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#685337 - 03/25/08 01:42 PM The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
ere Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/05
Posts: 109
Loc: UK
I am 28, grade 8, love classical music, also have a Mum who was educated at a Russian conservatory. I have played on lots of different acoustics, including a very nice Bechstein at uni and some cross-stringed upright at my mums...

The process of choice took 3 weeks of trying DPs in stores and reading forums. I have always used my Senn HD580 phones, never really tried the inbuilt speakers. Being able to play through hp-out is one of the main attractions in a DP.

None of the pianos have truly "WOWed" me:( Keyboard feel was the most important criteria, as although I do like to have "instant on piano" for practice, I realized that I will ultimately have to upgrade to studio monitors (NON Behringer/KRK;) and software pianos (Pianoteq/Ivory). [EDIT: for that very reason I did not want to pay extra for the inbuilt speakers/furniture of the home pianos- what's the point, when software pianos/ studio monitors will HAVE to be bought eventually and WILL outperform ANYTHING inbuilt by a big margin??!]

SOUND...Yamahas (CP33, p140, cp300) seemed to have the most tight and textured sound- quite exciting to listen to. Roland (fp7/4, RD700SX) was close second (after adjusting the "open lid" setting - Thanks, Piano World! ;\) ). Kawai (tried Mp8 and ES4) always sonded like a RECORDING of a piano through my phones.

TOUCH/ACTION... Spent about 2 hours altogether on different days on the FP7 trying to like it, as it was the love at first touch piano- immediate reaction was the most positive compared to all other actions I've tried (including "flagship" 700sx - but, of course, it is their "yesterday" flagship - only uses PHA1 keyboard; compared to current PHA2 in FP7 and Ivory with Escapement PHA2 for RD700GX). The initial eyphoria however did not last: something just did not feel right with the FP7. Only today, I came to understand what it was - seeming lack of piano felt under the keys! The action felt good while while the key is on it's way down, but when it hits the bottom (with a very audible "thump")... It's like this "bottom" is made of concrete or steel- NOTHING like ANY acoustic that I've ever felt with my fingers. After I made that discovery for myself, the FP7 has only irritated me, the love was gone.

To cut the story short, I've taken my conservatory pianist Mum to the store to ask for her advice (I asked her to concentrate on the feel as the number one priority, sound was almost never discussed). She tried all the DP i've mentioned so far + Roland's HP207 (playing couple of fast and slow Preludes from Bach's WTC) and came up with the following ranking:

3. Everything that is not "1" or "2" ;\) : Hp207 ("needs "striking through the key" to get to the bottom"), yamahas (p140 and something else) - after about 10 seconds the verdict was "just rubbish" , Kawai mp8 (too heavy)

2. Roland FP7 (she said it was good - expressive with action not being "too hard" at all (as some were suggesting on these forums). It would be perfectly adequate for both expressive playing and velocity exercises)

1. Roland FP4/Kawai ES4. FP4 in particular she thought of as being the most musical of all the above instruments, more so than the FP7.

Hence my choice was made - Kawai MP5 (which wern't in the shop, but are known to be the better version of ES4 (which I HATE for it's sound through my Sennheisers- my Mum concentrated on feel remember) OR the FP4. Kawai MP5 has had reports of keys developing faults from seemingly everyone of it's owners. Its sound (for that "instant on" practicing remember:)) is *probably* (I've never seen/heard MP8Mk2 or MP5) something like the original "distant recording-like" affair of the ES4 and MP8(inductive reasoning here;) haha. Given the small difference in feel between FP4 and the ES4 (and thus likely the MP5), likely inferior sound through hp-out, and likely reliability problems - ... the choice was easy after all: ROLAND FP4. Ordered it an hour ago from Eddie Moors Music (759 pounds for FP4, matching stand and piano stool).

PS Also I'd like to share my Mum's answer to my question about heavier action being better for classical technique development - "not true". "Light action (within reason - not synth-like) is not a problem at all. Provided I continue to play Cherni's School of Velocity and School of Dexterity and the like, the quick fingers and supple wrists/elbows will be there. I will simply enjoy my journey a lot more, as opposed to struggle through heavy action (like yamaha)". "Professional pianists do not play with heavy action". Such thinking is in line with a member of these forums- Aidan, who stated that his "light action" FP4 is heavier than his Steinway grand's.

Conclusion: Fp7 is NOT heavy in action (professional pianist's opinion) and good overall, but has very HARD, RIGID bottom to the keys (my humble opinion). FP4 is BETTER than fp7 (professional opinion) due to being more musical ("a pleasure to play on") AND has soft "piano felt like bottom" . Kawai ES4 is very similar to fp4 in action, but has questionable sound and reliability. FP4 is the Winner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! \:\) (but is still a compromise of course - I would prefer Yami's sound with fp4's action and reliability- subjective of course)
_________________________
My gear: Roland FP4 digi-piano, M-audio A192 sound card , Sennheiser HD580 phones , Synthogy Ivory+ Italian Grand , soft-piano Pianoteq (highly recommended)

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#685338 - 03/25/08 04:48 PM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
BeowulfX Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 263
Well, congratulations on your purchase of a brand new digital piano then \:\)

But digital piano keyboard feel is also subjective and although your Mum has played on many acoustic pianos and can give you a trusted "assessment" of the individual DPs that you've tried, ULTIMATELY, it is you who would be using it for days to come...

Don't get me wrong on this one, I know you trust your Mum and she's a pro classical pianist and all, but purchase of DP should be considered a form of "investment" not only because majority are expensive (and it would be sad if you threw away hard-earned money on a DP that you'd learn to dislike later on after getting more acquainted with it...limitations and all) but also because you would be using it for the most part for the next several years.

There's really no problem with the FP4 that you have (128-note polyphony, PHA alpha II keys)... except of course the newer RD-700 GX would give you that "ivory-feel" that the company so advertises more instrument patches and probably a slightly improved mechanism for rapid note-repetitions (single note trill). Or may be even the high-end Yamaha clavinova that uses natural wood on its keys (CVP 400 series)...I mean, since "touch and feel" is of paramount importance to your choice of DP, then nothing gets close to an acoustic as those high-end DPs offering you the optimum key resistance for your fingers and natural surface feel.

I think there was a thread somewhere in this forum section mentioning a problem regarding the FP4's headphone-out or a "hum" or noise or something (just check out previous threads on FP4).

Anyways, personally, I would have chosen the RD-700 GX (or even the RD-300 GX) if I were looking for a high-end portable DP...OR a Yamaha CVP 400 series, if I were looking for a well-featured high-end cabinet-type DP. But that's just me though.

Now give that FP4 a good work-out! (Do I hear a La Campanella by Franz Liszt) \:D
_________________________
PX-5S PC361 PX-320 Graphite 49 Pianoteq 4.5-Standard+Bluethner EWQL Symphonic Orchestra & some additional VSTi X1222FX B1030A KS40A DAW: AMD PhIIx4 16GB DDR3 1TB+1TB+120GB-SSD Audiobox E-MU XMIDI 2x2 Sonar 8 Pearl Acoustic Drumset
Contemplating on: Yamaha MOXF6, Korg Kronos X61 or Roland FA-06

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#685339 - 03/25/08 05:55 PM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
ere Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/05
Posts: 109
Loc: UK
You know, I actually came to agree with her... i got so hang up on trying "flagships" or "top of the line" that I all but ignored the fp4. Today, before making the order I went to the shop just to be double sure and realized that fp4 probably is the best compromise (DP is always a compromise for classical piano).

"Rd-700GX"- the shop did not have it, but there was Roland HP207 (it also has ivory escapement PHA2). And to my great amazement, like I said above, it was NOT rated by my expert...

But the main point that I've learned is that "light action" does not mean "unsuitable for classics" or that "it will make one's fingers weak". Finger strength comes from playing the right pieces with the right technique, and "light action" pianos are simply more fun to do that on.

As for fp4 workout- I think I will only see it's true colours when I will connect it to Pianoteq- that will be in a couple of months after I finish with university for the year... and complete my next phase of research on soundcards, MIDI connectors, ASIO drivers, Studio monitors etc
_________________________
My gear: Roland FP4 digi-piano, M-audio A192 sound card , Sennheiser HD580 phones , Synthogy Ivory+ Italian Grand , soft-piano Pianoteq (highly recommended)

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#685340 - 03/25/08 08:04 PM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
curt88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 346
I love my FP-4 and sending it into my Ivory Steinway is just perfect!

Congrats!
Curt

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#685341 - 03/26/08 02:29 AM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
Aidan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 371
Loc: UK
Congratulations on your purchase. Alas, the Steinway I recently played wasn't mine (I have an ancient Kirkman grand which lives at my father's house as I don't have room for it here).

As far as action weights are concerned, I think it's more about the feel of a point of balance under your fingers, together (in DPs) with the response of the sample under the velocity curve. To my mind, there are upper and lower points of acceptability - it has to be heavy enough to have adequate resistance and room for expression but at the other end of the scale there comes a point where you're just shifting wood (or plastic) for the sake of it.

Before you spend more money on a software piano to go with your FP-4 I would strongly recommend getting a decent pair of powered stage monitors, if you've only heard it through the built-in speakers. I think you may be pleasantly surprised.
_________________________
Yamaha CP40 | Hammond SK1-61 | Kurzweil PC361

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#685342 - 03/26/08 04:19 AM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
joe michaels Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/25/08
Posts: 18
Loc: Ashford, Kent
I haven't had that much time to read this, but i was playing a Roland FP-4 the other day in our piano shop. They are not bad bits of kit... If you are going to spend that much though i'd get the new GX700 I think it's called. Much sturdier.
_________________________
http://www.1001sheets.com - Session Musician (UK Based)

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#685343 - 03/26/08 08:06 AM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
Aidan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 371
Loc: UK
RD700GX. It's certainly on my radar to try when it arrives here in the UK but when it does it will be nearly twice the price of the FP-4. And it's a lot heavier, which makes a difference for gigging musicians like me whose backs have seen better days!
_________________________
Yamaha CP40 | Hammond SK1-61 | Kurzweil PC361

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#685344 - 03/26/08 11:27 AM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
MontanaJustin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/07
Posts: 67
Loc: Redwood City, CA
Congrats - glad you found one you like! I've often wondered, with all of the dps out there, if you could slip in a thin strip of felt the length of the keybed, softening the finish on all key strikes...

But who knows, maybe there isn't room.

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#685345 - 03/26/08 01:44 PM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
ere Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/05
Posts: 109
Loc: UK
Thanks everybody! The delivery is scheduled for tomorrow and I can't wait:)

MontanaJustin - the "piano felt" does not seem to be missing from the fp4, but it is a problem with a LOT of DPs out there (to a varying degree)... But if inserting a length of felt WAS possible, then FP7 would be my favorite feeling digital piano in the world. Without the felt it is one of the most irritating digital pianos in the world (for me - so close to being very-VERY good and yet so-SOOO far haha)
_________________________
My gear: Roland FP4 digi-piano, M-audio A192 sound card , Sennheiser HD580 phones , Synthogy Ivory+ Italian Grand , soft-piano Pianoteq (highly recommended)

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#685346 - 03/26/08 03:14 PM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
MontanaJustin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/07
Posts: 67
Loc: Redwood City, CA
I know exactly how you feel - I did at least discover that quickly after purchasing the FP7, I stopped noticing the hard key bed. But I still long for felt (for the silent aspect).

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#685347 - 03/30/08 04:15 AM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
ctnski Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/01/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
Great choice!

Cheers,

Craig
_________________________
NY Steinway A 2005; Roland FP-7F/ FP-4

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#685348 - 03/30/08 11:34 AM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
The Pro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 200
Loc: Atlanta, GA
The unfortunate part of this kind of review/process of elimination is that there is no mention of the sound contouring capabilities of each model, only judgment of the factory sounds. It's my experience that factory sounds are not always the best or truest sounds that the instrument is capable of. When I tested the Kawai ES4 in the store I also asked to see the owner's manual (stores are usually happy to oblige) and I tried modifying the tone and effects. Once I found what I liked I bought the instrument and I use it today on stage with my own sounds and settings, not Kawai's. Same process went into picking my home/studio piano - I knew I liked the Yamaha CP300 on paper but it wasn't until I tried the range of tone adjustments myself that sold me on it, and then it took me about two weeks of twiddling at home until I obtained the sound I ultimately liked the best. My CP300 doesn't sound like one you play in a store - it's a custom sound designed to fit my personal style of playing.

If you only judge a digital piano by what the factory settings are, you may be missing out on what the instrument can truly sound like.

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#685349 - 03/30/08 07:37 PM Re: The end of my search for stage/home piano for classical! Fp4 over fp7,mp5,p140 and co
Kawai James Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8388
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Yes, that's a very good point.

James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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