...to make sure that the piano sounds and feels like a traditional one.

Thanks again

Anna

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#673653 - 05/28/03 07:39 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
franzooey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/03
Posts: 95
Anna,

You ask how to choose a digital that sounds most like a traditional piano. This can be difficult because every company will swear that its piano is the best. Again, Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, Technics, Korg, Casio, etc. all make full-sized digitals. Yamaha and Roland tend to be the most popular, partly due to marketing reasons and partly due to quality.

Here are some things to consider.

1) Sample size and quality. This category can be misleading. One company might devote a lot of memory to the piano sample, but if the company samples a lousy piano, what good is that? Still, you might want to browse through the information and look at what the companies say about how they sample. For instance, Yamaha, not surprisingly, samples Yamaha grand pianos. Roland samples Steinways. Kawai samples its own grands. In general, the more expensive the model, the stronger the piano sample.

2) Polyphony. This is an overated statistic. Polyphony refers to the number of elements that can be played at once before the piano runs out. One note can equal one element, but not always. One rich note can be made up of several elements. If you mean to use the digital strictly as a piano, 64 polyphony is fine. You won't run out of notes. Polyphony only really becomes an issue when you start adding more layers and more voices. For example, let's say that you create separate tracks for piano, strings, and saxophone. Well, you might use your polyphony up pretty quickly! Be careful. Some salesman will try and make it sound as if higher polyphony means better quality sound. This statistic has nothing to do with sound.

3)Speakers. In general, cheaper models come with weaker, tinny speakers. There's more to this issue than simply speaker power (such as speaker type and speaker placement), but in general you'll want 40w speakers or better. 30w is okay, but you could do better.

Based on your information, you might consider Yamaha or Roland. I too live in Europe, and I found that these models were most readily available. I'm sure that Kawai, Korg, Technics, etc. all make strong pianos, but I couldn't find any to try.

ROLAND: The HP series is Roland's basic digital piano. Their KR series (part of their intelligent piano line) features more extras (i.e. more bells and whistles: voices, options, etc .)

YAMAHA: The CLP Clavinovas represent Yamaha's basic digital pianos. The CVP Clavinovas are more sophisticated and come with more extras. Again, visit the CVPUG (CVP users group) at www.cvpug.com for more info.

I hope this helps. I own a Yamaha CLP-150, and I'm very happy with it. I paid 2220 Euros, bench included. I tried out several Rolands, but I didn't like them as much (at least the ones in the same price range). Other people, however, prefer Rolands. My advice: try as many as you can and let your ear help you decide.

Good luck!

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#673654 - 05/28/03 09:36 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Franzooey's posts have been great!!! Good info to consider. I hesitate to write this as I don't want to sound critical. Nevertheless I have a couple of things to add:

 Quote:
The negatives? Stage pianos usually come with weak, tinny speakers
"Stage pianos" typically come with no speakers. Manufacturers such as Roland, Korg and Yamaha have pro and consumer divisions. Generally, the consumer division makes furniture-based digitals while the pro division makes portable digitals (among other things). What is discribed above is a "hybrid". It's really a stage piano, but it has speakers. While common, this is not the norm. There are more stage pianos that don't have speakers than those that do.
Also, the earlier post seems to imply that the larger, furniture-based digitals have higher sound quality than stage pianos. Perhaps I misunderstood, but it's important to point out that the best sound is not found in consumer models, but rather in the pro division. That's not to say that many of the consumer models don't sound great. In fact, for the most part, they're based on the very same sound engines as the pro models.

 Quote:
One company might devote a lot of memory to the piano sample, but if the company samples a lousy piano, what good is that? Still, you might want to browse through the information and look at what the companies say about how they sample. For instance, Yamaha, not surprisingly, samples Yamaha grand pianos. Roland samples Steinways.
This advice is right on! However, the best advice I can recommend is to use your ears. I feel that the specs are worthless. They may tell you what kind of piano was sampled, but they generally give no information as to how it was sampled. What was the sampling rate? Bit depth? Is the sound compressed? These are all significant factors. Bottom line: USE YOUR EARS!

Also, FYI, Roland samples many different pianos including Steinway and Bosendorfer.

 Quote:
Some salesman will try and make it sound as if higher polyphony means better quality sound. This statistic has nothing to do with sound.
Again, for the most part, this is right on. But here's the problem: Some manufacturers create their best piano sounds by layering several parts of the piano sample. The result is that a single note played on a piano patch may exhaust as many as 4 voices of polyphony. This is why 64 voice is usually enough, but not always -- even if just piano is being played. Also, this is why salesmen may say that polyphony can be a factor in sound quality. In a sense they're right. But you are right in saying that polyphony in and of itself is not directly related to sound quality.

All in all, great information!
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#673655 - 05/28/03 01:31 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
OlderGuy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/02
Posts: 40
Loc: Ithaca, NY
I agree with most what is said above. The most important though: listen to everyone but trust your ears and fingers. How good is the sound generation? Sometimes it is very hard to tell in a busy store. Always take a pair of GOOD headphones with you!. As far as testing the touch: play with the keys with the sound off. This way you can feel better the character of the keys.
As far as the term of "tiny speakers" is concerned: the Yamaha p250 has
a 2X30 W stereo amp in it with 16 cm propylene speakers. BTW, some of the "upright" digitals come with less power and polyphony that this.
As far as how much polyphony is needed: I think the more the better: 32 is bare-bone, 64 is fine for most cases 128 is the real thing (especially if you layer more than one instrument.)

In my opinion a good digital piano can be better than a mediocre upright piano. The fact that it does not have to be tuned every few months is invaluable.
Peter

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#673656 - 05/28/03 06:02 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
JimM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/02
Posts: 200
Loc: Northern California
A word about what good speakers can do for a digital piano---

I recently had to sell my Roland 1077 (240 watts, 12 speakers) because we're moving to a new house. I bought a Yamaha CVP900 to replace it (6 speakers, 120 watts in a mini-grand case.) The samples and electronics were good but the sound quality was much inferior because of the smaller audio system.

I added two mid-range bookshelf speakers and a low-cost stereo receiver/amplifier connected to the CVP's audio out. The improvement was enormous - it sounds at least as good as my Roland did and vastly better than anything I've heard in a stage piano with speakers.

Morale - don't pay extra for built-in speakers if you don't have to. Spend it on a supplemental stereo system instead.
_________________________
=========
Jim
Mason and Hamlin BB, Clavinova CVP900

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#673657 - 05/28/03 06:59 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
What Jim said is right. Great speakers can really give your piano a new voice. But be careful! The variable output signal on a digital piano can overdrive the input on a consumer stereo system causing distortion and possibly even damage to the speakers. A better choice would be a pair of powered speakers (made for instruments) and perhaps even a subwoofer.
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#673658 - 05/28/03 11:39 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
JimM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/02
Posts: 200
Loc: Northern California
The variable output signal on a digital piano can overdrive the input on a consumer stereo system causing distortion and possibly even damage to the speakers. [/b]

Steve - wish I'd known that! What measures can I take to avoid ovedriving the amp/speakers? Just keep the volume down? Doesn't the receiver amp have protection against this kind of thing?
jim
_________________________
=========
Jim
Mason and Hamlin BB, Clavinova CVP900

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#673659 - 05/29/03 08:12 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Hi Jim,
You can't really hurt your receiver -- it's the speakers that could become an issue. The best thing to do is keep the volume on the piano down. If you need more volume, turn it up at the receiver. If the piano volume gets too high, it will overdrive the preamp in the receiver and distort. Don't worry -- you'll hear it. That's what you want to avoid.

Bottom line: the danger has little to do with the overall listening level (loudness) in the room. Rather it has to do with how much signal is going into your receiver. Make sense?
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#673660 - 05/29/03 11:10 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
JimM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/02
Posts: 200
Loc: Northern California
Makes sense, Steve, thanks. This is probably why the CVP has a set of output jacks that bypass the piano's volume control. I haven't been using those because it's convenient to have a single volume control, but it might be safer.
_________________________
=========
Jim
Mason and Hamlin BB, Clavinova CVP900

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#673661 - 05/30/03 04:00 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
Anna_dup1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/26/03
Posts: 5
Loc: switzerland
Hello again,

thank you all so much for the useful explanations!
I went to a shop today to try out some digital pianos. They first showed me a CVP-203. It was fun to see all the things you can do with it, hundreds of voices, prerecorded songs, and having a band play along with you... the salesman said that you could actually play a concerto with a whole orchestra! So even if I went there convinced that I didn't need all these extra features, I thought maybe it would be actually fun to have them...but then I tried a CLP-170, and wow, amazing, that was really like an acoustic piano! It also looked really beautiful, polished black ebony... I liked the fact that on the CLP-170 you could easily adjust the brightness of the sound, whereas it seemed more complicated to do on the other instrument.
I tried to compare the grand piano sound of the two, and it seemed to me that the CLP performed way better. The grand piano sound from the CVP sounded to me somehow worse, maybe not as sharp, and definitely further away from the real thing.
So now I am really puzzled, I guess if I want to be as close as possible to a real piano I should get a CLP, but then the other things could be fun to have....What a problem !
Do you actually agree that the CLP in general make a better acoustic piano replacement, or was it because I tried the best CLP they had against a low end CVP?

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#673662 - 05/30/03 04:46 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
franzooey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/03
Posts: 95
Anna,

It's not just you. The CLP 170 (and the 150, which I own) have stronger piano sounds than the lower-end CVPs. Some on this board will tell you not to trust spec sheets (and they have a point), but some of Yamaha's new features, such as string resonance (an imitaion of the slight echo that occurs when one hits a key, sans pedal) and stronger sampling methods, only exist in the higher-end CLP's (150 and 170) and the ultra-high-end CVP's (207 and 209, which sell for 4000 to 5000 Euros). I too tried the CVP-203 and the CLP-150 side by side. Although I was tempted by all the extras of the 203, the basic piano sound felt lacking. Even my wife, who doesn't know much about music, could tell the difference. The CVP-203 piano sound seemed very, very electronic. The CLP piano sound seemed eerily authentic (though nothing, of course, can sound like a true acoustic piano).

The CLPs are first and foremost digital pianos. The 150/170 does come with 480 XG sounds, so you'll still have some fun. I couldn't afford the 170, so I had to settle for the next model down.

Anyway, I hope this helps. I just wanted to tell you that you weren't imagining things. The higher-end CLP's (150 and 170) have stronger piano sounds than the lower-end CVP's.

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#673663 - 06/01/03 07:29 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
German Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 107
Loc: Argentina
Hi!
What kind of powered speaker would be good for a digital piano?
I'd like to buy speakers for my digital stage piano(Roland) and to hear music too.
Someone told me that Yamaha powered speakers are not very good for that purpouse, he told me that KRK are a better option.
Which is the power the speaker should have (for that purpouse: the piano and to hear music in my home)?
Thanks in advance!

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#673664 - 06/02/03 09:22 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
There are powered speakers for every budget. KRK makes great speakers (I have a pair). On the budget side, you might consider some Audix speakers. For slightly more there are options for Roland, Edirol, Tannoy, etc.

Just like buying a piano, you really need to hear them first!
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#673665 - 06/02/03 06:46 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
Madmartigan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/01/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Michigan
A couple of months ago, I purchased a Roland RD-150. Now I'm saving up to get a better amp for it. The one I have now will do, but it really can't handle the lower end.

At the store where I bought the keyboard, I was kinda miffed they didn't want to negotiate on the price of the piano. Thought they could do better on a package deal. They were willing to come down a whole 40 dollars on an approximately 1200 dollar investment (the store doesn't have much competition, and it was a new model).

Well, went to another store and purchased what I've been told is a guitar amp, not a keyboard amp (this one has a distortion function on it). I specified I wanted it for a keyboard. Well, live and learn.
_________________________
The lessons repeat until they are learned \:D

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#673666 - 06/03/03 10:20 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
Joe Moon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Queens, NY
Just to chime in: SteveY is right about KRKs--great powered speakers that you can also use if you have a home studio in your computer (you'd have to get some sort of routing switch, unless you wanted to run the keyboard through the computer all the time, which you probably don't want to do...). However, speaking of guitar amps, there's a company that makes "acoustic" guitar amps that supposedly have an extremely clear and flat reproduction across the range of dynamics (and pitches): Acoustic Research (AR). They make an acoustic bass amp that I'd bet would sound great for digital piano (but I haven't yet tried it). Not cheap, however.

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#673667 - 06/03/03 11:26 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Don't forget -- there are some nice keyboard amps too.
_________________________
PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#673668 - 06/05/03 10:32 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
Annette Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/03/03
Posts: 6
Loc: NJ
Anna,

I've also been looking at different Digital Piano's. I liked the features of the Clavinova CVP201 & 203, but found them to sound a tad "muffled". I'm told you can play around with the adjustments and perhaps make it sound better.

I would also suggest that you might want to look at the Technics PR-53 (or the PR 54 coming soon) or the Technics 604. They have similar features and at least in NJ they are priced similiarly. However, I found the Technics PR604 to have much better sound (at least to my ears). While the speakers of both brands are the same wattage, I think the Technics speakers are just better. Also the are mounted beneath the keyboard (facing the floor)- I think that may also help give it a more realistic sound. I called Technics to find a dealer in my area. If you are in the US call (800) PAN-TUNE to locate a dealer. Good luck with your search. \:\)

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#673669 - 06/06/03 07:27 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
SoCoPiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/31/02
Posts: 5
Loc: Sonoma County, California
I play the piano and recently bought a Roland RD-700. I think I've played nearly everything on the market in the past 6 months -- it's a lot of money to spend so I wanted to make sure I was getting what sounded best to me. The Roland won, hands down. I also think it has the most realistic piano feel. I've kept my baby grand because -- even with the best piano samples -- it STILL is a sample and simply can't compete with the sound/vibrations that are created by a baby grand. I shopped around and paid $1,880 for it, which I thought was a good price. I could've gotten it a bit cheaper on the internet but wanted to spend my money at a local MIDI shop that's locally owned, etc. The owner is also an avid electronic music fan so he's been an incredible resource as I've tried to fully understand all the new terms -- polyphony, MIDI, sequencers, argeggiators -- plus speaker possibilities, add-on software, etc.

I agree with one of the previous posters who suggested you use your ears -- go with what sounds best to you. Besides, the shopping part was fun. I went to every keyboard/electronic music shop for nearly 100 mile radius of my home in Northern California.

Good luck!

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#673670 - 06/10/03 05:03 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
iyi bir piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 664
Loc: USA
Try a Kawai CN-290 very nice an affordable

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#673671 - 06/10/03 10:47 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
German Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 107
Loc: Argentina
Thanks for your answers!
I'd like to know if I damage the powered speakers if I connect them directly to my digital piano.

Other question is that, probably, I must buy the powered speaker on the internet, because in my country (Argentina) nowadays, the shops that sell wolrd famous brands (Yamaha, Roland, etc) are not supplied with that kind of merchandise. So, I have to decide by a catalog and I don't know what are the features that I must take into account (ex, size of the woofer (4", 6" or 8", etc).
Please, any help would be apreciated.
Thanks!

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#673672 - 06/11/03 12:34 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
How much do you want to spend on them? ;\) They go up and up and up...

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#673673 - 06/11/03 10:17 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
German Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 107
Loc: Argentina
I want to spend on them up to 800 dollars (600 dollars would be the best amount).

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#673674 - 06/12/03 01:30 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
I have a pair of Event PS6 powered monitors that I really like. They were under $600 for the pair. As far as I know the next step up is the Mackie HR624 which are twice as much money, but they garner rave reviews from everyone who has tried them.

Ryan

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#673675 - 06/15/03 07:25 PM Re: Digital Piano advice
German Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 107
Loc: Argentina
Can I connect the powered speakers directly to the piano or MUST I have a mixing console?
I ask this because up to the moment I save enough money to buy the console I'll be connecting them to the piano.

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#673676 - 06/16/03 10:32 AM Re: Digital Piano advice
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
You can connect them directly to the piano. No mixer needed.

Ryan

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