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Joined: Jan 2019
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Hi! Before posting my question let me just say that I read
lots and lots on this forum already, and it is an amazing source of information. My question was probably also asked several times, but I would appreciate some input if somebody would be kind enough to share their thoughts.

I am trying to buy a first DP for my child to learn on, and also hoping to return to playing by myself. I need something fairly cheap with a perspective to upgrade in the future.

My dilemma is basically - are the new entry range DPs from Yamaha (YDP) or Kawai(ES110) really significantly better than their 8 year old counterparts?

For instance:
I can buy for around £300-£400
An 8 years old entry model like
Yamaha ydp 141
Casio Celviano AD 220 (should I touch it?! I never played it myself...it’s for sale near me now, for 300.)
Etc
OR
For around 650-700
New YDP 143
Kawai ES 110 with stand and pedals
And similar ...

I am wondering how much it will matter. I can stretch my budget if there will be a significant increase in quality and enjoyment but I d rather not...
Thanks in advance!

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Hi there,

My personal advice with old DPs (unless they are sold at ultra low cost) is to avoid them for the reason that if they start exhibiting issues with the action/keys or anything else electrical related you are likely not going to be able to get it fixed as the parts may be hard or next to impossible to find. The exception to this rule is if they are bought in a shop that offers at least some sort of warranty etc.

Now with the latter out of the way, what you will find in newer DPs hopefully (with the exception of Yamaha's GHS action) is first and foremost, a completely new unplayed key-bed that you and your family can enjoy from new and secondly probably a newer technology type of keybed with escapement, maybe ivory touch feel keys etc. (Roland's PHA4 for example).

I'd steer clear of the YDP143 as it is now superseded by the 144 model.

For a decent starter/intermediate budget DP try and check out the FP30 (FP10 is similar but a lesser spec than the FP30) or the F140R same as the FP30 but with a slim cabinet) - the ES110 is the equivalent model on the Kawai series of DPs.

Another is the Casio AP470 (I think you can get that around £799) - I think you get a lot of features for that amount. PS This one will probably last you a lot longer than the slabs above.

Whatever you do, the best advice is get the one you feel is right to your ears and touch and the only way to do this is to find a shop and play them extensively.

Good luck!

J

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You've mentioned two models in the YDP-14x series. Those haven't changed much over the years.
The same can be said of the YDP-16x series.
Any in each series will be largely the same! Change happens only very slowly.
Just be aware that an older piano may be worn in ways you might not be able to see upon inspection.

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You should ask yourself what is the longer term project you have in mind. If you want to get a digital piano as a means to check if your child (and yourself) are able to commit the time and effort required to play an instrument, then either a second hand DP or an entry level DP will fit the bill. Have a look at the Yamaha P-125, Roland FP30, Kawai ES100 and Casio PX-S1000. The question of new vs used is basically about the warranty and price. The advantage of going down this route is that you will minimize the investment in case things don't go as planned. However, if you start practicing seriously then you will need to upgrade to a keyboard with a better action later. Imo, most middle-range keyboards are not worth the investment because basically you will be paying for a number of additional technical features (and most will be useless for an acoustic piano simulation) but no upgrades to the keyboard action. So, I would suggest you start with an entry-level keyboard and then upgrade to a high-end one (i.e. the best mechanical action you can afford) in a couple of years.


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We all have these choices to make based on the resources, both financial and time we have to invest.

I had no idea whether a return to the piano after a 40 year break was something I would commit to or enjoy. I wanted to spend just enough not to have a piano that would have been the reason for me not to enjoy playing. I got a Yamaha P45 at the beginning of November last year. The P45 did the job, I enjoyed the return to playing more than I expected and I regained some skill faster than I expected.

I still don't know where I will be in 3 years. So after 3 months I've upgraded but only to a Casio AP 470 which I'm now loving. If I continue playing as much as I am then in approximately 3 years time it will be clear to me that I am making a serious investment for my enjoyment that is continuing.

I can see that then I'll probably be looking then at a price range of what a Kawai CA 78/98 or a Casio GP 400 is now, but I don't know now enough of where I will be in a few years in relation to playing the piano. That will resolve itself with time and I'll be in a better place to judge my needs then and hopefully there will have been another round of upgrades in technology in the meantime.

I suppose what I'm saying is I don't think you need to look too far in to the future as to what your requirements are. They will more than likely change with time. Buy something that won't detract from the enjoyment of the player at their current and potential skill level for the next couple of years would be my approach. It is too easy to spend lots of money.

Kevin

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Originally Posted by Eggplanted
My dilemma is basically - are the new entry range DPs from Yamaha (YDP) or Kawai(ES110) really significantly better than their 8 year old counterparts?

For instance:
I can buy for around £300-£400

That's the thing when those "used gear" questions come up: You are in the wrong budget bracket.

You can get excellent used pianos from 1500 bucks upwards - with a substantial discount over buying new. Also you don't end up with completely outdated technology, if the gear isn't really old.

But below 1000? There is nothing worth considering. Usually digital antiques and low-budget crap slightly cheaper than new.


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Thanks for all the replies!

I have to say that I tried FP30 and the Yamaha YDPs (143 and 163) in the store. I liked the key action of FP30 but something about the (default) sound of this piano really didn't sit well with me. However I did like the "mellow grand" sound of the FP90, which is a bit weird - I wonder if this was one of the sound options on the FP30 as well, and then this is much more attractive option. If somebody knows whether these two should sound the same, please tell me, and I can reconsider this piano.

YDP's sounds were very nice, but they kinda seemed to exist separately from the keys I played, if it makes sense. The piano just wasn't very reactive.

I never tried any casio's or kawai's. AD 470 looks very nice, but how does it compare to the ES110 and the Roland?

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Originally Posted by JoeT
Originally Posted by Eggplanted
My dilemma is basically - are the new entry range DPs from Yamaha (YDP) or Kawai(ES110) really significantly better than their 8 year old counterparts?

For instance:
I can buy for around £300-£400

That's the thing when those "used gear" questions come up: You are in the wrong budget bracket.

You can get excellent used pianos from 1500 bucks upwards - with a substantial discount over buying new. Also you don't end up with completely outdated technology, if the gear isn't really old.

But below 1000? There is nothing worth considering. Usually digital antiques and low-budget crap slightly cheaper than new.

I kind of had this suspicion myself, so this is what I am trying to confirm.

I can for instance buy a Casio AP250 for £330, a 4-5 year old piano on gumtree near me. A current model would cost £620. So I do save 300 quid and if it is virtually the same piano, why not? Or is it really outdated compared to the AP 270?

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Originally Posted by Eggplanted
Thanks for all the replies!

I have to say that I tried FP30 and the Yamaha YDPs (143 and 163) in the store. I liked the key action of FP30 but something about the (default) sound of this piano really didn't sit well with me. However I did like the "mellow grand" sound of the FP90, which is a bit weird - I wonder if this was one of the sound options on the FP30 as well, and then this is much more attractive option. If somebody knows whether these two should sound the same, please tell me, and I can reconsider this piano.

YDP's sounds were very nice, but they kinda seemed to exist separately from the keys I played, if it makes sense. The piano just wasn't very reactive.

I never tried any casio's or kawai's. AD 470 looks very nice, but how does it compare to the ES110 and the Roland?

My family has both the FP30 and an ES110. I use an FP30 and I got my wife an ES110 which so we have a piano in each of two homes. I much prefer the feel of the FP30 and I'd even go as far as saying I think it is a better piano when learning, but not by too much. ES110 has a decent feel. I personally didn't like the sound of the FP30, compared even to the ES110, so very soon after I got it, I started using a VST about 95% of the time.


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Eggplanted has sent you a private message.

I have brought a couple of Pianos second hand and will again in the future since you can get them for about half the price!!


http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/NigelFletcher

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Personally I'd avoid all DPs with release date before 2012 (with some exception, especially if budget is tight), many reason though


In 2 years: Casio AP250 - Kawai CN24 - Kawai CA65 - Kawai CA67
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Out of the 5 DPs I've owned, 4 have been used. I second Mac above in that at the budget end, not much changes between new releases.

Take Yamaha as an example. The p-125 was just released last year. Before that, the p-115 was their premium entry level DP, and before that it was the p-105. All three of these have exactly the same sound engine (Pure CF) and the same action (GHS), which is 99% of what you need and use for a digital piano. The changes between the generations are relatively minor (a few more notes of polyphony, done shuffling of the other instrument sounds, and most recently, a new optional 3-pedal unit addition of USB-audio, which is kind of cool).

Plus, these being lower cost entry level instruments, they sell in HUGE volume compared to the more expensive instruments, so you can find them on the used market readily, contributing to downward price pressure. And they're often purchased by folks like you--getting something for their kids to learn on, but not knowing if the kids will keep it up for more than a few months.

That makes for a prime secondary market.

When the p-115 came out, I bought a used P-105 with a furniture stand, 3 pedal unit, headphones and quality bench, for less than the lowest sale-price of a new P-115 without any extras. I would still take a P-105 over a new P-125 if the price was right and the instrument in good condition.

The thing to watch out for is that DPs don't last forever (as Mac also mentioned). When buying used, you have to do legwork and ensure it works as described. Confirm no speaker issues, no dead/worn/loud keys, pedals/ports/buttons all work, etc. The budget DPs develop clacky action noises after a few months/years of playing, and the older the instrument, the more likely there will be issues requiring actual service and replacements of consumables like foam/felt/rubber parts. It helps if you have higher risk tolerance, don't mind opening electronics up to DIY, and generally can afford to take a chance of loss or greater cost in exchange for lower initial outlay.

for my used DPs I bought sight unseen, which is definitely risky, but they both turned out brilliantly, and I saved/made money by reselling every used DP I had, and that it actually made upgrading so much easier since I never took a depreciation hit on anything. So it can work out fine, but of course it involves a lot more effort than buying new and having the dealer/manufacturer support and warranty that comes with it.


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One thing to consider is whether you can rent a new piano for a few months to get a feel for how much you want to play. It's a little extra money out the door but if you want to take your time making a decision, perhaps you can at least get your child and yourself started while you consider all your options.

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The Fp30 and FP90 have different actions, different sound generators, and different loudspeaker systems.

There's nothing in the FP30 that matches the "Supernatural Modeled" sounds of the FP90.


. Charles
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

There's nothing in the FP30 that matches the "Supernatural Modeled" sounds of the FP90.


But there are some who prefer the SuperNatural-hybrid sound of the FP-30 to the SuperNatural Modeled sound of the FP-90 smile And quite a few RD2000 owners who have reported defaulting to the older SuperNatural hybrid engine pianos than the V-Piano engine tones (having the benefit of the two engines in the same chassis).


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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
The Fp30 and FP90 have different actions, different sound generators, and different loudspeaker systems.

There's nothing in the FP30 that matches the "Supernatural Modeled" sounds of the FP90.

OK, thanks for the clarification.
I thought that the fact that they both have the same supernatural sound engine (whatever this is!) would mean they have similar sounds.

I didn’t sadly like the fp30 sound in person, although from the online reviews I was 90 percent convinced this is the right piano for me. I think this is just a personal preference, and maybe we all have slightly different ears. I thought fp90 sounded great.

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Originally Posted by bambooninja
One thing to consider is whether you can rent a new piano for a few months to get a feel for how much you want to play. It's a little extra money out the door but if you want to take your time making a decision, perhaps you can at least get your child and yourself started while you consider all your options.

I should clarify that he has been learning on a non-weighted Yamaha keyboard for half a year already. I am reasonably sure he is going to stick with it for a few years at least, but he needs to start learning properly smile

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FWIW --

In the low-price end of the "digital piano" (88 weighted keys) market, all the major makers (casio, kawai, roland, yamaha) have decent current offerings. The market is very competitive.

None of them is "just like an acoustic piano". None of them sounds as good as a good VST.

But any of them is adequate for learning piano, and for making music. The choice is personal, and not worth a lot of agonizing over.

Any of the DP's under consideration is way better than an unweighted keyboard.


. Charles
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