Yesterday, my wife gave me the go-ahead to take advantage of Guitar Center's sale, and I got a new Yamaha Motif XS8 (the 88 key version). Since we have no debt and some decent savings, she seemed fine with the idea. This is not a digital piano in the sense that my P80 is, or at a much higher end, a Clavinova or Roland FP series. But it does have a hammer action and 88 keys and some very nice pianos and half-pedalling.
But it is also a music production workstation with a 16 track sequencer and lots of very nice instruments of all kinds from analog synth sounds to orchestra instruments and everything in between.
One thing that really hooked me is that the Motif XS series runs the Linux operating system, and Yamaha has made all the GPL sources available on the net, as a good Open Source "citizen" would be expected to. Being a software engineer who has worked with embedded Linux for 15 years or so, I find that an added bonus to be able to paw through their code.
This would not be of interest to most people, so I am not suggesting this is a "plus" that would make any difference for the typical person looking at this type of instrument.
I just finished putting together a very simple setup for working with my Duane Shinn course materials. I have a portable Radio Shack DVD player that is a "clam shell" design so, closed with a DVD playing, it sits very nicely on my music stand. I also have a Walkman-type CD player (the DVD player can play CDs just fine, but I don't want the extra wear and tear on it, since CD players are plentiful and cheap). I run the output of the Motif and the output of either the CD player or DVD player into a small set of Bose
powered speakers, and then I can listen to both at the same time through headphones or the speakers. All of the plugs and wall-warts go into one switchable power strip, so one switch controls it all, and it takes no more room than the Motif and music stand, since the Motif is so big that the speakers and CD player sit on it just fine.
For people who are considering the purchase of a digital piano in the price range approaching these workstations (Yamaha Motif and S series, or Roland
Fantom series), if you are at all interested in playing with music beyond playing piano alone, consider that you can get a very nice 88 key keyboard and very decent piano sounds in these workstations. The Motif XS cost me $2699, so I think that puts it right in the range of a decent Clavinova or FP7 type of digital piano. I am not saying these workstations are better than a dedicated digital piano, but that the compromise for the added musical production capabilities is not as great as one might think. I have been doing midi sequencing and that sort of thing for quite some time, so I have that interest. Now, instead of a pile of gear, I have one workstation that does it all.