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Casio AP-650
#1979415 10/27/12 06:32 PM
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Received last weekend.

Packaged up today. Returning to the store. After all the good reviews of the AP620 I took a punt and went for the 650 without trying it out first. Yes, a gamble in itself. I'm upgrading from a Yamaha YDP-141.

Understatement to say that I'm extremely disappointed with the 650. Had high hopes. Main issue is the tonal decay (specifically in regards to the piano sound) in the middle range of the keyboard. It's just too fast and unrealistic. Delicate classical pieces (I'm an intermediate pianist) just do not cut it (example Schubert impromptu in g flat) and it annoys me how Casio can market a piano with so much focus on the keyboard effect without noticing that the grand piano tone isnt realistic. The accompaniments are also distinctly average.


I'm expecting delivery of a Roland RP-301R as already played this when I was looking around....and cannot wait to read people's experiences of the Casio AP650. I appear to be one of the first to air my views.

Rant over, hopefully a word of warning to other potential 650 buyers, and perhaps to introduce myself....I'm from the UK.


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Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979485 10/27/12 09:31 PM
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Andy,
Hope Mike Martin sees your post. A bit surprised to hear about the quick decay in the mid range of the piano sample. The sample memory was supposed to have been increased by three times to extend the decay. What did you think of the keyboard action? There have been positive comments about the action. Overall, how did you think the AP sample sounded?

Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979532 10/28/12 02:24 AM
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Keyboard action was (in all fairness) very good.
Additionally the 256 polyphony, USB record, 17 track sequencer and other features are pretty good indeed and worth noting.

But with all these bells and whistles, the fundamental flaw is that the piano samples seriously fails to impress.


Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979533 10/28/12 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by andy0140
Understatement to say that I'm extremely disappointed with the 650. Had high hopes. Main issue is the tonal decay (specifically in regards to the piano sound) in the middle range of the keyboard. It's just too fast and unrealistic. Delicate classical pieces (I'm an intermediate pianist) just do not cut it (example Schubert impromptu in g flat) and it annoys me how Casio can market a piano with so much focus on the keyboard effect without noticing that the grand piano tone isnt realistic.


@andy0140,

I have played the same piece (i.e., Schubert's Impromptu in G-flat, Op. 90, No. 3) on the Casio AP-620 and have found that you cannot sustain the melodic line sufficiently, due to the lack of harmonic resonance and decay in the samples.

So far, only the Roland V-Piano and Kawai CA95 have had sufficient resonance and decay to handle classical repertoire, as mentioned above. There may be some other Kawai and Yamaha digitals that fare better with these effects, also.

Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979534 10/28/12 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by andy0140
But with all these bells and whistles, the fundamental flaw is that the piano samples seriously fails to impress.


@andy0140,

I am very disappointed to hear that the samples don't appear to be any better in the AP-650 as compared with the AP-620.

Also, the AP-650 now has a "new high-capacity memory"... up to three times that of previous models?

Here is a portion of that info from the Casio international website:

[More natural waveform data sampling with a higher capacity memory]

[The acoustic level achieved by a digital piano is determined by the capacity of the memory that stores sounds after sampling. A new high-capacity memory, boasting a capacity in excess of approximately three times our previous models (converted linearly), is installed for the Multi-dimensional Morphing AiR sound source. The waveform data sampling capacity has increased dramatically, enabling natural reproduction of the delicate changes in waveforms associated with concert grand pianos.]

And, here is the link which contains all of the above:

http://www.casio-intl.com/asia-mea/en/emi/celviano/info/#air

Re: Casio AP-650
pv88 #1979537 10/28/12 03:00 AM
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@pv88

The Yamaha ydp handled the melodic line well on the impromptu, the sustain was good as well. I'm not used to playing expensive DP's as you've probably noticed, and my reason for upgrading the ydp was for the extra polyphony, USB record etc - features that really interested me.

Im in the process of learning rach2. Another forgettable experience on the 650.

In my honest opinion the 650 was not designed for classical pianists.

Andy.




Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979539 10/28/12 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by andy0140
Im in the process of learning rach2. Another forgettable experience on the 650.

In my honest opinion the 650 was not designed for classical pianists.

Andy.


Andy,

I would have to agree with you, as your opinion is correct.

Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979582 10/28/12 06:59 AM
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I guess I'll have to practice up on my Schubert. In all seriousness Andy, I'm sorry that you don't find the piano sounds on the AP-650 to your liking. We haven't received these in the US yet, but based on the reaction of pianists that I've been working with using the new Privia models, the new piano sound is a gigantic leap from the previous generation and I personally do not believe sustain to be an issue at all...although I agree that this was an issue with the previous generation.

As for the notion that the new Privia and Celviano models aren't made for classical music, I'm sorry but I find this an utterly ridiculous statement. Especially from someone (PV88) that hasn't played one. Most of the pianists at Casio R&D are heavily focused on classical music. I'm aware of some world class pianists including Lang Lang who are using Privia as well.

In the end, it comes down to personal taste in an acoustic piano sound. You may like Steinway, Yamaha, Baldwin, Bosendorfer, Kawai or some other brand.

Here is one clasical pianist that I had the pleasure of filming last week.


Last edited by Mike_Martin; 10/28/12 07:04 AM.

-Mike Martin
Casio America

Casio Music Forums
Re: Casio AP-650
Mike_Martin #1979596 10/28/12 08:17 AM
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Mike

I've been playing the piano for over 30 years, I'm grade 8 level and have a wide repetoire. I'm essentially Yamaha bred for want of a better word. I've played clavinovas, Arius, a few of the new Roland models, and also tried my hand on a Yamaha U1 when I was doing my research. Now the Casio is good, but in my honest opinion, good in terms of features.

Rachmaninov, Chopin, schubert classics don't sound right on the 650. This is a personal observation.

Now scott Joplin rags, and the black and white rag (atwell version) do sound good, the honky Tonk tone on the 650 is impressive, but the dynamics of these pieces are in a different world to the dynamics required on the rachamninov 2nd pc and the preludes.

I guess like you say it's down to personal preference. The technology backing up the 650 is impressive. However it has flaws when I bring into discussion the dynamics of the tone on the middle range. I would even go as far as to say it actually sounds electric in this range. I was merely making a general observation.

For the price, it should be competing with the lower end Roland's and Arius models.in terms of specification...it does that easily.

But comparing the tone dynamics/sustain/decay to the 161 and the Roland rp301, the Yamaha and Roland wins hands down.

I'll stick to my original statement and would not endorse the 650 for romantic classics.

Cannot comment on the privias as I have not tried them. I cannot also comment on the 620. I can only comment on what I've played.

To re-iterate my issue..The problem is with the decay of the middle range notes, not the sustain.

I just cannot imagine Lang Lang endorsing the celviano 650.

I guess it's a case of "watch this space" as the 650 has only just been released in the UK.

Andy.


Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979613 10/28/12 09:29 AM
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Hi Andy,

Perhaps stupid question, but were you equally unimpressed over headphones as over the internal speakers ? Just wonder if the speakers may have spoiled the fun (perhaps to a flaw, like phase reversal) and not the actual piano sound itself ? Just asking....

J

Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979624 10/28/12 10:12 AM
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J,

No difference. Have tried a few pairs of headphones too.

Definite sound chip design, the speakers carry some excellent bass and treble resonance with the lid lifted.

Andy

Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979651 10/28/12 11:19 AM
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Surprised about the conclusion that the tonal decay is too short. From what I found on this forum I got the impression the decay was even better than on much higher priced other DPs.
Concerning the key action: Some said the action of the new Casios is impressive, while one said there isn't much difference with the former Casio models. More information will be welcome. So what about the key action compared with Yamaha's GH and Kawai's RH(II) actions?

Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979738 10/28/12 03:40 PM
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Montano - agreed. I based my research on views & comments expressed on this forum and other internet reviews. As already stated, I took a punt, impulsive I accept but viewed the build up & marketing / demo clips on youtube for the 650 as extremely encouraging.

Before ordering the 650 I played the AP-220. Granted this is the bottom end of the Casio AP-x20 series and did find the sounds quite synthetic and not comparable to the near-equivalent priced Yamahas (my local music shop only stocked the Yamaha CLPs / Arius & Casio APs). I was expecting so much more from the 650. I saw this as an all-rounder - cabable of playing all genres to satisfy an intermediate pianist like myself.

The tonal decay on the 220 wasn't brilliant, in hindsight I'd compare this now to the new AP-650.

The key action I would state is impressive, loved the ivory key effect, even the hammer resonance on the notes, I loved the USB recording, it worked flawlessly and was easy to manage. The key action on the 650 is in my opinion better than the GHS on the 141. Cant comment on the RH(II) as I've never played Kawai DPs

If only Casio addressed the tonal decay on the middle range, then I'd still be using it happily now.

But I suppose being a perfectionist it wasn't to be.

I am looking forward to reading peoples reviews of the AP-650. I guess I find myself quite lucky that I was one of the first customers using it, as I understand it's not even released until Q1 2013 in the USA.

Watch this space I suppose.



Re: Casio AP-650
Montano #1979765 10/28/12 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Montano
Surprised about the conclusion that the tonal decay is too short. From what I found on this forum I got the impression the decay was even better than on much higher priced other DPs.


It is. One thing I'd recommend for anyone trying the new Privia models or the new Celviano's is to experiment with velocity curves. Setting number 3 seems to be the setting that experienced pianists prefer to the get the most out of the product in terms of dynamics and expression.

Again it comes down to personal preference but I think this may be the reason Andy wasn't getting the middle register to sing in those slower passages as I believe it does quiet well. I'll have to get a some mp3s of that Shubert piece uploaded.


-Mike Martin
Casio America

Casio Music Forums
Re: Casio AP-650
Mike_Martin #1979766 10/28/12 05:09 PM
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Mike,

Did some heavy experimenting with the brilliance and velocity levels on the 650. None of these variables affect the tonal decay on the middle range.

Here is the piece I'm referring to (as an example, being played on a Kawai CN21)

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBOev7vd2tQ

The melody line cannot be recreated like this on the 650 no matter what techniques are adapted or what parameters are set. The important and fundamental melodic sequence being played in the middle range cuts off far too early via the tonal decay even with sustain being utilised. It's key for me (excuse the pun) as an intermediate pianist that this is retained, not released. I hope you can understand where I'm coming from.

I had no issues with this on the yamaha ydp-141, which is half the price of the 650 in RRP terms.

Andy.

Last edited by andy0140; 10/28/12 06:13 PM.
Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979777 10/28/12 05:32 PM
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Andy,
I'm quite familiar with the piece, I've played it. As I said, I'll get a recording up of this on a Privia / Celviano.

PS. No recordings before next week though, I'm at our office in Japan this week.

Last edited by Mike_Martin; 10/28/12 05:39 PM.

-Mike Martin
Casio America

Casio Music Forums
Re: Casio AP-650
Mike_Martin #1979792 10/28/12 05:57 PM
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Mike.

No worries. Fortunately I took a recording myself and banked it on the iPad, then did a direct comparison against the cheaper ydp-141, again, recorded.. The results were as stated...Worringly indifferent !

I look forward to hearing your results.

Andy.

Re: Casio AP-650
Mike_Martin #1979801 10/28/12 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike_Martin
I'm at our office in Japan this week.


Youkoso!


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.
Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1979958 10/29/12 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by andy0140
Here is the piece I'm referring to (as an example, being played on a Kawai CN21)

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBOev7vd2tQ

The melody line cannot be recreated like this on the 650 no matter what techniques are adapted or what parameters are set. The important and fundamental melodic sequence being played in the middle range cuts off far too early via the tonal decay even with sustain being utilised. It's key for me (excuse the pun) as an intermediate pianist that this is retained, not released. I hope you can understand where I'm coming from.

I had no issues with this on the yamaha ydp-141, which is half the price of the 650 in RRP terms.

Andy.


And, here is one of the best performances you are ever likely to hear of the Schubert Impromptu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxhbAGwEYGQ

The "singing" line doesn't get much better than this!

It's being played on a Steinway "D"... not a digital.

Digitals just can't compete, in this arena.

Re: Casio AP-650
andy0140 #1980523 10/30/12 12:04 PM
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Well the Roland RP-301R arrived yesterday and I'm extremely happy with it...The Casio AP-650 was collected by the couriers and returned back to the store. I'm now awaiting a refund.

The decay tone on all notes on the Roland is as expected - excellent. A massive contrast to the Casio. Slightly limited features & polyphony capability on the Roland but I'm not overly concerned about this.

Happily, the Schubert impromptu sounds as it should, a faithfully reproducing sound which pleases the ear from start to finish. Even on the 2nd piano tone which is slightly softer it really does impress.

Personally, I'm glad to return the Casio, I dont think I could ever have lived with such a quick decay tone. A lesson learnt I guess. For an extra £200 I've made the right decision.

I'd recommend all potential Casio AP-650 owners to make sure you try before you buy.

Last edited by andy0140; 10/30/12 12:04 PM.
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