Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Alright, so I've had this generic 61 key piece of crap for ages now, and I've decided it's finally time to step up. I'm looking to buy a digital piano, not a workstation or synthesizer or whatever, however should one meet my needs I wouldn't be against it. I've been looking around at my options for a while now, and I've basically come up with my ideal keyboard. Here's what I'm looking for:

* Under $800 price range preferably (I can possibly go as high as $1000 if necessary)

* 88 graded hammer keys with good action. Graded means the lower keys are heavier than the higher ones. They're not always called graded (for example Casio calls it "scaled") since that's a Yamaha term, but it's the same thing.

* MIDI I/O (it seems most keyboards have this nowadays so that's not a worry)

* At least 64 note polyphony (higher would be better but it seems that's the most realistic for this price range)

* Good acoustic piano samples

* Spinet or Console style stand

* TRS outputs

* Mod and pitch wheels

* Sustain/Damper pedals

So I've been researching for a while and there's a few keyboards I've looked at. Here they are broken down by price and pros/cons as per my needs. Note that a lot of these I haven't had a chance to play yet. However I plan on going to Guitar Center soon so I can check some of them out. I'll update this post when I do.

Williams Encore Digital Piano - ~$400

Pros:

+ 88 hammer action keys

+ Console style stand (unfortunately this is a limited time offer)

+ Mod and pitch wheels

+ Stereo 1/4" outs

Cons:

- Keys not graded (apparently)

- 32 note polyphony

Unknown:

? I have yet to play one of these, so I don't know how good the action is, and I don't know how good the acoustic piano tones are.

Casio CDP-100 - ~$500

Pros:

+ 88 graded hammer keys

+ Console

Cons:

- 32 note polyphony

- Extremely limited number of tones

- No mod or pitch wheels

- No TRS outputs

Unknown:

? I have yet to play one of these, so I don't know how good the action is, and I don't know how good the acoustic piano tones are.

Yamaha P70 - ~$600

Pros:

+ 88 graded hammer keys

+ Excellent acoustic piano samples

Cons:

- 32 note polyphony

- No TRS outputs

- No spinet/console stand

- No pitch or mod wheel

Casio Celviano AP24 - ~$600

Pros:

+ 88 graded hammer keys

+ Console

+ Realistic piano action

Cons:

- Piano samples leave something to be desired

- 32 note polyphony

- No TRS outputs

- No mod or pitch wheels

- Limited number of tones

Casio Privia PX310 - ~$600

Pros:

+ 88 graded hammer keys

+ Pretty good number of tones

+ Stereo TRS outputs

+ Decent action and piano samples, not quite as good as the Yamahas

Cons:

- No mod or pitch wheels

- 32 note polyphony

- No stand

M-Audio ProKeys 88 - ~$600

Pros:

+ 88 hammer action keys

+ Mod and pitch wheels

++ 126 note polyphony

+ 1/4" stereo outs

Cons:

- Keys not graded (AFAIK)

- No stand

-- ProKeys? Moar liek NoisyKeys, amirite?

Unknown:

? I have yet to play one of these, so I don't know how good the action is, and I don't know how good the acoustic piano tones are.

Casio PX-200 - ~$700

Pros:

++ 128 note polyphony

+ 88 graded hammer keys

+ Nice action

+ Piano samples are good, not quite as good as the Yamahas but still convincing

+ Stereo 1/4" outputs

Cons:

- No mod or pitch wheels

Additional:

= There is a console style stand, however it costs an additional $120

Casio Privia PX575R - ~$700

Pros:

+ 88 hammer action keys

+ Very large number of tones

+ USB output (though I'm not entirely sure what this means, if it's audio or midi or what)

+ Decent action and piano samples

Cons:

- Hammer action is not graded (if it is, it doesn't say so in the specs)

- No TRS outputs (or if there is, it doesn't say so in the specs)

- No stand

- No mod or pitch wheels

- 32 note polyphony, 10 note on the acoustic piano sounds

- According to reviews, keys are noisy and click like an m-audio keyboard

Kurzweil SP88 - ~$700

Pros:

+ 88 keys

+ Mod and pitch ribbons (beggars can't be choosers)

+ TRS outputs

Cons:

- Semi-weighted (aww hell no)

- 32 note polyphony

- No stand

- Limited number of tones

Williams Symphony Console Digital Piano - ~$700

Pros:

+ 88 hammer action keys

+ Console

+ Stereo 1/4" outs

Cons:

- Keys not graded (apparently)

- 32 note polyphony

- No mod or pitch wheels

Unknown:

? I have yet to play one of these, so I don't know how good the action is, and I don't know how good the acoustic piano tones are.

Yamaha YPG-625 - ~$750

Pros:

+ 88 graded hammer keys (very very good action)

+ Console style stand

+ Excellent acoustic piano samples

+ 500 onboard voices taken from the motif series

+ Pitch wheel

Cons:

- 32 note polyphony

- No TRS outputs

- No mod wheel

Alesis QS8.2 - ~$800

Pros:

+ 88 fully weighted hammer action keys

+ 64 note polyphony

+ Mod and pitch wheels

+ Stereo 1/4" outputs

+ Synthesizer capabilities

Cons:

- Keys not graded

- No stand

Unknown:

? I have yet to play one of these, so I don't know how good the action is, and I don't know how good the acoustic piano tones are (however the demos sound pretty damn good).

Kurzweil SP88X - ~$850

Pros:

+ 88 fully weighted (supposedly hammer action) keys

+ Mod and pitch ribbons

+ TRS outputs

Cons:

- keys not graded

- 32 note polyphony

- No stand

- Limited number of tones

Unknown:

? I have yet to play one of these, so I don't know how good the action is, and I don't know how good the acoustic piano tones are.

Yamaha YDP-213 - ~$900

Pros:

+ 88 graded hammer keys

+ Good acoustic piano samples

+ Console

+ 64 note polyphony

Cons:

- No TRS outputs

- No pitch or mod wheel

- Very limited number of voices (I couldn't find an actual list anywhere, but it appears to be limited to like 3 piano patches, and a small number of EP and organ patches)

- Expensive

Korg SP250 - ~$900

Pros:

+ 88 graded hammer keys (Korg calls their graded system "RH3" but it's the same thing)

+ 60 note polyphony (kind of an odd number, eh? but it beats 32)

+ stereo outputs (specs don't say if they're TRS or not, but if they're there, I can use them)

+ Comes with a stand (not console style, but it's pretty sturdy)

Cons:

- No mod or pitch wheels

- Expensive

Unknown:

? I have yet to play one of these, so I don't know how good the action is, and I don't know how good the acoustic piano tones are. But if it's anything like a Triton, I probably won't care for it.

Casio Privia PX800 - ~$900

Pros:

++ 128 note polyphony

+ 88 graded hammer keys

+ Console stand

+ TRS outputs

+ Very nice piano action

+ Piano samples are adequate, however the EP tones are really quite nice

Cons:

- No mod or pitch wheels

- Expensive

Casio Celviano AP45 - $1000

Pros:

+ 88 graded hammer keys

+ 64 note polyphony (higher would be better though)

+ Console

+ Line out (TRS?)

+ Very nice piano action

Cons:

-- Very expensive

- No mod or pitch wheels

- Limited number of tones

Yamaha S08 - ~$1000

Pros:

+ 88 balanced hammer action keys

+ Huge number of high quality tones

+ Mod and pitch wheels

+ 64 note polyphony

+ 1/4" outputs

+ Synthesizer capabilities

+ Decent piano samples

Cons:

-- Very Expensive

- Keys not graded

- No stand

- Action isn't horrible, but other boards are better in the same price range

Kurzweil SP2 - MSRP $1249

Pros:

+ 88 fully weighted hammer action keys

+ Mod and pitch wheels

+ 64 note polyphony

+ Balanced TRS outputs

Cons:

- Not released yet. However, note that the MSRP is actually lower than the MSRP of the SP88X.

- Unknown whether the hammer action is graded or not

- No stand

Alright that's it for now. I can't believe I just spent an hour writing this post. Oh well, it'll make it easier to compare and contrast. Also, I'll edit this post with any additions or changes once I get to play with some of the pianos. Hell, maybe this could be like the official digital piano thread, and we could sort them by price range. Anyways, what do you guys think? Which piano do you think would suit my needs the best? I really like the QS8.2 however I'm questionable on the action, as the reviews have not been too praising of it. I also like the YPG-625 a lot after playing one last time I was at guitar center, however it has some short falls. I'd appreciate your feedback, and recommendations. And also lemme know if there's any keyboards I may have missed. Thanks much in advance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright so I just got back from Guitar Center. They had some of the keyboards I was looking at online, but they unfortunately did not have the Alesis QS8.2, the one I was most hoping to get my hands on. However, they also had one that I didn't see at zzounds or musiciansfriend:

Casio PX-200 - ~$700

Pros:

++ 128 note polyphony

+ 88 graded hammer keys

+ Nice action

+ Piano samples are good, not quite as good as the Yamahas but still convincing

+ Stereo 1/4" outputs

Cons:

- No mod or pitch wheels

Additional:

= There is a console style stand, however it costs an additional $120

I also got to play with the Yamaha S08 for a little bit, and it's pretty nice, but the action isn't quite as good as I'd hoped. I'll be updating the above post for other changes and stuff as well. I still haven't decided what I want to get, I'm kinda hoping to get some feedback from someone who knows what they're talking about. $800 is a lot of money to spend on something sight unseen. :/

Again, thanks in advance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Because I wanna play the piano or a facsimile, not a poor imitation of one. And a digital piano is the closest you can get within my price range. Having grown up playing real pianos and stuff (and owning a Wurlitzer myself), I just can't really get the feel for the cheapo synth action and semi-weighted keys on most keyboards these days. If you have another suggestion though, I'm all ears.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it's true that if you want the most realistic piano action, you want a digital piano. However, MOST do not come with mod/pitch wheels, USB connectivity, or large soundbanks... keyboard workstations do have all that. I'm wondering if you really care about the difference between workstation action and digital piano action that much. I do have some recommendations though - I'll have to call up my sister, who just got one recently.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're right except that most workstations are way above my price range. Like I said earlier I did get a chance to play with the Yamaha S08, and I suppose I could live with its action (it's a hell of a lot better than the Kurzweils I played with and it has way more features than the digital pianos I looked at). I'm still curious about the Alesis QS8.2 but nobody I've talked to knows anything about them, and none of the shops in town have any on display that I can play with.

Link to post
Share on other sites

oh SNAP. Is that an 88 key graded hammer action keyboard with 128 note polyphony, 1/4" outs, and mod/pitch wheel I spy? I see what you did there, sir, and I applaud you. Unfortunately it IS quite a bit above my price range... Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm... I believe it's time to start scouring the local used musical instrument dealers.

In the meantime, QS8.2 anyone? :(

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never been terribly impressed with Alesis' ergonomics, in terms of keys or buttons/knobs/etc.. But I can't swear I've played an 8.2. So definately try that one before you buy it :P

I heartily agree with po! about the Roland RD's. I've had an RD-600 for about 5 years now and totally love it. The only thing I can complain about is that the rebound isn't the greatest. It's hammer action, but not graded like the new ones. At any rate, if you see a used one from the series (as you said, new ones will be too expensive), it's definately worth trying out. Also, broken keys are pretty cheap and easy to replace on them, so if one or two keys are banged up on a used model it's not necessarily worthless.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, it's true that if you want the most realistic piano action, you want a digital piano. However, MOST do not come with mod/pitch wheels, USB connectivity, or large soundbanks....

The Prokeys 88 does have all that, well not the large soundbank but still it's pretty good. I have the sx version of this, which is semi-weighted, because I didn't want to be playing synths/drums with full action. I can't remember what the Prokeys sounds like lol, but the action is good.

You've certainly done your research! I hope you find the right one for you.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmm... for roughly the same price as the Roland RD300SX, I can get a used Yamaha MO8 (but with still full warranty). The MO8 isn't gonna last at that price though. D:

Which is the better deal?

Well, the MO8 is a more expensive board, but not by that much. At that point I think it's really a matter of preference -- I strongly prefer Roland's keyboard feel and sound sets over Yamaha's. Some people feel exactly the opposite.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I played an S08 when I was on the road last summer, but the action wasn't stellar and I wasn't taken with the sample quality, given the price tag.

When it came time for me to buy my own keyboard, I went with the Privia 310, based mostly on the action, which is pretty good. The main piano sample is pretty decent, but I have no use for any of the other patches. Since I use it mainly to control my Nord Electro rack unit, I don't really care.

Also, the lack of a pitch or mod wheel hurts.

One of the biggest pros is how friggin light it is. I guess this doesn't matter if you're not moving it a lot, but I gig with it on a semi-regular basis. It's nice to have a full 88-key unit that i can carry easily under one arm.

trivia fact: my "Leis Miller" entry to the icecap.ocremix.org project was made using samples from the privia and an acoustic guitar.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, so I've pretty much decided to put off buying a keyboard until I get back from Houston (I leave Friday and will be gone for 4 or 5 days). However, Zzounds has made me a pretty slick offer on a ProKeys 88, so I'll probably head to town tomorrow with the hopes of getting my hands on one so I can genuinely play with it, and if I like it, I'll probably get one. If not, I'll give the offer code to one of you guys if you wanna use it (pm me or something-- the code is only good for 2 days).

Additionally, according to some folks I've talked to, the Kurzweil SP2 will be coming out this August for a retail price of around $1150. It may be worth it to wait for that one to come out before I decide. I dunno, we'll see.

Also, any of you guys ever checked out one of these fangled Roland Fantom Xa things? They seem pretty slick for the price. Almost like a modular Fantom of sorts (with aftermarket RAM and expansions and crud).

Anyways, unless I end up getting a ProKeys 88, which I probably won't, I think I'll put this off for at least a little while. Thanks for all your help.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Alright so I finally broke down and got a new keyboard. After much consideration, I decided to go with the Yamaha MO8. I got a 'blemished' one from zzounds for $1300-- about $1400 total after a stand + shipping. I dunno why they call it blemished though, unless they were referring to the box it came in. The box was kinda messy, but the keyboard is like brand damn new. Not a scratch or smudge or anything. I'm pretty pleased with it, but I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of this thing. The manual is like a freaking textbook (237 pages :<). Since I just got it, I haven't had much time to play with it. Perhaps I'll write a full review or something later. One thing's for sure though-- holy crap this thing has a ridiculous amount of voices. I'll be using it a LOT in my music I imagine.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...