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So what a good inexpensive DP? So far, we like the ES6. Can we do better for less?
Reason: This thread is split from "Does silent system compromise upright action?" in the Pianos Forum
If a domestic model is required, the cheapest option is one from the new Yamaha Arius range. Buying a Clavinova will give you an improvement in keyboard quality, and the best have wooden keys (naturals only) for a good piano emulation.
The opinion above is purely that of PianoGuy and is simply the opinion of one person ....
If you're buying a piano, try as many as you can and buy the one you like, not a similar one of the same type.
The best actions are the ones with the wooden keys but be warned, the keys add extra weight to your keyboard making it less portable, though much lighter than a furniture digital. Personally, I find Kawai a tad over-priced for what they offer. I'm not a fan of the Kawai piano tone. Yamaha digitals are much better and offer better value for money overall. Have you tried a P-155 which is just under the £1000 price mark or thereabouts? It has a good action but not as solid as some of the more expensive ones. The only other one that has a better action and is more portable would be the CP-300 which is really a stage piano. I own one and I am very pleased with it. I also own the smaller CP-33 which is quite good but not as solid feeling when played. Note that both these models are over £1000. If you want to keep costs down, don't even consider a Roland!
Clarify your needs a bit more and maybe will be able to advice you with more info.
My wife is a classical pianist and piano teacher. Our main concern is finding a good upright that is not too much of a step down from our Yamaha C3. But we live in an apartment and also need something for night-playing, and figure learning a digital could be fun for the kids and for teaching. We've considered a silent system but have ruled that out. So we're mainly looking for something that has a decent touch -- closer to an acoustic -- but also portable.
My wife really liked CLP340 (even better than 370 with wood keys for touch and much better than CA51), but this is expensive and not portable. She also liked the ES6 -- also better than the CA51 (maybe the one we tried was dud?). But the ES6 seems pricey to us. I think the P155 is cheaper, but we haven't tried that one yet. Anyone know how the touch compares to the CLP340? Of course, none compared to an acoustic.
First of all, it may be a good idea to read through the reviews forum where the CA51 and CLP340 have already been reviewed by other readers.
The CLP340 has something called a GH3 keyboard action which is the best synthetic keyboard action before moving into the natural wood action found the in CLP370 and CLP380. Now some people have said that this keyboard action is so good that it is virutally impossible to tell them apart. All of the Yamaha portable digital pianos (the ones not on a wooden furniture mount or stand) do not have anything better than the GH hammer action keyboard. This is the action on my CP-300 which I find to be very pleasing and realistic (again it has been reviewed on the reviews forum too) and I am very happy with it.
The ES6 is a relatively new release for Kawai. When compared with the P-155 (from Yamaha) which is in the same league, the technology is mostly similar save for the 192 polyphony in the ES6 compared to 128 polyphony in the P-155. This may not really be a big issue - Kawai have always been generous with their polyphony but for piano-based playing, 128 would be fine. I remember having a stage piano with only 64 note polyphony, and I was never aware of blackouts in the keys. Benefit to both of them is that they are portable and good for their price range.
You mentioned cheaper options earlier: I should warn you that you do get what you pay for in digital instruments. There are cheaper models like the PX-120 from Casio can be got for as little as £600 but not quite in the same league - by all means try it and see for yourself but that's my feeling. There is Yamaha's equivalent, the P85, cheaper, lighter but again, not as good as the two options I mentioned.
Definitely try out the P-155 for comparison with the ES6 because they do feel and sound slightly different. I almost went for the ES6 but didn't like the piano samples when the keyboard was played loudly. The tone became more "chorusy" and lost some of its richness. Again this is only what I think but I have always been a Yamaha supporter despite having been tempated by other models in the past.
Let us know how you get on.