Digital Pianos

Posted by: Ben Foo

Digital Pianos - 02/01/04 08:30 AM

Hi Guys! I really need help in the area of digital pianos and stuff as im totally new to it. I currently have a RX-3 Grand which im enjoying it very much! :)However, as i live in an apartment, i cant really use it at night as its way too loud. Thus, im in the market looking for a digital piano that has a sound or action as close to an acoustic piano as possible.I can then practise in the night by plugging in headphones! I've got a few questions which i hope you guys can help out. Thanks in advance!

1) Whats the difference between a 'Digital Piano' , 'stage piano' and a synth? e.g the Kawai L1, Mp9500 and Yamaha s08.I tried them all and they all have weighted keys. So is there any real difference between all of them? Im really confused.

2)ANy recommendations? my budget is between 1000-1500 US.

3) The salesman said that i can get any digital piano with a pc link capability and with the midi sounds downloaded onto that pc, i can connect the pc to the keyboard and use 'that' midi sound instead of the default sounds provided. Is this true?

Really appreciate and help given.
Posted by: JDWooWoo

Re: Digital Pianos - 02/01/04 11:21 PM

1) Not the authoritative answer, but this is how I personally would delineate digital/stage/synth:
- Digital piano: weighted keys and built-in speakers
- Stage piano: weighted keys, but no speakers
- Synth: unweighted keys

Among weighted-key models there is a considerable difference in the *nature* of the weighting. Some are quite heavy to the touch, some light. Some have significant resistance throughout the keystroke, while others have most of the resistance at the beginning of the keystroke.

2) If touch is the most important thing to you, I'd recommend trying out the Yamaha P120 and the Roland FP5 which are both in your range. Both are reasonably firm, with the Yamaha being firmer. The Yamaha S08, Roland RD150, and Technics P50 are significantly mushier-feeling.

3) I believe you can indeed use sounds from your PC but my vague understanding is that it takes a rather powerful machine to do so. I am also not sure how you would do this unless the piano/synth has a USB port. Some models have MIDI ports only and I have no idea how to use them.
Posted by: SteveY

Re: Digital Pianos - 02/02/04 08:57 AM

Great answer JDWooWoo!

The only thing that I'd add is that there are keyboards that straddle the line between categories (as you might expect). For example, the Roland Fantom X6 or X7 falls squarely into the synth category (no speakers, no weighted keys). But the X8 (same keyboard with weighted keys) isn't exactly a stage piano with it's extensive sequencing and sampling abilities. And it's extensive piano sounds make it more than a typical synth as well. Of course I'm probably just ruining JDWooWoo's great answer by confusing things...

It might also be helpful to note that your budget is not going to give you an abundance of choices. There are certainly quality instruments to be had at that price point, but they are entry-level or near entry-level.
Posted by: Ben Foo

Re: Digital Pianos - 02/02/04 09:38 AM

O.k thanks so much for the replies. I am ruling out the YAmaha S08 as i dun really like the mushy feel of it.. i am considering the Yamaha P120 or the cheaper Kawai L1. ANyone has any opinions bout the L1? Oh yes, one more thing.. I tried a Yamaha upright with a silencer on it..not those fancy disklavier type but just a silencer with heaphone jacks plug in. GOsh it sounds so so so much nicer than any digital piano on the market. (Going to try the Roland one real soon and see whether it matches up). I mean they use Yamaha's CF111 Grand piano sound on the silencer and its real mind blowing.. However, i wont consider that option coz its way way beyong my budget. I thought of installing one on my current piano. Any good system to recommend? QRS or Pianodisc? ANy help appreciated. Thanks!!
Posted by: gryphon

Re: Digital Pianos - 02/03/04 08:07 PM

The P120 is nice if you need built-in speakers, the P90 if you don't. I read a side-by-side review of the two and, although I would have thought they'd have the same voices, the reviewer preferred the P90 and thought the P120 was harsher. I've toyed around with both in a store and didn't notice a difference. However, you cannot download voices into these from your computer. You've just got the built-in voices with alternates, so if you require the ability to customize the voices, you need a more expensive instrument.
Posted by: BronzeWomn

Re: Digital Pianos - 02/03/04 11:13 PM

I have a P120 and its a little harder to press down then my older acustic piano..I like it cause it keep me feeling the natural feel and weight of the acustic piano. I has the Stage, Hall 1, Hall 2, and Room on it. and nice sounds too.
Posted by: Piano_hack

Re: Digital Pianos - 02/06/04 02:33 PM

Ben - I was in the same situation as you. My Yamaha U1 upright is a great piano, but way too noisy for an apartment, especially late at night. So I just bought a Yamaha CLP-130 digital piano and I'm thrilled. It's not top of the line, but the feel is authentic enough and the sound (through headphones) believable enough that it makes an outstanding practice piano. After a few minutes at the keyboard, I forget it's digital. And the neighbors don't have to hear me practice my trills over and over and over again. I save the "performances" for them on my upright. I paid US $2,050 - which is higher than your budget, but you could also check out the CLP-120, which is cheaper, has not quite as many features or samples, but has the same action.
Posted by: ryan

Re: Digital Pianos - 02/07/04 10:07 AM

If I had to buy a dedicated stage piano, it would be hard to ignore the Yamaha P-250. It has an amazing sound, but it's heavy because of the built in speakers and amplifier. I just got set up with a Motif ES-8 with 1 Gig of sample RAM and I am using some large piano sample libraries with it that so far sound pretty darn good.

Ryan