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#2909334 - 02/13/18 01:20 PM New guy, old questions
MrSquare Offline
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Registered: 02/11/18
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I know that the perennial question from newbies has to be some variation of which keyboard should I buy. This will be yet another, but I'm hoping I can provide some context which will set it apart from the din.

The short story:
40+ year guitar player that has dabbled with keys. Looking for a studio only keyboard for recording at home. Hoping to turn a page and become more involved with keys, primarily piano and EP. Keyboards on my radar are NP3, RD2000, and Kurzweil Forte. Looking for suggestions not on the best keyboard but best for my circumstance. I currently have a Juno DS61 I will be keeping.

Long Story
I have been playing guitar for over 40 years. About four years ago, for about a year, I took piano lessons. I haven't played much since. I want to do some recording (solo) at home. I do not gig and don't expect to. I do intend to take keys more seriously and really learn to play piano. I no longer have an acoustic. I do have a Juno DS61 which I will keep.

I'm currently on the fence between Nord P3, Roland RD2000, and the Kurzweil Forte. I have owned an RD800 which I sold about a year ago. I have played the RD200 at GC and I'm happy with the action. Honestly I haven't played enough to be hooked on any one action. One hammer weighted 88 would be as much new to me as any other. This is good I guess because The Nord and the Kurz are not available locally to try out.

So I'm not looking for someone to tell me which Board is best, but instead draw on your own experience and tell me, based on my situation, which board you feel might better fit.

My main interest id in pianos and EPs, but as time goes on... who knows.

Thnx for taking the time to consider this.


Edited by MrSquare (02/13/18 01:22 PM)
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#2909339 - 02/13/18 01:37 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: MrSquare]
cphollis Offline
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Hah. Raw meat for the crowd. No bad choices on that list, it'll boil down to personal preferences. All can do what you want exceptionally well, and then some.

Since so many of us form emotional bonds with our boards, it's darn hard to hold our personal preferences at arms length. If you don't believe me, go read MathOfInsects thread about his new red girlfriend.

Personally, I've been all-in on the Nord approach to APs, EPs and DPs. Basically, a vast library of pristine samples, and it's up to you to figure out how you want to process them.

The few times I've recorded on them, it was basically plug into the board and play. No need to screw around with the sound.

And they sounded great every time.

Given your situation -- and only if you're leaning Nord -- you might want to go look for a lightly used Nord Piano 2, which is what I play. Almost zero gas for the newer NP3 for what I do.

Best of luck!
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#2909341 - 02/13/18 01:38 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: MrSquare]
MrSquare Offline
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I should add, that even though my prime interest is pianos and EPs. I do want to utilize other sounds for recording. Much of this is why I bought the Juno. Again, just looking for suggestions based on your experience.
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#2909342 - 02/13/18 01:39 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: MrSquare]
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If this is for studio use only, maybe the focus should be on what you like the feel of, and then you can get pretty much any sound you're after with a VST...?
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#2909343 - 02/13/18 01:41 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: AnotherScott]
timwat Offline
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Find the action you like best, that also allows a fair amount of cash left over (might be a CP4 or MX88 or Casio PX5).

Get Keyscape and Omnisphere, and the computer to run them well.
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#2909346 - 02/13/18 01:50 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: timwat]
MrSquare Offline
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I have looked at the VST route briefly. That may be something I will investigate more deeply in the future, but for now I'd like to focus on a hardware solution. Thanks for pointing out the option though.
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#2909349 - 02/13/18 01:58 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: cphollis]
MrSquare Offline
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Loc: Middle of California
Originally Posted By: cphollis
Hah. Raw meat for the crowd. No bad choices on that list, it'll boil down to personal preferences. All can do what you want exceptionally well, and then some.


Best of luck!


That is what I had imagined. I was initially drawn to the NP3, the trouble is I know my nature is to never be content. I find myself questioning whether I will come to miss the additional sounds and abilities of the other contenders.

I did read about the redheaded girlfriend. With 10+ guitars in the house I find myself lavishing attention on only one at any given time. I get it.
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#2909350 - 02/13/18 02:01 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: AnotherScott]
GregC Offline
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
If this is for studio use only, maybe the focus should be on what you like the feel of, and then you can get pretty much any sound you're after with a VST...?


Thats not far off from what I was thinking. Our new forum person is asking what keyboard to buy.

But he did say for " home studio recording " twice.

So that suggests a better question,,,

However, our new forum person should say what his DAW is or what he wants it to be.

Or maybe he is using one of those fancy Tascam digital hard disk recorders from 10 years ago.

When I see new owner type posts like this, I try to get inside the persons bubble.

There are details to clear on first, I believe.

Eventually,,,, the better question,, will keyboard A , B or C play nice with my DAW ?

Assuming he is into a DAW.

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#2909351 - 02/13/18 02:06 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: GregC]
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No DAW needed, one doesn't need to invest in that learning curve, just to be able to play a piano VST in real time.
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#2909353 - 02/13/18 02:09 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: MrSquare]
AnotherScott Online   content
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Originally Posted By: MrSquare
I'm currently on the fence between Nord P3, Roland RD2000, and the Kurzweil Forte. I have owned an RD800 which I sold about a year ago. I have played the RD200 at GC and I'm happy with the action.

For home use, you also might enjoy the experience of having built-in speakers, so if you like Roland, it could be worth checking out the FP90.
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#2909354 - 02/13/18 02:11 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: GregC]
MrSquare Offline
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Originally Posted By: GregC
Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
If this is for studio use only, maybe the focus should be on what you like the feel of, and then you can get pretty much any sound you're after with a VST...?


Thats not far off from what I was thinking. Our new forum person is asking what keyboard to buy.

But he did say for " home studio recording " twice.

So that suggests a better question,,,

However, our new forum person should say what his DAW is or what he wants it to be.

Or maybe he is using one of those fancy Tascam digital hard disk recorders from 10 years ago.

When I see new owner type posts like this, I try to get inside the persons bubble.

There are details to clear on first, I believe.

Eventually,,,, the better question,, will keyboard A , B or C play nice with my DAW ?

Assuming he is into a DAW.


I am using Reaper on a Windows 10 box. My interface is a Focusrite 18i20. Reaper or any DAW is new to me as well. I have been reading that Presonus has a rather intuitive workflow, I may investigate that further. My last foray into recording goes back even farther than you suggest. It was the old Tascam 4 track using a cassette tape.

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#2909374 - 02/13/18 04:21 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: MrSquare]
David Emm Offline
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Your Juno will be fine for most basic synth duties, especially if slaved to your main piano resource. Bring it in and out with a volume pedal, save your sweat for playing! Your description makes it clear that you're not in need of numerous layers or splits for a live gig, soooo...

Kurzweil has, IMO, the most noted pedigree as a near-Steinway-quality synth. There's a good reason that you see them especially prominent in large Broadway shows and Pink Floyd's rig for some years. Even the Forte is *deep*. Their term VAST is accurate; its a modular synth inside. You can't miss with the quality, but it may be overkill for your purposes.

Stephen Forte called the RD2000 a "foundation" instrument, which is accurate. Its designed to cover a mass of options, including being a master controller for multiple outboard instruments. It contains a lot of Roland's sound history, which is a plus. Overkill could apply here as well.

The Nord range has the best overall *reputation* as a stage monster. The sound quality is above reproach and their user library is impressive. Finding your own Best-Of set for any Nord is a snap. Its a superior choice for piano/EP needs. The Kurz and RD are almost like battleships. You just need a modest hydrofoil. I'd lean towards a Nord in this case, partly for its more immediate utility. The keyboard feel is subjective to every player, so that's up to you define, but if you're using Reaper, the VST option can come later. You may come to like the idea of having a couple of oddball plug-ins for specialty instruments.

Not being able to demo a Nord and Kurzweil bites, but its all too common. Take it as a vote of confidence that many a serious player on here has some Big Red in their rigs somewhere. The running-joke fallback answer on here is NORD LEAD.




Edited by David Emm (02/13/18 04:25 PM)
Edit Reason: Scrutinized OP's post better
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#2909375 - 02/13/18 04:24 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: MrSquare]
Sven Golly Offline
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You'll get more out of the Roland or Kurzweil than the Nord in terms of sounds beyond just piano.

You'll learn to like any of the three for the action; I would be hard pressed to determine #2 and #3, but #1 for me is the Roland. YMMV, obviously.

So, based on your specific situation, I would recommend Roland or Kurzweil first, then Nord third.

Thank you for taking the time to give us context in a well-written and helpful first post. Much appreciated. Welcome to the forum. twothumbs
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#2909423 - 02/13/18 09:49 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: MrSquare]
davedoerfler Offline
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Originally Posted By: MrSquare


I have played the RD200 at GC and I'm happy with the action.

you tried it, you like it, you must buy it. wink
Welcome to the forum. thu
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#2909451 - 02/14/18 05:34 AM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: davedoerfler]
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Perhaps another perspective but if your interest is in piano, why not get a real piano....if you have the space. Doesn't need to be a concert grand, a good quality spinet is fine. By your own admission you are relatively new to the instrument. Practice on an acoustic instrument will certainly improve your technique and give you a sense of how a piano part is constructed. The electronics can come a bit later after you know better what you want and need. I started on piano and though I now more often play organ and own a vintage C3 and a clonewheel and have been through more electric and digital keyboards than I want to think about (currently have a Nord Electro), I always find myself going back to the trusty acoustic to get grounded again. Anyway just something to consider and welcome to the forum.

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#2909507 - 02/14/18 08:40 AM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: retrokeys]
TomKittel Offline
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Of the three keyboards mentioned, the Forte would be the most versatile in my experience. I understand that your main interest is piano but you are not a fully-trained-used-to-play-Steinway-Grands pianist. Hence I would recommend you the hammer weighted keybed of the Forte which I find more versatile and universal for all kinds of keyboard sounds compared to the key actions of the RD2000 or NP3. The latter are more aiming to classical trained pianists playing mainly piano sounds. I used to own a Nord Stage 2-88 for a while and I never got along with it's key action, particularly not for non-piano sounds.

One more recommendation: if you are going the Kurzweil route make sure you talk to Dave Weiser first. His support alone would be a good reason to choose Kurzweil over the others.

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#2909516 - 02/14/18 09:01 AM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: retrokeys]
MrSquare Offline
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Loc: Middle of California
Thank you all for taking the time to reply. Your insight is helpful. It sounds to me like any of the boards I've mentioned will do the job. The truth is any will be much more instrument than I am player, and that will likely be the case for many years to come.

I looked into repair facilities local to me (i'm paranoid), and Nord has me going back to the distributor. I'm not thrilled with that. Kurz has many authorized facilities in the L.A. area. That is about 3 hours one way from me. I can live with that. Roland has one place about 20 minutes from me, and of course several in the L.A. area. That would work out okay. I actually used the guy close to me to repair my old XP80 about 16 years ago. For that reason I think I'll take Nord off of my list.

Some have mentioned VST and while that may be an idea I'm really looking at hardware right now. Trying to keep it simple. Acoustic piano is another option. I had a grand at one point but sold it while preparing for a move. I could do another and may in the future. For a variety of reasons an acoustic is just not in the cards for me right now.

You all have been very kind and I appreciate your input.

Thank you.
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#2909556 - 02/14/18 10:35 AM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: MrSquare]
p19978 Offline
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What kind of music do you play and/or listen to?

I ask because your story is VERY similar to mine.

When I started down my keyboard journey in the late 80's I assumed I'd being playing more AP and EP than anything... just simply due to my inexperience in the keyboard world.

As I started to play more, and get interested in "keyboard" songs (Gimme Some Lovin, etc) I started to get REALLY interested in B3 songs. Of course, my cheap Yamaha (can't even remember the model... D5 maybe?) sounded like crap on the organ patches.

Gaining a little knowledge, I discovered the Voce Micro BII. A complete game-changer for me.

Point being, I never developed correct piano technique so I just play simple AP/EP songs but I LOVE playing my organ songs on my Hammond SK1.

If you listen/play a lot of blues rock type material you might want to give the organ hardware some consideration as it may be the next step in your evolution.

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#2909620 - 02/14/18 02:08 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: p19978]
stoken6 Offline
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Hi Ronn,

I will say that you've chosen three premium keyboards - and you have my respect for that! However... what do you need your new piano-action board to do? Your Roland DS61 already covers quite a few sonic bases competently, so in my view a new board is all about the action.

And if it's action you're talking about, you owe it to yourself to try the Yamaha CP4. Getting a little old, but highly rated on this forum.

The other aspect I would raise is this: how much are you into learning Hammond organ technique? The Nord Piano doesn't really have any of that, the Roland has a bit (but it's tucked away) and the Kurz has quite a decent clonewheel engine built in. Also consider a Nord Stage (even a secondhand Classic 88 would give you a nice action, decent piano and some organ - although drawbuttons not drawbars).

Edit - I see you've ruled out Nord because of proximity to repair locations. Although Nord have a strong reputation for reliability.

Cheers, Mike.


Edited by stoken6 (02/14/18 02:09 PM)
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#2909624 - 02/14/18 02:15 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: stoken6]
cphollis Offline
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Nord has a substantial national network of authorized repair technicians that they don't publish unless you ask. I was quite happy with my experience recently -- serious physical damage fixed professionally and inexpensively. Yes, I had to drive there twice, but AOK in the scheme of things.

Dang things are built like tanks. Only time I've had to have one fixed in many years across many boards.

If you're interested, head over to norduserforum.com and look for Pablo Mastodon, who does tech support for Nord in North America. Nice guy. He's got the list. I've got it here somewhere as well.
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#2909701 - 02/14/18 06:13 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: cphollis]
MrSquare Offline
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Organs:

I love organs. Boston, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, the list goes on. This has actually been a want. I really like an over driven organ. While I would love to play this stuff, I don't want to put the cart ahead of the horse. I figured that once I'm more comfy on AC and EP I would look into the organ aspect of things. At that point I would not be opposed to having a dedicated board for that. Again I'm not really looking that far ahead.

CP4


I had considered the CP4, but I wondered if I would grow tired of the Yamaha AP sounds. This may sound odd, but I'm trying to make a purchase based on how I know my head works. If I don't buy high end I know that I will second guess my self and buy again shortly. Buy once, cry once. I'm afraid the same might hold true for the AP sounds if I bought the CP4. The Forte seems somewhat limited in AP and EP sounds out of the box but there appears to be many aftermarket options. The P3 has many options as well. Rumor has it that the RD2000 will have additional APs available soon

Nord support.

I do like the Stage 3 as well as the P3, specifically for the organs. The Nord interface appeals to me as well. Seems to be less menu diving, which really speaks to me. I will head over to the Nord forum and have a look around. Thank you for the info, greatly appreciated. Readily available repair facilities could put Nord back in the hunt.
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#2909704 - 02/14/18 06:36 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: cphollis]
MrSquare Offline
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Registered: 02/11/18
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Loc: Middle of California
Originally Posted By: cphollis
Nord has a substantial national network of authorized repair technicians that they don't publish unless you ask. I was quite happy with my experience recently -- serious physical damage fixed professionally and inexpensively. Yes, I had to drive there twice, but AOK in the scheme of things.

Dang things are built like tanks. Only time I've had to have one fixed in many years across many boards.

If you're interested, head over to norduserforum.com and look for Pablo Mastodon, who does tech support for Nord in North America. Nice guy. He's got the list. I've got it here somewhere as well.


Whoo Hoo!
Advanced Musical Electronics in L.A.
3 hours away, I can live with that.

Damn, now I'm back to three on my list of maybes.

You would figure L.A. would have options for repair of anything musical.
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#2909709 - 02/14/18 07:06 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: MrSquare]
cphollis Offline
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OK, some suggestions?

The Nord B3 thing is totally decent (playability, leslie, distortion, etc.) If I wasn't such a B3 whore, it would be OK. But I'm working on a new, hopefully signal chain that might not be your thing. But it's an option, right?

Can't diss the CP4. I played a CP5 for a few years. The CP4 fixed the weight thing, but not the downloadable sample thing. If you crave different AP sounds, the Nord might be your thing.

If you're into organs, there are many specialized options available. Viscount, Mojo, etc. But the Nord organs don't suck. And if I cared that much, I'd go there, no problem.
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#2909726 - 02/14/18 08:37 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: cphollis]
gg22 Online   content
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If you don't like the CP4, Roland RD2000 might be the best option for you. It has the best combination of sounds+action and costs less. Nord's main advantages (light weight, smaller size, stage friendly interface) are not that important for home use.

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#2909734 - 02/14/18 10:22 PM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: gg22]
MrSquare Offline
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Loc: Middle of California
Originally Posted By: gg22
If you don't like the CP4, Roland RD2000 might be the best option for you. It has the best combination of sounds+action and costs less. Nord's main advantages (light weight, smaller size, stage friendly interface) are not that important for home use.


I tend to agree with this. Though I can't make a comparison on the feel between the choices, the RD2000 feels fine to me. It is $500-$1500 cheaper. Once I plant it, it's not moving far. There are more sounds on tap than I will ever use. Though I wonder how much duplication there is with it and the Juno DS. Truth be told, the RD is the one I keep trying to talk myself out of... not sure why. For all the reasons you mentioned, I keep coming back to it.
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#2909750 - 02/15/18 01:33 AM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: MrSquare]
stoken6 Offline
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If the RD2000 is the one talking to you, then listen to it. But don't knock the CP4 as a budget choice - it's a premium product.

Cheers, Mike.
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#2909829 - 02/15/18 08:26 AM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: stoken6]
MrSquare Offline
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Registered: 02/11/18
Posts: 12
Loc: Middle of California
Apologies if I came across as knocking the CP4.That wasn't what I was saying. Three different points in my statement.

1. My head works in a funny way.
2. If I don't buy high end, I will soon buy again. The grass is always greener sort of thing.
3. I wondered about the same (mental) issue if I bought the CP4. Because of only having Yamaha pianos available.

There was never an intent to disparage the CP4. Lots of good reviews on that and apparently a lot of happy owners. My rejection of the CP4 was based more on my own idiosyncrasies rather than the instrument. I had actually hoped that NAMM would bring us an update to the CP4 or perhaps a successor.
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#2909869 - 02/15/18 10:23 AM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: MrSquare]
stoken6 Offline
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And I absolutely don't have a dog in this race (my apologies if I came across as threatening, or arrogant, or ...). It's just that the CP4 is a natural competitor to the RD2000 - they both play in the same division of the league (i.e. the very top). If you're thinking "well, the CP4 would be a non-high-end, second-best choice", I respectfully suggest that's not a fair assessment of it.

Now above all that is subjective preference - some don't like the CP4 because Yamaha's piano samples are too pristine/perfect. I find myself wishing there was a bit more "cut" to Roland's piano tones. If I'm reaching out for a blues lick, it's got to have the ability to get through two strats and two hats (whoops - I'm addressing a guitar player!) and Yamaha can do that.

Anyway, good luck choosing - anything on your shortlist is a fine board to be proud of.

Cheers, Mike.
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#2909878 - 02/15/18 11:04 AM Re: New guy, old questions [Re: stoken6]
MrSquare Offline
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Registered: 02/11/18
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Loc: Middle of California
Originally Posted By: stoken6
If I'm reaching out for a blues lick, it's got to have the ability to get through two strats and two hats (whoops - I'm addressing a guitar player!) and Yamaha can do that.

Anyway, good luck choosing - anything on your shortlist is a fine board to be proud of.

Cheers, Mike.


Haha. Yes, a guitar player, and a Strat player to boot.

A big thank you to you and everyone else that took the time to read this post, draw on individual experience, and offer me guidance

I will most likely buy the Roland. I think I knew that before coming here to the forum. This thread has helped me sort through some of my thoughts,and has given me new roads to consider. In the end, I keep coming back to the RD2k.

I will wait another week or three and continue to investigate the offering at hand, but I'm thinking that choosing the Roland is a fait accompli.
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