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Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
#1895887 05/12/12 06:22 PM
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Hey gang,

I've had a lifelong desire to play piano, and I have some familiarity with music having played in the school band (trumpet) from grades 4-12. My kids are 8 and 6, so I'm ready to take the jump into buying the family a piano, but let me tell you my thoughts.

I've been smitten with the Clavinovas since way back when, and I always had a dream of owning a machine like that because of its integrated teaching and "follow-me" lights for learning. Only problem is that they are way too much money. I have the means to spend maybe up to about $3k if need be, but none of the high-end teaching pianos (with integrated screens and fancy stuff) qualify (that includes Roland and Kawai).

I was thinking about getting a nice digital piano with a USB-to-host output and hooking it to a laptop and using 3rd-party software to learn. But then, I started looking at all the different options that are out there. I want something with an authentic acoustic feel and great sound.

After trying Yamahas, Casios, Kawais and a few others (no Roland since we have no dealer around us) I've kept coming back to Kawai - to me they have the best feel and nicest build quality. However, when I've compared models, specs and price I've kinda narrowed my wish list to maybe 4: CN43, CA63/93, CS6.... The CN43 and CA63 are attainable - the other two are a bit of a stretch...

Here's my conundrum, and bear with me because I'm not sure I understand this enough to know what I am talking about... If I'm going to hook-up the piano to a computer and use software that is interactive and likely has sound of its own should I get too hung-up on the sound of the piano (meaning the integrated speakers of the piano)? Wouldn't I need sound from the computer anyways for the software being used? Should I instead be looking at something like an MP6/MP10 and get some nice monitors/sub for the piano/computer to both play through? Maybe I should play the computer sound thru the piano using the line-in input?

I was at a piano store looking again today. The clerk was showing me the CP179 (which was awesome), but when he transitioned over to the CN43 the sound from the CN43 was thin and lacking in comparison. That's what got me thinking in the first place if I'm putting too much emphasis on the speakers in the piano.

Also, Tim over at Arizona Piano was explaining to me the importance of having a piano which is GM2 compatible (in order to enable you to take midi files and plug them into the piano and playback with them). Unfortunately, not many Kawai digitals are GM2 compatible. But then again, if I were using a computer as my main interface to play with then wouldn't the soundcard on the computer take care of any midi-compatibility issues?

I don't know... I've kinda overthought myself into a corner - not sure which way to go anymore... Your input would be greatly appreciated!

Last edited by Go Lobos!; 05/12/12 06:22 PM.
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Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
Go Lobos! #1895905 05/12/12 07:10 PM
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as I understand you need a good weghted midi controller not a DP.
Get a studiologic numa or something like that.

Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
offnote #1895909 05/12/12 07:17 PM
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Thanks for that...

Let me clarify something...

I am looking at a rig to learn the piano, with the intent that someday if I learned enough I could play the piano on its own (no computer involved).

That's why I was thinking about an integrated unit versus a unit with external monitors (for better sound)... of course the computer interface and sound is just the fly in the ointment...

Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
Go Lobos! #1895919 05/12/12 07:42 PM
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If you will (or might) add computer-generated piano libraries, then ...
- Decide whether you want a slab keyboard or a console piano.
- Pick one that looks and feels right. The keyboard action is important. Don't fret over the speakers.

Later, if you're not happy with the sound, add a computer and sound system.

Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
Go Lobos! #1895975 05/12/12 10:47 PM
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First... Do you have a decent stereo in your house? If so...you can probably use that for sound and be happy with it. You will probably want to also spend some time with headphones so people don't have to listen to you play.

Second... I'm not sure you will be happy with generated instruction lighting up the keys that should be played. You really should just consider learning. Best way is a teacher.

Third... You will always be obsessing over sound from digital pianos. Just ain't that good. Software Pianos' which are as mac put it; computer-generated piano libraries. They are much better at sound. Requires your computer.

Fourth... Even though I'm an idiot. I'd suggest the MP6. Even though you're a beginner. That is a whole lot of piano for a beginner. Real nice though.

Follow mac's advise. Good...

I don't know about the: GM2 capable?

I'm sure others will chime in here.


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
rnaple #1895980 05/12/12 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by rnaple

I don't know about the: GM2 capable?


I didn't quite get that either. GM2 looks like it specifies 16 MIDI channels and being able to play a whole lot of instruments at the same time. Personally, I'd buy music to listen to music and buy a piano to play the piano. Having a piano play back someone elses music me doesn't seem all that important to me. I'm assuming just about any piano would be able to play back just piano.

Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
Go Lobos! #1896015 05/13/12 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Go Lobos!
Also, Tim over at Arizona Piano was explaining to me the importance of having a piano which is GM2 compatible


Yeah, I'm wondering (along with rnaple and Lefty Chev) if this function is important to you. It would be a shame to pass over the Kawais for this reason if you found you didn't use this function.

Regarding the '"follow-me" lights for learning': don't do it. Get a good (live) teacher instead. He or she will inspire you in ways that the flashing lights never will. Costs more in the long term, but as they say, you get what you pay for...

Good luck with your hunting.

Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
10fingers #1896031 05/13/12 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by 10fingers
Also, Tim over at Arizona Piano was explaining to me...


Please note that I had to correct Tim (above) on his repeated use of the word "upright" in conjunction with the Casio AP-620, which is not correct. Here is his review with the errors:

http://azpianonews.blogspot.com/2010/01/all-new-casio-celviano-ap620-piano-is.html

I have sent an e-mail to Tim to have him correct this info, since Casio's AP-620's action/sounds* are based on a "Grand Piano" not an "upright."

Casio also clearly intends for all of their pianos to both behave and sound like "grand" pianos, not "uprights."

*Mike Martin (of Casio) informed me that Steinway "D" concert grand samples have been used, also.

Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
Go Lobos! #1896078 05/13/12 07:47 AM
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If you really want light-up keys, you can also add them using this device:

http://www.thepianomaestro.com/

Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
anotherscott #1896123 05/13/12 09:49 AM
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Hey, that's pretty interesting... thanks for that...

Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
Go Lobos! #1896184 05/13/12 12:12 PM
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Don't do it. Learning piano by light is just wrong. The lights are a crutch.

Don't do it. Learn the right way.

Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
Go Lobos! #1896202 05/13/12 12:45 PM
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Bearing in mind the family may want to use this I would just buy the console type digital piano you like the best - a one box solution for learning/playing the old-fashioned way. Get a Clavinova (CLP-470 I should think) or a Kawai CA-63 (or perhaps its successor that might soon appear) or a Roland HP and be done with it. They're all good and learning to play properly will be a better foundation for the future. Keep it simple, get a console DP. Just my thoughts.

Good luck,

Steve


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Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
EssBrace #1896212 05/13/12 12:56 PM
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If you get something like a CA-63 which has the Alfred lessons built-in do you interface with a book for the lesson, or can you run interactive software from Alfred to assist in the lessons?

Re: Ok, newbie is getting a little confused - help please!
Go Lobos! #1896252 05/13/12 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Go Lobos!
If you get something like a CA-63 which has the Alfred lessons built-in do you interface with a book for the lesson, or can you run interactive software from Alfred to assist in the lessons?


You'll need the book, which does not come with the instrument.

The CA-63 is a tremendous value. I have to agree with the above comments that the "follow me" lights are of little educational value. They simply teach you to follow a prompt instead of interpreting music.

Better than any fancy gizmo is a good piano teacher.

Good luck in your search!!!!

Best,
Andy


----------------
Kawai CA63

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