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Help choosing a model for two students #2847504 05/12/19 09:26 AM
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JimmyShand Offline OP
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Hi

The parents of two young pupils of mine (8 and 9) asked for advice on upgrading their keyboard.

They currently have a very basic unweighted keyboard and know its limitations.

I myself have a Yamaha CLP 645 and like it very much, and explained to them the 515 was the same keyboard and would be a good fit.

This is a significant investment for this family, but the kids are talented and they want to do their best.

I said the p125 was the minimum they should get, but recommended they tried to go higher.

I've suggested also Kawai ES8, Roland PF60 and Korg G1. I've heard good things about Dexibell but have no personal experience. And think the price getting slightly too high.

Does anyone have any other ideas between the price range of 125 and 515 I can put to them that I haven't mentioned?

An acoustic isn't an option.

Ps I know there are many threads about various comparisons and I'm working my way through them but just hoped for some input meantime if anyone has any thanks

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Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847552 05/12/19 12:24 PM
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The usual Roland FP-10, FP-30, F-140R, RP-501R, Kawai CL-36, ES-110, KDP-110, CN-27, Korg C1 and Casio's Privia and Celviano ranges would also be in that price bracket partly depending on whether we are talking about Yurp, Murica or some other place on Earth. And Yamaha's P-255 might still be around.

And none of them should be completely hopeless as beginner/hobbyist pianos. Some can't stand the Korg action, others can't stand the Casio sound, or even Roland. Opinions often contradict. Many say that the Casio action is a bit better than Yamaha's "GHS" in the P-125. All the Rolands and Kawais should be "pretty good" at least action-wise.

As for the "weird brands" like Medeli, Dynatone, Gear4Music, Thomann, Gewa, Williams, Alesis, Kurzweil (to some extent) and whatnot there haven't been that much first hand reports here on the forum. But some may actually be quite bad and others might be "perfectly usable".

Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847555 05/12/19 12:36 PM
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I think that you are giving them very good advice. High-end slabs, such as the Kawai ES8, Roland FP-90 and Yamaha P-515 offer the most bang-for-the-buck among digital pianos. And, if combined with their three-pedal and wooden stand options, look nice in a home environment. I would not recommend experimenting with Korg or Dexibell for this family.

Please note that I said Roland FP-90, not PF60. I assume that you made a typo with the letters, and the higher number Roland is the direct competitor of the ES8 and P-515.

As requested, here are some lower-priced competitors, all of which can be fitted with three-pedal units and stands:
Casio PX-160, Kawai ES110 and Roland FP-30 (direct competitors of the Yamaha P-125),
Kawai KDP-110 (three-sensor action vs. ES110's two-sensor action).

As you know, a three-pedal unit is not necessary, nor is a wooden stand -- and that could save them some money. They may have to buy an optional continuous sustain pedal, as the included sustain pedals are typically (except Kawai) merely on/off switches.

There are ensemble instruments (same actions but more instrument sounds and features) in this price range from Casio and Yamaha, but perhaps they are not the best fit for this family.

I strongly recommend choosing one of the three high-end slabs: Kawai ES8, Roland FP-90 or Yamaha P-515. They first two do feel different from the NWX action in the P-515 and your CLP-645, but are good, too. The three models vary quite a bit in apps and connectivity, so carefully look at those features if deemed important.

With a bit of patience in waiting for a percentage-off sale or asking for a discount directly, it is quite possible to get 10-20% off the regular selling prices of most slab digital pianos. That might allow this family, with a tight budget, to get a higher-end slab than they could otherwise afford. My best wishes to you and them!

Last edited by Lotus1; 05/12/19 12:44 PM.
Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847559 05/12/19 12:54 PM
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I have a P-515 and love it. I don't think you'll go far wrong in recommending it.


Chris

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Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847566 05/12/19 01:27 PM
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I have owned 2 ES8s and I highly recommend it. Very nice touch and sound.


Don

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Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847571 05/12/19 01:49 PM
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In re-reading my post, above, I felt that I made the case for high-end slabs a bit too strongly, not knowing the financial circumstances of the parents or the potential of your students.

I do feel that lower-end slabs, such as the Casio PX-160, Kawai ES110, Roland FP-30 and Yamaha P-125, are an excellent value. Where they fall short of higher-end models is dynamic range, tonal complexity, and a degree of control.

Nevertheless, I have owned a Yamaha DGX-660 (ensemble version of the P-125) for the last 18 months and found that playing intermediate-level music (say British Grade 5) to be not a problem. Higher than that, the limitations of the instrument are more noticeable.

And when I felt that I wanted more dynamic range, tonal complexity and control, I bought an acoustic grand, not a higher-end digital. And kept the DGX for the things it does best.

That is obviously not an option for this family, so I thought that higher-end slabs would be a good compromise. They certainly offer an excellent value, by focusing on what is important for the more advanced player.


Last edited by Lotus1; 05/12/19 01:52 PM.
Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847587 05/12/19 03:31 PM
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Thanks for the comments everyone, and thanks Lotus for your second points. The family (and I) live on the outskirts of London and property prices quite insane. So space is limited, mortgages high and the demand for school places competitive.

While not impossible to take an acoustic into where the piano is stored, it would be a major drama and a significant expense I can't justify suggesting.

They haven't given me a budget and to be honest I don't think they have themselves decided what they will spend. They did ask me that if they bought something cheaper would it just mean buying again in a few years ... so I wanted to just lay out various options for them and let them make the decision.

There are so many models I have no personal experience with anything I can add to the list would be good :-)

Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847592 05/12/19 04:20 PM
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If you need less expensive …. I have found the Casio PX-160 to be a very nice low priced keyboard with pretty good touch and sound.


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used)
Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847646 05/12/19 11:59 PM
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Another vote for the Casio PX-160. I really like the action on the PX series.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847656 05/13/19 03:02 AM
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While I can vote for PX-160 too, I think Roland FP-30 is overall better instrument. And of course, I strongly support recommendation of Yamaha P-515, Kawai ES8 and Roland FP90 (beware of modeled sound in last model though, not everyone likes it), those are incredibly good instruments for their prices.


Casio PX-160 (Previous), Yamaha CLP-645 (Current), Superlux HD-681
Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847661 05/13/19 03:50 AM
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I’ve been recently asked to advice friends for an entry level piano for their kids and went testing all the entry level pianos.

In short: FP30 is the way to go. It has the best action and one of the best sounds. (Couldn’t find FP10 but supposedly it has the same piano sound and keyboard but lacks a few of the sounds and features and is slightly cheaper)

All Casio: awful sound almost to the point of being obnoxious
Yamaha: P125 and P121 have the best sound but action could’ve been better. P45 is not worth it
ES110: relatively good action but the sound isn’t on par with the FP30

To me it’s an easy decision. Unless they can extend their budget to either P515 or ES8.

Last edited by CyberGene; 05/13/19 03:53 AM.

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Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: Darkwasp] #2847662 05/13/19 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Darkwasp
While I can vote for PX-160 too, I think Roland FP-30 is overall better instrument. And of course, I strongly support recommendation of Yamaha P-515, Kawai ES8 and Roland FP90 (beware of modeled sound in last model though, not everyone likes it), those are incredibly good instruments for their prices.


All good options mentioned here, just a note to add that the lower priced DPs are all good for the price and will get students going and to be fair the higher priced ones will give some more bells and whistles (action being the predominant and IMO the most important factor) but nothing to hinder the learning process of an aspiring student.

I think the way it works is as follows, does one to spend a little less now and on the chance they need something better later, to sell what they got (& make a small/medium/large loss depending on 2nd hand market factors) or buy something better now and keep it for years and years (without having to fork out any more) - really that is the main question and the rest follows.

Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847664 05/13/19 04:18 AM
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Low end: Casio PX160 or Yamaha P125

High end: Roland FP90, Kawai ES8, Yamaha P515.

The difference in action among low and high end is significant, but for 8 and 9 years old students, in my view the low end ones would do just fine - "low end" sounds bad, but they actually are pretty good machines.

If you're from the UK, you can often find decent bargains online for the FP90 and the low end ones.

Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: CyberGene] #2847669 05/13/19 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
In short: FP30 is the way to go. It has the best action and one of the best sounds. (Couldn’t find FP10 but supposedly it has the same piano sound and keyboard but lacks a few of the sounds and features and is slightly cheaper)

If the OP likes the FP30, I can recommend the FP10 in terms of the action and 3x main piano sounds - they are identical. The FP10 is skinnier/smaller than the FP30 and very portable.

Caveats on the FP10:
1. Does not support 3-pedals. It only supports a single damper pedal like the Roland DP-10. Like the FP30, you need to purchase a separate pedal to get a half-damper pedal.
2. Speakers: FP10 (8Wx2) vs. FP30 (11Wx2). Like the FP30 speakers are facing downwards.
3. Only 1x audio out (1/8" - 3.5mm) - it doubles as the headphone and line out.

If I ever needed to replace my FP30 as my main working "house" keyboard, I'd feel comfortable getting the FP10.


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Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847673 05/13/19 05:54 AM
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Yes, the FP30 has the best action in the low end category, but its sound is absolutely atrocious - at least to my ears. Hence why overall my recommendation for a low end would be Yamaha or Casio.

The again, it's all wonderfully subjective.

Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: Darkwasp] #2847678 05/13/19 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Darkwasp
While I can vote for PX-160 too, I think Roland FP-30 is overall better instrument. And of course, I strongly support recommendation of Yamaha P-515, Kawai ES8 and Roland FP90 (beware of modeled sound in last model though, not everyone likes it), those are incredibly good instruments for their prices.


Hi Jimmy et al.,

The Casio PX-160 has been superseded by the Casio PX-S1000---a far better instrument.
Also, the PX-560 has been superseded by the Casio PX-S3000---now competing with the Kawai ES8, Roland FP90 and Yamaha P515.

These two Casios have been roundly praised for their compactness, action quality and value for money on the features. Definitely worth comparing with the other models suggested.

The PX-160 isn't nearly as competitive: IMO, not really worth comparing to the Yamaha P115, never mind the P125 or the Roland FP30 or the Kawai ES110---all superior in sound and action.
On the other hand, the Casio PX-S1000 should be considered, as it is a newer release than the Roland FP30 or the Kawai ES110 and has the advantage of lightness and battery powered operations for outdoor giggs.

Kind regards,

Doug.


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Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: jamiecw] #2847730 05/13/19 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jamiecw
[quote=Darkwasp]

I think the way it works is as follows, does one to spend a little less now and on the chance they need something better later, to sell what they got (& make a small/medium/large loss depending on 2nd hand market factors) or buy something better now and keep it for years and years (without having to fork out any more) - really that is the main question and the rest follows.




Yes that's the question. Spend £500-600 now, and maybe need an upgrade in a few years, or spend £1200 now and hope the kids don't lose interest ....

But that's their call of course and why I want to lay out the options so they don't feel I pushed them to spend too much or its my fault if they need to upgrade if the kids progress well lol

Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847746 05/13/19 10:55 AM
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Are pedals like this any good? I have no experience with them, they look like they would slip around all over the place?

(sorry for sending a link I haven't figured out how to post pics here)

https://www.andertons.co.uk/casio-sp-34-3-pedal-unit-for-cdp-s150-cdp-s350-px-s1000-px-s3000

Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847752 05/13/19 11:37 AM
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JimmyShand,
Your students' parents could look for a used digital piano in good condition, and consider upgrading if their kids continue to be interested in three years. Preferably from a private seller, as a store will mark up a used piano considerably, though it may offer a short warranty.

I bought my digital piano new, after months of looking for a good used one, tempted by a 20% discount plus a $75 Yamaha rebate and other freebies around Thanksgiving 2017. That made a piano regularly selling for $800 cost $565, excluding the value of the free microphone and digital music downloads.

But I bought my acoustic grand used, in excellent condition and for just $2,000, with two years left on its Kawai transferable warranty. This was a case of kids losing interest after a year; the hammers are barely indented and, after some light cleaning, the piano looks new. Yes, I know it was an exceptional deal, but the scenario is not unusual.

My sense is that kids these days have a lot of other things to do, attractive and easy things, often online. It is only a few who will have the determination -- and talent -- to persist with the piano after a year or two. For that reason, I would be cautious about spending a lot if the kids are new to the piano.

The lower-end digitals mentioned above are a huge improvement over the unweighted keyboard your students currently play at home. None of them will constrain development for several years, and an upgrade later could be justified as a reward for steady progress.

P. S. I don't know anything about the pedals to which you linked, but would advise against buying any pedal option unless it specifically states that the sustain pedal is continuous, not an on/off switch. Also, compatibility between manufacturers is not assured due to pedal polarity and other unique issues.

Last edited by Lotus1; 05/13/19 11:42 AM.
Re: Help choosing a model for two students [Re: JimmyShand] #2847760 05/13/19 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by JimmyShand
Are pedals like this any good? I have no experience with them, they look like they would slip around all over the place?

(sorry for sending a link I haven't figured out how to post pics here)

https://www.andertons.co.uk/casio-sp-34-3-pedal-unit-for-cdp-s150-cdp-s350-px-s1000-px-s3000


I had to replace the pedal that came with a Yamaha P45 which my foot had to chase around the floor while I was playing and i replaced it with the following pedal:

https://www.andertons.co.uk/keyboar...ls/m-audio-sp2-piano-style-sustain-pedal

the replacement was stable and remained where it needed to be, so I think the 3 pedal set would more than likely to stay in place.



Last edited by KevinM; 05/13/19 11:45 AM.

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