Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3

Posted by: kawai07

Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/11/12 09:44 AM

Hello everyone,


I am a silent user of this forum, and would like to thank everyone for sharing their experience/ ideas so far.

Recently I have done some research on what would be the best DP action and sound. Again, I never had the chance to try these DP yet, so I rely my opinion on the experience shared on the forum. My experience so far was with Yamaha Clavinova CLPs and CVPs. AG is great, especially N2 and N3, but that comes with a price tag. I own a CP 33, but action is not that special, and sound mediocre through speakers M-Audio BX5.

So far, I have narrowed it down to:

MP6 : good as MIDI controller, but action not as great as MP 10. Also I don't know if it has wooden keys.

MP10: top of the line action, but not as good for MIDI, as far as I understood from other users

Nord 3: best sound library, but action lacks behind Kawai. Also, it does not come with 88 key version.

Some users used MP10 and Nord or another user mentioned Synthogy Ivory II + Yamaha CP 33 for generating the best sound +action.

What I would like to do is the following

1. MP6 or MP 10 + Synthogy Ivory II without the Nord (since less than 88 keys).

2. MP10+ Nord only. Obviously this option is more expensive, but would have to avoid connecting a computer to internet every time I play.

Please let me know which version is working for you at this point, and the one that would be the most cost effective.


Thank you!!
Posted by: whitfit

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/11/12 10:29 AM

I have an MP10, and would make a couple of observations. Action is great, sound is not (although they all sounded bad compared to the nice grands I have lessons on - no DP has convincing sounds as far as I have heard). I have considered getting a software piano, to improve sound, but would need to upgrade my computer and buy some other hardware and spend time setting it up, so right now I invest my time and money on lessons and practicing (I started as a beginner a couple of years ago, so those are more important for me right now).

I don't think wooden keys make any difference, but MP6 doesn't have them. The actions are different due to different mechanism.

If I had to do it again I would probably do the same thing, but strongly consider MP6 and software sounds. It does seem to me that if all you want is piano sounds that software & a small reliable computer like a Mac mini is probably better and cheaper than the Nord. But I don't have a lot of experience with either.
Posted by: kawai07

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/11/12 10:32 AM

Interesting you mentioned that there might not be a big difference bw MP 6 and MP 10, in terms of action. That was the only thing they advertised as superior. Thanks for your comments.
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/11/12 10:36 AM

Originally Posted By: kawai07
MP6... I don't know if it has wooden keys.

If it feels good to you when you play it, it doesn't matter what material they use.

Originally Posted By: kawai07
MP10: top of the line action, but not as good for MIDI, as far as I understood from other users

if the only thing you will be using MIDI for is to trigger a software piano like Ivory, either will be fine, and the MP6 offers no advantage there.

Originally Posted By: kawai07
Nord 3: best sound library

As shipped, it does offer the most diverse self-contained library, but if you're connecting to a computer, any board will give you an even more diverse library to choose from (though it can get expensive).

Originally Posted By: kawai07
Nord 3... does not come with 88 key version.

Look at the Nord Piano 2. It gives you everything the Nord 3 does except the organ, and it gives you 88 keys, plus some other piano advantages (better action, more memory, access to Nord's biggest/best samples, enhanced string resonance).

Originally Posted By: kawai07
MP10+ Nord only. Obviously this option is more expensive, but would have to avoid connecting a computer to internet every time I play.

The other option (MP6/MP10 + Ivory) does require connecting your keyboard to a computer, but the computer does not have to be connected to the internet.

I think it's also worth remembering that people who own grand pianos only have one piano sound. One can be all you need, if it's one you really like. The MP10 sounds great, I would not assume that you'll necessarily find any Nord piano sounds to be better, so I find the idea of adding a Nord "sound module" to an MP10 in order to improve its sound to be a dubious proposition. I mean, maybe you will find that you do prefer it, but I think it is also very possible that you won't notice any real improvement. The Nord pianos still lag what you can get in software.

At any rate, you could always play the MP10 (or any of these, for that matter) at any time without using a computer if there are times you don't want to bother with the computer, and can use Ivory (or whatever other computer-based library you like) for those times when you want to go beyond what is built into it.

If I were going to be triggering a computer-based piano from an under $3k keyboard, I would check out the Kawai MP10, Yamaha CP5, Roland FP-7F, Nord Piano 2, and Casio PX-350 as controllers... i.e. every brand's best action... try them all and see which feels best to you. Ideally, bring a laptop computer to the store, with Ivory or whatever loaded onto it, and see how these actions feel when triggering that piano sound.
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/11/12 10:42 AM

Originally Posted By: kawai07
Interesting you mentioned that there might not be a big difference bw MP 6 and MP 10, in terms of action.

I did not see anywhere where he said there was not a big difference in the feel of the actions of the MP6 and MP10. They do feel quite different. Whether it's worth paying $1000 more for, especially if you're going to be using a computer (which negates the MP10's sonic advantage) is probably the issue to consider there.

Then again, people sometimes pay $1000 just to get a sunroof in their cars. It's all relative. ;-)

Originally Posted By: kawai07
action. That was the only thing they advertised as superior.

No, they advertise better piano sound as well, which it has.
Posted by: maurus

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/11/12 11:14 AM

When it comes to best action - Kawai James has made several hints that he (and Kawai) is testing a new device which might offer just that.

By the way, to the OP: Controlling a Nord with Yamaha's GH action (which you have in your CP33) is rather nice (!). So perhaps just get a Nord first, hook it up to your CP33, and see whether you like the combination as much as you think... and another thought: Another weak point in your setup might be the speakers.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/11/12 11:29 AM

If your CP33 is at least acceptable action-wise, by far your cheapest option is to just get Ivory for your piano (or save even more and just get Vintage D). There's a little bit of a hassle in booting up your computer every time you want to play, but it's not a huge inconvenience and it's very worth it.

If you aren't satisfied with the action of your CP33 (ignore the sounds for now), then you need to go on a quest and test a bunch of DP's until you find one you will satisfy. There's very little agreement on this point so it has to be you to do the testing. Be sure you try examples from Roland, Kawai, and Casio.

I can see no sense is getting the nord just to serve as a software piano. If you have enough money that you are fine dropping that kind of dough to save yourself the hassle of booting up a computer, you should probably be looking at higher end digitals.
Posted by: maurus

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/11/12 12:44 PM

Originally Posted By: gvfarns
I can see no sense is getting the nord just to serve as a software piano.

True, but: The Electros are awesome machines in their own right, the HP's as portable do-it-alls, and those with waterfall keys as organ substitutes etc.

A setup with a CP33 and a waterfall Electro (non HP) offers quite attractive possibilities for those not solely interested in acoustic pianos. But it also is a quite attractive piano solution - says me after having played a NE3HP (which I have for its portability) with a P155 for a while.

Posted by: kawai07

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/11/12 04:55 PM

Thanks everyone for your comments so far!

I will look into those things and let you know what the final decision is.
Posted by: dje31

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/12/12 09:17 AM

FWIW, I don't know if it's breaking-in, or I'm getting used to it the more I play it---perhaps a bit of both---but I'm really pleased with the feel, response, and general action of the CP33 keybed, which I bought "blind."

This is my third digital slab, after a Technics SX-P50, and more recently a Roland RD-700SX. Prior to that, I grew up learning on an old Baldwin Acrosonic upright spinet.

But then again, I like the noise that comes out of my M-Audio SPBX8 active monitors, so my opinion may, in fact, be suspect.

But I also believe the weak link in my system isn't the equipment I'm using...

Posted by: dje31

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/12/12 09:21 AM

Of course, if you have a flexible (big) budget, you could get a Nord Stage 2 Compact with waterfall keys and MIDI it either to your CP33, or drive it with the new Roland controller they just released.

Shoot the moon! Especially if the Mayans turn out to be right...
Posted by: anotherscott

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/12/12 09:32 AM

Originally Posted By: dje31
or drive it with the new Roland controller they just released.

Isn't that the same action as the FP-4F that almost nobody likes?
Posted by: dje31

Re: Best action +sound MIDI controller- MP6/10 vs Nord 3 - 11/12/12 09:43 AM

Originally Posted By: anotherscott
Isn't that the same action as the FP-4F that almost nobody likes?


Don't know about that detail...but I do know it's extra wide!