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Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
#2917743 11/29/19 03:13 PM
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Hi guys,

I'm finding quite difficult to compare digital pianos based on their specs, and online reviews do not help much as they tend to focus on how rich the instrument palette or how cool the recording feature are. I think the way to go is to try them and experience how they feel. Ultimately this will tell you which one fits better to the feelings you are used to. But unfortunately, some of us does not have the opportunity to try the piano beforehand, especially if you buy online.

That said, this is my particular case: I have a purely classical background. I have enjoyed playing in acoustic grand pianos most of my life. 99% of what I play is Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Debussy, etc. I used to have an amazing Yamaha C3, but for personal reasons I moved and had to leave my beloved piano behind. I guess now can wonder the feelings that I am used to.

Due to my situation I am only considering digital pianos. I know nothing will compare to my old Yamaha, but I want to get something as close as possible in terms of keyboard feeling and dynamics/timbre/color spectrum that it gives you to play with. Any other feature such as other instruments, recording, accompaniment or playback are things that I will simply not use. I want to keep the budget under £500 if possible.

After some research, these are the options I have been considering so far:
- Casio Celviano AP 200
- Casio Celviano AP 450
- Casio PX 760
- Kawai CN2
- Yamaha Clavinova CLP 152S

I don't know if they are crap or incredible instruments, so your opinions are strongly appreciated. Any other brand/model that may suit my needs is more than welcome!

Many thanks guys!

Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917755 11/29/19 03:50 PM
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In my personal opinion FP30 has the best action among the budget keyboards (I've owned FP30, ES110, and now Yamaha P45/P71 among the budget pianos, and an Avantgrand N1X hybrid)


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Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917774 11/29/19 05:00 PM
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Quote
- Casio Celviano AP 200


Old. It was introduced around mid 2000's (2007?) or so probably. It has an older generation of Casio's Scaled Hammer Action. My understanding is that they still use a similar one in the low range CDP models. (But not CDP-S)

My PX-800 is very similar. I believe. The sound isn't great. The sustain is somewhat short. Otherwise there's nothing really annoying soundwise. It's just not great. And the keys are seriously noisy as worn out Casios tend to be(come).

Sound samples:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ytAIiOLb8M
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scUtTY5D9ko

Quote
- Casio Celviano AP 450


A relatively modern Casio.

Quote
- Casio PX 760


Likewise.

Casios have a short pivot length. You might find it a problem being used to proper pianos.

Quote
- Kawai CN2


This one goes way back to 2005 at least. Kawai has the specs and sound samples still available: https://www.kawai.co.uk/products/archive/cn2/

Can't really say anything educated about it. Might be similar to a more recent Kawai ES-100 which I'm transitioning to once I get rid of my Casio. The ES-100 sounds and feels nicer than the PX-800. If the AHAIV action in it is similar to the AHAIV-F it has a longer pivot than the Casios.

Quote
- Yamaha Clavinova CLP 152S


Introduced in 1994, apparently. It's not full 88 keys. Could be a very low end model even for its time and compared to other CLP-15X models. Ignore...

Personally I wouldn't be excited about any of those models. And I can't even really play much and haven't touched an acoustic piano that many times. They are all a bit meh...

Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917831 11/29/19 06:46 PM
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Without having read the previous answers -
no digital will feel like a real acoustic grand piano.
The piano is a very very complex instrument, and reproduction of all phenomena can't be properly reproduced to be the same in feel and expression.

Although there are hybrids, it's still not the same.

Close to it? Even by actual high-end, it's still a whole lot to go.

Last edited by nicknameTaken; 11/29/19 06:49 PM.
Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917834 11/29/19 06:51 PM
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I'm not sure what kind of research you did ...
Originally Posted by DrGradus
After some research, these are the options I have been considering so far:
- Casio Celviano AP 200
- Casio Celviano AP 450
- Casio PX 760
- Kawai CN2
- Yamaha Clavinova CLP 152S
... but I would have guessed it would be difficult to find much information about these oldies.

I wouldn't give them a look at all. I would not consider anything more than five years old.

Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
Tyrone Slothrop #2917853 11/29/19 07:53 PM
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I didn't consider Roland models as stands do not look very robust and I don't even know if proper pedals are available. But let's include it in the list if you think the feeling deserves it.

Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917857 11/29/19 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Can't really say anything educated about it. Might be similar to a more recent Kawai ES-100 which I'm transitioning to once I get rid of my Casio. The ES-100 sounds and feels nicer than the PX-800. If the AHAIV action in it is similar to the AHAIV-F it has a longer pivot than the Casios.

Personally I wouldn't be excited about any of those models. And I can't even really play much and haven't touched an acoustic piano that many times. They are all a bit meh...

Would you recommend ES-100? Or is there in your opinion anything better in this budget? Could AP450 and PX760 still be good options or would I better to avoid them?

Originally Posted by nicknameTaken
Without having read the previous answers -
no digital will feel like a real acoustic grand piano.
The piano is a very very complex instrument, and reproduction of all phenomena can't be properly reproduced to be the same in feel and expression.

Although there are hybrids, it's still not the same.

Close to it? Even by actual high-end, it's still a whole lot to go.

I know nothing will come close to that. I am aware and I assume anything digital I can buy will be far from what I am used to. However, I still want to find the options that would maximize feel and expression within my budget.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I'm not sure what kind of research you did but I would have guessed it would be difficult to find much information about these oldies.

I wouldn't give them a look at all. I would not consider anything more than five years old.

These are second hand digital pianos I have found in my area and a new one that is on my budget (PX 760). In fact they are the pianos that I didn't discard in the first instance. Any relatively new model you can suggest?

Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917859 11/29/19 08:27 PM
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Since you indicate you can't try the piano before ordering, I would order from someone with a good return policy and start with one of the major brands: Casio, Kawai, Roland, Yamaha here in the US, not sure if it's the same in Europe. Get the best model your budget will allow, and if you don't like it, send it back. That will cost you some shipping charges, but at least you'll have a chance to try it out first.

I don't know what prices are like in Europe, but I would guess you will get the most piano for your budget with a Casio. If you can stretch a bit, I prefer Roland's touch even though I've always played Yamahas. I would guess you will find the Yamaha touch too heavy. Kawai makes a really nice keyboard but I'm not sure if the ES110 would fall within your budget there. If it does, I would say it's almost a tie with the Roland for my preferred touch.

I concur with other posters that the models you are looking at are too old, you're really taking a risk getting something that old. If you buy used, stick with something that's only a few years old- most of the depreciation has taken place by then so you should be able to get a good deal.


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Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917860 11/29/19 08:29 PM
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In this budget nothing comes close to the Roland FP-30 imho. The Samples are a bit harsh for my taste but if you combine it with a good VST, it's a nobrainer.


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Ex: Yamaha: NU1X, CLP-685, CLP-545, YDP-164, YDP-140 | Kawai: NV10, CA-98 | Roland: FP-30
Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917870 11/29/19 09:09 PM
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I agree (as a former owner) with the positive vibes for the action of the FP-30. Like Tyrone, I've also owned the Kawai ES110 and Yamaha P45. If I were buying again in this range, it'd be the FP-30.

(You do seem to have some negative preconceptions re the Rolands, so you may not be able to overcome those and be satisfied - particularly since NO instrument in this range will be perfect. If it's only a concern about stands/pedals, I must say they certainly seem fine to me.)

Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917872 11/29/19 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by DrGradus
These are second hand digital pianos I have found in my area and a new one that is on my budget (PX 760). In fact they are the pianos that I didn't discard in the first instance. Any relatively new model you can suggest?
I would suggest trying out these oldies and seeing how you like them. Secondly I'd suggest a Casio PX-870. It's the only one that I have direct experience with and I do enjoy mine. Thirdly, take advice on an online forum with a grain of salt. Try various ones for yourself. Many will.have preconceived notions about brands they have little to no experience with.

Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917875 11/29/19 09:43 PM
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+1 for the PX-870. For those who are saying that NO digital piano even comes remotely close to the real thing... well, they've obviously not owned the PX-870. If this formally trained (ARCT) classical guy is enjoying this piano this much, believe me, it's pretty freaking close to the real deal. For a thousand bucks, you will LOVE this instrument for playing classical music!

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Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917911 11/29/19 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by DrGradus
I didn't consider Roland models as stands do not look very robust and I don't even know if proper pedals are available. But let's include it in the list if you think the feeling deserves it.

A very robust furniture stand is offered for the FP30, which I used. It screws together and the keyboard is screwed to the stand. So it's not going anywhere. See a pic here of what the furniture stand looks like.


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Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
MacMacMac #2917920 11/30/19 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac


I wouldn't give them a look at all. I would not consider anything more than five years old.


+1. There are significant improvements, in 2004-2014.

Your budget is very tight. Maybe a used Roland FP-30, or current-generation Casio (PX-870 isn't a bad choice).

IMHO, most low-end DP's suffer from underpowered amps, and too-small loudspeakers. That can be fixed, but it's an extra cost. They sound better through upgraded sound systems --

. . . or you could play with headphones, if that suits you.

A visit to a shop, to try some of the current DP's out, would be a good idea. Neither our words, nor YouTube videos, is as good as ten minutes of test playing and listening.


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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917924 11/30/19 01:52 AM
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+1 for the PX series. You can get close to a real piano in feel. Sound, not so much.


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Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
camperbc #2917928 11/30/19 02:07 AM
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Originally Posted by camperbc
+1 for the PX-870. For those who are saying that NO digital piano even comes remotely close to the real thing... well, they've obviously not owned the PX-870. If this formally trained (ARCT) classical guy is enjoying this piano this much, believe me, it's pretty freaking close to the real deal.


I tried this last year and none of the stage piano actions found in entry level consoles are even remotely close to the real deal. On top of it Casio suffers from a short pivot and short samples.

But if your budget is that low, "close to acoustic feeling" is something you have to strike from the list anyway - that's up there with the NU1X at 5.000 bucks, not at 500 bucks -and look for a decent modern DP action, which doesn't break.


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Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917949 11/30/19 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeT

But if your budget is that low, "close to acoustic feeling" is something you have to strike from the list anyway - that's up there with the NU1X at 5.000 bucks, not at 500 bucks -and look for a decent modern DP action, which doesn't break.
If I may be equally blunt, if you're going to plunk down the amount of money needed to buy a (let's face it) fake piano like the NU1X, you might as well pony up for a real baby grand or quality upright, simply because NO digital in any price bracket is going to be exactly equivalent to an acoustic. The differences in DPs are really on the margins. The PX-870 is close enough a simulation, which is what *all DPs are*, pivot points and super-duper-we-got-REAL-felt-and-hammers-and-stuff-in-there niceties aside. I'll take the Casio's less-than-ideal pivot point and keep the 6 grand, thanks.

Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917957 11/30/19 05:28 AM
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Maybe you can find a cheap secondhand silent piano, and couple that to a great vst like garritan cfx or something else?

Sometimes piano are hard to sell and therefore can go very cheap. This way you will have a real action and great sound.

Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2917969 11/30/19 06:44 AM
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Gear4Music's Black Friday weekend price for the Kawai ES-110 is within your budget:

https://www.gear4music.com/Keyboards-and-Pianos/Kawai-ES110-Digital-Stage-Piano-Black/1SXB

Comes also in white.

You'd also need a stand of some sort. And a bench. Kawai does offer an optional "furniture stand" and an optional triple pedal bar. Just a single sustain pedal is included. Some have built there own stand and I think the dimensions are found somewhere on this forum.

They also have Casio PX-760 for less than £500:

https://www.gear4music.com/Keyboards-and-Pianos/Casio-PX-760-Digital-Piano/14XY

You'd only need to add a bench. Or get it with a bench:

https://www.gear4music.com/Keyboards-and-Pianos/Casio-PX-760-Digital-Piano-Package-Black/1JZB

As for recommendations: I can't recommend anything as I haven't been touring the music stores trying out various models. And I don't have a Yamaha C3. laugh

And G4M's own brand pianos are from various Hong Kong and China based manufacturers and are somewhat of mysteries and people here won't have much (nice or at all) to say about them.

EDIT: Looks like e.g. Bonners' pricing is very similar for the ES-110 and PX-760.

Last edited by clothearednincompo; 11/30/19 06:47 AM.
Re: Any budget digital piano close to acoustic feeling?
DrGradus #2918020 11/30/19 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Learux
+1 for the PX series. You can get close to a real piano in feel. Sound, not so much.

As for the "feel", I completely agree with you... the PX-870 at least, which is the only Privia model that I have firsthand experience with, certainly does feel very close to playing an acoustic piano. But I must disagree with your comment that the sound is not ideal. Surely one can't find much fault with the PX-870's sound, which I find quite authentic indeed. (otherwise I wouldn't have bought one!) And even if you're truly not too fond of the sound, it can be improved even more, simply by adding a pair of studio monitors.

Casio's Privia line is certainly proof that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to get something which sounds/feels like the real deal. Just stop by the house one day for coffee, and I'll give you a sampling of what this instrument is really capable of!
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