Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner

Posted by: FredrikJ

Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/06/13 12:12 PM

Hi all,

I've been lurking a while and tried to gather as much input as possible for my first digital piano purchase. First of all: thanks for all the good stuff in this forum! Second: I've tried to do my homework here and read a lot, but would like to get your feedback before going ahead. However, I realize these threads to pop up now and then, so sorry for the repetition!

Background:
I'm an adult beginner (although very good looking!). I've never played before but have for some time felt that it would be a fun thing to do (especially when my daughter grows up). My fiance has played some.

Thoughts/Requirements on my purchase:
A budget is made to be broken, but I'm trying to make a purchase where I get the most bang for the buck, and also trying to realize that I will probably not notice the difference between a mid-end'ish and a high-end DP given my absence of playing experience.

It should be a furniture, I'm not interested in portable/stage. I don't mind if it's compact though (i.e. F120) but it can also be a bit bigger (i.e. CN34). Action and sound are the most important, bells and whistles can be nice but not as important (the below all have my basic needs fulfilled).

I've made an attempt to boil it down the alternatives in the price range I've looked and here is the result:

* Roland F120
* Yamaha YDP181
* Kawai CN34
* Casio PX850

I'm most likely not extending my budget (which would then include HP505 or DP990F, CLP's and CA65), some room needs to be included for the bench and a couple of good headphones and from what I can read any of the above should be enough for my needs.

Are these the right alternatives to pick from or have I missed something? Which would be your pick and why?

Thank you very much in advance!

PS. Yes - I will play as many of these as I can in my local store, and it is of course much a matter of taste, but I'm still interested in your feedback. The Kawai I know I will not be able to play in the store since distribution of this brand seem to be very limited in Sweden.
PS2. Anyone have any suggestions on dealers in Europe that you think ship to Sweden and that stock Kawai?
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/06/13 12:31 PM

http://www.thomann.de/se/index.html?sid=53f545875c165b541afbfc0064bbfbe7

I assume the above link is in Swedish.
Posted by: personne

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/06/13 01:24 PM

Look at CLP-430 instead of YDP-181 - they have the same price tag but CLP has more advanced keyboard as far as I know.

Look at Roland HP-503 as well - it less pricey than HP-505 and still a good instrument.

Are you sure you need to buy a bench separately? All digital pianos are sold with a stool where I live (but it could be different in your area, ask at a local store what is included into the price). Sometimes (rarely) headphones are also included, but decent DP headphones should not cost a fortune (Roland RH-5 or 7 do not).
Posted by: CarloPiano

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/06/13 01:49 PM

Originally Posted By: FredrikJ
I've made an attempt to boil it down the alternatives in the price range I've looked and here is the result:

* Roland F120
* Yamaha YDP181
* Kawai CN34
* Casio PX850

PS. Yes - I will play as many of these as I can in my local store, and it is of course much a matter of taste, but I'm still interested in your feedback.


Just a very personal opinion: as you well said, it's a matter of taste, there's not such a thing like "the best". Said that, if I'd had to choose one of your list, I would buy the CN-34. I tried it and also the (almost) new F-120 and many others. From those with a plastic action it was the one I liked the best. Talking about taste, I think I would dare to buy it in white color grin
Posted by: Dominik

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/06/13 01:55 PM

Hi,
There was an extensive Test from a German Testing organization (Test) that compared the Yamaha Clp-430, YDP 181, the Kawai CN 43, Roland HP 32 and F110, Casio AP 620:
1. CLP 430
2. YDP 181
3. Kawai Cn 43
4. Roland Hp302
5. Roland F110
6. Casio Ap620

The YDP is 350 € less expensive than the CLP 430. I would recommend the YDP.
Posted by: CarloPiano

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/06/13 02:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Dominik
Hi,
There was an extensive Test from a German Testing organization (Test) that compared the Yamaha Clp-430, YDP 181, the Kawai CN 43, Roland HP 32 and F110, Casio AP 620:


I'd really love to see which parameters were used in order to do this test and what the experience playing piano this people has.

Quote:
1. CLP 430
2. YDP 181
3. Kawai Cn 43
4. Roland Hp302
5. Roland F110
6. Casio Ap620


They were comparing different instruments from very different price ranges. Entry level vs. mid range? No sense. Also on this list there are models that are no longer produced. For instance Hp 302 has been substituted by HP503, AP 620 by AP 650, F-110 by F-120. Of couse I would never put the entry level YDP 181 on top of Roland 302. Comparing similar DP's, the CLP-430 would be compared to HP-302, and choosing one or another would be a complete matter of taste. BTW, F-120 is a nice improvement over F-110.

Quote:
The YDP is 350 € less expensive than the CLP 430. I would recommend the YDP.


In this case I would not recommend "the cheaper, the better". There's a price gap but the CLP-430 is definetly a better instrument than the YDP.
Posted by: FredrikJ

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/06/13 04:36 PM

Dave Horne,
Yeap - that's the one place I've found so far. It's a German site but they seem to have a Swedish version and are shipping to Sweden. I'm sure there are more though, in Germany and the UK, that may or may not have better prices.

personne,
From the prices I can find when comparing here in Sweden the CLP430 (and HP503) are 3500 SEK ~= 350 € ~= $540 up from the YDP, which is to take it one step up (not saying it may not be worth it, that's a separate discussion) in my book. From the prices I find I see three "levels":

1:
* Roland F120: 8.5k SEK ~ 990 €
* Casio PX850: 9k SEK ~ 1050 €

2:
* Yamaha YDP181: 12k SEK ~ 1400 €
* Kawai CN34: 12.7k SEK ~ 1490 €

3:
* Roland HP503: 15k SEK ~ 1750 €
* Yamaha CLP430: 15k SEK ~ 1750 €

(and I think I have to buy a bench, I don't know if that's a US-Europe thing if that's included or not, or I'm just plain wrong. Either way I should probably have left that out since that's "just details" anyway :)).
Posted by: personne

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/06/13 05:14 PM

Interesting, as then I was recearching in October-November, CLP-430 was 1800CAD + tax, and 181 cost 1700 (1450EURO, including taxes).
503 had the same price as CLP-440 - around 2400-2500CAD + tax (2000EURO, including taxes).
Seems that Roland is cheaper where you live.
Posted by: gvfarns

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/06/13 05:23 PM

Originally Posted By: personne
Look at CLP-430 instead of YDP-181 - they have the same price tag but CLP has more advanced keyboard as far as I know.


If that's true, the 430 is definitely the way to go. I played one a couple of days ago and it was pretty nice.
Posted by: Dominik

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/07/13 03:51 PM

Hi,

There a short summary of the test on
http://www.test.de/presse/pressemitteilungen/Digitalpianos-Nur-drei-von-zehn-waren-gut-4282693-0/
These criteria have been used:
1. Sound (35% of the final grade)
2. Playability (35 % of the final grade)
3. Handling (20%)
4. Environment (5%)
5. Versatileness (5%)

Results:
CLP 430 (price = 1650€)
YDP 181 (1300€)
Kawai CN 43 (1600)
Roland HP 302 (1650€)

I personally have none of these DPs but I have a Yamaha NU1.
Posted by: FredrikJ

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/07/13 04:37 PM

I visited the local music store today. Very limited supply though, and only stage pianos.

I had the chance to test a RD-300NX (Ivory Feel-G action), FP-7F (PHA III Ivory Feel-S action) and a P155 (GH action). I must say that I liked the PHA III a little to much for my budget smile It felt very "distinct". It was closer between the other two (I'll give them another test in a day or two). First impression was that the Ivory Feel-G was a little more "spongy" than the GH.

Since I will not be able to play the Kawai (RH2 action) I wonder if someone who have played it and the Ivory Feel-G and/or GH too could compare them? (I'm not asking you to say which is "best", just you subjective opinion on the feel). Which one of the above would you say the RH2 is the closest to?

Again, thanks a lot!
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/07/13 07:52 PM

FredrikJ, may I ask where you are based? I may be able to assist with finding a Kawai dealer in your area.

Whenever possible, I would always recommend play-testing a keyboard action using your own fingers, rather than relying solely on the opinions of others.

Kind regards,
James
x
Posted by: FredrikJ

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/08/13 03:21 AM

James, I'm based in Linköping Sweden. I believe the only Kawai dealer in Sweden is JUHL-SØRENSEN and that they may have a physical shop in Stockholm (approx 2h car drive) (not a very impressive website though, www.piano.se, for those understanding Swedish). Other than that I only know of thomann.de, a German online store that also ship to Sweden.

I agree that testing it our myself would be absolutely best! If I had not been a complete beginner it would have been a requirement, but now I feel that since I don't have a reference for how I think "it should feel", it could be ok to do a purchase based on others opinions. Especially if I can get an idea of the feel from comparisons with actions that I have had a chance to try.

Thanks,
Fredrik
Posted by: Amaruk

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/08/13 09:32 PM

Hej Fredrik,

Welcome to PW!

Like KawaiJames said, testing a piano before buying is a huge plus. I would suggest that you try to go to Sthlm and visit the Kawai dealer before you decide as it is a big purchase. The pianos I think you should consider, if you can stretch your budget, are; Kawai CA65, Roland HP503, and.... Yamaha NU1. The NU1 is way outside your budget, but try to see if you can test one. It is amazing. It looks amazing too!

Lycka till! smile
Posted by: Dr Popper

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/09/13 03:15 AM

FP7F or ES7 .... both look acceptable with the stands and 3 pedal units....
Posted by: FredrikJ

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/10/13 05:02 PM

Tack för välkomnandet Amaruk smile

Dr Popper, I think I will stick to my original plan and a cabinet, personal preference I guess.

Amaruk and all,
From what I hear the Roland 50x's are among the noisier actions? The DP will be in the same room/area as the TV, so quite is a plus.

I'm officially adding CA65 to the list of possibilities, in the name of budget stretching (damn you! :)) I had en email exchange with the Kawai dealer and even though they didn't have the 65 in right now they had the 95, so I should get a feel for the action.

I'm also adding the CA13 (which I understand is not sold in the US?). If I understand correctly that would give me a fancier action compared to the CN34, and a lot of the others on my original list, while still not being that much more expensive than the CN34 (and almost 700 EUR cheaper than CA65). Sure, I loose some bells and whistles but those I don't care about much either way. I loose the ability to record to USB, but from what I understand I could as well record on my PC through Midi given the right software (i.e virtual instrument etc) (please confirm/correct me here, because getting recordings from the piano and being able to share them is something that I would like to be able to do).

Other than that I'm loosing some in the polyphony and the third sensor in the action, but the way I read things I would have to be rather good to notice, and I'm not. If I get that good then good for me, then I'll upgrade then. Thoughts? Am I missing something?

I'll try to play as much as possible, but no harm in trying to read up as much as possible before - right? (+ it's fun)
Posted by: FredrikJ

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/13/13 03:01 PM

Updated rambles below: Me and my fiance tested the Roland Ivory G Feel again and concluded that we did not like it. We both very much liked the PHAIII (Ivory G, PHAIII and GH was compared). To get that in a full cabinet gets expensive (HP505) and from what I've read here on the forum that action in a full cabinet like the HP505 is among the noisier (a minus, given how the piano will be placed in the apartment). We both favored the Yamaha GH to the Ivory G Feel, but for some reason Yamaha does not do it for me. Don't know why.

Then we have Kawai. Still haven't tried them, the only dealer in Sweden have a very limited supply after Christmas. Three models are interesting:

CA65: What I'd like, but don't know if it makes sense to pay that much for it. ~2260 EUR
CN34: Current generation piano but with mid-end'ish action touch wise (compared to GF), but with the third sensor. ~1500 EUR.
CA13: Previous generation but with that generation's high-end'ish action touch wise, but without the third sensor. ~1600 EUR.

Is that a fair summary of the models? How would you rate the actions touch wise? GF > RM3 > RH2?

With touch/feel, playability and sound as the main focus (bells and whistles is a plus, but not as important), would you pick the CN34 or the CA13 given the prices listed?

Thanks again and bear with me wink
Posted by: jarosujo

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/13/13 04:50 PM

Make sure you try Kawai before deciding what to buy. I was going to buy Yamaha but I ended with Kawai because I prefer it's action. I had a chance to play nice Yamaha acoustic grand 3 days ago and it'strange but Kawai RH action was closer to it than Yamaha own GH action.
Posted by: TrumpetMan

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/13/13 08:41 PM

The CA13 was the first Kawai I played and I fell in love with the sound and RM3 keyboard.

The limitations for me were:

1. No USB recording. You can use the midi to send data to your PC, but you won't be getting the wonderful Kawai sounds!
2. No screen at all - all adjustments have to be done by pressing a button and a piano key (even changing the sounds or transposing) - very confusing I thought.
3. Only 4 piano sounds.
4. No 'Virtual Technician', so you can only adjust damper resonance, reverb and brilliance.
5. Less powerful speaker system.

This is why I went for the CA63
Posted by: victthoe

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/13/13 10:26 PM

I would always recommend play-testing a keyboard action using your own fingers
Posted by: FredrikJ

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/14/13 01:58 AM

jarosujo,
Thanks for sharing. Have you ever played Kawai's RM3 or GH actions? How would you say you experience the RH versus the GH? (i.e. heavier/lighter, more responsive or whatever).

TrumpetMan,
Yeap, those are some of the limitations. CA65 would cost me 660 EUR more. That's the trade off between these two models. Did you ever consider something from the CN/CL lines instead of was an upgrade to CA63 in your case the "only option"?

Victoria,
Of course. I'll do that when I can (no dealer in town). In the mean time I'm harassing you smile
Posted by: TrumpetMan

Re: Bying an entry to mid-stage DP for an adult beginner - 01/14/13 04:18 AM

FredrikJ,

As I was trying to replace my old upright, I really wanted wooden keys.
I struck lucky finding a practically new 'ex-demo' CA63 for less than the new price of the CA13.