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Kurzweil PC3X or Clavia Nord Stage 2 (88) ?


execlass2

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Dear forumites, I ask for your enlightened opinion ....

 

I already own a Kurzweil PC3X (88 keys) and generally I am pleased with the sound of it. Less happy with the acoustic pianos, but it's a solid instrument all around, althought in a couple of aspects (implementation of buttons and setups) seems "half-baked".

 

I will find myself with some available cash to spend towards the end of the year, and given the fact that I may also sell my mostly unused Korg M3-M with Radias Expansion, I have been tempted to get the Clavia Nord Stage 2. I really dig the pianos of the Nord Stage EX, and it feels very solid all around. Soooo ...my question is..... *drum roll*....

 

Is it worthwhile to spend the considerable cash in exchanging the PC3X for the Nord Stage 2 ? I don't play much live these days, but I plan on it - i mostly do studio work and rely heavily of VST's. All things pondered, is the Clavia worth all that, that justifies getting rid of my so far very reliable, but not so mind-blowing PC3X for it ? Or shall I save on this one and wait for some next big thing ?

 

Ricardo

 

 

Kawai MP7, Kurzweil PC361, DSI Pro2, Streichfett, Nektar P6, NI Maschine Studio, KMI QuNeo, Eventide H9, Zoom MS100BT, VoiceLive 3 Extreme, Arturia BeatStep Pro.
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Well, it sounds like you don't have much need for a change, if the only sonic shortcoming of the Kurz for you is the piano, and you do mostly studio work where you could use VSTs to get better piano sounds (that's assuming that you at least find the Kurz piano to be sufficient for the forthcoming live work). It sounds like it might come down to whether you find the greater immediacy of the Nord interface more enjoyable and inspiring to work with. Overall, the Kurz is more flexible in its capabilities--as is your M3M/Radias combo, for that matter--but that doesn't necessarily matter if you find that they operationally impede your workflow in ways where the Nord may better facilitate your creativity.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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How much time have you spent playing the Nord? How does the KB action feel?

 

The sound is important, but I have read some players complaining of the action on Nord KB's.

 

I never played the Nord Stage, so I'm just asking.

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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Not sure about the Stage 2 (since I've never played one), but I have a PC3X and an Electro 3. I sometimes MIDI to use the Kurz keyboard to play the Bosendorfer grand on the Electro - gives me a different sound set from the native one on the Kurz.

 

I also have EWQL's Pianos Gold running on the DAW. If you already have computer and interface, EWQL sporadically has 1/2 price sales on a lot of their products, or Ivory II, or Garritan's Steinway might be useful. Costs a lot less than selling the PC3X and buying the Stage 2 (the way I read the OP, the sounds of the PC3 are generally adequate, and a better piano sound is the main desire.)

 

I originally bought the Electro to use for Hammond/Leslie (and as a very lightweight board), but gig mostly now with the PC3 (not the PC3X) by itself, since the OS changes improved the KB3 organ sound.

 

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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How much MIDI work are you doing? Would the Nord be adequate from a MIDI perspective? This might be another reason to keep the Kurz.

 

I fiddled with the envelope structures on the Kurz pianos and also have brightened them up. They work nicely for me now both live and in the studio. Though Steinway-based they now sound more "yamaha-ish".

57 Hammond B3; 69 Hammond L100P; 68 Leslie 122; Kurzweil Forte7 & PC3; M-Audio Code 61; Voce V5+; Neo Vent; EV ELX112P; GSI Gemini & Burn

Delaware Dave

Exit93band

 

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If you're mostly working with VSTs in a studio setting, if you're swapping out anything I'd be more inclined to go with a high-end DP that offers a much better action than either the Kurzweil or the Nord. Choices like Roland RD700NX, Yamaha CP5 or Kawai MP10 will probably transform your studio experience more than the NS2 and if it's staying mostly in the studio, weight presumably isn't that much of an issue.

Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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How much time have you spent playing the Nord? How does the KB action feel?

 

The sound is important, but I have read some players complaining of the action on Nord KB's.

 

I never played the Nord Stage, so I'm just asking.

I haven't played the weighted Stages a lot... probably less than an hour on the NS2, and only a few minutes on the old EX. Also just a few minutes on the new Nord Piano.

 

Speaking strictly in terms of piano playing, I happen to like Nord's weighted actions. I wouldn't put them at the top of my list... my favorites would probably be the Yamaha CP/CP5 and some of the better Rolands. But the Nords are fine. I like them better than the Korg RH3 action, or the Yamaha GH and GHS actions, the Kawai MP6 and MP10 actions, and whatever Roland used on the 300GX, for example. But lots of people like heavier actions than I do, too.

 

I finally played that Nord Piano just recently--as I said, only for a few minutes--but I actually liked it quite a lot, I liked it better than the Nord Stage 2, which is supposedly the same board with minor modifications. The return felt more natural on the NP. It might even be one of my favorite actions.

 

For a multipurpose weighted action where you have to play organ as well, it would never be a first choice, but I thought the Stage EX was a bit better than the NS2. They are not worlds apart though.

 

One limitation I found with the Nord weighted actions is that their piano trigger point seems to be kind of deep... such that a light thumbnail gliassando will fail to trigger all the keys. I had the same issue on a Kurzweil (who uses similar Fatar actions as Nord), and also on the Roland FP-4F, though I think maybe to a lesser extent. I don't think I ever experienced the issue on any Yamaha, Korg, or Casio. Not that everyone would care...

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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FWIW I have a Nord Stage2-76 (weighted), and just sold (with some remorse - see other post) my PC3, and had a PC3X before that.

 

They are all great keyboards. I like the NS76 most, but in hindsight, not 3X as much. (I say that because it costs 3X as much.)

 

I find the NordS2-76 action great for pianos, although admittedly not as nice as the Yam CP's. I didn't mind the PC3X action either (for piano).

 

I don't like playing organ on any weighted action keyboards, and wish Nord had real drawbars (so I added OB drawbars). Kurz's faders are better than the Nord LED's and Kurz's new KB3 (as of Dec 2010) gives Nord's organs a run for the money (and is more flexible and getting better with age.

 

The Nord software editor is easy to use, and I find it quite a bit easier to navigate the Nord on stage. (Effects laid out etc.) But it is less flexible than the Kurz.

 

The decisive factor for me was weight. I wanted a lightweight all in one board with weighted keys. The PC3X was too heavy IMO to schlep around to gigs/rehearsals so it ended up staying at home.

 

Also, the Kurzweil's were frustrating on occasion as at times, I found myself searching one little setting buried somewhere to change something simple whereas with Nord, everything is laid out. Since I don't play/gig too frequently, and the Kurz' are complex, we were probably not ideal matches in that respect on gigs when quick changes on the fly were needed

 

As an aside, I didn't really like the NS-EX's (the model prior to the Stage2) as much but then they (like Kurzweil) have upgraded their library/sounds substantially since then.

 

I also don't use VST's much as I like the immediacy of hardware.

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I confess that over the years I've been a huge Kurzweil fan. Back in the day, my combo was a Casio CZ-1 plus a Proteus 1 module fed into a Vox gutar amp, when I stumbled upon a K2000 on a store, coming through a pair of Audix studio monitors. And when I placed my hands on that keyboard and heard those strings ... my life was forever changed. THAT, was a real game changer ( HAD to say it :D ). I ended up ordering the K2000S with Orchestral expansion. It gave me many years of pure joy.

 

Ever since I had the K2600RS, The K2661 and now the PC3X. I have to say, even still being a big fan of Kurzweil, the "wow" factor is less with each new product they bring out. Sure, the PC3X is a great keyboard. But, it's not such a leap ahead of the competition as it used to be, and what you can do in the studio with software is unbelievable these days, and with much more variety and imediacy too (although I suspect that the so called variety is counter-productive, most of the times).

 

That said, the life cycle of a Kurzweil product is getting shorter and shorter for me. I kept the K2000S for some 6 years; The K2600RS, 3 years; The K2661, 2 years, and the PC3X is not even 2 years old and I'm already getting tired of it.

 

I do like the PC3X a lot. I think that from the synthesis point of view it has an enormous potential. But for someone who dislikes programming like I do, it's disappointing that it's such a complex beast to operate. I also think that, despite the very useful sounds that it includes, it has the potential to generate "korg-ish-wow-I-want-that-sound-even-if-it's-completely-useless" type of sounds. But I wonder why so few sound designers are developing third-party soundsets for it - which I would gladly purchase.

 

That said, I had a couple of rounds in a local music store with the Clavia Nord Stage EX. I have to say I liked the immediate approach and clarity of the layout. I liked how the keybed felt and I loved that the pianos immediatly felt "right" to my ears. The Kurzweil's pianos tend to be "dark" and suitable for stacking with pads, but i like a more "yamaha"-type of piano with faster attack and more brightness. The Stage has those, plenty, and remains sweet and the release feels better than the Kurzweil too. Must be something in the envelopes. Plus, the fact that there are clearly separated Piano / Organ / Synthesizer sections also makes a lot of sense to me. The Stage 2 seems to bring a better weighted keybed action, and also ports the Nord Wave into the board. Not bad at all. But for me it means to put almost 2.000 EUROS plus the PC3X.

 

It seems to be the general consensus that it may be better, but not 2.000 euros better than the Kurz. I'll probably stick with the PC3X and try to get better pianos either by tweaking the existing ones (brrrrrr....), wait for the PC3 expansion board (errrmmmm ...long in the tooth), or resort to VST's (my least favorite option - sometimes you just want to push the ON button and jam .... ).

 

Thank you all for your input.

 

Ricardo

Kawai MP7, Kurzweil PC361, DSI Pro2, Streichfett, Nektar P6, NI Maschine Studio, KMI QuNeo, Eventide H9, Zoom MS100BT, VoiceLive 3 Extreme, Arturia BeatStep Pro.
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I do like the PC3X a lot. I think that from the synthesis point of view it has an enormous potential. But for someone who dislikes programming like I do, it's disappointing that it's such a complex beast to operate.

Have you tried the Mac/PC editor for it?

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Not since I installed the OS 2.0 onwards .... the version that came originally with my 1.3 was buggy as hell and constantly failed to communicate with my PC3X (I'm on a Mac). I heard that it has improved significantly since the newer version, but I got so sick of it the first time around that I didn't give it another try yet. Maybe I should ....
Kawai MP7, Kurzweil PC361, DSI Pro2, Streichfett, Nektar P6, NI Maschine Studio, KMI QuNeo, Eventide H9, Zoom MS100BT, VoiceLive 3 Extreme, Arturia BeatStep Pro.
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It seems to be the general consensus that it may be better, but not 2.000 euros better than the Kurz. I'll probably stick with the PC3X and try to get better pianos either by tweaking the existing ones (brrrrrr....), wait for the PC3 expansion board (errrmmmm ...long in the tooth), or resort to VST's (my least favorite option - sometimes you just want to push the ON button and jam .... ).

 

Thank you all for your input.

 

Ricardo

 

Shoot me an email and give me some details regarding what you're looking for in a piano sound and I'll help you out.

The expansion board is coming soon, I promise.

davew@ycrdi.com

 

 

 

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Hello Dave,

 

I really am happy with my PC3x, this board just does it for me. Can't wait for the ROM expansion you mentioned. I figured that with new products, etc, this may have been passed on by now.

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Shoot me an email and give me some details regarding what you're looking for in a piano sound and I'll help you out. The expansion board is coming soon, I promise....

Wow, just caught this from Mr. Weiser. Very cool. So will this work for the PC3/X or do you need a PC3K series? Hoping for the former....

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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