Portable keyboards

Posted by: Elssa

Portable keyboards - 06/03/11 01:11 AM

Would appreciate feedback on what's the best light-weight portable (about 12 pounds) keyboard available. I like the rich piano sound of Yamahas, but other light-weight brands might do if they have a similar piano sound. Looking for around 61 keys. I just joined a group, and amps will be provided. Thanks. smile
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/03/11 07:32 AM

If all you care about is piano, probably the Yamaha NP-30. The feel of the keyboard (for piano playing) is better than most unweighted actions. There is also a newer version, NP-31, and a smaller/lighter version, NP11, which I haven't tried... but from the specs, it sounds like the NP11 doesn't have the same quality keys as the NP-30 and NP-31.

If you want more sounds, maybe the Yamaha MOX6, though it's 15.4 pounds. I also haven't tried its action for piano playing so can't offer an opinion there, but having played the larger MOX8, I can at least vouch for the sounds. The piano sound is not identical to the NP-30, but I think both piano sounds are good.

I would avoid the NP-V60 and NP-V80. I don't think the piano sounds are as good as the NP-30 and MOX; and they don't have MIDI jacks, which I think is very limiting for a gigging musician.
Posted by: doremi

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/03/11 09:51 PM

.
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/03/11 11:34 PM

Originally Posted By: doremi
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
I would avoid the NP-V60 and NP-V80. I don't think the piano sounds are as good as the NP-30...

Did you compare the sounds through headphones? The built-in speakers of the NP-30 are awful in my opinion.


He would have, ALL built in speakers are awful in portable pianos.
Posted by: Elssa

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/03/11 11:52 PM

Thanks Scott and everyone for your helpful feedback.

Quote:
He would have, ALL built in speakers are awful in portable pianos.


I'm really ignorant about these things.. Can some kind of an amp be plugged into the NP-30 to make it sound better/louder?

All in all, on checking it out on line, the NP-30 does sound like what I'm looking for. This is to be used mainly for a group class/jam session, not performing, so it doesn't need to be super-duper. I like the fact it's lightweight and has a nice variety of settings (piano, strings, vibes).

Thanks again.
Posted by: dewar

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/04/11 01:02 AM

That's usually why when people buy a keyboard they get a decent set of speakers to go with it. Heck even a home console could sound better with a decent set of speakers then whats inside.
Posted by: ChrisA

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/04/11 01:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Elssa

I'm really ignorant about these things.. Can some kind of an amp be plugged into the NP-30 to make it sound better/louder?


The NP30 lacks a Line-Out jack so you would need to connect an amplifier via the headphone jack. That can work well enough if you adjust volume controls on the piano and amp. For an amp, buy about the same kind of PA a vocalist would use

You do know the keys on the NP30 are un-weighted. Thaey just have springs. Nothing like a piano action.
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/04/11 12:13 PM

Originally Posted By: doremi
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
I would avoid the NP-V60 and NP-V80. I don't think the piano sounds are as good as the NP-30...

Did you compare the sounds through headphones? The built-in speakers of the NP-30 are awful in my opinion.

Yes, compared through headphones.
Posted by: Elssa

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/04/11 01:11 PM

Quote:
The NP30 lacks a Line-Out jack so you would need to connect an amplifier via the headphone jack.

Oh good, as long as it can take some kind of amp. I have Edirol speakers at home for my Roland FP-5, but the studio I'm playing at said they would supply an amp so that I don't have to lug them over.

BTW, I see it says the NP30 "supports a half damper pedal". I'm not sure what that means.. Would it be okay with most sustain pedals?

I called my local music store and they do have the NP30, so guess I'll go over and try out the action and everything. This "soft touch, graded action" might be good for me because some Yamahas have too heavy a touch for my little hands.

Thanks again for all the helpful feedback.
Posted by: Bob M

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/06/11 11:35 AM

Elssa, The NP 30 has been described as "very playable", even though it is not a weighted action. Since I have taken mine apart (for the fun of it) I think that the "very playable" come from the rubber ovals which support the keys (and enclose the contacts). There is more resistance at the top of the key travel, than at the bottom, like a piano. There are no metal springs in the NP 30, or for that matter, many of the PSR keyboards that Yamaha markets. The difference between the keybeds with springs is very noticeable to those who are piano oriented. If you play organ or syths, I doubt it matters.

If you really only need 61 keys, the NP 11 is due out in July. I'll bet it has the same sound "chip" and voices as the NP 30/P85--I'm sure it will have the same comfortable keybed as the NP30/31--and at $150......!

Look at the other thread now running on connecting these boards to an amp using the headphone jack.
Posted by: Elssa

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/08/11 06:07 PM

Quote:
If you really only need 61 keys, the NP 11 is due out in July. I'll bet it has the same sound "chip" and voices as the NP 30/P85--I'm sure it will have the same comfortable keybed as the NP30/31--and at $150......!

Well, in thinking it over, I would really rather have the 76 keys.. might as well, as it's only 12 pounds. Even though I only need it for a class right now, I might use it to perform sometime (senior centers, etc).

Quote:
Look at the other thread now running on connecting these boards to an amp using the headphone jack.

Very interesting. I think as long as the NP30 can take some type of an amp, that'll be good.

Thanks again. smile
Posted by: Sly Cat

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/08/11 06:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Elssa
BTW, I see it says the NP30 "supports a half damper pedal". I'm not sure what that means.. Would it be okay with most sustain pedals?


The "half damper" option is a good one. It just means that, if your pedal can do it, the keyboard will support it.

The damper pedal on an acoustic piano (also called a sustain pedal) raises the damper off the keys and lets the notes sustain longer. Many people who learn piano are taught to sometimes only use half the travel of the damper pedal (half damper) for a semi-sustain effect.

It's all about different expression on an acoustic and now many DPs offer the same thing.

So yea, most likely any sustain pedal would work if it has the right connector.
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/08/11 07:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Bob M
f you really only need 61 keys, the NP 11 is due out in July. I'll bet it has the same sound "chip" and voices as the NP 30/P85--I'm sure it will have the same comfortable keybed as the NP30/31

I wouldn't be so sure. The posted specs at the yamaha web site don't show the NP11 as having the graded soft touch action that the NP30/31 have.
Posted by: Bob M

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/09/11 11:46 AM

anotherscott,

Yamaha uses 12-key rubber contact/spring strips (no metal springs), in the NP 30/31, and many of the 61 key PSR "bells and whistles" keyboards they sell. I say this based on taking my NP 30 apart, and the observation that the PSR series feel like my NP 30, and very different that the Casio, M-Audio, and other keybeds that use a coil spring on each key. "Graded Soft Touch" is the marketing lingo for the darker, stiffer contact strips on the lowest 1 1/2 octave on the NP-30, the three middle octave strips are a lighter color and part number, and the last octave a third color and part number. You could be right--they may use the same strips on all 5 octaves of the NP 11--it would then have the nice feel, but not the graded feel. Well, in a month or so we can probably try it at GC.

Looks like Elssa has made a decision, I'm sure she will enjoy the NP 31. Regards till next time.
Posted by: wilmao

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/09/11 12:09 PM

Can you give me an advice? I need a 49 keys piano with bag to carry it with me when i am away home to stretch my fingers. I don't need weighted keys, but it must play standalone. I only need piano and possibly (but not indispensable) harpsichord sounds. Thank you!
Posted by: Elssa

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/09/11 12:40 PM


Originally Posted By: Bob M


Looks like Elssa has made a decision, I'm sure she will enjoy the NP 31. Regards till next time.


Actually, I was thinking of getting the NP30, from Sweetwater for $269.00. They don't have the NP31 listed there. Is there some advantage with the NP31? I looked elsewhere and see it's slightly more expensive, but it sounds like the same thing as the NP30.

http://www.samash.com/p/Yamaha_NP31%20Portable%20Grand%20Digital%20Piano_-49947375

Thanks again. smile
Posted by: Bob M

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/09/11 05:11 PM

Ellsa,

I doubt there is an important difference, buy the NP 30. Ask Sweetwater about the foot switch and power supply, at the $269 price.
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/09/11 05:22 PM

The NP31 has dedicated buttons for switching sounds, instead of having to hold a button while striking a note. It also has an auto-shutoff after 30 minutes of no playing. Those are the only differences I know of.
Posted by: Elssa

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/10/11 12:01 AM

Originally Posted By: anotherscott
The NP31 has dedicated buttons for switching sounds, instead of having to hold a button while striking a note.


Geez, hope that's not as difficult as it sounds. I already ordered the NP30. frown I've never heard of having to "hold a button while striking a note" to switch sounds.
Posted by: Bob M

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/10/11 03:57 PM

Elssa,
The names of the 10 voices are printed on the case above 10 keys. To select a voice, you simply hold down the "Voice" button and press the piano key under the one you want to use--press 2 keys, and you can layer, or play 2 voices at the same time--I like Grand and Strings together sometimes. It is really simple.

There is an easy reference chart which can sit on the music rest. Use it to transpose, set reverb and chorus effects, set the keys for light or heavy touch, adjusting volumes when you layer, etc., if you need any of these features. Enjoy!
Posted by: Elssa

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/14/11 09:45 PM

Hi BobM;

I just got the NP30 today.. really love that Yamaha sound, especially the grand piano and vibraphone. I'll get used to that Voice button, though if I had to do over would probably have gotten the NP31 if it's easier to make changes. Anyway, Sweetwater sent me a different sustain pedal than the one I requested, so I'm not thrilled with the service. The keyboard didn't come with any adaptor/power supply (for $269.00), so just using it with batteries now. Would my Roland FP-5 adaptor be okay to use with this Yamaha? Thanks again for all the helpful info. smile
Posted by: dewar

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/14/11 10:11 PM

You should head to radioshack or maybe lowes. Odds are you can get the right specs in the transformer for your keyboard.
Posted by: Bob M

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/14/11 10:55 PM

Elssa,

I think that mine came with a rectangular foot switch that is simply sustain/no sustain. The NP-30 supports Half-pedaling, but you need to get the right pedal. If you don't already, you will soon have the name and Phone # of your Sweetwater person--it will be in an email, if not on your packing slips. I would call Sweetwater, and I am sure they will help you get the right pedal, they have a good reputation for service. I think I paid about $35 for a pedal which provides half-pedaling.

Don't know about the Roland power supply, but if there is a Goodwill Store near you, I'll bet you can find a power supply for $2. Look for something 10-12 volts DC, +on the center pin, anywhere from 700-1200 mA. All of this is printed on these little power supplies. My radio Shack has a bin of orphans, that they sell for $10, and some one there will help you get the right one (take your owner's manual in with you). It would seem a shame to pay $25-35 for a new one. Read the labeling on the Roland adaptor, it may work. It must be a DC adapter, + on the center pin, not more than 1200 mAmps, but other than that the NP 30 is pretty tolerant.

The built-in speakers are the weak link, but that is the compromise to make your new instrument so portable. My NP-30 is at the cottage, and I enjoy it with a good but old pair of Pioneer headphones I paid $3 for--so nice to hear the full range and colors of the Grand Piano voice, which you don't thru the speakers. I am assuming your Edirol"s are powered speakers. Again, Radio Shack can provide you with the adapter to split the headphone output to a right and left channel. When at the Studio, try using one side or the other, not both. If you listen thru headphones I think you will hear that the first grand piano has a definite left and right stereo sound. I hear the second piano as centered, sound seeming to come from the music stand. I'd bet this is the voice that will work best thru the mono PA.

We'll be interested in hearing how all of this works for you. Enjoy!
Posted by: Elssa

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/14/11 11:58 PM

I ordered this for my NP30: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PedalSquare/ (It did not come with any type of pedal)
However, they sent me a heavier, more expensive model and charged me for it. frown I did send a note tonight that this must be picked up and they must send me what I ordered.

I have a Roland N18003 Adapter. Shouldn't this work with the Yamaha NP30? I'm just a little worried because the Yamaha brochure says to use a Yamaha Adapter.



Posted by: pv88

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/15/11 12:50 AM

Hi Elssa,

Please note that the "pedal square" that you originally ordered (but did not receive) is nothing but an on-off switch. You will probably want to reconsider keeping the heavier pedal they sent you (if you can afford to keep it) since those light pedal square switches are notorious for sliding around all over the place under your foot. And, unless you can manage to tape it to the floor, they generally aren't worth using.

Also, Bob M above is correct when he says you will want a pedal that offers half-pedaling capability too, and, even if you don't use that feature right away it is good to have, nonetheless. My advice would be to keep the heavier pedal as it is sure to be better in the long run, and, it will be less likely to move around as much when you are using it.

pv88
Posted by: Elssa

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/15/11 02:17 AM

I should have mentioned that I already have a heavy foot pedal (with two pedals), and I just wanted a light little sustain pedal for this class/studio.. Just trying to get some decent portable stuff for that. I have a Roland KR-7 and FP-5 that I record from at home.
Posted by: pv88

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/15/11 02:56 AM

Elssa,

Okay, thanks for the clarification on the pedals that you are using.
(No need to make any changes then, with your current setup.)

Better quality sustain pedals are more than simple switches.

pv88

Posted by: Stanza

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/15/11 09:11 AM

Does Yamaha sell a case for the NP30 here yet? When I bought mine there was no carrying case sold here in the US. Seemed strange to sell something meant to be highly portable with no case. I did find such a case (specifically for the NP30)sold in Germany (Thomann)and ordered it for around $80 US. Nice case.
Posted by: Elssa

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/15/11 01:16 PM

PV88,

Quote:
Better quality sustain pedals are more than simple "switches."

Oh, I see... still getting used to the terminology. LOL confused
Thanks again, everyone, for all your great help. smile
Posted by: Bob M

Re: Portable keyboards - 06/15/11 09:36 PM

Stanza,

Perhaps Elssa and others will not mind a digression. I see you have a full range of piano options...., at your finger tips (sorry). How do you use your NP-30? Mine is at a summer cottage we occupy about 1 week/month.