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#2654185 - 06/16/17 06:55 PM Need help with my shopping list  
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tesla3 Offline
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Hi. I’m new to the forum and looking for advice on what to buy. I’m a senior adult beginner and only took up my first instrument (guitar) a couple years ago. Practice time will be split and I do plan on getting lessons.

Here’s my shopping list along with what I already have. Any and all advice on what to purchase is appreciated.

Keyboard - VPC1 (To be purchased)
I have played Roland RD-2000, Kawai MP11, VPC1, and ES8. I love the keyboard feel and simplicity of the VPC1.

Stand - K&M Omega (To be purchased)
Any others I should look at? Looking for something rock solid and don’t care about portability.

Seat - SoundSeat (I own this. Fantastic seat that's used when playing guitar with back support)
Will this work or should I buy a Piano seat?

Pianoteq 5 Standard with D4 Concert Grand and K2 Grand Piano (To be purchased)

Laptop Computer - Macbook Pro Retina from 2012 ( I own this)
From reading Pianoteq requirements it looks adequate.

Laptop Stand (To be purchased)
I would like the laptop right behind the keyboard to play around with Synthsia. I also use the laptop for Guitar so stand needs to be portable. This one from Amazon gets decent reviews.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Speakers - JBL LSR305 (I own these)
Hopefully they will work well with VPC1. Wondering though if I should get the JBL subwoofer?

Speaker Stands (To be purchased)
JBLs are sitting on the floor now. These from Amazon get decent reviews.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...e=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A10PRH2DFOVNA8

Cables
Does VPC1 come with USB cable? Speaker cable already runs from JBLs to laptop and from what I read audio output is from the laptop and not the VPC1.

Anything else?

Thanks

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#2654186 - 06/16/17 07:02 PM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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Gombessa Offline
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Does the VPC-1 come with a music rest? If not, you might want one.

I don't think the VPC-1 comes with a USB cable. You'll likely need a USB-A to USB-B cable. I would get one that is longer than you think you'll need (like 6-9ft) so you can reposition the laptop wherever you want it.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai MP11
#2654187 - 06/16/17 07:03 PM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Three comments:

a) I'm using a Roc-n-Soc drum throne seat for keyboard playing. I think you'll do fine with the SoundSeat. You might want to remove the backrest -- try it with, and without, and do whatever is more comfortable.

b) I _really_ like the Grotrian add-on to Pianoteq. You can buy that, if/when you decide that the D4 and K2 aren't enough.

c) I suggest downloading a trial copy of Pianoteq, and testing it out on the Mac. "Latency problems" can be solved, but you should test the CPU utilization using the "File --> Audio/MIDI Setup --> Performance" window of Pianoteq.

Have fun -- it should be a nice system!


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
#2654191 - 06/16/17 07:44 PM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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ando Online content
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Don't worry about the subwoofer for piano - it really won't make much of a difference.

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#2654251 - 06/17/17 02:06 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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o0Ampy0o Offline
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Seems how you are making an all encompassing list you could find headphones beneficial at some point, especially if you try sampled piano software. Do you think you will ever want to play while not being heard by other people?

There are a few gorgeous sounding software pianos. They may or may not be as responsive as a simulator like Pianoteq but any shortcoming may be overshadowed by the sound quality.

Are you going to be taking formal lessons?

Are you going to learn on your own?

Do you already know how or plan to learn to read music?

What kind of music are you aiming to play?

#2654271 - 06/17/17 04:17 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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JoBert Offline
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Is the seat adjustable in height? If not, get one that is.


Kawai CA 97 | previously: Yamaha P-115 | years ago: Roland HP-800
My piano recordings on YouTube
#2654305 - 06/17/17 08:02 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: o0Ampy0o]  
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tesla3 Offline
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Does the VPC-1 come with a music rest?

I thought it did.

Originally Posted by o0Ampy0o
Seems how you are making an all encompassing list you could find headphones beneficial at some point, especially if you try sampled piano software. Do you think you will ever want to play while not being heard by other people?

Yes. Any recommendations?

Originally Posted by o0Ampy0o
There are a few gorgeous sounding software pianos. They may or may not be as responsive as a simulator like Pianoteq but any shortcoming may be overshadowed by the sound quality.

Can you give more details?

Originally Posted by o0Ampy0o
Are you going to be taking formal lessons?

Yes

Originally Posted by o0Ampy0o
Do you already know how or plan to learn to read music?

Plan to learn.

Originally Posted by o0Ampy0o
What kind of music are you aiming to play?

Classical

#2654307 - 06/17/17 08:27 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: JoBert]  
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tesla3 Offline
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Originally Posted by JoBert
Is the seat adjustable in height? If not, get one that is.

Yes. Soundseats are adjustable.

#2654312 - 06/17/17 09:05 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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If you are going to be taking lessons and learning to read music and practicing finger exercises, etc... Make it simple. Get something like the Yamaha P255 with stand and pedal board. All you will have to do when practice time comes around is turn the thing on and start practicing!!! Last thing you will want to do is mess with all that stuff.


Previous instruments: Yamaha P105, P155, P255, Casio PX-560, PX-160
Current: Kawai ES110
Debussy, Albeniz, Scriabin, Granados SuperFreak, Chopin (very little)
#2654321 - 06/17/17 09:46 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: Gombessa]  
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Does the VPC-1 come with a music rest? If not, you might want one.

I don't think the VPC-1 comes with a USB cable. You'll likely need a USB-A to USB-B cable. I would get one that is longer than you think you'll need (like 6-9ft) so you can reposition the laptop wherever you want it.


It does comes with music rest.

#2654331 - 06/17/17 10:21 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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Charles Cohen Offline
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If the computer is left in "sleep" mode, and there's a power bar that powers everything else, "messing with all that stuff" means:

. . . Turn on the power bar (which turns on the speakers);

. . . Tap the "Enter" key, or the touchpad, on the computer (which brings it alive);

You are then ready to play.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
#2654707 - 06/18/17 09:57 PM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: hag01]  
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Kawai James Online content
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Originally Posted by hag01
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Does the VPC-1 come with a music rest? If not, you might want one.

I don't think the VPC-1 comes with a USB cable. You'll likely need a USB-A to USB-B cable. I would get one that is longer than you think you'll need (like 6-9ft) so you can reposition the laptop wherever you want it.


It does comes with music rest.


Yes, I can confirm that a music rest and USB (A-to-B) cable are included with VPC1.

Enjoy your great new setup!

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#2654740 - 06/19/17 03:09 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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Joe Garfield Online content
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Excellent choice on the MIDI controller smile

I have the JBL 305's. You don't need the sub, they sound great.

When you play piano, your body moves around while you reach to different parts of the keyboard. So you most likely won't be using the back support. I was asking about piano benches in one of my first lessons and my teacher pointed out that most pianists sit near the edge of the bench. I had a folding keyboard bench that got good reviews on amazon, but found that it was soft and lacked the real support I needed and caused me a decent amount of discomfort. Now I use a proper piano bench and am really happy with it.

I just ran into an issue of having a ground loop between my computer and digital piano (also Kawai). It turns out to be pretty common when using USB between a computer and a powered instrument since they both already have their own grounds, and USB carries signal plus power and ground. Start with the USB but don't be surprised if you hear a bunch of computer noises in your speakers, and find out you need a USB/MIDI adapter. I also had the problem using my iPhone if it was plugged in. If you're on battery power you probably won't have the problem.

Sennheiser HD650 headphones are freaking phenominal!!!!! There are a lot of recommendations to use the HD595 or whatever... the HD600s are really nice, but the HD650s add extra depth and space to the sound. I believe the VPC1 has enough of an amplifier to drive them, so you can have sound go from your computer to the VPC Input, and plug your headphones into the headphone jack. That's how I run my DP and I'm really happy with it - volume is on the piano instead of the computer. It also seems to clean up the connections, if you end up with a USB/MIDI/Audio interface.

I appreciate the comments about keeping it simple when you're starting. I don't think there's a right answer - I agree that it's really great to have something you can just sit down (turn on) and play. But I also have a super picky ear, and for me, having something that sounds good really encourages me to play more. I spend so much more time at the piano now that I've been using VST instruments. The other benefit is you get more velocity layers which helps you with feel. I'm realizing how uneven my touch is because I've been playing with limited velocity layers. When I show up at lesson some notes are always really loud, and now that I use VST it's more apparent at home.

#2654742 - 06/19/17 03:10 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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Joe Garfield Online content
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Excellent choice on the MIDI controller smile

I have the JBL 305's. You don't need the sub, they sound great.

When you play piano, your body moves around while you reach to different parts of the keyboard. So you most likely won't be using the back support. I was asking about piano benches in one of my first lessons and my teacher pointed out that most pianists sit near the edge of the bench. I had a folding keyboard bench that got good reviews on amazon, but found that it was soft and lacked the real support I needed and caused me a decent amount of discomfort. Now I use a proper piano bench and am really happy with it.

I just ran into an issue of having a ground loop between my computer and digital piano (also Kawai). It turns out to be pretty common when using USB between a computer and a powered instrument since they both already have their own grounds, and USB carries signal plus power and ground. Start with the USB but don't be surprised if you hear a bunch of computer noises in your speakers, and find out you need a USB/MIDI adapter. I also had the problem using my iPhone if it was plugged in. If you're on battery power you probably won't have the problem.

Sennheiser HD650 headphones are freaking phenominal!!!!! There are a lot of recommendations to use the HD595 or whatever... the HD600s are really nice, but the HD650s add extra depth and space to the sound. I believe the VPC1 has enough of an amplifier to drive them, so you can have sound go from your computer to the VPC Input, and plug your headphones into the headphone jack. That's how I run my DP and I'm really happy with it - volume is on the piano instead of the computer. It also seems to clean up the connections, if you end up with a USB/MIDI/Audio interface.

I appreciate the comments about keeping it simple when you're starting. I don't think there's a right answer - I agree that it's really great to have something you can just sit down (turn on) and play. But I also have a super picky ear, and for me, having something that sounds good really encourages me to play more. I spend so much more time at the piano now that I've been using VST instruments. The other benefit is you get more velocity layers which helps you with feel. I'm realizing how uneven my touch is because I've been playing with limited velocity layers. When I show up at lesson some notes are always really loud, and now that I use VST it's more apparent at home.

#2654743 - 06/19/17 03:16 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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Joe Garfield Online content
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Alfred's Self Teaching Adult Piano book is my favorite book. They do a really good job at explaining things on the page before a piece, at grouping new skills into appropriate songs, and at easing away from the simple things and into more challenging things. For example, I found Faber to be bothersome because they continued to write finger numbers above the notes and have written questions below the notes ("Second finger on the _____?") which I thought was incredibly distracting. I also felt like I worked through a lot of the book and was still playing in C major position. Alfred is so much simpler and cleaner, and got me playing chords and other key signatures so much quicker.

I'm sure there could be all kinds of arguments about which book is best - this was just my experience. There's a really good beginner's section in the forum if you're interested.

#2654759 - 06/19/17 06:24 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: Joe Garfield]  
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It's sometimes possible to drive headphones from what is meant to be a line output. But have you tried this with the VPC?
Originally Posted by Joe Garfield
Sennheiser HD650 headphones are freaking phenominal! ... I believe the VPC1 has enough of an amplifier to drive them, so you can have sound go from your computer to the VPC Input, and plug your headphones into the headphone jack
I thought the VPC has no audio capability. It simply takes keystrokes and passes them via MIDI or USB to an attached controller. Meaning: no tone generator, no line input, no amplifier, no speakers, no headphone jack. Did I miss something?

#2654791 - 06/19/17 09:20 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: MacMacMac]  
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Joe Garfield Online content
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
It's sometimes possible to drive headphones from what is meant to be a line output. But have you tried this with the VPC?
Originally Posted by Joe Garfield
Sennheiser HD650 headphones are freaking phenominal! ... I believe the VPC1 has enough of an amplifier to drive them, so you can have sound go from your computer to the VPC Input, and plug your headphones into the headphone jack
I thought the VPC has no audio capability. It simply takes keystrokes and passes them via MIDI or USB to an attached controller. Meaning: no tone generator, no line input, no amplifier, no speakers, no headphone jack. Did I miss something?


Probably my mistake. I thought it still had Line In/Out/through but I'm not seeing it.

The Sennheiser HD600 and HD650 need amplification to be worthwhile. There's not enough volume with low powered jacks, and more importantly the extra power really allows them to sparkle. I've tried a few different setups with both of these headphones.

#2654795 - 06/19/17 09:36 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: MacMacMac]  
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Joe Garfield Online content
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
It's sometimes possible to drive headphones from what is meant to be a line output. But have you tried this with the VPC?
Originally Posted by Joe Garfield
Sennheiser HD650 headphones are freaking phenominal! ... I believe the VPC1 has enough of an amplifier to drive them, so you can have sound go from your computer to the VPC Input, and plug your headphones into the headphone jack
I thought the VPC has no audio capability. It simply takes keystrokes and passes them via MIDI or USB to an attached controller. Meaning: no tone generator, no line input, no amplifier, no speakers, no headphone jack. Did I miss something?


Probably my mistake. OP I apologize for excess, irrelevant information.

I thought VPC1 still had Line In/Out/through and headphone jack but I'm not seeing it. I thought it was like the MP11 but without sound engine or sound controls. I like that it's more simple and cleaner though.

I tried driving the Senn's via Line Out yesterday but I don't have the rights adapter to get stereo output or power both cans.

The Sennheiser HD600 and HD650 need amplification to be worthwhile. There's not enough volume with low powered jacks, and more importantly the extra power really allows them to sparkle. I've tried a few different setups with both of these headphones.

#2654804 - 06/19/17 10:47 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tnsettlemo]  
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Originally Posted by tnsettlemo
If you are going to be taking lessons and learning to read music and practicing finger exercises, etc... Make it simple. Get something like the Yamaha P255 with stand and pedal board. All you will have to do when practice time comes around is turn the thing on and start practicing!!! Last thing you will want to do is mess with all that stuff.


+1

All that gear for a beginner for what, to play happy birthday? By the time you can begin with say fur elise all that will be nearly obsolete mate. Unfortunately, learning to play an instrument is not something you can buy your way into. It's almost as egalitarian as death.


Started January 2017. Working on Alfred Level 1 and Fundamental Keys. Yamaha P-115.
#2654809 - 06/19/17 11:19 AM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: ID5894]  
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hag01 Online content
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Originally Posted by ID5894
Originally Posted by tnsettlemo
If you are going to be taking lessons and learning to read music and practicing finger exercises, etc... Make it simple. Get something like the Yamaha P255 with stand and pedal board. All you will have to do when practice time comes around is turn the thing on and start practicing!!! Last thing you will want to do is mess with all that stuff.


+1

All that gear for a beginner for what, to play happy birthday? By the time you can begin with say fur elise all that will be nearly obsolete mate. Unfortunately, learning to play an instrument is not something you can buy your way into. It's almost as egalitarian as death.


I definitely not agree.
I think a beginner should play exclusively on acoustic piano for few years before he even touch a digital instrument.
But if an acoustic not available, he should get the most accurate digital emulation acoustic.

I also wouldn't recommend on VPC1 because I think a beginner shouldn't mess with things like velocity curve, I would suggest to buy something with on board sound, Kawai MP11 should do the job.

#2654818 - 06/19/17 12:16 PM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tnsettlemo]  
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Originally Posted by tnsettlemo
If you are going to be taking lessons and learning to read music and practicing finger exercises, etc... Make it simple. Get something like the Yamaha P255 with stand and pedal board. All you will have to do when practice time comes around is turn the thing on and start practicing!!! Last thing you will want to do is mess with all that stuff.



Far better suggestion than anything else. There's nowt like showing the poster the error of his ways . . . . .
But, having bought the all in one Digital, he can then buy the rest at leisure . . . .

The VPC-1 has neither line outs, nor of course, audio in. All you have to plug into your speakers is the piddly little headphone socket from the laptop or whatever.

I'm happy enough wi pianoteq going through the FP50 speakers for now. Sounds fine for a small room.
Could be better, of course. But I can do that slow time.


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

"[Linked Image]"
#2654827 - 06/19/17 12:36 PM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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tesla3 Offline
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Thanks for the feedback on the simplicity aspects. Maybe I'll look at MP11 but was trying to keep cost down.

I'm trying to avoid what I went through with Guitar where I started with cheaper equipment quickly out grew. That meant selling gear and going through another purchase. It's hard to explain to the wife all the buying, selling, buying. I finally ended up in a great place with equipment that has a certain sound and feel is a much more enjoyable experience for me. Maybe I should look at P255. Will I be happy with it in a couple years or will I quickly outgrow? I have no idea what that answer is.

#2654833 - 06/19/17 12:46 PM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: tesla3]  
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I feel the same way ...
Originally Posted by tesla3
I'm trying to avoid what I went through with Guitar where I started with cheaper equipment quickly out grew. That meant selling gear and going through another purchase.
I bought a moderately high-end piano (Yamaha) to try to avoid upgrading time and again.

If the VPC had been available at the time (2008) I might have bought that one instead.

The VPC has a pretty good action (better than my Yamaha GH3). And I'd NOT be spending money on a tone generator and speakers that I don't like and won't use.

I never use the internal sounds of the Yamaha. I have never heard a digital piano whose native sounds appealed to me. The best of the best ... at fantastic prices ... are tolerable. The affordable ones sound unbearable. So I use VST pianos only. And that's the target at which the VPC aims.

The only shortcoming of the VPC (for me) was it's slab format. My 2008 search demanded a nicely finished console for the living room. The irony is that today, after moving house, the piano cannot be in the living room. So the appearance factor is out, and a VPC would do nicely.

#2654837 - 06/19/17 01:12 PM Re: Need help with my shopping list [Re: hag01]  
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Alexander Borro Offline
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Originally Posted by hag01
Originally Posted by ID5894
Originally Posted by tnsettlemo
If you are going to be taking lessons and learning to read music and practicing finger exercises, etc... Make it simple. Get something like the Yamaha P255 with stand and pedal board. All you will have to do when practice time comes around is turn the thing on and start practicing!!! Last thing you will want to do is mess with all that stuff.


+1

All that gear for a beginner for what, to play happy birthday? By the time you can begin with say fur elise all that will be nearly obsolete mate. Unfortunately, learning to play an instrument is not something you can buy your way into. It's almost as egalitarian as death.


I definitely not agree.
I think a beginner should play exclusively on acoustic piano for few years before he even touch a digital instrument.
But if an acoustic not available, he should get the most accurate digital emulation acoustic.

I also wouldn't recommend on VPC1 because I think a beginner shouldn't mess with things like velocity curve, I would suggest to buy something with on board sound, Kawai MP11 should do the job.


VPC1 comes with preset velocity curves for pianoteq, which should work well enough I would have thought to start with, pianoteq is on his shopping list, so he shouldn't have to do too much messing if he doesn't want to, Fire it up with the daily practice setting, pick the VPC1 pteq curve and that's it, then pick an appropriate volume level, which you'd also have to do with a digital, not set it too soft etc.

IMHO, he's got a great combo lined up that would serve him well in the future. Nothing wrong going for the best he can afford since he is willing to spend it then why not. The other side of the coin, he may not be happy with the MP11 sounds after a while or another digital. IMO. For me, it is as much to be inspired to play on a nice sounding piano, so then if you can afford it, why not.

I was pretty bored with the piano Casio sounds within months owning my AP 450, but then I discovered about the software instrument shortly after where I find that not to be the case at all with some of those. If anything some grow on me more as time goes by as I am learning. I am still very happy with those sounds to the day 3 years later, so, to each their own smile

I may as well just have bought a VPC1 to begin with hindsight for less than 200 quid more at that time compared to my AP 450, but I didn't know about those options back then. I didn't overthink it too much, just bought something within a set budget to get going with. Sure, the AP 450 still serves me well, but I'd swap it for a VPC1 in a heart beat with that cost difference faced with the same choice if I did it all again today.

The forum is here, so should he have any setup issues, no doubt he'd get plenty of help to get up and running in the best way possible.

Switch on time is no bother to me at all or a deterrent compared to a digital with build in sounds either. For me my PC is on when I am home anyway, it's a few seconds literally to boot software pianos on SSD with a single mouse click in my case. In fact, the Casio itself takes a little longer to boot up compared to some of the software pianos. The only difference now with the software setup I use, I press a mouse button once, and one digital piano button, no big deal to me, and away I go, even the speakers I use kick in automatically from standby as well.

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 06/19/17 01:54 PM.

Selftaught since June 2014.
Books: Barratt classic piano course bk 1,2,3. Humphries Piano handbook, various...
Casio AP450 & software.
[Linked Image] 10x ABF recitals.
My struggles: https://soundcloud.com/alexander-borro

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