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A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
#1803390 12/09/11 07:04 PM
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Hello everyone! This is my first post in pianoworld forums, which I joined because I'm a lost in the world of digital pianos.

My story starts when I got to play an acoustic piano again after some 2 years of not playing... It sounded great and at home I immediately cleaned all kinds of garbage on top of my Roland EXR-3 keyboard and played the **** out of it. But, because it had only 62 keys and no hammer action, I suddenly remembered why I stopped playing few years ago. I immediately started looking for new digital pianos... Being a poor lonesome university student I set my budget to about 800€ and for it I wanted a DP which has good piano sound, 88 keys and hammer action.

So I went to 3 local music stores in a nearby city, but their selection was very one-sided. You could call them "Yamaha stores" instead of music stores, to be honest. I think my 200€ Roland has better piano sounds than under 800€ range Yamaha DPs, which had too resonant, electricish, bright sound that didnt seem to sustain very well. Maybe it's just my ear, but I wasn't pleased. The store had one Roland DP and I think it sounded sweet, can't remember the model though!

So, back at home I went looking in the internet for some used DPs in Finland, and guess what! 4-months old Roland FP-4 was there costing only 790€. I quickly checked what it was and then immediately offered the 790€ for it, because I trusted that Roland has everything I want related to sounds. The price was also just right for my budget.

Sadly, after a lot of discussion with the FP-4-guy it came to a bitter end: he said that he couldn't sell the DP after all, because he couldn't buy a workstation he wanted. So he continued playing the FP-4, which meant continuing to play EXR-3 for me.

Devastated, I turned my eyes on Thomann — a big German music store — maybe they would have a solution to my needs! Only options I found for under 800€ were some Yamahas, a bunch of Casios (a calculator comes to mind), some Thomanns own models (I wouldnt go there), and a couple of viable sounding options: Korg sp250 and Kawai CL-26.

Not convinced, I raised my budget to around 1000€, thinking: now I'm going for DP perfection, mate! I noticed that Thomann had a new model from Roland called F-120, at 1000€. Wow! Look at all the superNATURAL and IVORY thing going on. I thought this was it! My perfect DP for all eternity!

Well, you can guess what's coming... Gathering information on the F-120 I wandered to pianoworlds forums, which had horrid tales of the ivory feel keys! They start disintegrating after some time! I don't want that. The solution was so close, and once again it flew away like a dragonfly from an igloo.

As I can find very little DPs in the local music stores, I am stuck with Youtube videos and demos of them, which are a lousy option in deciding which has the best sound. Majority of the videos seem to be trying to sell the pianos instead of reviewing them properly.

I have 1000€ and Thomann and I want a good digital piano. What to do? The models I have found interesting are somewhat ordered from the most interesting to the least. Which one should I pick? Help needed! Most important factor is the piano sound quality, then keyboard action, then cost and speaker quality. I don't really care what the piano looks like, or if it has legs or not. Good bonus-features would be: realistic sustain pedal function, jamming features and lots of sounds, pitch-bend/modulation wheels, USB-MIDI, basic recording functions.

KAWAI CL-36: 888€ (Seems kinda perfect on paper.)

YAMAHA YDP-161: 949€ (Seems good on paper.. What is the big difference between this and YDP-141?)

ROLAND F-120: 999€ (I would buy this if the key wear wasn't an issue.)

KAWAI CN-23: 1039€ (Why would I buy this over CL-36?)

KORG LP-350: 888€ (Haven't got to test at all, complete mystery... what do you think?)

KAWAI CL-26: 689€ (Same piano sound as CL-36? which is better value for money?)

KURZWEIL SP4-8: 990€ (No internal speakers is a minus. Mystery.)

KORG SP-250: 649€ (Haven't got to test at all, complete mystery... what do you think?)

YAMAHA CP33: 1029€ (No internal speakers is a minus.)

YAMAHA YDP-141: 777€ (Didn't really like the sound.)

ROLAND F-110: 949€ (Wouldn't want to buy an old model, no key-wear here though!)

Have I missed some options?

I AM HUNGRY FOR OPINIONS! GUIDANCE IS ESSENTIAL! Thank you!

Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1803402 12/09/11 07:33 PM
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YAMAHA YDP-161: 949€ (Seems good on paper.. What is the big difference between this and YDP-141?)
The action. GH(better) ydp-161, GHS ydp-141.

ROLAND F-110: 949€ (Wouldn't want to buy an old model, no key-wear here though!)
I agree.

KAWAI CN-23: 1039€ (Why would I buy this over CL-36?)
I agree.

KAWAI CL-26: 689€ (Same piano sound as CL-36? which is better value for money?)
I think cl-26 but I would prefer the better action.
So....

I would go for the Kawai cl36 from the above list.



Kawai CA63
working on:
odos oneiron - Manos Hadjidakis
adagio in c minor - Yanni
through the arbor - Kevin Kern
Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1803415 12/09/11 07:57 PM
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Thank you for your opinion! It's nice that my thoughts about the CL-36 got some reinforcement.

Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1803422 12/09/11 08:07 PM
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eyeghost, the CL26 features the same AHA IV-F keyboard action and HI (88-key sampling) piano sound as the previous generation CL35.

The CL36 utilises the more modern RH keyboard action and PHI sound, and in this sense is identical to the CN23.

The CL36 and F-120 are the best choices on that list, in my opinion.

Cheers,
James
x


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: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1803437 12/09/11 08:29 PM
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CL26 or F-120
Nothing else on your list comes close

Although I'd try and get a Roland FP-4F


"I'm still an idiot and I'm still in love" - Blue Sofa - The Plugz 1981 (Tito Larriva)
Disclosure : I am professionally associated with Arturia but my sentiments are my own only.
Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1803443 12/09/11 08:36 PM
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Dr P, CL26 over the CL36?

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: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1803607 12/10/11 04:41 AM
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I think he meant the CL36. smile It's sad that Roland can't be trusted with the ivory feel problem, if the reported problems still persist even after Roland has announced that they are fixed. It seems to come down to two choises: F-120 and CL36.

So, what do you think is better in F-120 than in CL-36 and vice-versa?

Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1803608 12/10/11 04:44 AM
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CL-36 is far better than CL-26.

Korp sp-250 and lp-350, are the same. Action was not bad for my fingers, but sounded so-so to my ears (flat and cold, not dynamic and vivid enough). Note, they are "old" models, compare to some others. They are candidate to a January end of line (with Kawai ES6, Yamaha P155).

I recommand to forget YDP141 and go to YDP161 (you will have more details in another thread why), GHS action is a showstopper for me.

F110 is outdated by F120. I don't know the exact status for Ivory feel, but for me Roland has fixed, or replace keybeds if you have an issue. I can't imagine they continue their Ivory lines whith such a big issue. But just a personal statement...

Last edited by zack!; 12/10/11 06:55 AM.
Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
zack! #1803612 12/10/11 04:57 AM
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So I finally agree with Kawai James, in europe under 1000€, real contenders are Kawai CL36 and Roland F120. Yamaha P155 is outageously expensive here compare to other market place (which is a pitty, because it should have been in your short list). I don't know Yamaha CP33...

Deciding between the CL36 and F120 should be quite easy, because they are quite different in term of action and sound. And it is a subjective matter, so you have to try.

You seem to be quite focused on sound, am I right ? Please note that speakers are generally bad at this price tag (so headphones experience is much better). Note also that Software Piano (that is computer generated sound, controled by the DP), allow to extend sound generation and other features.

When you consider this, good computer connectivity is important (line in/out in addition to MIDI in/out).

Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1803618 12/10/11 05:18 AM
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A note about casio. If you are really in a budget, and as a student, intersetd by portable DP, I would also consider PX135 and PX330. They are good value ones.

But, you said you already have 2 years of practise, so perhaps you want to avoid entry level and go to mid level.

Considering sound experience, casio is "brilliant" and "nervous". If you like darker, mellow tones, with "rich decays" roland is your brand. But Roland may sound a bit "uneven" all keyboard long (bass, middle, treble) for somes (a bit weird for me). I would put Kawai in the middle, plain consistant sound, a bit on the "brilliant" side but still with warm accents.

All this is my personal impression (you have several sound in every DP oof course). And this is the same for action, every one has its own appraisal and preference. So, you have to try and see where goes your preferences...

With 2 years of practise, you will for sure have personnal preferences... Buying something good on the paper (spec and price), could be finally a bad instrument connection for you...

Last edited by zack!; 12/10/11 06:56 AM.
Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
Kawai James #1803619 12/10/11 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Dr P, CL26 over the CL36?

James
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Sorry 36 I ment



"I'm still an idiot and I'm still in love" - Blue Sofa - The Plugz 1981 (Tito Larriva)
Disclosure : I am professionally associated with Arturia but my sentiments are my own only.
Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1803622 12/10/11 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by eyeghost
It's sad that Roland can't be trusted with the ivory feel problem, if the reported problems still persist even after Roland has announced that they are fixed.



I think the ivory feel problem exists more peoples minds then in reality. I wouldn't worry about that at all much less let it affect your decision. I've seen literally hundreds of Roland Ivory feel boards in my travels that get heavily used on stage (like every night of a 300 night tour) some of them quite a few years old and on none of them exhibited unusual wear to the keys. I myself played a G8 and a RD700GX virtually non stop for 6 months with 3 hour shows and two shows a day on weekends and ....nothing was wrong with the keys a pack of screen wipes couldn't clean off in 20 seconds. And I'm considered hard on my boards.



"I'm still an idiot and I'm still in love" - Blue Sofa - The Plugz 1981 (Tito Larriva)
Disclosure : I am professionally associated with Arturia but my sentiments are my own only.
Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1803709 12/10/11 11:56 AM
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I asked around in the music stores and they will have both F-120 and CL-36 in their selection next week, so I guess the case will achieve a solution then. smile I'm still a bit confused with the ivory feel thing, because some people never find it problematic while others report significant wear issues after just a month of playing! It might be that the ones who get the issue are the ones who post on forums, and the ones without problems stay quiet.

Yes I am focused on sound, because I have played a keyboard with a good sound but no hammer action at all! So I don't really have an opinion on the action yet. The FP-4 PHA II alpha action seemed a bit on the light side though! I am mostly going to play the DP with studio headphones, so the generally bad speakers of the price range aren't really an issue.


This is how much I can figure out on paper:

F-120:
+ more sounds: 30
+ more settings to tones: 10 reverb and 20 brilliance settings
+ input and output jacks
- keys are gradually leaving the earth as you play (?)
- costs 111€ more
- no dual, (Must say I'm supriced on this: I took it for granted that both would have dual and split functions! Are some of the sounds pre-dual or pre-split?)

CL36:
- less sounds: 15
- less settings to tones: 3 reverb settings
- no input and output jacks
+ eternal keys
+ costs 111€ less
+ dual

Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1803737 12/10/11 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by eyeghost


This is how much I can figure out on paper:

F-120:
+ more sounds: 30
+ more settings to tones: 10 reverb and 20 brilliance settings
+ input and output jacks
- keys are gradually leaving the earth as you play (?)
- costs 111€ more
- no dual, (Must say I'm supriced on this: I took it for granted that both would have dual and split functions! Are some of the sounds pre-dual or pre-split?)

Well, I don't know. There is no direct control for dual and split in User Interface, but possible it a particular set up of "ensemble" button (there are many choice, and some look special), ie a "choice for left hand only", but I am not sure, I searched for user manual on web, but I didn't found, and vendor didn't know the piano UI yet (he just recieved it, and its different from F110 -less controls-).
I think have seen "dirty" ivory feel on floor roland piano. But not sure...

Originally Posted by eyeghost

CL36:
- less sounds: 15
- less settings to tones: 3 reverb settings
- no input and output jacks
+ eternal keys
+ costs 111€ less
+ dual

On the minus, you can also put the lack of UI. Every control must be set with one button, or by pressing keys.
PS, on the contrary, Ivory feel of Kawai is just fine, really a pleasure.

Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1804663 12/12/11 06:07 AM
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It would help Roland if the user manuals were downloadable from their sites, like kawai. The lack of UI on the CL36 doesn't really matter because theres so little settings to begin with, so I think I can manage without!

I wish all people with rolands ivory feel would report to these forums, so that I could get a realistic view on the problems. A poll would be great, like: "Have you had trouble with your roland ivory feel keyboard?"

If I want to use software piano sounds in the future, are those DPs capable of doing that?

Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1804941 12/12/11 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by eyeghost
I wish all people with rolands ivory feel would report to these forums, so that I could get a realistic view on the problems. A poll would be great, like: "Have you had trouble with your roland ivory feel keyboard?"


I have had an FP7-F for over a year. I play it every day. No issues with the keyboard surface or action whatsoever.

Quote
If I want to use software piano sounds in the future, are those DPs capable of doing that?


Yes, via a MIDI cable to your computer.

Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1805445 12/13/11 02:44 PM
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Just my 2 cents. I have a Roland 700GX with the Ivory Feel keys. I've had it 2 years, and there is some wear on the keys I play a lot. However, personally, I kinda feel that makes it a bit more authentic. I've played several pianos with some "worn texture". I think it feels more authentic than plastic. Just my thought.

Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1805459 12/13/11 03:15 PM
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You must have mis-understood/read some posting here. We have FP7-F since January 2011 and daughter playing everyday for more than 2 hours. If it disintegrates, that must have happened by now. For us it is still going strong and no signs or wear & tear!

Originally Posted by eyeghost
Gathering information on the F-120 I wandered to pianoworlds forums, which had horrid tales of the ivory feel keys!

Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1806033 12/14/11 01:43 PM
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Now things got even more complicated! The 4 months used FP-4 deal with 790€ has revived, and I have tried CL-36 and FP-4 in a music store. I can't really work out which one is better!

The biggest problem on both is that when the volume is put a bit louder, the piano sound gets messy and FP-4 sound gets some "white noise"-like sshshshshs sound in the background. Is this true on all DPs or are some DPs better and some worse in this area?

Do you know something about FP-4 that doesn't show right up, or isn't on the details? I haven't gotten to fiddle with all the effect settings and the equalizer on it, could they possibly improve the headphone sound?

And then theres still F-120 too, which I haven't tested yet, should I wait for it? Things are getting rough because I don't think the FP-4 deal will wait for long! I hate fast decisions...

FP-4 790€ or CL-36 880€ or F-120 999€ ?

Re: A short story of me trying to buy a DP. Advice needed!
eyeghost #1806122 12/14/11 03:56 PM
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Try to describe your tests, what you like, what you dislike in each model. Sound, action... For me you should notice diferences...

Concerning FP4-F, what is this version ? it has been refreshed lately, so I don't know, do you have Ivory feel G or PHA alpha 2 action ? Did you see the model, any particular issue with keyboard ? 790€ seems a good bargain for a 4 month FP4-F...

Between F120 and FP4-F, well, if FP4 is the latest version without Ivory feel issue,
and if you like arranger fonction and want something portable, take the FP4-F. (F120 is a stripped down version fo me).

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