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Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? #2750802
07/11/18 02:30 PM
07/11/18 02:30 PM
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AnalogJeff Offline OP
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Question -

I am auditioning a Kurzweil SP4-7. It comes with a full warranty, but it was a customer return. It has some scratches on it, but works perfectly. I initially bought it for $650 w/free shipping, but it's within its return time. Someone at Kurzweil last week told me that all of the SP4-7 units were actually built between 2010-2011, none later. Any units bought since then were from back then. The SP6 is essentially a replacement. The SP6 is a model from later 2017.

Someone very familiar with Kurzweil suggested to me that given how old the SP4-7's design is, he wouldn't buy it unless he could get it for about $450. I have seen a customer return of the SP6 available for a bit over $1000.

The SP6 has half-pedal damping and string resonance along with 2 new pianos, but it's also an 88 key weighted keyboard. It comes in at 27 pounds (all plastic casing) vs. the 24 pounds of the SP4-7 (all metal). The SP6's interface is easier to use and is somewhat more tweakable. It also is capable of holding a far greater number of user created patches. It has 4 arpeggiators. Yet overall, it is still an essentially WYSIWYG type of keyboard. Tweaking to the factory preset sounds is extremely limited. The SP6, like the SP4, is designed to be a basic keyboard with lots of sounds rather than those who are doing a lot of experimenting. If you want different sounds than what is provided at the factory, you have to create them (or use someone else's creations) and upload them to the instrument.

Still, after playing both, the SP4-7 is really quite capable. I could live with it. Many of the sounds are very close to the SP6. I got some help from Matthew at American Music & Sound to figure out how to go beneath its surface interface (not easy given the poorly written manual).

My question to those who may be more knowledgeable about these two keyboards is, how much do you think is fair to pay for the SP4-7 that would make it a good deal in your eyes, if you were looking for a more basic keyboard like the SP series? Is the $650 (originally $1100 street when available for purchase new) too much given that I could get a SP6 for a bit over $1000 shipped ($1300 street)?

Jeff

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Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2750803
07/11/18 02:42 PM
07/11/18 02:42 PM
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The SP4-7 has the sample set from the PC3, The SP6 has that same sample set plus a bunch more... stuff from the Kore64 option (notably guitars, brass, woodwinds), the improved piano of the Artis, and scaled down versions of the newer sounds from the Forte (notably another grand piano, improved EPs and harpsichord).

Both have computer based editors available so you can do a lot more tweaking than you think, though there's a fee for he SP4 editor while the SP6 editor is free, IIRC.

I wouldn't choose based on which you can get the better deal on, I would choose based on which you prefer for other reasons (the sounds, the action, the interface, the construction, the footprint, the travel weight). A good deal on something you don't like as much won't be as satisfying in the long run. A year from now, better to be playing the keyboard you love than the keyboard you saved money on. In the long run, you'll forget about a few hundred dollars one way or the other, but you'll be reminded how much you like the keyboard (or don't) every time you play it.

Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: anotherscott] #2750822
07/11/18 04:07 PM
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AnalogJeff Offline OP
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Honestly, I could be happy with either. I'm trying to future forecast as well.

Either one, frankly, gets me good sounding and expressive pianos. Either one gets me some above average, some really excellent sounds. I think if I could get the SP4-7 for $500 or less, it'd probably be fine. But, since I haven't spent a ton of time with the SP6, I don't know how much more I'd appreciate it. Again, the with the half-damper pedal and string resonance, those are subtleties which are better, but I can still make the SP4-7 pianos expressive, and particularly with the pianos samples that were added later on the Kurzweil website, those are better than the ones initially supplied (the newer ones capable of much greater delicacy).

It's not like the sound of the SP6 is miles ahead of the SP4. It isn't. I think its improvements are subtle like with the string resonance, the two slightly improved piano samples, the much greater capacity to hold more user sounds, and the easier navigation. Again, that's just from a 40 minute time with the SP6. I have had almost a month with the SP4-7.

My current lightweight gigging piano is a Casio PX-310, and either one will be an improvement. I also have a Roland RD-600, a superb piano for its keyboard and almost infinite expressive capabilities. That weighs a ton. I don't know if the SP6 is really a substitute for the RD-600.

But my budget is relatively limited. If I can feel comfortable with the SP4-7 at a really good price, then I can put some money into upgrading my amp/speaker. I'd like to get a QSC k8.2 (I currently have a Roland KC-350, which weighs a lot. As I get older, equipment that weighs less is appreciated.).

On the other hand, if someone can convince me that my money is really better spent on the SP6, particularly if the prices are not going to be too far apart, then I might send the SP4-7 back. I have to decide by the end of the week whether I'm keeping it or not.

Is what the Kurzweil person said, that the SP4-7 is worth about $450 or so at this point a pretty reasonable statement?

Thanks,


Jeff

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2750841
07/11/18 06:04 PM
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One way to look at this is that the SP4-7 is pretty much fully depreciated, so you wouldn’t lose too much if any money on it if you bought it now and later bought a used SP6. FWIW, I am in the process of trying to convince myself that my CP4 is noticeably better than the SP6, trying to justify keeping both. The SP6 is a pretty sweet little machine. Also, there is more editing available than is first apparent on the board if you tell it to display all parameters (a Global setting) when you go into Edit Mode. Also, FWIW, the improved 9 foot grand piano available from Dave Weiser actually removes the String Resonance effect. Enough rambling.


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Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2750869
07/11/18 09:27 PM
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The SP4-7 is a really nice (and I think underrated) instrument. You seem to have a good handle on the differences, and it's great that you had the opportunity to try both in person, and can evaluate those differences for yourself. One of my bigger concerns would be the difference in the actions, but your experience with the PX-310 (another underrated keyboard, IMO) gives you some good perspective there. If you're enjoying the SP4-7, and weren't blown away by the differences in the SP6, I have a feeling your ears and your back may be happier if you stuck with the SP4 and put the extra cash into upgrading from the Roland amp to the QSC. The only other thing I'll mention is that, in evaluating the difference between the keyboards, you should compare their sounds using the same playback system, I.e. the same (good) pair of headphones, or both through that QSC amp.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: anotherscott] #2751052
07/12/18 05:30 PM
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Thanks!

Unfortunately, I don't have the opportunity to compare both the SP4-7 and the SP6 using the same speakers. I have been using a pair of Grado 325is headphones (VERY revealing) to compare my Casio PX-310 and the Kurzweil SP4-7. Strictly as a piano, the PX-310 is very, very good. Its piano (only 2 acoustic pianos, 1 in stereo) sound is perhaps not quite as good as the Kurzweil, but if you're looking to have the keyboard play like a piano, it certainly has the more organ-like keyboard of the Kurzweil beat. The PX-310 seems to be capable of rendering a half-damper pedal with an optional pedal, something the SP4-7 can't do (while the SP6, with optional pedal), can. The Casio's samples have a zero level, that is, if you press the key down slowly enough to the bottom, you get no sound at all, so there's more delicacy available. With the Kurzweil SP4-7, it's clear that someone found that not to their liking, because the downloadable sounds include several pianos (which I have downloaded) that, while never rendering a zero sound, give you just off of zero. I think the Kurzweil's are more dynamic, however.

Where the Kurzweil beats the Casio is pretty all of the other sounds. Strings are, by FAR, more realistic sounding on the Kurzweil. The Casio's strings are cheesy. Plus with the mod wheel on the SP4, (the PX-310 has none, the later models, do), you can swell the strings.

What has me tearing my hair out a bit though, is the Kurzweil's interface and manual. Not very intuitive. I tried layer 2 sounds on both the PX-310 and the SP4-7. With the Casio, it's pretty easy. Press 2 sounds at the same time and, voila, they're layered. Press one of them, and the other will be unlayered and the other one will remain. And you can alter the volume of each sound in relationship to one another.

With the Kurzweil, the manual says to, while in Setup Mode, press Shift and the Zone 2 button simultaneously. The Zone 2 options are made available in the single line LCD which you can scroll through. The sound you want in the layer, the volume of that layer, and transposition of that layer (You can alter it to a different octave, or even to another interval). That's all fine and good.

I'm supposed to be able to unmute the layering by pressing again on Shift and Zone 2 to undo it. But it doesn't. And after futzing around a bit, I ended up with a different sound layering that is not even indicated on the LCD display. It has left me scratching my head. I have an email into Jean at Kurzweil.

If I can learn how to make the SP4-7 go, I'm learning to keeping it, as long as the price is right. I think $645 is probably too much for it at this point, considering there are SP6 units out there for just over $1000. I'm still wondering what you guys think is a fair price to offer for a unit in very good, but not perfect condition (has a few scratches), but will have full warranty.

Jeff

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751081
07/12/18 07:20 PM
07/12/18 07:20 PM
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It's much simpler than you think. To layer on top of an existing sound that you're playing (regardless of whether that sound is a Program or a Setup consisting of 2 or 3 split/layered Programs), just press the Layer button, and then press the button for the sound (Program) you'd like to add as a layer. Done. (And if you decide you should have layered a different sound instead, just pick the sound you want, it will replace the previous one you selected,)

Here's the part that I believe is nowhere to be found in the manual. To turn off that new layer that you just added, hit Program (if you started from a Program) or Setup (if you started from a Setup), and you'll be back to the sound as it was before you added the layer. It's easy, it's just that they probably don't tell you anywhere how to do it. What might seem like the "obvious" way to turn off the layer, i.e. hitting the layer button again, instead adds another layer (until you hit the max of 4). The layer button can only add layers, it never turns them off, i.e. it's an "ADD layer" button, not a toggle, and the way to turn your new layer back off is not obvious, but it's easy once you know. And yes, as you add more layers, the program name in the LCD (which only displays the name of one sound) may not be what you expect... If you've hit the Layer button multiple times, you could be hearing 4 different Programs, and the LCD will only show you the name of the most recent one you added.

Forget about the Shift button. That has nothing to do creating (or cancelling) splits or layers. AFAIK, the Shift-Zone1/2/3/4 buttons are only for muting/unmuting sounds in a saved setup (i.e. splits and layers setups you've previously created and saved, or the ones already provided as factory presets). Until you Save your combination (Setup) to some location, you do not have the ability to turn the (up to) 4 sounds of a setup on and off at will with the Zone buttons, those buttons won't do anything.

And yes, you can edit the setup and alter the volumes of each of the (up to) 4 sounds (and the key ranges, octaves, and various other parameters).

This is all from memory, but I think it's right.

As for comparing the SP4 sounds to the SP6, could you bring your Grado headphones to where the SP6 is? Ideally, you could bring your SP4 as well so you could go back and forth instead of comparing from memory. BTW, I believe that any SP4 sound can be loaded into the SP6, but not all the SP6 sounds can be loaded into the SP4. So if there's something you like in you SP4 that you can't find in the SP6, there is probably a way to get it there.


Last edited by anotherscott; 07/12/18 07:27 PM.
Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: anotherscott] #2751100
07/12/18 09:18 PM
07/12/18 09:18 PM
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I believe that almost all of the sounds that can be loaded onto the SP6 CAN be loaded onto the SP4-7. I'm not sure for certain.

Unfortunately, it's Dave Weiser's SP6 (he lives not too far from me, as it turns out). He's away until August and I have to decide within the next few days.

But meanwhile, yes, you're right. Simply pushing Layer in the Program mode adds another sound. Is there a way to toggle back and forth between sounds? If I were to create 3 layers, for example, can I access the first, second, and third layers (so I might be able to alter the relative volume for each, for example)?

If I save a setup, I will end up displacing one I already have.

So, if I were to want to keep the SP4-7, what do you think would be a fair price to offer.

1) SP4-7 originally purchased for $645 shipped (w/30 day money back and full warranty). Last street price was $999. SP6 model, SP4's replacement (albeit only available as an 88 weighted key model), can be had for $1036 in a model that is also a customer return. Street price new $1295.
2) The SP4-7 unit is a customer return (has several scratches on surface, but not too bad).
3) SP4-7 Unit actually built in 2011. SP6 built late 2017.
4) 64 note polyphony (SP4-7) vs. 128 note polyphony (SP6)
5) 64 user setups (SP4) vs. 1024 user setups (SP6)
6) SP4 sound editor costs $69 vs. SP6 sound editor is free.
7) Half-damping and string resonance available on SP6. N/A on SP4.

I think I'd put up with the relative limitations of the SP4-7 (that it's 76 keys rather than 88 is a slight advantage for me due to being a bit more compact) IF I could get it at a price that really is significantly better than what I could get an SP6 for. For example, with the sound editor for the SP4 being $69, that brings it even closer to the $1036 of the SP6. We're really talking $714 vs. $1036. That's not that much of a difference in the long run. But I'm thinking if it were around $500, I'm thinking that the SP4-7 might be worth the savings.

Thoughts?

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751112
07/12/18 10:25 PM
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Isn’t the SP4-7 a semiweighted keyboard, compared to SP-6 as a weighted keyboard? Seems like the primary decision here should be which kind of keybed you want, piano like or synth like.


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Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751114
07/12/18 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
I believe that almost all of the sounds that can be loaded onto the SP6 CAN be loaded onto the SP4-7. I'm not sure for certain.

The SP6 Programs that originally came from the PC3 can also be brought into the SP4. Multis-->Setups probably not, but you should be able to recreate them if they don't use more than 10 effects unit. The SP6 sounds that came from the Kore64, PC3A/Artis piano, or derived from the Forte will not come into the SP4.

Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
But meanwhile, yes, you're right. Simply pushing Layer in the Program mode adds another sound. Is there a way to toggle back and forth between sounds? If I were to create 3 layers, for example, can I access the first, second, and third layers (so I might be able to alter the relative volume for each, for example)?

I think that if you hit the Edit Setup button, you can access all the parameters for all the layered sounds. You're not toggling between the sounds, but you can adjust each parameter for each sound (I think one of the parameters on that screen changes which part--i.e. which layered sound--you are editing). There are some quick-access controls you probably saw for adjusting the volume and octave of the layer you just added, but if you then want to go back and alter an earlier layer, I think Edit Setup is the way to do it (and you don't have to Save the setup first for this).

Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
If I save a setup, I will end up displacing one I already have.

Yes, if you need more than 64 user setups, this isn't the board for you. And really, if you're going to create a 3-layer sound and take the time to menu dive to that extent to adjust their relative volumes, wouldn't you want to save it? That menu diving is time consuming, it's not something you can do in real time during a performance... if you need this level of finesse, you need to set it up ahead of time and save it. If you may want to further adjust the relative volumes of the three sounds after you save the Setup (or be able to adjust them in real time as you play), I think there may be a way to use the 5-position knob such that one position is a volume control for one of your layered sounds and another position is a volume control for another, but I'm not sure. Assuming it is possible, that assignment itself would have to be saved as part of a Setup.

Originally Posted by AnalogJeff

3) SP4-7 Unit actually built in 2011. SP6 built late 2017.
4) 64 note polyphony (SP4-7) vs. 128 note polyphony (SP6)
5) 64 user setups (SP4) vs. 1024 user setups (SP6)
6) SP4 sound editor costs $69 vs. SP6 sound editor is free.
7) Half-damping and string resonance available on SP6. N/A on SP4.

Personally, I don't think build year matters much. Polyphony depends... if you're layering 3 sounds, it can go quickly. OTOH, your PX-310 has 32 polyphony, how much of a problem was it? Of course, you couldn't layer more than 2 sounds there.

For live ensemble performance, I think half damping and string resonance is minor. If you're doing solo work or recording, yeah, but then you probably want a better piano sound anyway.

I think there are some other SP6 significant advantages though... More real-time controls for one. That's how you get easy access to the volumes of your 3 layered sounds, with the zone volume knobs. Also organ drawbar manipulation, among other things. Another difference is the display, which gives you more info on the screen at once, another nice advantage over the SP4.

I'd say sounds, knobs, and display would be the big SP6 advantages. Compact size and more direct button access to sounds (and lower price) favor the SP4. Of course the actions are different, but which is better depends on the player and application.

I can't tell you what the difference is worth, that depends on the personal value you assign to these things, and your own financial situation. But if getting the SP6 rules out upgrading to a lighter and better sounding amp, that's something else you have to weigh.

BTW, there are some good amps that are cheaper than the K8.2... you could look at the EV ZXa1, for example. that might help if you're trying to get the SP6 and still get an improved/lighter amp/

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: anotherscott] #2751200
07/13/18 10:47 AM
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Yes, there ARE amps that are cheaper, but I'm not sure as good. For midrange purity and transparency, I have been told that the QSC .2 series is the way to go. I have heard the 8.2 and 10.2 and the midrange is beautiful and better than any keyboard amp I have heard. Furthermore, a guy in my local Guitar Center, who actually does like EV, doesn't think their build quality is as good as QSC. If I do go for a powered speaker, I'd probably sell my KC-350 to help finance it (It's about 55 pounds!!).

Keyboard type? I can live with either. The Casio (and my Roland) are more piano type keyboards, so they're a little slower with regard to synth and organ stuff, but I have still used them for such. The more organ-like keyboard of the SP4-7? Well, it's still usable as a piano. It's just knowing how to get around the feel for what you're doing. I may gig doing more cocktail, piano and vocal gigs, and then I have used the keyboards for playing in rock bands where I need organs and synths. I'm looking for an all-rounder and I could make do with either. I certainly prefer the quality of the sounds in either Kurzweil. If I were merely using it to play acoustic piano, I could keep the Casio PX-310. So the fact that the SP4-7 has an organ-like keyboard is not the huge selling factor it COULD be for some. Both the SP4-7 and SP6 are designed to be all-arounders with lots of flexibility.

Regarding tailoring a series of layered patches is a good one. I'll try and see if I can press Edit Setup to access them. Again, I was hoping to be able to do it relatively on the fly. Yesterday, I was merely experimenting with the Layer function and comparing. Frankly, there are a number of synth leads and pads I probably won't use or need. If I ever really needed them, I could put them back. But having 1024 spaces that the SP6 provides vs the 64 user spaces that the SP4-7 is, indeed, a selling point, just in case I do more experimentation.

I originally glommed onto the SP4-7 given that it was a Kurzweil and it was more compact than my Casio PX-310. The Casio weighs in at 27 pounds, the same weight as the SP6. Of course, it's 88 keys. I had not heard it before I got it into my house. There were no dealers that had one around me. Guitar Center is supposedly a dealer of Kurzweil, but they don't carry them in store.

I think I have previously mentioned that Dave Weiser suggested that, given the age of the SP4-7 and how much more advanced technology is in the SP6, that he wouldn't spend more than about $450 for the SP4-7. So he has put a numerical figure on what he thinks it's worth in this day and age.


The Casio's PX-310 32 note polyphony can be audible. It simply takes away the earliest note played. If you play bass notes and then a bunch of notes in the upper register, you can hear the bass notes just stopping abruptly. The Kurzweils, even with the 64 note polyphony of the SP4-7, is more subtle and smart about which notes it takes away. I can hear it, but it's so subtle to the ear. Kurzweil calls it "Dynamic polyphony". It doesn't merely take away the first played notes. The computer is somehow more judicious.

And age of what is essentially a computer can make a big difference. It's not like we're talking about a 6 foot Steinway which today uses the same technology and build construction as one built 50 years ago (and the one built 50 years ago may sound better). Computer technology and sampling have gotten more advanced. Greater rates of sampling, and faster, more powerful computers, not to mention more effective use of computers are features of more modern keyboards. And that technology also trickles down to lower end keyboards as well. My smartphone from 2014 (Samsung G3) is not nearly as capable as my smartphone from last year (Samsung G8)

Given that, if I add the cost of the sound editor for the SP4-7 ($69, whereas the sound editor for the SP6 is free), the total cost of the SP4-7 at $715, is too close to the current cost of an equivalent condition SP6 at ~$1035. And by the way, since I do have a PX-310, it's not like I'd be without a light gigging keyboard. I could afford to be patient to get a good price on the SP6 (and even explore other keyboards in that price range if I were to go there).

Jeff

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751208
07/13/18 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
Yes, there ARE amps that are cheaper, but I'm not sure as good.

It's all relative. Looking at portable keyboard/PA speakers for piano sound quality on a 1-to-10 scale, it might be that your Roland is a 1, the QSC is a 9, and the EV is an 8. That is, the difference in piano sound quality between the EV and QSC is probably relatively small compared to how much better EITHER is compared to your Roland. So if the lower price of the EV means you can afford the SP6 you prefer, that's a viable option (and it weighs a bunch less, too). I mean, if you've got fixed dollars to spend, the choice could possibly come down to "SP4+QSC" vs "SP6+EV". I would take EITHER of those over SP6+Roland amp. (Though that might be okay as a temporary holdover until you also upgraded the amp when budget allowed.) Though another variable is how loud you need to play. The EV may sound much better than the Roland but may not go as loud.

Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
Regarding tailoring a series of layered patches is a good one. I'll try and see if I can press Edit Setup to access them. Again, I was hoping to be able to do it relatively on the fly.
On the fly might be easier on the SP6, since it has the four zone/volume knobs,

Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
Frankly, there are a number of synth leads and pads I probably won't use or need. If I ever really needed them, I could put them back.

Also, if you're talking about factory-provided Setups, remember that they are merely combinations of existing Programs. There are no "new" or "unique" instrument sounds there, they all exist elsewhere in the board, Kurz is just using those spots to give you some sample combinations.

Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
I think I have previously mentioned that Dave Weiser suggested that, given the age of the SP4-7 and how much more advanced technology is in the SP6, that he wouldn't spend more than about $450 for the SP4-7. So he has put a numerical figure on what he thinks it's worth in this day and age. /quote]
That's his right. ;-) The best guide to value is to probably to see what they have gone for recently on eBay. What something is worth to you personally can depend on other variables, so I don't like to suggest numbers to other people.


[quote=AnalogJeff]IThe Casio's PX-310 32 note polyphony can be audible. It simply takes away the earliest note played. If you play bass notes and then a bunch of notes in the upper register, you can hear the bass notes just stopping abruptly.

As long as you may be sticking with the PX310 for a while, if you want to minimize that, you can choose their mono piano instead of the stereo one. As you can see in the chart in the Casio manual, the stereo piano has 16-note polyphony, the mono is 32 (since as usual, a stereo sample uses up two instances of polyphony per key). And of course, polyphony will go more quickly if you layer another sound, so you may especially want to stick with the mono piano when you're layering.


Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
IAnd age of what is essentially a computer can make a big difference. It's not like we're talking about a 6 foot Steinway which today uses the same technology and build construction as one built 50 years ago (and the one built 50 years ago may sound better). Computer technology and sampling have gotten more advanced. Greater rates of sampling, and faster, more powerful computers, not to mention more effective use of computers are features of more modern keyboards.

But the ONLY reason that matters is if they used that newer tech to give you an SP6 that had what you found to be better quality sounds and/or other features you'd like to have. If you wouldn't particularly miss the sounds and features that the SP6 has over the SP4, then the fact that the underlying tech is newer is meaningless.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: anotherscott] #2751220
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
Yes, there ARE amps that are cheaper, but I'm not sure as good.

It's all relative. Looking at portable keyboard/PA speakers for piano sound quality on a 1-to-10 scale, it might be that your Roland is a 1, the QSC is a 9, and the EV is an 8. That is, the difference in piano sound quality between the EV and QSC is probably relatively small compared to how much better EITHER is compared to your Roland. So if the lower price of the EV means you can afford the SP6 you prefer, that's a viable option (and it weighs a bunch less, too). I mean, if you've got fixed dollars to spend, the choice could possibly come down to "SP4+QSC" vs "SP6+EV". I would take EITHER of those over SP6+Roland amp. (Though that might be okay as a temporary holdover until you also upgraded the amp when budget allowed.) Though another variable is how loud you need to play. The EV may sound much better than the Roland but may not go as loud.


I'm going to guess that the extra weight of the QSC 8.2 over the EV (27 vs 19 pounds) is a result of the QSC having more power and punch.


[/quote]
But the ONLY reason that matters is if they used that newer tech to give you an SP6 that had what you found to be better quality sounds and/or other features you'd like to have. If you wouldn't particularly miss the sounds and features that the SP6 has over the SP4, then the fact that the underlying tech is newer is meaningless.

[/quote]

Well, there's a distinct advantage of the features of the SP6, not only the easier, more customizable, and more usable interface, but the 1024 slots vs 64 user slots.

At some point, either the SP4-7, at a particular price, is a going to be no-brainer, or the price is going to be so close to the SP6 that it's penny-wise, pound-foolish. You're right that, if the price is low enough, that I won't take much depreciation on the SP4-7. Add to that and there's always going to be something better down the road. I think that once you add in the cost of the sound editor to the SP4 (again, it's free with the SP6 - that tells you that customers were not happy having to pay for it with the SP4), the cost is too close to the SP6.

If I end up not buying the SP4-7 right now, I'll use the Casio and work on getting a power speaker. I think I should be able to sell my KC-350 for $300-350. It's in pretty perfect condition, rarely used outside the house, and has a custom rain cover that keeps it from the elements when toting it around. That would help go towards the powered speaker.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751360
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Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
I'm going to guess that the extra weight of the QSC 8.2 over the EV (27 vs 19 pounds) is a result of the QSC having more power and punch.

Weight does not necessarily indicate more power/punch, nor better sound quality. But in this case, yes, the QSC goes louder than the EV. I forget the numbers, but the SPL specs are on their web sites.

Originally Posted by AnalogJeff


But the ONLY reason that matters is if they used that newer tech to give you an SP6 that had what you found to be better quality sounds and/or other features you'd like to have. If you wouldn't particularly miss the sounds and features that the SP6 has over the SP4, then the fact that the underlying tech is newer is meaningless.
[/quote]

Well, there's a distinct advantage of the features of the SP6, not only the easier, more customizable, and more usable interface, but the 1024 slots vs 64 user slots.[/quote]
Right, and having features or sounds you prefer is a good reason to choose it, regardless of whether they did or did not need updated tech to do it. Other models even older than the SP4 had more user slots and more customization too. It's not necessarily the newness of the electronics that matters there.

Just to add one more wrinkle, since you don't care about a weighted action, you could also keep your eyes out for a deal on an Artis 7. It's kind of halfway between the two in many ways, but it gives you the most real-time control with its programmable 9 sliders and 6 buttons, and it has the most accessible direct patch selection of the three.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: anotherscott] #2751422
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Sorry for sloppy formatting there, too late to edit. Here's the fixed version of the section that started with the "empty" quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
Quote
But the ONLY reason that matters is if they used that newer tech to give you an SP6 that had what you found to be better quality sounds and/or other features you'd like to have. If you wouldn't particularly miss the sounds and features that the SP6 has over the SP4, then the fact that the underlying tech is newer is meaningless.
Well, there's a distinct advantage of the features of the SP6, not only the easier, more customizable, and more usable interface, but the 1024 slots vs 64 user slots.

Right, and having features or sounds you prefer is a good reason to choose it, regardless of whether they did or did not need updated tech to do it. Other models even older than the SP4 had more user slots and more customization too. It's not necessarily the newness of the electronics that matters there.

Just to add one more wrinkle, since you don't care about a weighted action, you could also keep your eyes out for a deal on an Artis 7. It's kind of halfway between the two in many ways, but it gives you the most real-time control with its programmable 9 sliders and 6 buttons, and it has the most accessible direct patch selection of the three.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: anotherscott] #2751448
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I see, in another forum, that you have both the Electro-Voice and the QSC 8.2 powered speakers, obtained later. I'd love to get a more detailed opinion from you about each.

I'll check out an Artis 7. I have sent an email to the dealer to ask if they'll regnegotiate a price on the SP4-7.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751456
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Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
I see, in another forum, that you have both the Electro-Voice and the QSC 8.2 powered speakers, obtained later. I'd love to get a more detailed opinion from you about each.

I have not had the opportunity to A/B them for any length of time. From a brief comparison, I thought the QSC was better. OTOH, the EV was better than the earlier QSC K8. I'd be really curious to hear the new ELX200-10P.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751528
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Dave Weiser commented to me that he thinks that, while all 3 keyboards are quality keyboards (SP4-7, Artis 7, SP6), the Artis is only a little better than the SP4-7, while the SP6 is a lot better than than the other 2.

I think if I can get the SP4-7 for $450-500, I'll probably keep it. Otherwise, I'll probably spring for the SP6. I also would probably sell my Roland RD-600 to help make up the difference. I have to look at what a very, very clean, lightly used RD-600 can get me, which includes a heavy-duty case and slipcover. If I were to get the SP6, it'd end up replacing both my PX-310 and the Roland. The Roland's keyboard and pianos are amazing. I might be giving up a bit in that area in exchange for the lighter weight of the SP6. As great as the Roland is, I scarcely take it out due to its 45 pounds of weight.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751562
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Originally Posted by AnalogJeff
Dave Weiser commented to me that he thinks that, while all 3 keyboards are quality keyboards (SP4-7, Artis 7, SP6), the Artis is only a little better than the SP4-7, while the SP6 is a lot better than than the other 2.

It depends what you're looking for, so these are evals you really have to make for yourself.

The specs might support Dave's perspective...

* SP4 = 64 mb PC3 sample set, 10 fx units, 64 polyphony

* Artis7 = 64 mb PC3 sample set + 64 mb Kore64 sample set (descibed here + 128 mb new piano, 16 effects units, 128 polyphony

* SP6 = everything in the Artis7 plus a bunch of Forte derived sounds (in particular, pianos with string resonance/half-damper and EPs), on 2 GB of flashplay, with 32 effects units, 256 polyphony

...but if you hear little if any difference in the sounds you care about, and if you don't think you need the additional effects units or polyphony, then to you, those advantages may not have great bearing. But you might care a lot about having 9 sliders, or front panel global EQ, or internal power supply, or the ability to access a greater number of sounds more quickly and easily, or an aux in, or a bigger screen that can (for example) display the names of the 16 sounds currently assigned to the main patch selection buttons... which are all advantages the Artis has over the SP6. Though the SP6 still has some other advantages of its own, like arpeggiators and 1024 user locations (programs, setups) vs 256.

On that last point, there's a significant tradeoff between quantity and quick access there, though. On the Artis, if you're in the User Setup mode, you can get to any of your 256 custom setups with no more than two button presses. On the SP6, other than use of the 5 Favorite buttons, you have to use keypad mode, which I think means two button presses for the first 10 sounds, 3 button presses for sounds 11 through 99, and 4 button presses beyond that. So it's a different way of working, which might matter to some people. (The SP4 works more like the Artis, but with fewer sounds... so you can get to any of its 64 User Setups within 2 button presses, which is still more user setups than you could get to that quickly on an SP6.) If you give some thought to how you group your banks of sounds, you can be even more efficient in your switching, as the SP4 gives you 8 locations within the current bank available with a single button press, the Artis gives you 16 (not counting the 10 fixed favorites), the SP6 gives you none, always needing at least 2 button presses (not counting the 5 fixed favorites). Of course, you could also connect a phone/tablet for patch selection to any of these, and that can mitigate any shortcomings in their own patch selection schemes as well, if that's what you want to do. Though once you commit to hooking up, an iPad for example, it can also be another sound source. So just as the iPad can add more patch selection capabilities to an SP6, it can also add more pianos/EPs and effective polyphony/fx to an Artis 7, depending on how you use it.

Anyway, the point is, depending on how you work and what's important to you, you can't unequivocally say an SP6 is necessarily better than an Artis 7.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751736
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I appreciate your different perspective.

Of course, SOMEONE can equivocally say so because he has. But that's his perspective.

As a past and current sound designer for Kurzweil, that's part of his perspective.

And, by the way, I'm not seeing the Artis 7 at the discount prices near the SP4-7, nor below the going prices for the SP6.

Last edited by AnalogJeff; 07/15/18 05:40 PM.
Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751748
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Well of course someone CAN say something, but that's different from saying it and being correct. ;-) Really, my point is that nobody can say what's best for someone else without knowing what their individual priorities are.

Artis 7 will likely go for more than SP6, but you never can be sure what might pop up used, so I was suggesting you might not want to overlook it if it came your way, just because it had not been on your radar.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751862
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I owned an SP4-7 and now own an SP6. For sounds, to me there is no comparison. The pianos are certainly better but all the sounds have a little more clarity. The only piano I could get along with on the SP4-7 was 'Horowitz Grand' and even that one became tiresome. The SP6 has the weighted action and the SP4-7 has a semi weighted. Both are made by medelli, I prefer the SP6. But action was not the reason I sold the SP4-7, the piano sounds were dated. They just didn't sound as good as what was available in other boards in other brands. I have no experience with an Artis 7, but from what I have read about it it seems like a good board. But a bit expensive compared to to the SP6. But if 76 keys are important and your fine with semi-weighted why not? Its not THAT much more. And as Scott pointed out you never know what price you can find used or DEMO. I like my SP6 if I were to make it 'perfect', the only changes I would make is add more Favorites and add 76 or 73 key version. But as I have come to realize there is no 'perfect' board. And what is important to some, others not so much.


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How that music used to make me smile....
Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751878
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Yeah, I think most people would prefer the newer piano sounds, but it's always subjective and can vary with someone's needs, so if they don't happen t o make a big difference to Jeff, fine, and then other factors weigh with more importance. As far as the raw piano sample sets, SP4 has the triple strike; Artis adds the 128 mb German D; SP6 also adds the Japanese C7, and its version of the German D might (?) be larger than the Artis version. (The SP6 also adds the string resonances and half damper, for other piano improvements.)

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751941
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The fact is, sure, I absolutely LOVE sitting down at a 9' Bosendorfer and feathering that keyboard. It's lovely to touch and to listen to.

Getting a great digital keyboard at a particular price point is a tricky balance. As long as playing a keyboard was not akin to needing a sledge hammer to play the keyboard, I'll get used to whatever keyboard I'm at as long as it's capable of being very expressive and the sounds are excellent. For me, while the SP4-7 pianos nor the keyboard are up with my Roland RD-600 (heck, the keyboard, itself, on the SP6 isn't either), I can live with it and enjoy it. It's the music I can make that's most important. Ease of maneuvering around the keyboard, getting the most out of it, is, of course, also important. The manual for the SP4-7 wasn't that helpful to initially. It took a lot of help from Matthew at American Music & Sound, and Jean at Kurzweil to allow me to figure out how to use the Layer, Split, and Setup function.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2751947
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You mention that you won't mind compromising for a keyboard not as good as your current Roland... Why limit yourself to just those few choices ? There might be other brands/models in your budget offering a better compromise for both satisfactory sounds and keyboard.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2752002
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Since I just did a 3 for 1 trade and will only have 3 boards vs. 5 I have room for one more - but one that would go with my EV.
How is the action on the Sp6 for doing mostly rock/blues music? Sometimes with those 20% coupons it could make the SP6 $1,040. I haven't owned a Kurzweil since the Micropiano but frequently played their boards alot back then such as the PC88 and PC88MX.


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Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: Bosendorff] #2752140
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I really love the Kurzweil sounds, their musicality. And that there is someone nearby who will really support a SP6 in Dave Weiser. There's not a great place near me that really supports its keyboards. There's a Guitar Center, but they're largely hacks and don't really know their keyboards all that well. I miss Daddy's Junky Music and Wurlitzer (where I bought my Roland).

Why sacrifice? Because I'm not going to get the build quality and keyboard unless I spend double that of the SP6. The current Roland model to the one I own is $2500 (and it's not under 30 pounds either). If there isn't compromising to be done, why would any company put out models that cost >$5000?

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2752231
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There always seems to be some sort of compromise for ultimate portability- i'll be in NYC so hope to find a SP6 just to try


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Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2752423
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I just discovered a "program" or patch in the SP4-7, the "Power Pop" piano, that occasionally causes a pop. I tried 2 different sets of headphones and a Roland KC-220 keyboard amp I'm trying. The popping is only in the right channel.

Re: Kurzweil SP4-7 vs SP6: How Much More Worth Spending On SP6? [Re: AnalogJeff] #2752426
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I guess that's why they call it power pop! ;-)

Maybe one more reason to return it and get the SP6, hmm?

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