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Need help making a decision


djminus1

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Hi,

 

I am about to buy my first keyboard but after countless hours of research, I still can't decide what's best for me.

 

I am new to playing the keyboard, but not at all new to music. I was a DJ for 6 years and am involved in music production for electronic music. I recently put the production on hold to finally learn to play a keyboard and piano properly. I am really enjoying it.

 

I have about $1000 to spend, and I am looking for a keyboard/synth to practice on that has quality grand piano sounds, as well as a bunch of electric pianos like wurlies, rhodes, CP-80, etc. I'd like this keyboard to have a lot of good acoustic instrument sounds as well. I don't really need workstation capabilities as I have plenty of software on my DAW, but I won't turn one down if it's a good deal. It would be nice for this keyboard to have drum patterns for practicing and performing.

 

I looked at Kurzweil and fell in love with the piano/ep sounds on the PC3X, but that thing is $3000 and way out of my budget. I think I can pick up a PC1x for under $1000 used. I couldn't find much on the sounds of that model, but I think I have to buy a ROM to get all of the good ep's.

 

The Yamaha MM8 is under $1000 new but I didn't care for it's piano sounds.

 

Here is wish list of features:

 

- Max $1200. Under $1000 is better

- 88 Weighted keys (as close to piano feel as possible)

- Quality piano sounds

- Quality electric piano sounds

- Built in drum patterns for performance is a plus

- Can double as a nice MIDI controller

 

Here are some that I looked at:

 

Yamaha MM8 (New)

Kurzweil PC1X (Used)

Yamaha S90 (Used)

Yamaha MO8 (Used)

 

I'd love to hear some suggestions from the pro's. Anything on the list above look good? Am I missing a good one?

 

Thanks!

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I have a PC2X (and PC2) among my keyboards, good sounds, later ones have the Orchestral ROM sounds from the factory, the Vintage Keys ROM adds a lot of good sounds and can be added later.

The PC1X is similar, does not have the KB3 Hammond/Leslie emulation, and not as much editing capability.

I still use both of these, in spite of also having a PC3X and PC3 - the PC2X is the "family piano" in our living room. You might find one of them used in good condition for around $1000.

 

Not as good a MIDI controller as a PC3 (not as many sliders) but still no slouch. The PC2 was my main studio keyboard until I got the PC3X, it is now being used at the church where I play regularly.

 

I've played an S90 at a local church - I liked the sounds, but the PC2X was easier to select patches. I have no experience with the S90 as a controller. Also no experience with the MM8 and MO8, except seeing one at a store.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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If you can find one, a used Roland FP4 would be a good choice. And generally, I think you'll get much better quality for the money if you go used at the $1000 level.

 

Also, some folks (here and elsewhere) like the Privia 330. I've played previous Privias and thought they were good value for the $ but was not knocked out with the sounds.

"The Doomer allows the player to do things beyond which are possible without the accessory."
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+1 on the Privia PX-330. See last month's KBMag review; best 88-keybed action you can buy for under $1K. I only paid $550 for mine, and those deals are easy to find. I own one; *great* acoustic pianos. EPs and other non-keyboard sounds are just what you'd expect in this price range, which is not a criticism.

 

With the money you have left, consider adding a small ROMpler for better aux sounds: Roland XV-2020, Ketron Orchestral Wizard, etc. Or a VSTi player like the V-Machine. For half-a-grand, you get a keeper keybed, fab acoustic pianos, a *really fun* non-cheesy rhythm machine to play with, and *speakers* so you don't have to invest in an amp right away. Then use your other half-a-grand to experiment with outboard sounds that you don't have to get locked into.

Legend '70s Compact, Jupiter-Xm, Mojo Suitcase

 

 

 

 

 

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gidday mate

yes just got a PX330 and using it new in band, at the moment as is, I may later add one of my synths on top just to add some zones as the px really can only layer or split a second sound using its setup,thats if this band deems to need zoning, at this stage I am finding that the ease of changing the main sounds on here doesnt at this stage necessitate me adding zones.

 

I have an old XP 50 I used to use on top of my Gem PRP7 piano it will serve as a zoner,or i could use an Akai note separator just to split the internal sounds if the px corresponds in any way the note splitters program change mapping.Or my Alesis S4 module.

 

But as a standalone performing keyboard [or recording] it is great but if you need zoning you will need to go to something else unless you are going to add an outboard synth or note separator.

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Thanks for the responses. I was originally looking at a digital grand, but most of them are limited on the sounds. I want to be able to re-use this thing in my studio. I think I am leaning more towards a synth. Man, if that PC3X were only 60% cheaper. :)

 

I found a used S90 for $850. I think I can also get a PC1X for <$1000 based on some ads I found.

 

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Here is what I am looking at

 

Used PC1X - $750 - Very Good Condition

Used S80 - $800 - Like New Condition with Case

Used S90 - $850 - Good Condition but shows gig wear

 

I am leaning towards the PC1-X, but I need to know if it offers SMF playback for MIDI files. I know the Yamaha S-Series offer this. I just want to be able to load some MIDI files to play along with.

 

Let me know. I am about ready to do this! Thanks a lot for the suggestions.

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There are 128 General MIDI patches in the PC1 (note: the manual can be downloaded in PDF form from Kurzweil's web site). It does not have an internal sequencer to play MIDI files (or any way to put them into the instrument), although it has MIDI In and MIDI Out, so it can be used with an external sequencer, in GM Mode, to play SMF files.

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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There will be people on each side of that question. In my case, I happen to like Kurzweil piano sounds, and would choose the PC1X. I have briefly played an S90, but not enough to be real familiar with it - I do prefer the Kurz pianos to those on a CP300 that I have played. However, this is a very individual thing. I also like the Rhodes and Wurly sounds on my PC2X. YMMV - if there is a chance of playing both instruments (use headphones or something else that will be same sound system for both) before purchase, you may like the sound or action of one better than the other.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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For piano, electric piano, etc...what would you do? PC1X or S90?

 

Those two are close enough in both quality and features that you are not going to find a definitive answer to this question. You will find proponents of both keyboards on this site, and people who gig with them regularly.

 

I gig with the very similar PC1se, and I know the S90 is the bottom board in Eric's rig. Truthfully, if something happened to my bottom board and I had to make this choice myself today, I would probably be flipping a coin.

 

Play them both, and buy the one you like! :D

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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Since I am more of a studio guy, I am re-thinking this whole thing. I am wondering if maybe I get a really nice 88-key midi controller and a sound module. That way, I have some portability for taking it on the road, but I have a really nice MIDI controller for the studio. I think Brad suggested this. Thanks Brad.

 

Can anyone make a suggestion for acoustic ROMplers and the MIDI controller? Remember, Grand Piano and ep's are crucial. Orchestral and other acoustics like guitars, sax, etc are important, but second to pianos.

 

Sorry for all of the questions but you guys are really helpful!

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I tried the MIDI controller and computer idea - works good in the studio. Playing3 live, it did not work as well - although more time spent mapping each audio source I used to different controllers would have helped. The notebook computer and separate ASIO audio/midi circuit isn't really nearly as rugged as a plain old keyboard workstation (which really is a dedicated function controller). It was also much less user-friendly in live performance. There are a couple of very good touring musos on the forum that carry a rack module - easier to carry it on the airplane when flying all over - then they have arranged a rental of something that can be used as an 88-key controller at the venue. I don't fly to gigs, and my PC3X in its road case fits nicely in my Kia minivan, so the separate controller and rack module is not as applicable.

 

What has worked for me is using my PC3 and/or PC3X as a MIDI controller in the studio for the few times that I want sounds I cannot get out of the keyboard itself, and using the internal sounds mostly in the studio; and all the time playing out live.

 

If you get a really top notch MIDI controller with 88 weighted keys, plus a rack module - that can work OK in the field. Then it is just as much money spent as buying a PC3X. Of course, I never spent the $$$ for Ivory or some of the other high quality software sound generators. I do have EmulatorX - and the PC3 pianos sound better than the Grand Piano that takes up 1-1/2 CDs in loading for EmulatorX. I do sometimes us Native Instruments B4 or PRO-52 in the studio, but mostly I can get most any sound I want between the K2661 and the PC3. YMMV.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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Hey, I got a brand new Yamaha S80 last night. This thing is brand new and been in storage. I guess it was purchased as a backup unit. I paid $660 for it and it came with a padded roller-case. I think I got a pretty good deal.

 

The S80 wasn't my first choice, but I will give it a shot and sell it if I don't like it.

 

Thanks a lot for the suggestions. This was helpful.

 

Oh yeah, what about the expansion boards for the Yamahas? I heard the PLG150PF card has horrid grand piano, but good EP's while the PLG150AP has nice Grand's, but no ep's. Are any of these worth $180 used?

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