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Hi,

I'm looking for a digital piano with auto-accompaniment/ensemble. Current contenders are Casio PX-350, Roland F130R/RP401R, Kawai ES7, and Roland FP-80. PX-350 would have all the features that I'm looking for but I'm biased against buying a Casio. F130R seemed great until I realized that it does not have midi connectors. Kawai ES7 has less voices than I would like it to have. Finally, Roland FP-80 seems otherwise flawless but is stretching my budget.

Please suggest any models that I have missed. Especially, I wasn't able to find anything for Korg or Yamaha in my price range of cheaper-than-FP-80 (2000 € or $).

Cheers!

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You could take a look at the Roland FP-50. IIRC, I think the auto-accompaniment features are very similar, if not identical, to those in the FP-80.


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You can use the Standard USB A type out with a MIDI Usb adapter to get the same functionality as standard MIDI ports.

Jay


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May I ask, why are you biased against casio? I'm aware that 20 years ago they made a lot of crappy cheap products that were little more than toys, but that was 20 years ago. Today they have built a reputation as a very solid maker of excellent low end pianos. In fact, their boards compete well on features and quality with boards costing much more in price. If the PX350 does what you need, I would say that it is worth considering.

The FP-80 would also potentially be an excellent choice if it is in your budget. Definitely worth considering.

If you already have a midi capable keyboard that you're looking to replace, instead of replacing it you might also consider Roland's BK7m backing module. It has a large number of instruments you can play, and it specializes with many auto-accompaniment patterns.


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Originally Posted by voxpops
You could take a look at the Roland FP-50. IIRC, I think the auto-accompaniment features are very similar, if not identical, to those in the FP-80.


Thanks for the suggestion. This is on my list, but I forgot to mention it.

Originally Posted by Jay Roland
You can use the Standard USB A type out with a MIDI Usb adapter to get the same functionality as standard MIDI ports.


I'm aware of midi to usb adapters that would allow me to link F130R to other midi equipment with a computer in between. However, I'm worried of ground loops and the extra hassle that a computer would bring about. Jay, would you know if the usb ports in Roland's keyboards were galvanically isolated to prevent ground loops? If there are products that can be used to connect F130R to midi devices without a computer in between, I would definitely interested in more details.

Originally Posted by fizikisto
May I ask, why are you biased against casio? I'm aware that 20 years ago they made a lot of crappy cheap products that were little more than toys, but that was 20 years ago. Today they have built a reputation as a very solid maker of excellent low end pianos. In fact, their boards compete well on features and quality with boards costing much more in price. If the PX350 does what you need, I would say that it is worth considering.

[snip]

If you already have a midi capable keyboard that you're looking to replace, instead of replacing it you might also consider Roland's BK7m backing module. It has a large number of instruments you can play, and it specializes with many auto-accompaniment patterns.


Of course you may ask. You state that Casio has a reputation for "excellent low end pianos". However, my budget allows me to get an instrument from a higher price point than PX-350's, so I'm inclined get something posher. It may also be something to do with vanity. smile

I did take a look at BK7m, but my keyboard is not a digital piano, so I would need to get a piano anyways. I think that buying a piano with accompaniment will give me a better instrument than purchasing the parts separately.

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FP50 is probably the best choice. It seems to be in your budget and it has, like FP80, the intellingent chord recognition feature. I have the predecessor, which is virtually identical except for this feature and a couple of other details, and I am pretty happy with it (I have tried a lot of other DPs). But try it yourself. Some people find the action a bit on the heavy side. I like this (and from this point of view I prefer it to FP80), but not everyone does.


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The FP50 is a good piano, but compared to the FP80 it has a considerably inferior action (imo) and a much weaker speaker system. In general, I think it's worth the extra money to get the FP80 if you can afford it. The FP50 wins if cost is an issue, or if weight is a problem.

Warm Regards



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FWIW (from a PX-350 owner) --

I think the Roland FP-80 is clearly better than the PX-350, if you can afford it. Better sound, better keyboard action. And a fair bit of freedom with the "sound designer" menu.

I'm not sure that the FP-50 is clearly better than the PX-350; I haven't spent enough time with one. The keyboard is different from the FP-80, and the "sound designer" is hobbled.

I was surprised that Roland's "intelligent rhythm" seems to be a fixed-tempo setup; "intelligent" means that it follows your chords, not your timing. Same as the PX-350, that way.

The PX-350 is pretty good at following left-hand chords (there's a choice of several chord-recognition algorithms). You'll have to compare its accompaniment patterns against the FP-50 yourself, and see which you prefer.

Both the PX-350 and FP-50 give you very limited control over _changes_ to the accompaniment tracks. I was hoping for a "accompaniment editor" that would give access to the logic driving the accompaniment patterns, but no such luck, on either board.

A little bit of vanity is OK. But ultimately, you have to _play_ the thing, and like it. The new Casios are good enough (IMHO) that they're well out of the "toy piano" category. And people are starting to understand that.

. Charles


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The general opinion here is that Casio's don't use very good speakers in the instruments that have speakers, and it shows in the sound. Listening to the actual instrument, I sort of agree, but I am too much of a newbie to be listened to. The FP-50, which I have, has been said to have weak speakers, but this needs some explaining. I think the speaker are great at normal playing volume in a home environment. But the amps will put out a lot more power than this, but the distortion at such high volumes make the power unusable. So, it is a matter of what you want the keyboard for. Are you going to gig with it and need the projection of the built-in speakers, or are you going to be running them at home use levels?


Cynthia

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Originally Posted by fizikisto
Digitalguy
The FP50 is a good piano, but compared to the FP80 it has a considerably inferior action (imo) and a much weaker speaker system. In general, I think it's worth the extra money to get the FP80 if you can afford it. The FP50 wins if cost is an issue, or if weight is a problem.

Warm Regards



Well, I don't believe that it is "considerably" inferior. It is technically inferior, but I believe it's still a good one and personally I prefer the touch to feel S. I am in a minority but that's my opinion. Instead I like phaIV clearly more than feel S but I have only tried the top version, don't know about the standard. As for the speaker system, again it's not much weaker, but on the FP80 it's front facing so it sounds better to the player. The sound engine is the same.


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Originally Posted by Tuneless
Are you going to gig with it and need the projection of the built-in speakers, or are you going to be running them at home use levels?


No gigging, this will be for a home setup.

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Originally Posted by light
Originally Posted by voxpops
You could take a look at the Roland FP-50. IIRC, I think the auto-accompaniment features are very similar, if not identical, to those in the FP-80.


Thanks for the suggestion. This is on my list, but I forgot to mention it.

Originally Posted by Jay Roland
You can use the Standard USB A type out with a MIDI Usb adapter to get the same functionality as standard MIDI ports.


I'm aware of midi to usb adapters that would allow me to link F130R to other midi equipment with a computer in between. However, I'm worried of ground loops and the extra hassle that a computer would bring about. Jay, would you know if the usb ports in Roland's keyboards were galvanically isolated to prevent ground loops? If there are products that can be used to connect F130R to midi devices without a computer in between, I would definitely interested in more details.


NO computer for this application Light. None. The Roland UM-ONEmkII MIDI/USB Adapter in "Tab" mode requires no computer. Just plug it into the same slot you would put a USB Stick into, and connect the MIDI end of the adapter to what you wish to control.

Done.


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What about the earth loop problem? This actually prevented me using the USB to HOST connection on my DP. I had to go back to using the old midi sockets, which work noiselessly, because they are (and always have been) isolated from any audio circuitry.

....otherwise, USB (w/USB 'A' to client as on the new Rolands) is a perfect solution.


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Haven't had any ground loop issues on any recent Roland DP I've tried it on.

Jay


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Originally Posted by Jay Roland
NO computer for this application Light. None. The Roland UM-ONEmkII MIDI/USB Adapter in "Tab" mode requires no computer. Just plug it into the same slot you would put a USB Stick into, and connect the MIDI end of the adapter to what you wish to control.


Just to make sure we're on the same page: Are you saying that the USB end of UM-ONE can be plugged into F130R? I read the owner's manual for UM-ONE and it didn't state that UM-ONE could be used in such a fashion. The manual only mentioned that the USB end can be plugged into a computer or an ipad.

On the other hand, this sound plausible since F130R inevitably has some kind of a computer in it. If its OS is Linux-based, Roland would get the USB-to-MIDI interface drivers practically for free if the "Tab"-mode makes UM-ONE class compliant. (Based on the owner's manual, I got the impression that the "computer" mode uses a proprietary method of communication.)

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Completely correct. "Tab" mode = class compliant.

Let's be clear here too...It's the UM-ONEMkII I was referring to.

Jay

Last edited by Jay Roland; 08/11/14 03:39 PM.

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Er, excuse me! Nobody's mentioned the good ole reliable and highly sophisticated DGX 650 from Yamaha. Plenty for any newcomer to get their teeth into with easy 6 track recordable features audio input for playing along to, and hundreds of voices all tweakable and savable to memory. . .why not download some manuals and compare?


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Originally Posted by peterws
Er, excuse me! Nobody's mentioned the good ole reliable and highly sophisticated DGX 650 from Yamaha. Plenty for any newcomer to get their teeth into with easy 6 track recordable features audio input for playing along to, and hundreds of voices all tweakable and savable to memory. . .why not download some manuals and compare?


Well, the problem with DGX650 is that it is below my target price range. "Too cheap" might be a bit of an odd problem to have, but for once I'd like to get something that is better than I actually need. Especially now that I can. But in the name of fair game, I just downloaded DGX650 manual. If I stumble upon one, I'll give it a try.

Thanks all for the suggestions and help. Now, I'm off to browsing stores to get some first hand info on my candidates. smile

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DGX. 650 is the best arranger piano in the under $1000 price range IMO.

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A better alternative might be to use a simple DP and a decent PSR type keyboard for auto accompaniment; there`s a lot more scope there if you know what you`re doing.


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