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First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? #2869012
07/13/19 03:16 PM
07/13/19 03:16 PM
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Byrneand Offline OP
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Hi All and thanks in advance.

Situation: Wife who played to a low intermediate level but basically didn't play for 20 years and keen to revisit and pick back up. 3 kids under 6 - no experience but would like to start lessons. Myself, no piano experience.

After being nomads for the best part of 15 years constantly travelling, working and having kids, we're finally starting to settle down. We have a bunch of guitars in the house and are keen to add a piano in order to allow my wife to get back into playing and also in the hope that one of our three kids might take up the instrument in due course. I'm keen to dabble but being in the thick of it with kids and work, I barely have any time to play the guitar (which I love) let alone pick up a new instrument!

An opportunity has come up to purchase Yamaha models at a significant discount over the next month and so this (along with an upcoming birthday) is proving to be a catalyst to try and see what is out there. I'm trying to strike the balance between getting something decent that the family will actually enjoy playing and will allow them to develop skills should/when they go down the grading route but at the same time being practical about pricing; not going overboard and wasting money if it doesn't get used as much as we would hope for but spending enough as to not need to upgrade in a short while. I'd been looking at the lower end of the CLP range (625-645) and then also the CSP 150/170 given the substantial discount.

Whilst I appreciate that all pianos are an investment, my thinking is that the discounted price should offer some protection if we decide to sell it further down the line.

The first tip that comes through from reading the forums is that you should play any piano that you are considering numerous times to see which one you like. I've pushed my wife on this and given its so long since she's played, after visiting the showroom on numerous occasions, she truly doesn't have a preference. Basically, its been so long she will be starting again and what she played on in her youth was pretty low quality and so at this point she's pretty happy with anything.... so not much direction there.

To the absolute novice like myself, the CSP appeals as I could actually see myself using the stream light function to pick up a couple of songs, and definitely see the kids using it given the ability to slow the tempo and generally to hold their attention. I'm nervous about it being a gimik though that is actually very limited and becomes useless pretty quickly.

A couple of questions for anyone who has the CSP range:

1) Would you buy it again/was it worth the money? If not what do you wish you had bought?
2) Can you use other tablets other than the iPad (e.g. Amazon Fire)? Are there any limitations on this (e.g you can BUT....)
3) I know it comes with 50 classical and 50 pop songs but can you add songs to this list? How often are new songs added to Smart Pianist that can be used with stream light? E.g. when the new Adele Album (lets call it 30), will the new hit single be added, to the library with the associated stream light key guides? Alternatively, are you basically stuck with a pretty narrow, old catalog of material of these 100 songs for stream light? I had a look on Music Soft but the selection looks incredibly restrictive (e.g. just 27 titles)
4) Any ongoing issues with the software?
5) After a couple of weeks/months do you actually use the stream light feature? E.g. is it better just to buy the cheaper CLP 645?

Along with the above questions, I'm all ears when it comes to advice.Would you go for a different model in the Yamaha range for instance?

I'm fully self aware, that this post may come across as naive/stupid... which to some extent it certainly is and I'm not so self-absorbed as to ignore this. Basically just lost in the knowing where to start, and need to make a timely call before the discount window closes (2 weeks).

Thanks again!



Last edited by Byrneand; 07/13/19 03:25 PM.
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Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869017
07/13/19 03:49 PM
07/13/19 03:49 PM
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You don't mention if the discount applies to all models, but you could get the same action with a P-515 and save a few thousand dollars. It's a portable, not a cabinet, so it's likely to be easier to sell if you decide to move on. To answer your question, I've played the CLP 170 and other Clavinovas, they're nice. I'd say the action is noticeably different than the graded hammer action in the lower priced models. Another way for you to save some money would be to buy something with graded hammer action (like a P-125) instead of NWX and wait to see if your skill level rises to being able to benefit from the difference. In terms of the different sounds/songs, you can buy software and run the piano through your computer to give yourself an unlimited range of options. That's true for the least expensive keyboard to the most expensive Clavinova. So I'd not place much emphasis on the internal sound engine of whatever you buy because it's so cheap and easy to get something better on your computer.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: MarkL] #2869018
07/13/19 03:58 PM
07/13/19 03:58 PM
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Byrneand Offline OP
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Thanks for the quick feedback

Originally Posted by MarkL
You don't mention if the discount applies to all models, but you could get the same action with a P-515 and save a few thousand dollars. It's a portable, not a cabinet, so it's likely to be easier to sell if you decide to move on.


It's on all Yamaha models and is around 50-60% off. Plan A is to keep the piano for a long time. Especially, as this discount is a one off (sadly).

Originally Posted by MarkL
In terms of the different sounds/songs, you can buy software and run the piano through your computer to give yourself an unlimited range of options. That's true for the least expensive keyboard to the most expensive Clavinova. So I'd not place much emphasis on the internal sound engine of whatever you buy because it's so cheap and easy to get something better on your computer.


On this I was referring specifically to the Stream light function. On the loaded demo's you can hit guide and break it out to right/left hand, slow tempo etc, have it stop until you hit the right key etc.

Do you only have this level of detail on the the 100 pre-loaded songs or can you add/buy new songs with that level of functionality?

Thanks again.

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869032
07/13/19 04:47 PM
07/13/19 04:47 PM
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"whilst I appreciate that all pianos are an investment... "

They're not. An acoustic immediately drops in value by about 40% the day it leaves the showroom and by over 50% a few years down the line. The drop is more precipitous with a DP in that the technology keeps changing rapidly- a few years old is out of date.

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Sanfrancisco] #2869034
07/13/19 04:54 PM
07/13/19 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Sanfrancisco
"whilst I appreciate that all pianos are an investment... "

They're not. An acoustic immediately drops in value by about 40% the day it leaves the showroom and by over 50% a few years down the line. The drop is more precipitous with a DP in that the technology keeps changing rapidly- a few years old is out of date.


Sorry - by investment I mean "a not throw away amount of money" for most people.

Apologies and thanks for the clarification!

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869056
07/13/19 06:45 PM
07/13/19 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Byrneand
On this I was referring specifically to the Stream light function. On the loaded demo's you can hit guide and break it out to right/left hand, slow tempo etc, have it stop until you hit the right key etc.

Do you only have this level of detail on the the 100 pre-loaded songs or can you add/buy new songs with that level of functionality?

The model used by Smart Pianist is that when you purchase a song on iTunes, it is loaded into the app. It is then available to use on your Clavinova. There is no concept of being able to load songs onto the Clavinova, for example by connecting to the USB port. There are other (more convoluted) ways to load songs into the Smart Pianist app, so however you choose to get the song into Smart Pianist, it will be available on the Clavinova.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869059
07/13/19 07:06 PM
07/13/19 07:06 PM
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Without having ever seen or used anything like that (the lights on the keyboard thing) it sounds like a gimmick to me.

You can get something similar here: Piano Booster

It might be entertaining for kids and maybe somewhat useful for everyone for the first month or so of learning to play a piano when you really don't know what you're doing at all, but after that I really doubt you'd ever use that feature.

If it was my choice I would get something without the gimmick; maybe for the same sort of money you could get one with a feature that you'll use more long term.


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Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869070
07/13/19 08:05 PM
07/13/19 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Byrneand
...and need to make a timely call before the discount window closes (2 weeks).

I'm curious where you're located and what's special/unusual about this particular "discount window".

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: MarkL] #2869106
07/13/19 11:54 PM
07/13/19 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
Originally Posted by Byrneand
On this I was referring specifically to the Stream light function. On the loaded demo's you can hit guide and break it out to right/left hand, slow tempo etc, have it stop until you hit the right key etc.

Do you only have this level of detail on the the 100 pre-loaded songs or can you add/buy new songs with that level of functionality?

The model used by Smart Pianist is that when you purchase a song on iTunes, it is loaded into the app. It is then available to use on your Clavinova. There is no concept of being able to load songs onto the Clavinova, for example by connecting to the USB port. There are other (more convoluted) ways to load songs into the Smart Pianist app, so however you choose to get the song into Smart Pianist, it will be available on the Clavinova.


Apologies if I'm not being clear - there appears to be a level of detail variation in the stream light program between those specifically designed and transcribed by Yamaha vs what Yamaha/smart piano is deriving when you load a song from iTunes. From what I could see this was most evident by the use of the "guide" button being available/unavailable (e.g. loading from itunes just provides chords).

Does anyone have experience on this or could add firest hand experience?

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869108
07/14/19 12:04 AM
07/14/19 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
Originally Posted by Byrneand
On this I was referring specifically to the Stream light function. On the loaded demo's you can hit guide and break it out to right/left hand, slow tempo etc, have it stop until you hit the right key etc.

Do you only have this level of detail on the the 100 pre-loaded songs or can you add/buy new songs with that level of functionality?

The model used by Smart Pianist is that when you purchase a song on iTunes, it is loaded into the app. It is then available to use on your Clavinova. There is no concept of being able to load songs onto the Clavinova, for example by connecting to the USB port. There are other (more convoluted) ways to load songs into the Smart Pianist app, so however you choose to get the song into Smart Pianist, it will be available on the Clavinova.


Apologies if I'm not being clear - there appears to be a level of detail variation in the stream light program between those specifically designed and transcribed by Yamaha vs what Yamaha/smart piano is deriving when you load a song from iTunes. From what I could see this was most evident by the use of the "guide" button being available/unavailable (e.g. loading from itunes just provides chords).

Does anyone have experience on this or could add first hand experience?

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: pwl] #2869138
07/14/19 04:24 AM
07/14/19 04:24 AM
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Good question, pwl. Is there such a thing as a discount window?
Originally Posted by pwl
Originally Posted by Byrneand
...and need to make a timely call before the discount window closes (2 weeks).
I'm curious where you're located and what's special/unusual about this particular "discount window".
Or, thinking of this in another way ... the discount window is my entire lifespan. I can work a deal on any day I wish, right?

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869143
07/14/19 04:49 AM
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There's also the "PianoMaestro" add-on gimmick if anyone really really wants to try out playing with guiding lights: http://www.thepianomaestro.com/

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869149
07/14/19 06:16 AM
07/14/19 06:16 AM
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I returned from being a low level intermediate (ABRSM Grade 3) after a 56 year gap. Within 6 weeks of restarting I haven't used any gimmicks on the piano other than

1) The metronome - really useful for practice
2) The recording facility - to record myself and to participate in the ABF Receitals
3) Occasional use of Harpsichord and Church Organ Sounds when playing some Bach
4) Midi out to run (mainly) Piano Marvel on an attached Computer/Ipad

I did upgrade the piano to get a better more realistic action. The cheap models with short pivot points were making it difficult to play pieces where it is necessary to play near the fallboard. I play the majority of time with Headphones (where sound is fine). I get slightly annoyed with the lack of quality of the speaker system compared to our family acoustic upright (located at my daughters house) - so my long term plans is for a grand piano for the sound the existing piano (Kawai CA67) for headphone practicing

I would avoid paying any extra for gimmicks - use the money to get the best action you can.

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869204
07/14/19 11:08 AM
07/14/19 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Byrneand

Apologies if I'm not being clear - there appears to be a level of detail variation in the stream light program between those specifically designed and transcribed by Yamaha vs what Yamaha/smart piano is deriving when you load a song from iTunes. From what I could see this was most evident by the use of the "guide" button being available/unavailable (e.g. loading from itunes just provides chords).

That level of information will be available for any song downloaded from yamaha's MusicSoft site because it has all the midi data included. I think they charge for some of them. I mentioned in an earlier post that there are a number of ways to get songs into the app, some rather clunky. It's easy, and often fun, to go down a black hole with the technical stuff.

Last edited by MarkL; 07/14/19 11:11 AM.

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Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: pwl] #2869208
07/14/19 11:10 AM
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I'm located in the US.

I'd prefer not to go into details (and can I ask that you don't push on this) but the bottom line is I have a two week window where I can get 50-60% off Yamaha products. This is a one off opportunity that I have.

This equally means that any differential in pricing is reduced by 50-60%. e.g. If the list difference in the US is $1,390 the difference in this situation would be ~$500. I know that you can always get discounts in stores year-round (this isn't my first rodeo with negotiating with monopolistic dealer models) but these appear to be closer to 30%. So on a $4,000 instrument you're paying $1,600 vs $2,800.... which is just better.

The pricing equation therefore suggests that you buy more machine in general, but given we are a household of beginners that only holds up so far before getting stupid. The CLP645 and CSP170 seem to be the sweet spot in terms of getting a decent instrument, for a decent price that you wont want to upgrade in the near future (when the discount does not exist) etc (see all reasons why people buy CLP645s).

My question is basically, what are people's user experience on the CSP 150 and 170? Do you regret buying these/wish you'd saved the money/spent it on a "better" action?

Thanks again!

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869210
07/14/19 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Byrneand

My question is basically, what are people's user experience on the CSP 150 and 170? Do you regret buying these/wish you'd saved the money/spent it on a "better" action?

My experience is that I've owned 3 Yamaha keyboards, one Clavinova, and have played Clavinovas of several generations since they came out in the 80s including the CSP 170. You can't get a better action from Yamaha, the NWX is the top of their line (unless you move into the Avant Grand line). My first piano was a Clavinova and although it was a very good instrument, I ended up feeling I spent a lot of money for a cabinet and things I didn't need so I switched to the portable line. My personal feeling is that I only want to spend money on the action, I don't even want speakers because I have better ones, and I don't care about the sound engine because I use my own. But I understand the value of buying something that looks nice in the home and can be played by just flipping a switch.


Yamaha P90, Kawai GL-10
Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: MarkL] #2869214
07/14/19 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkL
Originally Posted by Byrneand

My question is basically, what are people's user experience on the CSP 150 and 170? Do you regret buying these/wish you'd saved the money/spent it on a "better" action?

My experience is that I've owned 3 Yamaha keyboards, one Clavinova, and have played Clavinovas of several generations since they came out in the 80s including the CSP 170. You can't get a better action from Yamaha, the NWX is the top of their line (unless you move into the Avant Grand line). My first piano was a Clavinova and although it was a very good instrument, I ended up feeling I spent a lot of money for a cabinet and things I didn't need so I switched to the portable line. My personal feeling is that I only want to spend money on the action, I don't even want speakers because I have better ones, and I don't care about the sound engine because I use my own. But I understand the value of buying something that looks nice in the home and can be played by just flipping a switch.


Thanks bud - appreciate the straight forward answer. Function over form as well.

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869444
07/15/19 09:04 AM
07/15/19 09:04 AM
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Hi Byrneand, I'm happy to help on this one... I just got my dad a CSP-150 for Father's Day and if our experience is any indication, I think the CSP line of pianos is a fantastic bet for the situation you just laid out. It's a wonderful instrument for having fun and stoking interest - for both young and old. I won't repeat everything to you but check out my thread on this: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...year-old-total-beginner.html#Post2858078

As to your questions:

Originally Posted by Byrneand
Hi All and thanks in advance.
A couple of questions for anyone who has the CSP range:
1) Would you buy it again/was it worth the money? If not what do you wish you had bought?

I can say unequivocally it was a good buy for us. As you'll read in the above thread, the situation behind me getting the piano is rather unique, but I do feel the instrument itself has been so good it's made learning a fun experience for my dad. I personally have enjoyed playing the CSP... I own Yamaha's N3X which is arguably the best digital piano they make... and I am rather envious of the "toys" my father has at his disposal.

Originally Posted by Byrneand

2) Can you use other tablets other than the iPad (e.g. Amazon Fire)? Are there any limitations on this (e.g you can BUT....)

Just get an iPad Pro 12.9"... get a used 1st gen and just make it the dedicated piano tablet. That would be my recommendation. There is an Android version of this app but it's always lagging behind when it comes to features. You also want a big screen. Even if a Kindle Fire worked, I'm not sure you'd want to squint for that long.

Originally Posted by Byrneand

3) I know it comes with 50 classical and 50 pop songs but can you add songs to this list? How often are new songs added to Smart Pianist that can be used with stream light? E.g. when the new Adele Album (lets call it 30), will the new hit single be added, to the library with the associated stream light key guides? Alternatively, are you basically stuck with a pretty narrow, old catalog of material of these 100 songs for stream light? I had a look on Music Soft but the selection looks incredibly restrictive (e.g. just 27 titles)

As you noted, the selection of new songs is rather slim. Unfortunately, I feel the play-along feature with Yamaha's official songs is indeed a gimmick... I wouldn't hold my breath for them to add many new ones, either..... HOWEVER. That's not to say that Follow-the-Lights are useless. First off, stoking that initial interest is important, and it is a fun way to get started. Second, there are other apps like FlowKey (you get 3 months for free with any CSP purchase) also uses the FTL. Lastly, FTL works with any MIDI song you load onto your iPad (there's thousands upon thousands of MIDI files out there), and you can assign which channel you want to assign the streaming lights to.

Originally Posted by Byrneand

4) Any ongoing issues with the software?

None. Very stable. There are some annoyances like having to wait for the instrument to connect to the app every time you exit the app... but that's really it. While I'm on the topic, a great thing about connecting the iPad directly to the instrument is that both MIDI and audio get streamed... this allows for seamless integration with other apps like Simply Piano, FlowKey, and others.

Originally Posted by Byrneand

5) After a couple of weeks/months do you actually use the stream light feature? E.g. is it better just to buy the cheaper CLP 645?

The CLP-645 is a solid piano and does a lot of the things the CSP pianos do. I still recommend the CSP for three reasons:
- FTL... it's a gimmick and it isn't. Is it a good way to become a concert pianist? Of course not. Is it another weapon in your arsenal to have fun and stimulate interest (especially with kids)? Absolutely.
- Styles and voices: a HUGE advantage the CSP has over the CLP-645 is the 700+ voices and all the musical styles you can play with. The CLP has a few drum tracks that act like fun metronomes, but the CSP is actually an arranger piano as well, allowing you to play along with an entire band. Lots of fun to play with in between formal lessons and learning.
- Better speakers: if you spring for the CSP-170, you'll get a more powerful speaker setup than the CLP-645. This is great especially since you can use your piano as a media device, playing YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, or your music collection through your iPad. If you want to save some money the CSP-150 (the one my dad has) has been no slouch either (but you miss out on the NWX key action).

Originally Posted by Byrneand

Along with the above questions, I'm all ears when it comes to advice.Would you go for a different model in the Yamaha range for instance?

I'm fully self aware, that this post may come across as naive/stupid... which to some extent it certainly is and I'm not so self-absorbed as to ignore this. Basically just lost in the knowing where to start, and need to make a timely call before the discount window closes (2 weeks).

Just my opinion... Given the story you shared, I think you're not naive or stupid laugh and have actually found the best solution. I'm crazy jealous of your discount window. Go for it. You won't be sorry.

Last edited by vara411; 07/15/19 09:13 AM.

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Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: vara411] #2869455
07/15/19 09:33 AM
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Vara 411 - thanks for the views and first hand experiences.

Really appreciate you taking the time to comment and your kind and informative tone. As you point out, the idea of the FTL wouldn't be to become a concert pianist but just to try and encourage the household to get into the habit of playing and practicing. Essentially anything to break down those initial barriers and encourage playing.

Thanks again and glad to hear that your Dad is enjoying the Piano!!

Re: First Piano for the house - CSP 170?? [Re: Byrneand] #2869466
07/15/19 09:57 AM
07/15/19 09:57 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 388
Danmark
M
Morten Olsson Offline
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Morten Olsson  Offline
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M

Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 388
Danmark
My daughter really enjoyed using Simply Piano when we got our first digital - I did as well for the first months. It's a nice gentle introduction to reading sheet music - definitely recommend you try that out when you buy a piano.
I would recommend that you make sure that the model you chose has a built in audio interface that will allow you to transfer both midi and audio over usb from the iPad - many of the Yamahas have this option and it's rather neat.

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