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home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby al_diablo » Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:13 am

Inread the forums a lot but rarely have anything informative to post. I have come out of my lurker cave to ask for help!

I grew up playing the piano and would like to start again. Space in my house is limited so I was thinking of one of the smaller digital pianos or a stage piano I could use with my existing monitors and headphones (probably mainly headphones because we have a small baby!)

There is so much choice I dont even know where to start looking - all I can really say is I'm aiming within the budget end of the range and I don't need a lot of features: one realistic piano sound, one or two decent e-piano and the feel of playing a real instrument. At the moment I dont need something I could gig with.

I've also considered the benefits of buying a decent hammer action controller and using software - I use logic and kontakt, but would prefer to be free from the computer. I've been tempted by a number of workstations after reading SOS reviews but I suspect I would hardly use any of the features so something a bit more slimmed down is probably better.

Any recommendations for gear to look out for or audition would be very much appreciated!

Thanks

Alex
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Re: home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:38 pm

There are countless electric pianos out there and quality varies from ok to stunning. But, as you don't immediately need a stage piano*, the most cost effective way of getting something that plays well and sounds decent is to buy a used home keyboard type. A Yamaha Clavinola type** from the last 20-25 years will have a great keyboard and competent sounds and, as the cheapest new Yamaha is not much over £600, is probably gettable for a couple of hundred quid (or less, we were given one a few years ago for my wife's ballet school).

* And most home EPs will still probably be fairly easy to transport and be perfectly capable live gig instruments.

**There are other makes but sticking to the big names like Yamaha and Roland is safe.

What ever you do though, go and play a few in a shop to see which actions and sounds you like, and more importantly, which don't suit you.
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Re: home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby mick.n » Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:45 pm

A good "bang for the buck" would be the Casio PX5S. I bought one 3 or 4 years ago & it is a joy to play. Superb weighted 88 note hammer action & a powerful synth engine....especially if you explore the "Hex layer" thing. Excellent Grand piano sounds (Though always subjective) and pretty decent EP sounds. No built in speakers though, but 2 headphone sockets, so very much baby friendly. :thumbup:

Discontinued now & can be picked up for a song.

https://www.guitarcenter.com/Casio/Priv ... e-Piano.gc

SOS review here https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/casio-privia-px5s

I bought mine purely on the strength of this review & never regretted it.
Good luck. :D
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Re: home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby Arpangel » Sat Feb 22, 2020 5:00 pm

Another vote for the Casio Privia or PX range, they seem very decent for the money, a neighbour has one for their daughter who’s at music college and it seems OK for home and stage use, the sound is pretty decent, so is the keyboard feel.
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Re: home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:38 pm

Excellent suggestions.

I would go for a Yamaha Clavinova; I was first acquainted with them in the 80s and they were good then, and still are. In fact my favourite acoustic piano, now, is the Yamaha CFX, which I played at Westminster Hall a few years ago. Beating the Imperial Bosendorfer and Steinway Model D, both of which I grew up with.

Whatever you do, try out the piano first, particularly the action. Also, I would not hesitate to buy a refurbished, or secondhand, instrument, from a reputable dealer.
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Re: home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby al_diablo » Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:59 pm

Thanks for the advice and recommendations everyone. I'll let you know how I've got on after I spend some time trying a few options out.

Alex
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Re: home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby Guido3 » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:15 am

There is a Casio PX5S in the Readers Ads here (Mods: Not mine). It’s at a great price (£350) so I don’t think you can go far wrong with that.
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Re: home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby IAA » Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:48 am

Echo most of the above, I’d concentrate on feel first, sound, funnily enough, is easier to rectify through usb/midi if the internal sounds are not your cup of tea. My real piano is a Yamaha Grand, but in the studio, after trying lots of actions, I went for a Korg RH3 Kronos. You don’t need a Kronos but they use that action on other boards. I was also impressed with the Roland hammer action.
Try as many as you can.
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Re: home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby sdc1972 » Sat May 16, 2020 12:33 pm

Hello. I'm new to this forum, actually never joined one before. I just really need to vent, so here I am.

I been playing piano for 30 years. Started young, 18 years old, little money, so any piano I could get I was proud of. The first one I bought was the Roland EP7. Non weighted keys, very inexpensive at the time.

The second one was the Roland FP8. Very nice and popular board. I loved the sound of it. I'd had a few more in between then and now. I'd say 3 or 4 years ago I ordered the FP20, it had just came out and I thought, it's Roland, Got to be good. I didn't care for the sound, sent it back and got the Yamaha p115. It sounded good, but it wasn't a Roland. I thought the FP20 was just the cheapest DP from Roland, and that's why it didn't sound good to me. You know, I'm a Roland man:)

In the last month in a half I ordered the Roland FP30. Love the key action and feel. But the sustain of the notes just blow me away. Has Roland got away from PIANO and focusing on syn sounds. The notes sustain half as long as they should. Play an acoustic beside the Roland.

I called Roland, they said the RD has better pianos than the FPs. I got the NEW ROLAND RD88 in yesterday. Honestly, it sounds worst then the FP30. and for some reason the key bed don't feel as good.

Bout now I'm thinking Im crazy??? So I go to the shed and pull out the OLD FP8 Roland that I played for years. Its has issues but it still powers up and plays. I'm wondering how could I love Roland so much, what was I hearing. So I set up the FP8 and start playing. There it was, full note sustain, smooth, full flowing music. Well I get my wife, she plays too. I got her to stand outside the door while I played a short piece on the RD88 and then on the FP8. She said I like the last one. Well go figure.

Roland use to own the market 20 years ago, but today, my Yamaha P115, $600 board blows everything that they got away, At least from the FP60 ($1500) (yeah I ordered one them too), down to the FP10, away as far as piano sounds go. The FP30 was a little bit better than the FP60 and the RD88, but still way behind the Yamaha P115.

My question, can't Roland HEAR. I thought it might just be me, but after reading post and watching You Tube videos its very while documented by users that Roland has a problem. I guess, as I read reviews of people getting their new Roland FP30, 10, Rd88..... in and being well pleased, that if that is the only board one has, nothing to compare it too, sure its better than nothing. Back in the day I'd be thrilled to have one. Not hating on Roland. Just wish they would wake up. Hope this helps someone.
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Re: home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby Arpangel » Sat May 16, 2020 2:04 pm

sdc1972 wrote:Hello. I'm new to this forum, actually never joined one before. I just really need to vent, so here I am.

I been playing piano for 30 years. Started young, 18 years old, little money, so any piano I could get I was proud of. The first one I bought was the Roland EP7. Non weighted keys, very inexpensive at the time.

The second one was the Roland FP8. Very nice and popular board. I loved the sound of it. I'd had a few more in between then and now. I'd say 3 or 4 years ago I ordered the FP20, it had just came out and I thought, it's Roland, Got to be good. I didn't care for the sound, sent it back and got the Yamaha p115. It sounded good, but it wasn't a Roland. I thought the FP20 was just the cheapest DP from Roland, and that's why it didn't sound good to me. You know, I'm a Roland man:)

In the last month in a half I ordered the Roland FP30. Love the key action and feel. But the sustain of the notes just blow me away. Has Roland got away from PIANO and focusing on syn sounds. The notes sustain half as long as they should. Play an acoustic beside the Roland.

I called Roland, they said the RD has better pianos than the FPs. I got the NEW ROLAND RD88 in yesterday. Honestly, it sounds worst then the FP30. and for some reason the key bed don't feel as good.

Bout now I'm thinking Im crazy??? So I go to the shed and pull out the OLD FP8 Roland that I played for years. Its has issues but it still powers up and plays. I'm wondering how could I love Roland so much, what was I hearing. So I set up the FP8 and start playing. There it was, full note sustain, smooth, full flowing music. Well I get my wife, she plays too. I got her to stand outside the door while I played a short piece on the RD88 and then on the FP8. She said I like the last one. Well go figure.

Roland use to own the market 20 years ago, but today, my Yamaha P115, $600 board blows everything that they got away, At least from the FP60 ($1500) (yeah I ordered one them too), down to the FP10, away as far as piano sounds go. The FP30 was a little bit better than the FP60 and the RD88, but still way behind the Yamaha P115.

My question, can't Roland HEAR. I thought it might just be me, but after reading post and watching You Tube videos its very while documented by users that Roland has a problem. I guess, as I read reviews of people getting their new Roland FP30, 10, Rd88..... in and being well pleased, that if that is the only board one has, nothing to compare it too, sure its better than nothing. Back in the day I'd be thrilled to have one. Not hating on Roland. Just wish they would wake up. Hope this helps someone.

Welcome to the forum, I went with the intention of seriously trying out the RD88 with a view to purchasing it. I’m not saying it’s a bad board, but it didn’t impress me enough to buy it, Nord, and Yamaha are still the ones at the moment for me, especially the new Montage.
It seems to me, that there are still glaring holes in the market that manufacturers aren’t filling, and like you say, why don’t they just listen, and get some bloomin feedback.
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Re: home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby sdc1972 » Sat May 16, 2020 6:40 pm

Well, just went to a music store two hours away. They had the Juno DS88 on display. I played it a while. Totally confused. It sounded like a piano. Keys sustained like a piano. Anyone have any idea why it sounds so good but the FPs are and RDs have no sustain?? I even went to Walmart and bought headphones to make sure of what I was hearing. It really sounds good. I bought it. We'll see how it sounds in the music room, but it really sustains like it should.
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Re: home / stage piano choices - where to start?

Postby innerchord » Sat May 16, 2020 10:20 pm

sdc1972 wrote:Totally confused. It sounded like a piano. Keys sustained like a piano. Anyone have any idea why it sounds so good but the FPs are and RDs have no sustain??

I happen to agree with your rant. It seems obvious that as a new generation of designers come in, they may be less concerned with piano authenticity than experimenting with their latest sound engine. Some of the today's electronic pianos provide a worse playing experience than their equivalents from decades ago, in my opinion. They may use bigger sample sets, but that alone does not a piano make!
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