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Joined: Apr 2021
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Getz Offline OP
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Hello fellow pianoworld users smile

I would love to purchase my first digital piano. I picked 3 models which are in my price range:

Kawaii ES-110
Yamaha P125
Casio PX-S1000

What i need is 88 fully weighted keys, possibility to plug 3 pedals, 120+ polyphony. All of the above seem to match my requirements. Th thing is i would also like to have possibility to plug my piano to laptop and connect it to Ableton Live. In Ableton i use lots of VST piano plugins. My concern is if it would be possible for me to control those VST via my Digital Piano. I would also like the pedals to send signal to the software. Basically my question is if my digital piano is going to work as MIDI controller like for example Komplete Kontrol mk2.

Do you guys use your digital pianos as MIDI controllers? Is it worth to buy digital piano instead of a controller? For me the piano feeling, pedal board and internal speakers are the way to go but still would love to expand my sound bank with all of the VSTs i own.

Another question is if velocity and aftertouch are going to work for those VSTS?

I am a digital piano newbie so me questions might seem stupid for you but just want to make sure what i should buy match my workflow smile

Best regards

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Hello,

Many on this forum, myself included, use digital pianos as MIDI controllers to play decent piano libraries/vsts on their computers and sound systems. If the feel of the piano, the pedals etc. are important to you, this is the way to go.

All of the three models you mention can be used this way. Some remarks, though:

- The ES110 doesn't have a USB connection but uses traditional 5-pin MIDI instead. Many audio interfaces offer 5-pin sockets, with one of those you'd be fine to hook up the ES110.
- I am not sure if all of these three can take a three-pedal set, be sure to double-check that. If they do, generally, the pedal positions will be output to the MIDI message stream as well.
- When I selected my piano for MIDI use last year, I studied the 'MIDI implementation' pages in their respective manuals to see if a piano would operate as I would need it to MIDI wise.

Side notes:

- The P125 has the nice extra of a built-in audio interface, which might work nicely with the setup you may have in mind. However I find the keyboard rather poorly constructed and dated as its action goes, so to me it fell off my shortlist.
- I wouldn't recommend the Casio's key action either, however that is something you'd literally have to feel out yourself, for the feel and response are matters of highly personal preference.

Cheers and happy decision making,

HZ

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Originally Posted by Getz
or me the piano feeling, pedal board and internal speakers are the way to go but still would love to expand my sound bank with all of the VSTs i own.
While any DP with MIDI or USB can be used as a VST controller (meaning almost anything made in the last 35 years or so), one difference among pianos with built-in speakers is whether you'd be able to hear the VST's sounds out of the board's internal speakers. If that's something you want, that will affect your decision.

Originally Posted by Getz
Another question is if velocity and aftertouch are going to work for those VSTS?
Velocity, absolutely. Aftertouch would work in theory, except that none of the boards you're considering have aftertouch. (Aftertouch is also not relevant for piano sounds.)

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Getz Offline OP
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Thank you for reply HZPiano,

Just wondering if i would be able to stretch mu budget a bit is there any digital piano u could recommend with decent key action and USB connection?
Unfortunately my audio interface do not support 5 pin MIDI, i know that there are USB-MIDI cable switches but maybe i could afford a digital piano with both good action and USB connectivity smile

anotherscott, great that u mentioned the speakers part, definitely something to consider!

Last edited by Getz; 04/06/21 10:28 AM.
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I would recommend the roland fp30x, the feel of the keys is very good, it has 3 sensors and if you use it as a midi controller you will feel a much more precise control than with the others. (From experience I tell you, has usb midi port)
And yes, you can control the vst you want, but since none of those mentioned digital pianos ( including the roland) has some kind of fader or modulation wheel, I would recommend you buy additional the "korg nanokontrol2" which is a small unit with which you help you in the volumes and effects. Everything is compatible with ableton live.

The casio pxs 1000 or 3000 piano I would not recommend, they are not worth it .. the weight applied so that the white keys go down is different from that of the black ones.

Last edited by davick; 04/06/21 11:06 AM.
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Originally Posted by Getz
Thank you for reply HZPiano,

Just wondering if i would be able to stretch mu budget a bit is there any digital piano u could recommend with decent key action and USB connection?
Unfortunately my audio interface do not support 5 pin MIDI, i know that there are USB-MIDI cable switches but maybe i could afford a digital piano with both good action and USB connectivity smile

Hello,

You're welcome.

I think @davick above points in a useful direction. I myself use the Roland FP-10 which has the same key action (PHA-4 Standard) as the FP-30X and FP-60X. I solely use it for MIDI so didn't have to go up any higher in price or model number; internal sounds, speakers etc. are irrelevant for my use. I can confirm that I like the quality of the key action and that the triple sensor system and MIDI give me exactly what I want. The FP-10 is limited in its pedal capabilities though.

This said, the FP-30X may have advantages that make it a good choice, such as better pedaling, onboard audio interface etc.

Having a decent click with any musical instrument is a highly personal matter, so always try and judge for yourself before making any purchases.

Cheers and happy decision making,

HZ

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And:

As @anotherscott has also mentioned, aftertouch in digital pianos is a very rare thing, if it exists at all. There are probably piano-ish MIDI controllers that have aftertouch, I am thinking the likes of M-Audio Hammer 88 and such. I do not know which of those would have aftertouch, but usually these keyboards are not really what you'd like to see and feel in a decent piano keyboard. And they don't have their own sound, nor speakers.

The Roland A-88 Mk II is somewhat interesting, because it has that same PHA-4 Standard action, and a few basic extra controls typical to a dedicated MIDI controller. But no aftertouch, no sounds, no speakers. And a price point above the FP-30X.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

HZ

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Originally Posted by davick
The casio pxs 1000 or 3000 piano I would not recommend, they are not worth it .. the weight applied so that the white keys go down is different from that of the black ones.
I'm guessing you have never actually played either of these, just watched the video review on youtube.
Your fingers will not know the difference when you play the PX; it plays beautifully with a very light touch.

Last edited by trooplewis; 04/06/21 05:24 PM.

Casio PX-S3000
Nope, no issues with it at all.
Took lessons from 1960 to 1969, stopped at age 16.
Started again in July 2020 at age 67. Lots more fun now!
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Originally Posted by trooplewis
Originally Posted by davick
The casio pxs 1000 or 3000 piano I would not recommend, they are not worth it .. the weight applied so that the white keys go down is different from that of the black ones.
I'm guessing you have never actually played either of these, just watched the video review on youtube.
Your fingers will not know the difference when you play the PX; it plays beautifully with a very light touch.


If I say something it is because I have played it, for this reason my comment. The "casio" I felt like that and that's why I share it, I prefer the action of the roland. Reserve your opinions to answer those who have doubts, I do not have them.

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The use of digital pianos as midi controllers is very limited. No problem if you just want to play VSTs, however. If you want to do more, like zones, mod and pitch wheels, midi mapping, DAW control it is another animal altogether.


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