Yamaha P140/Kurzweil SP2XS/Roland FP4

General discussion about digital pianos

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mmakowski
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Yamaha P140/Kurzweil SP2XS/Roland FP4

Post by mmakowski » 26 Feb 2009, 21:24

Hi,

I haven't played piano for about 17 years, but recently I felt it would be nice to remind myself what it's like. I've been looking for something around £1K that would meet these criteria (in the order of importance)
  • have a good weighted keyboard
  • have good grand piano sound
  • be portable (easy to move upstairs/downstairs if necessary)
  • have built-in speakers that produce reasonable sound
  • have nice, dedicated stand that would look good in the living room
After looking around the web a bit I selected these pianos that seem to fit the bill:
  • Roland FP4
  • Yamaha P140
  • Kurzweil SP2XS
I tried the first two in a showroom, and while Roland's lighter action seemed slightly more pleasant, after not having played for so long I don't really have any strong preference. The sound from built-in speakers in both models was a bit thin, but I can live with it. Roland's price premium of £200 is not justified as far as I'm concerned. This leaves me with the Yamaha and Kurzweil which have a similar price tag. I haven't found any showroom in London that has Kurzweil, but I'm leaning towards it guided by it's reputation for great keyboards and piano sounds.

So, the question is: is there any reason to buy Yamaha P140 instead of Kurzweil SP2XS, bearing in mind that I'm starting to re-learn piano and don't have preference for any particular touch?

Thanks,
Maciek

markymark
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Re: Yamaha P140/Kurzweil SP2XS/Roland FP4

Post by markymark » 27 Feb 2009, 17:34

I am personally looking into the SP2x, SP3x and PC3x at the moment from Kurzweil. There is no local retailer for Kurzweil in Northern Ireland but as I already own Yamaha stage piano (which is a heavy brute to move around) I wanted something that was lighter but not a downgraded Yamaha if you understand what I mean. I have heard a SP2xs played on a recording and it was very impressive. I like the way all Kurzweil piano sounds seem to include the sound of the hammer striking the notes at the beginning of sounding like you might find in a grand piano.

Looking at the specs, I'd say one's six the other's half a dozen but I'm not talking from experience here as I said. I did find something that may help inform your view of the Kurzweil.

From a SP2x (same sounds without speakers)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQf8uLlv8l0

From a SP2xs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLTNzpk9VY0

Roland's prices seem to have gotten more expensive as they have introduced more instruments. Granted, they have really sorted that awful acoustic piano sample and gotten something authentic but still, as you say, not sure why they are charging so much for a basic stage piano.

Whatever you do, try out the keyboards first. I have heard some people complaining that the Kurzweil is not a progressive hammer action unlike the P140 which is progressive. On the other hand, is progressive hammer action an absolute must have? This is where you need to decide and try to play both stage pianos.

Both seem to have a similar tone, though the Kurzweil has a slightly clearer tone, though the hammer strike seems to help with that.

mmakowski
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Re: Yamaha P140/Kurzweil SP2XS/Roland FP4

Post by mmakowski » 28 Feb 2009, 16:51

Thanks, that was very helpful. I'll go for a Yamaha then -- it doesn't look like I'll be able to try Kurzweil out anytime soon and I quite liked the progressive hammer action on Yamaha. Also, it being more popular in the UK means I might be able to find a good deal on a secon-hand instrument.

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Re: Yamaha P140/Kurzweil SP2XS/Roland FP4

Post by markymark » 28 Feb 2009, 18:10

When I did a search for Kurzweil keyboards, their suppliers were all located on the mainland. It means for me that I'd have to buy blind and only get to try the instrument when it got delivered. Like you, if you can't find a local dealer, getting people to do work on them can be even more difficult as certain music shops have technicians that work on only one or two major brands.

Some do sent it off for work to be done but may not have access to a Kurzweil service centre. Kurzweil is a major brand in the US and would be a major competitor with Yamaha, many Kurzweil users gladly and loudly professing them to be better instruments. But then again, Kurzweil have local suppliers which allow it to be marketed effectly. In the UK, at the moment, their coverage is pathetic at best!

While a SP2xs may be a better buy is some ways, at least the P140 will be safer because it will have product support. Yamaha have gotten their marketing and support right in this country! If you can, try and play a Kurzweil for your own interest. Personally, I'm still keen to try them out after hearing so much hype about them.

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