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Joined: Oct 2019
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Hi everyone!

I started playing piano again two years ago after about twenty years. I was not sure if I was going to really enjoy it so I bought a not too expensive Roland F130. Now I absolutely love to play it.

The problem is that although I'm satisfied with the sound with headphones I find the sound without headphones not so good. So maybe one of those hybrid pianos is the answer to my problems: I want a piano that sounds good with and without headphones.

Now I've seen that the cheapest ones are around five thousand Euros: Kawai Novus NV5 or Yamaha B1 SC2. I have to think it twice (or thrice) before expending 5k €, so, piano players out there, Is it worth buying a "cheap" hybrid piano?

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The "hybrid" technology per se isn't the solution to the speaker sound problem.

For example Roland has more elaborate speakers systems in some of their their HP and LX models -- especially in the LX range.

They are not "hybrid pianos" but have a slightly more upmarket key action than the F130.

Kawai CN-39, CA-59 and higher Kawai models too probably have quite a good speaker systems -- some even have a soundboard.

Probably some more expensive Yamaha Clavinova models are worth checking out too.

Casio has a very different piano tone from Roland, but some of their moderately priced models may surprise with their speaker sound as e.g. the Casio PX-870 has upwards facing treble speakers on the top and e.g. the Casio AP-470 has a lid that you can open, so they are maybe not so muffled. Then they have the more expensive "almost hybrid" models GP-310 and GP-510.

Korg G1 could be a model to try out too.

This all is of course something you should experience in a music store, but the sound might not be exactly the same at home due to a different room and piano placement.

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For just the sound, I would say "no", it is not worth it. At least if you mean by hybrid a piano like the NV5, with 'acoustic' action but without strings. The sound engine is the same as on digital Kawais, which are less expensive. The soundboard of the NV5 does improve things when played without headphones, so to others it may actually worth it. But I still think the NV5 is a lot of money if sound is your main focus. From the perspective of the action however it would be certainly worth it, to me.

The Yamaha you mention is a silent piano: a fully functional acoustic piano with added digital sound for headphones. In that case I would say the sound alone is worth it. But of course what is worth how much depends on budget constraints.

I moved from a fully digital piano to a silent piano 1.5 years ago (K300 ATX3) and am still very happy with that decision, based on 1) action, 2) acoustic sound.

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Hello,

@valeriano, I just looked up your piano, to verify if it has a line-out connector. It seems to have that, in the form of a 3.5mm (1/8") stereo jack.

So if you are indeed happy enough with the piano the way it plays and sounds (through headphones at least), you could try to add external speakers.

If you have a nice-enough HiFi system, hook it up to get a first impression of how that may turn out. Then you can think about what amplifier and speakers you could possibly add to the piano.

For instance, I use Onkyo (30 years old, restored) amplifier(s) and Wharfedale speakers (a mix of new and old) and I just love the sound that I get.

Hope this is a useful suggestion,

Cheers and happy experimenting,

HZ

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Hi Valeriano,
I think quality external speakers (active, or passive with an amp) are the most convenient.
For even better sound you can consider a virtual instrument (VST) piano (like VSL pianos, Garritan CFX, Pianoteq...) running on a computer connected via MIDI. Pianoteq can reportedly run even on a Pi 400.
If you don't like the idea of external speakers, you may consider a more expensive piano, but better start by trying them in store(s) than wasting time surfing the internet - you can't find relevant info here because this is beyond description and very subjective.
The B1 SC2 is in fact an entry acoustic upright (with strings inside) with a digital silent add-on.
"Hybrid" with pianos mostly means an acoustic-like key action but a digital sound engine.

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As mentioned above, if you are looking for a solid acoustic piano action in a digital, then hybrid pianos may fit you better. Also, if you have the space for them, of course.

I think your best option is to get a couple of external speakers to expand your enjoyment of what you already have.

Good luck! smile

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I am very happy with my N1X and I have found its keyboard far better than other digital pianos. But why don’t you try yourself ? You shouldn’t pay extra money for something which doesn’t feel so much better under your fingers.


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Originally Posted by David Lai
A. . .

I think your best option is to get a couple of external speakers to expand your enjoyment of what you already have.

Good luck! smile


+1 !

You're not complaining about the action of the F130. You're complaining about the sound, and you say it sounds OK over headphones. So keep the action and sound generator. Upgrade what _needs_ to be upgraded:

. . . Get amps and loudspeakers (both amp and speaker in one box = "powered monitor")

. . . that produce better sound than the under-spec'ed amps and speakers that came from the Roland factory.

There are lots of threads, here, that are relevant. Listen to some, if you can, with 50 watts or more per channel, and 5" or larger woofers (low-frequency drivers). JBL LSR 305's (5") or JBL LSR 308's (8") would be possibilities.

You should get louder sound, with better bass, and no "muddiness" anywhere in the piano's pitch and dynamic range.

Let us know what you find . . .

There is a rabbit-hole that opens, when you say "Now I want to improve the sound generator". It's called "VST's", and IMHO you should avoid it, until you are really unhappy with the F130's sound.


. Charles
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It's called VI (Virtual Instrument), not VST.
VST is one of common API, used for embedding VI as plugin to a DAW, a sequencer, or a host.


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Originally Posted by VladK
It's called VI (Virtual Instrument), not VST.
VST is one of common API, used for embedding VI as plugin to a DAW, a sequencer, or a host.

Come on VladK... That was a nasty and unwarranted comment... Of course, Charles (and everyone that uses virtual instruments) knows the difference and that VST is the embedder.But you should acknowledge that, right or wrong, virtual instruments are way more often coloquially called VSTs and not VIs...

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It could also be a VSTi.

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Vag's gonna get us all banned . . . .one by one . . . . . smile


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VladK was correct (more correct than me because VI is the appropriate term; cloth......... Also...), and my comment was a bit out of line and honestly reads a bit harsher than was my intention when I wrote it. Sincerely sorry VladK: you have been a great member of PW for a long time. So, if anyone get's banned, it will be me 😊
If that happens you know the online place where to find me (or where to avoid me), along with other banned souls 😉

Last edited by vagfilm; 10/24/21 06:16 AM.
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Thanks you all for your replys!

I think I should try the amp+speakers as all of you have said. Thanks! Now it's time to look for a good ones.

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I have a Roland FP-30. The action is just fine, but the sound through the speakers is not great. I have it hooked up to an amplifier, with HiFi speakers attached. This makes the sound a lot better. But mostly I play virtual instruments on a PC, that is also hooked up to the digital piano and the amplifier. That takes the sound quality up another level. Your plan to try an external amplifier and speakers is also what I would be doing.


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Galaxy II Grand piano collection, Synthogy Ivory II Studio Grands, Production Voices Estate Grand, Garritan CFX Lite, Pianoteq 7.0 (Blüthner, Bechstein DG, Grotrian, Steinway D, K2)

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