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Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
#1673141 05/07/11 02:22 PM
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For the past 10 years, I've been playing on the same Yamaha U2 upright. I really love the sound and feel, it's become something I'm very familiar and comfortable with.

However as my finals draw to a close, and my dad returning home from a month long business trip, I imagine I'll be playing much more piano. This causes a dilema cause my brother still has school, my mother has to wake up early every day, and my dad waking up at 12-1 everyday.

I come to the conclusion that I'd have to get a digital piano so I can practice in my own room, with headphones. On top of that I've been wanting to compose (casually) for a while now, but I find it's too much of a hassle to do it by hand, I suppose MIDI and notation software is good for this.

Sooooo it all boils down to which piano I should get. I've been looking at the Yamaha P series, DGX-640, Korg LP350, Privia series, and all the different tech specs are confusing and hard to swallow.

I know GHS is on step lower than GH, and I hear it's not as good for fast passages. I'm learning Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu and Rachmanimoff's prelude in g minor. Would these pieces be considered a problem on GHS keyboards?

Lastly, feel free to suggest more pianos, my budget is around $1500.

Thanks!

Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673145 05/07/11 02:32 PM
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Take a look at Kawai and Roland and explain to your folks that they need to chip in a bit more budget so you can continue your piano and give them the rest they need.

Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673157 05/07/11 03:03 PM
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You'll probably want a "home" - a.k.a. console - DP. These are the ones which have three pedals built into their cabinets. No matter which DP you buy, it'd be a good idea to also buy the best set of headphones that you can afford. 'Phones are good for silent practicing and will also let you hear the full quality of the included sounds. If you don't get recommendations in this thread, you might want to start a new one re 'phones.

On paper, Casio is the value leader. The newest px model, the 330, can be had on eBay for c.900, including the optional stand and three pedal unit. Unfortunately people have posted here re problems with noisy and/or wobbly keys on Casios, which appear either almost immediately or within a few months of purchase, so it'd be a good idea to know the seller's return policy.

One caution re notation software: When last I looked, those programs could not always distinguish between notes which are played with the right or left hand. You have to manually set a "split point." If, for example, you play above Middle C with your left hand, notation software will tend to enter those notes in the treble clef. IMO it'd be better to learn to enter notes manually. It's not difficult, tho with any software program there will be a learning curve.

People sometimes decide that they'd like to improve the piano's sound by connecting to a software piano which they've loaded onto their computer. If you go that route, a DP which has both MIDI In/Out and Line In and Line Out becomes desirable. (The px330 has these features.)

In general, touch is the most important consideration, because it can't be changed. (The touch setting on DP's make either the softest or loudest samples easier to access.) It'd be worthwhile to make the rounds of the local shops, to audition DP's, focusing particularly on touch. It can be difficult to separate tone from touch. Try "playing" with the power off.

If there's a Craigslist site near you, you might want to start seeing what's available. Lightly used DP's can be good values.

Patience and persistence.






Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673172 05/07/11 04:01 PM
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One thing I absolutely hate is a keyboard/piano wobbling when I play. Does this mean I shouldn't buy stage pianos? (Since I see most of them only have those flimsy metal stands.)

Are there any specific headphone brands I should look into for the best sound quality from a digital piano?

How's the piano sound on the PX330?

Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673181 05/07/11 04:24 PM
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The piano sound on the PX330 is quite good with good headphones, not so good using the inbuilt speakers. The sustain is quite short though. The PX330 is well below your budget and you can do better if you want, as per suggestions already made.

Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673226 05/07/11 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Eapfep
One thing I absolutely hate is a keyboard/piano wobbling when I play. Does this mean I shouldn't buy stage pianos? (Since I see most of them only have those flimsy metal stands.)

Are there any specific headphone brands I should look into for the best sound quality from a digital piano?

How's the piano sound on the PX330?


You can set a stage piano on any stand you like. Many prefer the folding metal stands only because they are ligher weight to haul around to gigs. The Yamaha P155 that I have has an available matching stand the bots one with machine screws from the botom. There are several like this.

Even with a folding stand a 50 pound stage piano does not move around while you play.

The headphone I like the best are made by the "K240" made by AKG. These have been a standard in studios for decades. The K240 is available a Sweetwater for $100. That's cheap. nothing else is as good at that price point.

The Casio's sound is not bad for a practice piano. The casio is an entry level piano and any of the $1000+ yamahas, Roland or Kawai will beat it. But that is not putting the Casio down, just that for 2X or 3X the price you can do better.

It really all comes down to which key action you like the best. You need to try them. No one here would know what you'd like. The "best" action will be either the Yamaha GH, a Non-Alpha Roland or any Kawai. I thik Casio is acceptable if you are on a budget but no many say it is one of the best.

As for notation software, don't over spend piano notation. I'd start out with Garage Band if you have a Mac GB is already installed. On A Windows PC there is a low cost version of Finale and a few others. Now if you were planning to publish full score it's different.

Last edited by ChrisA; 05/07/11 06:47 PM.
Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673249 05/07/11 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Eapfep
One thing I absolutely hate is a keyboard/piano wobbling when I play. Does this mean I shouldn't buy stage pianos? (Since I see most of them only have those flimsy metal stands.)

Are there any specific headphone brands I should look into for the best sound quality from a digital piano?

How's the piano sound on the PX330?


The X type stands are just asking for problems. There are two stands that I know for a fact are extremely stable, one has four adjustable legs though gives the appearance of a 1950's dinette set; the other, the QuikLok Monolith. I'm sure there are others, but it's generally advised to stay away from the X type. I had a bolt break on one while my hand was a postilion to be severely damaged. Fortunately nothing happened but I never forgot that.

I bought a new set of AKG 240MKII's a week ago and can attest that they are first rate. I wish they were more efficient but my N3 can drive them hard enough.


website | mp3 files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673263 05/07/11 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Eapfep

I know GHS is on step lower than GH, and I hear it's not as good for fast passages. I'm learning Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu and Rachmanimoff's prelude in g minor. Would these pieces be considered a problem on GHS keyboards?



I don't know these actions personally, but I can tell you that DPs of most kinds are just that little bit harder to play than an acoustic piano - with the possible exception of very high end Roland, Kawai, Yamaha DPs. But that can often be a good thing. I practiced pieces like Moonlight sonata 3rd movement, Fantasie Impromptu, Waldstein etc on a cheaper DP for several years before I got my acoustic piano. When I finally played them on the acoustic piano, I was amazed at how easily I could play them. The acoustic piano has a more natural action than DP actions and allowed things to flow more easily. So, basically all I'm saying is that if you get a good DP, it won't harm you in the long run. It is probably good to play a real piano sometimes as well, just to be aware of the difference in response at tone.

Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673309 05/07/11 10:48 PM
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In your budget, I'd check out the P155, FP-7, CP50, and MP6. Of those listed, I'd go with the MP6, and get the F-20 pedals. This give you a great action, great sound plus soft and sustain pedals for more expressive playing.


Kawai MP7SE w/ GFP-3
Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673819 05/08/11 04:47 PM
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Are there any DPs like the Yamaha DGX640/Arius YDPV240, with lots of sounds, ability to split keyboard, onboard recorder, "backing band", except with a better key action?

Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673856 05/08/11 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Eapfep
Are there any DPs like the Yamaha DGX640/Arius YDPV240, with lots of sounds, ability to split keyboard, onboard recorder, "backing band", except with a better key action?


You'd have to look at the more expensive stage pianos.

Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673980 05/08/11 09:22 PM
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Also, does anybody have any experience with using a DP in conjunction with a microphone? I know of only the Roland FP-7F which has that function built in.

Anybody experienced with music tech? Would I have to use an alternate setup altogether? Perhaps with a laptop?

Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1673983 05/08/11 09:25 PM
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Sorry but the double post, but does anybody know when the FP-4F will be released?

Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1674376 05/09/11 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Eapfep
Sorry but the double post, but does anybody know when the FP-4F will be released?


I believe they're starting to show up in showrooms and dealers now, or very very soon. In your budget, I'd go for the MP6 or FP-4F. Whatever you do, definitely play as many as you can, and go with the one that feels and sounds best for you.


Kawai MP7SE w/ GFP-3
Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1674674 05/09/11 09:14 PM
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To my understanding the MP6 has no external speakers?

Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1674785 05/10/11 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Eapfep
To my understanding the MP6 has no external speakers?

True

Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1674787 05/10/11 01:25 AM
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Strictly speaking, I don't believe any digital instrument features 'external speakers'.

There are, however, a number of instruments that feature internal speakers, although not the MP6 and MP10.

Kind regards,
James
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Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1674836 05/10/11 04:07 AM
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I am 'doremi' because I play scales smile
Playing chords makes me very 'domisol' shocked
Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1674837 05/10/11 04:11 AM
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Ah, yes how could I forget the Tyros? wink

James
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Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Experienced player looking for practice and composing piano!
Eapfep #1676113 05/12/11 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Eapfep
I know GHS is on step lower than GH, and I hear it's not as good for fast passages. I'm learning Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu and Rachmanimoff's prelude in g minor. Would these pieces be considered a problem on GHS keyboards?

I happen to actually prefer the GHS to the GH, but it's very subjective, you need to play them for yourself. Except possibly for same-key repetitions, any of the boards should be no problem in terms of being able to "keep up" with your playing.

Originally Posted by Eapfep
Lastly, feel free to suggest more pianos, my budget is around $1500.

I find the action of the Roland FP-7 and FP-7F to be nicely piano-like, I prefer their actions (though not necessarily their sounds) to the Yamahas. The FP-7F is over your budget, but you can probably still find some FP-7 around.

Originally Posted by Eapfep
On top of that I've been wanting to compose (casually) for a while now, but I find it's too much of a hassle to do it by hand, I suppose MIDI and notation software is good for this.

You could also look into a keyboard that has built in sequencer/composition functions, like the Yamaha MOX8.

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