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#686735 - 10/10/03 01:36 AM want2get 88+ key weighted digital in a few months....
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1904
Loc: El Cajon, CA
I'm starting to look at options for a digital piano for me. I would prefer something somewhat portable, but I WOULD like to have built-in speakers. (one piano I've played that I like is the P250 but I don't think it will quite fit my needs)

I don't know how much I'll be spending on one, cause I don't know what the type of piano I want would cost based on the features I want on it.

I would like at least 88 weighted keys, a separate stand, sustain pedal, etc...
also I don't need a lot of voices on this one - just mainly piano but I would like a few different pianos on it, like for example Yamaha, Steinway, Bosendorfer, Baldwin, Estonia, in no order of preference. Or, if it doesn't include those sounds, I would like to be able to add more sounds later.

One thing I've noticed is that some keyboards I've looked at (this is telling me i've been apparently probably looking in the wrong places) have like 24-48MB of sample memory give or take a few MB. An onboard sampler would be very nice, but it doesn't have to have it (at least that's what I think right now... that could change depending on the price of potential candidates and how much I am willing to pay).

I have looked at one site -- Digital Piano Comparison -- which has mp3 samples of various pianos / digital pianos / etc....
Some of the patches they describe on that site (although I assume there are no free downloads of the actual patches) take upwards of 1.5 to 2 GB or more for each instrument. For example, some features on the "higher end" voices include: every note sampled, pedal down AND up sampled, multiple velocity samples for each note, and the one that is most important to me - no sample looping).
So.... I think I would be looking at a keyboard that maybe doesn't come with much in the way of features - just a few piano voices, and maybe some auto-accompaniment cabability. Also, a music recorder/sequencer/whatever would be a near requirement for me. I think I would be looking for a piano that instead of having sample RAM, has a sample hard disk upwards of at least 20-40GB with a place to put in a bigger one, or a way to replace the one in there with a bigger one. (I have an 80GB hard disk in my computer right now that I could use in it cause by the time I get the keyboard I plan on having a bigger hard disk (currently looking at getting a new 250GB through ebay but haven't won an auction yet).
Also, midi cabability would be a must. I would also want audio in and out stuff on it, for example some of the plugs the Yamaha P-80 has. (but I can't stand the sound on it, and I want built-in speakers.)

Anyone know of any good keyboards that might fit a description like this, or at least come close? I have no brand preference right now but I would like one that will take some hard playing, but will also be good at pianissimo, and other articulation/expression.

I would like 97 keys, but I don't have money for a Bosendorfer Imperial (even though I could get a player system added onto it) and I don't know of any digital keyboards made with that many keys, so I suppose I'll have to settle for 88.

edit/add: I should also mention that if it has a transpose function (and I definitely want one) I want one that WORKS!! No wrap-around at the ends, for example transpose a major third down and the lowest 4 notes play an octave higher than normal, for example Yamaha P-80. When I transpose down (or up), I want the notes to continue going lower or higher as the case may be.

And, depending on the cost, I am leaning more heavily toward sampling, cause I'm thinking I might want to sample some other pianos into it, too, and make other piano voices on it. (I would need several GB of storage to do it the way I want to do it, btw.)
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1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
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#686736 - 10/10/03 09:18 PM Re: want2get 88+ key weighted digital in a few months....
jkeene Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/08/03
Posts: 701
Loc: Central Florida
88Key,

What you might find helpful in this search is to group your requirements. I can see a few different parts in all this, a keyboard part, a digital-audio workstation (DAW), and a sound amplification system.

On the keyboard, the P250 won't meet all your needs, but then again, nothing will. Nobody makes anything like what you're describing. They make pieces, and you'll have to do the integration work. Most of the big manufacturers have a top end digital stage piano, it's mainly a matter of finding the feel you like and a basic default sound you can live with. Like you, I prefer built-in speakers, and then I augment them with external amplification. The built-ins give some useful feedback vibrations as I'm playing, and the externals improve the sound substantially.

All the sampling you've mentioned, and its conversion back to audio, is typically done on a rather souped-up computer these days (PC and Mac). In fact, the term DAW has come into use to describe the particular computer setup that can reliably do this. Check out the discussions forums at http://www.harmony-central.com/ and look at the software and computer hardware sections. I'd make the link direct, but I can't get to that part of their site at the moment. Look at what people are saying about systems that can run GigaStudio, and maybe Kontakt. I understand you can find some rather large Bosendorfer samples for those programs.

When it's time for the amp and speakers, you could go with a basic clean sounding home stereo system, or get a fair ton of opinions on other gear.

Good luck in your search,
Jeff

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#686737 - 10/10/03 11:23 PM Re: want2get 88+ key weighted digital in a few months....
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1904
Loc: El Cajon, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by jkeene:
88Key,

What you might find helpful in this search is to group your requirements. I can see a few different parts in all this, a keyboard part, a digital-audio workstation (DAW), and a sound amplification system.

On the keyboard, the P250 won't meet all your needs, but then again, nothing will. Nobody makes anything like what you're describing. They make pieces, and you'll have to do the integration work. Most of the big manufacturers have a top end digital stage piano, it's mainly a matter of finding the feel you like and a basic default sound you can live with. Like you, I prefer built-in speakers, and then I augment them with external amplification. The built-ins give some useful feedback vibrations as I'm playing, and the externals improve the sound substantially.

All the sampling you've mentioned, and its conversion back to audio, is typically done on a rather souped-up computer these days (PC and Mac). In fact, the term DAW has come into use to describe the particular computer setup that can reliably do this. Check out the discussions forums at http://www.harmony-central.com/ and look at the software and computer hardware sections. I'd make the link direct, but I can't get to that part of their site at the moment. Look at what people are saying about systems that can run GigaStudio, and maybe Kontakt. I understand you can find some rather large Bosendorfer samples for those programs.

When it's time for the amp and speakers, you could go with a basic clean sounding home stereo system, or get a fair ton of opinions on other gear.

Good luck in your search,
Jeff [/b]
Thing is, I would like to be able to take the piano with me places without having to make multiple trips / have multiple people help lug the keyboard around.

Are there any digital pianos with a built-in hard drive bay that can store voices/samples/etc?

I'd like to put one of these size (physical, not necessarily capacity and/or brand) hard disks in it, btw... :


here's a possible pic of the system (a work in progress (editing... still needs jacks and more buttons/switches/etc)):
_________________________
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

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#686738 - 10/11/03 09:28 AM Re: want2get 88+ key weighted digital in a few months....
jkeene Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/08/03
Posts: 701
Loc: Central Florida
Generally, the devices that will take samples onto an internal hard drive are the music production systems, aka synthesizers. Of the present crop I know of none that have an acoustic piano touch, and the piano sound is generally not as good as the sound in the digital stage pianos. On top of that, the sample length is not the two minute long, non-looping kind you were looking for above.

Definitely a compromise on your requirements, and losing more than you gain.

What you're up against is the fact that the major manufacturers have a 4-5 year lifecycle on a given product line, and the disk streaming sampling technology for really long piano samples is around 2-3 years old. Even if a prescient manufacturer jumped on the technology when it first appeared, you're still going to wait a bit for it to show up in a dedicated keyboard.

If you're willing to experiment a bit, you might find that a sufficiently powerful laptop (P4@2.6Ghz, 1.5G ram) could run a streaming sampler, with a decent piano action keyboard to go with it you could keep the weight down. Just be sure to get an external D/A convertor to form the sound outside of the laptop's case, lot of RF noise inside there to mess up things.

You'll be spending some coin on this.

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#686739 - 10/11/03 09:57 PM Re: want2get 88+ key weighted digital in a few months....
SteveY Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1820
Loc: NJ
Why do you need a sampler?
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#686740 - 10/12/03 02:04 AM Re: want2get 88+ key weighted digital in a few months....
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1904
Loc: El Cajon, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by SteveY:
Why do you need a sampler? [/b]
I don't "NEED" it, really, but it'd be nice to have.

I would like to be able to load some high-capacity voices on it (where each voice takes upwards of 1-2GB or so) but the sampler would be so I could sample other people's pianos or other instruments and import them. I suppose I could just get a laptop computer for that and a program to do it....
_________________________
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

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