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I'm considering getting a Nord Piano 2 (88 keys, 39 pounds) or Piano 2 HP (73 keys, 25 pounds) for gigging and taking to jam sessions, etc. - quite possibly in NYC. Hence, the 25 pounds is appealing. The only other offerings in that weight range are the Casios and the Yamaha P-105, neither of which I like.

I'm also considering the Yamaha CP4. I really like the "sort of" wooden key action. 88 keys, 38 pounds. I DON'T like the stretched, skimped, looped, flat, sympathetic string resonance lacking piano sounds.

I also like the much less expensive Kawai ES100 (88 keys, 33 pounds).

Nord does not even MENTION who makes their keybeds. There's nothing on their website about them - at all. I don't even know if they have graded hammer action, not to mention let off, etc. What is it - a synth action? I know that lots of cats gig with these things, so the action can't totally suck...

I've read the complaints about noise. But, what about the action itself? Who makes it? Fatar, I think. Which model? What other keyboard uses it? Of course, no stores have the Nords, so the best I can do is try a different keyboard with the same action in it.

I own (and love) a Kawai MP11, with the real deal, wooden keybed. At 71 pounds, it ain't gigging material.

Anybody gig with a 73 key slab? That 15 pound weight saving will rock for NYC subways....

Thanks,

- Jeff


Selmer Mark VI Tenor (‘73) & Alto Sax (‘57), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Sax (‘87), Conn Naked Lady Baritone Sax (‘52), Conn New Wonder Tenor & Alto Sax (‘24), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (‘13), Kawai MP11 & ES-110, Numa Compact 2x, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (‘69).
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Nord uses Fatar actions exclusively across the whole line. So does Kurzweil and several others.

For light weight stage pianos try and play Casio PX-5S, Yamaha CP4 (many would disagree about your assumptions about the sounds it makes), Nord Piano HP (always the most expensive of the lot. That's the price you pay for the aluminum case, light weight, and easy to use layout. The other bonus is the sample library is growing and you have the freedom to swap which ones you've loaded up. The down side is it doesn't hold that many sounds. But perhaps good enough if you have the ones you like and use the most). The Nord Piano 2 does have string resonance, but the samples are also stretched (they have to be to fit in such small amount of RAM) and the polyphony is very low, particularly when compared with the CP4. The ROM on the CP4 also holds a lot more variety of other sounds in addition to the pianos. Again, on the Nord you have to decide pre-gig which sounds you intend to bring.

What else, Kurzweil Artis 88 or SE is worth a look. The SE is more reasonably priced and weighs in at 38.6 lbs.

Welcome to the search for a light weight stage Piano with weighted action. Don't worry so much about who made the action until you've played on them and decided for yourself what you like and don't. You may like the Fatar action compared to the Casio or the Yamaha or the other way around. More commonly when they drop from 88 to 76 or 73 they switch to a synth action, which is why the Nord Piano 2 HP is unique.

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I can't find the video now but I watched a video on PianoManChuck's channel on youtube that explained how Nord uses Fatar action but also tweaks it to their own specs.

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Are you picking the Nord from playing them or from watching videos and sound files? I thought it was for me after the many videos, but for playing jazz, I couldn't connect with any of the acoustic pianos sounds an quickly got rid of it. For other types of music it probably is a great choice.


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They have their fans, but it's hard to admit to oneself that you didn't get exactly what you wanted from a board at their price points?. That's a question, not a fact. Trying to figure out why fans are way louder than the detracters on the whole line. There are lots who feel they didn't like something... For example, I thought I wanted an Electro 2, 3, 4, 5. I keep coming back to them. The hype is huge for the 5. Every update I go try one again. For me, the organ action is wrong. The spring is too hard or something and it just feels odd. I've played the Hammond XK-3c recently and it felt right's. Don't know where Suzuki/Hammond is sourcing their actions, but feels like a Hammond organ. Neither is great for Rhodes, Piano, or Wurly playing. But people choose the smaller boards for size and weight.

I haven't played the HP action models, shops never have the bigger boards in around here.

Just brings us back to you have to play them to know.

Videos aren't enough.

Otherwise you eat the return shipping and order something different till you're happy. I miss the local shops being able to stock the popular models.




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I received a reply from Nord...

The Piano 2 uses the TP-40 action.

The Piano 2HP (73 key) uses the TP-100, about which I've heard is really light and not all that great.

Of course, except for accosting a local player, there's no way to audition these puppies because, once again, no local stores stock them.

Except Casio. They have Casio. And I do not like Casio actions.

Again, the Kawai MP11 has spoiled me. I know a lightweight won't have THAT action, but so far, the Yamaha CP4 is the closest.

As to the CP4 sounds, I didn't tweak them at all, but they really sound harsh and one dimensional. I don't understand Yamaha's decision there. You'll notice that my soprano saxophone is a Yamaha (I also play a Yamaha wind synth), so I like the company.

The Kurz Artis uses the Fatar TP-100 action. Again, no possibility of playing it.


Selmer Mark VI Tenor (‘73) & Alto Sax (‘57), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Sax (‘87), Conn Naked Lady Baritone Sax (‘52), Conn New Wonder Tenor & Alto Sax (‘24), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (‘13), Kawai MP11 & ES-110, Numa Compact 2x, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (‘69).
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Only from the videos. No stores carry them here (Detroit). I may have to accost a local player at a gig.


Selmer Mark VI Tenor (‘73) & Alto Sax (‘57), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Sax (‘87), Conn Naked Lady Baritone Sax (‘52), Conn New Wonder Tenor & Alto Sax (‘24), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (‘13), Kawai MP11 & ES-110, Numa Compact 2x, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (‘69).
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Guitar Center has:

Casio, cheaper Yamahas, Rolands. That's about it.

Another local store (Huber & Breeze, a local concern) has the Yamaha CP4.

Yeah, life would be a lot easier if we were able to a-b these puppies together.


Selmer Mark VI Tenor (‘73) & Alto Sax (‘57), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Sax (‘87), Conn Naked Lady Baritone Sax (‘52), Conn New Wonder Tenor & Alto Sax (‘24), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (‘13), Kawai MP11 & ES-110, Numa Compact 2x, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (‘69).
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If you cannot find any Nords in your area to play-test, perhaps try other boards that utilise the same Fatar actions?

You could also consider going for a lightweight board such as the P35/P45 or ES100, and augmenting the sound/functionality with a tablet (iPad or Surface).

Or just stick with your MP7, which has a great action, great sounds, great features, and is still pretty portable.

Cheers,
James
x


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Yeah...if I can find out what other boards use the Fatar T-40 action.....

The thing is, I may well be in NYC, and the MP7 is 46 pounds plus case, and in wheeled-case territory, for sure. Not good for subways! I'd like to have a real lightweight. It's too bad the Casio action doesn't suit me.... 25 pounds does!

The 33 pound ES100 is on my list as well. I don't own a tablet yet. I'm also trying to find out what might work with VST pianos, etc. As near as I can tell, an actual computer is needed. A Surface Pro 3 would be great, but they are expensive. That might help with the Yamaha CP4 as well.... I really don't dig the piano sounds; they're flat and one dimensional, at least through headphones at the store. I DO really like the keyboard. It's not an MP11, but it's really good for not being an MP11.


Selmer Mark VI Tenor (‘73) & Alto Sax (‘57), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Sax (‘87), Conn Naked Lady Baritone Sax (‘52), Conn New Wonder Tenor & Alto Sax (‘24), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (‘13), Kawai MP11 & ES-110, Numa Compact 2x, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (‘69).
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I have a CP4, but I wouldn't buy it just for the action alone if you've had such a negative reaction to the built-in voices. That said, it does work well with Pianoteq, and I imagine it would work well with other piano software.

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Just a suggestion, if you are looking for an ultra portable board for subway travel in NYC, the Casio's action is actually very nice, worth it, especially if you are considering lesser actions on lesser boards.
The PX5s is preferred by many pros for its action. The Casio bag is so compact and extremely easy to handle. Sounds like you have other boards....

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There is going to be a trade off here because of the need for the stage piano to be small and light weight. no way around that at the moment.

Nord had the market on this type of design until the CP4 and PX-5S showed up. To keep the weight down the action is going to be lighter as well.

The ES100 lacks pro audio outputs (doesn't have 1/4" or XLR outputs and no L/mono output). You have to tap the headphone out to send to amp or FOH.

I'd make plans to try all three of the models mentioned and make a pick knowing there is a trade off to be made with all three. Maybe after Music Messe we'll see some new contenders in this Niche.

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There are no Casio PX5S's at any stores here, but they do have the Casio 350, which I think has the same action.

No Nords anywhere, unless I accost a player at a gig.

I'd like a better action than the Casios. It wobbles side to side and makes a horrible, loud noise. I like the Yamaha P-105 (same weight) better.

I looked at the Kawai ES100 in the Fall... I graduated all the way to finally purchasing the MP7 and then the MP11. The lack of functionality and connectivity on the ES100 is what drove me to look up in price. Of course, the MP11 has insane action, but isn't giggable. I do like the ES100 action.


Selmer Mark VI Tenor (‘73) & Alto Sax (‘57), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Sax (‘87), Conn Naked Lady Baritone Sax (‘52), Conn New Wonder Tenor & Alto Sax (‘24), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (‘13), Kawai MP11 & ES-110, Numa Compact 2x, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (‘69).
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I don't hate the CP4 piano sounds. I just think they cheesed on the sampling and implementation for a +$2000 board.


Selmer Mark VI Tenor (‘73) & Alto Sax (‘57), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Sax (‘87), Conn Naked Lady Baritone Sax (‘52), Conn New Wonder Tenor & Alto Sax (‘24), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (‘13), Kawai MP11 & ES-110, Numa Compact 2x, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (‘69).
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Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
Nord uses Fatar actions exclusively across the whole line. So does Kurzweil and several others.

Just to clarify a little ambiguity in that sentence, Kurzweil uses Fatar actions, but not exclusively. The SP4 and SP5 use actions from other companies.

Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
The Nord Piano 2 does have string resonance, but the samples are also stretched (they have to be to fit in such small amount of RAM)

The XL versions of the samples are either unstretched, or close to it. In fact, that's the only difference between the XL and L versions.

Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
and the polyphony is very low...

True, but as I mentioned elsewhere, nobody seems to complain about running out of notes on it. It's implemented very well. The polyphony figure simply doesn't tell the whole story. (I have personally experienced a situation where a passage would play perfectly on a model with 32 note polyphony, while the same passage would yield an audible dropout on another board with 64 note polyphony! Both set to simply play a straight piano sound, no layers.)

Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
...particularly when compared with the CP4

And here's a simple example of why it is hard to compare these figures. The CP4 polyphony is 128. A stereo piano sound knocks that down to 64. If you layered a stereo string sound, it would be knocked down to 32. The Nord Piano 2 has polyphony of 40 in stereo, and if you layer strings, the piano polyphony remains at 40!

Originally Posted by Skyscrapersax
I don't hate the CP4 piano sounds. I just think they cheesed on the sampling and implementation for a +$2000 board.

What matters is really just how it sounds. The audience doesn't know the technical specs, they know what they hear. And sometimes pianos with lesser specs sound better than some others with better specs.

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Scott chimes in to keep a balanced perspective. All fair points.

Like I said, your options are limited in this niche category. Scratch off the PX-5S, the action doesn't deliver what you expect. Drop the CP4, the sound doesn't do it for you. So, the Piano 2 HP is the last one standing. Order it, give it a try. If you're not happy, send it back. That's the way it works nowadays. Online dealers accept it back no questions asked within typically 30 days. Just have to eat the shipping. I'd recommend sweetwater or kraftmusic.


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Excellent post Scott.


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Of course, the Nord Piano 2 HP is the most expensive! I'd have to sell the MP7 to buy the Nord.

I was reading on another forum about a NYC gigger than insisted on 25 pounds for subways. Since I'm probably doing that this Summer, I may have to go that route as well.

Another Scott suggested the Numa Compact. It's only 13 pounds! Maybe $500. Not many sounds. My MP11 doesn't have many either, but it does exactly what I want it to do, which is play essentially like a grand piano.

The thing is, I COULD ACTUALLY BUSK WITH THAT! (I busk on saxophone).

Any other opinions on the Numa Compact?

+1 to Kraft. That's where I got my Kawais.


Selmer Mark VI Tenor (‘73) & Alto Sax (‘57), Yamaha YSS-62 Soprano Sax (‘87), Conn Naked Lady Baritone Sax (‘52), Conn New Wonder Tenor & Alto Sax (‘24), Yamaha WX5 Wind Synth (‘13), Kawai MP11 & ES-110, Numa Compact 2x, Casio PX5S, Roland VR-09, Hammond E-112 (‘69).
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Of course, the Nord Piano 2 HP is the most expensive!


Of course! Ha ha. One of the big guys must be eyeing competing head on with Nord in this niche area? 73/76k weighted action, 25-30lbs, simple user interface with all your bread and butter sounds would do it. Or maybe it's too niche. Not every gigger needs to navigate city transit and walk to the venue.

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