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#1930634 - 07/22/12 11:15 AM Best touch - no bells and whistles  
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Hello everybody

I'm soon to get a new digitalpiano/masterkeyboard. All I care for is the keys really. As a longtime playing, classicaly trained pianist I'm picky about that. The sound does not matter since I'll use it with computer sounds anyway. I'll spend what I have to to get as expressive as possible a keyboard.
Here in switzerland there's no place where I can try out many different products, so I'd like to make sure not to miss any contenders smile
So far I've shortly played a Roland FP 7F and did like the keys. So that's already an option. Other than that I want to try the Kawai MP 6 and MP 10. If I can find one around I'll be checking the Numa Nero too, though I've read some discouraging comments about it.

Are there any news about the release date of the Casio Privia PX 150 and the Physis Piano? Would I do good to wait for these or are they in a lower segment than the aforementioned anyway? Any other options I missed out?

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#1930640 - 07/22/12 11:23 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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You mention that you're classically trained and you're picky about the keys. That eliminates all of the pianos you've listed. Low-end and midrange pianos are playable, but their keyboards won't come close to what you get in a proper acoustic piano.

The only choices left are the Yamaha Avant Grand pianos, the N1, N2, N3. These have a true acoustic piano action. They range from approx. $7000 USD for the N1 to around $12000-$14000 for the N3 (US prices).

#1930642 - 07/22/12 11:32 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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If you're looking for "portability" and a great key touch, be sure to evaluate these (no particular order):

Roland RD-700
Kawai MP-10
Physis Piano (release in Europe this Fall) - be sure you evaluate the H1 (wooden key version)



- Gary Girouard
Consultant for Viscount ("Physis" Physical-model piano; http://www.physispiano.com)
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#1930643 - 07/22/12 11:33 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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I think you are basically going the right way. People picky about keys buy wanting a digital (not a hybrid, like the Avant Grands) tend to go for either Roland's PHAIII keyboard, of which the FP7F is the cheapest example, or one of Kawai's actions. Remember that Kawai has two new actions out. The CA65 has the new GF wood action and the ES7 has the replacement for the RH action in the MP6. Probably the only big difference in the latter case is the addition of a third sensor, but a nice touch depends on the sensors as well as the physical keys.

Notice that people typically like Kawai or Roland, but not both. You might take another look around to see if you can sample a Kawai. Barring that, just pick up the FP7F. You already know you like it and there are no pure digitals that are unambiguously better.

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#1930655 - 07/22/12 11:52 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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Originally Posted by goodkeys
So far I've shortly played a Roland FP 7F and did like the keys. So that's already an option. Other than that I want to try the Kawai MP 6 and MP 10.

You should also try the Yamaha CP5, which is closer to the Roland than the Kawais.

The MP6 and MP10 feel very different from each other. To me, the MP6 feels a bit like the Yamaha GH actions (CP33, P155, CP300).

#1930697 - 07/22/12 01:10 PM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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Thanks for the comments. If I'm not mistaken The RD-700 features the same keyboad as the FP 7F (the PHA III) so that's already covered. I'm definitely adding the Yamaha CP 5 to my list.

#1930936 - 07/22/12 09:48 PM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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Best touch - no bells and whistles?

...no such thing


Kawai CA-65, AKG K702, M-Audio Fast Track Pro
Pianoteq, VI Labs Ravenscroft
Macbook Pro 15-inch 2010
#1930947 - 07/22/12 10:19 PM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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Some might say the discontinued Yamaha KX-88, though, being purely a MIDI controller board, it has no bells, whistles, pianos, or any other on-board sounds whatsoever.

The action, I'm told, is quite good.

Last edited by dje31; 07/22/12 10:20 PM.

Yamaha CP33 | Roland XP-30
#1930980 - 07/22/12 11:41 PM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: Keegan]  
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Originally Posted by Keegan
Best touch - no bells and whistles?

...no such thing


Not yet. wink


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#1931026 - 07/23/12 01:04 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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Best touch no B's & W's ? Kawai MP-10 and Roland RD700NX ... without a doubt. RD700NX has best sound of any DP thrown in.


"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.
#1931060 - 07/23/12 03:19 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: Kawai James]  
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Originally Posted by Keegan
Best touch - no bells and whistles?

...no such thing


Not yet. wink


Now is that a hint that somethings coming up? smile

It looks like I haven't missed any big contenders. Now it's the question whether to wait for the new Privia PXs and the Physis Piano or not. I guess I'll head into some shops and do some playing on the FP 7F, the MP 6/10, and the Yamaha CP 5. Then we'll see if a model does completely convince me...

#1931280 - 07/23/12 12:56 PM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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Originally Posted by goodkeys
Hello everybody

I'm soon to get a new digitalpiano/masterkeyboard. All I care for is the keys really. ....
So far I've shortly played a Roland FP 7F and did like the keys. So that's already an option. Other than that I want to try the Kawai MP 6 and MP 10..


You have already found the best ones. The FP7F is good but you might prefer the Kawia. Yamaha has much more firm keys. I think I'd call a CP50 or P155 a firmer version of Kauai MP6.

I think you may find that while you prefer light action on a grand piano with a digital you might like more weight. They are different instruments.

If you think of the DP as a different instrument then you don't see it as a poorer copy of a grand. A DP like the FP7F is actually better suited to making commercial music (sound tracks for videos, pop recordings and what not.) then is a grand.

Also the internal sound on the new Roland fp7f is good enough you will not need the computer most of the time.

#1931318 - 07/23/12 02:22 PM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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One more vote for MP6. And it is better than FP7 and CP50 as a master controller since it has pitch band and modulation, 4 external zones, etc. I play mostly classical and I love the keyboard. Believe it or not, I like it more than the wooden keyboard in my ex-Kawai CA63.


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Currently: Kawai ES7 -> Garritan CFX Lite
Previously: Kawai MP6, Kawai CA63, Roland RD-700SX, Roland FP-5, Yamaha P90, Korg SP-200, Casio CDP-100
#1931323 - 07/23/12 02:47 PM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: Kawai James]  
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Originally Posted by Keegan
Best touch - no bells and whistles?

...no such thing


Not yet. wink
It did exist; it just came and went. Bosendorfer made a few prototype CEUSmaster slabs that never found a place in the market. Like other hybrids, it had a real action, but unlike the others, it was from a full-sized concert grand, hammers and all. Also, it had no bells/whistles. It had 1 piano sound and a full set of connections for stage or computer use. I also think the price tag was like $30k +/-.
.........

My FP-7F is now at home and it makes me happy. But then I like its bells and whistles, too.


Sam Bennett
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#1931332 - 07/23/12 03:13 PM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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Small remark, but big impact for me and perhaps others. I'm referring to the 'not yet ' of James. Since I , and I guess some others, have been looking for a really good old fashioned master keyboard for controlling SW instruments and outboard gear, I can't wait to see what it means. A master keyboard controller with RH II and somewhat portable (< 20kg) would be very welcome. But I'm not sure if the hint of James goes in that direction...he's probably already said too much , so that'll be all the hints we get I suspect.

Should I hold my breath ? or will I suffocate before anything materializes ..

#1931395 - 07/23/12 05:20 PM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: ChrisA]  
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Kawia?? I guess the American Indians are now manufacturing pianos!
Originally Posted by ChrisA
You have already found the best ones. The FP7F is good but you might prefer the Kawia.

Kauai?? So I guess Hawaiians are now making pianos, too!
Quote
I think I'd call a CP50 or P155 a firmer version of Kauai MP6.

I just couldn't resist. smile smile

#1931403 - 07/23/12 05:33 PM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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JFP, you'll just have to wait and see.

James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#1931452 - 07/23/12 06:54 PM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: Kawai James]  
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
JFP, you'll just have to wait and see.

James
x


What a tease...

#1931635 - 07/24/12 02:51 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: EssBrace]  
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Originally Posted by Kawai James
JFP, you'll just have to wait and see.

James
x


What a tease...


Yeah, while I certainly appreciate the info I'm somewhat in a dilemma now smile Let's see how I feel about it after store-testing the aforementioned units. But James's tease sure does sound tempting

#1931638 - 07/24/12 03:07 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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My apologies, I didn't intend to make a difficult decision even harder.

Please disregard my comment.

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#1931639 - 07/24/12 03:07 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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Well , I assume (just my thought) that Kawai is working on something like a true masterkeyboard controller, with:

- high quality keybed ( would aftertouch be at all possible with RH II ?)
- medium lightweight (<20kg) , preferably more around 15
- no bells and whistle in offered sounds, but enought sliders, knobs and pedal inputs for control
- my wish: integrated usb audio interface, so you can connect your laptop to the piano and use its hight quality audio outputs (don't have to carry an extra audio interface).
- some other welcome innovations (embedded qwerty keyboard , or at least room to setup your laptop / tablet ? )

Or...he means a true portable piano without additional sounds and bells and whisles like an arranger , speakers etc. That would be spartanic , but pure and saves weight and cost for stuff most people don't use anyway. That would mean:

- Best (portable) keybed,
- best piano sound technology available, perhaps AP and EP and nothing more.
- no additional stuff that eats up memory and CPU, or adds weight.

I know; be patient my friend ;-) But a hint in which of those two directions were aiming would be welcome.

#1931648 - 07/24/12 03:58 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: Kawai James]  
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
My apologies, I didn't intend to make a difficult decision even harder.

Please disregard my comment.


No need to apologize, quite the contrary. Your contribution is very welcome. In fact it is great that you are taking the time to respond to our questions and provide us with some early informations. So thanks for that

Originally Posted by JFP
- high quality keybed ( would aftertouch be at all possible with RH II ?)
- medium lightweight (<20kg) , preferably more around 15
- no bells and whistle in offered sounds, but enought sliders, knobs and pedal inputs for control
- my wish: integrated usb audio interface, so you can connect your laptop to the piano and use its hight quality audio outputs (don't have to carry an extra audio interface).


Now that's truly something I'm waiting for!

#1931649 - 07/24/12 04:00 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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Don't knobs and sliders count as 'bells and whistles' though?


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#1931652 - 07/24/12 04:25 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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In that case I expect option 2 :

very HQ spartanic portable; best keybed / best AP sound / no frills. But hopefully not only with the heavy wooden keybed like on the MP10; it's very good, but not so portable ( unless you have you're own personal roadies available 24/7).

An RH II would be good if fitted in a lighter frame. The ES 7 is still 22 kg due to material used for the casing, the added speakers and amps etc. I don't know how much the RH keybed itself weighs , but if the casing is made of a sturdy but lightweight material, perhaps 15 - 20 kg is possible ? For a start throw out the wooden bottom and wooden side panels ( wood is heavy compared to some of the alternatives on the market). Just my thought...

@James , I will disregard your comments as long as you keep making them ;-)

Last edited by JFP; 07/24/12 04:32 AM.
#1931720 - 07/24/12 08:29 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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I don't think we need Kawai James to predict that the MP10 will be improved along the lines of the upgrade of the CA93 to CA95.

What we need is hands-on experience of the new Grand Feel keyboard and a listen to the HI-XL sounds.



Richard
#1933962 - 07/29/12 05:18 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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What I'm really looking for would be a masterkeyboard with good touch (like in a dp) but without the sounds. Seems to me no such device exists. The most expensive masterkeyboards (Numa Nero, Doepfer LMK4+ etc) are nowhere near a good dp in quality of the keyboard action imo. So it seems I have to pay for the sounds eventhough I don't need them when wanting a good action.

#1934010 - 07/29/12 07:35 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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+1

#1934042 - 07/29/12 08:13 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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A few thoughts about various topics within this thread...

In general, the consensus seems to be that Yamaha, Roland, and Kawai make the best keyboard mechanisms. All these companies keep their designs to themselves, they don't make them available to other companies. Yamaha and Roland have long ago stopped making soundless controllers (and I don't think Kawai ever did). So unless some new player comes to the market, I don't expect to see a quality piano-action soundless controller on the market.

So many people want high quality but light weight, but if your standards for "high quality" are the current 50+ pound boards, there's no evidence that such a thing can exist. These mechanisms themselves are probably pretty heavy, and a box to hold them needs a certain amount of structural strength in order to support a heavy component without flexing, etc. But even assuming they could put the keybed into a lighter enclosure, it is likely that the same keybed in a less substantial enclosure will actually not feel as good to play, too, so there would still be a compromise.

All that said, a lot of people have found the Infinite Response VAX77 to be a very satisfying and expressive instrument to play piano on, even though it does not feel the same as a real piano, and it only has 76 keys. It's relatively light (under 40 lbs). This may be a good option to consider. One of the things that makes the VAX77 interesting is that it is capable of far more than the 127 standard MIDI velocities, so that provides a unique advantage when paired with a software piano that is capable of recognizing the finer gradations in veloicty. I know PIanoteq does, I don't know what else.

Lastly a number of people have said their ideal piano-only board would lack bells and whistles "like speakers." In my experience, the boards that feel best to play are the ones with speakers, because the resulting vibrations provide an illusion that the keys are actually connected to something making sound, you can feel it in your fingers. All speaker-less keybeds feel somewhat "dead" in this respect, compared to models with speakers, IMO. Though as long as we're talking about wishing someone would build something that isn't likely to exist, I suppose they could come out with some other haptic vibration mechanism other than speakers that would produce the same effect.

Along those lines, in a lightweight board, although certainly not top-of-line, I happen to like the feel of the Casio PX-310 (better than their new models). It has a line input that feeds signal to its internal speakers. I have used that board with its own sound turned off, feeding the sound of some other device I am triggering back into its speakers, and have found that to be quite enjoyable to play.

#1934082 - 07/29/12 09:30 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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A good quality , sturdy keybed certainly has it weight. Point taken.

On the other hand many very , very strong and (!) lightweight materials have come onto the market in decades due to developments in space and aviation technology. If someone could combine the design of the best keybeds with the use of those strong, light high-tech materials and use similar material for the casing as well (instead of metal & wood, what you still see right now) , then you wouldn't have to compromise on quality and still have a light-weight board.

The only thing you'll probably have to compromise on is price. I guess these lighweight composites are still more expensive per square inch than old fashioned metal, wood and other well known materials. But how much more expensive (if at all) , is unknown to me. I'm not an expert on that. Perhaps someone who is, can estimate the influence on price if these modern materials are used.

So either the manufactures know these materials exist, but calculated it would be too expensive. Or they are ignorant and keep on using what they always did. Or it's not even that much more expensive, but they just don't care and are reluctant to change. I don't know - pick your answer...

#1934090 - 07/29/12 09:58 AM Re: Best touch - no bells and whistles [Re: goodkeys]  
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Perhaps carbon fibre would be that material. In which case, its own raw material cost would be very high compared with conventional materials.

Add to that the extra costs of RD, admin, retooling and small scale production and, yes, you would probably have a beautiful keyboard, but the price would be very much more significantly high than the big series instruments (CP5, FP7f, MP10 and so on). Maybe at least double the price.

Last edited by toddy; 07/29/12 10:02 AM.

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