Keyboard for College... :(

Posted by: pianojerome

Keyboard for College... :( - 06/27/05 06:27 AM

I'm beginning my university studies in September. Unfortunately, I wasn't accepted to the music school this year, so I won't have access to the practice rooms. I'm sure there are probably decent pianos around campus that I can use, and there are a few practice rooms in each of the dorms (I'm not sure if they have decent pianos or even any pianos at all), so I'll probably end up buying a keyboard for my dorm room, so that I can still practice my endless hours. ;\)

So my question is this: which keyboard(s) would you guys recommend? I'm looking for something with 88 keys and relatively good action that feels somewhat like an acoustic piano (and maybe a pedal, too?). I'm not sure I can afford anything much more than $1000.

Thanks.


Edit: Sorry, I'm not certain of the terminology. I mean an electric piano (not a big grand acoustic, of course... \:D ). Or is keyboard the right word?
Posted by: BP

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/27/05 06:39 AM

You may be surprised, but there are quite a few choices out there. For starters, you could look for a decent used instrument. In Minneapolis, we have a store called Music Go Round. Or, the Casio Privia series and/or PS series are relatively inexpensive and have great sound. Some used keyboards, I find, don't 'feel' quite as good as a newer one. Just make sure you really like the sound! (with and without headphones)
Posted by: Antonius Hamus

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/27/05 06:46 AM

Keyboards and digital pianos are usually thought to mean different things (although 'keyboard' can imply any instrument in the category: organ, piano, etc.)...

Check out Yamaha's digital pianos... The best of them are *really* good (dynamic sustain pedal, keys that hit the targets if you deliver the sufficient force - without having to press them all the way (like in real pianos), etc.), but you'll certainly get a decent one (hammer-action, 88 keys, at least two pedals) with 1000 bucks...
Posted by: ipgrunt

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/27/05 08:58 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
I'm beginning my university studies in September. Unfortunately, I wasn't accepted to the music school this year, so I won't have access to the practice rooms.



[/b]
J.,

Check this in person. Some universities do allow students to use the practice rooms, even if they are not associated with the music dept. If there is no formal system, then stroll over and talk with a professor or other staff member.

Find someone who is interested in the same kind of music and build a rapport, talk music or play for someone with authority over there, form a relationship with a professor, for example, and you might even get a key to the building.
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/27/05 09:07 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by ipgrunt:
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
I'm beginning my university studies in September. Unfortunately, I wasn't accepted to the music school this year, so I won't have access to the practice rooms.



[/b]
J.,

Check this in person. Some universities do allow students to use the practice rooms, even if they are not associated with the music dept. If there is no formal system, then stroll over and talk with a professor or other staff member.
[/b]
I did. \:\)

I mean...

\:\(

\:D
Posted by: ipgrunt

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/27/05 09:18 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
 Quote:
Originally posted by ipgrunt:
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
I'm beginning my university studies in September. Unfortunately, I wasn't accepted to the music school this year, so I won't have access to the practice rooms.



[/b]
J.,

Check this in person. Some universities do allow students to use the practice rooms, even if they are not associated with the music dept. If there is no formal system, then stroll over and talk with a professor or other staff member.
[/b]
I did. \:\)

I mean...

\:\(

\:D [/b]
Well, don't give up on it. You're going to have to win them over with your charm.



Good luck.
Posted by: palley

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/27/05 09:36 AM

Sam,

Stroll over to "Digital Pianos - Synths & Keyboards" forum where you will find a lot of informed opinions on this subject.

The most popular seem to be the Yamaha P series. The P120 new will be a little over your budget.

For a little better you would want the P250 or the PF500, but of course they will blow your budget. There are some good Roland choices as well. Again you may have to find a used one to meet your $$ target.

As always, you must try some out to see which keyboard feels best to you.

Good luck with your studies.
Posted by: AaronSF

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/27/05 10:40 AM

I have a Yamaha P120 and recommend it highly.

You can get them on the Internet for just under $1000. Most brick-and-mortar dealers will match Internet prices if you take them proof of it.

You'll need a good set of headphones that do not amplify the sound from the source. Most headphones automatically amplify the sound because the assumption is you're plugging into a battery-powered devices. AC powered devices do not need this degree of amplification (apparently), and it actually makes the sound from a P120 too loud (so it's then difficult to play pp, for example).

I started off with some fairly good Senheiser headphones, but they didn't have an AC source mode. I got some of those Bose ambient noise canceling headphones, and they have a switch for AC source and battery source. The difference is really quite amazing. I get a MUCH more realistic dynamic range from the keyboard with the headphones set to the AC source mode.
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/27/05 11:00 AM

Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 08:36 AM

Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 08:39 AM

pianojerome,

I have attended two universities and I have taught at two others. At none of these were practice rooms restricted to a certain class of student. At several (Duke and Colgate), sign-up sheets gave preference to students enrolled in classes that required them to practice, but all registered students could take any remaining time on the sheets. Also, I cannot recall ever being evicted from an empty practice room unless its rightful user showed up. Then I would simply trundle over to the next empty room to continue my work. It was a rare day (or evening) that I could find no available space.

The situation you are describing suggests an incredible excess demand for practice time (is this school underendowed? Can't they afford enough practice instruments or rooms?) or an annoyingly haughty attitude about who can and cannot touch their precious instruments.

David F
AKA PianoDad
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 08:38 AM

Sorry for multiple posts. The button went crazy.
Posted by: ghostclaws

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 09:10 AM

 Quote:
I cannot recall ever being evicted from an empty practice room unless its rightful user showed up. Then I would simply trundle over to the next empty room to continue my work. It was a rare day (or evening) that I could find no available space.
That was the same experience I had in the university I attended and I was in a completely different faculty with no music courses whatsoever in my course load.

GC
Posted by: Mikester

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 09:16 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
I'm beginning my university studies in September. Unfortunately, I wasn't accepted to the music school this year, so I won't have access to the practice rooms. I'm sure there are probably decent pianos around campus that I can use, and there are a few practice rooms in each of the dorms (I'm not sure if they have decent pianos or even any pianos at all), so I'll probably end up buying a keyboard for my dorm room, so that I can still practice my endless hours. ;\)

So my question is this: which keyboard(s) would you guys recommend? I'm looking for something with 88 keys and relatively good action that feels somewhat like an acoustic piano (and maybe a pedal, too?). I'm not sure I can afford anything much more than $1000.

Thanks.


Edit: Sorry, I'm not certain of the terminology. I mean an electric piano (not a big grand acoustic, of course... \:D ). Or is keyboard the right word? [/b]
Sam, you can get into the practice rooms at the Music School ... just not the ones with the Steinway grands (those are for piano majors I think). First make sure you go into the lowest level and then there should be rows of practice rooms with various uprights (so far I've seen Kawai, Boston, Yamaha, and Steinway)

If you go during a nonpeak hour (like dinnertime or early morning) you can most suredly get a practice room. I've gone consistenly at like 3 pm cuz I used to take classes on North Campus, and even when it's busy, it's not been more than a 15 minute wait for a practice room to open up. In my four years at Michigan, there has not been a single time when I was not able to get into a practice room.

So, please, rest assured. \:\) Also I think they don't lock the practice rooms with the uprights.
Posted by: Puckettmeister86

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 09:17 AM

Sam, I just purchased a Yamaha P60 about a month ago, they are about $800, and it is honestly one of the most awesome things I've ever bought. I use it mainly for practicing while the family is home so I don't annoy the hell out of them with rumbling acoustic upright. It has 88 graded keys and is is incredibaly responsive.

here's the link to it so you can check it out.
Fully recommend it my friend.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=key/s=digitalpiano/search/detail/base_pid/707423/
Posted by: Puckettmeister86

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 09:19 AM

And I'd also recommend Aaron's P120 if you have the extra cash, I'm sure that's another step up, but the P60 does beautifully for me.
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 09:24 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Mikester:
Sam, you can get into the practice rooms at the Music School ... just not the ones with the Steinway grands (those are for piano majors I think). First make sure you go into the lowest level and then there should be rows of practice rooms with various uprights (so far I've seen Kawai, Boston, Yamaha, and Steinway)

If you go during a nonpeak hour (like dinnertime or early morning) you can most suredly get a practice room. I've gone consistenly at like 3 pm cuz I used to take classes on North Campus, and even when it's busy, it's not been more than a 15 minute wait for a practice room to open up. In my four years at Michigan, there has not been a single time when I was not able to get into a practice room.

So, please, rest assured. \:\) Also I think they don't lock the practice rooms with the uprights. [/b]
That's reassuring! \:\)

Here's the e-mail I got from one of the professors (in response to my question about whether or not I can use the practice rooms):

"They are available only for music students. There are some practice facilities in the dorms."

I was thinking of going anyway around 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning so that I could practice (hopefully) for a few hours before class. I'm sure there won't be too many music majors over there at 6:30 in the morning!
Posted by: palley

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 09:34 AM

Sam,

Just make sure you've got your priorities straight. Many students attending major universities don't have free minutes much less free hours every day!
Posted by: barganax

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 09:52 AM

Sam,
If you've started looking at the digital piano forum, you will have noticed that some models are sold in generic music stores and over the internet; higher end models are sold only at piano dealerships. But there are also some "in-between" models that are inexpensive, with similar or identical action to the dealership-only models. In the case of Yamaha, there is a "YDP" model, I think, that is like a low-end CLP model but with a less-fancy cabinet. There is also the same thing in the Roland world.

Two more things:
(1) As an accomplished pianist, I would think that you would want a cabinet-style digital piano, not a stage piano, unless portability is top priority (i.e. moving it to storage for the summer). But, given your background, I would think that fixed pedals are a bigger factor for you. BTW some models have half-pedal capability.

(2) The action will be critical for you. Generally speaking, Roland is the lightest, Yamaha and Kawai are heavier. You'll need to try them to see what suits your taste.

I own a Roland F100 that I am generally happy with. BUT -- no sostenuto, no half-pedal capability. And the bass is muddy when I play Rach prelude C# minor (but that holds for a lot of acoustics too!) Still, I got it for $1400 two years ago. They are probably cheaper now, or there is a replacement.
Posted by: AaronSF

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 11:48 AM

The Yamaha P-120 has half-pedaling, but it allows for only 2 pedals, so if you want both una corde and sostenuto, you're out of luck. I can easily live without sostenuto, so no problem for me.

If I was going to college again, especially if I was living in a cramped dorm room, I'd want a luggable stage piano like the P-120, not a clavinova built into a case with fixed pedals. Anyhow, that would be my personal preference.
Posted by: Bob331

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 01:10 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Puckettmeister86:
Sam, I just purchased a Yamaha P60 about a month ago, they are about $800, and it is honestly one of the most awesome things I've ever bought. . . . It has 88 graded keys . . . [/b]
Does the P60 have "weighted key" action - does it feel like a real piano? I have a Yamaha Clavinova (CLP 120, I think) which has a great "feel". I'm thinking about buying a portable keyboard to take on vacation.

Bob
Posted by: librarymichael

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 01:18 PM

While a digital piano would be suitable for practice in your room, have you considered checking with a local church or other house of worship nearby your university? When I attended, I wanted to practice during the week. Since my father was a pastor, I was able to practice at a local church when services weren't in session. They were quite kind to let me do so, plus from time to time, the church workers would come in and listen to me practice.
Posted by: TS

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 02:38 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by palley:
Sam,

Just make sure you've got your priorities straight. Many students attending major universities don't have free minutes much less free hours every day! [/b]
It is Sam's first year, keep in mind. My first year was not very...hmm how to put this...taxing on my academic abilities ( ;\) ); I found I had quite a bit of free time. Of course, all programs and schools are different.

I guess I would recommend to just play around with your schedule for the first little bit, and see what your situation is like.
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 03:35 PM

Heh, plenty of students find plenty of time to party and get drunk...

Since I won't be partying and getting drunk, I suppose I might as well spend that time playing the piano! \:D
Posted by: AaronSF

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/28/05 03:39 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob331:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Puckettmeister86:
Sam, I just purchased a Yamaha P60 about a month ago, they are about $800, and it is honestly one of the most awesome things I've ever bought. . . . It has 88 graded keys . . . [/b]
Does the P60 have "weighted key" action - does it feel like a real piano? I have a Yamaha Clavinova (CLP 120, I think) which has a great "feel". I'm thinking about buying a portable keyboard to take on vacation.

Bob [/b]
Bob,

The P-series Yamaha keyboards -- the stage pianos -- are the portable versions of the CLP-series, so the P-120 corresponds to your CLP-120. All have the same weighted keys. The P-60 has fewer bells and whistles than the P-120.
Posted by: tyrri

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/29/05 10:18 AM

And also, if you're looking for a portable stage piano with hammer actions don't forget that there are a lot of GOOD alternatives to Yamaha and Roland such as the GEM Promega 3 and Promega 2 (these sound REALLY good), the Ketron GP-10, the Viscount Viva, plus a lot of Korg offerings (even though opinions about these are somewhat split)
- you should also take a look at the HC Keys, Synth and Samplers forum where I am a senior member (moniker: Rasmus-DK) and where stage pianos are frequently discussed.. \:\)
http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?forumid=18
Posted by: FogVilleLad

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/29/05 10:26 AM

tyrri,

I think that the GEM's use a Fatar action, which may not be the best choice for a piano student.

DavidH
Posted by: tyrri

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/29/05 10:36 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by FogVilleLad:
tyrri,

I think that the GEM's use a Fatar action, which may not be the best choice for a piano student.

DavidH [/b]
Yes, it is manufactured by Fatar, but it's not the "old standard" Fatar hammer action - as far as I know, GEM and Fatar developed a lot of improvements in the action (such as a heavier touch in the bass region and vice versa - known from Yamaha actions and the Roland PA4 and PA5 actions) for the Promega series..

Also, digital piano and synth actions are, just as piano actions, a matter of taste and preference - some prefer Yamaha, others Roland, others Fatar (which produces for 80% of the remaining digital piano manufacturers (Korg, GEM, Kawai (apart from their MP9000/MP9500 series) etc.) with Chinese subcontractors getting into this market only recently)
Posted by: wolfindmist

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 06/29/05 07:20 PM

Do you have a public community college near the university; you might check it out as an option. The small public college near by my house has multiple practice rooms available with Yamaha Consoles; no sign up list either.

Best to just walk into the music dept building and look for yourself rather than to ask any faculty members. And going in during non-peak times is better; as there is less noise and more choice of pianos to select from.
Posted by: Qcvar

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 07/01/05 02:54 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by AaronSF:
I have a Yamaha P120 and recommend it highly.

You can get them on the Internet for just under $1000. Most brick-and-mortar dealers will match Internet prices if you take them proof of it.
[/b]
Hi,

I'm also in the SF Bay Area and also considering getting a P120. Can you give me a link to a new P120 for just under $1000? This will give me more backing than just "I have a few friends who got it under a grand." I couldn't find any places which offered new P120s for under $1200... considering that I'm also a college student - I don't think I can do over $1000.

Thanks!
Posted by: AaronSF

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 07/01/05 03:47 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Qcvar:
 Quote:
Originally posted by AaronSF:
I have a Yamaha P120 and recommend it highly.

You can get them on the Internet for just under $1000. Most brick-and-mortar dealers will match Internet prices if you take them proof of it.
[/b]
Hi,

I'm also in the SF Bay Area and also considering getting a P120. Can you give me a link to a new P120 for just under $1000? This will give me more backing than just "I have a few friends who got it under a grand." I couldn't find any places which offered new P120s for under $1200... considering that I'm also a college student - I don't think I can do over $1000.

Thanks! [/b]
I just did a Froogle search, and I'm not turning up as much as I did when I bought my P120 last Fall, but I did turn up this:


Yahama P120 for under $1,000
Posted by: Qcvar

Re: Keyboard for College... :( - 07/01/05 04:09 PM

Then what I have feared is true... The era good deals on P120s is now over, and I will have to talk with the salesmen to see how much they can take off. I get there feeling that there used to be P120s for $999, but now, the only ones new that you can get are $1199 up.

Thank you for your effort, Aaron, but that P120 is a scratch and dent item.