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Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget #2424049 05/23/15 11:04 PM
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AnastasiaT Offline OP
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Hi we are looking for a piano for my 9 yr old daughter. Husband thinks digital with weighted keys/pedals is as good as acoustic.

We are looking at a Samick SC-900 which looks like an acoustic piano (sort of like an "apartment-size" piano) and has weighted keys and pedals, full size keyboard I think. I am wondering if anyone knows what the sound is like.

At the moment she has a smaller Yamaha keyboard that does not have weighted keys as we were not sure if she would love piano. She does and has quickly outgrown it.

I can't find much information on this model or the Irmbach acoustic piano that we are looking at.

Can anyone share their knowledge? We would love to buy her a fabulous piano but it is just not in the cards at this time so we are looking for the best option at this price point (used, private sale).
Thanks!

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Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424066 05/24/15 12:17 AM
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fizikisto Offline
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I think you can do much better than that. If you can possibly stretch your budget a bit, at $499 the Casio Privia PX-150 is a vastly better piano for the money. Also, if you live in the states there some sales going on this weekend for the holiday. you might be able to get 10-15% off (musician's friend is running a sale and they're a reputable online vendor). If you absolutely can't stretch your budget that much, you might look at the Casio CDP-130, which while not nearly as good as the PX-150, it's well within your budget at $299 and still much better than the sammick. Note these are both "slab" type pianos meaning that you'll need to get a stand, but a cheap X-stand can do the job for $30-ish.

So the casio CDP with stand is the best option in your budget, but the PX-150 is really worth the price difference if you can swing it.

P.S. Casio is set to replace the PX-150 with a new model (the PX-160) in the next month or so...so you might be able to find some good bargains on the PX-150.

P.P.S. on a personal note, I think it's wonderful that you and your husband are supporting your daughter's interest in playing the piano! smile


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Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424074 05/24/15 12:42 AM
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AnastasiaT Offline OP
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We are in Canada but I see Costco has that model for $669.99 including stand and bench.
http://www.costco.ca/Casio%C2%AE-Privia-PX-150-Digital-Piano.product.100033576.html

I guess the real argument is whether a digital piano is as good as an acoustic in the same
$400-600 range.

We are very supportive, she loves it so much, she has never once had to be told to practice! It's a wonderful thing to see the joy she gets from playing.

Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424077 05/24/15 12:54 AM
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fizikisto Offline
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You might be able to find a used upright for very cheap if you get lucky. But in that price range you're likely to be much better off with a digital piano (in terms of sound and playability). Plus, acoustic pianos have additional costs associated with them (for example they need to be tuned). Digital pianos are also much more portable, and you can plug headphones in to allow you to practice silently (so as not to disturb the people living with you).

Don't get me wrong, I love acoustic pianos. If I had the space and the funds I'd buy an acoustic grand piano tomorrow (alas, I lack both the space and the funds). But for a lot of situations, I think a good digital piano is a much better fit for people's needs. The costco deal you linked to is a good deal. You'll notice that the stand also comes with the traditional three piano pedals (soft, sostenuto, and sustain). That gives you a pretty complete setup.

Good Luck with your search!


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Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424080 05/24/15 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by AnastasiaT
I guess the real argument is whether a digital piano is as good as an acoustic in the same
$400-600 range.


No acoustic piano in the $500 range is worth the trouble. The cheapest acoustic piano that would make an acceptable student instrument cost thousands not hundreds, new or used.

Get something like a Yamaha P-45 or Yamaha P-115 or look for sale on previous models P-35 or P-105.

If your child really loves piano and always practice on her own and making good progress, the piano to get would be this:
http://www.costco.com/Roland-RP-400-88-Key-SuperNATURAL-Digital-Piano-Bundle.product.100129664.html. It is a very good "entry-level" digital piano, which would last her through intermediate level playing.

Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424143 05/24/15 05:25 AM
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Hello there. We made the mistake of buying a low end Digital new for 800 and within three months I couldn't stand it and we found a good accoustic for next to nothing . It was just an old piano but mechanically it was great just bring your tuner with you. If your child is serious, get a next to free piano from the classified ads.


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Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424183 05/24/15 07:44 AM
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I would go digital, because at that pricerange most acoustic piano's are low quallity and probably weared out, with a lot of extra cost to get it on par...


Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424195 05/24/15 08:37 AM
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I don't know if something similar is running in Canada. But maybe you can search in nearby US states.

pianoadoption.com

Worth a look. If you have space and are free of neighbors in ear shot you might get lucky. If that's not the case, then yes, decent digitals are very affordable these days.

Best.

Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424271 05/24/15 12:07 PM
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Charles Cohen Offline
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The Costco price for the PX-150 bundle doesn't sound really low. But it's less than you'd pay at Axe Music, a large Canadian mail-order dealer. If there's a Tom Lee store close to you, you might talk to them and see what they could do. IMHO, the triple-pedal unit and "furniture stand" are worth having; the bench is so-so.

I agree with fizikisto and 8_Octaves -- if you can stretch the budget, do so. A new DP is a lot easier to learn on, than a worn-out acoustic piano.

When considering an acoustic piano, add some realistic costs for moving, and for tuning (every year, minimum, and more often depending on the piano and where it is, in your home). The PX-150 will stay in tune forever.

But I might be biased, and you might get different answers in the "Pianos" forum.





. Charles
---------------------------
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Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424391 05/24/15 05:03 PM
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kapelli Offline
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I also opt for the digital. You will pay for the tuning like perhaps a 50-100$ once a year (I dont know the US / Canada prices), and, I have to tell you, the old cheap pianos are really bad sounding compared to new DP. Except the effect of being "natural" and have a fullersound, due to being acousting, all is worse, and, for the 9-year old, it really will be better to play on good DP.

I spend my education on an old, concert upright, which was badly maintained before got it... and... I couldn't at all to move myself forward while playing on it...

Today even the begginer DP's are quite good. And, those cheap old uprights, unless you will get a miraculous bargain, are really not worthy.

It is no brainer, I think, and, deep inside, I am tolerating only the acoustic grands wink however, the new one digitals are often much better than old uprights.

And, they often sound really awful, and, considering the cost of doing the sound to be up to your linking... better go for some middle DP wink
however, I agree, for the cost, buy a Casio or Kawai ES100.

Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424723 05/25/15 04:22 PM
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There are lots of good acoustic pianos on Craigslist for $500. I bought a nice Baldwin Hamilton studio for $500 and sold it two years later for $500 when I bought my new Yammie. The Baldwin played rings around any digital I have ever played both tone and action wise.

Yes, there is variation in used pianos and you should inspect them carefully (every key/pedal/hammer/damper, below, in back etc. before buying. And also yes, they are a pain to move and maintain. But for sound and playing, they can't be beat.

I have a couple of electronic pianos and they are fine for quiet practice and carrying to outside gigs but for sheer musical enjoyment I play the acoustic just about exclusively at home.





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Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424724 05/25/15 04:26 PM
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kapelli Offline
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The other not mentioned thing is, that, due the high and increasing popularity of digitals, which are going better and better each year, the prices of classical pianos dropped down...

Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424737 05/25/15 04:58 PM
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MacMacMac Offline
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These are true:
Bachus: At that price range most acoustic pianos are low quality.
Me: Some digital pianos in this price range are wonderful.

And these opposites are also true:
pianoMom2006: I couldn't stand (the digital piano) and we found a good accoustic for next to nothing.
Edtek: There are lots of good acoustic pianos on Craigslist for $500.
Me: Some digital pianos in this price range are terrible.

And this is false:
8 Octaves: No acoustic piano in the $500 range is worth the trouble.

Generalizations take you precisely nowhere. Instead ...

1. Find a suitably priced digital piano that you like.

2. Find a suitably priced acoustic piano that you like.

Allow for the expense of $100-$150 per tuning at least once a year and preferably twice.
Allow for the cost of moving the piano. (Find out how much! This varies a lot.)

Include the price of an expert piano technician to evaluate the piano.
The piano might be junk, or it might be a gem. You will not know, but the tech will.
(But if you find a gem, it will sound so much better than a $500 digital ... or even a $5000 digital.)

Then choose.

Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: MacMacMac] #2424749 05/25/15 05:33 PM
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Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
These are true:
Bachus: At that price range most acoustic pianos are low quality.
Me: Some digital pianos in this price range are wonderful.

And these opposites are also true:
pianoMom2006: I couldn't stand (the digital piano) and we found a good accoustic for next to nothing.
Edtek: There are lots of good acoustic pianos on Craigslist for $500.
Me: Some digital pianos in this price range are terrible.

And this is false:
8 Octaves: No acoustic piano in the $500 range is worth the trouble.

Generalizations take you precisely nowhere. Instead ...

1. Find a suitably priced digital piano that you like.

2. Find a suitably priced acoustic piano that you like.

Allow for the expense of $100-$150 per tuning at least once a year and preferably twice.
Allow for the cost of moving the piano. (Find out how much! This varies a lot.)

Include the price of an expert piano technician to evaluate the piano.
The piano might be junk, or it might be a gem. You will not know, but the tech will.
(But if you find a gem, it will sound so much better than a $500 digital ... or even a $5000 digital.)

Then choose.


Totally agree here. I bought an acoustic 47" upright for $300, and sold it for $700 a few years later. My technician didn't look at it, but advised me that it was a good piano for the price if certain things check out (and they did).

If you are patient and don't need to get a digital for space/sound concerns, then going with an acoustic may be a good move. However, if you are in a less populated area, acoustics will be far and few in between and the prices will generally run a bit higher as a result. Be prepared to travel a bit in that case.

The same goes for used digitals. However, your best bet on this would be to look at models where a newer model has recently come out. Many people like to have the latest and greatest, but will want to sell their older model to help fund the new one. Ebay is a great place for this, but do be careful when dealing online sight unseen. At the very least test out that model in a store somewhere.


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Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424885 05/26/15 03:58 AM
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At that budget, for me, it's an easy answer.

Casio PX-150 (it's as near as damnit to the budget limit).

Yes, it's possible - if you're very lucky, informed and the stars are all aligned, for you to be one of the few that manages to bag a decent acoustic for that sort of money, and are not put off by the on-going revenue costs.

AND are in a domestic situation where an acoustic is just as viable an option, in terms of environment, acoustics, room, and others in the household.

The reality is, though, that unless you're very lucky, and also have a conducive home environment, AND are happy with the ongoing costs, roughly around your budget will get you a decent, entry-level digital, which will serve for a reasonable amount of time, for a reasonable range of ability.

I wouldn't go near "unbranded" keyboards / digital pianos in that price range, when the PX-150 is reasonably well thought of, decent, and very modestly priced. But then also to address your first paragraph, decent digitals are still (on a pure instrument / acoustic level) inferior to a decent acoustic. But that degree of inferior, is often overplayed to the degree that it's misleading - not sufficiently inferior to be unrepresentative and invalid as a choice of instrument (unless the player is already at a quite advanced level, and aiming for high academic study of the piano - and if already with those aims, worry about that when the player is nearing that level, rather than right now).

I say this as having an acoustic piano that I've had for over 30 years (nearing 40) and two digital pianos I've had a relatively brief period of time.


Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424904 05/26/15 06:11 AM
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At every given budget i guess an acoustic is always a better choice, especially for learning purposes, provided one can manage the "noise", and that one is able to research the right piano in good condition, a condition which i think definitely drives a lot of customers towards new digitals, since, beyond the obvious and unbeatable convenience of headphones, these have no "verify condition" problem as used, and more performance consistency even as new.

Last edited by Bellicapelli; 05/26/15 08:10 AM.

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Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: AnastasiaT] #2424940 05/26/15 08:45 AM
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Digital pianos beat acoustics in a lot of other important categories so it depends on what's important to you.

But for me the big plus for practicing on an acoustic is that it develops your "touch", especially on older pianos that are fussy. You learn how to adjust your "touch" to control the instrument and it's sound. And that skill stays with you no matter which piano or keyboard your playing.

Plus I'm very fond of old beat-up acoustic pianos, I can always find time to go out of my way to play them wherever I find one.


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Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: Groove On] #2424961 05/26/15 09:42 AM
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So true about developing your touch in the early stages on an acoustic piano. I grew up practicing on an Acrosonic spinet piano, and even though I had many years when I did not play, I still retained that sense of touch. That being said, I can imagine it may be possible that touch can also be developed on a higher end digital pianos.


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Re: Digital vs acoustic, $400 budget [Re: pianoMom2006] #2424999 05/26/15 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoMom2006
Hello there. We made the mistake of buying a low end Digital new for 800 and within three months I couldn't stand it and we found a good accoustic for next to nothing . It was just an old piano but mechanically it was great just bring your tuner with you. If your child is serious, get a next to free piano from the classified ads.


Great response. My thoughts exactly. A teacher or anybody who's played piano (like a relative or somebody else's relative) would be able to give good advice. Expect to pay no more than £300 for a good'un. . . they're two a penny these days! Wish I had the space.


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