You are here

76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby moo the magic cow » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:35 am

I like the Nord Electro 3 and the Korg SV1 but their standard acoustic piano sounds are mediocre. I feel that at that price point, good sounding wurlitzer, hammond b3 and acoustic piano samples aren't out of the question, but I can't find that combination.

The closest thing I've found is the Yamaha CP50, but its organ controls are nonexistent and its electric pianos could be better. I'm really after something with more than 61 keys as I'm finding it pretty limiting.
User avatar
moo the magic cow
Regular
Posts: 231
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:00 pm

Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby Dave B » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:58 am

Look at the Kurzweil PC3. 'nuff said
User avatar
Dave B
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2935
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Maidenhead

Veni, Vidi, Aesculi

(I came, I saw, I conkered)


Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby The Elf » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:08 am

Dave B wrote:Look at the Kurzweil PC3. 'nuff said

+1 ...and the older K-series. I use Moog, Hammond, Mellotron, etc. sounds all the time and if I can't create it with the K's synthesis I can load it in from a sample library. The standard K piano is gorgeous.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9931
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK

An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.


Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby moo the magic cow » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:36 am

Wow. This really seems like the perfect match, cheaper & simpler than yamaha's motif. Thanks so much.

So I'm guessing the Nord's biggest strength is its portability/weight?
User avatar
moo the magic cow
Regular
Posts: 231
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:00 pm

Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby Slasher » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:31 am

For me, Nord have the best sounds all round. Have you tried all of the acoustic pianos that can be downloaded for the electro? Also the electro's waterfall keyboard is not ideal for piano sounds.

You should try and get to play a Nord Stage or Nord Piano before making a decision. The Nord sounds come to life when played from the weighted keyboard of the bigger Nord models.

I'm less a fan of Kurzweil gear. I find their instruments confusing to operate and I don't really like the piano sounds, but I appreciate these things are subjective.
Slasher
Poster
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:00 am

Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:44 pm

I'm a Nord Stage (mk1) owner and although the original piano samples weren't outstanding, they were actually quite playable and worked very well live.

The subsequent, updated and expanded range of piano samples has really moved things forward though -- I just which the original Stage models could be upgraded to take advantage of them fully without having to displace other sample sets from the memory.

hugh
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 16766
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Worcestershire, UK

Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby Slasher » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:15 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I'm a Nord Stage (mk1) owner and although the original piano samples weren't outstanding, they were actually quite playable and worked very well live.

The subsequent, updated and expanded range of piano samples has really moved things forward though -- I just which the original Stage models could be upgraded to take advantage of them fully without having to displace other sample sets from the memory.

hugh

I have the mk1 Stage too and while it would be nice if the memory could be expanded, in practice I have found that I nearly always want to use my same favourite piano sound for eveything (one of the Yamaha samples). So I have enough memory for that, one of the uprights, the CP-80, all of the Rhodes (they don't take much memory) and the clavinets. The organ sounds are of course modelled so don't take any of the memory.

If I do ever need a different piano sound it would only take a minute or two to download so I don't see it as much of a problem.

The Rhodes are worthy of special mention. Again, I nearly always use the same Mk1 sound which is the closest thing I've ever played to my real Mk1.

The synth section is my least favoutite part of the Stage, but I found the unison mode enables some pretty impressive string machine impersonations which many VA synths struggle with, so I'm happy with that.
Slasher
Poster
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 12:00 am

Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:47 pm

Slasher wrote:I have the mk1 Stage too and while it would be nice if the memory could be expanded, in practice I have found that I nearly always want to use my same favourite piano sound for eveything (one of the Yamaha samples).

I'm the same. I don't use the CP80 sounds at all (hated them in the flesh, still hate them now!) and rarely use the uprights, but I've just loaded the latest Yamaha grands and they do me most of the time. It seems a shame that there are source buttons that don't do anything as a result... but it's not an issue.

Like you, I have most of the Rhodes on board, clavinet, and one of the harpsichords that I like.

The synth section is my least favoutite part of the Stage, but I found the unison mode enables some pretty impressive string machine impersonations which many VA synths struggle with, so I'm happy with that.

Yes, the synth section is tricky to use if you've been brought up on old-school synths I think, but it is capable of some great noises and it does make the Stage a genuine allrounder.

Hugh
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 16766
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Worcestershire, UK

Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby The Masked Unit » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:28 pm

I was going to create a new thread but this seems like as good a place as any to ask.

I've been making music for ages, currently based around Ableton, but I really want to learn to play keys properly and want something that will be more suitable than my trusty 49 key controller keyboard.

I had a go on the Korg SV-1 at the weekend and absolutely loved it. I would get one but I'm faced with a few issues: Firstly, I'm not sure I deserve it yet given that I can't play, and as a compromise I thought I might buy a weighted 88 key controller and just use the stock sounds in Ableton, which are more than good enough for the time being (it'll be mostly EP sounds I'll use), but I'm having a bit of trouble finding something that's decent and fairly priced. The Studiologic SL990 can be got for around the £350 mark, which I'd be willing to pay, but I've heard bad things about them. Can anyone comment on this or recommend an alternative at a similar pricepoint?

As an aside, if I was just to throw caution to the wind and get the SV-1, is that really the best choice for me? My issue with it is that it is not multitimbral and does not contain any synth sounds, e.g. it seems more aimed at the professional gigging piano/Rhodes player. The obvious alternative is the Electro 3, but I think I'm right in saying that it doesn't have a weighted keyboard.

I know I'm being greedy, but I ideally want something at the £1,500 pricepoint that does everything: A fully weighted keyboard that is at least a few parts multitimblal and has a variety of synth sounds as well as killer piano and EP sounds! The Nord Stage seems to do all that but is a grand or so more than I'd be willing and able to spend.

Any help?
The Masked Unit
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:00 pm

Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby The Elf » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:54 pm

From personal experience (though I haven’t used the newer machines) I’ll point you also at the Kurzweil keyboards. Yes, the piano is legendary, but that’s the very tip of a very big iceberg!

You should be able to scratch up a K2500/2600 with fully weighted keys for under your 1500 I think. Might need to be patient shopping around though, because they aren't thick on the ground.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9931
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2001 11:00 pm
Location: Sheffield, UK

An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.


Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby Dave B » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:52 pm

Digital Village list the PC3x as 1488. That's in your budget and a killer board - fully weighted 88notes and a set of sounds that are lovely.

Trust me - there's a good reason I keep pointing people towards the Kurz boards ....
User avatar
Dave B
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2935
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Maidenhead

Veni, Vidi, Aesculi

(I came, I saw, I conkered)


Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby Randelph » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:29 pm

To OP:
I'm surprised to hear the Electro 3 didn't float your boat for the pianos and organs. They sound and feel fantastic under my fingertips using my Stage 88. And the fx are killer- can really add a lot. And on the Stage you can layer up to 6 sounds, so the sound can be subtly or outrageously beefed up.

My summary of the Stage 88: extremely satisfying sounds from the golden era of keyboards, the 70's, with an interface that doesn't get you lost in menus, a medium-weighted action that triggers organ with a light touch, the lightest and shortest 88 note board with serious sounds that i know of (and a roadworthy steel casing), etc. It's the first keyboard I've ever owned (out of 10+) that feels and sounds like a real instrument. I get compliments about the sound all the time, and I end up PLAYING AND PRACTICING instead of endlessly programming.

Make sure your playback system is good- piano sounds are difficult to reproduce with fidelity/smoothness.
Randelph
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:00 pm

Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby Randelph » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:59 pm

The Masked Unit,
If you're already using quality soft pianos and have tried the SV-1, you might be expecting top notch all the way, which is understandable.

While I heartily recommend the Nord Stage 76/88 (I bought mine used for around $2000), you might want to take a step back and consider the under $1,000 pianos available from Casio/Korg/Yamaha. They all have offerings that have decent pianos and other sounds, are multi-timbral, relatively inexpensive, and some even have built-in speakers (which can be a big plus: decent stereo sound without an additional sound system). Find a key action and piano sound you like and get in the game.

It's easy to want the "best", but consider that you're a student of the keyboard and that there's a lot to learn. Don't get caught up in the endless technology that's available (the SV-1 and Nord Stage are wonderful exceptions, but pricey). By the time you're a better keyboard player you'll know better what kind of action, sounds and features you need.

Personally, I like almost everything about the SV-1, but that it's one sound at a time is a deal killer for me. I use the 6 sounds on the Nord Stage all the time.
Randelph
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:00 pm

Re: 76/88 stage keyboard with great piano and vintage keys sounds

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:41 am

The Masked Unit wrote:I was going to create a new thread but this seems like as good a place as any to ask.

I've been making music for ages, currently based around Ableton, but I really want to learn to play keys properly and want something that will be more suitable than my trusty 49 key controller keyboard.


Go and buy a Fantom X8, secondhand around £800-£900, and the SRX Ultimate Keys board for around £120 secondhand.

I regularly play on all of the above keyboards, save for the Kurzweil's, and I simply don't understand why people would even go for an SV1 or CP range.

Listen to Roland's own SRX demos: http://www.rolandus.com/flash/demos/srx/
TheChorltonWheelie
Frequent Poster
Posts: 995
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:00 pm


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest