Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice

Posted by: snowcat

Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/24/04 12:06 PM

Hi Everyone,

I've been browsing the forum and I realize that most of my questions have probably been answered somewhere, in some form, but I'm still confused about some things and would appreciate any advice on the kinds of digital pianos I might want to consider (around $2000 would be reasonable for me).

-I'm primarily a classical player, so "authentic" piano feel and sound are most important to me. I see that Roland and Yamaha are probably the most popular, and I'll probably just need to test them to see what I like best.

-I'm not really concerned with appearance, so I assume a stage piano would be fine. Are stands for stage pianos readily available, or will I have to rig up a desk or table or something myself? Cost of stands?

-I don't know anything about audio set-ups...will I be able to hook up my little Paradigm Atom speakers to the piano, through my fairly cheap-o receiver (one of those Aiwa mini-systems)?

-I'm also interested in using the digital piano for composition. My previous experience with digital composition (6 years ago) was with Kurzweiler 2000 keyboards, I think, and Digital Performer--I loved it. What would I need in a digital piano to be able to do similar things (with Digital Performer...if that's still a good choice for sequencing software)? Do I need to make sure the piano has lots of MIDI sounds, or can I just get these through the computer? Not sure how all this works nowadays...with digital pianos... Oh yeah, do I need 128-note polyphony for composition projects?

-Any other advice? How much does a basic piano bench cost?

thanks a lot!
snowcat
Posted by: p120Man

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/24/04 01:10 PM

Yamaha P120. It has superb Acoustic Pianos and a Superb Action.
Posted by: Jeff Bauer

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/24/04 01:47 PM

I would say get a piano that acts as a controller, like a P120, or whatever else you like.

Use a seperate "module" for the extra sounds (16 part multitimbral, which the P120 is NOT) .

my feeling is that you can get a better piano sound out of a digital piano that is primarily designed to sound/feel like an acoustic. Most weighted keyboards (like my triton, or K2000, or numerous other things I have owned in the past) don't have a very authentic piano sound (or feel for that matter)
Posted by: Torley Wong

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/24/04 02:46 PM

Hammer-weighted feel is very peculiar and subject to scrutinous personal preference so make sure you try before you buy.

Yamaha has a lead because, obviously, they make acoustic pianos too (albeit in a different division).

And yes... what Angelino Jazzer said is true. The primary focus of an instrument matters, and for a Triton, you have to get an expansion board to get better piano sounds as opposed to starting cheap-and-easy out of the box. # of megabytes used for the samples correlates to how authentic it might sound, but skillful programming behind-the-scenes is also part of it.

GeneralMusic, another company, manufactures some reputedly very good digital pianos -- but they are not distributed commonly in the States, it seems.

However, Yamaha P120 is a recognized market leader like p120Man mentioned. Especially if you already like acoustic Yamaha pianos. I'm not sure what the samples are based on or if there will be a new model coming out come right now (summer NAMM) or in the winter, but check around, check around... and oh yes:

Try before you buy \:D
Posted by: Stevester

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/25/04 04:34 AM

Make sure you really dig into the past threads on this topic. You will find the Yamaha P250 appears to be the current favorite.

Have fun,
Steve
Posted by: mark2048

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/25/04 04:26 PM

The yamaha p250 has a great sounding speaker system built-in, but it makes the whole thing rather heavy. It has a great piano sound and feel.

It has a built-in basic 16 track sequencer which may be enough for you depending on how you use it. It's missing most of the editing features of a dedicated sequencer or software. It can store hundreds of different songs on it's internal memory.

The size of the p250 can be an advantage in that it's got a perfect spot to set a laptop computer on which you could then use for more sophisticated midi sequencing. You could also set a hardware sequencer on there.

I got mine for $1850 before tax (just the p250, no stand or bench).
Posted by: RandomThoughts

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/27/04 08:44 AM

When I tested P120 vs. P250 side by side, I vastly preferred the P250's sound (I was using a headset).

The feel was the same, though, and the P250 was about 2x the price.

I went with the P250, though I hate it's added weight and size. The P90 is supposed to sound just as good, though I don't know if it has a sequencer.

Strangely, the price of these things are much more expensive in Canada. I'm told (by a third party) that there are customs that affect digital pianos that don't affect acoustic ones (sucky Free Trade never works for me!)

The quik lok stand was pretty cheap, though: $120CAN for the WS 550.
Posted by: SteveY

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/27/04 07:28 PM

 Quote:
with Digital Performer...if that's still a good choice for sequencing software)?
I use Digital Performer. In fact, I have a love/hate relationship with it. The program is great. MOTU (Mark Of The Unicorn) is extremely innovative and has consistently created powerful tools. However, dealing with MOTU as a company is just nightmare-ish!!! Their tech support is practically nonexistent, and only made worse by their arrogant corporate culture. I've had nothing but problems with them over the years. Quite honestly, if there was a compelling reason to switch, I would in a heartbeat. But until that reason becomes clear, I'm sticking with DP.
Posted by: ryan

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/28/04 03:05 PM

I use Sonar for MIDI sequencing and Samplitude for audio.

Ryan
Posted by: signa

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/28/04 09:49 PM

check out Yamaha's PF500 for around $2000-2200. you could search it online, there are several sites selling it.
Posted by: snowcat

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/29/04 10:23 PM

thanks for all the advice so far. i'll post again after i go out and test-play some instruments!

snowcat
Posted by: helenh

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/30/04 06:33 AM

I have the Yamaha PF500 mentioned by signa and I love it. It came with its own stand and a bench. I am in Australia so cant give US prices. I'm a classical player who moved over from a lower end older Yamaha acoustic.
Posted by: pianobrit

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/30/04 12:18 PM

Definitly a yamaha if your going for a real piano sound. Yamaha makes the most piano-like keyboards. Rolands are good too, they're probobly the best when it comes to sounds and stuff like that. I just bought a Yamaha P90 (i needed something portable) and it is the best keyboard I ever had.
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 07/31/04 03:22 PM

If you check the Yamaha web site you will see that they offer a table \ stand for their stage models that gives the piano have a better 'home' appearance than a Quiklok (or after market) 'stage' stand. (I'm sure Roland offers the same as well.)

If you can go to a very large piano store and you will be amazed what is being offered. If you want a real grand action coupled with a first rate piano sound you might want to look into the GranTouch models offered by Yamaha.
Posted by: snowcat

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 08/10/04 12:55 PM

Well, after driving myself crazy playing a bunch of different digital pianos (mostly Roland and Yamaha), I narrowed my choices down to the Roland RD700 and the Yamaha P250. I decided to go for the P250--it seemed like the best overall package in my price range (good sound & action, built-in speakers, sequencer, USB port, all the pedal ports, 128-note polyphony, etc.)--a hefty price, but a very exciting new toy!

The action was a little tough for me at first--I haven't played regularly in about 5 years (the time I've been saving up to buy this!), and I'm used to uprights moreso than grands (which I really think this piano mimics amazingly!), so, with my weak fingers, I was missing repeated notes on mordents. But, then I found the "light" setting, which works perfectly for me.

For those interested, I paid $1995 before tax, and they threw in a stand, a nice padded bench, an extra pedal, and a couple other little things I needed. I was really tempted to order online or drive (from Seattle) down to Oregon (no sales tax), but decided not to go through the hassle. The freebies made up for the tax, I guess.

snowcat
Posted by: helenh

Re: Digital Piano choices and sequencing advice - 08/11/04 03:47 AM

Congratulations. Hope you enjoy your new toy.
Try the medium touch setting after a few weeks-you may be surprised with how your fingers strengthen up. I did and I was