I've been considering changing my slab piano for a stage piano so that it provides more flexibility - a wider variety of high quality non-piano sounds and better DAW/Mainstage integration with some assignable controls, but at the same time want to maintain the highest quality action and piano sound.
The CP88 looked great on paper, but when you look/listen more closely the base CFX piano sound is a less sophisticated sound to that on the P515. Not a problem, everybody raves about the MP11SE so I'll switch to Kawai, always liked their actions. But same thing, the base piano sound isn't equivalent to that which you find in the CA78/98 etc.
So is this always going to be the case or do we think the MP11SE successor will acquire Pianist Mode or is that that the limited processing power has to do so many other things on a stage piano that it's not an option ?
I don't know if it's the same the for RD2000 versus say the FP90 but I'm not mad on Roland piano sounds or the action.
There's the Nord Grand which I'm warming to but it seems expensive given it's based on a Kawai plastic action though it plays nicely enough.
I'm beginning to think I'm best of keeping my P515, adding any sounds from the MAC, and potentially getting a small controller if I want some assignable controls.
Other suggestions/thoughts welcome.
I tried the CP88 and Nord Grand (as well as the RD2000) on Friday 28th Nov.
The CP88 I played after playing the CLP685 i.e., I compared the CP88 with the binaural sampling version of the CFX grand on the CLP685.
Indeed, the CP88 was rather dull compared to the CLP685---binaural sampling is a huge omission on the CP88, no doubt because of it's lack of value for live performance. The Kawai ES8 SK pianos I used for comparison were IMO better than the CP88 CFX and Bosendorfer by quite a margin; whereas, the CLP685 CFX were certainly competitive.
The Nord Grand was rather stunning to look at up close. The piano sound fidelity is quite good on the Nord Grand. The samples (white grand and royal grand) are very nice; however, unfortunately, the Nord Piano samples aren't realistic IMO compared to Yamaha, Kawai, and Roland models. There is something unnatural about the Nord piano samples which isn't unpleasant, just not accurate. That said, if I had to chose between the Nord Grand and the CP88, I'd pick the Nord. The layout of the Nord is better too IMO.
The RD2000 was perhaps the biggest surprise. The action was excellent; the layout was 7/10. From what I was able to get into, that's the pros over with. I had tested the RD800 a few years ago now and found it quite good fun. The RD2000 I expected to be much better or at least an evolution. With regard to piano sound, it was not IMO much of an evolution. Actually, I prefer the V-piano experience to playing piano on the RD2000. My favourite piano on the RD2000 was the V-piano first patch. That said, I didn't feel it sounded like the actual v-piano. IMO, the V-piano itself has a better modeled piano sound in terms of dynamic range than the RD2000 version of the V-piano patches.
The RD2000 modeled piano sounds were very responsive within the dynamic range BUT, the dynamic range seemed hemmed in! That hemmed in quality was also there in the LX708---what's going on I thought. The sound fidelity through headphones on the RD2000 was poor compared to the Yamaha CLP685. Maybe the binaural sampling is what distorted my perception of the other models. Most of the SuperNatural sounds were the same as the RD800, and many of these sampled sounds seemed dated. There are too many dud sounds on the RD2000, and it's hard to find the good ones. I guess if I had more time in a quiet atmosphere, I'd have tested more of the functionality such has having 8 sounds at once, and spent more time on the organs. So there is many aspects of the RD2000 I'm not reflecting in this review which probably deserve merit. However, on basic piano, the instrument didn't meet my expectations prior to testing. Funnily enough, I don't mind the recordings on YouTube e.g., recordings by Yohan Kim. However, the actual experience doesn't match the recordings I've heard. Although I've said all this, I only had 50 minutes on the RD2000, and it was a bit noisy in store. I would like to get it to myself for long enough to explore it.
I thought it might be the headphones, so used the opportunity to ask to test the Sennheiser HD650 headphones they had in store. That didn't help the RD2000 or the LX708 much. Playing the LX708 through speakers helped a bit; however, my favourite part of the LX708 experience was the TRS: I would describe it as a crude but it somehow adds to the experience (in the same way that vibration on my razor blade does, so nothing massive).
IMO, the tone selection on the RD2000 isn't well designed: scrolling through lists of sounds took a while as there are so many sounds on it. Whist the sound bank is uncluttered as an interface, this is actually a bad thing in this case. The MP7SE is much better in the way it has dependent menus e.g., instrument groupings, sound banks, variation banks. Kudos for Kawai! Most of the best sounds on the MP7SE can be found in the first few banks of any instrument grouping, so you don't need to go searching very far.
The RHIII action on the ES8, MP7SE and Nord Grand is on a par IMO with the RD2000 action (or at least near-par). The Nord Grand action is modified though: it is slightly lighter and has a slightly different feel than the ES8 version of the RHIII action.
If I was picking today, I'd take the MP7SE (an upgrade from my MP7) and supplement with VST pianos like Pianoteq and CFX grand if further variety were needed. I don't think the Nord Grand (gorgeous though it is) is value for money. I think Roland and Kawai really need to work on the sound-quality of the output to the headphones to compete with this binaural sampling on the latest Yamaha's. The LX708 was also not competitive with the CLP685 on sound fidelity either: mind you, neither was the CA98 (which I wasn't impressed by). I don't know why I didn't like the CA98, but it was a noisy store (especially near the CA98), so I need to re-test the CA98 on a quiet day and investigate the settings (maybe trying a reset). Therefore, still my fav. cabinet Kawai is the CS11 (as I've not played the Novus NV5 or 10).
IMO, this binaural sampling has shifted the goal posts, and I would like to see it on the stage pianos too.
P.S. maybe you should test the GrandStage and the Dexibell vivo S7.