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Let's Talk Digitals (Read 4395 times)

Offline ryankmfdm

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Let's Talk Digitals
« on: April 19, 2015, 06:20:08 PM »
 This is still a few months off, but I'm going to be looking to upgrade my digital piano fairly soon here. I've been playing a Korg SP-170S, which has served me pretty well, in spite of two major flaws: (1) noisy keys; and (2) no on-board metronome. So I'll definitely be interested in something that is an improvement in those two areas. In addition to that, I'd say if I had to choose between the two, a realistic action trumps a realistic sound. But obviously I'd like to avoid compromising on that if I can.

 So my question for you folks is this: what's the best digital you've ever played and/or owned? I've been mostly researching Korgs, Yamahas, and Kawais, but am wondering if there are any other brands I should investigate (Casio, maybe?). As things stand right now, the maximum amount I can spend is $1,500, but come August or so when I actually make the purchase that could be closer to $2,000.


Offline visitor

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #1 on: April 20, 2015, 09:34:33 AM »
For most considerations I have found the Kawai canny be v
Beat.  'Dat Action!

If you are looking to really consider all for "the best" then you may want to broadens the lia to include the Bluthners. The kids in that sandbox really know what they are doing too


Review and write up here. If I were buying a new one
These would be in my top2 or 3 list.  For sure
http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall14/131.html

Offline ryankmfdm

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #2 on: April 20, 2015, 10:59:58 PM »
 Thanks for the response!

 So we use Kawais in my piano class at school. I like everything about them, except I feel as though the action is a little on the lighter side. Have you noticed this in general about their keyboards? I'm fully aware it could just be the particular model we're using (the specific number of which I, unfortunately, do not have handy).

 The Bluthner looks pretty sweet, though it seems that they're not readily available in the good ol' US of A, so I'm not entirely sure how I'd go about acquiring one.

Offline liszt1022

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #3 on: April 21, 2015, 12:06:29 AM »
I love my Kawai CA65.

Offline themeandvariation

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #4 on: April 21, 2015, 04:43:10 AM »
i have a Kawai MP 9000 -- and I love it…  (was made in the late 1990's) ...The action feels so good… (real wooden keys!) .. No other keyboard i have played feels like this - by a long shot.
The piano sounds are quite excellent as well…  
http://xahmusic.org/piano/i/jl/kawai_mp9000_open.jpg
4'33"

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #5 on: April 21, 2015, 08:33:55 AM »
Thanks for the response!

 So we use Kawais in my piano class at school. I like everything about them, except I feel as though the action is a little on the lighter side. Have you noticed this in general about their keyboards? I'm fully aware it could just be the particular model we're using (the specific number of which I, unfortunately, do not have handy).

 The Bluthner looks pretty sweet, though it seems that they're not readily available in the good ol' US of A, so I'm not entirely sure how I'd go about acquiring one.

My Kawai MP6 action is slightly heavier than my grand pianos action ( around 60 grams in the mid range of the keyboard, the grand is 55)..

I like the action on the upper end Rolands ( $2000 up) and the Kawai stage pianos ( also in that price range). If you don't like light action I suggest you don't by a Casio, unless they really have made some very recent improvements, like yesterday or this morning..

To me sound is irrelevant though Kawai does a nice job and the replacement MP7 to my MP6 is supposed to be all the better. But where my Kawai is a stage piano it has no on board speakers, it's made to run through a sound system. It sounds good once you change the parameters from out of the box, it's tweekable in so many ways. But instead or most of the time I should say, I run Midi out through  a computer into Pianoteq software and have about 50 adjustable grand piano sounds that are much closer to the real thing when played out through a sound system. I actually run the C Bechstein the most and have it set to about 90-95% in tune ( you can adjust the tune from pristine condition to old broken down . This gives some realistic overtones and cuts the sterile digital sound that to me ALL digital pianos exhibit to some degree... Food for thought anyway ! You can use any midi capable keyboard and my next keyboard may be just that, a keyboard/controller..
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline visitor

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #6 on: April 21, 2015, 06:58:30 PM »
Thanks for the response!

 ...

 The Bluthner looks pretty sweet, though it seems that they're not readily available in the good ol' US of A, so I'm not entirely sure how I'd go about acquiring one.
I am not certain of this. I would inquire w/ a Bluthner piano dealer directly to see. They would be privy to how distributed and even in a limited supply scenario could probably special order or import one?

Offline ryankmfdm

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #7 on: April 22, 2015, 04:08:56 PM »
 OK, so I'll probably steer clear of Casios, then. I'm sort of getting the impression that Kawai is basically the industry standard.

To me sound is irrelevant though Kawai does a nice job and the replacement MP7 to my MP6 is supposed to be all the better. But where my Kawai is a stage piano it has no on board speakers, it's made to run through a sound system. It sounds good once you change the parameters from out of the box, it's tweekable in so many ways. But instead or most of the time I should say, I run Midi out through  a computer into Pianoteq software and have about 50 adjustable grand piano sounds that are much closer to the real thing when played out through a sound system. I actually run the C Bechstein the most and have it set to about 90-95% in tune ( you can adjust the tune from pristine condition to old broken down . This gives some realistic overtones and cuts the sterile digital sound that to me ALL digital pianos exhibit to some degree... Food for thought anyway ! You can use any midi capable keyboard and my next keyboard may be just that, a keyboard/controller..

So essentially what you're saying is I could buy a midi controller (basically a keyboard that can only be played through a computer) and this Pianoteq software and play it through my computer's speakers? Is there any other software I'd need? And how easy is it to find a midi keyboard that has a realistic action? I did a quick search, and this certainly seems like the most cost-effective option.

Offline michael_c

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #8 on: April 22, 2015, 06:24:20 PM »
So essentially what you're saying is I could buy a midi controller (basically a keyboard that can only be played through a computer) and this Pianoteq software and play it through my computer's speakers? Is there any other software I'd need? And how easy is it to find a midi keyboard that has a realistic action? I did a quick search, and this certainly seems like the most cost-effective option.

If you're happy using the computer and computer speakers, all you need to add would be:

MIDI controller with pedal unit: Kawai VPC-1 is usually considered the best for the piano action.
Stand for the controller
Pianoteq (no other software necessary)


Offline rangerx

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #9 on: April 22, 2015, 06:35:58 PM »
If you're happy using the computer and computer speakers, all you need to add would be:

MIDI controller with pedal unit: Kawai VPC-1 is usually considered the best for the piano action.
Stand for the controller
Pianoteq (no other software necessary)


the vpc1 is the best . it controls the sampled libraries in a superior way I have the roland fp80 also jump from one and the other, touch much different between the two , the Roland fp80 is modeled piano so you do have lots of expression, and lots of fun with the extras, If i can turn back time i would purchase the roland V-piano

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #10 on: April 24, 2015, 08:28:59 AM »
OK, so I'll probably steer clear of Casios, then. I'm sort of getting the impression that Kawai is basically the industry standard.

So essentially what you're saying is I could buy a midi controller (basically a keyboard that can only be played through a computer) and this Pianoteq software and play it through my computer's speakers? Is there any other software I'd need? And how easy is it to find a midi keyboard that has a realistic action? I did a quick search, and this certainly seems like the most cost-effective option.

The Kawai controller is probably the top controller to own right now. With the RM3 action and it's long wooden key cores it's the closest thing you will get in a digital controller presently, to a real grand piano feel from the keyboard. And a good sensor system to send fine midi signals to a program like Pianoteq. The experience should be fantastic.

However, till then and I think your Sp170 has midi out, I ( me personally because I can not speak for you) would start right away with Pianoteq if it has midi out.. It will breath new life into that old keyboard. You might need to upgrade your computer speaker system . I run Pianoteq out to a 10" Sub and to high quality Adam Audio studio monitors but it sounds pretty decent on my $69 computer speaker set too, which is a three speaker system that has a little woofer ( doesn't have quite the clarity or power of course but nice color). You can download the free trial, it blocks out a few keys and features till you purchase it but it will give you a good feeling of what it's about. And incidentally Pianoteq has a community support system ( I.E. forum).

I downloaded free trials of three virtual softwares and by far Pianoteq was best the sounding, most realistic with the least latency and it was nice it also was not the most expensive of the three for once in my life.. It is not a computer hog where many others are. Pianoteq uses very little computer power to do it's thing ( in fact Norton Security will come on while I'm playing and say it's doing background work). However, using common sense it can only be as good as the sound system you send it to. But in Pianoteq you can do some serious piano sound shaping that you just don't have the option of now in your SP170. You can set up different sounding pianos for different purposes, various music types and once you model a sound you like save that as one of your preset pianos. I have several now, about 4 different D4's, two C Bechsteins and about 4 K2's. I'm working o0n a wedding presentation now for the service and using one of the K2s for that ( it's a closed lid AB mic version that I built on back in about Dec). Much of my own personal music I create I do on that but my other common choice is a C. Bechstein ( beautiful, rich a little nasal to the sound).
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline bronnestam

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #11 on: April 24, 2015, 03:09:47 PM »
I have a digital baby grand, a Yamaha CLP 465GP. I have also tried the upright version of the same piano, and the follower, CLP 545 and they are all very, very good.

Two days ago I was practicing for a recital at a real grand piano, a very nice Kawai of bigger concert model, and my teacher was astonished to hear that I played so well. I told her that the action on this acoustic grand actually was very close to the action of my own digital model - and most of all, more close my digital than what her acoustic upright or her own simple digital are.
Of course there will always be a difference, but I think this says something about the quality anyway.

I also have the Pianoteq software, and I love it. It does not take up much space on your computer disc drive, and you can also adjust the parameters to get "less perfect" pianos, even pianos who are totally out of tune, with quirky pedals and all that. I am considering buying a Kawai VPC for the second home I will have next year. It seems to be a good choice. But I don't plan to pipe out the sound to anything but my computer headphones. Loudspeakers are a critical issue to every digital ... if you want a powerful and impressing sound, then I would definitely recommend an acoustic!

This is a recording I made yesterday on Pianoteq, with the setting of a Steinway D, "close mic" with some personal settings. I don't share the link for you to admire my musical abilities, but to demonstrate how it may sound.
https://soundcloud.com/christina-br-nnestam/a-maidens-prayer

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #12 on: April 25, 2015, 11:07:18 AM »
I have a digital baby grand, a Yamaha CLP 465GP. I have also tried the upright version of the same piano, and the follower, CLP 545 and they are all very, very good.

Two days ago I was practicing for a recital at a real grand piano, a very nice Kawai of bigger concert model, and my teacher was astonished to hear that I played so well. I told her that the action on this acoustic grand actually was very close to the action of my own digital model - and most of all, more close my digital than what her acoustic upright or her own simple digital are.
Of course there will always be a difference, but I think this says something about the quality anyway.

I also have the Pianoteq software, and I love it. It does not take up much space on your computer disc drive, and you can also adjust the parameters to get "less perfect" pianos, even pianos who are totally out of tune, with quirky pedals and all that. I am considering buying a Kawai VPC for the second home I will have next year. It seems to be a good choice. But I don't plan to pipe out the sound to anything but my computer headphones. Loudspeakers are a critical issue to every digital ... if you want a powerful and impressing sound, then I would definitely recommend an acoustic!

This is a recording I made yesterday on Pianoteq, with the setting of a Steinway D, "close mic" with some personal settings. I don't share the link for you to admire my musical abilities, but to demonstrate how it may sound.
https://soundcloud.com/christina-br-nnestam/a-maidens-prayer
bronnestam, that's beautiful ! There is nothing more to say about it, except maybe I'm envious of your timing skill.. The piano sounds wonderful .

You brought up the detuning feature of Pianoteq. I use the out of tune function on the C Bechstein or one of the C. Bechsteins I have created, I have it detuned about maybe 5-7 % or so. It gets rid of the total sterility of digital ( too in tune , no real acoustic could get "that" in tune), which that purity can introduce a type of fake sound as such. It's something the ear is not used to hearing. You need just a touch of that clash introduced, IMO.. Or at least the C. Bechstein needs it. Even at 15-20% detuned it's still very playable but you then start to get a little growl going on or groaning sound i8n the mid lower register..

I have no trouble getting lots of vrooom out of my system, LOL ! But I'm not doing it with computer speakers.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline ryankmfdm

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #13 on: May 08, 2015, 11:33:01 PM »
 Hey, everyone, sorry for the late response. I've been crazy slammed with school lately.

 As of right now, I'm kinda leaning towards either the Kawai MP7 or the Roland FP-80. Each costs a little more than I was hoping to spend, but if I live a tad more frugally for the next couple months, I should be able to swing it. To be completely honest, I'm not crazy about the idea of needing to be hooked up to a computer to play. And I think most keyboards these days have MIDI out ports, anyway, right? So I could still always go the Pianoteq route later.

Offline rangerx

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #14 on: May 16, 2015, 10:14:13 AM »
should you get the FP80 let me know if have problems getting that sound there is an odd way of getting results

Offline ryankmfdm

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #15 on: May 16, 2015, 07:21:30 PM »
 I think I'll more than likely go with the Kawai, mostly for financial reasons. But if I'm able to save enough for the Roland, I definitely will do! Appreciate it.

Offline ryankmfdm

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #16 on: June 03, 2015, 09:18:38 PM »
Just to update everyone, I pulled the trigger on the MP7 about a week ago. I'm loving it so far. I've only been playing through headphones, but it sounds great. The action is a little heavier than my Korg, which is good, 'cause I'd prefer the action on my digital to be a little on the heavier side, anyway. The keys feel awesome--they did a good job with making them feel like ivory. They are, however, a little noisy. As of right now, it's almost imperceptible, so I'm hoping it doesn't get worse over time. (This, as some of you may recall, was one of my biggest gripes with the Korg.)

All in all, very pleased with the purchase! Thanks for the recommendations, people.

Offline jimbo320

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #17 on: June 04, 2015, 02:40:27 PM »
Before you make up your mind you should check out these two Yamahas. I use both the CP5 and CP4 on stage and swear by them. Either one will give you what you're looking for...
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Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #18 on: June 13, 2015, 05:55:48 PM »
Congratulations to the OP, glad you found something you like !!

On my continuing venture for true piano sounds with a digital piano and hook up capability as well, I've now added an audio interface ( Focusrite 2i4). I'm never turning back, the clarity alone was more than worth the investment, not to mention better volume control on a laptop with limited sound card capability.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline minor9th

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #19 on: July 28, 2015, 08:02:37 PM »
I have a digital baby grand, a Yamaha CLP 465GP. I have also tried the upright version of the same piano, and the follower, CLP 545 and they are all very, very good.

That's comforting, as a CLP 545 is high on my list to try out. I'm sure anything will beat my Casio CTK-6000!

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #20 on: July 28, 2015, 08:40:05 PM »


plz post your updated thoughts on the MP7 when you have had for it a little while


thinking about that model myself and I would appreciate your review.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #21 on: July 29, 2015, 08:45:38 AM »
Just to update everyone, I pulled the trigger on the MP7 about a week ago. I'm loving it so far. I've only been playing through headphones, but it sounds great. The action is a little heavier than my Korg, which is good, 'cause I'd prefer the action on my digital to be a little on the heavier side, anyway. The keys feel awesome--they did a good job with making them feel like ivory. They are, however, a little noisy. As of right now, it's almost imperceptible, so I'm hoping it doesn't get worse over time. (This, as some of you may recall, was one of my biggest gripes with the Korg.)

All in all, very pleased with the purchase! Thanks for the recommendations, people.

I know the MP7 action is one up on my MP6 but I can say on my MP6 there is a little rebound noise. We have a Pastor who plays piano just about well enough to accompany his lead singing in worship music ( he plays chords in time rapping out a beat). He knows how to do that just one way: pound the keys, compensating by turning the volume way down from where I keep it at. On my piano I can hear that rebound as his hands are up off the keys to hit the next chord. I can't say that this has gotten any better with his workouts nor any worse. The feel of the action is good ( as you say, slightly heavy but I must say not as heavy as my teachers Steinway S was decades ago but around 6-8 grams heavier than my own grands keys are), I suspect your MP7 when  3 years into ownership, as my MP6 is approaching, will remain as it is now as my MP6 has which I play on a lot, compose on etc. Several hours in any given day is pretty typical. So if you can stand the noise now you probably will then too. In my case the noise really can't be heard over the playing volume, it can be heard if someone else plays with headphones as I sit ion the room without headphones on but then the piano is virtually silent of tone in the room, no real grand without a silent system is played that way so who knows what they might sound like .

Anyway, for me that rebound noise is a small thing. It in no way affects my playing experience.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline kingston2013

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #22 on: August 03, 2015, 01:31:16 PM »
Did you already buy a new digital piano? There are many great ones in the $1,500 - $2,000 range. But I think you could easily find a model that suits your criteria and is maybe a few hundred dollars under your budget. And yes, you should check out Casio's Privia range as well. A new model, that you should strongly consider is the Casio PX860, which you can find discounted, around the $1000 mark. There are multiple options that fit your requirements. You should definitely check out some of the best digital pianos under $2000 before making your final decision.

Offline minor9th

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #23 on: August 06, 2015, 08:15:47 PM »
I'm contemplating buying a Yamaha CLP 545 or 575 to replace my Casio WK 6500. It will need to sit in the middle of the room rather than up against a wall since I don't have enough wall space. Is that an appropriate placement? I know acoustic uprights need to be placed against a wall to sound their best.

Offline minor9th

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #24 on: August 13, 2015, 04:38:52 PM »
I'm contemplating buying a Yamaha CLP 545 or 575 to replace my Casio WK 6500. It will need to sit in the middle of the room rather than up against a wall since I don't have enough wall space. Is that an appropriate placement? I know acoustic uprights need to be placed against a wall to sound their best.

Never mind--I figured out how to gain enough wall space for an acoustic upright--now the search begins!

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Let's Talk Digitals
«Reply #25 on: August 14, 2015, 08:18:48 AM »
Nice, enjoy ! Half the fun is looking.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.