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#680818 - 03/18/08 06:09 PM Help purchase digital piano
Hestaman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 18
Loc: Central Washington State
OK - my wife and I are ready to purchase a digital piano. I really need some information because I can't seem to find a lot of information about the specific models we are looking for - I'd really appreciate some input from those of you who have either played, tried out or own some of the pianos we're considering. Here's some background info:

1) My wife and I have both played piano our whole lives, so for US, it is not a learning instrument.
2) We currently have 2 children under the age of 3 and possibly more in the years to come \:\) . So while not primarily a learning instrument, it will be used as such
3) Looks of the unit are important for us - we see it almost as a piece of furniture (ie - we aren't in the market for a piano that we can bring along with us, but rather - one that will stay put where it is 'installed', similar to a piano)
4) We're really looking for something to hold us over until we have a house that will fit a baby grand - we're hoping for about 5 years of use or more (would be nice to have a baby grand and good digital!).

I tried out the Kawai, Roland and Yamaha units. I think what is most important to me in deciding is how the piano feels - and we simply fell in love with the action on the Kawais. I'm kind of a geek when it comes to electronics and really fell in love with the CP-177. It has a high price tag of around $6000 - $7000 which we can afford, but it looks like many have advised against such a purchase. I simply love the look of the 177 and the action is outstanding. I love to play with all of the settings, etc and my wife really likes the digital piano sound. What are some of your opinions about this piano compared to others in it's price-range and other models by Kawai (CA-91?) The more information we can accumulate at this point the better - and I really value other people's opinnions - especially those on this board. Thanks in advance for your help!

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#680819 - 03/19/08 12:39 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
RayMetz100 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 119
Loc: Everett, WA
I don't know about this piano and it's not right for me, but you said many important things...

"fell in love with the action on the Kawais"
"really fell in love with the CP-177"
"we can afford"
"love the look of the 177"
"the action is outstanding"
"I love to play with all of the settings"
"my wife really likes the digital piano sound"

the only negative thing you said was...
"many have advised against such a purchase" with no other details on who or why they said that.

I doubt those cases were like yours and I personally think you should buy it based on what I'm hearing from you.

Enjoy your new piano and let the kids play once in a while too.
_________________________
PianoMagic.com student
Recordings and piano pic at: RayMetz.com/Piano

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#680820 - 03/19/08 01:31 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
I had many yrs. of classical lessons as
a child and then quit for 20 yrs. When
I restarted as an adult, the first piano
I bought was a top-of-the-line acoustic
upright (the same model today would cost
more than $15,000). The reasoning behind
this was that I had played on a lousy
upright as a child and thought that getting
the best piano available would enable me
to do better. I soon realized that I
was badly mistaken and my playing was
just as bad as ever. I have therefore
been very wary of spending a lot of money
on pianos after that sobering experience.

I then quit again for several yrs. and then
moved into an apt. building with piano-hating
neighbors, which caused me to buy my
first digital. I've owned 3 digitals
since. The first was a Korg C-800 console
bought new in store in 1989 for $1700.
This had semi-weighted keys. There were
models with fully-weighted hammer action
kays even back then, but they were much
more expensive, and thought to myself:
hold on maestro, let's see you play on
unweighted keys, and not quit again, before
you spring for a weighted piano.

I did not buy my first weighted digital
until 2005, a Casio AP-24 console bought
new online for $700. I had been using
my Korg as a storage shelf after having
quit playing again, and my neighbor noticed it
an asked if she could borrow it. I gave
it to her, thinking I was done with
the piano. But after giving her the piano,
I suddenly got the urge to play again,
which caused me to buy the Casio. Of
course, by 2005 weighted keys were pretty
much standard, but I bought one of the
least expensive weighted digitals around.
Again, I was wary of spending a lot on
a piano. I said to myself: maestro, your
playing on semi-weighted keys sucked, and
you quit again, several times; let's see
if you can play on an economy weighted
digital, without quitting, before you think
of springing for an expensive model.

My third and current digital is a Korg
SP-250 lightweight console, bought new
online in 2006 for $900. I had gotten
rid of the Casio when someone moved in
briefly and I had to make space in my
cramped apt. When shopping for my current
digital I considered ones like the
NordElectro and the GEM Promega, but again
I resisted the urge to spend a lot on
a piano. I hadn't exactly lit up the
keys on the Casio, and moreover, I had quit
again. So I got the only slightly more
expensive SP-250.

So this has been my philosophy with pianos:
get the least expensive one that will
serve adequately. My playing isn't good
enough, and I quit too easily, to justify
spending a lot on one.

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#680821 - 03/19/08 02:48 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Hestaman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 18
Loc: Central Washington State
Gyro - thanks for the reply (I'd love to understand, btw, why your posts are always formatted different than all other posts, but that's off topic and only curiousity speaking...) My wife and I both play - fairly well at that, so we are looking for an instrument that will sound good, have good action and look great as well. Unfortunately, I have found you can't have all of these in the price ranges you are talking about. We are ready and willing to spend the money - just wanted advice on the pianos I spoke about. Also wanted to hear opinions from other members on whether or not my thinking is in line with reality - or way off.

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#680822 - 03/19/08 02:52 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Hestaman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 18
Loc: Central Washington State
The reason I said "many have advised against such a purchase" with no other details on who or why they said that was because there are only a handful of topics on this board about this model and not many of them had positive things to say. Also - nobody went into details about why, so I can't really speculate what the details were that lead them to said conclusions. I was just hoping that after some time has passed (a few months at this point) with no other mention - if there was anymore information at this point about this piano and/or my line of thought... Thanks for the reply!

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#680823 - 03/19/08 03:03 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Tony V Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/14/07
Posts: 354
Welcome to the forum. In general, you are suppose to ignore Gyro's "cut-and-paste" responses, by the way.

I advise you to buy the CP-177. The action is one of the best in the market and you and your wife seem to like it, so why not? I can't see why anyone would advise you against the idea.

Comparing to the other Kawai models, they are all similar and vary through features. As long as you get the wooden action (AWA or AWAII) and decent polyphony, then you are all set.

Kawais are good. Get it. I tried them and loved them as well. I'm going to get one someday, myself.

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#680824 - 03/19/08 03:19 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
Sounds like you've found the DP for you, and seen as you can afford it then it seems pretty obvious to me - get the CP-177.

I've never seen or tried one but you have and it ticks all your boxes, so if I was you I'd order it 1st thing in the morning.

Case closed!!

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#680825 - 03/19/08 07:00 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
phrf201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/04
Posts: 21
Loc: Westchester, NY
I agree with the others, it sounds like you've found the right DP for you. I purchased my DP several years ago, a different brand but for basically the same reasons you listed in your post - loved the action, loved the sound, saw it as a piece of furniture, not a portable instrument, and like you I am hoping to someday have a baby grand piano (once the house is finished!) I've never regretted the purchase. In the end, it really comes down to personal preference. Good luck!

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#680826 - 03/19/08 07:01 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
phrf201 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/04
Posts: 21
Loc: Westchester, NY
I agree with the others, it sounds like you've found the right DP for you. I purchased my DP several years ago, a different brand but for basically the same reasons you listed in your post - loved the action, loved the sound, saw it as a piece of furniture, not a portable instrument, and like you I am hoping to someday have a baby grand piano (once the house is finished!) I've never regretted the purchase. In the end, it really comes down to personal preference. Good luck!

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#680827 - 03/19/08 07:13 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Hestaman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 18
Loc: Central Washington State
Thanks for all of the help and support. I'm ready to go to the store - now it's time for negotiations Last time I was there, I was told the list price was $12,000 :rolleyes: when I know for a fact this piano can be had in the $6000-$7000 price range. (I've seen instituational requisitions in the $5250 range..., I also have a friend in a different market who told me that my price range was appropriate for a home user...) No way I'm paying close to list price. I'll only get it if I can get a reasonable quote in my price range (and I'm not willing to negotiate)

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#680828 - 03/19/08 07:41 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
theRecluse Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 57
Loc: Midlands, UK
good luck Hestaman...
_________________________
“Most people live and die with their music still unplayed. They never dare to try.” -Mary Kay Ash.

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#680829 - 03/20/08 02:01 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
MontanaJustin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/07
Posts: 67
Loc: Redwood City, CA
Yes, good luck! I went through a similar debate just under a year ago, got the best keyboard I could afford (Roland FP7, loved the action, liked the sound) knowing that I would someday get my grand from my parents house that I learned to play on.

My wife and I just bought our first (and hopefully only) house, and shipped the piano out here from Montana. Now I'm planning on selling the keyboard, though I do love it. I just plan on spending more time on my grand, than on the keyboard. So if you don't end up going with the Kawai, I have a perfect condition FP7 for sale - much much cheaper, too.

My main point is you are going through the right process for an instrument, in my opinion.

Justin

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#680830 - 03/20/08 02:15 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
You should not get rid of the digital. Right
now, the grand is a great novelty, but if
someone is pounding on it for several hrs.
every day, then it soon won't sound so great
to others, or even to you. Then there is
the problem with tuning and maintenance.
This can become so much of a hassle that
people start to skip tunings, and then the piano
eventually becomes unplayable. Furthermore,
digitals are superior for developing
technique, so you should be doing 90+% of
your playing on the digital, reserving the
grand for Sunday playing only. Also, we
are now living in the digital piano age,
and digitals are now replacing the
acoustic piano, the way the acoustic piano
replaced the clavichord and harpsichord.
Playing on a grand when you have a digital
is like typing on a manual typewriter when
you have a word processor, or using a film camera
when you have a digital camera, or sending
a letter by the post ofc. when the both
parties have email, etc.

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#680831 - 03/20/08 02:52 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
MontanaJustin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/07
Posts: 67
Loc: Redwood City, CA
Thanks for the thoughts - I majored in piano performance with works of Liszt, Rachmaninoff, etc and played for months on end, 3-6 hours a day. No digital I have yet seen comes anywhere near a grand for the action, and grands last for 50-100 years as opposed to the few-several years of a digital. I know that digitals will always get better, but my digital won't automatically be that new one, it will be the old/outdated digital of years past.

But you're right about tuning and maintanence, or worse yet, moving(!). For many people, a digital is far superior to an upright or grand for their situation.

Justin

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#680832 - 03/20/08 03:02 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Hestaman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 18
Loc: Central Washington State
Wow... Gyro, wow... your post leaves me speechless. I hope in many more ways than you can imagine that you are wrong - and this is coming from somebody in the market for a higher-end digital piano.

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#680833 - 03/20/08 03:13 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
He is wrong - it's total nonsense.

A more accurate description of playing on a DP vs an Acoustic Grand is having a cheeseburger rather than a Fillet Steak!!

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#680834 - 03/20/08 03:34 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Hestaman Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 18
Loc: Central Washington State
There are certain advantages and disadvantages to both - but I'd never make any of the comparisons that he has made - never. It's sort of like saying that nobody should by an acoustic guitar b/c electric guitars (w/ sound processors, amps, etc) have made them obsolete.

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#680835 - 03/21/08 11:59 AM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Digital pianos are superior for developing
technique. Note how similar a digital is
to the old silent keyboards that used to
be popular with concert pianists in the 1930's.
Claudio Arrau apparently used a silent keyboard
continuously until his death, and this was
apparently the reason for his great technique,
which was unique in the piano world. In
a photo taken shortly before his death
Arrau posed in his piano room at home, not
with a big grand in the background, but with
an ancient silent keyboard (it looked just
like a modern digital piano), his pride and
joy apparently.

Silent keyboards were invented because
of the inherent shortcomings in acoustic
pianos with respect to technique development.
An acoustic piano is cacophonous at full
volume, and playing long hrs. can produce
nerve and hearing trauma. Thus, the silent
keyboard was introduced. With it a
concert pianist can practice and save
his ears and nerves, ultimately leading
to longer and more effective practice time.

A digital piano is a significant step up
from the silent keyboard. You could actually
use it like a silent keyboard with the
power turned off, but even better, you
can play with the vol. set lower than on
an acoustic piano, which will save your
ears and nerves and still give you the benefit
of hearing your playing. Thus, you can
practice longer and more effectively,
and this means better technique and
more possibilities for improvement.

I grew up with classical lessons and
acoustic pianos only, but I've been
playing on digitals only since 1989, and
they have enabled me to make improvement
that would have been impossible on an
acoustic. I have very keen hearing
(I can hear a car's tires on the pavement
a mile away at night) and this has always
been a tremendous handicap on the piano
rather than an advantage. The full vol.
of an acoustic piano quickly fatigues me
and thus my practice session becomes
less and less effective as it progresses.

With a digital I can practice longer and
this means better technique development.
Digitals have also enabled me to tackle
pieces that I wouldn't dare try on an
acoustic. Working up a big concerto note
by note, a measure a day, on an acoustic
would drive the neighbors berserk, not to
mention making me the laughingstock of
the neighborhood. But on a digital I,
an advanced-intermediate player at best,
have been able to work up big-time concerto
movements and other virtuoso pieces that
I never would have been able to play otherwise.

The people who say that you can't develop
the proper technique on a digital have
never played one and don't know anything
about them.

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#680836 - 03/21/08 12:23 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
MontanaJustin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/07
Posts: 67
Loc: Redwood City, CA
Well, silent pianos are great (both for neighbors, and for saving your ears longterm).

You could get identical results by throwing a blanket over the strings of your grand.

And, surprise surprise, the tens of thousands of moving parts in a real grand piano lead to a better action than a digital piano. Why? Because the amount of money that goes into materials for the mechanical action of a dp is maybe a few hundred, tops. More likely, around a $100. No escapement, no fine tuning, no shaping of the hammers, no adjusting bushings, etc. etc. etc.

So yeah, practicing on a silent piano is great. You can always slide the action out of a grand, set up a block for the hammers to strike in place of the strings, and have an identical effect. If you think that you can develop the same refinement in touch on todays digitals as on a well regulated grand (say, 20,000-100,000 pricetag) than you are utterly clueless.

If dps were the holy grail that you proclaim, then why does every concert pianist, every student at Julliard, etc. etc. play/practice on grands? This is a ridiculous discussion to be having.

I could come up with a hundred mechanical advantages to acoustic grands over dps, to say nothing of the thousands of acoustic/aural advantages. Practice, performance, you name it.

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#680837 - 03/21/08 12:57 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
It has been pointed out on this forum that
the big-time concert pianists Andre Watts
and Valentina Lisitsa use digital pianos
for practicing. The composer Henry Mancini
also uses a digital piano.

Digital pianos would be of particular interest
to pianists who want to improve. Strangely
as it might seem, there are apparently
many pianists who don't want to improve. They
are content to play for life at the level they
reached in school or lessons. This
is safe and secure for them: they play what they
are familiar with; they don't have to
struggle with material above their
level; they don't have to question whether things
they were taught might be completely wrong
for them; etc.

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#680838 - 03/21/08 01:39 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gyro:
Digital pianos would be of particular interest to pianists who want to improve. Strangely as it might seem, there are apparently many pianists who don't want to improve. They are content to play for life at the level they reached in school or lessons. This is safe and secure for them: they play what they are familiar with; they don't have to struggle with material above their level; they don't have to question whether things they were taught might be completely wrong for them; etc. [/b]
it's nonsense. the digital piano or acoustic piano has its own purpose and they are not always interchangeable. how many pro pianists you personally know anyway, Gyro? my teacher is a pro and plays on both. while he use DP for recording and practice, he always prefers to play on the best grand piano even just for practice or casual playing, because of limitation of DP on which he just cannot bring out certain things especially at the performing level. any pianist or musician knows that. so, Gyro, please ask a pro yourself, before making assumptions for pro or concert pianists.

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#680839 - 03/21/08 01:44 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Why don't you shut the ___ up.

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#680840 - 03/21/08 01:46 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
you run out of words, Gyro, and have to be nasty now?

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#680841 - 03/21/08 02:00 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
MontanaJustin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/07
Posts: 67
Loc: Redwood City, CA
Alas, such are online forum discussions \:\(

Any close look at the difference in sensitivity between mechanical actions in grands vs. today's digital piano actions makes this discussion laughable.

Yes, silent practice is convenient and nice.
Yes, some "pros" practice on digital, though I'm rather shocked by it.
Yes, some people don't want to improve.

But the assumptions and generalizations necessary to say that dps are better to practice on, as really the only way to improve technique, are absurd.

I must remove myself from this discussion, for it is making a little bit of my soul die with each new entry.

Sincerely,
Justin

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#680842 - 03/21/08 02:57 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
DP's are superior for developing technique??? Utter nonsense!!!

Gyro, you clearly don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about.

You should take your own advice!!

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#680843 - 03/21/08 07:56 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
Kawai RX-5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Lake Saint Louis, MO
Looks like the last thing you need is another opinion and mine is no more than that. I'm age 62, have played since I was 6, studied piano in college, have always been just an average (to slightly below) musician and continue as such to this day. Took and completed a formal tuning and repair course so I could work on my own piano (at the time a Yamaha G2J) and do some work when I retire sometime this year. I'm getting ready to replace my current piano, a digital Technics SXPR 15 which I've played for about 12-15 years-and really have enjoyed it. So, the dilema is acoustic or digital. I've pretty much decided in favor of the digital for the following reasons. I am constantly tinkering with an acoustic. I hear a unison going bad, and fix that, always working with the regulation and voicing. Additionally, I have a pretty good ear, am bothered by a piano that is even a little out of tune. When I retire, I will be gone for as much as a month at a time and don't want to worry about temp., humidity or anything like that. Even though I play primarily classical music, I do enjoy using the other features of a digital, just for variety, even though I would buy just a pure digital piano if they made such an animal. Even though it's kind of a waste of money, I'm going to buy either the Kawai CP207 grand or the Roland KR 117 as we just built a new house 5 years ago and have a room where a grand would look really nice. As far as the sound goes, there is little to no difference between the grand and top of the line console. I think digital pianos have pretty much reached the point of being able to stand on their own now, and don't have to "hang their heads to anyone". True, the way an acoustic piano produces sound can't be exactly duplicated electronically, but for me it's close enough, and it's always perfect in pitch, sounds much better in the lower register than my Yamaha G2, the action feels great and I can practice with the headphones without making the neighborhood dogs bark or driving my wife crazy. ha One downside of a digital is that a good grand will pretty much hold its value and in many cases actually appreciate in value, whereas a digital depreciates. A good acoustic grand can actually be considered an investment-even part of your investment portfolio if you're really trying to rationalize, not to mention that in my opinion it's still "the King of the Jungle!! A person has to look at a digital as we have to look at computers-- don't worry about technology passing you by, just buy what you need and you'll be satisfied. Like anything else it's a personal decision. I apologize to the members of the forum for the long message-- thought I'd send you a private message, but thought others might like the input from someone whose played a lot on a good quality digital. Thanks everyone, I enjoy seeing all your comments and learn from them as well. Good luck Hestaman's in your search. Let us know what you end up with!
Dan

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#680844 - 03/21/08 09:47 PM Re: Help purchase digital piano
RayMetz100 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 119
Loc: Everett, WA
dang. just lost a long winded post I wrote. bottom line was try eBay or Craigslist. Then try LinkedIn.com or Facebook to search for Kawai dealers or salesman from your local dealerships like Guitar Center. Good luck.
_________________________
PianoMagic.com student
Recordings and piano pic at: RayMetz.com/Piano

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#680845 - 03/22/08 12:38 AM Re: Help purchase digital piano
MontanaJustin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/07
Posts: 67
Loc: Redwood City, CA
Well said - for different needs, digitals are great. But so are grands \:\)

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#680846 - 03/29/08 09:18 AM Re: Help purchase digital piano
rob1261 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/04/06
Posts: 89
Loc: philadelphia, pa, usa
SXPR15 - good post. But let's not assume this post gives any validity to anything that 'Gyro' has posted.

Especially since your point about your digital giving you good service for many years is one of his standard posts of used Digitals are like PCs.

A 5 year old Technics can hold it's own against many of today's DPs. Technics made many great DPs.

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