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Which Yamaha for Elementary School #1367822 02/07/10 12:44 PM
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Terry Buchan Offline OP
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Opening a new elementary school and can purchase a piano for this school. Have opportunity to get one of the following from Yamaha:

CLP 380
CLP 295GP
CVP 509
CVP 409GP

Which would be considered closest to accoustic sound and touch and would last the longest in a school situation (eg. moving it around)

Thanks

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Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: Terry Buchan] #1367834 02/07/10 12:59 PM
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If you have that much of a budget why not buy an acoustic upright. The reasons given for going digital really don't apply -- Are you really going to be practicing with headphones? If this is a school the kids need to know what an acoustic piano is like. Most will not get to see out touch one at home. Every school should have at least one acoustic piano, a grand if you have the room.

The other idea if you must have a digital piano is to buy two. With the money you'd spend on one of those CVP models you could afford to buy multiple high end professional stage pianos. Those are built "tough" and can be moved around without problems. The CLP/CVP are made of particle board and don't take well to being bumped on door frames wile being moved. If you plan to frequently move the DP buy one built for that purpose. Moving a few times a year is different, you buy the dollies and get a moving blanket.

If we must choose fom the list then maybe you should tell us where these will be use. In an auditorium with how many people listening? For teaching piano in a small room?

Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: ChrisA] #1367839 02/07/10 01:07 PM
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I'd go with the CLP-380.

The CVP-409GP and CVP-509 are "arranger" based pianos(they have accompaniments).

The CLP-295 GP is a grand piano cabinet, that is mainly for looks.

You can purchase special dollies for moving the CLP-380.

Snazzy



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Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: snazzyplayer] #1367850 02/07/10 01:26 PM
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In principle, I agree with Chris. Would your students be practicing with headphones? If not, an upright piano might be a better choice.

But ... do you have budget for piano maintenance? With an acoustic, you have to allow for tuning and other maintenance.

Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: MacMacMac] #1367861 02/07/10 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
In principle, I agree with Chris. Would your students be practicing with headphones? If not, an upright piano might be a better choice.

But ... do you have budget for piano maintenance? With an acoustic, you have to allow for tuning and repairs.


Acoustic pianos need maintenance but digital pianos have shorter lifetimes and need replacement. 6 or 7 years is a long time to keep a digital piano. technology moves so fast. Also the DP is not make using the same joinery and wood as an acoustic. The DP is built like Ikea furniture. It was simply not designed to be a lifetime investment.

Today it is a buyer's market for upright pianos. $2K will get you a real nice one. $300 a year to keep it tuned is not much. Compare the total cost over a 20 year period. For the cost of a high end Yamaha CVP you can have a grand piano.

You can save money with a digital but only if you buy a DP that costs less then an acoustic piano.


Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: ChrisA] #1367920 02/07/10 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisA
Acoustic pianos need maintenance but digital pianos have shorter lifetimes and need replacement. 6 or 7 years is a long time to keep a digital piano. technology moves so fast.


I understand that technology moves fast, but that just means that you will have better technology next year compared to this year. How does that give digital piano shorter lifetimes of 6-7 years that would require replacement? I can understand replacement as in you want a newer/better DP in 6-7 years (who doesn't?), but surely it's not because DPs are guaranteed to fail and stop working in 6-7 years. I have electronic keyboards that are over 15 years old that are still fully functioning.

The only comment I want to make about acoustic maintenance in a school budget setup is whether it'd be a problem to be able to keep $6K and earmark it and spread it out over the next 20 years for maintenance or not? Or will it be gone next year when money is needed for something else and that $6K just sitting there is an easy tempting target to get sniped away. You may want to spend that money in the budget today while you still have it. I also think low maintenance is an important attribute in a school environment.

Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: Volusiano] #1367966 02/07/10 03:59 PM
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I might suggest you go for two CLP340s with dollies or one acoustic P22 model.


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Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: Volusiano] #1367967 02/07/10 04:01 PM
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Quote
I understand that technology moves fast, but that just means that you will have better technology next year compared to this year. How does that give digital piano shorter lifetimes of 6-7 years that would require replacement? I can understand replacement as in you want a newer/better DP in 6-7 years (who doesn't?), but surely it's not because DPs are guaranteed to fail and stop working in 6-7 years. I have electronic keyboards that are over 15 years old that are still fully functioning.


"still fully functioning" is the lowest level of usability. Better question is if a reasonable musician would still find it desirable. Except for a few classics, no. That's the problem with consumer electronics. Who wants a fully functioning cell phone from 1995? Or a computer from the same era? Most of the stuff we toss out still works.

If 6 or 7 year old digital pianos are acceptable then why not buy a used DP that is already that old? You can pick up what used to be "top of the line" for $500. Why pay $5,000 for a new on?


Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: ChrisA] #1367995 02/07/10 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisA

"still fully functioning" is the lowest level of usability. Better question is if a reasonable musician would still find it desirable. Except for a few classics, no. That's the problem with consumer electronics. Who wants a fully functioning cell phone from 1995? Or a computer from the same era? Most of the stuff we toss out still works.


I think we had this argument before. You only toss out your old cell phone and old computer because your use model on those things has changed drastically from before. Now you want internet connection, wifi, portability, higher resolution and speed for videos on your computer that you didn't expect 6-7 years ago. Now you want mp3, pictures, organizer, gps on your cell phone that you didn't expect 6 or 7 years ago. But if your use model is the same as from day 1 and hasn't changed, why would you want to toss those things out? So you're not comparing apple to apple here.

Within this context of discussion here (DP vs acoustic), it's not about a DP this year compared to a DP next year or a DP 6-7 years from now and the level of usability between these DPs. This is about this year's DP against this year's acoustic piano, how close this year's DP is stacked up on the 3 main attributes against an acoustic: sound, keyboard action, and realism (sound/vibration/feel/soul or whatever), and also the convenient features (maintenance, volume control, weight/portability). The level of usability of an acoustic piano is very basic and fundamental and won't keep changing like a DP. So if we're not comparing DP against DP, but DP against acoustic, the changing level of usability should not enter the discussion.

I can tell you that if you compare a future DP 7 years from now against an acoustic, it still can only be against those same attributes. So in this case, the use model has not changed one bit. And as long as the use model hasn't changed, a "fully functioning" DP against an acoustic based that same use model won't be obsolete or need replacement.

Originally Posted by ChrisA
If 6 or 7 year old digital pianos are acceptable then why not buy a used DP that is already that old? You can pick up what used to be "top of the line" for $500. Why pay $5,000 for a new on?


This is a valid question. The answer depends on whether the OP thinks the new $5000 DP has advanced in leaps and bounds enough compared to the 6-7 year old $500 DP or not to make it worth the extra money. For example, if the 7 year old $500 DP is only 50% of the way there in terms of emulating an acoustic, while a $5000 new DP is now 95% there, then may be it's worth it. But if the $5000 new DP is only still 60-70% there, then maybe not.

Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: Volusiano] #1368042 02/07/10 05:50 PM
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I agree with ChrisA - we really need to know the intended purpose for this instrument in order to make a firm recommendation.

If the instrument will also be played by young children for classrooms, I would suggest purchasing a selection of low-end portable instruments (Privia PX-130, Yamaha P85, or possibly the higher-specification P155) in addition to a larger console instrument.

Kind regards,
James
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Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: Marty Flinn] #1368043 02/07/10 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Marty Flinn
I might suggest you go for two CLP340s with dollies or one acoustic P22 model.


This is the best suggestion so far (minus the P22), but I think the OP was wanting only one piano.

The CLP-340 is an excellent choice.

Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: Colleen_500] #1368104 02/07/10 07:26 PM
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Terry, two posts near the beginning of the Digital Prices Paid thread indicate that 340's can be had for c.$3k. For that price you'd be looking at a used acoustic.

Buying used can be a minefield for the inexperienced. If you do decide to go that route, the best used piano money that you can spend is that spent for a prepurchase inspection by an experienced tech who has no affiliation with seller. Bring in the tech when you've located a piano that you want to buy.

If you're new to piano buying - and having in mind the myriad obstacles to opening a school - a DP is, IMO, an easier and safer choice.


Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: Kawai James] #1368107 02/07/10 07:30 PM
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Terry Buchan Offline OP
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Thank you for responses:

This is a K-4 school.

Intended purpose - piano will be used in an elementary music classroom for 90% of the time - no kids will play on it, just adults (eg. accompanying students/choirs). It will need to be moved to a gym (close by) and used for a variety of assemblies and concerts at various times during the school year. That is about it.

Terry

Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: Volusiano] #1368118 02/07/10 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Volusiano
You only toss out your old cell phone and old computer because your use model on those things has changed drastically from before ... etc etc etc
I think you're right. Over time, the sound from a digital piano will change ... not at all. If it's good today, it will be just as good in 5 or 10 or 15 years. As long as the action mechanism holds up, you're good for a long while.

Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: Terry Buchan] #1368120 02/07/10 07:48 PM
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Hello Terry,

Quote
Intended purpose - piano will be used in an elementary music classroom for 90% of the time - no kids will play on it, just adults (eg. accompanying students/choirs). It will need to be moved to a gym (close by) and used for a variety of assemblies and concerts at various times during the school year. That is about it.


Ah, I see.

Under such conditions, I would purchase the highest specification instrument possible. The CVP models typically have more powerful speakers than their CLP equivalents, and also offer an excellent selection of accompaniments for backing solo playing. In addition, I believe the higher specification CVP models also feature fixed level/XLR connectors, allowing the instrument to be plugged directly into the hall/gym's PA system.

Perhaps the only consideration would be whether the new CVP-509 offers a significant enough upgrade over the previous CVP-409 to justify the additional cost.

Kind regards,
James
x


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Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: MacMacMac] #1369032 02/08/10 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Originally Posted by Volusiano
You only toss out your old cell phone and old computer because your use model on those things has changed drastically from before ... etc etc etc
I think you're right. Over time, the sound from a digital piano will change ... not at all. If it's good today, it will be just as good in 5 or 10 or 15 years. As long as the action mechanism holds up, you're good for a long while.


This is a huge misconception of digital pianos and often repeated here in PW. Digital pianos do change over time. The biggest culprit is probably the speakers themselves though the electronics may have also drifted out of calibration over time as well. Everything ages. Nothing last forever. With my older Yamaha Clavinova, two piano tuners have confirmed independently that it is "out of tune". It's not terrible, but definitely out of tune.

With the last tuner, I spent a little time with him to see if we could "adjust the pitch" as the Clavinova allows you to tune the whole keyboard up or down by as much as a half tone a few cents at a time. It turned out the A-440 is already in pitch but the piano is still out of tune. My technician calls it "playable".

There is no point to try to replace the speakers. Yamaha probably doesn't even have the parts anymore. If you think about it, tuning is very precise, and to think that electronics would never change is wishful thinking. They just don't change as fast as acoustic strings. It's also not as bad as a real piano where the A could become the C. At the same time, once a digital piano is out of tune, say after 10-15 years (who know how long it takes), there is no fix; perhaps no point to fix.

Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: Kawai James] #1369037 02/08/10 10:42 PM
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I totally agree with James. The CVP would be great connected to a PA system. Also, forget about the models that looks like baby grand pianos. There is a large premium in price for them only for decorative purposes. There is no advantage in sound.

Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: 4evrBeginR] #1369053 02/08/10 11:00 PM
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Save your money and get the CLP-380, unless you really want or need auto-accompaniments....maybe it might amuse the kids.

As far as digitals "going out of tune", I'm very skeptical about it.

My old Roland HP-1700 is still perfectly in tune...nearly 20 years old....works flawlessly as well.

If you like the piano sound in it now...why would you not like it in 20 years?

I know some jazz players using 15 year (and more) old digital pianos, and they seem to be very satisfied with the sound.

Only thing changing over time might be your own, or your technician's, hearing.

The piano won't change, unless there is something actually wrong with the innards.

Analog oscillators drift in pitch...not digital samples.

Snazzy





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Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: snazzyplayer] #1369080 02/08/10 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by snazzyplayer
Only thing changing over time might be your own, or your technician's, hearing.


That's two separate technicians both members of the Piano Technician Guild. The first one is in his twenties. The second one though in his forties, is very highly respected. Both told me the same thing without me suggesting it in the first place.

I don't bring this up too often because people don't believe it, which is fine with me. The simple fact is, electronics do not stay constant. The color in your TV drifts over time. The accuracy in your watch drifts, and so does a Clavinova. Also, it's probably not as much the electronics as it is the speakers themselves degrading, which is not digital but physical. It's not a horrible thing, just physics. Again, the piano is playable; just not as in tune as it was when I bought it.

Quote
If you like the piano sound in it now...why would you not like it in 20 years?


Well, since it's already 20 years old, I doubt I would want to keep it another 20 years. One thing though. I kept saying I'll replace it when it breaks, but it refuse to break. Every key is still working. I almost replaced it with a CLP-330 recently, but didn't pull the trigger. My wife said if it's out of tune, it means it's broken. I was more looking for some keys to not sound at all before I would give it up. Yamaha built them like tanks. Even the bench was made in Japan back then.

Quote
Analog oscillators drift in pitch...not digital samples.

Actually, I think the samples are still fine. The piano does not sound as out of tune on headphones.

Re: Which Yamaha for Elementary School [Re: 4evrBeginR] #1369091 02/09/10 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 4evr88keys
Originally Posted by snazzyplayer
Only thing changing over time might be your own, or your technician's, hearing.


That's two separate technicians both memebers of the Piano Technician Guild. The first one is in his twenties. The second one though in his forties, is very highly respected.



What frame of reference is used by your 2 technicians to determine that your Clavinova is out of tune? What do they compare it against?

If the comparison was not done from day 1 when you just got your Clavinova but only done recently, you don't have a valid basis to claim that there's been a change in the first place. Maybe if you did the same test from day 1, you would have seen the same difference against whatever reference point you're using now.

It's entirely possible that the sampled sound was taken from an out-of-tune piano in the first place, of course. But that's a different thing than saying that digital piano sounds do go out of tune.

Originally Posted by 4evr88keys
The simple fact is, electronics do not stay constant. The color in your TV drifts over time. The accuracy in your watch drifts, and so does a Clavinova


Your watch drifts because the quartz movement although pretty accurate is still an analog device. The color in your TV may drift because the process of creating the colors from the major color hues is still an analog process.

Analog electronics may not stay constant, but digital data stay constant because the raw data is in 1s and 0s like black and white and recorded data don't just change or drift. Data may get corrupted, ROMs that store the data may go bad and fail to hold the information anymore, but that would cause data loss, not out of tune sound.

Originally Posted by 4evr88keys
It's not a horrible thing, just physics. Again, the piano is playable; just not as in tune as it was when I paid almost $5,000 for it.


Funny you claim that "it's just physics". It's exactly the physics/science part that will make people like me and Snazzy refuse to believe a digitally sampled sound can go out of tune. It's like saying that eventually 2+2 won't be 4 anymore and will be 5 over time.

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