Desperate Dad needs help on Stage Piano

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Tim2009
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Desperate Dad needs help on Stage Piano

Post by Tim2009 » 04 Oct 2009, 12:11

A couple of years back I came to UK piano seeking advice on a piano for my son when he was 11. With everyones help, we settled on a Yamaha C3 and haven't looked back since. He's since won a scholarship and just gone off to board at a music school. How right everyone was about the C3, a lovely piano, served us so well. Worth every penny spent.

I turn to UK piano again. This time seeking help on Stage piano's. It's purpose is for practice in his bedroom at music school and for composition, linking into composition software (which I also know little about). I have trolled through Roland, Yamaha and Kawai websites reading the blurb, but there's nothing like you guys that have first hand knowledge.

I'm not concerned about the amount of voices, yes, some would be useful, I think, for composition, but the main purpose of the piano is for practice when he cant access other piano or want to stay up late practicing (I live in hope!). USB connection is important.

The keyboard touch and expression is nagging me. which one is the best for the money. Weight is also an issue as it must be portable. This brings me to something like the Roland RD300 SX (GX) , Kawai MP5, Yamaha CP33. All look great, but it's that 'keyboard action' that keeps nagging me, I can't get to one to have a play.

I know off the Kawai MP8 and Yamaha CP300, but are these a little over kill for purpose or it is worth getting these for the keyboard action action alone. They cost more than I'd hope to spend as I also have to find and new A clarinet for him and trying to balance the budget between the two.

I can't help but feel, perhaps the Roland action won't be as good as the Yamaha or Kawai because my understanding is that their background is synths. Also I was told (by Kawai) that many performers are switching from Yamaha to Kawai for the keyboard action alone.

I have asked my son, but bless him, he's young and looking into a big sweetie shop window. They all 'glitter' and look good to him, the bigger and more expensive the better as far as he's concerned! Kids eh! :lol:

You can see I'm a little lost. Any help, thoughts, would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Tim

markymark
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Re: Desperate Dad needs help on Stage Piano

Post by markymark » 04 Oct 2009, 15:33

I have looked at various instruments very recently when looking for a more portable board combining sound quality and a good progressive hammer action. I tried Roland's FP4 and FP7 which were okay but the latter being much better. There is something about these keyboard actions being a letter mechanical to the touch which becomes apparent during playing. I understand the RD300SX has a similar keyboard action installed as the FP4 which I don't like - too light. After a brief stint with a Kurzweil SP3X, I came back to Yamaha, a brand that I have always trusted for quality sounds and keyboard actions. I did look around me in order to be more open-minded, but nothing else matched Yamaha's equivalent models. I eventually went for a CP33.

I personally own a CP300 and the more condensed CP33 which I got for portability. The CP300 resides in our church because of its built-in speaker system and the variety of sounds. As you mention, the keyboard action on these are very very good (check out the reviews section on this forum) but at 32 kg, it is also a very heavy instrument, almost certainly unmanageable to carry without help. If it was to be moved into a dorm room and left in one place, this wouldn't matter. The CP33 has the same keyboard action and some of the same primary samples with one or two variations - much less than the CP300. While both of these instruments have USB connections, you should be aware that only the CP300 has USB and MIDI connections. The MIDI connections may be important for recording via a MIDI to Audio device. Of course, using the earphones connection and connecting through a good quality computer sound card can offer another option.

You should also look into the recently released P-155 which is remarkably close to the CP33 in its architecture and options. The main difference here is the absence of volumn sliders for each layer you use. The CP33 has two layer sliders which allow you to control the volumn of each layer; the P-155 doesn't. Mind you, the P-155 does have its own built in speakers and has the same keybaord action as one would find in the CP33 and CP300. I feel the keyboard action has a more solid feel in the CP300 owing to its own greater body weight.

You may want to check out the Casio PX range which has a good hammer action and an average grand piano sample though more mellow than the Yamaha piano voice. Similar to Kawai in that the piano sample doesn't have the natural rich rumbling resonance. Kawai may well have a great range of hammer actions and may also include real wooden grand piano keys on their top of the range models but I feel they need to work more on their piano samples. Not quite organic enough for my ear....yet. I think they'll get there eventually.

I've mentioned a few models to look out for but before you do anything else, take this advice, make a list and compare them yourself. Some people go for different things in instruments and while the piano voice on one instrument may not be to my liking, the different piano action may compensate for deficits elsewhere. Having said that, I feel that Yamaha's range provides a good well-balanced instrument. Do try for yourself and let us know how you get on!

joseph
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Re: Desperate Dad needs help on Stage Piano

Post by joseph » 09 Oct 2009, 18:34

I can second the CP-300, as I use one for practising after hours. I can't fault it really. It has a great action and sound. I don't know what the P-155 is like but it's probably very good too, same action I think.

In my humble opinion, there isn't really a better digital piano than a Yamaha.

Tim2009
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Re: Desperate Dad needs help on Stage Piano

Post by Tim2009 » 14 Oct 2009, 13:38

Hi Mark & Joseph, many thanks for your replies. Much appreciated. Thanks for the tip on the P-155, I was completely unaware of it. I’ve been off doing research as a result and it’s a great spec for the price and having inbuilt speakers and 128 polyphony seems to have the advantage over the CP33. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Having seen the spec I wonder why would one choose the CP33 over the P155, is it just that it’s a newer model? I got the feeling that the CP33 is more for the professional musician and the P155 is for the home/practise market. I don’t really understand the effect of the absence of volume sliders for each layer on the P155.

I may have the chance to get an MP8 II at a good price which is making me look at it again, which in turn makes me look at the CP300 again. I come back to the hammer action. I am more concerned of touch than sound at this stage as I doubt whether it will be gigged and will mainly used with earphones and a laptop. Do you know if the fact that the MP8 actually has wooden keys really makes a difference over the CP300, CP33 and P155. To a novice like me it sounds so appealing, but I’ve always trusted that Yamaha, knows best!

I appreciate your comments on the CP300 and the feel of the keyboard action is more solid feel owing to its greater body weight. This, I think is important as he’ll be attacking the piano with some pretty demanding repertoire so it needs that sturdy feel. Talking of repertoire, he’s predominately classical and just wondered whether this should also be taken into account when choosing a stage piano. Do certain keyboards lend themselves to certain genres?

We did have a Clavinova CLP four years ago, but changed that for the C3. Fantastic in the early grades and the use of headphones in the early stages of learning was a real advantage over acoustic pianos :) We are familiar with the touch of the CLP’s and I would love to hear if you have any opinions or experience with the CLP action compared to the latest CP33,300, P155 etc.

On another note, you mentioned the CP300 in your church. I like the fact that you have a CP300 in your church. My son also plays the organ and we have a Viscount Concerto III organ at home, a completely different beast. Fantastic instrument! Do you use any organ sounds in the church? I ask as he will often need to practise organ pieces as well in his dorm and wondered whether the CP300 has any good organ sounds. Forgive me for asking, but could you also for example change the touch response of the CP300 so that it could in simulate the straight on/off touch of an organ?

In short, burying my head in the sand about finances and going for something that I think will last him is very appealing. I think sacrificing functionality for weight could be a mistake as the piano should only be moved about 10 times a year for the next few years. In this case, the CP300 is the favourite runner at the moment, the P155 for the more sensible accountant in me, then the MP8 if the price is right and its wooden keys have a demonstrable advantage. Hope that makes sense, but do be blunt if I’m going off the rails and loosing the plot.

Once again, thanks for all the tips, they’re invaluable. Any more thoughts on the above are really appreciated.

markymark
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Re: Desperate Dad needs help on Stage Piano

Post by markymark » 18 Oct 2009, 01:10

Sorry for the late reply! Was playing at a conference this weekend!
Having seen the spec I wonder why would one choose the CP33 over the P155, is it just that it’s a newer model?
The CP33 is supposed to be geared towards stage musicians who are regularly on the road. I personally bought the keyboard because of the option to layer sounds (which can be done on the P155) but with the option to control each sound with an assigned slider. I was going to have to amplify the instrument anyway so getting an instrument without speakers (and hence lighter) kind of sold it to me.
Do you know if the fact that the MP8 actually has wooden keys really makes a difference over the CP300, CP33 and P155.
Wooden keys can make the action seem more expressive and responsive. Kawai in my part of the world is not very common and I have never played a MP8.
Do certain keyboards lend themselves to certain genres?
Generally no but bear in mind that the lighter keyboards do not have that sturdiness which you notice when you play them hard. Again, part of this also has to be balanced with your choice of stand also! The GH hammer action keyboard is very good and is suitable for any style of music.
We are familiar with the touch of the CLP’s and I would love to hear if you have any opinions or experience with the CLP action compared to the latest CP33,300, P155 etc.
The CLP range use the GH, GH3 or NW actions (in order of strength). The CP300, 33, P155 and CLP320 use the GH action. The CLP330-370 use the GH3 keyboard action which would be slightly better and the CLP380 uses the NW (Natural Wood keyboard). Check out the Yamaha website for exact specifications. Keyboard action is a personal thing; some people will say that it's worth paying the extra money for the GH3 but not for the NW keyboard and others would say the opposite. Others say that the variation between the GH, through the GH3 to the NW actions are so slight that it's not worth paying for the more expensive models. So I would have to advise you to go and try these for yourself.

NoelTrabold
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Re: Desperate Dad needs help on Stage Piano

Post by NoelTrabold » 20 Sep 2010, 12:27

jroseph wrote:I can second the CP-300, as I use one for practising after hours. I can't fault it really. It has a great article writing tool action and sound. I don't know what the P-155 is like but it's probably very good too, same action I think.

In my humble opinion, there isn't really a better digital piano than a Yamaha.
I also did my research and bought myself a CP 300 based on the recommendations I've seen on this forum and elsewhere and I'm really pleased with it. It produces a wonderfuls sound. Granted I haven't used a lot of Pianos but this is by far the best I've ever owned.
Last edited by NoelTrabold on 05 Sep 2016, 11:56, edited 7 times in total.

markymark
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Re: Desperate Dad needs help on Stage Piano

Post by markymark » 21 Sep 2010, 17:01

I bought one for our church almost four years ago and at present, there is nothing else on the market that would entice me to change or even upgrade. Having said that, I would like to check out the new CP-1, CP-5 and the CP-50!

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