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Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? #2356664
11/30/14 03:32 PM
11/30/14 03:32 PM
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Jane F Offline OP
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Hi, I'm new to this forum. I've just gone back to playing piano after a break of about 10-15 years. About 15 years ago I bought a Yamaha YPP 55 electric piano but got rid of it a few years ago and bought a Yamaha NP 31. The reason being that the old model was quite big and bulky, and at the time I was living in an upstairs flat and couldn't have managed to transport it around easily by myself had I wished to do so. I also wasn't playing much at the time and I figured it was old and dated now anyway..
However.. having just got back into playing piano again I'm just getting used to the NP 31 which is much lighter and the keyboard is not as deep. I can't help thinking I shouldn't have got rid of the old one!! Do people usually keep electric pianos this long or do they normally upgrade anyway? I'm asking on here because I don't know any pianists personally. Jane

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Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2356677
11/30/14 03:59 PM
11/30/14 03:59 PM
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If you are serious about piano you will want a better instrument than the NP31. The action is spring loaded with a short length to the pivot, almost like a toy.

There have been progressive changes over the years, leading up to the appearance of 3 sensor wooden graded hammer action keys. There is much debate about which is best, but there are also good plastic keys that have 3 sensors and are graded hammer with quite long pivot length.

The sound is another kettle of fish, mostly sampled and often interpolated, but now 88 note samples are common; also modelled or combinations of the two. This is subjective and your own ear may tell you the answer. For many the solution is a keyboard controller that connects to a PC or tablet which produces the sound.

What's your budget and goals.(to replace the NP31)?

Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2356681
11/30/14 04:03 PM
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Neither the YPP-55 nor the NP-31 are real electric pianos. These have unweighted keyboards unfit for real piano playing.

A good digital piano (slab form factor) has 88 weighted keys and weighs about 20 kg (45 lbs).


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Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2356686
11/30/14 04:19 PM
11/30/14 04:19 PM
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THe answer to your question is in the local music store.

Go in -- preferably with headphones -- and try some of the acoustic pianos on the floor. Then try some of the digital pianos on the floor.

Then try the NP31.

You'll feel and hear the differences.

. Charles


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Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2356701
11/30/14 05:11 PM
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Jane F Offline OP
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I wouldn't describe the NP 31 as like a toy, it has very good reviews and a lot of people are happy with it. I don't play classical music or professionally so I don't need a high end instrument and my budget is small so this would be out of my reach anyway.
I've had acoustic pianos in the past but got rid of them due to house moves and lack of space. I actually prefer the light touch that non acoustics give as I have small hands and weak wrists. I like to make a powerful sound without making much effort, which is achievable with non acoustics. As well as being able to plug headphones in to practise.

Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2356703
11/30/14 05:18 PM
11/30/14 05:18 PM
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OK, but that's not piano playing. That's keyboard or synth or something else. That's fine. What else are you looking for in your instrument if you want to upgrade?

Also, as Charles says, go to a store and play some DP's. Then come back and tell us that indeed the NP31 feels comparatively like a toy. smile

Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2356705
11/30/14 05:24 PM
11/30/14 05:24 PM
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The NP31 has graded soft touch. I had a YPG-535 which had the same action. It's one step below the various graded hammer options Yamaha offers (GHS, GH, GH3...) It's playable, but there was (to me) an extreme difference in touch between the white and black keys, as if I always had to push harder on the black keys. If you'd like a more piano-like touch and want to stick with Yamaha, maybe take a look at something newer with a GHS action, like the DGX-650. You may actually find the GHS action lighter than the action on the NP31.


Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2356829
12/01/14 04:24 AM
12/01/14 04:24 AM
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Jane F Offline OP
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I wouldn't describe what I do as keyboard or synth playing, believe me I know how to play piano. David Farley, thanks your advice is constructive. I'm still in the early stages having only just started playing again after a 15 year break, so will see how it goes before I spend my hard earned money!

Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2356877
12/01/14 07:29 AM
12/01/14 07:29 AM
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JaneF,
If you decide to upgrade to a more realistic piano, you might look at the casio privia PX-150. It has a full 88 keys that are weighted like a real piano, but not heavily weighted (the action actually has a very nice feel imo). It has two advantages that might make it particularly attractive: firstly, it's relatively cheap (around $500 US -- less if you can find one used) and secondly it's very light weight (around 25 lbs - easily transportable). As a low cost digital piano, it is very well regarded here on this forum (and elsewhere). In any case, good luck with your future piano endeavors.


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Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2357329
12/02/14 09:08 AM
12/02/14 09:08 AM
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The passage of time does affect keyboard and digital pianos, even ones that are well maintained.

Some electronic components have a lifetime of about 10-15 years before service might be needed. As time goes by, improvement are often made in this area. So a current board will probably last a bit longer than a similarly priced unit from 15 years ago.

Also, storage media formats can become obsolete. When I worked for Kurzweil, one of the biggest challenges I faced when helping customers was dealing with older products that did not include USB. Saving and loading files and backing up to a computer could really be a hassle with the old format (SCSI, which was used on Macs back in the 90s).


Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Dave Weiser] #2357375
12/02/14 01:01 PM
12/02/14 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Weiser
Some electronic components have a lifetime of about 10-15 years before service might be needed. As time goes by, improvement are often made in this area. So a current board will probably last a bit longer than a similarly priced unit from 15 years ago.

Consumer electronics without any special long-life product design (like military grade stuff) usually survived 5-10 years.

With recent regulations in place, requiring switching power supplies instead of transformers, lead-free soldering and so on, lifetime tendency is moving to less than five years. Now people even accept electronics suiciding within 2 to 3 years. So I adjusted my base assumption to two years, which equals the mandatory warranty period in the EU.


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Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2357382
12/02/14 01:27 PM
12/02/14 01:27 PM
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Kind of an off-topic aside from me, but yeah, the change in soldering totally destroys many laptops in a couple years. It's worst of both worlds - complex soldering crammed into a tiny case that's open and closed and flexed repeatedly until the solder connections start to develop micro breaks. I've dealt with one laptop after another (in my real job) that's been rendered unusable because connections go bad and there's no way to fix it. And this can manifest itself in a myriad of ways because of the randomness of the behavior as these little breaks open and close. ("Everything is great except about every third time I plug something into this USB port it shuts down.") Advice - the more rigid the case, the better (meaning Apple or Apple-like).

Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2357438
12/02/14 03:36 PM
12/02/14 03:36 PM
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@David There is a fundamental issue with BGA (ball grid array) circuits. These expand and and contract due to the heat caused by electrical currents inside them. BGAs just sit on balls of solder connecting them to the PCB (hence the name). Lead makes solder flexible enough to compensate for that, while lead-free solder just breaks (or develops whiskers causing short circuits).

We now can throw all these failed electronic devices into landfills without having to fear groundwater pollution due to lead and grow the economy by buying new shiny things. What we wouldn't have to, if these wouldn't fail in the first place. This will only work, until all scarce resources are exhausted: like silver, which replaced lead in solder and is quite finite on earth. smile

So maybe in a few decades we all play on acoustic pianos again, because digitals became unbearable expensive. wink


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Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2357579
12/02/14 10:43 PM
12/02/14 10:43 PM
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Just toss your digital piano into the oven and reflow the solder. Worked for the xbox360. And yes sometimes the environmental stuff gets way out of hand causing more problems than it tries to solve.

Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2357694
12/03/14 08:26 AM
12/03/14 08:26 AM
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Having given it some thought I think i will start looking for a new full size digital piano with 88 hammer action weighted keys. I want to take my playing more seriously and start practising regularly. New years resolution!! The new year might yield some barely used instruments for sale, as people get them for Christmas then don't want them.. I will see if my local music shop has the Casio privia PX-150 and I'll give it a try. One thing I do miss on a 76 key piano are the missing keys at the lower end, not so much the higher ones.

Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2357749
12/03/14 11:52 AM
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Good - I hope you find the right one for you. the Casio PX range is good.


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Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2357774
12/03/14 01:15 PM
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The Casio's are good. If you are concerned about light or soft touch, the next yamaha step up in key action from your current keyboard is on the P35, but the sound is better on the P105.

Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2357780
12/03/14 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Jane F
One thing I do miss on a 76 key piano are the missing keys at the lower end, not so much the higher ones.


The problem is generally not this, as in all keyboards you can transpose pretty easily (except that a few don't have an octave switch button that make it extremely quick to transpose when you turn it on). The real problem is the hammer action. Hardly any company has put a decent hammer action keyboard on anything less than 88 keys (except maybe Roland with the RD-64), because they consider that a DP has to imitate the number of keys of an AP, which is a pity cause as noted in other posts many people would trade the portability of a 61 to 76 keys DP with the highest octave or even the highest 2, if they have the control on dynamics that you have with an hammer action...
This is not necessarily to replace the home DP (even though a good 76 keys DP could probably be enough for a good deal of people as their main instrument), but to have a second portable one for moving it around (a bit like many people, especially those that work with a computer, have a desktop pc, or desktop replacement notebook, at home, and an ultrabook when they move around). An unweighted (or semiweighted, which is basically the same) keyboard would be more like a "netbook" from this point of view....


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Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2358011
12/04/14 05:20 AM
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This is the next thing I was going to ask.. I can only afford to replace one instrument so would it be possible to buy an 88 weighted key digital piano that is suitable for home playing but portable and light enough to take out and play elsewhere when need be?? I only have a small budget and can't justify spending lots of money on myself as I have a partner and family too etc!
I also play fiddle as well as piano, and my fiddle needs upgrading too!

Re: Do electric pianos/keyboards go out of date? [Re: Jane F] #2358013
12/04/14 05:21 AM
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