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Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel

Posted By: AlexKelleher

Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 03:48 AM

Hi all, I've been researching this for sometime, and I'm fully searched-out. I know this product doesn't exist, and I also know there's demand. The idea isn't new:

- Fully portable keyboard for practice
- Portable = fits in overhead cabin luggage, light
- Weighted keys, say 51
- High quality piano sound
- Good enough for practice on travel
- Reasonably priced

I know having read other threads, people have even cut down Yamaha keyboards, the Vax 77 used to exist (too expensive/heavy?) and so on. Clearly we all want similar things

I'm proposing a group of us get together, start a Kickstarter project and get this done. I've started some companies before, so I have a few clues on that, but really (although this could develop into a company), I'm more into it to actually GET the product! I don't want to stop practicing when I travel...

Who's with me?
Posted By: Lockheart

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 04:40 AM

You want something with weighted keys and high quality sound that will fit into a carry on bag? It doesn't sound incredibly likely or practical.
Posted By: Marko in Boston

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 09:37 AM

This seems to come very close to your requirements. maybe?

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Digitalguy

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 11:51 AM

Originally Posted by Marko in Boston
This seems to come very close to your requirements. maybe?

[Linked Image]


This is far from fitting in overhead cabin luggage....
Anything beyond 49 keys would be too long for a normal suitcase...
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 12:16 PM

I'm in.

The best approach might be to explore feasibility of cutting down a current Yamaha or Casio slab.

Speakers would probably have to go, but for this purpose that wouldn't bother me.
Posted By: ando

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 12:18 PM

Originally Posted by Digitalguy


This is far from fitting in overhead cabin luggage....
Anything beyond 49 keys would be too long for a normal suitcase...


49 keys is also a very poor substitute for a piano. Whenever I play on a keyboard that short, I end up frustrated and not wanting to play. Also, I can't see any manufacturer putting resources into a 49 key, weighted piano. They are just toys at that size (or synths).
Posted By: evamar

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 12:26 PM

I even tried roll-up keyboards! Don't waste your time and money, useless for serious practice and will hurt your hands.

There seems to be quite a lot of practice rooms for hire in cities. It might be an idea to see if these are available in your destination and normally they have long opening hours.

Also I recently spent quite a lot of time playing in a music room after clearly saying that I wasn't buying anything but was away from my instrument. No hurt in asking, they might like people playing to attract beginners or completely understand your need to practice.

Posted By: Wouter D'hoye

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 12:31 PM

Hi,

I too like the idea of a higly portable instrument. But what compromises is one willing to make? 49 keys does sound rather limited. What about a foldable instrument. An istrument that folds in two. The biggest issue is lenght of the piano much more than the thickness. So with a foldable instrument one could reduce the lenght of say a 76 key instrument in half. Off course one needs to see that the instrument when assembled is still rigid enough to take "passionate" playing.

Kind regards,

Wouter.
Posted By: Wouter D'hoye

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 12:33 PM

heck.; what I propose seems to exist already.. there goes my fortune to make.. LOL

http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2007/10/26/vax-77-folding-music.html
Posted By: Digitalguy

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 01:00 PM

Originally Posted by Wouter D'hoye
heck.; what I propose seems to exist already.. there goes my fortune to make.. LOL

http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2007/10/26/vax-77-folding-music.html


No longer produced and anyway very expensive...
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 01:08 PM

Originally Posted by Digitalguy
Originally Posted by Wouter D'hoye
heck.; what I propose seems to exist already.. there goes my fortune to make.. LOL

http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2007/10/26/vax-77-folding-music.html


No longer produced and anyway very expensive...


Which is probably what yours would be, very expensive. It probably had to cost a lot to cover production costs. Maybe you could find a used one on ebay?
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 05:06 PM

Originally Posted by Digitalguy
Originally Posted by Wouter D'hoye
heck.; what I propose seems to exist already.. there goes my fortune to make.. LOL

http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2007/10/26/vax-77-folding-music.html


No longer produced and anyway very expensive...


...Also has spring-loaded rather than weighted keys and very expensive.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 07:54 PM

It hinges the wrong way. It should fold bottom out rather than keys out for better protection of the keys.
Posted By: AlexKelleher

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 10:37 PM

Hi all, great responses! To try and respond to everyone so far

- Agree needs to be at least 61 keys
- Needs to proper, weighted keys, completely
- I think the VAX FOLDING keyboard failed because a) was still hefty, and b) was in the thousands of dollars
- I think this needs to come in at $500ish?
- Have often thought of and tried to find practice rooms - but practically speaking very difficult, and don't always have time. usually i'm in the hotel room, wishing i could practice...

Clearly we need an engineer, but I think the first thing might be to collaborate on a Kickstarter style project and get a design, some funding, and then make it happen!
Posted By: anotherscott

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/07/14 11:17 PM

Originally Posted by AlexKelleher
I'm more into it to actually GET the product!


Check this thread:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/692966

Nice pictures there of a modified Yamaha. Doing something like that isn't cheap, but is cheaper than starting your own manufacturing company. ;-)

If you really want it to be carry-on size, you'll need to keep it to 49 keys. (Unless you attempt some kind of folding thing.)

If a Casio PX-150 could be adapted, at 25 lbs for 88 keys to start, it has the potential to be pretty light.
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/08/14 01:27 AM

Anotherscott, is that the link you really intended? It seems to be off topic.

I agree, though, that establishing a template for "sawing off" a Casio or Yamaha, and maybe finding a tinkerer willing to do it for a number of traveling pianists, is the likeliest way to get something without having to spend a larger amount than we could ever raise for this project.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/08/14 01:32 AM

Maybe propose this to Yamaha, Kawai, Casio, etc? I know Kawai has a guy who watches this board.
Posted By: anotherscott

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/08/14 01:46 AM

Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Anotherscott, is that the link you really intended? It seems to be off topic.

Thanks for the heads-up, I don't know how that happened! Fixed.

Correct link is:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/692966
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/08/14 10:53 AM

Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Anotherscott, is that the link you really intended? It seems to be off topic.

Thanks for the heads-up, I don't know how that happened! Fixed.

Correct link is:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/692966


So, Alex and Anotherscott -- an obvious first line of inquiry is whether the firm and person who did this job for Peter Moll is still around and might be interested in doing something like it again, but for a number of people, right?
Posted By: R_B

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/08/14 12:05 PM

How about a "pull apart" implementation instead of folding to get the length down ?
With a little mechanical ingenuity they could snap back together "keys to keys" for protection during transport.

Some small number of keys, say 64, perhaps an optional mid section octave to expand to 76, or 88 with two of them.
Posted By: AlexKelleher

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/08/14 10:38 PM

Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Anotherscott, is that the link you really intended? It seems to be off topic.

Thanks for the heads-up, I don't know how that happened! Fixed.

Correct link is:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/692966


So, Alex and Anotherscott -- an obvious first line of inquiry is whether the firm and person who did this job for Peter Moll is still around and might be interested in doing something like it again, but for a number of people, right?


I think this is one approach - but the issue is, the base keyboard that's being modified already costs a lot, and then reducing it/cutting back will be an additional cost. Overall, unlikely to get to a reasonable cost even with lots of orders.

The question is, could demand be high enough to create something "from scratch" at a reasonable price? I wonder how that could be calculated. There must be millions of piano players worldwide?
Posted By: AlexKelleher

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/08/14 10:39 PM

Originally Posted by R_B
How about a "pull apart" implementation instead of folding to get the length down ?
With a little mechanical ingenuity they could snap back together "keys to keys" for protection during transport.

Some small number of keys, say 64, perhaps an optional mid section octave to expand to 76, or 88 with two of them.


I like this line of thinking alot - I think this is what it will take to make this happen! A clever engineering job.

We should probably take this project offline (or into a private chat) when we have gathered a few interested people...
Posted By: R_B

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/08/14 10:59 PM

Originally Posted by AlexKelleher
Originally Posted by R_B
How about a "pull apart" implementation instead of folding to get the length down ?
With a little mechanical ingenuity they could snap back together "keys to keys" for protection during transport.

Some small number of keys, say 64, perhaps an optional mid section octave to expand to 76, or 88 with two of them.


I like this line of thinking alot - I think this is what it will take to make this happen! A clever engineering job.

We should probably take this project offline (or into a private chat) when we have gathered a few interested people...


My patent attorney and I are ready,
I copy him on EVERYTHING, just in case.
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/09/14 12:53 AM

Originally Posted by AlexKelleher
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Anotherscott, is that the link you really intended? It seems to be off topic.

Thanks for the heads-up, I don't know how that happened! Fixed.

Correct link is:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/692966


So, Alex and Anotherscott -- an obvious first line of inquiry is whether the firm and person who did this job for Peter Moll is still around and might be interested in doing something like it again, but for a number of people, right?


I think this is one approach - but the issue is, the base keyboard that's being modified already costs a lot, and then reducing it/cutting back will be an additional cost. Overall, unlikely to get to a reasonable cost even with lots of orders.

The question is, could demand be high enough to create something "from scratch" at a reasonable price? I wonder how that could be calculated. There must be millions of piano players worldwide?


Of course, if there were a big demand for this sort of thing, Kawai or Yamaha or Casio would already be building it. They aren't. A start-up venture would have enormous front-end costs in having not only to figure out how to shrink a keyboard, but also how to build one, add sounds, tool for production, etc.

A PX-150 or P105 costs $500-600, and is a good enough keyboard for anyone to use for practice for 2 or 3 nights at a hotel. A plan to standardize production of a "sawed-off" version (as in the thread Anotherscott linked) and then do them for the uncertain number of buyers is a lot more viable commercial proposition than all the R&D, etc. involved in getting a totally new product off the ground.

Yes, it would obviously cost more than a standard PX-150 or P105, but so what? Those models don't work for the desired application, and nothing else in the marketplace does either. Expensive compared to what? Something that doesn't exist?

Some of us would gladly pay an appreciable premium to get a weighted-key slab by Yamaha or Casio or Kawai that could easily go on a plane.

Think of it like the market for conversion vans. You start with a tried and true base model that someone is already making -- then you customize it.

That's the idea here. It may work if enough of us are interested.
Posted By: anotherscott

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/09/14 01:28 AM

Originally Posted by AlexKelleher
There must be millions of piano players worldwide?

But how many need one that can fly carry-on?

Originally Posted by ClsscLib
A PX-150 or P105 costs $500-600

or p35, a bit less... which, to tie this in with another thread, has the advantage of having a standard MIDI port, so you could also use it to drive anything you might come across...
Posted By: AlexKelleher

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 02/10/14 03:01 AM

OK, so there are two options here:

1. Shortened existing keyboard
Pros
- Quicker to get to market
- No investment needed
Cons
- Carry-on means that shortening would only allow 40-ish keys/3 octaves max
- While this might satisfy demand for a few of us, we are unlikely to be able to market it to get to many people. This isn't a business, it's a group-buy at best
- No idea of end-cost. Could be 1000's for each item

2. New travel keyboard
Pros
- Can be designed to fit in cabin luggage (my original aim)
- It is a business - we can get it on kickstarter, market it, make money out of it
- It's not just a one-off buy. The product/business would live on
Cons
- It's a business - not a quick turnaround
- Would need investment in engineering, and someone to take it on as a business

I'm still up for option 1 if it's possible to cut an existing keyboard so it fold up (like VAX 77).
Posted By: Delano

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/17/14 02:11 PM

Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Digitalguy


This is far from fitting in overhead cabin luggage....
Anything beyond 49 keys would be too long for a normal suitcase...


49 keys is also a very poor substitute for a piano. Whenever I play on a keyboard that short, I end up frustrated and not wanting to play. Also, I can't see any manufacturer putting resources into a 49 key, weighted piano. They are just toys at that size (or synths).


Toys? I think that is a bit of an overstatement. It is a compromise, of course. Playing such an instrument demands more skill and creativity, but the effort is worth it. As most of you will agree, the 49-key instrument is especially useful when practicing with bands or doing a lot of small gigs. Then, in my experience, less is more and the limited keyboard becomes a powerful instrument.

Last year, I frequently used a Novation Impulse 49 in combination with a Roland Sonic Cell. Like you also experience, the lack of any real piano keys poses a serious problem. I dedicate this to the absence of 'soul of the instrument': the mechanics in a piano which trigger the hammer, which make it 'interact' with you, so that a musical piece becomes a joint effort of you and the piano.

So, when designing a piano-like 49-keys instrument, I would propose to think outside the box and not necessarily stick with the idea of weighted keys and e.g. think more about the experience when playing the piano: how does a piano key feel? What about it's texture? What do I feel when I push it down? How do the keys sound like? (seriously, hollow plastic is not attractive at all) In my opinion, although important, inertia is just one piece of the puzzle.

Short-term idea
I have thought a long time about designing a modular hybrid weighted midi keyboard (and am still planning on doing something like that), but for the short-term: shorten an existing keyboard? Very troublesome in my opinion. It would be better to modify an M-Audio Axiom Pro or Novation Impulse and connecting it to an arbitrary sound module, than doing such a thing. I opened up my Impulse 49 and it is designed modularly; I can even get the keybed out without opening the rest of the case. Also, the keys are hollow, which makes it more easy to add some kind of weight. Although this may seem inferior to e.g. scaling down a Yamaha P-35, in recent years I have managed just perfectly with my old Roland RD-300 from the 90's which has a weight added to the bottom of each key: perfect for practice wink What do you think?
Posted By: Digitalguy

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/17/14 04:15 PM

I don't agree, I have been testing several small keyboards over the last month, only to come to realize that I would not go below 49 keys. The difference between 61 and 49 is huge. You cannot gig properly with 49, while you can with 61.

I think the main point here is taking the plane or not. Even 49 is to long for a cabin luggage, so I simply ruled out taking a keyboard on a plane. Once this was ruled out, everything changed and then you can find 61 keys keyboard you can bring in any car, even the smallest ones, on a bike, on a train (without being bothered if you have other luggage), to the park, to a party or just on your desk next to your pc.
Everyone has different needs, for me it was simple I wanted something under 5kg and under 38 inches (if possible even 35,5-36, you cannot have less at 61 keys) and under 12 inches large so it can fit on my desk without taking away my pc, printer etc. So I simply looked for the best one (action, features) within these criteria.
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 12:22 AM

Originally Posted by AlexKelleher
OK, so there are two options here:

1. Shortened existing keyboard
Pros
- Quicker to get to market
- No investment needed
Cons
- Carry-on means that shortening would only allow 40-ish keys/3 octaves max
- While this might satisfy demand for a few of us, we are unlikely to be able to market it to get to many people. This isn't a business, it's a group-buy at best
- No idea of end-cost. Could be 1000's for each item

2. New travel keyboard
Pros
- Can be designed to fit in cabin luggage (my original aim)
- It is a business - we can get it on kickstarter, market it, make money out of it
- It's not just a one-off buy. The product/business would live on
Cons
- It's a business - not a quick turnaround
- Would need investment in engineering, and someone to take it on as a business

I'm still up for option 1 if it's possible to cut an existing keyboard so it fold up (like VAX 77).


Phase 1: Collect Underpants

Phase 2: ????

Phase 3: Profits!

Sorry... couldn't help myself.
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 12:23 AM

Originally Posted by Digitalguy
I don't agree, I have been testing several small keyboards over the last month, only to come to realize that I would not go below 49 keys. The difference between 61 and 49 is huge. You cannot gig properly with 49, while you can with 61.

I think the main point here is taking the plane or not. Even 49 is to long for a cabin luggage, so I simply ruled out taking a keyboard on a plane. Once this was ruled out, everything changed and then you can find 61 keys keyboard you can bring in any car, even the smallest ones, on a bike, on a train (without being bothered if you have other luggage), to the park, to a party or just on your desk next to your pc.
Everyone has different needs, for me it was simple I wanted something under 5kg and under 38 inches (if possible even 35,5-36, you cannot have less at 61 keys) and under 12 inches large so it can fit on my desk without taking away my pc, printer etc. So I simply looked for the best one (action, features) within these criteria.


And what did you select?
Posted By: Digitalguy

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 01:01 AM

Korg Kross 61, and I am more than happy with it. It's an incredible workstation with only 37 x 11 inches and 4,3 Kg. Car run on batteries (I bought rechargeable ones). I had also tested a midi controller with similar size (a bit smaller and lighter), the Oxygen 61, but in addition to being "just" a midi controller, it has a horrible action.
Posted By: Musical Dan

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 01:41 AM

I think if any of the major brands made a portable, light, 82 key version of their stage pianos they would sell really well. For 98% of applications you won't notice 3 missing keys at each end, but it could make the difference of easily fitting into someone's car etc. For some reason standard cut down is 76 keys (and the only "stage" piano I know of that even does this is the old Korg SV1). 76 keys is not enough keys for a lot of playing.
Posted By: anotherscott

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 02:42 AM

My issue with the Kross 61, for what it is, is that the back half of the black keys are barely usable, making it (IMO) a particularly difficult action for piano, even as unweighted actions go.

As for airline travel, most airlines (at least in the U.S.) have special rules for musical instruments, that allow them to be a bit larger than usually permitted for carry-on baggage. You're right, no 61 (with full-size keys) will qualify, but sometimes a 49 will. The Yamaha MX49 might be a possibility. I have air-traveled with the 61-key Korg Microstation, but it has mini-keys.

For travel, once this ships, this is a really interesting option: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/miselu/c24-the-music-keyboard-for-ipad

It's a 24-key keyboard, but you can connect up to four of them together to get up to 96 keys!

Posted By: Kawai James

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 03:02 AM

Hmmmm...how about a 44-key board using the Kawai RHII action?

James
x
Posted By: Marcos Daniel

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 03:35 AM

Originally Posted by anotherscott

For travel, once this ships, this is a really interesting option: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/miselu/c24-the-music-keyboard-for-ipad

It's a 24-key keyboard, but you can connect up to four of them together to get up to 96 keys!



from the project page: "Each key press is sensed by an infrared emitter detector pair providing real time analog position data. Optical key tracking technology delivers MIDI velocity, monophonic aftertouch as well as detailed performance capabilities"

shocked
Posted By: Digitalguy

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 09:17 AM

Originally Posted by anotherscott
My issue with the Kross 61, for what it is, is that the back half of the black keys are barely usable, making it (IMO) a particularly difficult action for piano, even as unweighted actions go.


Yes, if you play often pieces with a lot of black keys ff and fff are very difficult. However when I am not on the go, I can connect it to my DP and use the weighted action to take advantage of all its features (drum patterns etc).
Posted By: Digitalguy

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 09:25 AM

Originally Posted by anotherscott

For travel, once this ships, this is a really interesting option: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/miselu/c24-the-music-keyboard-for-ipad

It's a 24-key keyboard, but you can connect up to four of them together to get up to 96 keys!



Its seems to be using bluetooth for midi. While it has to be tested, bluetooth is known to have latency, so could be a big problem if you can't use USB...
Posted By: Delano

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 09:44 AM

Originally Posted by Digitalguy
The difference between 61 and 49 is huge. You cannot gig properly with 49, while you can with 61.


Good points! Got me thinking wink I think I agree partly. Obviously, you cannot play every piece. My point is more about changing the way we play an instrument, rather than changing the instrument. Does that make sense? I use the octave up/down buttons on the Impulse to do e.g. glissando's, which is difficult at first, but I'm used to it now. Why I also say it could be helpful, is that you are confined to a certain frequency range, which will eventually help the total sound of the band to be more balanced. I am also forced to be more intentional in my playing, which is how I prefer to play anyways smile However, I realize this is very dependent on what is played by whom. I mostly play jazz/blues/Einaudi style improvisation with piano/Rhodes sounds.

Originally Posted by Digitalguy

I think the main point here is taking the plane or not.


Maybe you're right wink Then I think your point about 61 keys makes sense, especially when your Korg just weighs about 5kg! Looking at currently available keyboards, I would certainly consider the Roland RD-64.

Originally Posted by Digitalguy

Everyone has different needs, for me it was simple I wanted something under 5kg and under 38 inches (if possible even 35,5-36, you cannot have less at 61 keys) and under 12 inches large so it can fit on my desk without taking away my pc, printer etc. So I simply looked for the best one (action, features) within these criteria.


I travel a lot by train (student) and most of the times I'm just jealous at those people with guitars: highly customizable, portable, personal instruments. I think that's the main reason I want to have a neat 49-key keyboard w/ superior feel <10kg and e.g. just two patches on board. I think that also sheds some light on our different views.
Posted By: Delano

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 09:47 AM

That would be really interesting...
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 10:05 AM

Originally Posted by Kawai James
Hmmmm...how about a 44-key board using the Kawai RHII action?

James
x


Where can I buy it?
Posted By: Digitalguy

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 10:10 AM

Originally Posted by Delano
Originally Posted by Digitalguy
The difference between 61 and 49 is huge. You cannot gig properly with 49, while you can with 61.


Good points! Got me thinking wink I think I agree partly. Obviously, you cannot play every piece. My point is more about changing the way we play an instrument, rather than changing the instrument. Does that make sense? I use the octave up/down buttons on the Impulse to do e.g. glissando's, which is difficult at first, but I'm used to it now. Why I also say it could be helpful, is that you are confined to a certain frequency range, which will eventually help the total sound of the band to be more balanced. I am also forced to be more intentional in my playing, which is how I prefer to play anyways smile However, I realize this is very dependent on what is played by whom. I mostly play jazz/blues/Einaudi style improvisation with piano/Rhodes sounds.

Originally Posted by Digitalguy

I think the main point here is taking the plane or not.


Maybe you're right wink Then I think your point about 61 keys makes sense, especially when your Korg just weighs about 5kg! Looking at currently available keyboards, I would certainly consider the Roland RD-64.

Originally Posted by Digitalguy

Everyone has different needs, for me it was simple I wanted something under 5kg and under 38 inches (if possible even 35,5-36, you cannot have less at 61 keys) and under 12 inches large so it can fit on my desk without taking away my pc, printer etc. So I simply looked for the best one (action, features) within these criteria.


I travel a lot by train (student) and most of the times I'm just jealous at those people with guitars: highly customizable, portable, personal instruments. I think that's the main reason I want to have a neat 49-key keyboard w/ superior feel <10kg and e.g. just two patches on board. I think that also sheds some light on our different views.


Well, I hate using octave up and down all the time, it's frustrating. I sometimes do it on the korg, but rarely. If done rarely it's not a problem. If done often it makes me want go back to my piano (as it cuts the momentum while playing)

When choosing I made a test, I let my wife listen to me playing the same songs (chords + melody) with 49 and 61 and she said 49 lacked the beautiful bass in the chords of the 61, as in the 49 I was obliged to make the chords and melody very close together and make chords smaller (I generally use 1 octave chords). I could not express myself in 49 keys so I rouled it out (In my 88 DP I rarely use the upper octave, the last, while I use the lower one all the time).

Yes, Roland has a better piano (Supernatural), but it's much less portable (heavier and above all much longer).
When I chose my keyboard I wanted something with no pitch band etc. on the side, just the keys... so I ruled out Roland.

And don't forget batteries. Very few have them. This can make a real difference. You can play it on your lap anywhere, even on the train...
Posted By: R_B

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/18/14 10:57 AM

Originally Posted by anotherscott
My issue with the Kross 61, for what it is, is that the back half of the black keys are barely usable, making it (IMO) a particularly difficult action for piano, even as unweighted actions go.

As for airline travel, most airlines (at least in the U.S.) have special rules for musical instruments, that allow them to be a bit larger than usually permitted for carry-on baggage. You're right, no 61 (with full-size keys) will qualify, but sometimes a 49 will. The Yamaha MX49 might be a possibility. I have air-traveled with the 61-key Korg Microstation, but it has mini-keys.

For travel, once this ships, this is a really interesting option: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/miselu/c24-the-music-keyboard-for-ipad

It's a 24-key keyboard, but you can connect up to four of them together to get up to 96 keys!


CUTE laugh
They should sell by the 6 pack.
{144 keys, WOW !!!}
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/19/14 01:38 AM

Originally Posted by Kawai James
Hmmmm...how about a 44-key board using the Kawai RHII action?

James
x


I like better the idea of making three modules that assemble to become a full 88 key board.
Posted By: Kawai James

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/19/14 02:02 AM

Unfortunately 88 is not divisible by 3.

James
x
Posted By: JayGVan

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/19/14 03:44 PM

Originally Posted by Kawai James
Unfortunately 88 is not divisible by 3.

James
x


Well, it is...but you get 29.333333333333. whistle

That's tough to build.

The RD-64 has proved to be popular for the very purpose in this thread.

The extra 3 keys going down to the low "A" make it a contender.

Jay
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/19/14 04:16 PM

Jay, I have an RD-700NX and love it.

I do think, though, that Roland could meet the needs of people on this thread better with a board that doesn't have controls taking up space to the left of the keys. That real estate would be better used for shortening the board or adding more keys.

I think I know why Roland did it -- it seems to have permitted easy modification of an existing product.

It's not yet my dream solution, though.
Posted By: maurus

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/19/14 04:18 PM

Originally Posted by Jay Roland
Originally Posted by Kawai James
Unfortunately 88 is not divisible by 3.

James
x

Well, it is...but you get 29.333333333333. whistle

No, you don't. grin

0.0000000000001 missing from 87.999999999999 to 88.
Posted By: R_B

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/19/14 08:11 PM

I would take multiples of 12.
48 for "on the plane or train", 84 for "at the hotel/motel"
96 for ...no good reason ...Stuart or big Bosie emulation maybe ?"

Posted By: David Farley

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/28/14 09:32 PM

Here's a demo of two of those C.24 keyboards locked together with magnets. Having four of them that could be taken apart and stuffed into a laptop case sounds intriguing.

http://discchord.com/blog/2014/3/27/ani-on-two-c24-prototype-keyboards.html
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/28/14 11:09 PM

Looks like it features undersized, unweighted keys. Is that true?
Posted By: doremi

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/29/14 12:28 AM

The business ideas that were tossed up in this thread were all based on products. You can also base a business on services: sawing off unused keys from clients’ favorite DPs for reducing schlep weight. A 44-key MP11 has a schlep weight of less than 40 pounds! cool
Posted By: David Farley

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/29/14 02:14 AM

Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Looks like it features undersized, unweighted keys. Is that true?


I don't know about the key size, but they described them as semi-weighted in the kickstarter link earlier in this thread. I don't think they're pitching it as a portable digital piano, but it sounds interesting. I could see stuffing three or four of these into an old laptop case with my iPad for a trip if it was even half-decent.

"The use of anti-polarity magnets creates the semi-weighted feel of the keyboard. By using magnets instead of traditional springs reliability and longevity are extended.

Each key press is sensed by an infrared emitter detector pair providing real time analog position data. Optical key tracking technology delivers MIDI velocity, monophonic aftertouch as well as detailed performance capabilities."
Posted By: anotherscott

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/29/14 06:23 AM

Originally Posted by doremi
The business ideas that were tossed up in this thread were all based on products. You can also base a business on services: sawing off unused keys from clients’ favorite DPs for reducing schlep weight. A 44-key MP11 has a schlep weight of less than 40 pounds! cool

Not likely to be feasible. The electronics of the MP11 (which would be at least the size of the control panel) is more than 44 keys wide.
Posted By: doremi

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/29/14 11:40 AM

thumb
Posted By: Mken

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/29/14 01:30 PM

I saw a broken RD64 before, they had dropped something heavy on the middle of the keyboard and the end unit had effectively snapped off.

TBH I thought with a bit of crimping and soldering the RD64 would work fine again, the end unit could use monoplugs to connect it and a detachable ribbon cable.
Posted By: Element

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 03/29/14 04:53 PM

I think the VAX77 got the key format right- just like a piano
with the top octave missing.

http://www.keyboardmag.com/article/Infinite-Response-VAX-77-The-Future-Unfolds/2022

Really, how often do play in the very top octave??

Kawai, Roland, Yamaha, Casio, ect.. please take note!!!!

on edit: It wouldn't need, (IMO), to fold in half if you had the
top octave chopped off, and not much extra at the ends!
Posted By: rwg4

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 05/06/14 01:03 AM

Yes, please build it! I'm interested in a traveling keyboard, whether 44 keys or a foldable 88 key.
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 05/06/14 02:06 AM

This is supposed to be in the works -- hope it's not just more vaporware!:

https://www.facebook.com/groovepiano
Posted By: Kawai James

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 05/06/14 03:03 PM

Originally Posted by anotherscott
Not likely to be feasible. The electronics of the MP11 (which would be at least the size of the control panel) is more than 44 keys wide.


Never say never...

[Linked Image]

Groove looks very interesting though!

James
x
Posted By: zerox61

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 05/06/14 07:23 PM

I've been having the same problem. I travel a lot for work and need a decent 88 key keyboard for my daily practising.

My current project is to make my Yammy P105 easily transportable and light. My aim is <=10kg but it will most likely end up 12kg.

It won't be hand carry but my goal is to build it robust enough to withstand the rough handling.

Has anyone done the same/similar thing? If so, did it work or failure?

I'll start a thread when I'm done but here is a teaser ;P

[Linked Image]Portable DP challenge by wang.zj, on Flickr
Posted By: ClsscLib

Re: Truly Portable Piano Keyboard for Travel - 05/06/14 10:06 PM

There is an old thread about how someone chopped down a Yamaha P-85 but I don't have time to hunt it down now.
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