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Hi All.

I've been wanting to get my first ever piano for a while now. At the start of the UK lockdown in 2020, I decided I would give learning to play the piano a go and borrowed an ancient Casio keyboard off the grandparents to try it out.

Absolutely love it!

Although it only has 4 octaves and sounds nothing like a piano, I play it virtually every single day.

-- SO...
I've been reading and watching YouTube reviews on various digital pianos. Been to my local music store to try some out.
At first I had set my budget around the £1000 mark but after playing the Roland HP704 and the Casio GP310, I quickly realised that the more expensive pianos feel much nicer to play (and look nicer imo), and so I upped my max to about £2500

I think I've narrowed it down to the following:
* Roland HP704 - Wasn't amazed by the key action but it has bluetooth and lots of sound variations.
* Roland LX705 - Never played but I like the look of the taller cabinets
* Casio GP310 - LOVED the feel of this. Wooden full-length keys. Just lovely. Only annoying things though are that it has a fraction of the piano sounds compared to other digital pianos and doesn't have Bluetooth.
* Yamaha CLP735 - Never played.
* Yamaha CLP745 - Never played.

Does anyone have any of the above? It would be good to know your experiences.
Is Bluetooth worth it?
Is it worth having all those different piano tones or is it a bit of a gimmick?
Any thoughts on key textures and feel of the keys?
RE the Yamaha pianos, is it worth the extra money for the 745 over the 735?

(Some people recommend Kawai pianos but it seems none of the music shops near me seem to sell them)

Many thanks

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Originally Posted by Brownie956
Is Bluetooth worth it?
That kind of depends on what you want to achieve but if you ultimately find that the internal sounds in any digital piano are not satisfying enough then if it has Bluetooth that offers both MIDI Out and Audio In then it makes connecting up to a PC running a VST much easier. The PC is bound to have Bluetooth anyway so if you can have things set up so that as you play your key presses go out from the piano as MIDI (over Bluetooth) then this triggers a piano simulation like Pianoteq or something and it generates audio then that audio can route back to the piano and come out of it's speakers without requiring lots of messy leads and possibly other interface boxes (like USB-MIDI converters or whatever).

While my budget doesn't stretch to where yours does this is one of the many reasons the Roland FP10 seems so attractive as it not only has Bluetooth to provide a MIDI link (several devices do this) but it has audio over bluetooth as well which can get the sound back into the piano's own amplifier/speakers. The nett effect should be that it feels like the piano itself is making the sound even though it's been helped by a nearby PC.

If one used Audio out and Audio in then the piano's own sounds could go to "effects" like chorus, reverb and so on and be manopulated on a PC then the audio fed back to the piano via Buetooth audio in.

The one thing to be wary of as soon as any kind of wireless radio system is involved is the question of latency - for a given key press will the key on message get out of the piano and to the PC quickly and will the resulting audio note get back into the piano also very quickly without you noticing any time lag. (even a few milliseconds may start to sound like "lag")

But, yeah, bluetooth on piano is a nice feature to consider. You can of course use it for other things. Even if it only carries the more common MIDI out that would still let you direct (without cables/interfaces) the key data you play into a Digital Audio Workstation on a PC so it can be recoded, manipulated and used to trigger all kinds of other things (VST) so the piano itself then becomes a "controller".

Last edited by 1903wrightflyer; 05/12/21 11:07 AM.
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You can't go wrong with any of the ones on that list. Though I will say those 2 Yamahas are a bit barebone.

The difficulty for a beginner making the dive right away is in the fact that he hasn't developed a proper taste/ experience to evaluate how the action behaves (relative) to his playstyle.

I'd recommend getting a budget model and taking the big dive in two-three years.

Last edited by EinLudov; 05/12/21 11:30 AM.
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Audio Bluetooth is interesting with some applications which doesn’t need low latency : simply play a WAV file (or a MIDI file converted in audio), add an accompaniment with iReal Pro.

I have used Blutooth with SmartPianist, surely, it would be more handy than a USB cable, but the SmartPianist connection prevent the use of the panel buttons. Then I prefer not to use it.

I suppose the latency of BT to be too high to use virtual instruments or other similar applications.


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Originally Posted by Frédéric L
I suppose the latency of BT to be too high to use virtual instruments or other similar applications.
? I use midi over Bluetooth with my Yamaha to access software instruments on my iPad, and the latency is hardly perceptible, if at all depending mainly on the iPad model. Is it worth it? I used to use a cable and adapter, so to me it is.

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Bluetooth MIDI can be added with a separate device plugged into the MIDI sockets.

Bluetooth audio can be added with a separate device plugged into to Line In socket.

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The bluetooth, as described for Roland FP10, cannot not play VST on PC, effectively Why? There are no native Windows drivers for using bluetooth for that purpose, and Roland does not provide it either. However you can perform somersaults and jumps like this guy and find it 'not functionally useful'. Not worth it for this usage.

You'd be better off using the bluetooth as Roland intended, with the Piano Partner app, at least for the midi connectivity. That will expand your access to other functionality of your Roland dp. Playing back audio (non-midi) from other devices to your Roland dp, would still function as if you were using bluetooth speakers. Now both of these usage would make it worth it.


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Are we spending too much time on the auxiliary features and controls?

A piano has 88 controls that demand attention. Any more than that is hard to justify.

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Originally Posted by EinLudov
The difficulty for a beginner making the dive right away is in the fact that he hasn't developed a proper taste/ experience to evaluate how the action behaves (relative) to his playstyle.

I'd recommend getting a budget model and taking the big dive in two-three years.

Yes and no I suppose. I take your point that I'm a beginner player and you're right that I can't really notice the subtleties of the sound, but I definitely found the feel of the keys better than say at £600 piano. I'd hope it would be a long-term purchase (could be like 10 years) so I'm happy to fork out the extra money.

Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Bluetooth MIDI can be added with a separate device plugged into the MIDI sockets.

Bluetooth audio can be added with a separate device plugged into to Line In socket.

Interesting point. At the moment I don't really need or want like 300+ sounds as I bet, most of them I would never use. But I'd kind of like the option I guess.
I assume then that not having Bluetooth built in doesn't really impact being able to use it with apps for learning piano and changing the sounds?

Thought it was pretty cool that I could use it as a BT speaker for playing music through but I guess with a receiver you could do that on any piano with a line-in.

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The MD-BT01 add MIDI Bluetooth on any DP with MIDI plugs. It works with my old CLP150 (2002) as well with my N1X. It could be the same with a Bluetooth audio receiver, but I have never tried.


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For the price of a bluetooth MIDI device, I'd buy a MIDI/USB adapter instead. Wire is less fidgety and more reliable than a radio kludge.

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Originally Posted by 1903wrightflyer
Originally Posted by Brownie956
Is Bluetooth worth it?
That kind of depends on what you want to achieve but if you ultimately find that the internal sounds in any digital piano are not satisfying enough then if it has Bluetooth that offers both MIDI Out and Audio In then it makes connecting up to a PC running a VST much easier. The PC is bound to have Bluetooth anyway . . .
[. . . ]
While my budget doesn't stretch to where yours does this is one of the many reasons the Roland FP10 seems so attractive as it not only has Bluetooth to provide a MIDI link (several devices do this) but it has audio over bluetooth as well which can get the sound back into the piano's own amplifier/speakers. The nett effect should be that it feels like the piano itself is making the sound even though it's been helped by a nearby PC.
Two things. First, the FP-10 has Bluetooth Midi, but does not have Bluetooth audio. So there is no getting sound in to the FP-10 from the outside, since it also has no line in.

Second, someone else in this thread said,
Quote
The bluetooth, as described for Roland FP10, cannot not play VST on PC, effectively Why? There are no native Windows drivers for using bluetooth for that purpose, and Roland does not provide it either.
I don't think this is accurate. I think there are issues with getting _any_ Bluetooth midi device to connect properly to a Windows PC; it's not straightforward. This is not a problem with the FP-10; I believe it's a problem you'll have with any keyboard trying to connect Bluetooth Midi to Windows.

However, be aware that the FP-10 connects easily via Bluetooth Midi to iOS or MacOS devices.

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This is drifting off-topic but the solution for BT-MIDI on Win10 is apparently https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/midiberry/9n39720h2m05?activetab=pivot:overviewtab

[Linked Image]

from Microsoft that will add the MIDI/BLE support needed.

Anyway, thanks to those who corrected me about FP-10 (I don't have it yet, just on the point of pressing the button!). I had been lead to believe (not sure if it were web article or YT video?) that the MIDI audio back-channel would allow VST output to be inserted into its amp/speakers but apparently not then ?!?

(it doesn't bother me too much as I can just direct the VST output to a separate amp anyway but the suggestion that you could get it to "play" out of the DPs own speakers had sounded like an interesting (less hassle?) option. Oh well).

Last edited by 1903wrightflyer; 05/13/21 11:37 AM.
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Take your time and try it out in peace - there is no golden rule, all pianos in your selection are good. Ultimately, what counts is what you like most. And my opinion on the CLP735 or CLP 745: Yes, I think that the surcharge for the CLP 745 is justified and worth it.

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Originally Posted by Brownie956
Does anyone have any of the above? It would be good to know your experiences.
Is Bluetooth worth it?
Is it worth having all those different piano tones or is it a bit of a gimmick?
Any thoughts on key textures and feel of the keys?
RE the Yamaha pianos, is it worth the extra money for the 745 over the 735?
I have a CLP-745. I believe views on it are unbiased as I never planned to purchase it, and I don't plan on keeping it!

Bluetooth is great for playing back regular music - e.g. Music Together (American) or the Wiggles (Australian) for your kids! The 745 has 200 watts - more than enough power to anger your neighbours! Apart from that you don't really need Bluetooth.

Whilst you don't need many piano tones (especially if you purchase your own higher quality ones on your computer) - I must admit that a guilty pleasure I have is using the Mozart Piano at least a few times per week smile Remember to set the pitch to A421 or Mozart will have your guts for garters! (a novice mistake I know :-p)

Lastly, regarding the 735 - I would either get a 725 for about £1,330 (Bonners) and spend what you saved on the VSL Steinway sample library(https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Synchron_Pianos_Bundle/Concert_D), or get the 745. The 735 is really in no man's land after the 725 was recently released.

If you want to go all in with £2500, then you should at least try the Kawai CA79. It's at least as good as the Casio GP310.

Last edited by Burkey; 05/13/21 12:20 PM.

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