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Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? #2641937
05/10/17 05:22 AM
05/10/17 05:22 AM
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Bubblejuice Offline OP
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I'm looking to get my first piano. I have just enough room for a digital piano. I want to first learn to play piano, and then once I can play it decently, I'd like to use it to create music (mostly around the alternative rock genre and some similar style of Jazz).

I went to guitar center, and with my budget of just about $1,000, I found the Roland Juno DS88 and the Yamaha MX88 pretty interesting. I personally like the feel of the Juno better, and I like the sound equally of both. But I'm not sure which is better overall for me since I am a complete beginner to piano.

I did some research online. Many people say that the Juno lacks Supernatural and APX sounds (I don't know what that is).

Many other seems to recommend the Casio PX-560 over both for reasons I don't understand.

What do you guys think? And could you please explain to me why one would be better than the other and what that means as simply as possible?

And any other recommendations you may have are certainly welcome! (I am trying to stick with Guitar Center as I have some credit there and they have this 36 month no APR deal going on right now).

Thank you very much!

Last edited by Bubblejuice; 05/10/17 05:24 AM.
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Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Bubblejuice] #2641978
05/10/17 07:49 AM
05/10/17 07:49 AM
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I'd go for the Roland for the action which has triple sensor. But you have to understand that in the end of the day you will be the one who spent time playing it. So it has to feel right under your fingertips. The feel must be good for you. I know some players that really dislike Roland's action, and enjoy GHS better, others who hates both and prefer Kawai's. So go again in the store, test them both turned off, to see which one is more to your taste, then turn it on. Here we can share opinions, but really, if you buy only following our advice you might not get the best option for you. Evaluate your needs with caution and choose the one that feels good after a good time of playing. Usually I play the first movement of Haydn's Hob XVI 23, and prelude and fugue in C minor from book 1 when testing and passages from other works that uses chords, arpeggios and octaves to see if it feels right. Some of my jazz friends improvise something and play some standard in a more difficult version to see how it responds. If it feels right then, go for it.


"But its got a crap keyboard action Dave ... no amount of great sounds help that."
Dr. Popper

Piano Student at University of São Paulo - Ribeirão Preto
Piano Pedagogy and Peformance Student at Music Department of FFCLRP - University of São Paulo

Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Bubblejuice] #2641989
05/10/17 08:31 AM
05/10/17 08:31 AM
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I had replied to your other thread before seeing this one, so you answered my question about budget. smile

With that in mind, you should really consider these options, some of which are under your budget but still recommended:

-Kawai ES110
-Casio PX-160/360/560 (though I really like the 560 just because it looks cool wink - hey all have the same action
-Roland FP-30
-Yamaha P-255 - it's $300 overbudget so you'd have to pay some cash upfront

All of the above have good piano-like actions that I recommend for beginners to learn piano on. The DS88 and MX88 are not really intended for use as a piano, but more for performing on stage and being able to use many different sounds. The money you are spending on them is going into those extra sounds and sequencing capabilities, whereas the ones I listed above the money goes toward the action primarily, and the piano sound itself.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Bubblejuice] #2642009
05/10/17 09:41 AM
05/10/17 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Bubblejuice
I did some research online. Many people say that the Juno lacks Supernatural and APX sounds (I don't know what that is).

SuperNatural (which supersedes ARX) refers to the name Roland gives the higher quality sounds in their more expensive boards. They build in characteristics that better emulate the original instruments the sounds are based on.

Originally Posted by Bubblejuice
Many other seems to recommend the Casio PX-560 over both for reasons I don't understand.

People have their own preferences. The most common reasons to prefer the PX560 is that many people feel its action feels better than what's in the MX88 or DS88; and it is also smallest and lightest, which is important to many gigging musicians.

Among these three, personally, I'd be inclined toward Yamaha for quality of sounds, Roland for having the most features, and Casio (as mentioned) for action and light travel weight.

Comparing sounds is not cut and dried, though. Not only can it be very subjective, but also, it depends what sounds you are looking for. For example, you might prefer the organ sounds on one and the electric piano sounds on another. Also, the Roland has optional sounds you can load into it. At any given time, you can load in any one of the 15 sound expansion banks from http://axial.roland.com/category/juno-ds61_juno-ds88_xps-30/ which may--or may not--bring its sounds in some category up to (or beyond) the level of those sounds in one of the other instruments whose sounds you might have otherwise preferred.

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Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Morodiene] #2642018
05/10/17 10:12 AM
05/10/17 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I had replied to your other thread before seeing this one, so you answered my question about budget. smile

With that in mind, you should really consider these options, some of which are under your budget but still recommended:

-Kawai ES110
-Casio PX-160/360/560 (though I really like the 560 just because it looks cool wink - hey all have the same action
-Roland FP-30
-Yamaha P-255 - it's $300 overbudget so you'd have to pay some cash upfront

All of the above have good piano-like actions that I recommend for beginners to learn piano on. The DS88 and MX88 are not really intended for use as a piano, but more for performing on stage and being able to use many different sounds.

Yes, if *all* you care about is piano, the Kawai ES110 will probably exceed the DS88 or the MX88 in terms of piano sound and action, and the Casio PX160 will give you the same action and close to the same piano sound as the higher end Casios (though if its for that purpose alone and the budget can handle it, I'd be inclined to pick the Kawai over the Casio). And if you like Roland, the FP30 should be better than the DS88 strictly as a piano, with its SN piano sound and newer version of the action. FP30 vs ES110 is subjective and, I think, covered in other threads here. If your interests go beyond piano sounds, as you mention, the DS88/MX88 will give you a lot of other capabilities, but most will find that they are not as good strictly as pianos. So yeah, you can basically put your money into a board that does one thing very well, or one that does a whole bunch of things not quite as well. Or you could spend more money. ;-)

Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Bubblejuice] #2642026
05/10/17 10:33 AM
05/10/17 10:33 AM
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There is something else, here:

. . . Neither the DS88 nor the MX88 has built-in loudspeakers.

Whereas all the suggestions for alternatives _do_ have built-in amps and loudspeakers.

. . . How are you going to listen to your own playing?

With the DS88 or MX88, you'll be "headphones-only", or you'll have to get some outboard speakers, which raises the cost substantially (if you don't have anything lying around).



. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Morodiene] #2642106
05/10/17 02:27 PM
05/10/17 02:27 PM
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Bubblejuice Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I had replied to your other thread before seeing this one, so you answered my question about budget. smile

With that in mind, you should really consider these options, some of which are under your budget but still recommended:

-Kawai ES110
-Casio PX-160/360/560 (though I really like the 560 just because it looks cool wink - hey all have the same action
-Roland FP-30
-Yamaha P-255 - it's $300 overbudget so you'd have to pay some cash upfront

Thank you for the suggestions! All of the above have good piano-like actions that I recommend for beginners to learn piano on. The DS88 and MX88 are not really intended for use as a piano, but more for performing on stage and being able to use many different sounds. The money you are spending on them is going into those extra sounds and sequencing capabilities, whereas the ones I listed above the money goes toward the action primarily, and the piano sound itself.


Ok, I've read about those and they are not bad options! Unfortunately the only one on that list that my local guitar center carries is the PX-160 and 360. And I did like the action and sound, but I honestly preferred the Roland and Yamaha piano sound to those two. The action was really nice (thought I can't compare to a real piano since I don't have experience there).

That's kind of the thing I'm struggling with though. Do I need a better "Piano sound" to learn piano? Or can I learn "piano" on a synth workstation that I'll be able to use later for making music too? Again, my space is super limited, so without a lot of software, a do it all device isn't that worst idea to me. Depending on how fast I improve I'll probably end up upgrading a few years down the line as is with most instruments and gear.

Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Charles Cohen] #2642111
05/10/17 02:38 PM
05/10/17 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by Bubblejuice
I did some research online. Many people say that the Juno lacks Supernatural and APX sounds (I don't know what that is).

SuperNatural (which supersedes ARX) refers to the name Roland gives the higher quality sounds in their more expensive boards. They build in characteristics that better emulate the original instruments the sounds are based on.

Originally Posted by Bubblejuice
Many other seems to recommend the Casio PX-560 over both for reasons I don't understand.

People have their own preferences. The most common reasons to prefer the PX560 is that many people feel its action feels better than what's in the MX88 or DS88; and it is also smallest and lightest, which is important to many gigging musicians.

Among these three, personally, I'd be inclined toward Yamaha for quality of sounds, Roland for having the most features, and Casio (as mentioned) for action and light travel weight.

Comparing sounds is not cut and dried, though. Not only can it be very subjective, but also, it depends what sounds you are looking for. For example, you might prefer the organ sounds on one and the electric piano sounds on another. Also, the Roland has optional sounds you can load into it. At any given time, you can load in any one of the 15 sound expansion banks from http://axial.roland.com/category/juno-ds61_juno-ds88_xps-30/ which may--or may not--bring its sounds in some category up to (or beyond) the level of those sounds in one of the other instruments whose sounds you might have otherwise preferred.


That makes a lot of sense, Thank you! Is the sound of the Casio PX-560 similar to the sound of the PX-350? My local guitar center only carries up to the 350 in the Privia line.

Yeah, I see what you mean. Is there any way to load supernatural sounds onto the DS88? And are the Supernatural sounds worth the extra money for something like the FA-08 (Which I doubt I could afford, but just out of curiosity).

Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by Morodiene
I had replied to your other thread before seeing this one, so you answered my question about budget. smile

With that in mind, you should really consider these options, some of which are under your budget but still recommended:

-Kawai ES110
-Casio PX-160/360/560 (though I really like the 560 just because it looks cool wink - hey all have the same action
-Roland FP-30
-Yamaha P-255 - it's $300 overbudget so you'd have to pay some cash upfront

All of the above have good piano-like actions that I recommend for beginners to learn piano on. The DS88 and MX88 are not really intended for use as a piano, but more for performing on stage and being able to use many different sounds.

Yes, if *all* you care about is piano, the Kawai ES110 will probably exceed the DS88 or the MX88 in terms of piano sound and action, and the Casio PX160 will give you the same action and close to the same piano sound as the higher end Casios (though if its for that purpose alone and the budget can handle it, I'd be inclined to pick the Kawai over the Casio). And if you like Roland, the FP30 should be better than the DS88 strictly as a piano, with its SN piano sound and newer version of the action. FP30 vs ES110 is subjective and, I think, covered in other threads here. If your interests go beyond piano sounds, as you mention, the DS88/MX88 will give you a lot of other capabilities, but most will find that they are not as good strictly as pianos. So yeah, you can basically put your money into a board that does one thing very well, or one that does a whole bunch of things not quite as well. Or you could spend more money. ;-)


Yeah, I see your point there. Honestly, considering that I was previously content with getting a 61 key Yamaha portable keyboard after playing it. I think that any piano sounds within this price range would satisfy me for now (probably until I get significantly better). On top of a solid Piano though, I would like an instrument I can use for music production later. I doubt this piano will ever leave my house as I'm mainly a singer on stage. So having something that's useful in creating music (once I learn to play it) is pretty important too I guess. Otherwise I'd end up spending more money down the line anyways.

If supernatural sounds really make a huge difference in quality, maybe I'll have to consider those. Otherwise, at least for my first device, and from what I've heard at GC, the sounds of the Juno and the Yamaha are probably good enough.

Haha the last option you mention is probably the case no matter how much higher I go in price. :P

Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
There is something else, here:

. . . Neither the DS88 nor the MX88 has built-in loudspeakers.

Whereas all the suggestions for alternatives _do_ have built-in amps and loudspeakers.

. . . How are you going to listen to your own playing?

With the DS88 or MX88, you'll be "headphones-only", or you'll have to get some outboard speakers, which raises the cost substantially (if you don't have anything lying around).



I have a medium Behringer amp I've had laying around, plus a good stereo system I can hook the piano up to. But I'll mostly be using some nice headphones to learn (Audeze LCD-2f) and some neutral headphones for recording (AKG K553 pro).

I think my only extra costs would come from needing a piano stand, some pedals (if it doesn't come with it), and probably a dust cover as my house is a dust factory.

Last edited by Bubblejuice; 05/10/17 02:39 PM.
Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Bubblejuice] #2642150
05/10/17 05:02 PM
05/10/17 05:02 PM
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Just so you know the MX88 has the cheapest yamaha hammered action. That is the difference between others kbds mentioned that use usually their better action. In case of casio, you try one, you tried them all. The sound and action is same on all models, just amount of semi-useless perks differ.
I don't know the piano sound on Roland DS88, but I like the action a lot as it is same to FA08. But I don't think the DS88 sound would be bad.


Casio PX-860, PX-150, Casio XW-P1, Roland jd-xi
Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: oscar1] #2642158
05/10/17 05:34 PM
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Bubblejuice Offline OP
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Originally Posted by oscar1
Just so you know the MX88 has the cheapest yamaha hammered action. That is the difference between others kbds mentioned that use usually their better action. In case of casio, you try one, you tried them all. The sound and action is same on all models, just amount of semi-useless perks differ.
I don't know the piano sound on Roland DS88, but I like the action a lot as it is same to FA08. But I don't think the DS88 sound would be bad.


Oh ok! Yeah I liked the Casio action on the PX-160, but the sound didn't really wow me.

The DS88 sounded amazing as far as I could tell, the action was not bad too. I prefer the feel of the "Ivory like" keys on the DS88 and the Casio though. The sound between the Yamaha and DS88 I found pretty similar. Although I found the Yamaha to be a bit more bassy (thought that may have just been the amp).

Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Bubblejuice] #2642177
05/10/17 06:36 PM
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I read more about the DS. I used to have Juno Gi before FA and I believe this DS is basically an iteration of Gi and Di, but they mentioned improved piano which is great news, and it has now expansion ability which is super great news. Looking at it, this is now a baby FA in many ways.

You know all things considered the DS will be infinitely far more fun than Privia or any digital piano-only keyboard to be honest. I remember on the Gi there were like 140 different presets just for piano and electric pianos, plus thousands more for everything under the sun, and well managed too. I think the Ivory-feel Roland keybed is great in my opinion (and also less troublesome longrun than Casio keybed).

I don't want to influence you too much, but if I was looking for a good keyboard in $1000 range this new DS88 would be my first and second choice, but I am little Roland biased :-) so you need to decide, try them all, but honestly the DS is pretty fantastic at least on paper...


Casio PX-860, PX-150, Casio XW-P1, Roland jd-xi
Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Bubblejuice] #2642183
05/10/17 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bubblejuice
I did like the {Casio} action and sound, but I honestly preferred the Roland and Yamaha piano sound to those two. The action was really nice

That's consistent with my opinion above, the Casio has the nicest action of the three, but often not my favorite sounds.

Originally Posted by Bubblejuice
Do I need a better "Piano sound" to learn piano?

Nope.

Originally Posted by Bubblejuice
Is the sound of the Casio PX-560 similar to the sound of the PX-350?

The piano sound is similar, yes.

Originally Posted by Bubblejuice
Is there any way to load supernatural sounds onto the DS88? And are the Supernatural sounds worth the extra money for something like the FA-08

You cannot load SN sounds into the DS. Whether the SN sounds are worth buying the FA for is subjective. I haven't heard the DS, personally.

Originally Posted by Bubblejuice
considering that I was previously content with getting a 61 key Yamaha portable keyboard after playing it. I think that any piano sounds within this price range would satisfy me for now (probably until I get significantly better).

You're probably right.

Originally Posted by Bubblejuice
If supernatural sounds really make a huge difference in quality, maybe I'll have to consider those. Otherwise, at least for my first device, and from what I've heard at GC, the sounds of the Juno and the Yamaha are probably good enough.

Even the FA only has a handful of SuperNatural sounds... piano, EPs, clav, acoustic/electric bass, acoustic guitar, and ensemble strings, plus a tonewheel (Hammond) organ simulation and a VA (virtual analog) synth function. And except for those last two, I wouldn't assume that the supernatural versions are always even better than what's in the Yamaha. To complicate things further, the FA has other sounds that are not their high end SN sounds, but may still be better than what's in the DS. Remember that Axial link above, where you could see 15 expansion packs you could choose to load into the DS? Well, the first five are already build into the FA; and for the rest, you can load two of them instead of one. But as we've kind of said, you can always spend more and get better, and your needs right now are those of a beginner, so I mention these things as points of information, not to suggest that you need to move up in price. And you know, once you look at an FA-08, there are other great boards in THAT price range that you might prefer to the Roland, like the Kawai MP7 or the Yamaha MOXF8...

Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: anotherscott] #2642273
05/11/17 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by oscar1
I read more about the DS. I used to have Juno Gi before FA and I believe this DS is basically an iteration of Gi and Di, but they mentioned improved piano which is great news, and it has now expansion ability which is super great news. Looking at it, this is now a baby FA in many ways.

You know all things considered the DS will be infinitely far more fun than Privia or any digital piano-only keyboard to be honest. I remember on the Gi there were like 140 different presets just for piano and electric pianos, plus thousands more for everything under the sun, and well managed too. I think the Ivory-feel Roland keybed is great in my opinion (and also less troublesome longrun than Casio keybed).

I don't want to influence you too much, but if I was looking for a good keyboard in $1000 range this new DS88 would be my first and second choice, but I am little Roland biased :-) so you need to decide, try them all, but honestly the DS is pretty fantastic at least on paper...


I ended up getting it! Guitar Center was having their Guitar-a-thon sale so I got 36 months no APR on the Juno DS88, I was able to pay $400 up front, so now I'll only be paying $19 a month for this awesome piano. And to be honest, the Grand piano option, doesn't sound as nice as others in some aspects, but it's pretty good overall for it's price as far as I could compare. The stage piano sounds I like even more in terms of "piano like" sounds.

My father is a big fan of Roland products, and I trust his judgement.

Now it's time to learn to play it!

Originally Posted by anotherscott
Even the FA only has a handful of SuperNatural sounds... piano, EPs, clav, acoustic/electric bass, acoustic guitar, and ensemble strings, plus a tonewheel (Hammond) organ simulation and a VA (virtual analog) synth function. And except for those last two, I wouldn't assume that the supernatural versions are always even better than what's in the Yamaha. To complicate things further, the FA has other sounds that are not their high end SN sounds, but may still be better than what's in the DS. Remember that Axial link above, where you could see 15 expansion packs you could choose to load into the DS? Well, the first five are already build into the FA; and for the rest, you can load two of them instead of one. But as we've kind of said, you can always spend more and get better, and your needs right now are those of a beginner, so I mention these things as points of information, not to suggest that you need to move up in price. And you know, once you look at an FA-08, there are other great boards in THAT price range that you might prefer to the Roland, like the Kawai MP7 or the Yamaha MOXF8...


I actually ended up getting the DS88. I was comparing it directly to the FA-08 which was right under it, and although the FA-08 piano sound did sound better, and the screen was nicer. I realized I didn't need all that just yet as I don't even know how to play this thing! A few years down the line when I'm actually good at it, there will probably be even newer models. So why spend even more when the Juno is perfectly good.

Also, my credit at GC was just enough for the Juno anyways :P

Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Bubblejuice] #2642288
05/11/17 04:22 AM
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Congrats on your DS, I have a feeling you're going to like it a lot!

Since the sound you are most concerned with is the piano sound, you may also want to check out the EXP-04 and EXP-09 downloads at that axial link, in case you might like one of those two piano piano sample sets better than what comes in the DS.

Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: anotherscott] #2642524
05/12/17 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
Congrats on your DS, I have a feeling you're going to like it a lot!

Since the sound you are most concerned with is the piano sound, you may also want to check out the EXP-04 and EXP-09 downloads at that axial link, in case you might like one of those two piano piano sample sets better than what comes in the DS.


Thank you smile So far I like it a lot. But It's just been sitting and looking pretty for the past day. I'm looking for a piano teacher as I don't want to develop bad habits right from the start.

Are those sounds I can get from the Roland website?

Re: Roland DS88 vs Yamaha MX88. Which for a beginner? [Re: Bubblejuice] #2642546
05/12/17 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Bubblejuice
Are those sounds I can get from the Roland website?


As mentioned earlier, at any given time, you can load in any one of the 15 sound expansion banks from http://axial.roland.com/category/juno-ds61_juno-ds88_xps-30/


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