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#2675076 - 09/13/17 06:25 PM Need advice on Piano purchase for wife  
Joined: Sep 2017
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kouma Offline
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kouma  Offline
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Hello everyone,

I need advice on the best Piano to purchase for adult beginners that will last even to intermediate and professional if necessary.

I have been searching the net the past week and as well as local used listings for a used piano to buy for my wife who just recently started attending classes. Although some might suggest to start with a cheapest one in case my wife loses interest, I am a firm believer in buying the best I can budget now that is future-proof and not worry about replacing later.

My budget is approx. $1000 (CDN), which is between 700-800USD.

I have been looking into the following used pianos (prices are in Canadian):

- Yamaha Clavinova CLP-840 - $1200
- Yamaha Clavinova CLP-154F - $1000
- Yamaha Clavinova CVP-205 - $1000

It is worth investing into any of the above as opposed to buying new? If I opted for a used piano to get the most value for my money, what would be the best options I should consider.

Our requirements are:
- 88-weighted keys
- (optional) a piano that looks like a real piano (i.e. Upright, Clavinova, etc.)

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#2675092 - 09/13/17 07:40 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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Gombessa Offline
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Welcome! A couple of general thoughts:

1. It's generally recommended that you don't "surprise" a pianist with an instrument they haven't had a say in choosing. There is a lot of variety out there with vast differences in feature, tone, and feel, and this is one area where it tends to be much more satisfying if she gets to make the choice. It's like surprising someone who needs a car. She might need a truck, and what you select could be a subcompact (or vice versa).

2. Digital pianos have a lot of moving parts, and some consumables that wear over time. Also, there's not a hugely efficient market in play since the overall volume for used sales is low. That means you have good chances for either a great deal, a total dud, a price-gouging rippff, or anything in between. I've bought many used DPs but I also fancy myself as a tinkerer, and am willing to time/effort/money into learning how the actions work and how to fix them if something goes wrong. Plus I have a fairly high risk tolerance if I get a bum deal (knock on wood, it hasn't happened yet). If you don't feel the same way and are new to the market, it's probably easier to go the new route...


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai MP11
#2675094 - 09/13/17 07:49 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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MacMacMac Offline
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Those are old pianos. Here are the release dates. Models are usually sold for three to four years before being replaced by new one, so any given piano might be a few years newer than these figures:
Code
CLP154S 1994
CLP840  1998
CVP205  2001
Your piano prices translate as:
1000 CAD = 821 USD
1200 CAD = 986 USD
Originally Posted by kouma
I have been looking into the following used pianos (prices are in Canadian):
- Yamaha CLP-840 - $1200
- Yamaha CLP-154F - $1000
- Yamaha CVP-205 - $1000
IMO none of these pianos are worth that much to me. Their age and the likelihood of wear means that an old piano will likely need repair sooner rather than later.

(Mine is eight years old and has required two repairs by technicians costing almost $400, and over $100 of parts for other repairs that I've done myself ... on this Clavinova that I bought new in 2008.)

I'd look for something MUCH newer than any of those.

Last edited by MacMacMac; 09/13/17 07:51 PM.
#2675101 - 09/13/17 08:26 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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huaidongxi Online content
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since you intend to continue piano studies for some time into the future, want fully weighted keys, and overall an instrument that simulates an acoustic piano -- compare kawai digitals to yamahas before deciding. in your budget range, both are the most reliable in terms of approaching the characteristics of acoustic pianos, and equivalent in overall quality. new kawais are priced competitively relative to the new yamahas.

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#2675114 - 09/13/17 10:13 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: Gombessa]  
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Welcome! A couple of general thoughts:

1. It's generally recommended that you don't "surprise" a pianist with an instrument they haven't had a say in choosing. There is a lot of variety out there with vast differences in feature, tone, and feel, and this is one area where it tends to be much more satisfying if she gets to make the choice. It's like surprising someone who needs a car. She might need a truck, and what you select could be a subcompact (or vice versa).
. . .


+1 !

Originally Posted by kouma
. . .

I have been searching the net the past week and as well as local used listings for a used piano to buy for my wife who just recently started attending classes. Although some might suggest to start with a cheapest one in case my wife loses interest, I am a firm believer in buying the best I can budget now that is future-proof and not worry about replacing later.

My budget is approx. $1000 (CDN), which is between 700-800USD.


Bad news:

IMHO, you cannot achieve your goal - to get a "future-proof" digital piano" -- within your budget.

A 15-year-old DP is likely to sound worse, and play worse, than a new DP. Electronics has gotten cheaper, and the new sound generators are significantly better than the old ones, in any price range. That progress continues.

A list of _new_ DP's, within your budget, which would be suitable for beginner-through-intermediate use:

Casio PX-160

Roland FP-30

Kawai ES110

Yamaha P115

Both "piano stores" and "music stores" carry those brands.

They are all "slab pianos" or "stage pianos" -- not "cabinet pianos". They have 88 weighted keys, built-in loudspeakers, decent sound generators, and decent actions. For each of them, there is a more-expensive "cabinet piano" with similar action and electronics.

You will need a stand ("furniture stands" are available for each of them), and your wife may want to get a better "sustain pedal" than the one that comes in the box. An M-Audio SP-2 is OK. You may eventually want to get a 3-pedal assembly ("soft", "sostenuto", "sustain" pedals).

You won't learn much, reading ads for used DP's.

I suggest that you _and your wife_ should spend some time in music stores, trying out what's available. You _will_ learn a lot by trying them out.

If you don't have a good set of headphones, I suggest that you buy a pair. It's much easier to test a piano, when nobody else can hear you play!<g>

Please report back, with your opinions.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
#2675116 - 09/13/17 10:20 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: Gombessa]  
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kouma Offline
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Welcome! A couple of general thoughts:

1. It's generally recommended that you don't "surprise" a pianist with an instrument they haven't had a say in choosing. There is a lot of variety out there with vast differences in feature, tone, and feel, and this is one area where it tends to be much more satisfying if she gets to make the choice. It's like surprising someone who needs a car. She might need a truck, and what you select could be a subcompact (or vice versa).

2. Digital pianos have a lot of moving parts, and some consumables that wear over time. Also, there's not a hugely efficient market in play since the overall volume for used sales is low. That means you have good chances for either a great deal, a total dud, a price-gouging rippff, or anything in between. I've bought many used DPs but I also fancy myself as a tinkerer, and am willing to time/effort/money into learning how the actions work and how to fix them if something goes wrong. Plus I have a fairly high risk tolerance if I get a bum deal (knock on wood, it hasn't happened yet). If you don't feel the same way and are new to the market, it's probably easier to go the new route...


You make great points. I never thought about the "surprise" factor and I LOL'd when I read your car example smile

If I understood your second point, are you suggesting I get a new DP or acoustic Piano?

#2675117 - 09/13/17 10:30 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: MacMacMac]  
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kouma Offline
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kouma  Offline
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Those are old pianos. Here are the release dates. Models are usually sold for three to four years before being replaced by new one, so any given piano might be a few years newer than these figures:
Code
CLP154S 1994
CLP840  1998
CVP205  2001
Your piano prices translate as:
1000 CAD = 821 USD
1200 CAD = 986 USD
Originally Posted by kouma
I have been looking into the following used pianos (prices are in Canadian):
- Yamaha CLP-840 - $1200
- Yamaha CLP-154F - $1000
- Yamaha CVP-205 - $1000
IMO none of these pianos are worth that much to me. Their age and the likelihood of wear means that an old piano will likely need repair sooner rather than later.

(Mine is eight years old and has required two repairs by technicians costing almost $400, and over $100 of parts for other repairs that I've done myself ... on this Clavinova that I bought new in 2008.)

I'd look for something MUCH newer than any of those.



1994! OMG almost 20 years old!! Thank you for pointing out the release dates..I would have felt so ripped off if I purchased a piano that was created before the Internet.

I will take your words to heart, thanks for sharing your experience with me. I will not look into anything older than 4 years.

#2675119 - 09/13/17 10:42 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
Joined: Jun 2015
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FrankCox Offline
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Melville Saskatchewan
Costco puts their pianos on sale semi-regularly if you watch the costco.ca website. I got my Casio AP-650 for $1099 (Canadian) a couple of years ago. If you're not in a big rush just keep watching the costco.ca website -- they usually put some of their nicer ones on sale in November through December.


If you're a zombie and you know it, bite your friend!
Casio Celviano AP-650
#2675121 - 09/13/17 10:47 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: Charles Cohen]  
Joined: Sep 2017
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kouma Offline
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kouma  Offline
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Welcome! A couple of general thoughts:

1. It's generally recommended that you don't "surprise" a pianist with an instrument they haven't had a say in choosing. There is a lot of variety out there with vast differences in feature, tone, and feel, and this is one area where it tends to be much more satisfying if she gets to make the choice. It's like surprising someone who needs a car. She might need a truck, and what you select could be a subcompact (or vice versa).
. . .


+1 !

Originally Posted by kouma
. . .

I have been searching the net the past week and as well as local used listings for a used piano to buy for my wife who just recently started attending classes. Although some might suggest to start with a cheapest one in case my wife loses interest, I am a firm believer in buying the best I can budget now that is future-proof and not worry about replacing later.

My budget is approx. $1000 (CDN), which is between 700-800USD.


Bad news:

IMHO, you cannot achieve your goal - to get a "future-proof" digital piano" -- within your budget.

A 15-year-old DP is likely to sound worse, and play worse, than a new DP. Electronics has gotten cheaper, and the new sound generators are significantly better than the old ones, in any price range. That progress continues.

A list of _new_ DP's, within your budget, which would be suitable for beginner-through-intermediate use:

Casio PX-160

Roland FP-30

Kawai ES110

Yamaha P115

Both "piano stores" and "music stores" carry those brands.

They are all "slab pianos" or "stage pianos" -- not "cabinet pianos". They have 88 weighted keys, built-in loudspeakers, decent sound generators, and decent actions. For each of them, there is a more-expensive "cabinet piano" with similar action and electronics.

You will need a stand ("furniture stands" are available for each of them), and your wife may want to get a better "sustain pedal" than the one that comes in the box. An M-Audio SP-2 is OK. You may eventually want to get a 3-pedal assembly ("soft", "sostenuto", "sustain" pedals).

You won't learn much, reading ads for used DP's.

I suggest that you _and your wife_ should spend some time in music stores, trying out what's available. You _will_ learn a lot by trying them out.

If you don't have a good set of headphones, I suggest that you buy a pair. It's much easier to test a piano, when nobody else can hear you play!<g>

Please report back, with your opinions.



Thanks Charles. I am now convinced that Pianos are not like wine, they don't become better with age smile

I have noted the models you suggested down and I will search local piano/music stores and test them. Maybe this weekend we can arrange something.

#2675122 - 09/13/17 11:02 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
Joined: Sep 2017
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kouma Offline
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kouma  Offline
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Originally Posted by FrankCox
Costco puts their pianos on sale semi-regularly if you watch the costco.ca website. I got my Casio AP-650 for $1099 (Canadian) a couple of years ago. If you're not in a big rush just keep watching the costco.ca website -- they usually put some of their nicer ones on sale in November through December.


Thanks Frank. I am a Costco member so I will definitely keep an eye. The one piano they had in store locally had only 76 keys, so it will have to be online. Is the Casio AP-650 as good or better than any of the ones that Charles suggested:

Casio PX-160

Roland FP-30

Kawai ES110

Yamaha P115

#2675127 - 09/13/17 11:41 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
Joined: Jun 2015
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FrankCox Offline
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Melville Saskatchewan
Frankly, I don't have a lot to compare it to. I started out with a Casio CDP-230 (that I got on sale from the costco.ca website) and then upgraded to my AP-650 about six months later when it went on sale about six months later. And I've never in my life played any piano other than those two.

The keys on my AP-650 are a lot nicer since they are textured and not just a plain plastic key like the CDP-230 has.

I play my piano for somewhere between 20 minutes and maybe two hours on most days, depending on what else I'm doing that day, and I like this piano rather a lot. I figure I should get 20 years out of it unless it breaks, since I can't see any reason that I would want to change it.

The AP-650 is apparently quite common and popular. I live in a town of 5000 people and the day it was delivered the truck driver told me that it was the third one he had delivered in town here that day. So there must be a whole lot of people that have one.

Most of the time I just use the default "Grand Piano Concert" setting; if I'm playing a rock tune (Bad Moon Rising, Old Time Rock 'n Roll, etc.) I might use the layer function to add a "Steel Guitar" on top of the piano sound to give it a bite. I used the split function last Christmas to do a version of Little Drummer Boy using "hip hop drums" with my left hand and an electric piano with my right hand and that was pretty cool. But mostly I just play the Grand Piano Concert setting and leave everything set at the defaults.

It has a ton of auto-accompaniment functions and whatnot that I've never used. And you can record to a wav file on a flash drive -- I did that once just to see how it worked; it worked and I haven't used it again.

If it's important to you, the AP-650 looks like a real piano, not a stage or a slab, so you get something that's more like a piece of furniture in your living room.


If you're a zombie and you know it, bite your friend!
Casio Celviano AP-650
#2675137 - 09/14/17 01:36 AM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Richmond, BC, Canada
The AP-650 is an upgraded PX-350 (which I have, and like) in a furniture cabinet, with larger amps and speakers. It has "continuous half-pedalling", which the PX-350 lacks, and higher polyphony (which I don't think matters). Aside from that, the "features" seem to be identical.

Like Frank Cox, I've hardly used the auto-accompaniment feature -- but it's there, if you want to play with it. The built-in rhythms are OK.

It's better (IMHO) than anything in my list, above.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
#2675139 - 09/14/17 02:13 AM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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Take your wife along and let her choose.


Functional Ear Trainer on Android, ChordProg Ear Trainer and Ireal Pro
#2675140 - 09/14/17 02:18 AM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: Charles Cohen]  
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ArtlessArt Offline
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Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen


...

A list of _new_ DP's, within your budget, which would be suitable for beginner-through-intermediate use:

Casio PX-160

Roland FP-30

Kawai ES110

Yamaha P115

...


+1

These are all better than CLP/CVP mentioned in op, you get more for your $$.

As mentioned above, nothing like taking the wife and going to a shop to try them out. Key things to look for are the action (feel) and the sound. Personally, action is no.1 for me since you can get different sounding software which are more realistic than the build in ones. Happy hunting!

#2675146 - 09/14/17 03:35 AM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: johan d]  
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Osho Offline
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Originally Posted by johan d
Take your wife along and let her choose.


+1

#2675182 - 09/14/17 09:44 AM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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kouma Offline
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We are going this weekend laugh I think I will take my wife to this Merriam Music, its about 20 mins away. They currently have specials on the Casio PX-160 and Kawai ES110 (https://www.merriammusic.com/product-category/deals/digital-deals/)

- CASIO PX-160 W/ MATCHING STAND, BENCH, AND THREE PEDAL SYSTEM -> $689.99 (FROM $1000)
- KAWAI ES100 -> $800 (FROM $1100) not sure if bench and stand are included with this one

#2675183 - 09/14/17 09:52 AM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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kouma Offline
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LUCKY!! Costco has the same package about (Casio PX-160) for $550!! Its is the Casio® PX-160CSSPCB model though, not sure if that makes a difference.

https://www.costco.ca/Casio%C2%AE-PX-160CSSPCB-Digital-Piano.product.100221671.html

Last edited by kouma; 09/14/17 09:55 AM.
#2675195 - 09/14/17 11:02 AM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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ArtlessArt Offline
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Wow... The prices are certainly a lot more competitive than Australia. Cheapest here I ever found on a brand new Casio PX160 is $729.00! Exchange rate almost 1-to-1 CA and AU.

#2675214 - 09/14/17 12:03 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
Joined: Dec 2012
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Charles Cohen  Offline
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Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted by kouma
LUCKY!! Costco has the same package about (Casio PX-160) for $550!! Its is the Casio® PX-160CSSPCB model though, not sure if that makes a difference.

https://www.costco.ca/Casio%C2%AE-PX-160CSSPCB-Digital-Piano.product.100221671.html


That's a _very_ good price, for the whole package. The "CSSPCB" distinguishes the Costco "bundle" from the plain PX-160.

Against the AP-650, the PX-160 has the same keyboard mechanism, and a similar sound generator. The AP-650 has lots more "voices" (around 250, against 18 for the PX-160), and many more features --

. . . but for learning piano, and playing piano, they'll both work fine.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
#2675260 - 09/14/17 02:26 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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squidbot Offline
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Originally Posted by kouma
They currently have specials on the ... Kawai ES110 (https://www.merriammusic.com/product-category/deals/digital-deals/)


Just wanted to note that the deal on the page you link is for the Kawai ES100 not the Kawai ES110. Though they are similar in a lot of ways, the ES100 was discontinued this year and replaced by the ES110. The newer keyboard is lighter and has a new type of key action, however the ES100 is still a very good choice and has great reviews.

The primary competitor to the Kawai ES110/ES100 is the Roland FP-30. There is a raging debate as to which is better, but it really comes down to personal preference. It looks like Merriam stocks both brands, I'd highly recommend trying both while you are there. I wound up preferring the Kawai but the Roland is a fine choice as well if you prefer it, and has some advantages over the Kawai (and visa versa.)

#2675272 - 09/14/17 03:20 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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Gombessa Offline
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Originally Posted by kouma
If I understood your second point, are you suggesting I get a new DP or acoustic Piano?


Yeah, for a first-time purchaser I would recommend buying new. Especially if you're buying as a gift for someone else. New means you'll eliminate a lot of potential headaches (and if something does go wrong, you have the manufacturer's warranty, the retail return policy, and possibly your credit card's warranty extension) to help, not to mention statutory warranties and/or lemon laws in your jurisdiction. If you buy used, you assume all the risk.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai MP11
#2675347 - 09/14/17 08:15 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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kouma Offline
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Hi guys and gals,

So I am at Merriam now and the wife is trying out pianos. I had a plan, I wanted her to try the FP30, ES110, AND PX-160, but the cleric screwed up my plans royally frown

As soon as we entered he spoke to my wife, understood our "requirements" and showed us the Kawai KDP90 frown and basically trashed everything else that I wanted her to try frown he showed us 16 levels of sentivity and how similar the KDP90 sounded compared to some expensive 200k pianos.

My wife still tried the ones I mentioned in addition to the KDP90, but guess what her choice ended up being frown

It costs 1300 as a full package. Is it worth it? Is it really better than the other options suggested above. Man this is over my budget frown I am thinking I should have just purchase the Casio from Costco and surprised her LOL

Last edited by kouma; 09/14/17 09:13 PM.
#2675367 - 09/14/17 09:37 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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Charles Cohen Offline
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Charles Cohen  Offline
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Richmond, BC, Canada
Well, you were "up-sold" -- but the KDP90 will be fine. It seems to date from 2014 -- not an old design.

Based on my own experience:

. . . You are better off with a happy wife and slightly emptier wallet, than with an unhappy wife, and a fuller wallet.<g>

I have one question -- "16 levels of sensitivity" ? According to specs I have, there are four "Touch" settings (light / normal / heavy / off).

The price matches what I can find online. If you got a bench with it, you're doing OK.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
#2675372 - 09/14/17 09:56 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
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huaidongxi Online content
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huaidongxi  Online Content
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Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 630
kouma, your wife did very well. compared to the portables, the substantial weight of the model you chose, in part because it has bigger and better speakers, will give her piano a closer feel and sound to an acoustic. it will probably be more durable than some of the portables as well. none of the Casios in my limited sampling came close to the kawai ES100 in terms of feeling and responding like a real piano, and the model she picked probably surpasses the ES100 considerably. may both of you find great pleasures with the music and each other.

#2675375 - 09/14/17 10:33 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: Charles Cohen]  
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 10
kouma Offline
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kouma  Offline
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Posts: 10
Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
Well, you were "up-sold" -- but the KDP90 will be fine. It seems to date from 2014 -- not an old design.

Based on my own experience:

. . . You are better off with a happy wife and slightly emptier wallet, than with an unhappy wife, and a fuller wallet.<g>

I have one question -- "16 levels of sensitivity" ? According to specs I have, there are four "Touch" settings (light / normal / heavy / off).

The price matches what I can find online. If you got a bench with it, you're doing OK.



Hi Charles, I am not sure if its sensitivity or something else, but he showed us that you can get 16 tones from how you depress a key

#2675376 - 09/14/17 10:44 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 10
kouma Offline
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kouma  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 10
Originally Posted by huaidongxi
kouma, your wife did very well. compared to the portables, the substantial weight of the model you chose, in part because it has bigger and better speakers, will give her piano a closer feel and sound to an acoustic. it will probably be more durable than some of the portables as well. none of the Casios in my limited sampling came close to the kawai ES100 in terms of feeling and responding like a real piano, and the model she picked probably surpasses the ES100 considerably. may both of you find great pleasures with the music and each other.


Thank you so much for the best wishes. You are so sweet! We did try the ES110 and you are 100% correct the speakers on the KDP90 seemed 100 times louder and clearer than the ES110. I did not know that speakers can be such an important component of a piano

#2675380 - 09/14/17 11:30 PM Re: Need advice on Piano purchase for wife [Re: kouma]  
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3,886
Charles Cohen Offline
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Charles Cohen  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 3,886
Richmond, BC, Canada
Quote
. . .
I did not know that speakers can be such an important component of a piano.


Well, that's what actually makes the sound! Everything else is just moving electrons.

EDIT -- If you want to see what one of the fundamental problems is, for digital pianos:

. . . Look at the size of the soundboard of an acoustic piano;

. . . Look at the size of the actual loudspeaker drivers in most DP's (less than 5" diameter, for "entry level" DP's)

and figure out how such small areas of moving paper cones can sound the same as a 4' x 4' soundboard.


Last edited by Charles Cohen; 09/14/17 11:35 PM.

. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker

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