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  1. #1
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Default Digital Piano / keyboard

    This may be a bit of a long shot, but does anyone here know anything about digital pianos or keyboards?

    I've been taking piano lessons for about a year. I currently own a Casio PX-200. It's a decent keyboard, but I think I'm outgrowing it, and I would like to upgrade.

    An acoustic piano isn't an option, as I don't feel like getting shot at by my neighbors in my apartment. I have about $3,000 I'm willing to put into a digital solution if I find an option I really like, but I'm not sure if I should:

    1. Get a high end digital piano like the Yamaha Clavinova CLP-340 or Roland HP-207.
    2. Get a nice stage piano like the Kawai MP5 or Yamaha S90ES.
    3. Ingenious option 3 I have not considered yet.
    4. Keep the PX-200, but buy studio monitors, laptop, and awesome software like Ivory or Pianotec.
    5. Keep what I have and suck it up a bit longer.


    Does anyone have any thoughts or advice on this surely life or death matter?

    Once I get a bit deeper into theory I will likely want to play around with various effects and sounds, but that isn't a real priority.

  2. #2
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    I don't know a whole lot about keyboards, but a friend of mine had a great Nord keyboard, and I loved playing it. The sounds were really wonderfully accurate, from the regular piano to the electronic and organ sounds. Plus, it's red.
    Something Witty

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    I like option 3 quite a lot... particularly if it's finding a way to make an acoustic piano an option. I've never played a keyboard's piano patch and not been disappointed and mostly unmotivated to play, but in fairness that's usually been on keyboards that weren't made to be primarily used as electric pianos.

    If it's not a possibility though, while I've not been in the market for some time, it seems to me that you shouldn't have to spend anywhere too close to $3,000. Particularly if you've only been playing for a year... it's hard for me to imagine anything near that expensive being the best option. But, like I said, I haven't priced these things in a few years.

    I gotta say the laptop and software option is definitely appealing, especially if you want to play around with that sort of thing later. Of course though, I'd only do that if I was alright with spending all of the time learning how to use everything and finding the sounds you want and all. I've never played around with that stuff just because I get weary of it quickly and would prefer to just have a solid patch that I can sit down and play, but if you're the type that likes that sort of thing, it could certainly give you tons of versatility in the future.

    Anyway, I hope you find something that works well for you.
    "There are no answers, only choices."
    -Jennifer

  4. #4
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    I don't know a whole lot about keyboards, but a friend of mine had a great Nord keyboard, and I loved playing it. The sounds were really wonderfully accurate, from the regular piano to the electronic and organ sounds. Plus, it's red.
    Something like this?

    Wow, that's right at my price ceiling. It's also very impressive. And red. If someone tells me I sucked, I would just retort, "Yeah, but my keyboard is red. Red."

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott View Post
    I like option 3 quite a lot... particularly if it's finding a way to make an acoustic piano an option. I've never played a keyboard's piano patch and not been disappointed and mostly unmotivated to play, but in fairness that's usually been on keyboards that weren't made to be primarily used as electric pianos.

    If it's not a possibility though, while I've not been in the market for some time, it seems to me that you shouldn't have to spend anywhere too close to $3,000. Particularly if you've only been playing for a year... it's hard for me to imagine anything near that expensive being the best option. But, like I said, I haven't priced these things in a few years.

    I gotta say the laptop and software option is definitely appealing, especially if you want to play around with that sort of thing later. Of course though, I'd only do that if I was alright with spending all of the time learning how to use everything and finding the sounds you want and all. I've never played around with that stuff just because I get weary of it quickly and would prefer to just have a solid patch that I can sit down and play, but if you're the type that likes that sort of thing, it could certainly give you tons of versatility in the future.

    Anyway, I hope you find something that works well for you.
    Man, I'd love to get a real piano. Trust me, I'd be willing to put alot more money into a nice acoustic. However, that's not an option as long as I'm in an apartment.

    I know that $3,000 is alot of money but the digital pianos that were in the $2,000 or less range weren't worth the upgrade, in my opinion. The CLP-340 and Roland HP-207 are the only two that I really liked, and they are about $2,500 and $3,000 respectively.

    But yeah, the laptop and upgraded speakers seem to be a pretty tempting option, doesn't it? I could probably get a laptop, monitors, amp, and piano software for about $1,500. And from the sounds of it, some of that piano software is incredible.

  5. #5
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Yes, exactly like that! That's the one my friend had, and I totally fell in love with it. I play piano, and am usually dissatisfied with keyboard sounds but I loooooved that one. And it is indeed red. You cannot suck on a red keyboard. That is a truthfact.
    Something Witty

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kyrielle's Avatar
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    Hmm, my brother has some Yamaha model (and the price range at the time--5 years ago--was probably about $400-500). I don't know which one it was exactly and it's probably obsolete by now, but it sounds very close to an acoustic piano.

    He seems happy enough with it as it will do what he needs it to do: sound and play like an acoustic piano, and allow him to record a section of him playing so he can play it back and listen objectively.

    I would support you going digital, especially if you find one that sounds how you wish it to sound. It'll never replace acoustic, but it's a lot more versatile when it comes to living conditions (headphones, anyone?). I'm sure by now, hooking the keyboard to the computer is commonplace, so playing around with sounds would be easier as well. I bet a couple of models might even come with software.
    "I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference."

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  7. #7
    Feelin' FiNe speculative's Avatar
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    What are your needs? Piano sounds only, and the best piano sounds possible or "good enough" sounds? How much do you know about VSTs/software instruments?

    Some resources that might be useful:
    KVR: Virtual Instruments, Virtual Effects, VST Plugins, Audio Units (AU), DirectX (DX), Universal Binary Compatibility - Audio Plugin News, Reviews and Community
    Studio-Central Community • Index page
    Forum - FORUM INDEX
    Harmony Central Musician Community Forums
    electro-music.com :: View Forum - Nord stage

    At any rate, an instrument with both velocity and aftertouch will be most expressive. However, if you go the software route and the software does not support aftertouch, having a hardware controller (keyboard) will not be any better than one without aftertouch...

    Cheers.
    "How can I be, all I want to be,
    When all I want to do is strip away these stilled constraints
    And crush this charade, shred this sad, masquerade"
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  8. #8
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    Wow, yeah that does sound really good. And those digital pianos look pretty great from what I quickly found from a google search too.

    My favorite of the three is easily the Roland, but I suppose that's to be expected given price and all.

    My two biggest concerns when trying out a keyboard or a digital piano would usually be whether pitches sustain and how the keys feel. I hate playing a keyboard where the notes don't sustain like you want and expect them to and I usually wind up trying to compensate for the dead space and play too busy. And on the keyboard I play at my church, they tried to make the action like a piano, but really, really failed. I think I might prefer they'd not weighted the keys at all. The Roland sounds like its pitches sustain very well, and it looks like they at least tried pretty hard to get the feel right.

    Anyway, that's what I'd be thinking about if I were deciding between them, so if that helps...

    Just make sure you take your time in choosing one and make sure you're going to be satisfied with it over time. I've made the mistake of buying to hastily before. It seems like you're already doing that pretty well anyway though. Hope it works out for you.
    "There are no answers, only choices."
    -Jennifer

  9. #9
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Well, I went to Guitar Center and tried a few of their stage pianos - in particular the Yamaha S90ES and Roland 700GX.

    These things are very nice, very expensive, and way over my head. I need to learn more about theory and the types of music I'd want to create and play before I'd step up to one of these. One day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrielle View Post
    I bet a couple of models might even come with software.
    It wouldn't surprise me. The world of stage pianos is quite sophisticated indeed. Thanks for your thoughts.

    Quote Originally Posted by speculative View Post
    What are your needs? Piano sounds only, and the best piano sounds possible or "good enough" sounds? How much do you know about VSTs/software instruments?
    Well, I already have a Casio PX-200. The feel is OK, but the piano sounds are not. I don't expect perfection from a digital piano, but the sounds are bad enough that they are holding me back. Since this is an upgrade, I'd like something better than just "good enough", but they don't need to be best of the best, necessarily. However, I'd rather pay for better piano sounds vs more sounds.

    As for VSTs, consider me 100% newbie. From the looks of it, I'd need a USB audio interface box to connect the keyboard to the computer (~$200), a pair of studio monitors ($400+), a computer, and a VST. Am I on the right track?

    Thanks for the links... I'll peruse them to see if there is some good beginner's advice.

    At any rate, an instrument with both velocity and aftertouch will be most expressive. However, if you go the software route and the software does not support aftertouch, having a hardware controller (keyboard) will not be any better than one without aftertouch...
    Wow, I didn't even think of that. Am I correct in thinking that piano sounds aren't affected by aftertouch?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott View Post
    The Roland sounds like its pitches sustain very well, and it looks like they at least tried pretty hard to get the feel right.
    I agree. When I played the CLP-340, my fingers were screaming digital. I can tell it's essentially an upgraded version of my PX-300. The Roland still didn't feel like an acoustic, but the escapement adds a subtle touch that feels better to me. Also, the string resonance on the Roland is a nice touch. I have to spring for the $6,000ish $4,500ish CLP-380 to get the feature with the Yamaha's.
    Last edited by Udog; 03-06-2009 at 12:06 PM. Reason: Fixed CLP-380 Price, although it's still too friggin expensive.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Willfrey's Avatar
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    Personally I'd probably just go on craigslist and opt for a cheapo 88 key digita w/sustain, I picked up a Yamaha DGX-500 (barely used) for $300. From all the digitals I've sampled none really compare against a real piano, if you ever plan on moving out I'd just hold onto your money and put it towards something very nice, perhaps.. an Ebony Grand?
    ...Then I ducked my head and the lights went out, and two guns blazed in the dark;
    And a woman screamed, and the lights went up, and two men lay stiff and stark...

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