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After learning piano for one year, I’m looking for an upgrade for my Roland FP-10. My budget is 2k-3k USD.

I’m particularly looking for upgrade on the action, e.g.
1. An action that feels closer to a Yamaha upright acoustic. I also practice on Yamaha U3 sometimes, so it is a big plus if it can help me adapt between the two more seamlessly; also I found U3 satisfying to play, so a closer action would be great.
2. An action that helps on execution of certain techniques. I haven’t found any limitation of FP-10 at my level (well, I can’t do trill/fast staccato well, but it could be largely on my technique side not FP-10) but not sure if this is the case on a more advanced level.
3. An action that works/feels well with VST. Not sure if there is such thing, but it definitely will be a plus if it helps in some way, as I play with VST most of the time (Pianoteq and Garritan CFX)

The things with low priority
1. Sound (I play mostly with VST)
2. Speaker (I play mostly at late night with my headphone on)

With the said goals, I tried the followings in the local dealership (some of these are out of my budget, but I just want to compare the actions)
1. Yamaha P515 with NWX action
2. Yamaha CLP-745 with GrandToush-S action (upgraded NWX?)
3. Yamaha NU1X with AvantGrand action
4. Kawai CA99 with GrandFeel III action
5. Kawai XX with Responsive Hammer III (couldn’t recall the model)

My feeling is that, aside from NU1X (which I think is obviously better and very close to Yamaha upright), I didn’t find any of them strikingly satisfactory (the kind that you fall in love at first sight). They’re all nice to play, but I suspect their differences to the PHA-4 of my Roland FP-10 are more of a taste matter. Given my budget, limited playtime and reviews I read online, Yamaha P515 is on the top of my list, but I’m not fully convinced yet.

The ones I also considered, but couldn’t find display to try locally
1. Roland FP-90X with PHA-50 action
2. Kawai VPC1 with RM3 action

I want to hear more from the folks here, especially those made similar upgrade. What’s your opinions?
1. Given the budget, there is no candidate with a signifiant upgrade, and PHA-4 + VST is a decent package; and I should save money for XX later (please suggest).
2. Yamaha P515 with NWX is a good upgrade for Roland FP-10 with PHA-4.
3. Within the budget, Yamaha P515 is not a significant upgrade, but XX (please suggest) could be one.

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

Last edited by Yuhao; 06/11/22 05:51 PM.
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For the NU1X ..... check out the 'loud note' and 'soft note' issue thread - which arose due to not having adequate hardware needed for preventing the system from operating in some unwanted operating state.

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I’m confused, the p515 didn’t feel like a big upgrade and yet you want to buy it?

I’d save your money until you can buy something that really knocks your socks off.


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Add these to your to-try list if they’re within your budget:
Kawai CA79
Yamaha CLP-725 + Sennheiser HD 660S headphones

Last edited by Burkey; 06/11/22 07:34 PM.

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look for an es110, 520, kdp 70/75/110/120, RHC just feels so good, and it's in the lowest price bracket, well it was before the price hike.

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Originally Posted by Purdyd
I’m confused, the p515 didn’t feel like a big upgrade and yet you want to buy it?

I’d save your money until you can buy something that really knocks your socks off.

Ironically, yes. My impressions on these actions are based on limited playtime with demo units (<30mins each), and impressions might be unreliable. Plus, I may miss some nuances due to my level of play. I'm hoping someone in similar shoes with a prolonged experiences with P515 can shed some light on this.

Thanks for your advice. I have some north star models in mind (Kawai NV5S and Yamaha NU1X), and might pull the trigger in a year or two. But meanwhile, still itchy to have some meaningful upgrade in the shorter term.

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Originally Posted by Yuhao
Originally Posted by Purdyd
I’m confused, the p515 didn’t feel like a big upgrade and yet you want to buy it?

I’d save your money until you can buy something that really knocks your socks off.

Ironically, yes. My impressions on these actions are based on limited playtime with demo units (<30mins each), and impressions might be unreliable. Plus, I may miss some nuances due to my level of play. I'm hoping someone in similar shoes with a prolonged experiences with P515 can shed some light on this.

Thanks for your advice. I have some north star models in mind (Kawai NV5S and Yamaha NU1X), and might pull the trigger in a year or two. But meanwhile, still itchy to have some meaningful upgrade in the shorter term.

New pianos depreciate a great deal; if you are planning on replacing it in a year or two, have you thought about buying used?


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Hello,

@Yuhao, I have played a Roland FP-10 with VST pianos for about 20 months now and am also looking for an upgrade, with similar goals and wishes as you have.

Over the last six weeks or so, I made six visits to three different piano stores, multiple hours per visit, to really get to understand all those actions out there. At first, I also thought the differences from my FP-10 were only marginal (and indeed, it is rather nice at its price point and I really enjoyed it so far). But after gathering this much trial experience, differences really start to stand out.

Major things I got out of all this exploring:

- No (really, none!! apart from the hybrids) digital action feels like a piano. They do so in marketing only.
- The point is though, that a select few actions have you play like you would on proper acoustic piano actions. Meaning that technique, movements, and energy you put in can be quite similar (recognizable) to playing on a 'real' action. And that results in an easy and comfortable switch between such a digital action and acoustic instruments, making those few digitals useful as learning instruments.
- For me, no more plastic/folded action. (P515 and FP90 have folded actions.)

So out of all my trials it boils down to:

- Kawai Grand Feel III (in CA79 and CA99) (however out of my budget);
- Casio/Bechstein Grand Hybrid (which isn't a hybrid in the sense that the Avant Grands and Novuses are; in GP310 and GP510) (however out of my budget);
- Kawai RM3 Grand II (in VPC1).

My clear preference is with the Grand Feel III, but alas. This and the Casio are really close to eachother, my preference leans slightly towards the Kawai.

The VPC1 does a great job at its price level. In particular given that you have a hybrid as your North Star, I'd think this is a great step up to train yourself better and further towards proper piano playing. If your focus is on upright actions (U3) rather than grand pianos, the VPC1 might even be a more fitting choice than Grand Feel III or Casio/Bechstein. The pedal unit of the VPC1 is a much discussed and unresolved flaw, and indeed it isn't great. However quite a few people pedal happily away on it.

Make sure to do multiple store visits on different days in different weeks, and your experience and appreciation of the differences in the actions will grow and crystallize into your best pick.

Cheers and happy further trying,

HZ

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Hi HZ,

Thanks for sharing so much about your experiences! I'm really glad that we have such a similar situation, and your feedbacks are very helpful to me.

- thanks for pointing out the folded vs. unfolded thing. I never paid attention to this, and will dig more on this. But if you don't mind, may I know why/how that makes a big difference to you (if that's the major reason that you ruled out FP-90/P-515)

- it's sad to know "No digital action feels like a piano (apart from the hybrids)". With this, how does this change your goal on the upgrade? What major qualities do you value most now?

- May I know what your current decision is? Are you planning to save for the Casio/Bechstein Grand Hybrid and CA79/99, or will you go with the VPC1? I think I can get away with VPC1 pedal issue with a 3rd party pedal + an external MIDI adapter feeding pedal signals directly to VST (bypassing VPC1), but I couldn't find one that I can put my hands on locally (maybe because it's a 9 year old model). Have you tried the CA59 with Grand Feel Compact and do you find it similar to VPC1?


Sorry about so many questions smile

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Actually, why not? I just did a search for used ones locally. While haven't found exact models I want, there are some interesting alternatives. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Originally Posted by Yuhao
Actually, why not? I just did a search for used ones locally. While haven't found exact models I want, there are some interesting alternatives. Thanks for the suggestion.

You’re welcome! Of course, success is not guaranteed but big savings if you can find a DP you want. New pianos, either acoustic or digital, depreciate just like new cars 😢


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Hello,

@Yuhao:

- Folded: My primary focus is action. Folding an action is a weight/space saving compromise, deviating from how a true piano is built. Therefore (in my mind) another compromise in reaching a pianistic action experience. I'd rather rule out compromises as much as possible.

- My goal in upgrading: lies in having an action that at least has one play like on a real piano, even if it can't actually feel like one; see my description of that in my post above.

- Decision: I'm yet undecided. Saving up for those top-two may take too long, and even then those are amounts that I find difficult to see digital (as it stays a surrogate) worthy of. So the VPC1 perhaps is indeed my strongest option, but a (somewhat) second best to Grand Feel III and even at its much better price, still hard for me to assign that much money to something 'just a digital'. Because an acoustic instrument is outside my practical realm for some time to come, I may have to though.

- Alternate pedaling: Yes, a viable option. In fact that's how I have things set up already with two Kawai F-10H pedals and MIDI USB interfaces.

Cheers and happy further research,

HZ

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Originally Posted by Yuhao
After learning piano for one year, I’m looking for an upgrade for my Roland FP-10. My budget is 2k-3k USD.

I’m particularly looking for upgrade on the action, e.g.
1. An action that feels closer to a Yamaha upright acoustic. I also practice on Yamaha U3 sometimes, so it is a big plus if it can help me adapt between the two more seamlessly; also I found U3 satisfying to play, so a closer action would be great.
2. An action that helps on execution of certain techniques. I haven’t found any limitation of FP-10 at my level (well, I can’t do trill/fast staccato well, but it could be largely on my technique side not FP-10) but not sure if this is the case on a more advanced level.
3. An action that works/feels well with VST. Not sure if there is such thing, but it definitely will be a plus if it helps in some way, as I play with VST most of the time (Pianoteq and Garritan CFX)

The things with low priority
1. Sound (I play mostly with VST)
2. Speaker (I play mostly at late night with my headphone on)

With the said goals, I tried the followings in the local dealership (some of these are out of my budget, but I just want to compare the actions)
1. Yamaha P515 with NWX action
2. Yamaha CLP-745 with GrandToush-S action (upgraded NWX?)
3. Yamaha NU1X with AvantGrand action
4. Kawai CA99 with GrandFeel III action
5. Kawai XX with Responsive Hammer III (couldn’t recall the model)

My feeling is that, aside from NU1X (which I think is obviously better and very close to Yamaha upright), I didn’t find any of them strikingly satisfactory (the kind that you fall in love at first sight). They’re all nice to play, but I suspect their differences to the PHA-4 of my Roland FP-10 are more of a taste matter. Given my budget, limited playtime and reviews I read online, Yamaha P515 is on the top of my list, but I’m not fully convinced yet.

The ones I also considered, but couldn’t find display to try locally
1. Roland FP-90X with PHA-50 action
2. Kawai VPC1 with RM3 action

I want to hear more from the folks here, especially those made similar upgrade. What’s your opinions?
1. Given the budget, there is no candidate with a signifiant upgrade, and PHA-4 + VST is a decent package; and I should save money for XX later (please suggest).
2. Yamaha P515 with NWX is a good upgrade for Roland FP-10 with PHA-4.
3. Within the budget, Yamaha P515 is not a significant upgrade, but XX (please suggest) could be one.

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

I would save to get a real piano action. No folded action will satisfy your needs. I know the feeling because I have it too. The problem is instruments are heavily taxed (up to 60%) of the original price plus the state taxes and transport taxes which can buff up the price up to almost 200% you would pay in any other country. And I need do play on Steinway grands for my major. Prepare repertoire. Even VSTs doesn't fool me to the extent that I feel like playing the real thing.

If you save to get a really good hybrid, or even a silent piano, that would be a better investment. You would have an instrument for a life. And some silent pianos even have midi, so you won't need to use the usually not so good samples they have on their digital part of the instrument. My dream would be to have an Yamaha Silent Piano, with midi, so I can practice with both the acoustic sound and the digital sound when needed (aka, during night study sessions or even late night sessions when I'm inspired).

Also you could wait and see if Kawai releases a new VPC2... and save up to get their best action on Digital Piano or Hybrid Pianos... I think Kawai has the edge when it comes to action over Yamaha. They are overpriced in Brazil... (just to give you an idea... the ES110 competes with the P-515, and the CA line competes with Cheaper but New Acoustic Pianos, their Hybrids are priced as a few used grands could cost... so... yeah... I end up with P-515 which is fine, but the sound doesn't amaze me... I'd go for VSTs if I had the tech to support it. i.e. good mac with good specs.)


"But its got a crap keyboard action Dave ... no amount of great sounds help that."
Dr. Popper

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Thanks HZ. As I can't find interesting enough candidates within my price range, I has decided to stick to my FP-10 for now. Maybe I will consider upgrading when more interesting candidates appear (e.g. VPC2 if that will ever happen), or I really do need to upgrade due to technical reasons as I progress.

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Hi Pedro,

Thanks for your perspective. Your post actually made me think that if someone majoring in music/piano can practice with a P515, I don't see why FP-10 is not good enough for me a beginner. I also saw quite accomplished pianist being happy with P515 on YouTube. I'm having reflection that I may be too obsessed with action and the difference it can make at my play level (technically or psychologically), and probably should put more time into actual practicing.

Best wishes to your musical journey!

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Originally Posted by Yuhao
Hi Pedro,

. . . I'm having reflection that I may be too obsessed with action and the difference it can make at my play level (technically or psychologically), and probably should put more time into actual practicing.

That's a common problem for members of this forum.<g>


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Originally Posted by Yuhao
Hi Pedro,

Thanks for your perspective. Your post actually made me think that if someone majoring in music/piano can practice with a P515, I don't see why FP-10 is not good enough for me a beginner. I also saw quite accomplished pianist being happy with P515 on YouTube. I'm having reflection that I may be too obsessed with action and the difference it can make at my play level (technically or psychologically), and probably should put more time into actual practicing.

Best wishes to your musical journey!

IMHO for beginners who are learning on a digital, I would consider a used Yamaha upright, etc. If you can't cause of space, noise, etc, then as long as you are inspired keep what you have. I had plenty of uprights in my lifetime but when the opportunity to own a hybrid and have grand action I upgraded. That is not to say that having a real acoustic should be everyone's gas at least for some portion of your development. Again, just an opinion.


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Originally Posted by Yuhao
Thanks for your perspective. Your post actually made me think that if someone majoring in music/piano can practice with a P515, I don't see why FP-10 is not good enough for me a beginner. I also saw quite accomplished pianist being happy with P515 on YouTube. I'm having reflection that I may be too obsessed with action and the difference it can make at my play level (technically or psychologically), and probably should put more time into actual practicing.

That's the thing. Some people, when they don't have piano, can make music by singing, or whistling, or using a leaf (blowing into it) etc.

An instrument - such as an entry level digital piano - can be considered luxurious to have, for generating music. Appreciation of music is most important. Some people reckon the P-515 is too heavy, and some say too light, and some say just right. As there are various sorts of people out there, and each have difference preferences as we know, and different applications, playing styles levels etc. For me, I love the 'action' (key mechanism behaviour) of the P-515, as well as the sounds. I actually use that CFX sound the most. But will switch it to bosendorder to match other moods that I want (the muted sounds from the bosendorfer set is very nice too, while CFX handles the brighter things, very nice as well). These two sound sets completely fulfil my expectations - actually - more than fulfils them.

For a short intermission here - some relaxing music that I play for you and everybody on the P-515, with the bosendorder sound set this time ... [LINK]

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Originally Posted by SouthPark
For a short intermission here - some relaxing music that I play for you and everybody on the P-515, with the bosendorder sound set this time ... [LINK]

typo ---- I better get it right. Bosendorfer.

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Disclaimer: I don't know the Roland FP-10 action. I do know the PHA-50 action in the models HP603 and HP605 and those are the most up-to-date Rolands I have played. They were quite high-end pianos when they came out and they are of course excellent models representing the best Roland could do in that price range at that time.

Here in the USA I have a Yamaha P515, and I've used it for just over 2 years. I actually practice quite a lot on it, things like Beethoven Emperor Concerto, Tchaikovsky 1, Rachmaninoff 3, Liszt Sonata, Beethoven Sonatas, and it has held up very well. I find the NWX action to be perfectly playable in all repertoire. I'll be honest, I don't find it as good as a grand piano, but it's highly expressive and very robust. That was Yamaha's top-line action until the model right up to the CLP-585, when it was superseded by the GrandTouch action (not to be confused with their former GranTouch action which is something else....). Here is a video of a good pianist playing on the CLP585, which has the same action as the P515:



The Yamaha NU1X is the outlier in the AvantGrand series because it is an upright piano action, not a grand piano action, and in my opinion that puts it at a disadvantage. I know there are those who completely disagree with me but as a pianist I prefer the high end Clavinova to the NU1X, although I prefer a U1 acoustic upright to a Clavinova. There are reasons for the difference in feel between the U1 and the NU1X, not least because of the way the sound is produced. If you're going for the AvantGrand model I would suggest talking to a dealer about the N1X which is the first model with the real grand piano action, and is in a different league to the other pianos you're mentioning, but it's also a bit more expensive than the NU1X.

Good luck!


YAMAHA Artist
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