Hello my new friends at Pianoworld
After a 35 years break, I have now resumed piano playing, and I am in search of a new digital piano.
My registration on Pianoworld, and this first post is my start in this hunt.
It has to be a slab piano, and acoustic piano sounds and quality keybed are first priority. I am not a big tweeker, but some adjustment possibilities are appreciated
After researching on specs, reviews, demos on Yutube and visits to music shops, I've narrowed it down to these possibilities:
- Kawai MP7SE
- Dexibell S7 Pro
- Korg Grandstage
I have only had the opportunity to try the Kawai in real life - it is wonderfull and all I could ask for, but I am concerned with all the writing of quality issues on the keys and keybed. Therefore I am looking for alternatives.
The Dexibell seems very interesting - but I don’t find a lot of user experience on the forums – and very few user reviews on Youtube. Do any of you have the S7 Pro - and are you happy owners?
The Grandstage seems like high mechanical quality - but does it have acoustic piano sounds comparable to the Kawai?
The new Korg SV2 also looks great - but does it have the same acoustic piano sounds as the Grandstage?
Are there pianos I have overlooked?
I will dominantly play the piano in my living room, supplied with nearfield monitors and high quality headphones. I mainly exercise in jazz and the all American songbook like music.
Hope that some of you will like to share some of your experience and good advise.
For the record - I have tried most Nords (Dislike the keybeds), Roland RD2000/DP90 (dislike the piano sounds), Yamaha P515 (too heavy keybed and no direct registrations)
It's important to share motives here as there are lots of perspectives. Why do you want a stage piano? Are you enjoying multiple sounds; do you like layering sounds together; are you planning to set-up complex split zones; do you intend to control other instruments via MIDI; are you planning on gigging around?
These are some of the motives to buying a stage piano instead of say "a portable piano" or "a Kawai VPC1 controller" with VST.
Pianists often value action. Of your list, you're comparing some good actions: RD2000 (PHA50) Yamaha P515 (NWX) and Kawai MP7SE (RHIII). All these actions are pretty good but virtually every hybrid piano will feel better. The Nord Grand uses the Kawai keybed (RHIII) so you can include that stage piano in the mix if you want.
Both the Korg Grandstage and Dexibell S7 Pro do not have 'competitive' actions as far as pianists go; however, if the action isn't that important to you, then they have other qualities that are competitive.
If piano is the only thing you're playing (or at any rate, you'll only play one instrument at a time) then a Controller piano like the Kawai VPC1 would be a better choice due to the RM3 grand action. This ultra focused instrument would need combining with a VST and computer with decent audiointerface in order to generate a superior piano sound to arguably most of the hardware pianos. So if sound and action are the premium values, then the VPC1 is a good shout, as is the MP11SE.
I own both the MP7 and the MP7SE (the MP7 I need to sell). I can tell you that it's a really great digital slab piano: the hidden gem of the digital stage piano market (I'm paraphrasing Tony from Bonners music---who has made reviews of the Dexibell too).
The main plus points for the MP7 and MP7SE is not only the action (both are very nice to play) but also the quality of the main sounds. The EP's are really stunning. The organ and drawbar organs are really very accomplished, with many great presets with the defaulit sound registrations set-up to mimic some of the iconic organ sounds through the 20th century. The synth sounds are very versatile too, and the pianos are very subtle, rich and warm. As an instrument, the MP7/MP7SE competes with the RD2000 in terms of functionality. Both these pianos do well across the board in terms of stage piano functionality.
In comparison to other staqe pianos, the idea is to have 40-50 excellent sounds done really well, with the rest as supporting roles. In comparison, the RD2000 has so many sounds that it can be hard to find the best ones. Yamaha too has started to change its stage piano approach to the less is more approach, along with borrowing the UI of the Nord. Kawai's UI is a good compromise. It's easy to alter affects on the fly and also you can easily program the instrument if you prefer to do that.
Regarding the P515: yes it's heavier; however, new actions are always a bit stiffer than they end up becoming after several months practice. The heavier action is something your hands adapt to. What is important is the quality of the action and the responsiveness of the combination of action and sound interface.
Regarding the Roland RD2000: this is one instrument that doesn't do itself justice during in-store testing. Without a good headphone amp and a fair bit of tweeking, this piano just sounds muffled with what seems like a compressed dynamic range. Look for posts by Bruce from Philly to get a sense of why the RD2000 is worth another look. It is a very good instrument but requires proper set-up.
The Dexibells of course are a breath of fresh air in the stage piano market. Definitely try them in store to make sure that you make proper comparison. It maybe harder though to find a place that stocks Dexibell. In the UK, we have Bonners Music who are excellent for variety of models on show.
I would consider very carefully what you value and whether you need what a stage piano offers. I always wanted the functionality and ability to take my MP7SE gigging. If I was mainly playing at home and wasn't going to be doing anything but piano, my natural go to would be the Kawai VPC1 and some VST piano e.g., the CFX grand or what have you.
If you lilke Korgs you should definately look into the Kronos2 and the SV2, not only the GrandStage. Arguably, the Kronos2 is a more versatile instrument.