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First post here, and so glad I found this forum! I'm a bit of a rambler, so I am forcing myself to put a TL;DR version up top, then if you are interested in the backstory, you can scroll down below.

The issue: I need a new digital piano! Or stage piano. Or keyboard. Or arranger!? So confused with all the terminology now.
Currently have an ancient Roland KR-570, whose keys I have probably repaired for the last time. I'm getting tired of opening it up and repairing, and now the same keys (plastic near the weights, to be specific) are breaking, so I'm thinking after almost 25 years of life, it's been a good run.

My Dad recently bought a Yamaha DGX-670, and I was simply blown away by how good it sounded (especially given the 6w speakers!?), and played. Obviously a different beast than my Roland DP console, but OTOH, the advances in technology (and in key/weight design) in 25 years makes a huge difference.

So here are my questions for the board:
Is there a digital piano or keyboard out there that is as fun to play as the Yamaha (and as full featured in terms of arranging, etc), but maybe a couple notches above in terms of action, build quality (I prefer the look and feel of my Roland console cabinet), and speaker quality?
If there isn't, and I basically have to choose between really good action and realistic piano tone VS arranging ability and options, if I choose the former, can one use 3rd party apps as arrangers (that work seamlessly with the less-featured DP's?)? I enjoy goofing around playing pop songs or EDM with backing as much as I do practicing scales, and learning a piece using only the default piano tone.

I am completely brand agnostic, so any options that reasonably satisfy the following are all game:
1. PREFERABLY less than $2K, but if that is some price wall, and the BEST DP is $2300, well....
2. Prefer a console, but I am also fine with a portable with a decent console like stand.
3. I was never really happy with the 40w downward firing speakers in my Roland, and I still don't know WHY. I guess they had plenty of power, but maybe they just weren't very good quality. Or maybe the way they were set in the console led to a mediocre sound. Anyway, it seems that that particular problem is still present from what I've read: almost all the options I have been looking at sound amazing with headphones (including my Roland)...but when you unplug and want to use the external speakers....much more hit and miss.


Me: adult learner, I guess is the best way to describe me. I spent most years up to and including college playing music (mostly brass instruments), so I know theory, the notes, etc. But I spent very little of that time learning piano (maybe two, when I was a kid!).
Rewind to 1997: My first decent paying job! First thing I go out and do once I get hired (before I even get my first paycheck) is go to the music store and impulsively buy (on credit, boy was I young and foolish!) what at that time was I guess the top of the line Roland DP? I remember it was around $4-$5K...in 1997! Ever since I had graduated college, I missed playing music, and I think I missed my calling when I chose trumpet and other instruments for almost 15 years. What I REALLY loved was the piano, so dammit it was finally time to correct that mistake. Or maybe just time to "transition" from one instrument to another. laugh

Note that I had bought a couple of better than decent keyboards and synthesizers prior to this...in high school and college (nothing NEAR that price range though). Loved the creativity that digital keyboards generated in me, and I usually ended up losing myself for hours just "messing around" (keep in mind, still was not a "piano player"). But with this, it was more a statement to myself that "I am going to LEARN to PLAY the piano, dammit. And well. So I bought a "serious" instrument (I actually strongly considered buying an acoustic at the time, but it wasn't feasible for several reasons). Now FF almost 25 years, and because "reasons" I STILL haven't done what I set out to do back then...REALLY learn to play, and play well.

I plan (again!) to finally correct that now that I am not working constantly.

Any help much appreciated, even if it just means gently nudging me to an existing thread. I did come across some similar OP's, but the ones I saw did not have the interest in the arranging part. I'm afraid what I am looking for doesn't exist at a reasonable price level (and I am not willing or able to plunk down $4-5K again).

EDIT: Forgot to mention I am in the early stages of research, but getting a bit frustrated bc everything I see that looks (and sounds) amazing, doesn't have ANY arranging, or very limited.
Some models I have listed in my Evernote...note:

Roland RP-501R, 701/704, FP90X
Kawai: CN39 or higher? ES 920
Yamaha: P515
Yamaha DGX 670 (not REALLY interested in this primarily due to the lack of piano tone accuracy and action (but I am just assuming that the models I listed above are MUCH better than this, in these two things)

Should I be looking at Clavinovas? Haven't dipped my toe there yet. I think I remember also considering them before I bought the Roland.

Last edited by ClemFandango; 09/28/21 06:21 PM.
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There are bunch of "arranger pianos" on the market, some by Korg, some by Yamaha. Prices vary widely, as do capabilities. The trick (for you) is to find something that's a really good digital piano, and also has arranger / workstation features.

Casio also has several models -- I think the PX-S3000 / PX-S3100 are the most recent. The sounds are good, the action has been compromised to achieve a very slim case.

I _think_ the Kawai ES920 and Roland FP-90/ FP-90x have arranger features, and they are really good DP's (both sound and action).

You might find some useful threads in the "Keyboard Forum":

keyboardforums.com

It's not as "piano-centered" as this forum.

Have fun in the hunt, and please report back --


. Charles
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There's a whole world of music software with thousands of sounds and options, and you can play it through any simple keyboard that supports midi (99% of modern keyboards do)

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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
There are bunch of "arranger pianos" on the market, some by Korg, some by Yamaha. Prices vary widely, as do capabilities. The trick (for you) is to find something that's a really good digital piano, and also has arranger / workstation features.

Casio also has several models -- I think the PX-S3000 / PX-S3100 are the most recent. The sounds are good, the action has been compromised to achieve a very slim case.

I _think_ the Kawai ES920 and Roland FP-90/ FP-90x have arranger features, and they are really good DP's (both sound and action).

You might find some useful threads in the "Keyboard Forum":

keyboardforums.com

It's not as "piano-centered" as this forum.

Have fun in the hunt, and please report back --
Thanks for the suggestions, will definitely report back once I've "completed my quest". :P

And you pretty much boiled down my lengthy post into its essence: looking for a digital piano first, with strong accompianment feature set. From what I've seen so far, you only really find that at the top end of each brand's console DP line, but still holding out hope I can find something in the sub $2K range.

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There are "arrangers" with built-in multi-track sequencers (and we've debated the terminology in the past -- enough about that) and there are digital pianos with "accompaniment".

Which one you need?

Is it enough to just play live with the accompaniment?

There's the Yamaha CVP product range of course which is "Clavinova with accompaniment" and plenty of flashing lights and buttons. (And of course a screen nowadays.)

There's also the Yamaha CSP range which has at least some of the CVP features but uses a mobile device as the user interface for the extra features.

Modern Roland pianos also have accompaniment patterns and use a mobile application as the UI for those. (Gone are the dedicated buttons.) So does Dexibell.

Some Casio Privias -- other than the already mentioned PX-S3100 -- have accompaniments too, as does their Celviano AP-650.

But the problem is, which ones would be "piano first" enough i.e. with a good enough key action(?)

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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
There are "arrangers" with built-in multi-track sequencers (and we've debated the terminology in the past -- enough about that) and there are digital pianos with "accompaniment".

Which one you need?

Is it enough to just play live with the accompaniment?

There's the Yamaha CVP product range of course which is "Clavinova with accompaniment" and plenty of flashing lights and buttons. (And of course a screen nowadays.)

There's also the Yamaha CSP range which has at least some of the CVP features but uses a mobile device as the user interface for the extra features.

Modern Roland pianos also have accompaniment patterns and use a mobile application as the UI for those. (Gone are the dedicated buttons.) So does Dexibell.

Some Casio Privias -- other than the already mentioned PX-S3100 -- have accompaniments too, as does their Celviano AP-650.

But the problem is, which ones would be "piano first" enough i.e. with a good enough key action(?)
Ahh, you guys are brilliant, and asking all the right questions! So helpful.

So yes, it would be enough to just play live w/ accomp. Would PREFER some multi-track recording (have used it a bit in the past, but not heavily), but also realize that I need to make compromises to get something close to what I am looking for.

Thanks for the model suggestions...looking them up now. However, I have kind of been avoiding the CVP since the starting price for models in that line is $4K USD. Too rich for me, currently.

And this, THIS, 1000x this:
"But the problem is, which ones would be "piano first" enough i.e. with a good enough key action(?)"

Last edited by ClemFandango; 09/29/21 11:38 AM.
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The CSP170 will be far superior than the CSP150 if we consider the action.

The CVP905 and CVP809 with the GrandTouch action is nice too.

The last time I have tested the Tri-Sensor II of Casio, I have disliked it. I guess I would not like the AP-650.

I have liked high-end Roland (PHA50 keyboard).


But you should test and feel by yourself. I may have a personal feeling with this digital pianos.


One option is to get iReal Pro on your smartphone and use the Bluetooth link (if available) to play the piano with an accompaniment. Not exactly the same function (with iReal Pro you have to enter the chord grid before playing : the app doesn’t play in real time), but can be a cost effective solution. (For less than the price of the CVP809, you have a better keyboard with the N1X !!)

Last edited by Frédéric L; 09/29/21 12:44 PM.

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There are then hardware accompaniment modules too from Roland and Ketron, at least. Not cheap though.

And Dexibell's XMure iOS app can actually be used with other digital pianos too.

But all these add at least a little bit of complexity.

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The advantage of iReal Pro is that it can be used with an audio Bluetooth link… then I launch it, search or edit a song, play it, that’s it. (The Bluetooth pairing is done once for all and the link is established every time my phone « see » the digital piano).

With a Roland BK-7m module for example, I would have to link it (MIDI, audio). Not that complex, but far more complex than a Bluetooth link that is configured once for all.

I have just tried XMure. It seems to be comparable with iReal Pro, but I can’t manage to change the chord grid as I want.


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One last question guys...any idea what I should or could do with my 25 year old Roland DP? Is there any use in asking ANY money for it considering the keys need to be repaired (I will do it one more time, just so I can continue to play it, but I am sure they aren't going to magically stop breaking). Certainly don't want to scam anyone, but just wondering if it has any value as parts.

And FWIW, so far I have narrowed things down to:

Roland FP-90X (even though no built in accomp. function)
Kawai CN39
Kawai ES920
Yamaha CLP-735
I'm sure there is another one out there that I haven't seen. Again, the idea is to find a "serious" DP (action and piano sound) to play and continue to learn on, but also to have a decent accomp. function to mess around with.

Last edited by ClemFandango; 10/06/21 04:12 PM.
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A quick answer to your question about your 25 year old Roland DP: give it away, perhaps to a needy family. You won't get anything if you try to sell it.

I did just that with a 25 year old Casio DP a few years ago, and was surprised and pleased to see that the family's three kids really took to the piano. They started taking weekly lessons, acquired an old acoustic upright, and are now at a decent intermediate level. You never know what doors may be opened by a piano that has little value for you!

I'm a little surprised that you dropped the Yamaha P-515 from your list. It has over 500 voices / 18 drum kits / 40 styles that would suit you well. It's not quite a DGX in its arranger / accompaniment capabilities, but has a superior action.

I am biased towards "slabs" (non-console DPs) since they offer greater value, and with their optional wooden stands and three-pedal systems look good, too. You should be able to get any of the three slabs with their options well within your $2K budget.

Good luck for your final decision!
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ClemFandango, here are a few additional thoughts:

Your 25 year old Roland DP could be valuable for parts, but it is unlikely that anyone will pay you for it. I thought of buying an old Roland DP recently -- not quite as old as yours though -- to repair and donate to a needy family, but found its parts out of stock everywhere.

If you do donate your old piano, make sure the recipients know what they are getting, and perhaps explain how to repair the keys should they fail again. Someone may be willing to accept the prospect of future repairs on a free piano.

My 25 year old Casio DP was in new condition when given away, so I had no qualms about doing so. I had bought it when in graduate school and on a tight budget, thinking that its touch-sensitive but not weighted keys would be fine.

In fact, for someone trained as a child on an acoustic piano, the Casio's keys were so woefully inadequate that I didn't touch it after an initial honeymoon period. It was a far superior Yamaha DGX-660 that got me back to playing the piano in retirement.

All the best!
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(re-posted from another thread -- sorry . . . )

Originally Posted by ClemFandango
. . .

FWIW, the short list that I have come up with so far is:
Roland FP90-X
Kawai CN39
Kawai ES920
Yamaha CLP 735 . . .
FWIW --

Add the Yamaha P-515 to the list. The action and sound generator are on par with the others you have mentioned.

I don't know about its accompaniment functions, but those may be available via tablet- or phone- or computer-based software.

With any "slab piano", you may want to add outboard powered loudspeakers.


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Originally Posted by Lotus1
I'm a little surprised that you dropped the Yamaha P-515 from your list. It has over 500 voices / 18 drum kits / 40 styles that would suit you well. It's not quite a DGX in its arranger / accompaniment capabilities, but has a superior action.

I am biased towards "slabs" (non-console DPs) since they offer greater value, and with their optional wooden stands and three-pedal systems look good, too. You should be able to get any of the three slabs with their options well within your $2K budget.
I dropped the Yamaha from consideration I THINK because I read more than a few comments about the weak speakers (one of my more important check boxes). But also because it just has a basic bass + rhythm accomp. function (though the Roland has none I think and it's still on my short list for some reason, so that doesn't seem quite right).

If I ever make it to a music store to check these out in person, I will definitely look at it though.

I get the increasing feeling that I am trying to find something that no longer exists in the market, or that exists for twice as much as I am willing to pay. Now that I have a better understanding of what's out there, I am looking for this:

A not too heavy action, but still high quality, like the ES920 (Kawai)
Maybe the piano sounds from the higher end Yamahas (but from what I've heard, I like the Kawai piano tones also)
An arranger like the Yamaha DG670 (or something similar)
4 speakers preferable, in a console style

All for less than $2500! :P Actually I would pay $3K if I could get that combo.

A few people commented about 3rd party software for the accompaniament. Recommendations? And that functionality can be a little cumbersome even when it's built in. Can't imagine trying to play and manage it using a touchscreen (though maybe it's easier, who knows).

Last edited by ClemFandango; 10/08/21 03:16 PM.

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