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#684317 - 05/30/03 12:15 PM Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
Joe Moon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Queens, NY
Dear All:
I beg your forgiveness right away if this is a stupid question that has been rehashed hundreds of times on this forum! I'm new to the forum and new to the world of pianos (although I played some in high school). I did a quick search and read a few miscellaneous posts on the Kurzweils and Yamahas but none that fully answered my question. The postings on the topic "Digital Piano Advice" were very helpful (that's where I learned of the P250). Here's my question:

I'd always thought the Kurzweils had the best piano sounds and best-feeling controllers and the pianists I asked about digital pianos typically said simply, "Get the Kurzweil," particularly to PC2x. But then I read about the Yamaha and I think it may be more what I really need.

This is what I need: I want a MIDI-capable piano with a great feel and great sound that will probably never see a stage (i.e., it will remain at home most of the time) but that takes up little room and is easy to transport when moving. The P250 seems ideal for this and according to other posts the built-in speakers aren't half bad. I love the Kurzweil sounds--the strings, etc., and plan eventually to build a home studio in which I would use the keyboard as a MIDI controller, but that's frankly a few years off so in the meantime, I don't think I need everything that comes with the Kurzweil (and since I'm not really a keyboardist--I'm more a guitarist--I don't even know if I need all the bells and whistles of the Kurzweil controller). I guess I could later get the Kurzweil sounds in a rack and use the P250 as a MIDI controller?

In short, I really just need a realistic sounding/feeling piano that takes up little space (and can be used at 2 AM with headphones) but that will later be expandable for use in a small home studio. Mostly I just want to practice piano on it, learn how to play (and my young son too), and perhaps use it for certain music-learning programs, such as ear-training programs that make use of MIDI. I would also like to use it with Finale, perhaps, for MIDI transcribing. So which would any of you with much more knowledge than I on this topic recommend?

By the way, does anyone know of a keyboard that has period (i.e., vintage) piano sounds such as the fortepiano?

Thanks so much!

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#684318 - 05/30/03 12:55 PM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
OlderGuy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/02
Posts: 40
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Joe,
There a lots of evaluations on The Kurtz. See at:
http://www.harmony-central.com/Synth/Data/Kurzweil/PC2X-01.html

I am biased towards the Yamaha P250 (that's what have). The P250 hase more polyphony (128) and string resonance plus onboard spekers (2X30 W).
The keys feel really good on it (Graded hammer action), But mostly you have compare for yourself which is closer to your taste.
Peter

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#684319 - 05/30/03 01:32 PM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Welcome Joe. I'm sure I'm complicating things a bit when I say this, but I recommend that you take a look at the Roland RD700 as well. I find it to have a superior sound/feel. The Kurzweil pianos sound great at first, but I find them to be inconsistent across the keyboard. The Yamaha's have that thinnish Yamaha sound that you either love or you don't. The RD700 sounds great, is easy to use, is expandable, and portable as well. Of the three instruments in question (P250, PC2X, RD700), it is the most commonly used in professional situations as well. Hope this helps.
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#684320 - 05/30/03 04:55 PM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
Joe Moon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Queens, NY
Thanks Peter & Steve. It's true that I hadn't considered the Roland simply because I didn't want to complicate the choices. Plus, the last time I played a Roland they sure didn't sound so good (many years ago). Evidently they've come a long way since. It seems you're both saying that the main issue will be feel (of course!--even to a non-professional, I can't stand a synth-feeling keyboard for piano) and sound (also of course--I want this to be as close to good piano as possible), and that the rest of the issues (MIDI, speakers, etc.) would be secondary. I guess I would also like a reasonably attractive piece, although it doesn't have to look like furniture... I'll go try these three at a shop soon. I might add that ease of use is highly important. I don't have much time or patience to learn patches and MIDI, etc., just want to learn scales, chords, pieces, etc., with the possibility to use some basic MIDI later. One other thing I neglected to mention is that I need to keep it under $2,000. I know the Yamaha fits into this. I think the Roland and Kurzweil may be more. Thanks for your generous advice, and I think many of my questions will be answered simply by browsing current postings more closely.

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#684321 - 05/30/03 11:31 PM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Joe, I don't know where you're located. But in the US, the Roland should be slightly less expensive than the other two.
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#684322 - 05/31/03 09:29 AM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
Joe Moon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Queens, NY
SteveY: I'm in Queens, NY. B & H photo/video has an attractive price on the Yamaha, while the Roland is a couple hundred more there. Will look around further. Thanks, jm

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#684323 - 05/31/03 10:41 AM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
I'm typically an advocate of purchasing from a local dealer. But for reference purposes, Sweetwater Sound (mail order) has the following prices posted on their sites:

Yamaha P250
list: $2395 sweetwater: $1899

Kurzweil PC2X
list: $3150 sweetwater: $2195

Roland RD700
list: $2195 sweetwater: $1795

Prices are for keyboard only. accessories including expansion boards, pedals, stands, etc. would be extra. If you go with the Roland, I'd highly recommend purchasing the SRX-02 Concert Piano expansion board ($339 at Sweetwater). These are among the best piano sounds available today!!!
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#684324 - 05/31/03 11:13 AM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
Joe Moon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Queens, NY
Hi SteveY: Thanks again! Since I'm truly a beginner and will never really play piano on stage (I'm really a guitar player), I'll probably hold off on the expansion boards for the time being. The included piano sounds are also good, right? B & H, by the way, has good prices on the expansion boards. Would you say, however, that the Roland will be much more expandable than the Yamaha (or other digital piano)? Will this thing be entirely obsolete in three years? Is it overkill to get such a professional machine for someone who mostly wants to practice at home in order to gain a greater understanding of harmony, voice leading, chords, music theory, (and also learn a little about piano)? I hope to study jazz and classical. I do want eventually to build a home studio, but budgetary concerns may make it unrealistic for a few years yet. I must say that the onboard speakers on the Yamaha are a selling point for me since I don't have the room to run cables to outboard speakers (and don't have outboard speakers anyway). This'll probably end up in my tiny Queens living room. But thanks again for the generous help here. I may go to Sam Ash Queens today to see if I can touch one of these...

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#684325 - 06/01/03 03:29 PM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
Joe Moon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Queens, NY
Just a follow up if anyone's interested: I played the RD700 and the P250 this afternoon and personally preferred the P250, in sound and feel (although only the piano sound, the rest were better on the Roland). Also, the Roland didn't have the expansion grand. The feel of the Yamaha was really quite close to a real piano (and the Roland was pretty good too). However, would one ever mistake the sound of either of these for a real piano? Not likely. Thanks again for your help; not sure yet what I'll end up doing. \:\)

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#684326 - 06/02/03 09:19 AM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Although I still prefer the RD700, I don't think you can go wrong with the Yamaha. They make great products. At a certain point it comes down to personal preference. You're not limiting yourself in terms of MIDI expansion in the future with the P250 either. I'd say "go for it".
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#684327 - 06/02/03 12:30 PM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
OlderGuy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/02
Posts: 40
Loc: Ithaca, NY
 Quote:
...Since I'm truly a beginner
Joe, obviously, you are smarter than I ;\) I am also an (adult) beginner and I made a mistake that I first bought some mediocre keyboards. Apparently, I was not trusting myself that I will be doing this seriously...Only after one year or so I came to the point that I understood that I have to buy a good keyboard.
The first keyboard I had was a Yamaha 76 key semi-weighted keyboard. Big mistake! I got rid of it in about 2 months. I understood quickly that fully weighted keys are essesntial. (Being a keyboard player vs. a piano player are two different things I hear...) Next was a Kawai ESX, 88 keys, fully weighted, but still a bit on the lighter side though, but the biggest problem was that I was not 100% happy with the sound. With the P250 I think finally I have found the touch and sound I was looking for.
Peter

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#684328 - 06/03/03 10:13 AM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
Joe Moon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Queens, NY
Thanks again SteveY and Peter for your feedback. I did like the feel of the P250 right away. However, SteveY is right that at this level it's more a matter of personal preference and I was not unimpressed (nice double negative) with the Roland feel either. I may give them both another play. Am very curiuos to hear the Roland expansion grand somewhere. Will keep you "posted"... ;\)

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#684329 - 06/03/03 11:28 AM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
I have a Roland XV88, which is the big brother of the RD700. I wouldn't have even considered it without the expansion board. I considered it part of the purchase price.
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PianoWorld disclaimer: musician, producer, arranger, author, clinician, consultant, PS2 aficionado, secret agent...

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#684330 - 06/10/03 09:57 AM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
Joe Moon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Queens, NY
SteveY: Considering your enthusiasm, I went back and played the RD700 again, and liked it a bit more this time, although I was still unable to hear the expansion grand. I guess I like the Yamaha action a tad better, but it was close. The XV88 doesn't have piano action, does it? One thing I wanted to ask: does the Roland allow for any upgrades to piano sounds as they come out? I know the Yamaha doesn't really, as the sounds are burned into the ROM, unless you simply used it as a MIDI controller and got new MIDI piano sounds, which, I would imagine, would negate much of the naturalness of the digital piano feel and corresponding dynamics (since MIDI is only 8-bit information)? I know that some of these questions are addressed on the new expansion board thread, but I still have some uncertainties.

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#684331 - 06/10/03 01:13 PM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
Joe,

This doesn't answer your question directly, but have you played the Yamaha S90? The only reason I mention it is that it fits (sortof) the description of what I thought you were looking for. It is expandable, would be a great MIDI controller, and has a ton of great sounding voices and effects already on board so you wouldn't necessarily have to purchage additional MIDI modules for your studio down the road. Oh, and the keys are weighted (I like them) and it has a pretty decent sounding piano in the three-layer S700. It does not have a sequencer or sampler, but you can load new voices onto and it will play MIDI sequences. I'm not sure I would want it for a sampler anyway, if I had the bucks the new Roland VPro looks pretty interesting as a sampler... Anyway, I am looking at getting a S90 for my budding studio and thought I would mention it.

Ryan

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#684332 - 06/10/03 01:22 PM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
PianoHumbled Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 22
Loc: San Diego, CA
Joe Moon,

A little late to this thread but I was wondering if you have considered Yamaha's P80 or the new P90. Similar feel to the 250 but only about $800 - $1000 depending on which model. They would give you great piano feel and could be used as a controller for you future studio.

I, like Steve, also have an XV-88 and bought it thinking I wanted all of the bells and whistles and synth stuff. Now I find that it is on piano mode almost 100% of the time and to do it again I would have bought a stage piano (back then the RD600 would have been my choice) instead of the total synth package. I also have the concert piano expansion board and it was THE main reason for choosing the XV-88 even though the keyboard feel is quite nice for my tastes.

Anyway just a suggestion of course but with the P80 or 90 you won't break the bank and still get a great idea about the direction you will truly go as your musical tastes develop.

Edit: Didn't read ryan's post before I posted but agree the S90 is worth a look and so is the XV-88 if you are heading for full synth capabilities.
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Humbly Yours

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#684333 - 06/11/03 08:17 AM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
Joe Moon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Queens, NY
Thanks ryan and humbled for this additional information. Yeah, I'm not really interested in synth capabilities at all (no time to learn how to use it). Basically, a great-feeling piano-like 88-key keyboard, great piano sounds, and perhaps harpsichord, organ, electric piano, and the ability to upgrade the sounds later. Must find a place where I can really compare all these models. By the way, I wanted to add: I read somewhere on this forum that a $2,000 digital piano will most likely sound better than a $2,000-$3,000 used acoustic piano (because the pianos that are sampled are so good). I did have a chance to make this comparison last week and I think it's true, unless you find a very special deal on a used piano. The ones I played in that price range did not sound so great.

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#684334 - 06/11/03 11:18 AM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
PianoHumbled Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 22
Loc: San Diego, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Moon:
By the way, I wanted to add: I read somewhere on this forum that a $2,000 digital piano will most likely sound better than a $2,000-$3,000 used acoustic piano (because the pianos that are sampled are so good). I did have a chance to make this comparison last week and I think it's true, unless you find a very special deal on a used piano. The ones I played in that price range did not sound so great.[/b]
From my limited experience the 'sound' of the cheaper used pianos I have heard comes no where near the 'sound' of the newer digitals, especially the ones where you can tune the pianos to sound the way you prefer.

Still I am looking or a cheaper used acoustic so I can learn the 'feel' of acoustics a little better. Another thing that has changed my perception of acoustics is on my digital when I want 'powerful' or some added 'punch' I get to turn a little knob. The only thing that even aproaches the 'punch' you get from a powerful digital is a 9' grand, and even they pale.

So I can be surprised at how little sound comes out of the acoustics - just because the digital can be so loud on command. So my ear has had to adjust to the sweeter nuamces of the acoustincs rather than their power or my perceived lack thereof.

I'm still reading you should consider the P80 or P90 in the Yamaha or maybe even the Roalnd FP series FP-3 Fp-5 etc. They are stand alone digital pianos that some have liked rather well.
_________________________
Humbly Yours

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#684335 - 06/11/03 11:43 AM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
ryan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 1995
Loc: Colorado
Joe,

For the sake of argument, the S90 has the sounds you mention - lots of keyboards in fact. The emphasis seems to have been on keyboards. For the most part the other presets sound good too, which means that you don't have to know what you are doing - just select the voic \:\) I was blown away by the percussion presets and arppegiations (canned beat patters). I also liked a lot the preset pads (including the ooo and ahh voices and string ensembles, vintage synths, atmospherics, etc. etc.), accoustic instruments, and sound FX, all of which I intend to use sparingly for color purposes.

Anyway, if you absolutely don't need the extra stuff then this is probably overkill. But I thought it might be worth checking out anyway. Playing with one is a fun way to kill an hour or two \:\)

Ryan

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#684336 - 06/12/03 01:10 PM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
Joe Moon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 16
Loc: Queens, NY
Interesting humbled, and thanks ryan also. Of course, once you get into the higher price range of acoustic pianos, I much prefer the sound to digital. Another thing I read somewhere on this forum is that the more "furniture-like" digitals sometimes sound better than the pro stage pianos and I also had the chance to make that comparison last week and found it to be true, seemingly just because the speakers face downward and the actual "furniture" part makes it sound a bit more like a real piano (more like an upright, I guess). One thing I'm still wondering is if you lose anything when your sounds are played through an expansion board (i.e., through MIDI), rather than playing the sounds burned into the digital keyboard's pre-installed memory. That is to say, Do you lose some control over dynamics; can it slow down the response at all to go through MIDI? Perhaps a question for the expansion board thread.

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#684337 - 06/12/03 01:22 PM Re: Kurzweil vs. Yamaha P250
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Triggering sounds via MIDI results in a delay of approx. 3ms. There is no delay that I'm aware of when triggering sounds from an expansion board.
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