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Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695302 12/11/07 01:14 PM
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Nina Offline OP
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My kids' school is considering buying a digital piano--their Hamilton is pretty beat up.

This is a piano they will use for all classes, rehearsals, and performances.

Is a digital piano a reasonable alternative to a "real" piano (sorry, digital enthusiasts). (Maybe "traditional" piano would have been better wink ).

Which are the brand(s) you recommend? It must play like a piano, looks are way down the list.

Thanks!

Re: Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695303 12/11/07 02:00 PM
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The first question I have is who will be playing the piano? Will this be the students or the teachers? Depending on the answer to that question my recommendations will vary.

Ed


"...a man ... should engage himself with the causes of the harmonious combination of sounds, and with the composition of music." Anatolius of Alexandria
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Re: Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695304 12/11/07 02:06 PM
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if it's going to be also for performance, you might want to get a Yamaha CLP270/280 which has iFAC to adjust to room acoustic.

Re: Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695305 12/11/07 08:24 PM
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Nina, as epf notes, the player(s) of the digital piano in question will have a considerable bearing on the suitability of each instrument.

Yamaha, Roland, KAWAI and Casio all produce very good digital pianos, ranging in price and functionality.

However, assuming that the instrument is intended to be played by a teacher (i.e. it will not be subjected to the pressures of groups of children pounding away at the keys), and that price is not a consideration, I would recommend auditioning the flagship models from Yamaha, Roland and KAWAI.

PDF brochures for each product can be downloaded from the following websites:

Yamaha CLP270/280:
http://www.minimpianos.co.uk/pdfs/CLP220_280brochure.pdf

Roland HP-207:
http://www.rolandus.com/uploads/CMS/Downloads/2080/hp_series_brochure.pdf

KAWAI CA91:
http://www.kawai.de/service/ca_catalog.pdf

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695306 12/11/07 09:39 PM
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Nina Offline OP
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Thanks for the links, folks! I will check them all out.

In answer to your question, the piano will be played by me, the choir director, another music teacher and (very) occasionally by some advanced piano students who will be accompanying people.

I am a bit worried, though, because just between you and I, the choir director really POUNDS the keys. I don't know if I'm just being paranoid, though. I guess the bottom line is that it needs to be able to stand up to a lot of playing, including some *forceful* playing. smile

I'm a real newbie in the digital piano world. When you buy a decent one, do you have to buy accessories for it? I've heard people say you need to add a sostenuto pedal, you need to buy a stand, it will need an amplifier/speakers in order to be heard, etc. Is that right?

Or (if you're getting sick of my basic questions) if any of you know of a good website where I can read up on things, just sic me on that. The dealer sites seem to assume that you already kind of know what you're looking for.

Thanks! smile

Re: Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695307 12/11/07 10:44 PM
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Nina Offline OP
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Yamaha\'s internet warning

This is from the Yamaha website. I don't know why, but it cracked me up. It's how to tell if you've purchased an unauthorized Yamaha from an internet retailer. Here's the snippet (in bold) that made me giggle:

Unauthorized instruments can be identified by any of the following:
Has an ADAPTER on the Power Cord (see Figure 1 to the right)
Has an altered Serial Number either on the back of the instrument (or under the keyboard)
Had the Serial Number removed from the shipping box
Does not have a UL mark on the Serial Number plate (see Figure 2 to the right)
Does not have an FCC mark on the Serial Number plate (see Figure 3 to the right; mark is usually WITHOUT the words in the outer circle)
Has Coffee, Candy or other consumables in the box
Has a copy of the Torah, the Bible or other religious material in the box

Has “Church Supply Gift” markings on the outside of the box.
Was shipped to you in its original carton (not delivered by a local dealer)

Re: Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695308 12/11/07 11:13 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Nina:
[QB] Thanks for the links, folks! I will check them all out.

In answer to your question, the piano will be played by me, the choir director, another music teacher and (very) occasionally by some advanced piano students who will be accompanying people.

I am a bit worried, though, because just between you and I, the choir director really POUNDS the keys. I don't know if I'm just being paranoid, though. I guess the bottom line is that it needs to be able to stand up to a lot of playing, including some *forceful* playing. smile
Well, most of the digital pianos that we would recommend will tolerate that level of play...

Quote
I'm a real newbie in the digital piano world. When you buy a decent one, do you have to buy accessories for it? I've heard people say you need to add a sostenuto pedal, you need to buy a stand, it will need an amplifier/speakers in order to be heard, etc. Is that right?
That depends on which piano you buy. Some come with three pedals, some with none, some come with a stand, some come without, I think all the ones that would be recommended here come with speakers.

The minimum I would recommend is what I play: a Casio Privia PX-800 (retail is $1,000 but can be purchased for around $700-$800). It includes three pedals and has a console type piano (that is, the stand is an integral part of the piano).

Next would be any of the Yamaha Clavinova pianos (either the CLP or CVP series). They all come with stands.

Finally I would recommend any of the Kawai CN series pianos. They also come with a stand, three pedals and speakers.

Ed


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Re: Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695309 12/12/07 07:55 AM
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Take a look at Kawai CE200 - it has wooden keys and very simple mechanics that should stand abuse pretty well. It has the the same keyboard action as their higher end CA line but less features (which you likely would not need in a school environment). Then add a pair of powered monitor speakers of your choice since internal speakers/amp would definitely not be enough for a school hall. You will have a very nice setup for around $2k.

Re: Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695310 12/12/07 11:36 AM
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I've taught in a few college class piano labs as part of my job. These instruments see roughly 800 hours of moderate use over the course of a year. Repairs to the newer keyboards are nonexistent. (factory-supplied headsets are another matter) One lab I used has twenty 17 year-old digitals, and these are finally breaking down, little by little, mostly in the action and electrical connections. It has become enough of a nuisance that replacement is required, or a repair technician needs to be on staff.

Someone who "pounds" on the keys is going to cause damage to a digital or an acoustic piano. I've seen it happen both ways firsthand. Perhaps cranking up the volume on the digital enough will encourage that person to play less aggressively... but I doubt it! wink

My good experience with durable digitals has been exclusively with better Roland and Yamaha models. I've played a few Casios and want to try the Kawais, but have no firsthand knowledge of how they hold up under institutional use. I tried a new Roland HP203 the other day and liked it quite a bit for practice and rehearsal purposes.

If your budget allowed for $5000+ and a couple of tunings a year, I'd opt for a new upright from one of the more established japanese makers for your purposes. Under that amount, digital is the way to go in my opinion. (put either on a dolly if it's going to get moved, some casters on uprights are flimsy and legs on some digitals are not attached so sturdily) My only reservation about digital would be the somewhat noticeable and "artificial" sound quality they have when I hear them used in live performance (instead of their acoustic bretheren). Hope this helps.


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Re: Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695311 12/12/07 01:52 PM
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Nina Offline OP
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This is all great advice, people. Thanks again.

I think $5K would be the absolute tops for a budget, and I might be overly optimistic even then. (I will try to avoid commenting about how much money is spent every year on their basketball program.... :t: )

As for sound differences, while I appreciate what everyone is saying, and tend to agree with it, the reality is that our current upright sounds horrible (key clicks, sostenuto pedal that doesn't "catch" the full keyboard, etc.). All of this could, of course, be repaired. But at some point the frequency and necessity of repairs becomes its own problem.

The chorus had to perform to a CD accompaniment we "produced" at the last minute. We're desperate.

Re: Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695312 12/12/07 05:46 PM
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Seconding terminaldegree's recommendations, except that my experience is limited to Yamahas, whose actions are sturdy.

Re adding a pedal, it'd be best to focus on "home" digitals. Those have three pedals built into their cabinets.

Re adding speakers, digitals' woofers are usually too small for really good reproduction of the lowest notes. A set of powered speakers with a woofer that's at least 8 1/2" - 10" would be best - will definitely help.

With acoustics, you'll get the most musical bang for the buck with a "studio" size - 48".

A one- to three-year-old acoustic is the best value, because the first owner will have born the initial depreciation. On the acoustic forum we recommend using the List Prices in Larry Fine's "The Annual Supplement To The Piano Book" as the basis for beginning negotiation. The goal is to get a 30% reduction from the list price. Twenty-five percent is still good. If you shop for a piano that had been owned for one year, you should be able to get 40% off the list price, from a private seller and at least 30% from a dealer. You can get downloadable PDF copy of the most recent supplement by clicking on this link.

Pianos have different tones. For example, Yamahas will "cut thru a mix" as we say in the digital world - good for choral work but IMO less so for soloing - but their tones begin bright and get brighter. Samick's Knabe will have more mellow tone - which your ears may or may not like - but still have good power.

You might want to just use the Yellow Pages and Google, to locate piano stores in your area. Audition as many as are within convenient driving distance and let the reps know that you're open to buying lightly used. Keep your eye on Craigslist and the local throwaways. Get the folks who'll be using the piano to pitch in with the search.

Impatience is your enemy. If you have to continue using the Hamilton for now, it'll be worth it for the benefit of getting a piano that your kids' school will be able to use for a decade.

Re: Digital piano recommendations for school--heavily used?
#695313 12/13/07 03:00 PM
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If you are under tight budget an need something quick get this:
http://www.kraftmusic.com/catalog/digitalpianos/homepianos/index.asp?product=5669
and this:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/321816-REG/Behringer_TRUTH_B2031A_B2031A_Active_2_Way.html
You may also need some wires / adaptors that you can get in any local music shop.


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