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Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

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Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby skipper01 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:21 pm

Hi. Just wondered if anybody was willing to comment or help -

I am a pianist/vocalist who performs fairly regular at weddings/pubs/piano bars etc. Mostly pop/rock/blues/jazz. I have been using a Yamaha CP300 stage piano for a few years now. The model is still current although it feels like I've had it forever! I tend to stick too one of the Grand Piano samples and the bright nature of the Yamaha sound has kinda worked for me although I'm up for a change - maybe.
I'm thinking of upgrading/buying a new stage piano also as my CP300 action has become a little uneven/sticky and I'd like to think there may be even better pianos available now? However, is there really?

I now use a pair of QSC K12s for PA amplification and I am quite happy with these. The CP300 built in speakers are no longer here nor there.

I am happy to lug around 30kg and spend a bit although it seems to me from my initial investigations there are potentially only a few other models that could currently be considered a step up in terms of action/playability and/or sound from the CP300.
I appreciate issues of taste and subjectivity although I'm still interested to know general opions over the CP300 -

Nord Stage2/Nord Piano - Completely unfair now probably but I thought the acoustic pianos in the old Nord Stage were poor

Roland V-Piano - V expensive and just too big having seen one
Yamaha CP1 - Expensive and Many mixed reviews although I've never tried.
Kawai MP10 - Never tried but aware of existance
Any others?

Any comments/thoughts welcomed!
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Re: Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby Bob Moose » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:57 pm

Hi,

I still have the P-250 though it stays at home now. The P-250 is close to the CP300, though from what I remember the sound is slightly better and the action is a bit lighter on the 300.

Recently, I got 2 VST pianos that sound a lot better (of course, because you get about 16 velocity layers of non looped samples). Adapting them to the P-250 MIDI output values was not that easy, though it's becoming pretty good now.
But they are not perfect, and still quite far from an actual piano, because of either not-so-good software programming, specific piano voicing or recording choices. The latest half-octave octave, for instance, is always far too aggressive no matter how soft you play (hence it is not dynamic-sounding). It's a recent fashion - including on acoustic pianos - that I do not appreciate at all.
That said the overall musical rendering is far more realistic than on the P-250. Then is it better? For me it depends on the track, and I still use the P-250 sometimes (or an actual piano when I can find it).

When it comes to hardware pianos, all the new models were quite a deception for me. If I had nothing I would probably buy the Yamaha CP33 or the equivalent Roland because of their compact size and sensible price. I found the big models way overpriced given their sound, keyboard feel, overall design and philosophy.
But maybe I was in a bad day when I tried them. Anyway, be sure to try all the Yamaha, Roland, Nord, Kawai, etc before buying anything.

Best
-j
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Re: Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby Dee » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:15 pm

Skipper - I will be putting a Roland RD700SX on the SoS ads and ebay soon. If you're interested send me a PM.
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Re: Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:03 am

skipper01 wrote:

Roland V-Piano - V expensive and just too big having seen one
Yamaha CP1 - Expensive and Many mixed reviews although I've never tried.
Kawai MP10 - Never tried but aware of existance
Any others?

any comments/thoughts welcomed!

As you're in the Midlands, go into PMT in Brum and you'll be able to play every single Yamaha, Roland, Korg, Nord stage piano available: they have 20+ stage pianos in stock, 40+ digital pianos. I shan't add my own sleight as to which I prefer as some people see that as evangelism.
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Re: Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby Ian » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:41 am

Hi skipper01

I realise this thread's a little old now but I've only just come across it.

I had a CP33 and upgraded to a CP5 at the beginning of this year. I haven't looked back. The CP5 is much, much better, in every respect really, except the weight!

At around £2k it's about the going rate for a stage piano, flagship behemoths like the CP1 and V-Piano excepted.

I've never really got to the bottom of the difference, if any, between its basic piano sounds and those of the CP1. I really must do that but, in any case, I'm not prepared to spend what the CP1 costs on something I'm lugging around to gigs, and generally putting in harm's way.

I agree with you about the Nords. And I'm not convinced by the RD700 either, even in its latest (NX) incarnation. The V-Piano is nice - different to anything else - but, again, expensive, and, as you say, bulky.

I found this thread searching for 'MP10'. I haven't been able to try one of these yet - Kawai's distribution in this country is not all it might be (Rose Morris have them on display but, like you, I'm in the Midlands and it's a bit of a trek). I'm really interested to give one a go though because it looks like they've done a really thorough job on the action and a number of reviewers have raved about it.

The CP5's keyboard is very good in my opinion and gives you almost the level of control that you'd expect to find on a top notch grand with the action well regulated. But the quest to find better and better in a stage piano seems a never-ending one!

I'm hoping that Roland will do something 'constructive' with the V-Piano, and release a new version half as big, heavy and expensive. That might just pip all the competition at the post just now.

Cheers, Ian.
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Re: Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby Rob R » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:08 am

It's completely personal, but I am likely to add a Nord Stage 2 (or Nord Piano 88 if I baulk at the cost again!) to my collection. But it is personal pref. Reasons... I find that the pianos have an organic playability to them that (having tried most things bar the V Piano and MP10) lack, from my point of view. I love the upright pianos too, and also, a big big plus, the lack of weight - having lugged an old Motif ES8 about years ago that's important to me. Despite a metal casing the nord is much much lighter than most of the big names (? I think!).

It's all so subjective :) I could get software but I prefer the reliable nature of hardware so I was chuffed to bits when I found that nord "did it" for me.

But if you want them as a controller keyboard, they won't be your first choice anyway (esp as the Piano lacks pitch/mod controls)

ANYWAY...

Kawai Pianos.. EMIS in Bristol has em. Don't know where the OP lives though!
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Re: Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:50 am

Ian wrote:The CP5's keyboard is very good in my opinion and gives you almost the level of control that you'd expect to find on a top notch grand with the action well regulated.

It doesn't have escapement, and until it does, it won't even approach the feel of a true piano.
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Re: Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby Ian » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:03 pm

That's a tad 'ex cathedra' CW.

The CP5 isn't a real piano. It's a... er... CP5. The point (for me) is whether or not it's an instrument I can play music on. For me it's the sweet spot of what's available as a gigging tool just now. But I'd like to try the MP10.

The escapement issue is not a make/break thing for me. It's nice to have, sure, but just one of the many considerations.

That said...

... every time I've tried any of the 'competition' since getting the CP5 I've come away with the feeling that I'd like it more if I hadn't now learned to play a CP5, if you see what I mean. In other words, if I swapped my CP5 for an RD700, after a few months I wouldn't enjoy playing a Yammy because I'd have become attuned to the Roland touch/sound.

If I'm right about this then the possibility of any sort of objective comparison between manufacturers/models seems to fly out of the window. It's not just that it's 'personal', but it's bound up with your recent experience. The only solution is to get them all! But how do you sell that one to the wife?

Cheers, Ian.
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Re: Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:20 pm

Ian wrote:That's a tad 'ex cathedra' CW.

The CP5 isn't a real piano. It's a... er... CP5. The point (for me) is whether or not it's an instrument I can play music on. For me it's the sweet spot of what's available as a gigging tool just now. But I'd like to try the MP10.

You said that the action on the CP5 was as close to a grand as you'd get, I'm just pointing out that it's nowhere near, not least because it's missing escapement. There aren't many people that'd say the top-end Yamaha's have an action that's better than the RD, being in a position to play both all of the time I'd say that the Yamaha is absolutely nowhere near. Personal taste aside, and with the addition of escapment, the Roland is capable of far more minute changes to the velocity than the CP5.
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Re: Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby skipper01 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:42 am

Just discovered the reimmergance of this thread. Ive managed to try out literally everything (as mentioned) except the Yamaha CP5 since the post....
To be honest I'm still using the CP300. Equally I'm still ready to upgrade!
The closest I got to taking the plunge was the CP1. I never did it as I decided I would need to hire the unit to try it out in the comfort of my bedroom studio and through my PA as I was not absolutely 100% sure. I also was scared of getting such an instrument trashed at a gig!

Again this is simply my opinion based on playing these instruments in noisy shop environments through a mixture of amplification and my DT150 headphones

Kawai MP10- Acoustic pianos sounded great and distinctive. I just personally didn't like the action.
Roland Rd700nx - I really like the action on this for some reason. Just preferred the sound/sounds of the more expensive units
Nord Piano- Had latest Bright Grand uploaded too. I liked the sounds and the action but bizarrely I like to layer sounds and again I preferred the sound of the more expensive units.
Roland v Piano - Loved this instrument. Just too big and heavy.
Yamaha CP1 - Loved this instrument (I think). Need to try the CP5.

In conclusion, I too am hopeful that Roland may be able to filter the v piano tech into more giggable and realistic products soon.
I'd like to hire a CP1 or CP5. Not sure where to go to achieve this though...??

regards
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Re: Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby Ian » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:19 am

Hi skipper,

Yamaha say that the keyboards/actions on the CP1/5 are exactly the same, and it certainly feels that way to me. I think that the basic piano sounds are the same too, the difference being that the CP1 is more 'tweakable', but I'm not 100% sure about that.

The CP5 comes with lots of other bells and whistles which are all pretty much a waste of time as far as I'm concerned but the thing is that you're effectively getting the sound and action of the CP1 for a little over half the price.

I've read a few reviews where the reviewer wonders exactly what the point of the CP1 is, given that you sort of get more for less with the CP5. I'm not sure. I need to play the CP1 more.

Very interested to hear that you didn't like the MP10 action. I must get my hands on one. Where did you try it?

Also interested by the way to note that you're using QSCs. What made you go for those? I use a pair of Electrovoice ZXA1s which sound great (to me) but I wish the background hiss on them wasn't quite so loud - you can notice it in a very quiet gig situation. How are the QSCs in this regard?

Like you, I like the feel of the RD700s but not the sound. It's sort of on the way to the sound of the Nords - possibly good for seeing off noisy drummers but not what I'm looking for.

Best of luck with the decision process. I know what you mean about wanting to hire something to try it properly - not sure who'd do that sort of thing. I just try to seek out quieter music shops where I can sit undisturbed with my headphones (DT770s in my case!) for a few hours at a time.

Cheers, Ian.
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Re: Stage Piano upgrade from Yamaha CP300

Postby TheChorltonWheelie » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:31 am

skipper01 wrote:I'd like to hire a CP1 or CP5. Not sure where to go to achieve this though...??regards

You're in the Midlands: go to PMT in Brum, you can play the entire Yamaha range, the entire Roland range, the entire Nord range, the entire Korg range.

I'm genuinely not pro-Roland, I happen to have some of their kit, but I also happen to have the new Korg kit too, but for the life of me I just can't see (read: hear) how people can rate the Yamaha in terms of sound or feel. The key throw on the Yamaha's is far too short, it's more like an upright in that respect than a grand, and the return to neutral is far too linear. True, I may be coming from the perspective of playing grand piano's, but when people say "Digital piano/keyboard XYZ is as close as you get", you feel that you have to step up and correct that.

The V-Piano is as good as you'll get in that respect, but at £4.5k it's just too expensive for even the die-hard enthusiast, and its weight makes it an unrealistic gigging prospect.

I have the V-Piano, the RD700nx, a Fantom G8 and the Korg Kronos: if you PM me, and you're close enough, you can have a tinker on all 4 and then decide whether you still rate the CP5. Or, just go into PMT and see Brian/Andy (Roland/Yamaha specialists), see what they/you think.
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