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Pianos around 1000€
#3048566 11/23/20 01:34 PM
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Hello!

I'm going to buy my first digital piano/ synth/ keyboard now in Black friday since most of the webs I'm visiting have good offers. My budget is around 1000€, and I'm looking for a piano with 3 things: good touch with 88 keys, pitch bend and arpeggiator. I'm between these 4 and I have already watched a ton of reviews but I still don't make my mind up. I some of you have one of these and wanna help, I would appreciate it a lot!

  • Roland RD 88
  • Roland A-88 MK II
  • Roland Juno 88
  • Arturia Keylab 88 MKII


I will play mostly jazz, soul, rock and pop. Any thought? Thanks a lot!
EDIT: grammar

Last edited by MrJules; 11/23/20 01:35 PM.
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Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048594 11/23/20 02:59 PM
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Roland A-88 and Arturia have no sounds built in, you'll have to be connected to something else (most often a computer) to get sound. And I don't think the RD-88 has an arpeggiator. That would seem to leave you with the Juno 88.

I'd also consider Casio PX-5S and Kurzweil SP-6.

Of the three, I'd probably pick the Casio for action, the Kurzweil for sound, the Juno DS for flexibility. ;-)

Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048644 11/23/20 05:43 PM
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Ah well, I forgot to mention that I don't need sound since I already have speakers, so that wouldn't be a problem. Arpeggiator is a feature that I would like to have, but its not a must, unlike the pitch bend.

And regarding the keyboards you mention @anotherscott, I didn't consider other options that Roland because I tried the Roland and the touch is very well made, I really like it, and I suspect that Casio or Kurzweil will have the same touch than the Roland. Have you tried them?

Thanks! =)

Last edited by MrJules; 11/23/20 05:49 PM.
Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048676 11/23/20 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MrJules
Ah well, I forgot to mention that I don't need sound since I already have speakers, so that wouldn't be a problem.
I already assumed you didn't need the keyboard to have speakers, since 3 of the 4 models you mentioned didn't have speakers. My point was that two of the keyboards you mentioned don't have SOUNDS in them. Those keyboards require that you get your sounds from another device (e.g. computer, iPad/iPhone, sound module, another keyboard). That has nothing to do with whether they have speakers.

I have tried the keyboards you mentioned or other keyboards that use the same actions which should at least feel similar. They do not all feel like whichever Roland you played, they all feel somewhat different from each other. Which is best is somewhat subjective.

It sounds like you're new at this, and since the arpeggiation features aren't so critical, wen it comes to the Casio, I might suggest you look at the Casio PX-560 instead of the PX-5S because operation is a lot simpler. The differences are described at https://casiomusicgear.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/the-definitive-px-5s-vs-px-560-comparison/

Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048679 11/23/20 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by MrJules
Ah well, I forgot to mention that I don't need sound since I already have speakers, so that wouldn't be a problem. Arpeggiator is a feature that I would like to have, but its not a must, unlike the pitch bend.
. . .
Thanks! =)

PMFJI --

When Anotherscott said "they have no sounds built in", he meant:

. . . "they have no sound generators -- they just send MIDI signals"

So you'll need something to turn MIDI signals (which say which key was struck or released) into analog audio-frequency signals, which your amp and loudspeakers will turn into sound.

And that "something" is usually either a computer (with appropriate software) or a "MIDI sound module".

The RD-88 and Juno 88 _do_ have sound generators, whether or not they have amps and speakers.


. Charles
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Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048697 11/23/20 07:57 PM
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Other boards you could consider in this price range would be Yamaha MX88, Korg Kross

Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048838 11/24/20 06:19 AM
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Okay okay I got it, thanks for your replies. But then, how to choose between a keyboard with a sound module or a MIDI controller?

Since the controllers are a little bit cheaper than keyboards with the module integrated, I could buy a sound module and connect it to the controller, or even connect the controller to a laptop and use a virtual sound generator. What scenario would be better?

Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048842 11/24/20 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by MrJules
Since the controllers are a little bit cheaper than keyboards with the module integrated, I could buy a sound module and connect it to the controller [...]

Sound modules with (*)decent piano sounds:
- Dexibell VIVO SX7, around 1000 €
- V3 Sound Grand Piano XXL, around 450 €
- Ketron Klavi Pro, around 200 €

So, that might not really be a way to save money.

(* I haven't tested these myself. Just giving some examples.)

Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048850 11/24/20 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by MrJules
Since the controllers are a little bit cheaper than keyboards with the module integrated, I could buy a sound module and connect it to the controller, or even connect the controller to a laptop and use a virtual sound generator. What scenario would be better?

As cloth demonstrated, a keyboard plus a sound module can be the pricier way to go... but if you use something you already have as your sound source (i.e. your computer, or iOS device if you have one), then it could more easily be the cheaper way to go. But it's not just about price.

Built-in sounds advantages = simpler operation, just turn it on and play. You don't need to connect your other device whenever you want to use your piano. No need to initially configure anything. No need to worry about latency (a slight delay between when you hit a note and when you hear it, which can sometimes be an issue to deal with when connecting to a computer). All the front panel controls are automatically set up for their labeled functions.

Advantages of using a controller with another device for the actual sounds = You can choose the sounds you like best independently of choosing the action you like best. You can generally find better piano sounds than what's built into the keyboard (especially if your keyboard is one in a lower price range).

Is your computer a Windows PC or a Mac? Do you also have an iPhone or iPad? The available sounds, costs of the software and additional hardware required, and simplicity of setup will also vary with which of those devices you'd be using.

Also keep in mind that even if you buy a keyboard that has sounds, you can still *also* use that keyboard as a controller for external sounds.

Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048863 11/24/20 07:34 AM
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Alright alright, I thought that having integrated sound module would have been more or less the same but it's not the case. Im a software engineer so tweaking around with synth programs won't frighten me, but If I need extra hardware then maybe it's not a good idea. I've seen sound generators for 90€ but if you recommended me a couple for 200€ minimun, I guess the one I saw are far from being decent. So MIDI controllers are off now.

Between those 5 that remain in the list... what would be your personal choice?

+Roland Juno SD 88
+Roland RD 88
+Casio PX-560 (easier)/ Casio PX-5S (more diff.)
+Yamaha MX 88
+Korg Kross


Thank you very much, I'm trying to make the best value for the budget I have. =)

Last edited by MrJules; 11/24/20 07:35 AM.
Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048881 11/24/20 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by MrJules
If I need extra hardware then maybe it's not a good idea.
The extra hardware you need depends on what you have. If you're using a Mac, for example, you may not need any extra hardware at all.

Originally Posted by MrJules
Between those 5 that remain in the list... what would be your personal choice?

+Roland Juno SD 88
+Roland RD 88
+Casio PX-560 (easier)/ Casio PX-5S (more diff.)
+Yamaha MX 88
+Korg Kross
I also mentioned Kurzweil SP6, is there a reason you already ruled that one out?

Personal choice would depend on which action you like best, which piano sound you like best, and which additional sounds/features are of most interest to you. You can probably get some idea of their piano sounds in youtube videos. You can download their manuals to get a sense of their additional capabilities. Action can be pretty subjective, but I think most people would rate the actions of the Casios and the RD88 above those of the DS88, MX88, or Kross.

Besides piano use, having a pitch bend control, and preferably an arpeggiator, are there any other sounds/features that particularly appeal to you?

Off-hand, here are some things that can differentiate the models: How many sounds at once can be combined in splits/layers? How many effects can be used on them? What functionality exists to edit the sounds (envelopes and filter settings, etc.)? Can you load additional sounds into it besides what it comes with, and/or your own custom samples? Does the synth function include a monophonic (one-note-at-a-time) mode (which can be useful for leads)? Can you switch from one sound to another without cutting off any held/decaying notes? How many and what kinds of pedals are supported? Can you easily call up and/or combine both internal and external sounds (e.g. if you want to switch between and/or split/layer the built in sounds and sounds from an external device)? What front panel controls are provided to alter sounds in real-time as you play (beside the pitch bend you already mentioned)? Is there any kind of sequencer (whether for patterns or full multi-track compositions)? Are there built-in backing rhythms? Are there specific DAW (computer) integration functions? Some of these things might be very useful to you, or maybe a little useful, or not at all useful... and that could guide you toward one or another.

Similarly, you may have interest in particular sounds. Besides piano, maybe you're especially interested in good strings or brass or electric pianos or organs... some boards are better for some of these sounds, worse for others (though again, it can be subjective).

So my personal choice might be different from yours, because you might answer those questions differently.

Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048893 11/24/20 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
The extra hardware you need depends on what you have. If you're using a Mac, for example, you may not need any extra hardware at all.

Yeah I meant that I don't have a Mac nor iPads but there are options such as using "alternative" operating systems such as Hackintosh, which means that I don't need specifically a Mac, but thanks for pointin out. Indeed from the guides I've seen, most of the music production is made in Mac.

Originally Posted by anotherscott
I also mentioned Kurzweil SP6, is there a reason you already ruled that one out?

Oops, I actually have it in my private list but I forgot to include it here.

Thanks for the recomendations and the questions, they are good pointers where to head at. Since it's gonna be my first keyboard, I would like it to be as easy-to-computerize as possible. That means that if one of the model is more inclined to production rather than to offer live funcionality, I guess it would fit me better.

Anyway, today I'm going to a music store and I will test the pianos, and I will have the questions that you told me in mind. When I finish I will post my thoughts here, and maybe they help other first-time-synth players =)

Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048903 11/24/20 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by MrJules
Yeah I meant that I don't have a Mac nor iPads but there are options such as using "alternative" operating systems such as Hackintosh, which means that I don't need specifically a Mac, but thanks for pointin out. Indeed from the guides I've seen, most of the music production is made in Mac.
I would not use a hackintosh. When the time comes that you want to integrate the computer, use supported hardware. If you have a Windows PC, for this purpose, I'd say you're better off running Windows apps than turning into a hackintosh. To be able to keep latency to a minimum, I think you really want to run the software on the hardware it is designed for, and not introduce other variables you have little control over.

Originally Posted by MrJules
Anyway, today I'm going to a music store and I will test the pianos, and I will have the questions that you told me in mind. When I finish I will post my thoughts here, and maybe they help other first-time-synth players =)
Great! And when it comes to actions in particular, there's no substitute for getting your own hands on them. Two tips:

... if you have good heapdhones, use them, to eliminate the variable of whatever amps they are using for playback at the store, especially since they may have one keyboard playing through a better system than another which will skew your evaluation.

... make note of the model numbers of ALL the ones you get the chance to play, even if they are not on your list. You may find, for example, that they don't have one of the Rolands you want to try, but if you try other Rolands and find ones you like or do not like the feel of, it may have one of the actions that is also used on one of the Rolands you're looking into. So if we know you did or didn't like the feeling of Roland X, that may tell us that you probably would or would not liked the feeling of Roland Y which you would have liked to have tried if they'd had it.

Last edited by anotherscott; 11/24/20 09:19 AM.
Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3048922 11/24/20 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by MrJules
Okay okay I got it, thanks for your replies. But then, how to choose between a keyboard with a sound module or a MIDI controller?

This may be a sidenote, but if I'm not mistaken all the boards so far mentioned, are MIDI controllers. A MIDI controller is simply a device that can trigger external sound modules or sources, by sending MIDI signals or events. Its own as well, of course. I'm probably explaining something you might know even better than I do, since you're a software engineer. Just putting it out for others then.

A digital piano or keyboard with its own sounds is always a MIDI controller (except those very cheap ones at Walmart/Costco like retailers, with no MIDI or USB/MIDI ports). Conversely, a MIDI controller is not necessarily a digital piano with it's own sounds, as we've already made clear.

Terminology and semantics aside, I don't know much about most of the boards mentioned so far, but I have a Casio PX-5S. I think it's pretty good, has worked well for me. Casio may not be everyone's cup of tea, so trying before buying, as has already been suggested, is important.

Last edited by TheodorN; 11/24/20 10:14 AM.

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Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3049098 11/24/20 05:23 PM
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Alright, I'm gonna explain my whole experience and I hope that if somebody in the future sees this post, will consider this post useful.

I've emailed Sweetwater, Thomann and Madrid-hifi. The two firsts ones are international dealers and the third one, a local one. I've asked what was the best piano from the list

Originally Posted by MrJules
+Roland Juno SD 88
+Roland RD 88
+Casio PX-560 (easier)/ Casio PX-5S (more diff.)
+Yamaha MX 88
+Korg Kross

And they all said that the best option is the Roland RD 88, which is also the most expensive one and probably they are biased by that. One of them also said that Juno is a decent option since it has a lot of sounds, more that the Roland, even though it was created with now outdated technology, which could affect the samples.

Having this in mind, I went to the store and I tried right away a lot of keyboards with headphones as @anotherscott recommended me, and I confirm that is the right way to test keyboards.Conclusions from my self and the shopping assistant:

+ I tried CASIO PRIVIA PX-S1000BK and PX-560 and I find the keys feel as weird since they try to emulate keys from a upright piano but they are made from a plastic that feels just wierd, as if you were holding something made out of cheap plastic, so they both are out.

+ I tried Yamaha P45 and Yamaha P125, they both have the best piano sound out of the box, but really nothing more. They both are similar and if you want a simple piano with no synth functionality and a overall good piano sound, this is you way, but not mine. They didn't have the Yamaha MX 88 that I wanted to try, but I guess the touch would be nice, which was decent.

+ Next with Roland, I was only able to test the FP 90 which lacks of the synth functionality and sounds that I was looking to test =( . But indeed, they have the best touch for me, keys are just they way they should be. The shopping assistant told me that Roland RD 88 is a solid option, but the Juno was outdated and he wouldn't recommend it to me, which impresses me because some of you pointed out that Juno is actually another solid option. Since the FP 90 is not really synth, it doesn't have a lot of sounds that I could try.

+ I tested the Kurzweil KA-90 and goddamm, the keys were among the worst, its pure plastic. However, I tried Kurzweil PC4 and was already reluctant because of the KA-90, but it couldn't be further from reality: it was actually the best keyboard I tried today, and it is by far the one with better keys touch, and just like the Rolands , keys just feel nice. They are somewhat lighter, but nothing to be considered as cheap (it cost 1800€ lol, out of my budget). The PC4 has aftertouch, which I didn't try before and it was an mind-blowing experience. Since I'm a classical trained pianist, most of the touch gimmicks are outstanding for me, just like the pitch bending. Also, the bank sound in the PC4 is huge and it has a wide range of presents.

+ I also tried Kawai MP11 which is supposed to be super professional, but the keys are made from real wood, which is again a no-no for me. The keys of most of the pianos I play are made of a simulation of ebony made with plastic, and wood feels like a super expensive grand piano, which is not what I expect if the keys don't have real hammers. However the sounds are among the best (again, they should be because the keyboard cost around 2000€)

I got an offer for the Kurzweil SP6 in spite of not having tested it, at 800€. The offer is good and the piano is brand new, and because of black friday the wanted to sell it, so maybe its an interesting option to consider. And I feel that the RD 88 is indeed a good option, but I didn't get to try any of the high end Roland. Which leaves me to the following list:

+Roland RD 88
+Kurzweil SP6
+Roland Juno SD 88
+Yamaha MX 88
+Korg Kross

At the end I only removed one lol, but at least I got to know how are the keys and touch. Have something to add? Thanks!

Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3049118 11/24/20 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by MrJules
they all said that the best option is the Roland RD 88
The RD88 is certainly a strong board, but whether it is best depends on the features someone needs (and what they personally think of the sounds and action). One can certainly make a good case for the RD88, but I can point out plenty of things each other board on the list is better at.

Originally Posted by MrJules
+ I tried CASIO PRIVIA PX-S1000BK and PX-560 and I find the keys feel as weird...so they both are out.
So you are right to also eliminate the PX-5S since it has the same action as the PX-560.

Originally Posted by MrJules
+ I tried Yamaha P45 and Yamaha P125, they both have the best piano sound out of the box, but really nothing more...They didn't have the Yamaha MX 88 that I wanted to try, but I guess the touch would be nice, which was decent.
yes, the MX88 uses the same kind of action as those other Yamahas.

Originally Posted by MrJules
+ Next with Roland, I was only able to test the FP 90 which lacks of the synth functionality and sounds that I was looking to test =( . But indeed, they have the best touch for me, keys are just they way they should be. The shopping assistant told me that Roland RD 88 is a solid option, but the Juno was outdated and he wouldn't recommend it to me, which impresses me because some of you pointed out that Juno is actually another solid option.
The FP90 does not have the same action as the RD88, and neither has the same action as the Juno DS88, so that evaluation may not have been too helpful in this case. Too bad there were not other Rolands to try, because there are indeed other models that do have the same actions as the models you're considering.

RD88 vs. DS88 gets back to my first paragraph here. RD88 is newer and has a number of advantages over the DS88... and yes, most people would probably say it has the better action and the better sounds. But there's also plenty the DS88 can do that the RD88 cannot, so the answer as to which is better will not be the same for everyone. For example, DS88 lets you create combinations of up to 16 of its sounds, RD88 permits combinations of up to 3 of its sounds. DS88 lets you load your own custom samples, RD88 does not. DS88 has arpeggiator, RD88 does not. etc. This is why it's impossible to say one is universally better than the other, as people have different needs.

Originally Posted by MrJules
I tried Kurzweil PC4...it was actually the best keyboard I tried today
The PC4 is a great board, one of my favorites, and would be among my top choices. I have never played the SP6, but it has a subset of the same sounds and functions, and my understanding is that it uses the same kind of action except without aftertouch. Though I also thought the KA90 you don't like may have used that action as well. The SP6 you were offered sounds like a good deal, can you try it first? Or can you return it if you're unhappy with it?

Last edited by anotherscott; 11/24/20 06:24 PM.
Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3049185 11/24/20 10:59 PM
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+1 on that PC4, if you can stretch.

Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3049351 11/25/20 11:50 AM
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Alright so at the end I bought the SP6 from the offer. I've seen the SP6 for 900€ in Internet and I was waiting for a Black Friday offer, but after watching a couple of reviews of the SP6 I was already convinced that the SP6 is going to be like the PC4 but more limited. After all, it's my first keyboard and I didn't nor couldn't stretch for those 1500€ of the PC4, so I think I made the right choice. It's a shame that I couldn't try the Juno and the RD 88, but I was going to buy a keyboard that I didn't have any reference (from the FP90 to those 2 there's a big step I think) and at least I had the PC4 reference.

Having said that, I will test it and post my impressions here, I hope them to be useful for sb in my position. Thanks you all and specially @anotherscott for recommending me that model, which I even didn't have in my initial list.

Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3049426 11/25/20 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by MrJules
Having said that, I will test it and post my impressions here, I hope them to be useful for sb in my position. Thanks you all and specially @anotherscott for recommending me that model, which I even didn't have in my initial list.

Please, do it. smile Not many Kurzweil lovers in this forum so it would be nice having some first hand reviews for a change.


Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.
Re: Pianos around 1000€
MrJules #3051534 12/01/20 07:14 AM
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Alright, so I have it next to me and I have tested it for a couple of days and I must say that... It's fantastic. Just like that. I couldn't be happier with it.

First of all, thanks to the forum for having helped me in choosing, I really appreciate it.

The final model as I said was the Kurzweil SP6 and It is a great keyboard for a synth beginner. I must say that my background classical music, so I have played a lot of pianos before (upright and grand) and the touch feels just nice. It's soft but not too much, and I would even argue that it has a better touch than the Rolands. It doesn't have double scape or aftertouch, but for the price range (I got it for 800€ as I said) is more that enough. It has arpeggiator and pitch bend, which are things that blew my mind off the first time I tested them and I'm in love. The wheel actually has a very decent feel compared to the one of the pricier PC4 that I tried.

Regarding the sound effects, the delay and the reverb are decent, and the split layers are somewhat limited (4 zones) but It's not a feature that I will use myself in the future, to be honest. And lastly, regarding the sound, what could I say. The amount of samples are more than I need for sure, and the basic piano sound is very nice. It's not that heavy and is definitely portable for gigging.

Very recommended for anybody that is in the same situation: classical pianist looking for making the jump to the synth/ electronic keyboard world.


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by Marc345 - 01/16/21 02:50 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
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Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
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