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Joined: Jun 2010
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Recently my friend ask me a question difficult for me to answer. He want to a good sounding non acoustic piano. budget is limited under $2000, obviously there will be two solution, one is buying a good MIDI keyboard plus some software virtual pianos. another one is a single digital piano. I do not want to bias on the answer thus I come here to ask the opinions from pros. what's the advantages for each solution?


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Disclaimer: I'm rather clueless on the subject 'Digital Pianos'.

I'll throw some of my opinions in anyways;

Midi advantages:
-Most likely cheaper
-Better samples, often they are many GB's in size
-You can do a lot of stuff on the computer, like recording and all that fancy stuff
-Less weight
-You can chill on facebook in every pause of the piece you're playing

Midi disadvantages:
-You got to fire up a computer everytime you want to sit down and play piano
-Computers are unreliable beasts
-Takes up more space

DP advantages:
-You can sit down, turn it on, and play in a matter of seconds
-Can easily take it with you if you want to jam with your mates, without having to bring your computer
-Lots of options to choose from
-Often the sound respond to the keys a little better

DP disadvantages:
-Not as good samples
-Probably more expensive
-Most likely heavier

That's what I could think of at the top of my head. smile


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When I ask for advice on this matter, I always get this mantra:

"Software pianos are great for the recording studio and at home, but
I wouldn't use them on stage."



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Hi,

In that price range your friend can get both: a good DP AND one or two software virtual pianos. You get the best of both worlds. I have a DP. Usually play it with a software virtual piano (they sound better that sounds in DP), but sometimes I just plug the thing and play, without the computer. And by the way, software virtual pianos are really great, but your friend may have problems with latencies, drivers, cracks and clicks while recording and other computer-related stuff. The beatiful of a complete DP is that you don't have to care about all of that stuff. Just plug and play.

Anyway, there are very few pure MIDI controllers out there... the best actions usually are inside DPs with sounds. So I would suggest your friend to get a good DP (in that price range there are many), and then try some virtual piano.

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Originally Posted by Gerard12

"Software pianos are great for the recording studio and at home, but
I wouldn't use them on stage."


Here's the group "Madness" using Pianoteq on stage:
http://pianoteq.com/references (scroll down)
(and sounding very good, IMHO - Modarrt say that it's Pianoteq 2)

Greg.

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Originally Posted by kurtie
Anyway, there are very few pure MIDI controllers out there... the best actions usually are inside DPs with sounds. So I would suggest your friend to get a good DP (in that price range there are many), and then try some virtual piano.


I agree with kurtie. I'll mention the Yamaha CP33 (as one of many choices) here, because I have one myself and because it seems to be getting a lot of love on this forum recently. It's not the latest model, but is still listed in the current lineup, and can be had for $1000, leaving you plenty to spend on software, etc. The onboard samples include a couple of very decent pianos that are good enough for live use, but if you get bored of them you still have Yamaha's excellent GH keyboard action (this is the cheapest way to acquire it new) and good connectivity (including standard MIDI and USB sockets). No stand or speakers included (it's a stage piano) but your budget will cover these.

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Originally Posted by Gerard12
When I ask for advice on this matter, I always get this mantra:

"Software pianos are great for the recording studio and at home, but
I wouldn't use them on stage."
If you use software pianos on stage, make sure you use them on a computer you designate for stage use only, with a computer that you feel confident to take on stage.


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Originally Posted by RDW
Originally Posted by kurtie
Anyway, there are very few pure MIDI controllers out there... the best actions usually are inside DPs with sounds. So I would suggest your friend to get a good DP (in that price range there are many), and then try some virtual piano.


I agree with kurtie. I'll mention the Yamaha CP33 (as one of many choices) here, because I have one myself and because it seems to be getting a lot of love on this forum recently. It's not the latest model, but is still listed in the current lineup, and can be had for $1000, leaving you plenty to spend on software, etc. The onboard samples include a couple of very decent pianos that are good enough for live use, but if you get bored of them you still have Yamaha's excellent GH keyboard action (this is the cheapest way to acquire it new) and good connectivity (including standard MIDI and USB sockets). No stand or speakers included (it's a stage piano) but your budget will cover these.


Just to mention that at the very same price about ($1000) you can even get a Yamaha P-155 which the same GH action and speakers. Another DP with a really good reputation on this forum.

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Originally Posted by Jimthepiano
Recently my friend ask me a question difficult for me to answer. He want to a good sounding non acoustic piano. budget is limited under $2000, obviously there will be two solution, one is buying a good MIDI keyboard plus some software virtual pianos. another one is a single digital piano. I do not want to bias on the answer thus I come here to ask the opinions from pros. what's the advantages for each solution?


Much depends on the goal. I have a DP and a computer with software. 90% of the time I don't bother with the softare because I;m playing scales or learning something new and the Yamaha internal sound is pretty good and I can just flip the switch and go.

But the software is useful if yu want to record or perform or just want to hear what a better piano sounds like.

You question may be moot because there are few really good weighted hammer action MIDI controllers. All the better piano actions seem to by inside digital pianos. For example if you like Kawai's key action or Rolands PHA-III yu can't get a MIDI controller version of those

The practical answer is "buy both" software and DP. Good software need not cost much. Every Mac already has a sampled virtual piano installed on it and yu can add a better one or several for $100 or $200.

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Thank you for all of yours kind advice. Auver, kurtie, RDW,achat and ChrisA
I decide to recommend DP+software solution for him.

Best Wishes to all people helping me


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The Kawai MP6 has a very good hammer action, full MIDI function, and some good piano sounds, which can be improved a lot with some editing. It can also be connected to computer with USB. The same is probably the case with MP10. It has a heavier action, and is more expensive. Finding a keyboard, used or new, with good hammer action and MIDI should not be a problem.
cubop


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