Seeking advice on digital purchase

Posted by: smmcroberts

Seeking advice on digital purchase - 01/26/13 12:55 AM

After five years of banging away on the piano I'm still a beginner. But I enjoy my struggles with the piano, and so will continue (thank goodness for headphones!)

I have a Yamaha YDP-223. It's okay, but recently I've been dreaming of something better: something with a real or close to real acoustic keyboard, and better sound. I tried routing the sound of my YDP-223 through the PianoTeq Stage software, and the added reverb made a pleasant difference. That doesn't do anything for the action, of course.

So I went to my local dealer and drooled for awhile over the AvantGrands. The N1, N2, and N3 are all exceptional, IMHO. But the prices: 7k, 11k, and 15k respectively (USD) are far beyond what I could afford (or even justify spending on a hobby.)

So now I'm looking at the Kawai CA series (65 and 95) and possibly the CN34. Has anyone compared the CA95 to the AvantGrand N2? (Or the CA65 to the N1?) From what I've been able to gather (not having visited a Kawai dealer yet) I'm guessing the CA95 is around 4k. That's a price I might be able to afford and justify. The CA series appears to have enough bells and whistles along with a realistic touch and great sounds to motivate me to practice myself out of the beginner level someday.

The Kawai MP10 is also something I might consider, since it's under 3k. Besides the cabinet, what would I be giving up by going with an MP10 rather than a CA65?

Finally: with real wood keys (except for the plastic keys on the CN34) does humidity (or lack thereof) become an issue? When I was taking lessons my instructor's grand piano keys would stick in high humidity, and this was very annoying to me. She didn't have A/C though, so maybe my central A/C would alleviate the issue?
Posted by: HisKidd

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 01/26/13 09:34 AM

Originally Posted By: smmcroberts
After five years of banging away on the piano I'm still a beginner. But I enjoy my struggles with the piano, and so will continue (thank goodness for headphones!)

I have a Yamaha YDP-223. It's okay, but recently I've been dreaming of something better: something with a real or close to real acoustic keyboard, and better sound. I tried routing the sound of my YDP-223 through the PianoTeq Stage software, and the added reverb made a pleasant difference. That doesn't do anything for the action, of course.

So I went to my local dealer and drooled for awhile over the AvantGrands. The N1, N2, and N3 are all exceptional, IMHO. But the prices: 7k, 11k, and 15k respectively (USD) are far beyond what I could afford (or even justify spending on a hobby.)

So now I'm looking at the Kawai CA series (65 and 95) and possibly the CN34.

The Kawai MP10 is also something I might consider, since it's under 3k. Besides the cabinet, what would I be giving up by going with an MP10 rather than a CA65?



smmcroberts...
You should take a look at the Kawai MP6. The MP6 gets consistently high marks; has great keyboard action; has many more onboard sounds than the MP10; and the cost is approximately $1400 USD! It serves great as a controller, and the construction is rock solid. Looks great and plays great. I have read all the MP6 reviews here at Piano World. Some posters do not like the piano sounds, but I am not one of them. I personally love the sounds of the MP6. I have played the MP6 daily for two years now, and have never had a problem. There are fine tuning adjustments galore (cuttoff; attack; decay; release); you can layer up to 4 sounds at one time; and adjust them individually. All in all, a great board for studio and gigging (weighs considerable less than the MP10) that's hard to beat for the price. As to the sound, you might want to check out Tim Praskins on Sonic Cloud. There are great examples there of the MP6 played as a stand alone piano as well as a mixer for a variety of layered sounds.
https://soundcloud.com/tim-praskins
Best of luck to you on your purchase!
H.K. cool
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 01/26/13 10:17 AM

I would listen to and touch a Roalmd HP-505, Yamaha CLP 470 and Kawai CA-65. You will already based on the sound limit to a certain brand. Then within your brand of choice, check which keyboard you prefer. Then look if they have different models with that keyboard (and sound) and decide according to your taste.
Posted by: Clayman

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 01/26/13 11:16 AM

At the moment, I believe Kawai CA-65/95 are pretty much the top of what the digital piano market has to offer at that price point in terms of key action and feature-richness. These models have been on the market for just several months, unlike the CLP, which were introduced sometime in 2011.

Damp environment could be a problem for pianos with wooden keys, though, and your experience with your teacher's grand clearly confirms that. I'd make sure the room where I'd keep and use the piano is dry enough.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 01/26/13 04:41 PM

Yes, technically the CAs are up to date. The Kawai (and Yamaha) sound is very bright, though Not everybody's taste. The CA-95 has a lot of fans here, and it can be concluded from their posts, that especially at louder volumes it makes points. The CA-65 is not the same as the CA-95 in that respect, and I personally compared once the CA-65 with an HP-505 and there the 505 to me sounded to have much more soul. Also the keys of the 505 are much lighter, like in some very expensive grands, while the Yamahas and Kawais are more heavy, in my opinion closer to what we know from cheaper uprights. However, the heavier resitant keys can help with the expression.
I would really recommend to not speak about better or worse if comparing these top DPs of the different brand. It is rather a question of taste, about which only a visit in a store for personal comparison can lead to a good decision, but not a statistics about how many forum members express their preference. By the way, I own the 505, and am very happy with the main piano sound and keyboard. It has its drawbacks as well, which you can read about in my former posts in detail.
Posted by: smmcroberts

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 02/04/13 08:16 AM

Thanks, all for the responses.
I did pay a visit to my local dealer, and tried out both the CA-65 and the Rolands (thanks for steering me in that direction, Marco M).
I liked the Rolands better for their light touch. I think I'm also shying away from wooden keys.
What greatly grabbed my attention was the Roland HPi-7f. I really like the built-in software and the big screen monitor for lessons and play-alongs. However, I did suffer from sticker-shock. The dealer would go as low as $7,200 (USD) for a floor model.

That would take me four years to save up for, so now I'm thinking: why not buy the HP-505 and hook it up to software on my notebook PC instead? I don't currently see anything as nice as the DigiScore software built into the HPi-7f (the MusicNotes player from MusicNotes.com comes close, but only works with music you buy from them: not midi files). But being a computer programmer, I could possibly write something to suit myself.

Does anyone know a fair price for the HP-505?
Posted by: MacMacMac

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 02/04/13 10:47 AM

At pianobuyer.com, information on the HP505 shows an MSRP of $4599 and an estimated price of $3799.

The prices-paid thread shows the prices posted by board members.
There are not many entries for the Roland HP series, and only one for the Roland HP505:
A member in Spain bought one for €2060 ($2695 USD) in July 2012.

BTW, where are you located?
Posted by: smmcroberts

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 02/04/13 11:53 AM

Thanks, Mac. I'm in Minnesota.
Posted by: personne

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 02/04/13 12:07 PM

I purchased HP-507RW in Toronto in November 2012 for 3600+tax, bench and headphones included (asking price was 3900-4200+tax).
The asking price for HP-505 was 3100-3200+tax at the time, and I believe one could negotiated down to 2900.
This is for satin finish, polished ebony is almost $700 more.
If you can afford 507 and the room the piano will be staying is quite big, go for 507, not 505 - 507 gives some sound improvements, and it also fill larger space with the sound better than 505 (in fact, it is not enough frown for 11ft x 21 ft open space living room).
Posted by: smmcroberts

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 02/04/13 12:19 PM

Hmmm... according to pianobuyer.com the $7,200 for the HPi-7f is way too high. If I'm reading it right, it has a MSRP of $5,999 (and a minimum price of $4,499). Could my dealer seriously be bumping it up this much, and expecting to get away with it!?
Posted by: personne

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 02/04/13 12:51 PM

HPi-7 is equivalent of HP-307 + educational functions, I believe.
There is a newer model HPi-50 now, HPi-7 should not cost that much.
I saw HPi-6 at 3500 at a store, HPi-7 is somewhat higher.

But you can always buy HP-507 or 505 & Ipad for educational functions.
Posted by: Charles Cohen

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 02/04/13 01:32 PM

Check the "virtual pianos" for their CPU and memory requirements.

You may need a different computer. Compared to the piano's cost, it'll be small.

. charles
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 02/04/13 03:07 PM

If interested in the educational features, then you can get the "Piano Partner" from Roland, which seems to be almost the same software than what is built into the HPi-7 (as far as I can judge from commercials and technical specs; haven´t ever seen the HPi-7 or the "Piano Partner" software life).
The "Piano Partner" should be free of costs! But it only runs on iPad. So far I have not seen availability for any other platform.
But keep in mind that the Piano Partner does not work with all models of Roland, and the most interisting feature for you might only run on the HP-507, but not on the 505 (they block certain functions when connected to the 'cheaper' models)!!! Please go and check for the Piano Partner specs yourself...
If the HP-507 + Piano Partner + iPad + Roland WiFi-connector would indeed do the same as the HPi7 (waht I assume), then this pack will be still much cheaper than a single HPi-7. And you will have the iPad also for other things, then.
In last summer, they even gave you an iPad for free at the dealers, if you bought an 507! Not sure if something like this is still somewhere offered.
Posted by: Amaruk

Re: Seeking advice on digital purchase - 02/04/13 07:58 PM

Originally Posted By: smmcroberts

I liked the Rolands better for their light touch.


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