weighted keys / Roland F50

General discussion about digital pianos

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Pittencrieff_Par
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weighted keys / Roland F50

Post by Pittencrieff_Par » 01 Jan 2008, 20:11

do all digital pianos have "weighted keys" so that they feel like a real piano? The music teacher who is going to take our daughter for lessons insists that we need to get one like that. What sort of price do these come in at the cheaper end of the scale? Sound control ( a music shop near us) are doing a Roland F50 as follows for £499....

http://promenademusic.co.uk/details.asp?sku=805

seems perfectly adequate for a beginner just playing at home.

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Post by markymark » 06 Jan 2008, 01:19

You need to make sure you know the difference between a “weighted keyboard” and a “hammer-action keyboard”. A weighted keyboard is just what it says but hammer action replicate the action and feel of an acoustic piano in the way a key operates the hammer inside the piano. Of course there aren’t real hammers inside the keyboard but the keys are graded so that lower notes are heavier and higher pitched notes have a lighter feel. As a music teacher myself, I always encourage people to look for digital pianos with “Graded Hammer Action”. I have not played Roland keyboards for a number of years. Roland have some awesome sounds and samples on their keyboard but their piano-like feel never really convinced me. I hear their hammer action has improved over the years but Yamaha, to me, have been the most consistent and reliable in the hammer action realm!

It is important for your daughter to get the feel of an instrument that is as close to a piano and possible as it will help maintain her hand-control and posture and help with her louds and softs, staccatos and legatos. Obviously, a real piano is best but, understandably, that’s not always possible for some families. If she is planning to do exams, she most likely will use a real piano for her practical tests and that can also be a shock to a child who has been used to using a keyboard that just kinda emulates the feel of a real piano keyboard.

For the same money as the F50, you could get a P series Yamaha which has a very good track record and, of course, has the graded hammer action I was talking about earlier. I’m going to be biased here of course because I have a Yamaha CP300 and a Yamaha U1 upright piano. Talk to your piano teacher again and see what he/she says.

Again, I can’t say much about Roland as my early experiences put me off them. If you do decide to go for a Roland, just make sure that it has speakers. Some of the stage piano models don’t have them onboard!

Pittencrieff_Par
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Post by Pittencrieff_Par » 06 Jan 2008, 19:05

markymark - thanks for the info, I'll bear all of that in mind. I did think that Yamaha was going to be the brand we'd go for. Yamaha generally regarded better than Roland then?

I'll keep an eye out for "graded hammer action"!

For the Roland F50 it says....

The F-50 uses Roland’s acclaimed Progressive Hammer-Action Keyboard for true grand piano feel. These keys feature an adjustable key touch and are weighted with a lighter touch in the upper range and a heavier touch in the lower range. Do you think that is the same thing?

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Post by markymark » 06 Jan 2008, 19:47

When people ask questions between brands, it's sometimes like asking a group of people "Whose baked beans taste better Sainsbury or Tesco?" Well they're more or less the same but it really depends which flavour you prefer....

I wouldn’t like to say that Yamaha is necessarily better than Roland or vice-versa. There are some great Roland followers in this forum... :wink: Roland has great strengths in their synthesised sounds and awesome electric piano samples. They also work with guitar effects, electric percussion and have a brilliant emulation of the Hammond B3. I think they were also the firm that led the way into the MIDI jungle. Basically the two brands are different and to me, have different strengths. As far a hammer-action keyboards are concerned coupled with realistic piano sound sampling however, I feel that Yamaha are better; also bearing mind what you need in an instrument. Pianos are Yamaha's forte. After all, Yamaha have been building pianos for a long time - who better to consult for a realistic digital representation of the acoustic version?

“The Progressive Hammer-Action Keyboard” is Roland's equivalent of Yamaha's GHS (Graded Hammer Standard). The problem you’ll find as you start digital piano hunting is that digital and stage piano brands will use different terminology that either mean exactly or roughly the same thing. That’s when it can become confusing and that is why you are better to try and compare the two feels if possible to be sure which is best for you. Keyboard feel is a personal issue - you have no idea! I've almost fallen out with people on this topic! :D

Based on my experience, you can always count on a Yamaha for an authentic piano feel and sound. Obviously an acoustic can’t be beat by any brand of digital piano but Yamaha, in my opinion, come as close as you can get. The reviews speak for themselves. Roland’s piano sounds, to be fair, have improved greatly but can seem rather trebly or sharp. I tried out a Roland digital grand a few months ago, again one with the progressive hammer action. The touch response to me seems slightly sluggish, almost as if the keys absorb the impact rather that respond to my touch. The Yamaha keyboard does have a slight natural bounce similar to that on an acoustic piano keyboard. Again that is what I think but try out both instruments and compare. You’re the one that will be signing the cheque at the end of the day so you need to be happy with your choice.

Good luck!

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Post by enigma » 21 Jan 2008, 18:37

can a digital piano be both weighed and hammer action? And if so, which ones have those features?
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markymark
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Post by markymark » 21 Jan 2008, 19:50

Yes. Hammer action replicates not only the graded weight of the keyboard (lower notes heavier, higher notes gradually lighter) but also the hammer resistance motion of a real acoustic. As a rule, "hammer action" will include, naturally, hammer action and a weighted keyboard. As I said, just be wary of "weighted" in any description of a keyboard as it does not always mean "hammer action"!

Yamaha's digital piano and stage piano range will have the GHS system on all their keyboards. Check out the CLP series on the Yamaha website. Cheaper, and with less spec than the CLP range would be the YDP range. Despite being cheaper, they do still have the hammer action keyboard. Check out the links below:

CLP series info:
http://www.yamaha-europe.com/yamaha_eur ... index.html

YDP131 info:
http://www.yamaha-europe.com/yamaha_eur ... index.html

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