Piano World Home Page

Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850

Posted By: Tritium

Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 06/26/13 05:03 PM

Hi folks,

This is a follow-up to an earlier thread. I wish to thank everyone for their feedback. It was a tough choice, and I had narrowed down my DP options to the Casio PX-850, the Kawai ES-7, and Kawai MP6.

I made my decision and ordered a Casio PX-850 through Sweetwater...a company I have done a great deal of business with over the years, on guitar equipment (yeah, I play both). Sweetwater has always been super responsive, especially whenever I had a problem with receiving equipment damaged in shipping.

It really came down very close to the PX-850 and the ES-7. However, in order to turn the ES-7 into a full "console", I would have had to spend an additional $500 (furniture stand plus 3-pedal assembly)...bringing the total price differential between the Casio PX-850 and the Kawai ES-7 to $1500.

Finally, for some strange reason, the Kawai ES-7 appears to only be available for direct order, in the States, through Kraft Music. Even Amazon shows their ES7 units to be supplied through Kraft. I have no experience with this Company, unlike Sweetwater.

So, at the end of the day, I just couldn't justify spending an additional $1500 for the ES7. Of course, I am fully aware of the age old adage "you get what you paid for". However, I have been favorably impressed with the very positive reviews that the PX-850 has received, both here and elsewhere on the Web.

Hopefully I will be satisfied with my decision.

The PX-850 will be delivered this Friday...so, I will be sure to post back with a full review and impressions as soon as I have set her up and have had a chance to run her through her paces.

Cheers, all.
Posted By: TheodorN

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 06/26/13 06:32 PM

Look forward to it Tritium, since I'm also considering this model. I agree with you, that it's hardly justifiable to spend thousand dollars or more to get the quality to improve by only a fraction, wheither we are talking about sound, touch or build quality.

Besides, many of the models people mention as alternatives to the higher end Privias, are many years, sometimes decades older and therefore do not include the technology improvements of the newer models.
Posted By: peterws

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 06/26/13 07:36 PM

I was interested in the ap650 or the px350 because of it`s additional features and recording capability which you don`t find much in evidence on more expensive stuff.

Have fun wi yours!
Posted By: galaxy4t

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 06/27/13 12:47 AM

I think you made a good choice and should be happy with this piano.
Posted By: Clumsy

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 06/27/13 04:13 PM

I have the AP-450, which is more or less the PX-850 in a more good-looking form (and may be some other little differences). I'm happy with mine and I hope you will be too.
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/02/13 05:31 PM

My PX-850 just got delivered this afternoon. Thing weighs a ton (100 lbs). That is a good thing, for me, as I want a solid feel to the keyboard system.

Sweetwater had double boxed it, and it looks like it came thru UPS okay. I opened it just to make sure there was no internal damage to the box or packing.

I will set it up later this afternoon...and post back with more pics and first impressions.

It feels like Christmas!

Incidentally, that is my dog's bed and pillow on the floor, next to the Casio box. grin

[Linked Image]


My dog is a big fan of Chopin and Rachmaninoff:

[Linked Image]

Posted By: Mike_Martin

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/02/13 05:35 PM

thumb
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/02/13 05:42 PM

Originally Posted by Mike_Martin
thumb


Hi Mike...quick technical question.

I have read the PX-850 user manual, but I am a bit confused on an issue. Note, I haven't assembled the unit, yet, and I am sure I would figure out the answer to this eventually...but since you are here, I thought I would ask:

I realize you can "layer" two different instruments, e.g Concert Grand Piano and strings. However, can you layer two of the acoustic piano models together. For example, (Concert + Classic), or (Concert + Mellow)?

Thanks in advance.
Posted By: Mike_Martin

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/02/13 06:11 PM

Yes any two sounds.
Posted By: TheodorN

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/02/13 06:56 PM

Congratulations on your new Casio PX-850, I can understand well that it feels like opening a Christmas gift.

Maybe you can check out something, I've been wondering about. If you can copy a recording to a USB drive and use that as an accompanying rhythm, playing it through the PX-850 (presumably the speakers.)

I'm talking about something NOT recorded on the PX-850 itself, for example a song from a CD. It is a great feature you have, if you can take your favourite pop or rock song, make a WAV-file of it, play it on the USB drive connected to the PX-850 and try to play along on the piano itself.
Posted By: peterws

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/02/13 07:40 PM

Right. Now Xmas is over - - - GET RECORDING! Wanna hear this . . . grin
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/02/13 07:55 PM

Originally Posted by Mike_Martin
Yes any two sounds.


Great, thanks Mike!
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/02/13 08:01 PM

Originally Posted by TheodorN
Congratulations on your new Casio PX-850, I can understand well that it feels like opening a Christmas gift.

Maybe you can check out something, I've been wondering about. If you can copy a recording to a USB drive and use that as an accompanying rhythm, playing it through the PX-850 (presumably the speakers.)

I'm talking about something NOT recorded on the PX-850 itself, for example a song from a CD. It is a great feature you have, if you can take your favourite pop or rock song, make a WAV-file of it, play it on the USB drive connected to the PX-850 and try to play along on the piano itself.


Hi TheodorN,

I am pretty sure this is a standard capability of the PX-850, according to the User Manual (if I am reading it correctly). So yes, any .wav file should be able to be played back, and used as accompaniment, through the USB interface. Perhaps Mike Martin can confirm.

I probably won't be using this feature, as I pretty much stick with classical (solo) piano pieces...but I can see how this would be an excellent feature for others who want to play against a background/accompaniment track.
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/02/13 08:09 PM

Originally Posted by peterws
Right. Now Xmas is over - - - GET RECORDING! Wanna hear this . . . grin


Hang tight. thumb

I won't be able to assemble the keyboard until later (tonight). But I definitely will post back with first impressions.

I haven't played piano for almost three years, now, so I will need a couple of weeks to get my chops back. So I probably won't be posting any self-recording for at least a week or two. If I am as rusty as I suspect I am...I wouldn't think of exposing anyone to unnecessary auditory discomfort. grin
Posted By: Mike_Martin

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/02/13 08:36 PM

Originally Posted by TheodorN

Maybe you can check out something, I've been wondering about. If you can copy a recording to a USB drive and use that as an accompanying rhythm, playing it through the PX-850 (presumably the speakers.)

I'm talking about something NOT recorded on the PX-850 itself, for example a song from a CD. It is a great feature you have, if you can take your favourite pop or rock song, make a WAV-file of it, play it on the USB drive connected to the PX-850 and try to play along on the piano itself.


Yes you can. There are two things that you'll need to keep in mind.
- The file must be renamed to TAKE00.WAV - TAKE99.WAV
- I'd recommend reducing the volume of the imported .wav file. The PX-850 can not change the volume of the audio playback and compared the very dynamic recordings that can be made on the PX-850, the produced CD track will likely be overwhelming in volume. There some free programs for both Apple and Windows that can do this.
Posted By: TheodorN

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/02/13 09:09 PM

Thank you Mike for this information, another plus for the PX-850. This probably requires some skills in digital recording and stuff to use this feature the way I'm talking about. If I get the thing myself, I will probably just use the good old metronome to start with and practise simple passages with not too complicated chord structures. At least to begin with!

Tritium, I'm sure it's quite a job to assemble the piano and cabinet together, it looks like a complex piece of furniture. I will enjoy your recording(s) when they will be posted!
Posted By: o0Ampy0o

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/03/13 02:19 AM

Originally Posted by Tritium
Sweetwater had double boxed it...

I ordered a PX-350 and a PX-150. The PX-150 was shipped double-boxed, the PX-350 was not. Both arrived in very good shape without any shipping damage. The boxes Casio ships are quite decent. My impression of the outer box being plain and thin (at least in my case and possibly because both of these keyboards are very light weight) is that its purpose is to protect and disguise the inner box rather than provide double protection for the keyboard.

Make sure that you remember to register the keyboard at the Casio website within 30 days to receive the extra 2-year extension on the warranty (for a total of 3 years).

Posted By: EPW

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/03/13 03:52 AM

Also if you're on Windows platform - for only $19.99 now you could get this product
from Cakewalk -http://www.cakewalk.com/Products/AudioCreator/default.aspx

It would let you rip the track or CD and bring down the sound level as Mike Martin
suggests to do. Very easy to do and you can even import MP3's and save them as a
Wave file for the Casio USB to read.

Posted By: peterws

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/03/13 02:35 PM

Tritium - "I wouldn't think of exposing anyone to unnecessary auditory discomfort. grin"

Don`t thee worry `bout that, lad. We like a good laugh too y`know . .
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/03/13 07:41 PM

Originally Posted by peterws
Tritium - "I wouldn't think of exposing anyone to unnecessary auditory discomfort. grin"

Don`t thee worry `bout that, lad. We like a good laugh too y`know . .


grin

By the way, sorry folks, I wasn't able to assemble the PX-850 last night. I realized I had to re-arrange my music room, which has to accommodate five guitars, three amps heads, two combo amps, a 4x12 and 2x12 guitar cabinets, a large guitar pedalboard (stompbox effects), and 2 rack style effects units...along with shelves and other misc. equipment. I want to install the PX-850 next to my front wall, between two windows...it is the perfect spot.

In any event, the re-arranging and cleaning took a few hours, and by the time I was done, I decided to call it a night, and wait until later this afternoon/evening to put my new baby together.

So, I will have it up and running tonight (promise), and will make sure to pop back in to give a full run-down and first impressions, along with pics.

Question for my fellow members...

Can some of you recommend a free host site in which I can upload .wav or .mp3 recordings so that they can be accessed by this community. I have seen a few different sites (I think one is called SoundCloud), but I am looking for what you all consider to be the easiest/best site. What is the general consensus?

Thanks in advance.
Posted By: Mike_Martin

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/03/13 11:00 PM

Soundcloud is great
Posted By: Kawai James

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/03/13 11:17 PM

+1
Posted By: TheodorN

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/03/13 11:26 PM

Originally Posted by Tritium

Question for my fellow members...

Can some of you recommend a free host site in which I can upload .wav or .mp3 recordings so that they can be accessed by this community. I have seen a few different sites (I think one is called SoundCloud), but I am looking for what you all consider to be the easiest/best site. What is the general consensus?

Thanks in advance.

Don't know about the general consensus, but I would recommend those steps.
  • Record a video of yourself playing.
  • Simultaneously record your performance on the PX-850.
  • Convert your recorded performance (presumably a WAV file) as mp3 in some software in which you can do that.
  • Join your PX-850 mp3 file and the video track of your recorded performance. Can be a bit tricky to synchronize the two, but it can be done. There are probably some free programs to do that. I use ffmpeg for this purpose, but I don't recommend that, as it requires some nerdy skills!
It's a selfish thing, but I like to have the video and audio of a performance.
Posted By: peterws

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/04/13 10:26 AM

You can always use suitable Creative Commons videos for a visual alternative to yourself playing, or nothing . . .
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 09:20 AM

Sorry about the delay, folks. It has been crazy with the Fourth of July weekend, and a bunch of other stuff I had going on. Long story short, I finally got around to cleaning out my music room and re-arranging all my guitar gear, in order to fit the new PX-850.

I literally finished assembling it a couple of hours ago (3:00 AM, Eastern Standard Time). So, I have been up all night.

It took me probably about three hours...but I was going slow, and taking pictures of the packaging layout (in case something was broken and I had to re-pack everything).

However, Casio's packaging and shipping protection was excellent, and all parts were present, accounted for, and in perfect condition.

The unit was not difficult to put together, as long as you follow the instructions.

So, I only have had a about a half hour or so to play the unit at very low volume level (I live in a Condo, and it was 3:30 in the morning). After I get some sleep, and have a chance to play for a couple of hours this afternoon, I will post pics and write up a more detailed report.

However, in just the half hour or so, I got some quick impressions to share. I had it on the default settings, and have not had a chance to tweak it to my specific tastes. I was more interested in how the keyboard/action felt.

In a nutshell, it is pretty darn good. No, it doesn't play like my previous Yamaha GA1 baby grand acoustic...but it has a very respectable action for a DP (especially one at this price level). Furthermore, it is a responsive action with good tactile feedback, and I just can tell I will have no problem adapting and getting comfortable with it.

I was also pleasantly surprised that the keys are relatively quiet. The pedal-board may take a bit of getting used to, as the pedals are smaller than on a traditional acoustic. However, they work as advertised. There is some real nice string resonance when using the damper pedal, which I am eager to hear more of when I finally get a chance to play at a more reasonable volume (later this afternoon).

So, to be continued.
Posted By: StarvingLion

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 07:07 PM

"256-note polyphony versus 128"

Isn't this super important for classical music? If the casio 850 claim is legit then it should be fundamentally more valuable than the Roland RD700nx which is nearly triple the price. So much is made about realism but is'nt playability far more important?
Posted By: gvfarns

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 07:25 PM

Originally Posted by StarvingLion
"256-note polyphony versus 128"

Isn't this super important for classical music? If the casio 850 claim is legit then it should be fundamentally more valuable than the Roland RD700nx which is nearly triple the price. So much is made about realism but is'nt playability far more important?


Can you hold down 256 piano notes at a time? Does anyone do so? No. You only have 10 fingers. Even assuming you mash and hold the pedal and they double count polyphony (for stereo) normal music does not approach 128 note polyphony, so it's not a limiting factor.

32 note polyphony I could imagine being an issue (maybe). I'm not even sure 64 note polyphony is a real issue for actual music. Tests designed to strain polyphony, yes, but not music.
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 07:26 PM

Originally Posted by StarvingLion
"256-note polyphony versus 128"

Isn't this super important for classical music? If the casio 850 claim is legit then it should be fundamentally more valuable than the Roland RD700nx which is nearly triple the price. So much is made about realism but is'nt playability far more important?


Yes, high note polyphony is critically important for Classical music, especially very fast, complex pieces in which their are a heck of a lot of notes played in a given interval/time. Perfect examples of compositions in which high level polyphony would be important would be Chopin's Etudes and Scherzos, works by Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Godowsky, etc. Heck, there are movements in Beethoven Sonatas that are blazingly fast. With that said, 128-note polyphony should be adequate, but I would definitely not go below 128-note polyphony for Classical piano, given the state-of-the-art that is available now.

So...yes, in general, the higher the polyphony the better...and 256-note polyphony is better than 128-note, everything else being equal. However, with that said, the Roland RD700NX is no slouch, and is a very impressive DP. I agree, however, that for the additional cost that Roland is asking for this keyboard, I would expect their sound engine to support 256-note polyphony.
Posted By: Mike_Martin

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 07:33 PM

Stereo piano samples also use two voices of polyphony for each note that you play.
Posted By: emenelton

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 07:40 PM

Kawai uses their 256 polyphony for sympathetic resonance generation, among other things.
Posted By: peterws

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 07:50 PM

With all this polyphony, ya get to brew up whilst waiting for the piano to boot up . . . .
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 07:53 PM

Originally Posted by gvfarns


Can you hold down 256 piano notes at a time? Does anyone do so? No. You only have 10 fingers. Even assuming you mash and hold the pedal and they double count polyphony (for stereo) normal music does not approach 128 note polyphony, so it's not a limiting factor.

32 note polyphony I could imagine being an issue (maybe). I'm not even sure 64 note polyphony is a real issue for actual music. Tests designed to strain polyphony, yes, but not music.


If you are using the damper pedal, you can definitely exceed 64-notes ringing out simultaneously, depending on the composition / piece you are playing. Lower polyphony adversely affects the decay time and sustain of notes.

The issue with polyphony is rarely as simple as "how many notes can you play at once"

Depending on how a particular piano is voiced on a sampler, a single "note" may take 2 or more voices of polyphony, for instance. This is becasue of multiple samples being involved per note played due to crossfading, key release samples, etc.

It's not just whatever notes you have played at the moment, it's also the decay of notes that are holding because of using the sustain or damper pedal, samples used for string resonance, etc.

All things being equal, the higher the polyphony that a Digital Piano's DSP engine can support, the greater the fidelity in emulating the dynamic harmonic structure of an acoustic piano...and the complex resonance and interaction between it's virtual strings, cabinet, etc.
Posted By: emenelton

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 07:54 PM

Originally Posted by peterws
With all this polyphony, ya get to brew up whilst waiting for the piano to boot up . . . .


an argument on over what to use the beer bong for briefly ensued
Posted By: gvfarns

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 08:17 PM

Originally Posted by Tritium
All things being equal, the higher the polyphony that a Digital Piano's DSP engine can support, the greater the fidelity in emulating the dynamic harmonic structure of an acoustic piano...and the complex resonance and interaction between it's virtual strings, cabinet, etc.


Higher polyphony is not better all else equal unless it is a limiting factor. By no means is it clear that the reason the tone generators we observe on the market is limited is that polyphony has constrained them. Better tone generators may require greater polyphony (depending on how it is counted) in order to play a given set of notes fully but adding polyphony doesn't necessarily make a tone generator better.

The case in question is a pretty good example. The Casio 850 has higher polyphony but the Roland RD700NX greatly outclasses it.

128 is a lot of notes. Divide by two for stereo, 64. Still a lot of notes. Divide again if you think effects suck up polyphony (which if true only means that polyphony is an increasingly meaningless measure). Perhaps 32. Remember that on a DP when a note is pressed and it was already sustaining the previous version of it will be gone. So you'd have to have 32 different notes being sustained at once to get any drop off at all. In actual music, even advanced pieces, if 32 different notes have been played, the pedal has been cleared.

Polyphony *should* mean how many notes are being held. Manufacturers have been cheaing be redefining it as something more fundamental, which may or may not be used up by various effects. But they don't tell you under what circumstances this is true or how many effective notes you can play. As such it's not an informative measure or one that is comparable across manufacturers.

However, we can know that in current pianos polyphony doesn't matter. One way to know this is that you often see people who do not own digitals asking if they should spring for the higher polyphony, but you never find people coming to the forum to complain that their existing piano drops notes out because of lack of polyphony. We complain about virtually every other aspect of digital pianos, including miniscule details that few people can detect, but shortage of notes is not one of them.
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 08:38 PM

Originally Posted by gvfarns
Originally Posted by Tritium
All things being equal, the higher the polyphony that a Digital Piano's DSP engine can support, the greater the fidelity in emulating the dynamic harmonic structure of an acoustic piano...and the complex resonance and interaction between it's virtual strings, cabinet, etc.


Higher polyphony is not better all else equal unless it is a limiting factor. By no means is it clear that the reason the tone generators we observe on the market is limited is that polyphony has constrained them. Better tone generators may require greater polyphony (depending on how it is counted) in order to play a given set of notes fully but adding polyphony doesn't necessarily make a tone generator better.

The case in question is a pretty good example. The Casio 850 has higher polyphony but the Roland RD700NX greatly outclasses it.

128 is a lot of notes. Divide by two for stereo, 64. Still a lot of notes. Divide again if you think effects suck up polyphony (which if true only means that polyphony is an increasingly meaningless measure). Perhaps 32. Remember that on a DP when a note is pressed and it was already sustaining the previous version of it will be gone. So you'd have to have 32 different notes being sustained at once to get any drop off at all. In actual music, even advanced pieces, if 32 different notes have been played, the pedal has been cleared.

One way to know that polyphony doesn't matter today is that you often see people who do not own digitals asking if they should spring for the higher polyphony, but you never find people coming to the forum to complain that their existing piano drops notes out for this reason. We complain about virtually every other aspect of digital pianos, but not this one.


Hi gvfarns,

I have to cordially disagree. As I detailed in my previous post, polyphony is not simply a matter of "how many notes can be sounded at the same time". The DP manufacturer's use higher polyphony in order to make a closer, higher fidelity emulation of numerous, complex interactions occurring within a true acoustic piano.

And you keep bringing up the Roland RD700NX. Generally, "all things being equal" would also pertain to comparative price/cost levels. In this case, you are comparing a DP that sells new for $1100 (Casio PX-850) to a DP that sells new for $2700. They are in completely different market segments.

Notice that I am not in any way saying that the higher polyphony of the PX-850 makes it a superior DP than the much more expensive RD700NX. What I am saying, is that if you are looking at two DP's with comparable specs and comparable prices...I would choose the one with the higher polyphony. In any event, that is what I meant when I used the terminology "all things being equal".
Posted By: gvfarns

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 08:41 PM

Originally Posted by Tritium
Notice that I am not in any way saying that the higher polyphony of the PX-850 makes it a superior DP than the much more expensive RD700NX. What I am saying, is that if you are looking at two DP's with comparable specs and comparable prices...I would choose the one with the higher polyphony. That is what is meant by the terminology "all things being equal".


Fair enough, but this restricted sense of all else equal is also not true. Take a PX-850 and add another thousand notes of polyphony without changing anything else. Would it sound or play any differently? No.

The tone generators are designed to work with the processing power of the DSP without leading to a note shortage. In order for increasing available notes to improve tone, you would have to completely redo the tone generator and that violates any definition of all else equal.

The only case in which adding polyphony all else equal would help anything is if the piano is dropping notes, which is why I keep bringing that up.

In the early days of DP's polyphony was limited enough that you could get two pianos that were very similar in how they sounded but one would drop notes out. At that time polyphony actually mattered, which is why manufacturers got in the habit of reporting it. Today you just don't get notes dropping out on you because of lack of polyphony. So if you want to compare pianos of similar price levels and quality, you have to use subjective measures because polyphony won't help you make your decision.

As I mentioned above, they are computed very differently by different manufacturers. It's not at all clear that the RD would drop out notes under the same playing load that the PX wouldn't (assuming you could concoct a scenario in which either would). Since "polyphony" doesn't actually mean how many notes are being played, it's not informative about or even particularly correlated with quality or playability.

The right thing to do with polyphony statistics when piano shopping is ignore them.
Posted By: torhu

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 09:19 PM

Yes, ignore the polyphony unless someone is actually saying that it's a problem with this or that instrument. It's a number that is frequently misleading, kind of like watts when buying a stereo. Different manafacturers use it in different ways.

The same goes for the difference between two and three sensors on each key, although that number does mean something very concrete. It's just that it doesn't matter in most cases.

Numbers are easy to latch on to, which I suppose is why manafacturers like to talk about them. When you buy a digital camera, it's not about how many megapixels, it's about the quality of the optics. You get the idea.
Posted By: Michael_99

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 09:35 PM

Tritium, I have read your subject line and post, here:

Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850
Tritium Online content
Full Member

This is a follow-up to an earlier thread. I wish to thank everyone for their feedback. It was a tough choice, and I had narrowed down my DP options to the Casio PX-850, the Kawai ES-7, and Kawai MP6.

I made my decision and ordered a Casio PX-850 through Sweetwater...a company I have done a great deal of business with over the years, on guitar equipment (yeah, I play both). Sweetwater has always been super responsive, especially whenever I had a problem with receiving equipment damaged in shipping.

It really came down very close to the PX-850 and the ES-7. However, in order to turn the ES-7 into a full "console", I would have had to spend an additional $500 (furniture stand plus 3-pedal assembly)...bringing the total price differential between the Casio PX-850 and the Kawai ES-7 to $1500.

Finally, for some strange reason, the Kawai ES-7 appears to only be available for direct order, in the States, through Kraft Music. Even Amazon shows their ES7 units to be supplied through Kraft. I have no experience with this Company, unlike Sweetwater.

So, at the end of the day, I just couldn't justify spending an additional $1500 for the ES7. Of course, I am fully aware of the age old adage "you get what you paid for". However, I have been favorably impressed with the very positive reviews that the PX-850 has received, both here and elsewhere on the Web.

Hopefully I will be satisfied with my decision.

The PX-850 will be delivered this Friday...so, I will be sure to post back with a full review and impressions as soon as I have set her up and have had a chance to run her through her paces.

Cheers, all.

__________________________________________

I was a Canadian teenage during the Vietnam war, so I met soldiers in college in San Francisco - 44 years ago.

I find it strange that people are using the word "trigger" I guess as decision or purchase.

This forum is my only connection to the internet and I haven't heard it said in Canada yet. I don't have television so maybe it is said on television.

cheers,

It is funny and not funny - but if a piano player pulls a trigger on his finger they wouldn't be able to play sharps or flats.

Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/09/13 09:48 PM

Originally Posted by torhu
Yes, ignore the polyphony unless someone is actually saying that it's a problem with this or that instrument. It's a number that is frequently misleading, kind of like watts when buying a stereo. Different manafacturers use it in different ways.

The same goes for the difference between two and three sensors on each key, although that number does mean something very concrete. It's just that it doesn't matter in most cases.

Numbers are easy to latch on to, which I suppose is why manafacturers like to talk about them. When you buy a digital camera, it's not about how many megapixels, it's about the quality of the optics. You get the idea.


Again, I respectfully disagree. A digital piano/keyboard's polyphony is just as relevant, and potentially important as a given computer's built-in memory (RAM). It is a disservice to prospective DP piano buyers...especially those who already have experience with acoustic pianos, and have an intermediate or higher level of classical piano training, to "ignore" polyphony and "ignore" key action sensor build.

True...a beginner and/or someone with little to no experience in playing acoustic pianos, probably will not be able to distinguish between a DP with 2-sensor contact keys or 3-sensor keys. However, take someone who has experience on acoustic pianos, and has a level of advancement in their technical skills...there is a major difference in response, expression, and feedback.
Posted By: StarvingLion

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/10/13 12:04 AM

My guess is that 99% of the cheap dp buyers who have never played a piano before don't have a copy of Gieseking's 'Piano Technique' (eg. tone quality, tone duration, tone strength) on the music rest. Therefore, if they start with a yamaha NP-11, P-105, or P-155 makes little difference. All of these dp's will screw up a serious beginner just in a more subtle fashion if you use the P-155, or at least that is my belief.

Tritium makes an interesting point. But, whether specs in a document translate into something real as in this particular case with the Casio PX-850 is another matter. Problem is, I doubt whether advanced classical pianists will agree as to whether the Casio offers real benefits to those seeking nuanced playing capabilities.
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/10/13 02:49 AM

Originally Posted by StarvingLion
My guess is that 99% of the cheap dp buyers who have never played a piano before don't have a copy of Gieseking's 'Piano Technique' (eg. tone quality, tone duration, tone strength) on the music rest. Therefore, if they start with a yamaha NP-11, P-105, or P-155 makes little difference. All of these dp's will screw up a serious beginner just in a more subtle fashion if you use the P-155, or at least that is my belief.

Tritium makes an interesting point. But, whether specs in a document translate into something real as in this particular case with the Casio PX-850 is another matter. Problem is, I doubt whether advanced classical pianists will agree as to whether the Casio offers real benefits to those seeking nuanced playing capabilities.


Hi SL,

I come from an acoustic piano background (owned a Yamaha GA1 Baby Grand). I would consider myself to be somewhere between high intermediate to lower advanced technical skill level, and was classically trained with formal lessons for at least ten years in my youth. After spending a good 12 - 14 hours, now, with my new PX-850...I would not hesitate in stating that Casio "hit it out of the park" with this keyboard.

Perhaps some (who have not played it) may be dubious about the price...or perhaps have bad experience with cheaper Casio "toy" keyboards. However, I can state without reservation that this is a serious instrument of high quality, with a key action, feel and tone that is simply amazing at this price point.

I would go so far as to suggest that if you were blindfolded, and sat down and played on it, you might easily mistake it for a DP that costs 3 times as much.

Is it as good as my former Yamaha GA1. No, of course not. But as someone who is a serious pianist, and was forced to choose a digital piano solution, I am both satisfied and impressed with what Casio has managed to achieve and deliver with this product.

Also, I would point out that the PX-850 shares the exact same keyboard action as the PX-5S, a product that has been getting rave reviews, both here and on other keyboard sites.
Posted By: StarvingLion

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/10/13 03:30 AM

Tritium, I have to admit that based on existing explanations in this thread I don't understand how the enhanced polyphony of the Casio is relevant to superior performance. Your information is rooted in mystery. Perhaps the trisensor feature is important. Your glowing review is unexpected in that you are clearly making astonishing remarks of the 850's performance. Seems to good to be true.



Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/10/13 03:52 AM

Originally Posted by StarvingLion
Tritium, I have to admit that based on existing explanations in this thread I don't understand how the enhanced polyphony of the Casio is relevant to superior performance. Your information is rooted in mystery. Perhaps the trisensor feature is important. Your glowing review is unexpected in that you are clearly making astonishing remarks of the 850's performance. Seems to good to be true.





Wow, you are quite the skeptic. grin

No worries, mate...just teasing.

I think my over-all highly favorable impression of the PX-850 is due to a number of factors.

A) 256-note polyphony, and the extra HP that this specification allows for in terms of sample size, as well as virtual modeling of note decay, string resonance, etc.

B) 3-contact key sensor. Yes, most definitely. I can tell the difference in responsiveness and reaction versus older keyboard with 2-contact key sensor.

C) Virtual modeling of string resonance

D) Virtual modeling of damper response and resonance

Again, I encourage you to read other opinions on Casio's PX-5S (identical keyboard and above features)...which has a healthy thread going on here:

Casio PX-5S thread on PianoWorld Digital Piano Forum


As well as here:

Casio PX-5S thread on MusicPlayer forums
Posted By: Charles Cohen

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/10/13 06:43 AM

Quote

. . .
A) 256-note polyphony, and the extra HP that this specification allows for in terms of sample size, as well as virtual modeling of note decay, string resonance, etc.
. . .


PMFJI --

"256-note polyphony" has _nothing_ to do with sample size, or virtual modelling of note decay, or "string resonance".

They're four different, unrelated measures of the sophistication of a digital piano's sound generator.

At least, that's how I understand it. You could build a DP with low polyphony, and big samples, fancy note-decay modelling, and "string resonance".

Or you could build a DP with very high polyphony, short samples, crude note-decay, and no string resonance.

It's not a good idea to use "polyphony" as a proxy for anything else.

. Charles

Posted By: torhu

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/10/13 08:55 AM

Originally Posted by Tritium
B) 3-contact key sensor. Yes, most definitely. I can tell the difference in responsiveness and reaction versus older keyboard with 2-contact key sensor.

AFAIK, the only thing the third sensor does is to allow you to depress the key again and get a sound, without letting the key go all the way back up. It's like the double escapement feature on a grand. Upright acoustics don't usually have the feature. I don't know if that's what you mean by "responsiveness and reaction", but that's all there is to it.
Posted By: peterws

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/10/13 02:50 PM

"All of these dp's will screw up a serious beginner just in a more subtle fashion if you use the P-155, or at least that is my belief..."

Fair comment. But what really really screws up a beginner is a naff acoustic. There are Loads of those around as you well know. There`s nothing worse except a bad cup o` coffee . . .
Posted By: toddy

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/10/13 03:51 PM

Originally Posted by StarvingLion
......yamaha NP-11, P-105, or P-155 ......... All of these dp's will screw up a serious beginner just in a more subtle fashion if you use the P-155, or at least that is my belief.


On the other hand, a beginner who has some talent and love for the sound will not screw up on any of those instruments. Why would they screw up at all? Demigods such as Bach and Haydn made music on the keyboards available at the time - crude and limited compared with a well made digital piano.

Ordinary mortals do the same.

Except if you're talking about a really out of condition acoustic, about which I'm broadly in agreement with PeterWs. Heaven preserve us from those.
Posted By: Daniel Corban

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/10/13 06:43 PM

There are a few comments regarding polyphony "all else being equal". I don't believe there is ever a case of "all else being equal" if two similar pianos have different polyphony. If the tone generators were the same, then the manufacturer would quickly label the "low end" model with the higher polyphony number. Higher polyphony would seem to be indicative of a higher quality tone generator. If a lower quality tone generator could do more polyphony, the manufacturer would advertise it as so.

Everyone in this thread is speculating, so we should keep the postulations simple. Barring the unlikely case of a manufacturer intentionally crippling otherwise identical hardware or falsifying specifications, we can assume that the hardware will be marketed with the best of its capabilities.
Posted By: emenelton

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/10/13 08:51 PM

What
Posted By: peterws

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/11/13 08:35 PM

Don`t forget the pictures . . .
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/11/13 09:15 PM

Well this has been an interesting thread. I buy a Casio PX-850, explained some of the personal, subjective reasons that motivated my selection, as well as listed some of the unit's technical features that also were key aspects in my choice.

I didn't expect this thread to devolve into arguments over what I perceived as being of particular value. For example, the sound engine's polyphony rating, and most recently the three contact sensor key system. What is worse, some of the comments imply that I don't have a legitimate reason for listing something as a "feature", and by extension...that I don't really know what I am talking about.

Polyphony has been beat to death...now the latest is the the 3-contact key sensor.

The third sensor provides the capability for a DP's action to emulate the response of an acoustic grand piano action...specifically, in regards to the double escapement feature. This system allows notes to be repeated without requiring full key returns, thereby allowing the player to execute rapid repeats, and in particular, rapid soft repeats and trills. Although Casio doesn't specifically advertise and associate their "Tri-sensor" with the double escapement mechanism, their system reproduces this effect, as do other DPs with a 3-contact key sensors.

Now, I also recognize this double escapement mechanism is not generally featured in an upright acoustic piano. In other words, with most upright acoustic (or a DP with only 2-contact sensor) the key has to more or less fully return before the note can be repeated. The drawback is that this takes extra time, which lowers the speed and facility of making rapid repetitions...and this especially the case when playing pianissimo or mezzo piano rapid repeats and trills.

With that said, the implied questioning for my listing of the PX-850's 3-contact key sensor as an important "feature/benefit" is confusing...especially since I have stated a few times in this thread that I previously owned a Yamaha GA1 Baby Grand acoustic. I learned on, trained on and owned grand piano(s) that have double escapement. Moreover, I play classical pieces in which this feature is appreciated...and that is why the 3-contact sensor is so important for me, personally.
Posted By: StarvingLion

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/11/13 10:51 PM

My harsh tone is a result of a pattern I've noticed within the digital forum:

1. Action is everything. All I need in addition is a "realistic sound" and good price. Yah, a done deal!

2. [6 months later] Can't tolerate the sound of this unit.

3. [Current solution] A stampede into software pianos which I predict will produce a different kind of frustration but in the end...the same fate.

I'm glad I never bought the p-155 because I don't believe I will be happy with any digital piano. Its a computer, not a piano.

[signing off...my last post in the digital forum]
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/11/13 11:30 PM

Originally Posted by StarvingLion
My harsh tone is a result of a pattern I've noticed within the digital forum:

1. Action is everything. All I need in addition is a "realistic sound" and good price. Yah, a done deal!

2. [6 months later] Can't tolerate the sound of this unit.

3. [Current solution] A stampede into software pianos which I predict will produce a different kind of frustration but in the end...the same fate.

I'm glad I never bought the p-155 because I don't believe I will be happy with any digital piano. Its a computer, not a piano.

[signing off...my last post in the digital forum]


StarvingLion, I hope you aren't leaving on my account. I was just trying to clarify a few points that I felt were, IMHO, being misunderstood or misapplied, when it came to commenting on features and/or specifications which were personal, subjective criteria I had used in selecting a particular DP solution.

Certainly, I respect your opinions, and encourage your continued participation.

Also, I agree that a DP is ultimately a compromise, and a series of trade-offs...which have to be balanced, when compared to a true acoustic piano. However, for those of us who want a piano, and for very legitimate reasons cannot select an acoustic piano (in my case, due to the fact that I now live in a Condo)...a Digital Piano is the only viable alternative.


Posted By: Michael_99

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/11/13 11:39 PM

StarvingLion, I have read your post, here:

My harsh tone is a result of a pattern I've noticed within the digital forum:

1. Action is everything. All I need in addition is a "realistic sound" and good price. Yah, a done deal!

2. [6 months later] Can't tolerate the sound of this unit.

3. [Current solution] A stampede into software pianos which I predict will produce a different kind of frustration but in the end...the same fate.

I'm glad I never bought the p-155 because I don't believe I will be happy with any digital piano. Its a computer, not a piano.

[signing off...my last post in the digital forum]

__________________________________

Well, sadly, StarvingLion, you (he) won't be able to read this because he has said good-bye.

Digital pianos are awesome beyond description in the same way that bicycles are awesome beyond description comparing bicycles to harleys and digitals to acoustics. But they are totally different things.

A digital can be dragged onto a bus, shoved under a bed, played 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, any time of the day or night.

Sure, the key action currently is less than perfect - but it is way, way, way, way, better than a spring loaded keyboard action when comes to playing the piano.

Sound to me is worth 1%, weighted key action 99.9999999%, battery operated 25% , lightweight 25%.

As as I have said before, if they made a 48 weighted key battery operated keyboard weighing 10 pounds, it would be priceless because you could carry it everywhere and play/practice it anytime - anywhere - on the planet or in outerspace.

When they make a 48 weighted key piano, it will change the piano world forever in the same way that laptops changed the computer world and cell phones used to be the size of a small motorcycle battery and now cell phones are the size of a medium sized chocolate bar.
Posted By: PossumES8Krome61

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/12/13 12:09 AM

OP- I am glad you are enjoying your PX-850; sounds like you picked the right piano for you. Could you let us know a little bit about the onboard amplification; how is the bass? Have you experimented with the lid settings- those look truly unique compared to others in the price range.


I myself rather play a good digital (such as my SP280 or PX130 etc..) than a mediocre acoustic. Actually i have not touched an acoustic in a while
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/12/13 02:13 AM

Originally Posted by peterws
Don`t forget the pictures . . .


Hi Peterws,

Here is a pic I took a little early this afternoon. Incidentally, the small colored stickers are little Post-It stickers, I used to keep track of the parts and their relation to how they were originally packed in the crate...in case I needed to return the unit if I found a problem/defect. I forgot to take them off before taking the pic:



[Linked Image]
Posted By: semo

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/12/13 02:30 AM

Tritium,

Very nice, congrats! Though it is hard to associate practising Chopin with those nice looking guitars... Enjoy your new instrument.
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/12/13 02:37 AM

Originally Posted by semo
Tritium,

Very nice, congrats! Though it is hard to associate practising Chopin with those nice looking guitars... Enjoy your new instrument.


The first two guitars (sonic blue and candy apple red) are Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Strats. Believe it or not, my guitar playing is in the neo-classical / Yngwie style...so it all kind of fits in. That is not to say I can't play some mean ass blues (Clapton/SRV/Gilmour), when I feel like it. grin cool
Posted By: semo

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/12/13 02:58 AM

Originally Posted by Tritium
The first two guitars (sonic blue and candy apple red) are Yngwie Malmsteen Signature Strats. Believe it or not, my guitar playing is in the neo-classical / Yngwie style...so it all kind of fits in. That is not to say I can't play some mean ass blues (Clapton/SRV/Gilmour), when I feel like it. grin cool


Awesome!!
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/12/13 06:54 AM

Originally Posted by Possum SP280Krome
OP- I am glad you are enjoying your PX-850; sounds like you picked the right piano for you. Could you let us know a little bit about the onboard amplification; how is the bass? Have you experimented with the lid settings- those look truly unique compared to others in the price range.


I myself rather play a good digital (such as my SP280 or PX130 etc..) than a mediocre acoustic. Actually i have not touched an acoustic in a while


Hi Possum,

Yes, I am very favorably impressed with the onboard speaker/sound system. This model can get crazy loud, and as such, I never have the volume dial set beyond noon (12:00) position. Like most DPs, it has line outs, so I could connect it also to my Yamaha MSR100 active monitor. However, I haven't felt the need to.

The onboard speakers/amplification provides more than enough volume...without even breaking a sweat. Mind you, my PX-850 is installed in a modest size room. Obviously, if you were performing in front of an audience, for example in a club or at a church, you would use an outboard active monitor/PA. But in that case, you probably would also be using a slab style unit (e.g. Casio PX-5S or Kawai ES7).

The lid simulator function seems a bit of a "gimmick", IMHO. I just leave it set to the full "open" position (which emulates a grand piano with fully open soundboard). What definitely is not a "gimmick", is the actual physical lid that can be opened on top of the piano console. These are two separate things, and I was at first confused by their similar wording. In any event, when you open up the physical "lid" on the PX-850 console, this directs some of the sound from the speakers directly back at you. It really makes a difference, and provides more ambience and a larger, more immersive soundscape. You also can hear the string and damper resonances better, which in my opinion helps provide a closer interaction and connection between the player and the piano.

The opening up of the top lid on the console, and resulting increase in sound projection, can be seen/heard in this video, at time stamp beginning around 08:00. The entire video is well worth watching (note, at one point, the reviewer accidentally calls the model the "830", but that was a mistake. It is the 850):

Casio PX-150/750/850 overview







Posted By: peterws

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/12/13 02:15 PM

That looks really neat, Tritium. . . .you could gig it with a bit o` help from a trolley . . your guitars? I was in the piano shop lately, looking at some. The imitation Stratocasters were more expensive than the real ones . . .! Fancied a Jazz bass meself . .
Posted By: Tritium

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/14/13 09:46 PM

Now that I have had a chance to spend a good amount of time with the PX-850, I am still amazed with what Casio has been able to provide a pianist on a budget. There is so much to like here...from the very expressive action, the impressive piano tones, as well as the onboard speaker system, which is quite powerful as well as immersive...especially when opening up the top lid.

Cons:
I do wish that Casio had provided for a bit more ability to tweak key paramaters, such as "Touch Sensitivity". It would have been really cool if there was a software editor program, which would allow the user to dive deeper into settings and provide greater fine-tuning. I can understand that they wanted to keep the User Interface / Control Panel simple...but a Software Editor would have been just icing on the cake.

For example, the aforementioned "Touch Sensitivity" has four levels (actually three, as "off" doesn't really count). I wish there was more adjustment, here, because I find myself wanting to select something in between 1 and 2 (e.g. 1.5). Alas, that is not possible.

Mike Martin of Casio, if you happen to read this, do you know if there are any plans for something like a Software editor on the PX-X50 series?
Posted By: Michael_99

Re: Just pulled trigger on a Casio PX-850 - 07/15/13 10:12 AM

Tritium, I have read your post, here:

Now that I have had a chance to spend a good amount of time with the PX-850, I am still amazed with what Casio has been able to provide a pianist on a budget. There is so much to like here...from the very expressive action, the impressive piano tones, as well as the onboard speaker system, which is quite powerful as well as immersive...especially when opening up the top lid.

Cons:
I do wish that Casio had provided for a bit more ability to tweak key paramaters, such as "Touch Sensitivity". It would have been really cool if there was a software editor program, which would allow the user to dive deeper into settings and provide greater fine-tuning. I can understand that they wanted to keep the User Interface / Control Panel simple...but a Software Editor would have been just icing on the cake.

For example, the aforementioned "Touch Sensitivity" has four levels (actually three, as "off" doesn't really count). I wish there was more adjustment, here, because I find myself wanting to select something in between 1 and 2 (e.g. 1.5). Alas, that is not possible.

Mike Martin of Casio, if you happen to read this, do you know if there are any plans for something like a Software editor on the PX-X50 series?

_____________________________________________

Love the post. The entire planet is having problems regardless of which country you are referring to trying keep to a budget. My city is going to start hiring security guards at $20 an hour to do some easy police work, as opposed to hiring police men at 100,000 dollars a year, or 10 police men for - what is it - a millions dollars for 10 good men in uniform.

HERE> And your opening sentence is:

Now that I have had a chance to spend a good amount of time with the PX-850, I am still amazed with what Casio has been able to provide a pianist on a
budget. < < < HERE

cheers,
© 2019 Piano World Piano & Digital Piano Forums