Where to find a good range

General discussion about digital pianos

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Cerise
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Where to find a good range

Post by Cerise » 22 Jan 2008, 15:32

Can anyone advise on stockists with a good range of digital pianos? I live in the Midlands and want to spend two to four thousand pounds, so I want to try before I buy!
Also, given my budget, any advice on best value among the bewildering number of pianos on the market?
Thanks in anticipation!

markymark
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Post by markymark » 22 Jan 2008, 17:57

Can't help you with local stockists - have you tried yellow pages or the business section of the BT directory? I know that sounds blatantly obvious, but it there can't be that many local stockists in the area. Where I live, they are becoming few and far between!

This is a sweeping generalisation, but most music businesses will agree that the real money is in their acoustic stock and not their digital stock. The main reason being how quickly models get updated and others become obselete. Obviously, you wouldn't want a showroom full of "time bombs" just waiting to go off (ie. depreciate).

Many dealers will often specialise in a particular brand of digital piano, e.g. Kawai, Yamaha, Roland, Kurzweil, Korg just to mention a few popular brand names. There are so many model and ranges within each of these names, it just wouldn't be possible to deal with them all, although some companies make a good try at dipping into two or more brands of digital piano. Consequently, many local dealers I have met with only deal with one brand of digital piano, usually Yamaha it has to be said.

As for recommendations, the Yamaha CLP range is very good from CLP240 upwards in particular - these are the newest out from Yamaha and have a good performance and reputation. Kawai have brought out the CA range with real hammer action and wooden keys and one with a real spruce soundboard. Sounds cool but to be honest I haven't tried it - Kawai is a bit of rarity as far as my locality goes - but I have heard it played. Piano sounds are good but not sure the soundboard is making as much of a difference as maybe it should... I still prefer Yamaha's acoustic grand piano sample. Roland digitals have a very bright tone to them but not as realistic as Kawai's.

I'd recommend you start with Yamaha and compare from there. I thibnk you'll be quite impressed but I suppose it really depends what you want. What do you need a digital piano for? Are you a professional? Does piano sound and action mean a lot to you?
Last edited by markymark on 22 Jan 2008, 18:28, edited 1 time in total.

mdw
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Re: Where to find a good range

Post by mdw » 22 Jan 2008, 18:23

Cerise wrote: I live in the Midlands and want to spend two to four thousand pounds,
Is there any reason why not an acoustic. For the upper end of your budget you could be in to good small acoustic with a silent system onboard or even better without.

markymark
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Re: Where to find a good range

Post by markymark » 22 Jan 2008, 18:35

mdw wrote: Is there any reason why not an acoustic. For the upper end of your budget you could be in to good small acoustic with a silent system onboard or even better without.
Just updated my post and read what you said, mdw. Cerise, mdw is adsolutely right. For 3000GBP upwards, you could get at the very least, a respectable acoustic piano - possibly even a model in the professional range depending on who you get it from and the model that interests you. I was just thinking the very same thing after I posted my update!

As I said, and I can't stress this enough, it really depends on what you want the piano for. As much as I like digital instruments, 4000 GBP is a lot to spend on a digital piano - I spent around that on my brand new U1. It won't devalue as much as your digital choice will!

Cerise
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range

Post by Cerise » 22 Jan 2008, 18:48

Thanks for such full answers! We hadn't really thought of acoustic or explored the 'silent system' idea. Really we're just so pushed for space that a digital seemed best, dimensions-wise. No, we're far from professionals ( if only) and yes the key action is important to us so I'll bear in mind the point about hammer action: our teacher has an acoustic grand piano which is as different from our present old Bentley (1980's) as it could be. When you're used to soft touch keys, the grand seems like it fights back!
Thanks again, and all advice gratefully received

mdw
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Re: range

Post by mdw » 22 Jan 2008, 20:33

Cerise wrote: Really we're just so pushed for space that a digital seemed best, dimensions-wise.
Unless you go for the base models most digitals will take up nearly the same footprint on the floor as an acoustic. Its the bit above the keyboard that makes the difference. Go for lighter colours cases against light coloured walls and darker against dark walls and you will be suprised how different they can look. Modern style case with slanted back fronts and no legs also look smaller.

Cerise
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Range

Post by Cerise » 23 Jan 2008, 17:35

Thanks for that, all these comments have given us lots of options to think about.
An acoustic is, as you say, a better option, we hadn't really explored the dimensions of modern ones.
Sound level could be a problem at times so I'm quite interested in MDW's point above, re

"a good small acoustic with a silent system onboard or even better without"

Any pros/cons to this and where would I get one fitted?

Sorry if you're all getting bored with this one, I can always Google it, I guess!

Cerise
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Range

Post by Cerise » 23 Jan 2008, 18:23

Oh no, I've just realised I've been under the impression that a silent piano was the same as a digital. Just looked at Yamaha's UK site and found they're different... I think... sorry everyone!
I guess that means we've got more choice, hmm... may not be a good thing!
So-o-o if you had to recommend a silent piano what would it be?

markymark
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Post by markymark » 23 Jan 2008, 18:31

As far as I have been told, the silent system installed on acoustic pianos seem to be quite reliable. I think replacing them tends to be more popular than repairing them though should anything serious go wrong with them. They seem to have a good track record with the people that get them installed.

Obviously, they'll be ideal for you if you need to keep the volume down for the sake of small children in the house or for the neighbours - that is if an acoustic piano is definitely what you want.

My only caution to you, should you decide to go for an acoustic with a silent system and given that you are weighing up space as a deciding factor, is to be careful not to choose an acoustic for its size. Yamaha B1, for example, are okay but they are not the greatest sounding instrument. The point we made earlier was that buying an acoustic would allow you to get a quality sound and with (probably) a life-time of use and reliability with only some minor maintenance. If you get an acoustic, you'll want to hold onto it for a while.

You can get digitals with smaller cases but with great sounds as the samples and chips do all the work inside. An acoustic is different obviously different from that perspective.

As for the fitting and costs, I'll have to leave that to mdw or someone else who knows more about acoustics. You'll probably get more info from the guys in the general [acoustic] piano forum regarding the silent system and more info about various acoustic brands.

markymark
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Re: Range

Post by markymark » 23 Jan 2008, 18:57

Cerise wrote:Oh no, I've just realised I've been under the impression that a silent piano was the same as a digital. Just looked at Yamaha's UK site and found they're different... I think... sorry everyone!
I guess that means we've got more choice, hmm... may not be a good thing!
So-o-o if you had to recommend a silent piano what would it be?
Okay, a silent piano is a middle camp between that of the acoustic and digital. When in silent mode, the silent pianos have optical sensors that convert the key movement into a signal which can be connected to a sound module. This does not affect the feel or sound of the piano but allows you to use it as a digital instrument via headphones.

I've heard about complaints identifying a clicking sound made my their silent system - that was a while ago and may have been an older system. Reviews about modern silent systems seem positive!

Yamaha, Bosendorfer and Kemble make silent pianos. Because of the acoustic identity of these instruments, you need to view them as acoustic instruments first! If space is an issue, the Yamaha P112NS is okay. Still with Yamaha, the P121SG is better but pushing you for space. Kemble's Mozart K121 may be worth having a look at (but again, space may not allow) or something smaller like the Concerto or Classic T. Again, moving into smaller sized cabinets tends to sacrifice sound quality somewhere in most piano models....

I'm reluctant to recommend a model as such as acoustics affect people differently - its very much personal choice. If you chose this type of piano, you really must try them out for yourself. Every model within a category will be very individual, i.e. no Conservatoire, U1, etc. is exactly the same as their physically identical brothers and sisters! :)

Again, the general forum receives comments from people who are either acoustic traders or piano tuners and have come across a lot of acoustic pianos because of the nature of their work. They will be able to advise you about the most reliable, and structurally sound piano.

markymark
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Silent Pianos

Post by markymark » 24 Jan 2008, 00:55

Just, something else came to mind as I was scanning through my last post, don't forget about the option to install a silent system on an acoustic. You may be able to get a better deal on a good acoustic and then add a silent system with a final lower cost. Silent pianos - I find - tend to be more expensive because the silent system and acoustic have been bunched together under one price. It isn't clear how much you are paying for which feature! That's a side issue to be honest!

Go and try a few pianos and see what you think - Yamaha silents tend to be most accessible in shops. Discuss the prospect of installing a silent system onto a regular acoustic and see how much the installation will cost.

Remember, a silent piano is more or less an acoustic and digital in one package - although, I think, more acoustic than digital if that makes sense. It's mostly the action and tone of the acoustic element that needs some of your own personal feeling about the instrument. You certainly have a lot to think about! :?

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