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CP300 vs S90s vs Motifs


cnegrad

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Hi all,

 

My church has a Yamaha CP300, which has a great Dyno-My-Piano Rhodes sound. I'm just wondering how it stacks up to the Rhodes sounds in other Yamaha boards like the S90 series and Motif series. My interest is strictly in the quality of the Rhodes sound - not the keyboard action or the weight or anything else. The only thing about the CP300 is that as much as I love it's Rhodes sound, it's samples feel like it only has two velocity layers. (That's only my impression, the reality may be different.) Any thoughts?

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If you're talking strictly Rhodes...S90 or S90es hands down.

 

Acoustic Piano...CP300 hands down.

 

The Motif Rhodes are essentially the same thing as the S90 and S90es, maybe a few newer variations on the XS, but nothing that different from what I've heard.

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Dave,

 

Thanks for your reply, but it was confusing. First you say that (for Rhodes sounds) the S90 series beats everything hands down. But then you say that the Motif series and S90 series are essentially the same thing. So are you saying that both series are better than the CP300? And if so, why? Do they have more velocity layers or something? Because I have to assume that Yamaha dips into their pre-existing library of samples, so how different could they be?

 

And just for more confusion: I've owned a Motif ES, and now an XS, and I get more enjoyment playing the CP300 than I do any of the others. The initial obvious difference would be the CP300's weighted action, vs. the unweighted actions on the others, but I actually don't really care for the CP300's action that much. Maybe I like the patch programming better on the CP? Hmmmm....I'm very confused.

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I think he is saying that the Rhodes sounds on the S90/Motif and S90ES/Motif ES are better than the Rhodes sounds on the CP300. I've always felt that the Yamaha digital pianos were not quite as good in the EP department.
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I'm not saying it is a bad sound, but I think the EPs on the Motif and ES engines have more layers and less noticeable velocity switching. I expect that your enjoyment is related to the killer action on the CP300 combined with the built in speakers and the extra umph they provide. It really is a marvelous instrument. I'd probably gig with one if it was a little bit lighter.
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If you're unhappy with the Rhodes sounds in the CP300, you should consider augmenting it with a Nord Electro Rack 2. That would be a killer combo, and there's a perfect spot for the Electro on top of the CP300.
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Totally agree with D-Bon: CP300 piano is the best out there. Keybed is terrific. EP's are weak. Of you are gonna carry a tank like a CP300, might as well get a Nord Electro rack, and have the best of all worlds. It would be a killer rig

Hammond C3, Leslie 122, Steinway B, Wurlitzer 200A, Rhodes 73,

D6 Clav

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I'll be the first to admit..I know zip about velocity and sample layers. What I do trust are my fingers and ears.

 

I think the CP300's extra sounds, is what I would call them for lack of a better description, are coming from a totally different place than the Motif/S90/ library. Most people buy the CP300 for one reason...AC piano and the keyboard feel(actually that's two, but you get my drift). I think the Digital Piano division, which is a separate animal than the people doing sound design for the Motif/S90, don't put a whole lot of thought into these extra sounds...more like...well, we have to put something else on there besides piano to justify the $2600 list.

The basic extra sounds ep, organ, clav, strings (ouch) are pretty much the same since the P200 to the P120, to the CP33, not too much has changed, just some modified variations. For some people those general midi type sounds do the job.

 

If you like the EP in CP300 better..cool...more power to ya.

It might in part to what Eric mentioned about the connection between the internal speaker and keyboard action more than sound.

I know whenever I go back and forth (and I've spent WAY TOO MANY hours out of my life in the last year doing this) between the CP300, S90ES, MotifXS or ES88, I still get the most enjoyment out of the CP300...it feels most like a REAL instrument to me..that's

the piano guy in me though.

 

Didn't mean to sound confusing or to complicate matters.

But like I said....for me:

Rhodes SOUND= S90,S90ES,Motif ES,XS

Ac piano SOUND= CP300

Overall keyboard feel and just fun to play= CP300

 

Weight= give me the FP4...haha

 

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Hmmm. I guess that I'm underestimating how much of a difference the weighted action makes. Also, I'm kind of surprised by your assertion that the Rhodes in the CP300 is considered an afterthought. I can agree with regards to other CP300 sounds like organ, strings and choir. But in your estimation, Yamaha's digital piano division couldn't care less about it's Rhodes sounds? I guess that's another head scratcher for me....
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Modern Yamaha synths (S90, S90ES, Motif, Motif ES, Motif XS) have three Rhodes style sets of multisamples: EP1, EP2 and EP3. As far as I can tell, there have been zero changes in these waveforms over the years, eventhough the programs might have changed. EP1 has three velocity layers. EP2 and EP3 have only two velocity layers. I believe the Dyno Rhodes cnegrad is referring to is EP3. I don't have my S90 set up at the moment so I can't confirm. It would be helpful if he pressed EDIT and looked at the waveforms so we are in fact talking about the same thing.

 

I do not have a CP300 but do have a Clavinova Slimline which, as far as I'm concerned, is more or less a more expensive version (with wood keys and a beautiful case) of the P250. It came out before the CP300 and its soundset more closely matches the P250. It does have a "Dyno" Rhodes and on this instrument it is two velocity layers. There is another Rhodes on the Slimline which is three velocity layers and it matches EP1 in sound, as you would expect.

 

Mike Martin, back when he was at Yamaha, posted some info on the differences between int he Clavinonvas (P250 and CPs as well as I understand it) and the synths. It seems to me the digital pianos had up to 128 velocity layers possible and could use those to make for smoother transitions between layers. Software piano developers have been doing this as well. Often times you'll see a piano listed as eight or twelve velocity layers, but is really only using four. By placing the same multisample at various layers with different EQ/filtering, they can make for smoother transitions.

 

Yamaha, like everyone else, reuses a lot of the same samples. They're pretty easy to spot.

 

Busch.

 

 

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Which is why I'm surprised at some of the responses about the S90's and Motif's Rhodes sounding "much better" than the CP300. But I can also appreciate that playing the CP's weighted action, I enjoy it much more, and my playing is much more inspired as a result than when I play the Motif.
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Which is why I'm surprised at some of the responses about the S90's and Motif's Rhodes sounding "much better" than the CP300. But I can also appreciate that playing the CP's weighted action, I enjoy it much more, and my playing is much more inspired as a result than when I play the Motif.

 

I think in many ways you're answering your own question with the rhodes. It seems like your satisfied with the CP300 rhodes sound and that's really the bottom line, your opinion. Sound quality is so darn subjective to each persons need and perspective. The weighted action is key for me when I play any piano or EP sound and I understand where you're coming from here. The rhodes sound your asking about is based on people's opinions and experiences with both instruments. The one thing I would prefer the S90/motif's over the CP300 would be the editing ability. To be able to edit the sound to get it just the way you like it would be critical for me. If you like the CP300's rhodes sound then it sounds to me like your set. All IMHO of course.

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Which is why I'm surprised at some of the responses about the S90's and Motif's Rhodes sounding "much better" than the CP300. But I can also appreciate that playing the CP's weighted action, I enjoy it much more, and my playing is much more inspired as a result than when I play the Motif.

 

Yeah, the action can have a big impact on how you feel about the sound. I remember triggering the B4 from a weighted action. It just sounded beefy and fuller than when played from a synth action. Now the B4 isn't responding to velocity so in reality it sounds absolutely identical triggered from either action, but I always liked the "beefy" tone of the weighted keyboard. Purely psychosomatic.

 

The best way to hear the differences, if there are significant ones, would be to record the output of both the DP and synth. That takes the action out of the equation. I wonder if the people who prefer the synths are making the comparisons using identical playback systems or are just listening to the CP300 via the internal speakers.

 

Busch.

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The "Vintage '74" produced in the S90ES and Motifs is not the same as an EP in the CP300.

 Find 660 of my jazz piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas Harry was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book."

 

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Yeah, the action can have a big impact on how you feel about the sound. I remember triggering the B4 from a weighted action. It just sounded beefy and fuller than when played from a synth action. Now the B4 isn't responding to velocity so in reality it sounds absolutely identical triggered from either action, but I always liked the "beefy" tone of the weighted keyboard. Purely psychosomatic.

 

I have the same thing going on in reverse.. when I play Rhodes sounds on my Electro. It sounds just fine, but from a player perspective there's just not enough weight to play emotionally.

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My 2 cents?

 

Well, I am with you cnegrad... I love the Rhodes on the CP300 and it's predecessor. I am not as thrilled with my Motif (unweighted) because the samples seem to go from soft to overdriven with little effort. I felt the S90/es were much the same way. I do wonder if it is the feed back feel you get from the speakers in the CP's.

Jimmy

 

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Jim,

 

I'm glad that someone agrees with me! Man, when I'm playing the Dyno Rhodes in the CP300, I feel like I'm channeling all my favorite funk and jazz Rhodes players. I do wish though that there were at least a couple more velocity layers. But still, it's a very inspiring experience.

 

FWIW, I've never used the built-in speakers, since I'm playing in a very big room and going through both the house and the monitors. So it must be a combination of the weighted action and how the velocity switching is programmed. I guess I'll have to take some time and learn how to edit the velocity switching in my XS and see if that helps. I think that I even like the velocity programming better in the Motif ES than I do in the XS...

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