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Joined: May 2013
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My situation is I’m a beginner and with a very recent change in circumstances I’ve quit drumming as my main musical outlet and will now focus on Piano. I’ve enrolled in the PCA course and will upgrade my piano with the funds from my liquidated drum gear.

Due to shortages and lack of experience there’s neither the opportunity nor the knowledge for me to try out the options but based on research and budget I’ve narrowed by choices down to the two mentioned in the title.

In the UK these are roundabout the same price and at the top end of my budget - As I know no better, which of these would be the best partner for my journey through the PCA?

Last edited by Hammertime; 09/23/21 05:44 PM.

Yamaha YDP-164

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There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself. Johann Sebastian Bach
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I wonder what made you narrow your choices to these two pianos?

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These are both excellent pianos and it really comes down to personal taste. However, there are a few comparisons between those two models on YouTube. Personally I find Bonners musics demos and tests quite comprehensive and (seemingly) unbiased.



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Thanks, I’ve watched plenty of YouTube videos comparing the CA79 with the 99, and plenty comparing the CLP range models with each other but apart from one video comparing sounds (inc the LX708) I can’t find anyone making a direct comparison video - if I’ve missed this then I’m happy to be re-directed - thanks


Yamaha YDP-164

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There’s nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself. Johann Sebastian Bach
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Hi Hammert, I was in the same situation last month, I was able to try only CLP 785, I watched all youtube video and reviews, but I can assure you that the most important thing is to try it by yourself.
Anyway after all I was able to buy a used CA99 at very good price and comparing it to the CLP 785 I preferer the kawai: imho better key action and comparable sound.
I am a beginner to intermediate student, I ask my friend that is actually a good pianist to try it both the ca99 and 785 and he also preferred the kawai to the yamaha.
Said that, the only thing I can advise you is to try by yourself, bring with you your teacher or a friend that plays piano, take your time, and build your own opinion on that. Don't be fooled (only) by the specs!
Lastly don't understimate the delivery times! you risk to order your piano now and receive it somwhere next year!
Bye!

Last edited by Mangiasassi; 09/24/21 03:12 AM.

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Originally Posted by Hammertime
Thanks, I’ve watched plenty of YouTube videos comparing the CA79 with the 99...

When choosing a DP, there is not much point in watching videos and reading web reviews. The key action touch and speaker sound can't be captures properly, are very difficult to describe, and preferences are highly subjective. So just go play them, and plan enough time. Preferably try some good acoustic pianos too, for reference.
Personally, in this range I'd pick the Kawai. With Yamaha, better check AvantGrand action (but its Kawai counterpart is Novus).

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Thanks all, I appreciate the helpful suggestions of trying in person but as explained in the original post, I’ve neither the opportunity to do this (none available locally) nor the experience. I play drums to a high standard and I know that with experience comes the ability to make fine nuanced decisions regarding gear. At the bottom of the learning curve one merely grows in to the gear until preferences emerge.
I don’t have, nor do I plan to have, a teacher at this time - hence the PCA where I can get weekly feedback on videos, and the CA99/CLP775 is the top of my budget so no point even mentioning avantgrands and Novus as options as these are already rejected based on price.

Given the above I’m therefore asking (like I would ask a friend or a teacher) what was your experience when trying these side by side - thanks


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Originally Posted by _sem_
When choosing a DP, there is not much point in watching videos and reading web reviews.

Indeed. It's like going to a piano store and listening to the dealer making up reasons to buy while they play through their showroom, without letting you touch one single instrument yourself. All these videos and reviews are made by dealers selling their merchandise.

You don't spend thousands on car without having at least one test drive, do you?


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Originally Posted by JoeT
You don't spend thousands on car without having at least one test drive, do you?
sleep

But if you can’t even drive, there’s no point having a test drive!

Last edited by Hammertime; 09/24/21 04:02 AM.

Yamaha YDP-164

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Originally Posted by Hammertime
But if you can’t even drive, there’s no point having a test drive!

Indeed, according to your signature you already have a digital piano. The models you looking at are not substantially different, just much more expensive. The next step up would be a real piano.


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I had to chuckle about the Bonners Video's (they truly know the modern market) - when I was doing the research about the CA series, I had the time to review other DP comparisons some of whish were interestingly Bonners. Having been in store and had long conversations, these tests came up with sales staff, I mentioned that the guy who does the demo's could and does make comparisons that at times very strange and that he could make these say with a Toad stool and a 1000 GBP piano bench and make the case for the fungus and win lol. They said that is why we pay him mega bucks and make sure the sounds played are as good as they could be again by getting the best sound recordings professionally produced.
The point being is that they make these to sell before you travel for 4 hours to the shop and you buy which ever they want to sell and not because one is more superior.
It is their tactic to make sure you are turning your mind to whichever your emotion is calling for not that one is better than another. Therefore your desire is heightened and triggered: that they are the bringers of satisfaction. Not actually the better piano for you or the best place for you to buy. hence they are not bothered as long as you buy from them with the least amount of convincing on their part. The guy's in the stores can play and more than willing to show but wow test a full bore like selling a poor very big hi fi by winding the wick up alongside a million bum notes!. They do let you try anything they have in stock but knowing that you have already made your mind up before entering. I think people call it intelligent marketing.
My advice to anyone who is buying is to be very careful in what is said online or videos that do these comparisons as some can be quite misleading. As a beginner you will not go wrong with either brand - but you may as well flick a coin to decide. - sorry did not mean to be pessimistic.

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@Killometer: That's not pessimism. It's realism.

IMO You Tube demos serve only to make me aware that a given piano model exists.

The rest of the information is irrelevant. I don't care about the doctored sound. And I don't care about features and gizmos and gadgets.

It's all about fingers and keys and sounds. Those things matter ... and they can only be judged in-person, in the shop.

I have to try a piano myself. The opinions of anyone else are not relevant.

I think the OP is making a mistake by not trying. Blind purchase is a mistake. So I'm glad it's his money, not mine.

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@Hammertime! Glad to hear you are joining PCA smile

I was in your position last December. I could not find a single store where I could test a piano (any piano!) during the pandemic, so I did the best I could. I checked comparisons online and watched countless youtube reviews. Most instruments were out of stock, and my only options back then were the Yamaha 735 and a Kawai CN-49. There was nothing else. The yamaha could be delivered in a week, and the kawai in 5 months. So it was a blind purchase, and it was a GREAT purchase, and I do not regret for a minute buying my Yamaha CLP-735 based purely on online reviews!

If I was an intermediate/advanced pianist, like most in this forum certainly are, I would also wait to test the piano in person.

But it's like you said, the ability to choose comes with experience (like anything else in life, from choosing a car to choosing a pen!). When I bought my piano, I was a total beginner (still am), unsure if the passion to learn would still be around after a year. I set my budget and bought the best I could within that limit. When the time comes (in two years? five years? a decade?!) I will upgrade to a hybrid or an acoustic or whatever I feel like -- after playing it in person, and after having enough experience to know what I am after in terms of touch and sound.

The Yamaha is perfect for a beginner, and so is the Kawai. Both instruments will be great companions to your journey learning piano, using PCA or a private teacher, or whatever method you feel is the right one for you.

If both instruments are similar on paper, and you don't have a preference based on their sounds (I can definitely hear a difference between yamahas and kawais, and most brands, even on youtube; as for the action, I have nothing to compare it with, apart from people's subjective descriptions about light/heavy), then I say choose the best package you can, with the shortest delivery times. I got the LAST yamaha in all of Spain, and the store added a nice adjustable piano bench in the package too!


PS: Reading this forum, sometimes I wonder how the people who learned piano from childhood even survived not being able to choose their own instruments, having to depend on those old/cheap family uprights, and those who went on to the conservatory, having to play on all kinds of pianos or different sizes, with different actions, sounds... Must have been a real tragedy.

Last edited by Maira713; 09/24/21 06:27 AM.

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Thanks for taking the time out to write your considered and helpful reply Maira, it really is appreciated and see you over in the PCA feedback classroom soon, I enjoyed watching your uploads already :-)


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Originally Posted by Killomiter
I had to chuckle about the Bonners Video's (they truly know the modern market) - when I was doing the research about the CA series, I had the time to review other DP comparisons some of whish were interestingly Bonners. Having been in store and had long conversations, these tests came up with sales staff, I mentioned that the guy who does the demo's could and does make comparisons that at times very strange and that he could make these say with a Toad stool and a 1000 GBP piano bench and make the case for the fungus and win lol. They said that is why we pay him mega bucks and make sure the sounds played are as good as they could be again by getting the best sound recordings professionally produced.

These YouTube channels are nothing different from home shopping TV channels. Millions of pensioners order questionable products from there every day.

It's telling that acoustic pianos aren't sold this way. They are still try before buy.


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Originally Posted by Maira713
PS: Reading this forum, sometimes I wonder how the people who learned piano from childhood even survived not being able to choose their own instruments, having to depend on those old/cheap family uprights, and those who went on to the conservatory, having to play on all kinds of pianos or different sizes, with different actions, sounds... Must have been a real tragedy.

Yes it makes me smile too, the usual suspects trotting out their usual unhelpful replies irrespective of what’s being asked - I seriously wonder why they bother or what internal need they’re meeting for themselves.

Last edited by Hammertime; 09/24/21 07:54 AM.

Yamaha YDP-164

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Originally Posted by Maira713
PS: Reading this forum, sometimes I wonder how the people who learned piano from childhood even survived not being able to choose their own instruments, having to depend on those old/cheap family uprights, and those who went on to the conservatory, having to play on all kinds of pianos or different sizes, with different actions, sounds... Must have been a real tragedy.

My childhood didn't feature a single digital piano. Looking back that was a blessing.

That "old family upright", which was the era-appropriate equivalent of a Kawai K15 when bought new is still alive and tuned as well.


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To quote JoeT from another thread:

Now almost three years later and after not much practice (action sounds and looks pretty much like new still), my dynamic control improved tremendously with the P-515. This especially shows when playing low end actions like GHS and RHC and it tells me that consistent pianissimo is a feature of the pianist and not of the digital piano. And such features cannot develop on lightweight low-end gear, regardless of the practice time spent.

Thank heavens for decent DP’s then yes???


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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@Killometer: That's not pessimism. It's realism.

I don't think it's either. It's cynicism, some of which may be justified, but much of which is utterly nonsensical.

Tony at Bonners makes decent sounding line-out recordings so the viewer can compare the sound of each piano. He also ALWAYS encourages people to go to the store and try pianos before they choose.

If we believe that he has no interest in selling a customer the RIGHT thing for that particular customer, but is only interested in selling the customer the right thing for Bonners Music (e.g., the piano with the biggest profit margin) then in fact we are saying that Tony is man with no integrity whatsoever. Does anyone here think that's the way he comes across, because I don't.

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Originally Posted by EssBrace
If we believe that he has no interest in selling a customer the RIGHT thing for that particular customer, but is only interested in selling the customer the right thing for Bonners Music

That's what business is about. And they're selling digital pianos, because they have a higher margins than anything else on the consumer electronics market.

Tony would sell you TVs at Bonners, if TVs were still high margin merchandise.


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