get a decent digital piano or get a cheap DP + laptop?

Posted by: adak

get a decent digital piano or get a cheap DP + laptop? - 01/03/13 11:01 AM

i am learning piano with headphones

i was thinking of getting something like the yamaha cp33 (or successor) or should i get the casio px-150 and use it as a keyboard to play with pianoteq on my laptop?

i am afraid the cp33 won't have such good sounds, since DPs are still limited by processing power and memory, then why pay more? the px-150 setup is cheaper than the cp33. if i get the px-150 and use pianoteq i won't have such problems, but i am afraid the px-150 keyboard won't be as good as the cp33's, is this true? also how about build quality?

i would really like to have a stage piano with nice sound with a good price, an all-in-one package, but it seems right now that is not possible?
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: get a decent digital piano or get a cheap DP + laptop? - 01/03/13 11:55 AM

You'll have to play the keyboards yourself, if that's humanly possible.

I quite disliked some cheaper Yamaha actions. But the P155 is very, very nice. If my memory holds, the P105 uses a different keyboard, and isn't as nice to play.

I don't know how the "Pnnn" Yamahas match up to the "CPnn" Yamahas, so I can't help you with the CP33.

I bought a Casio PX-350, and find it quite nice to play. So I think that using a PX-150 (same keyboard as PX-350) to control a software piano is perfectly sensible. It was one of the options my salesman suggested, if I didn't like the piano voices on the Casio.

Reading through these forums, there are a fair number of people who prefer the sampled piano of Galaxy "Vintage D" to the modelled piano of Pianoteq. But that's a separate decision for you.

Just make sure the computer has plenty of memory, and enough CPU speed!

. Charles

PS -- the PX-350 -- and all the lower-end Yamahas -- fall down at imitating an acoustic-piano sound. The inter-string resonances (damper on, or damper off) just aren't there. That problem would be solved by using a software piano.

I don't know how the software pianos handle "half-pedalling". A good pianist has an exquisite sense of damper position, with lots of positions between "damper up" and "damper down". My damper pedal is just a switch!
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: get a decent digital piano or get a cheap DP + laptop? - 01/03/13 02:13 PM

Originally Posted By: adak
i am learning piano with headphones

i was thinking of getting something like the yamaha cp33 (or successor) or should i get the casio px-150 and use it as a keyboard to play with pianoteq on my laptop?

i am afraid the cp33 won't have such good sounds, since DPs are still limited by processing power and memory, then why pay more? the px-150 setup is cheaper than the cp33. if i get the px-150 and use pianoteq i won't have such problems, but i am afraid the px-150 keyboard won't be as good as the cp33's, is this true? also how about build quality?

i would really like to have a stage piano with nice sound with a good price, an all-in-one package, but it seems right now that is not possible?


- me too, and I'm also looking for thoughts on these two particular DPs, PX-150 and the CP33. The casio is cheaper but there's a deal on the CP33 in the UK at the moment which narrows the margin significantly. The Yamaha is quite old and the adage "you get what you pay for" tends to run adrift in any hi-tech market where every couple of years you might "get double the performance for half the price" ...

Then again, these are electro-mechanical devices. The weight difference alone would persuade me that the CP33 (much heavier) has a better, perhaps more refined action/mechanism. No idea about the sounds though.

Posted by: anotherscott

Re: get a decent digital piano or get a cheap DP + laptop? - 01/03/13 02:47 PM

Originally Posted By: adak
i was thinking of getting something like the yamaha cp33 (or successor) or should i get the casio px-150 and use it as a keyboard to play with pianoteq on my laptop?

Personally, I prefer the PX150 action to the CP33 action, but that's subjective. As for sound, while I always seem to like Yamaha internal sounds more than Casio's, you should certainly be able to find piano sounds for your laptop that will be better than what's in either the PX150 or the CP33. But again, there is a lot of subjectivity... a lot of people like Pianoteq, but it would not be my choice. In moderate priced choices, I just purchased both the Kawai grand from AcousticSamples and the Additive Keys package from xlnaudio and am looking forward to playing around with them... their demos impressed me more than what I've heard from pianoteq.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: get a decent digital piano or get a cheap DP + laptop? - 01/03/13 09:54 PM

Originally Posted By: adak
i am afraid the cp33 won't have such good sounds, since DPs are still limited by processing power and memory, then why pay more? the px-150 setup is cheaper than the cp33. if i get the px-150 and use pianoteq i won't have such problems, but i am afraid the px-150 keyboard won't be as good as the cp33's, is this true? also how about build quality?


Action quality is the name of the game if there's a possibility you will be using software pianos to generate your tone. There isn't a consensus on which actions are the best between these two. Historically the Yamaha GH has had a far better reputation than Casio's action, but the PX-150 has a brand new action and I've seen a number of fans here. Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to play one of the new Casios so I can't say personally. My suspicion is that it's a bit of new-tech euphoria that is driving the current good reviews of the PX150 (besides the excellent price) but I may be wrong. You will need to go try them both yourself.

The Casio is a newer piano and has lots of great new features, like a triple sensor action. As for the tone, again it's personal. My personal sense is that the P155 and even older CP33 sound noticeably better than any Casio. You may feel differently. And if you use Galaxy or PianoTeq, it won't matter.

If you don't notice a difference between the actions (or don't have a preference) go with the Casio as it is cheaper and has a triple sensor action.

All their build qualities should be fine. People have complained that the Casio PX350 speaker vibrates the case too much, but I haven't heard that about the 150.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: get a decent digital piano or get a cheap DP + laptop? - 01/03/13 10:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
I don't know how the software pianos handle "half-pedalling". A good pianist has an exquisite sense of damper position, with lots of positions between "damper up" and "damper down". My damper pedal is just a switch!


For me half pedaling is a very important feature. The better software pianos (Galaxy, Ivory, for example) have a half pedal sample at each velocity and it is triggered when the pedal MIDI level is in a certain range and it works quite well. There are a few sampled pianos around that are pretty good quality but do not feature half pedal (like this Acoustic Samples Kawai that has been the talk lately). In my opinion any piano (software or otherwise) that does not properly implement partial pedal is dog crap.

I have a bone to pick with Casio about their decision to include only an on/off pedal by default. The piano is perfectly capable of sending a continuous MIDI signal so the software piano can properly handle partial pedaling. However, if you want this capability, you have to buy a stand/pedal combo from Casio that supports partial pedal. And they don't have any standalone pedals, which means you can't really use partial pedal with, for example, your own stage stand. Casio has done some pretty neat things lately but this was very boneheaded.