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Hi,

I haven't been on here in a long time but I got some amazing advice and help last time and I hope you won't mind me coming back with my hands out begging your knowledge once again. I am a bit overwhelmed with the choices on offer on the market for Digital pianos and I have some pretty specific needs. I currently do all my playing on my acoustic (S&S Model K) or the Kawai MP-10 I have in the studio. I have had no inclination to look at changing either of these as they are perfectly suiting my needs. However, circumstances have changed somewhat and I think I need to add a more portable digital piano for two new situations I have. I have been asked to join a band which is a completely different style from what I normally play and I think that it will be good to branch out. So I need to be able to bring a piano to their rehearsal space, the MP-10 just seems far too bulky and heavy to move back and forth like that. For the band the action is not massively important a factor but... I am also now likely to be spending some extended periods away from home but luckily in places I will be driving to and will have ample room for a digital I bring along. Therefore I would also like whatever I buy to be a really good practice instrument for my normal piano work. I am therefore willing to find a compromise between portability and playability.

I had remembered quite fancying the Roland RD-700 for this but that seems to be discontinued (could still look used I suppose) and there seems to be a slew of new models from various manufacturers since I last looked a number of years ago.

Sound is not massively important as I am not opposed to using plug-ins (I may well have to do this anyway for Rhodes sounds and what have you), so maybe even a straight up controller would do. I also don't want to spend a fortune as I already have two very capable instruments. Perhaps around 1000 Euros or so.

Any tips as two a group of pianos to check out?

Sorry for the rambling first post in a while. Any advice much appreciated.

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Roland RD-64 is portabl(ish) with a decent key action and sounds.


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Hey Groove On. Thanks for replying. I should have clarified, it has to be 88 keys. Since posting this I have been having a bit more of a dig around. I am leaning towards a used Roland RD700NX or RD800. That or a new ES8 but to be honest, I don't want or need the built in speakers and amp, same goes for the FP90. Argh, having flashbacks to the struggle of picking my MP10 in the first place :'D

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Originally Posted by Sketches
That or a new ES8 but to be honest, I don't want or need the built in speakers and amp, same goes for the FP90.

Kawai MP7 could be a way to go. But also, since you mentioned the possibility of just a controller, maybe the SL88 Grand, which will also save you some money. These aren't super light, but then, neither are the ES8/FP90.

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Originally Posted by Sketches
Hey Groove On. Thanks for replying. I should have clarified, it has to be 88 keys. Since posting this I have been having a bit more of a dig around. I am leaning towards a used Roland RD700NX or RD800. That or a new ES8 but to be honest, I don't want or need the built in speakers and amp, same goes for the FP90. Argh, having flashbacks to the struggle of picking my MP10 in the first place :'D


Your problem is that the FP-90 and the ES8 are both beyond your stated budget. The MP7 might be possible if you go into the used market.
If you are prepared to go as far as the FP-90 or ES8, I suggest you look at the Youtube videos posted by user Bigbang who has posted a handful of videos of him playing both instruments (the FP-90 being the replacement for his ES8).

IMO, the ES8 action is one of the best; however, the PHA-50 action is great too, just not as close to a real grand action. However, it works really well with the instrument. I'd be so torn if I had to chose. Think I'd take pianoteq preloaded onto a laptop, and test them side by side for a bunch of hours at the store.

Last edited by Doug M.; 08/04/17 02:35 PM.

Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7SE; Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000
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If you do come up with the budget for either the FP90 or ES8, here's my take. I find the FP90 closer to a real piano in feel than the ES8. Just goes to show how subjective it is so you would need to play both to find out. As a stage piano - I find the extra functions of the FP90 a huge advantage over the ES8. That made the decision easy for me between those two. First the sound library is much larger on the FP90. While not a big deal in the age of computers, I don't want to drag the extra equipment around. Yes, there a lot of useless and superfluous sounds on the FP90, but there are also a lot of sounds I use that the ES8 doesn't have. Second and most importantly, while it may seem minor, the ability to independently control the volume of the two separate voices when layering and splitting is huge. I can run entire sets without ever changing voices or other settings by using just those two faders. I program two sounds I like. Turn down one voice so I get one for one song, and reverse it for a a different song or I mix the two sounds to my liking for another song. When doing piano+pad type material, on most non-stage piano boards, I find the default layer mix to be wrong, sometimes to the extent I am hunting for alternative sounds that I may not like as well but get the balance between piano and pad better. On the FP90, I can adjust either the piano or the pad sound up and down independently so I get just the mix I need for that song. The ES8 can't do any of that. The full Bluetooth Midi and audio compatibility of the FP90 gives a lot of flexibility when using various apps. Finally, when out solo gigging, the built-in mic input with independent volume control comes in useful from time to time.

As just a piano, it becomes more of a draw. I like the FP90 better, but others like the ES8. I like the piano tone better on the ES8. I like the sustain and dynamics better on the FP90. I find that the FP90 allows more expressiveness as it responds differently to every variation I can give on a key instead of being limited to a set of prerecorded sampled sounds. Thus the advantage of the modeled sound. I don't like the tone as well, but I feel like I can connect to it more like a real acoustic instrument. It feels more like it is responding to me.

Last edited by SirJohn; 08/04/17 03:25 PM.
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Originally Posted by SirJohn
...... I mix the two sounds to my liking for another song. When doing piano+pad type material, on most non-stage piano boards, I find the default layer mix to be wrong, sometimes to the extent I am hunting for alternative sounds that I may not like as well but get the balance between piano and pad better. On the FP90, I can adjust either the piano or the pad sound up and down independently so I get just the mix I need for that song. The ES8 can't do any of that........


FYI, what some makers call "layered" mode ( 2 voices, or more , played simultaneously) , Kawai calls " dual " mode. The ES8 allows adjusting the balance of volume level between the dual/layered sounds using the "dual balance " setting, and also allows adjusting volume of the two voices when in "split " mode. See section 3 of the ES8 User Guide. The MP7 can layer up to 4 sounds at once and has separate volume sliders for all four.

Either the ES8 or FP90 may suit your stage DP needs. You may also want to add others to the list for considerstion, to include the Casio PX-5S - a stage piano that weighs 24 lbs.

Happy hunting!



Last edited by drewr; 08/04/17 04:37 PM.

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Thanks so much for all the replies. i really appreciate the insight. As for budget, to be honest is flexible so for the right fit the price range of the FP90/ES8 isn't out of the question. There is a lot of food for thought in what you all have posted so far. Definitely think trying these out in person is the key, thing is, I have very limited availability locally so really need to plan and target a few models so I can make the trip to check them out.

I also realise I was a bit vague and potentially misleading in my original post about budget/what I consider portable etc so to clarify... Budget is based off of me viewing this as a compromise on my current instruments, I now realise however I was not adjusting for progression in the interim since which I bought them. I bought my MP10 at full initial price when it was the flagship kawai Stage piano, reading this has actually made me question it's current usage a little, and that irony is not lost on me, I only ever use it as a midi controller these days and it has essentially being superseded by the VPC-1 in that regard.

Portable(ish) was reference to the fact that I am not hugely opposed to something heavy but it has to be worth it. My MP10 is not portable in the main as it is built into my studio desk. I recently toured Europe with a setup which was a Rhodes MkII, Two 100 watt tube heads, Two 2x12 guitar cabs, a 12.5 kg aluminium necked guitar and 2 x 15kg pedalboards. Damn, that was overkill, haha, but to be honest I would prefer something lighter than my MP10 if I can get something which is not a huge compromise on action.

Thanks again for all the info, video links and comparisons. Definitely a lot to think about.

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VPC-1 with the Receptor 2 for your VSTs would be one solution. The Receptor 2 is a stable solution for gigging with VSTs.
MP7 would be more versatile. Action of the MP7 not bad at all. Fabulous organ presets, very decent e pianos. Much more functionality than the portables.
Other great boards:
Vivo S7
Rd800
PHYSIS K4
Kurzweil Artis
Nord Stage 2.

Phil Best went for the FP90 to replace his CP4, and Phil's a great pianist who is into his modelled pianos. On the other hand, the RD800 and MP7 offer you so much more.


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7SE; Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand

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