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Need help with a new Digital Piano/Keyboard for Country/Rock


Firedude721

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Hello everyone, I am at a bit of a stumbling block at present and would appreciate your help and advice.

 

I have recently began playing keyboards for two different bands after a long hiatus (for no real reason). Moral of the story is I need a better piano sound and feel for Country Music.

 

Let me give you some background:

 

I had been playing a Casio Privia that my fiance bought for me last year and decided that it was not suitable for stage use (especially considering that one of the bands could quite possibly end up on tour). It didn't have suitable outputs for stage use and I had too much pride to step on stage with a Casio (stuck up and silly perhaps but the truth nonetheless). However, I have to say, for less than 500 it's a darn good deal and certainly playable.

 

Onwards! I had owned an S90 and a Fantom X8 in the past and decided to go with what I am familiar with. I bought a used Fantom X8 to use on stage as well as a bunch of other stuff listed below in my signature. I was familiar with the X8 so it seemed like a natural choice. I used to play it in church and it worked wonderfully in that case. However, I can't seem to find a piano sound that I like or a sound that cuts through the obscenely loud guitars. (Maybe I just suck at getting the right sound, but the decay of the piano samples are terrible. There and gone!) I used the Yamaha Motif Rack (I actually really like the sound of the Power Grand) and when I listened to a recording of me in the mix with the Power Grand sound, it did not mesh at all with the other instruments. (In fact, it sounded terrible despite my love for the sound and its ability to cut through). I don't really care for the piano samples on the Motif ES and used that rack mostly for acoustic instruments other than piano. I used the Korg for pads, etc.

 

The other thing I don't like is the keybed on the Fantom X8. It feels good to play (especially in comparison to the Casio which feels like hitting a tabletop at times). But, the keybed on the Roland seems sluggish and like there is something missing. I can't quite point it out but it doesn't feel like a real piano. I play far better on a real piano (and the Casio sadly).

 

However, I love the interface of the Roland far better than any other keyboard I've ever played. I like the display that is easy to follow and the drum pads (I use them to trigger DMX lighting sequences via MIDI). My hat goes off to Roland for this. They definitely won here.

 

I've been reading all day and am more lost than ever! I've read about the Yamaha CP5, Roland RD700NX, Nord Piano, Kurzweil, etc. None of what I've read has been very helpful with regard to Country/Rock type music. I know the easy thing to do would be to go and play each of these but I live hours away from the closest place that "might" have some of these in stock for me to play. Let alone A/B them.

 

Here's where I'm at now:

 

Roland RD700NX or Fantom G8 - I'm worried about being right where I'm at. Are the RD and G8 superior to the X8 sonically and feelwise? The roland sounds nice to play solo but in a band I get washed out and I'm not satisfied with the feel.

 

Yamaha CP5, Motif XF8, S90XS, etc. - Most of these lack the interface that the roland has. People rave about the feel and sound of the Yamahas though (although I don't recall being that impressed with the original S90 I owned. The action was a little heavy for my taste.) but I really didn't like the sound of the Motif ES piano at all. (I'm not sure how the newer pianos compare) I played an older stage piano by Yamaha some years ago and remember telling my mother at around 10 years old, "Mom, this is the piano I want! It sounds better than all of the others." But I was 10, and things have changed greatly since then.

 

Korg Kronos - I didn't mention it earlier because it's very expensive and looks very cheap. I don't mind paying that much for something if the quality is there. But plastic?! Plus Korg's piano sounds to this point were terrible to my ear. (Although, I haven't heard the Kronos piano).

 

Nord - I have no experience with this line of products and it seems like people either love them or hate them. For their price you'd think they would make coffee and give massages or something. It seems like they are skimpy with the feature set for the price.

 

Kurzweil - I picked up the PC361 for almost nothing and really like the KB3 mode. I don't have another piece of gear that even compares to the organs available. But they lose the interface race. The possibilities are endless with the manual in hand. Otherwise, you better have a PHD in something to navigate around. I do like the PC361 despite its dated interface. It's a great choice for organ if you can afford the real one, especially at $999.00! One is enough unless it's a clear winner. The interface is just way too dated for me.

 

Here's what I would like in order of importance.

 

1a. 88 weighted keys that are as close to the Yamaha Baby Grand I grew up with or the Steinway my Grandfather has that he doesn't know how to play and won't give up! I love the feel of the Steinway!

 

1b. Piano sound that is beautiful solo, in a Country/Rock mix, and can cut through without sounding goofy. No Laptop/Controller combos. I would like a straight up hardware device.

 

2. Quality. Let me give an example Roland Fantom vs Korg M50. I'm confident you can figure out which has better build quality.

 

3. Midi interface and display like the Roland would be nice but I really just need a piano that is great. I can buy a used X6 for the other goodies.

 

4. Portability - Nothing heavier than the Roland Fantom (which is heavy in my opinion) Sadly I can't take a grand with me.

 

5. Bang for the Buck. While the CP1 might sound great to some, I think it's way way way overpriced for what is included. Budget is $4000 but I want to feel like I got what I paid for. 2000 is a lost easier to chew on than 4000, unless it's being given to me. I think the CP5 is a pretty fairly priced keyboard while I think the CP1 is way overpriced. (I'm just using these as examples.)

 

I don't really need a sequencer at present. To be frank, I've really never even used the one on my Roland. I play mostly live and any recording that I do is done in a studio and I'm just responsible for playing.

 

Thanks in advance for your help guys and gals.

Roland Fantom X8 | Kurzweil PC361 | Yamaha Motif-Rack ES & Original | Korg Triton Rack
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Nord Piano will give you a decent action and a wide range of different piano sounds in a pretty lightweight and well made package with a clean interface.

 

You may prefer the sound or feel of the Yamaha CP5, but it is heavier, with what most people find to be a clumsy interface. Roland FP-7F and RD-700NX are also a bit on the heavy side, but interface is more straightforward... but I think even the newest Rolands still have a little of the Roland piano sound you're trying to get away from.

 

 

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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Here's where I'm at now:

 

Roland RD700NX or Fantom G8 -

Yamaha CP5, Motif XF8, S90XS, etc.

Korg Kronos -

Nord -

Kurzweil -

 

 

I've never found a Roland piano sound I totally vibed with.

 

The Yamaha CP5 is a very nice unit, yes the interface I don't get in the store...but owners have said if you RTFM it's not impossible to navigate. And your stated use is piano only anyways.

 

The Kronos is not cheaply built. I own a 73 and it's my primary gigging board. Piano samples are large and detailed (stream off internal SSD). Entire sound set is to die for. Programming is powerful, and interface is intuitive and geared towards live playing. You'd be foolish to disregard it as an option.

 

Nord - Never owned one or played one extensively, so can't comment intelligently.

 

Kurzweil - own several, including the PC361. If you're really looking for just a digital piano, not sure why you're discussing other stuff about it. Yes, Kurz's programming is deep and initially inscrutable. How you feel about Kurz's piano sound may dictate whether it's an option for you or not.

 

Feel is going to be subjective. No digital gets me anywhere close to a real Steinway. Keybed itself is only one component of "finger-to-sound" connection. Since you've ruled out the Casio PX3, you may have ruled out one of the best DP actions on the market.

 

Sound is subjective too. Obviously studio monitors are different than IEMs are different than floor wedges are different than FOH. Best digital I've played extensively is Ivory. But you've ruled that route out.

 

Don't forget to check out Kawai's MP series as well.

 

Hope this helps you some.

 

 

..
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I played 88-note Kronos for first time and was considering this for a future DP+ but I didn't like the action at all. I can see why Korg action has been talked about so much here. I also really didn't like piano. I would of thought for such a large sampled piano I would of liked it more. I expected more when I pressed the sustain pedal. I might be spoiled with AG. I think that's where AG is so realistic. I've had Korg workstations for many years and could never figure out why they can't sample acoustic pianos like Yamaha, Roland, Kurzweil - even Casio.

AvantGrand N2 | ES520 | Gallien-Krueger MK & MP | https://soundcloud.com/pete36251

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Welcome to the forum - although you've been here for a bit, I hadn't seen any of your posts until today. I'm near you - in the New Bern area.

 

I play in a country/gospel/oldies/oldierock group locally. I use a PC3 (I did have a Nord Electro 3 for a while). You might just want to try MIDI up an 88 key weighted controller to your PC361 - there are a lot of sounds on it that will work in your application with no or very little editing. (I have all three sizes of the PC3). I also play in our church praise band.

 

New Bern has Fuller Music - they carry some of the lower end Yamaha and Korg keyboards. Raleigh has Guitar Center and Sam Ash (across the street from each other). Not a really great keyboard area for the size of the town. Not sure what Wilmington has now.

 

I have the most useful (to me) patches out of each group of 8 preset so I can just select a bank, then a sound for most of my playing. Sometimes I just key in the patch number on the keypad. I run a PC2 and PC361 at church; PC3X in the shop/sutdio, and PC3 - sometimes with the 361 for gigs.

 

There are some others in the eastern half of NC also - we are going to have to all have a KC Hang just for the NC members sometime.

 

 

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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Thank you all for your replies!

 

AnotherScott: I hear people love the Nords I'm failing to see the value for the huge price. Of course that might change if I could play one, but it's hard to spend the extra thousand. Bottom line, I need to play one. I'm honestly torn between a ungodly amount of sounds in some of the Workstations vs just a piano. They're roughly the same price and it seems like so much more in the workstation.

 

timwat: There is no other keyboard out that I want to try more than the Kronos. It looks amazing from the spec sheet, but I've read so many people speak ill of the build quality. Without ever have playing it, and just looking at it, I think they could have done more for the price they demand. Plastic is not the way to go. Add to that, Korgs history of medicore piano samples and in my opinion the poorest key action out of the big name brands, it's hard to believe it's great. Again, I'll have to play it and see. I will say, it would be easier to spend 4000 on the Kronos 88 than the Nord of any variety...based on online specs. With regard to the Kurzweil, there isn't a place anywhere within a days trip that I know of where I can play one. I do like some of the sounds on my PC361 and for the price I paid ($999.00) there's nothing better. I'll leave this up for grabs as well and see if the pianist from New Bern might let me check his 88key out. There were more reasons why I ruled the Casio out than what I had stated. A problem I had with mine was the action speed (it was sluggish, albiet not much worse than the Roland). I appreciate your time and ideas, and I know I need to play and hear them for myself, I'm just trying to get the most for my money and narrow it down to two or three options before I take the roadtrip.

 

16251: I think I'm still going to give the Kronos a try, it sounds like it is hands down one of the most impressive instruments money can buy. Though, my suspicion is that I won't like the Korg keybed, sadly, yet again.

 

MoodyBluesKeys: Thank you for the welcome. I've found a lot of helpful information and intelligent people on this forum, typically moreso that others. I was able to play an older Kurz 88 (a lot older). The guy who owned it never played it, never covered it, and let his kids play it. Thus, the keys stuck in several places so I was difficult to formulate an opinion. As far as piano sound with my PC361: There was no run-away winner that I fell in love with. However, there were several that I liked...several more than the Roland. I had never even considered the Kurz until the PC361 became so affordable. How do you say no to 999 for what it offers!? I'm no pro organist, rather a pianist forced to play organs out of necessity. I am unbelievably happy with the KB3 mode. I played it for hours I liked it so much in comparison to what I had been using and tried (Korg Triton, Yamaha Motif ES, Motif Original, Roland Fantom X8.) I didn't jump for one of the dedicated organ modules because I wanted a jack of all trades with a particular eye for organs. Plus it's difficult to fathom that any of the more expensive models are $1000 dollars or more better. I would love to try one of their new PC3 88s. I've checked with just about every music store within two hours of me and they have minimal selections. None of the keyboards anyone has mentioned are available for play in 88 key versions. I played a yamaha S70XS and it was decent but I wasn't sold. Next to the XF6 I didn't give it much play. I played the XF6 and liked some of the sounds but had to audition it though a Roland K-something small and crappy amp (same with the S70). I played a Korg M50 and I'd take my old Casio over that toy (sorry Korg guys, it's plastic toy with regard to piano, keybed, and build). So it looks like I'll be taking the three hour drive to GC and SamAsh soon. Any chance I could play one of your Kurz 88s?

 

So: lets narrow some stuff down.

 

Yamaha CP5 (Hoping my younger love of the Yamaha DP sound will still be there, and the keybed will be amazing)

 

Motif XF8 (Maybe, how is the keybed and piano sound in comparison to the CP5?)

 

Korg Kronos (It just looks amazing, despite its plastic)

 

Nord Stage 2 (If I'm going to spend it, I might as well have it all. I'd rather have the flexability if I need it.)

 

Roland RD700NX (I'd still like to play it and see if it's any better than the X8. Sigh...Fantom G8.)

 

Kurzweil 88 something (I'll give it a whirl because of my luck with their PC361.)

 

I'll try the Kawai if I can find it. (Never heard of it)

 

Anyone know if Yamaha, Roland, or Kurzweil are on the cusp of releasing anything to compete with the Kronos?

Roland Fantom X8 | Kurzweil PC361 | Yamaha Motif-Rack ES & Original | Korg Triton Rack
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If you want to get an idea of what a Kurzweil will be like, run a MIDI cable from your 88 to your PC361. The action will be different, but it will probably still give you a better idea of what to expect compared to playing the PC361 from its own keyboard, which is so poorly adapted to piano. But the sounds on the PC361 are already the same piano sounds you'd get on an 88 key Kurz.

 

Since it sounds like you like the same kind of actions I do, I think you'd probably prefer the feel of the Nords, CP5, and RD700NX over the XF8, Kronos, and Kawais.

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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If you want to get an idea of what a Kurzweil will be like, run a MIDI cable from your 88 to your PC361. The action will be different, but it will probably still give you a better idea of what to expect compared to playing the PC361 from its own keyboard, which is so poorly adapted to piano. But the sounds on the PC361 are already the same piano sounds you'd get on an 88 key Kurz.

 

Since it sounds like you like the same kind of actions I do, I think you'd probably prefer the feel of the Nords, CP5, and RD700NX over the XF8, Kronos, and Kawais.

 

Maybe you could point me towards more of what I'm looking for in feel. I like the feeling of depressing the roland keys, but not the depth or the rebound, I'm not sure which. Basically when I play, I get this awesome feel when I press down and then when I go to quickly strike a key again, it's not back to its place yet which results in loss of dynamics and sound. Again, I'm not sure if it's because of depth or rebound time. The casio felt almost like the keys were hitting hard wood rather than strings/felt and the key return was sluggish as well. I'm not sure if the depth was more shallow than the Roland, but it seems as if I played fast tunes comparibly between the Roland and Casio and slow songs better on the Roland. I agree that the synth action of the Kurz was not at all suitable for Piano but I did find myself being able to play it and lose focus of everything around me. The piano sounds sounded distant or muffled when playing softer. I also MIDI'd the Kurz to the Roland and didn't find myself any more or less satisfied than playing the Roland sounds.

 

I really don't dislike any of the piano sounds (excluding Korgs stuff; not counting the Kronos). It just seems that there is something missing from each of them.

 

I liked the sound of the Motif Power Grand from my rack but in the band it sound very, very processed and unauthentic.

 

The Roland has such a fast decay on each of its piano options that it's annoying, and to get the bite (for lack of a better term) when you strike a key hard just doesn't seem to match what I'm playing and if I increase the attack, it sound terrible in solos and thus loses it's authenticity. I do like the middle sample (ie not playing ppp and not playing FFF but just in the middle) of the Roland and find it superior to the Kurz.

 

The Kurz had in my opinion a better sound when playing FFF and not even close to comparable in anything less than F. Other than those synths I don't have any more experience with the samples. But I know what that Steinway sounds and feels like and by contrast what the Baby Yammy sounds and feels like...Nothing like what I have played.

 

I'm just desperatly searching for that digital piano that will make me melt with it's sound and give me that feeling of hammers on strings with keys that are instantly there when you go to play again.

 

Obviously I know the answer to this, tour with a Grand Piano (not gonna happen...yet ;-)

 

I'm only considering the DPs and Synths with more than a few sounds is because you never know when someone will come up to me and say, "Hey do you have that sound from..." It happens often to me. I got stuck playing a Sax solo from keyboards (thank God for the MO-Rack ES and Korg Triton Rack for pads) I might be better off just keeping a rack or gettin another 61key synth to retain the hords of buttons and sounds and stick with a dedicated DP.

 

I had said earlier that I didn't want to do the laptop/computer thing for live playing. Is it as unreliable as people claim it is? And, are the pianos like Ivory, AP, etc. really that far ahead of the hardware DPs?

 

Again, I appreciate everyone's help, and sorry for being such a pain.

Roland Fantom X8 | Kurzweil PC361 | Yamaha Motif-Rack ES & Original | Korg Triton Rack
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If the weight isn't an issue, I'd personally narrow it down to the CP5 & 700NX-both at 55lbs. Both of these can be had for just under and a tad over 2K fwiw.

 

If the weight is an issue-the Nord Piano 88 or NP2- just under 40 lbs. Price on the NP2 just went up but still under your budget.

 

Personally I don't see what all the hubbub is on the UI of the CP5. Piano players play the piano, they normally don't fiddle with stuff while they're playing. You have a 5 band eq on the front readily available for tweaking imperfections in an acoustically sucky room. You have 10 spots in user presets available at the push of one button. Push another button and you have 10 more in bank 2. For a C&W gig I'd think 10 would more then suffice.

 

You have 4 dedicated part/ volume control knobs on the left side that let you balance typical layered sounds like strings/ piano or pad/piano. You can take existing layered programs in the *preset* mode and write them to *user* and then tweak the reverbs to your taste.

 

It's basically-do you dig the sound of the CF Grand and the action ? If not maybe the Roland is your thing.

Recently I was playing the 700NX again and noticed an ugly sharp *wank* on the Ab & A a +5 up from middle C, only on the main "Concert Grand", not the Bright or Studio SN samples. This metallic noise seemed to manifest itself only when I was playing single note Jazz lines and accenting, or "digging in", on a playing style that is characteristic to the music. Could possibly not even be an issue for you.

 

As always what speakers you hear these pianos out of (at the store and on your gig) are critical to your impressions of them. So take that into consideration obviously..

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The most salient stuff has already been said, but let me throw an observation in the Kronos / CP 1 or 5 discussion. I went to Sam Ash in NYC a week ago and played the Kronos 73 for a while, then played the CP 1, and then went back and forth between the two for a while. The Kronos had a much wider selection of piano sounds to choose from and tweak, all very nice and highly defined. I'm generally not a fan of the Yamaha grand sound, but after a while it was clear that I had more fun with the CP1 - the finger-to-sound connection was just excellent for me. The Kronos by itself felt fine, and if I hadn't A/B'd it with the CP1 I probably would have felt fine with the keybed, but in direct comparison with the CP1 it felt more "mushy" at the bottom of the keybed (probably because of the aftertouch strip), and that made a difference to me. Bottom line: Sound is important, but finger-to-sound can be equally, if not more important.
"You'll never be as good as you could have been, but you can always be better than you are." - MoKen
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Korg Kronos (It just looks amazing, despite its plastic)

 

Not sure what you're referring to about the Kronos. The main panel is brushed aluminum. The undercarriage of the 61 is metal. The undercarriage of the 73/88 is wood. Yes the end-caps are plastic as is the joystick area. This is not unusual--Yamaha and Roland often use plastic in these area.

 

Busch.

 

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If the weight isn't an issue, I'd personally narrow it down to the CP5 & 700NX-both at 55lbs. Both of these can be had for just under and a tad over 2K fwiw.

 

If the weight is an issue-the Nord Piano 88 or NP2- just under 40 lbs. Price on the NP2 just went up but still under your budget.

 

Personally I don't see what all the hubbub is on the UI of the CP5. Piano players play the piano, they normally don't fiddle with stuff while they're playing. You have a 5 band eq on the front readily available for tweaking imperfections in an acoustically sucky room. You have 10 spots in user presets available at the push of one button. Push another button and you have 10 more in bank 2. For a C&W gig I'd think 10 would more then suffice.

 

You have 4 dedicated part/ volume control knobs on the left side that let you balance typical layered sounds like strings/ piano or pad/piano. You can take existing layered programs in the *preset* mode and write them to *user* and then tweak the reverbs to your taste.

 

It's basically-do you dig the sound of the CF Grand and the action ? If not maybe the Roland is your thing.

Recently I was playing the 700NX again and noticed an ugly sharp *wank* on the Ab & A a +5 up from middle C, only on the main "Concert Grand", not the Bright or Studio SN samples. This metallic noise seemed to manifest itself only when I was playing single note Jazz lines and accenting, or "digging in", on a playing style that is characteristic to the music. Could possibly not even be an issue for you.

 

As always what speakers you hear these pianos out of (at the store and on your gig) are critical to your impressions of them. So take that into consideration obviously..

 

Weight:

 

Sadly, I've never played a CF series Grand by Yamaha to really know.

 

I've been thinking about the UI thing as well and I think you're right. I can't play a touch screen, an LCD display, buttons, sliders, or knobs.

 

As far as auditioning these pianos. I have no idea what's best to listen to them. I bought the K4 amp because I liked it's sound vs. portability best. Of course QSC, JBL, and Yamaha all make speaker systems that people like, but I would have ended up with almost as much crap as the drummer (One reason why I don't play drums any longer other than in the studio.) Should I buy some headphones for the audition, use the K4, or something else? If something else or headphones, please recommend something, because I haven't the first clue what is best in that area. I did an A/B with a Roland KC550, KC880, Traynor K2, K4, and Motion Sound KBR 3d, and K200 and liked the Traynor K4 best with my Roland and Kurz. Was the K4 a bad idea for piano? I'd like whatever I get to sound great to me on stage but more importantly, I want it to sound great to people in the audience and in the studio.

 

Sorry again for the 1001 questions.

Roland Fantom X8 | Kurzweil PC361 | Yamaha Motif-Rack ES & Original | Korg Triton Rack
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Sadly, I've never played a CF series Grand by Yamaha to really know..

 

Actually I was referring to the name Yamaha uses for their main default sample for the CP1/5-not the the actual Yamaha CF 9' Concert Grand.

 

With regard to speakers /amps you're opening a whole different can of worms. There is the stereo vs mono issue. The active full range cabs/mixer route (or passive cab/power amp) vs stereo Motion Sound Sound or mono (like your K4) keyboard amps. You'll probably wanna do a search there.

 

I can tell you what I like but it's subjective and not always conducive to all genres or playing styles...

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Korg Kronos (It just looks amazing, despite its plastic)

 

Not sure what you're referring to about the Kronos. The main panel is brushed aluminum. The undercarriage of the 61 is metal. The undercarriage of the 73/88 is wood. Yes the end-caps are plastic as is the joystick area. This is not unusual--Yamaha and Roland often use plastic in these area.

 

Busch.

 

I understand what you are saying. My Roland is all metal (excluding the underside which is wood) and if/when some Jackwagon knocks into my gear, I feel far safer knowing it's metal and not plastic. In my opinion a 4000 dollar instrument should be metal and not plastic whether it's endcaps or not. I wasn't even a fan of wood (My Yamaha S90 had worn corners from placing it in and removing it from a case, despite considerable care)

 

The most salient stuff has already been said, but let me throw an observation in the Kronos / CP 1 or 5 discussion. I went to Sam Ash in NYC a week ago and played the Kronos 73 for a while, then played the CP 1, and then went back and forth between the two for a while. The Kronos had a much wider selection of piano sounds to choose from and tweak, all very nice and highly defined. I'm generally not a fan of the Yamaha grand sound, but after a while it was clear that I had more fun with the CP1 - the finger-to-sound connection was just excellent for me. The Kronos by itself felt fine, and if I hadn't A/B'd it with the CP1 I probably would have felt fine with the keybed, but in direct comparison with the CP1 it felt more "mushy" at the bottom of the keybed (probably because of the aftertouch strip), and that made a difference to me. Bottom line: Sound is important, but finger-to-sound can be equally, if not more important.

 

Sound is important, but finger-to-sound can be equally, if not more important. <---couldn't have said it better myself and seems to be half of what I'm lacking at present.

 

BTW...*wank* produced quite the bout of laughter. I'm still laughing when I read it. Well said.

Roland Fantom X8 | Kurzweil PC361 | Yamaha Motif-Rack ES & Original | Korg Triton Rack
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Sadly, I've never played a CF series Grand by Yamaha to really know..

 

Actually I was referring to the name Yamaha uses for their main default sample for the CP1/5-not the the actual Yamaha CF 9' Concert Grand.

 

With regard to speakers /amps you're opening a whole different can of worms. There is the stereo vs mono issue. The active full range cabs/mixer route (or passive cab/power amp) vs stereo Motion Sound Sound or mono (like your K4) keyboard amps. You'll probably wanna do a search there.

 

I can tell you what I like but it's subjective and not always conducive to all genres or playing styles...

 

I'm fortunate that I get to play in stereo to FOH and the K4 is pseudo stereo (stereo horn and mid with summed woofer) Should I invest in good headphones or just take my K4?

Roland Fantom X8 | Kurzweil PC361 | Yamaha Motif-Rack ES & Original | Korg Triton Rack
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If you're happy with the K4's sound , yeah go with it.

 

Personally I've found that with all these new (within the last 3 years) samples or sample/modeling technology of the Nord, CPs, NX SN , Kronos (and to a lesser degree SV1)- a pair of cabinets (stereo) best captures the detail, open, smooth top end and overall euphonic, musical quality better then any keyboard amp I've heard.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

 NY Steinway D

Yamaha  AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Since it sounds like you like the same kind of actions I do, I think you'd probably prefer the feel of the Nords, CP5, and RD700NX over the XF8, Kronos, and Kawais.

 

Maybe you could point me towards more of what I'm looking for in feel.

I grouped them based on my subjective sense of lighter/quicker feeling vs. heavier/more sluggish feeling.

 

As far as auditioning these pianos. I have no idea what's best to listen to them. I bought the K4 amp because I liked it's sound vs. portability best. Of course QSC, JBL, and Yamaha all make speaker systems that people like, but I would have ended up with almost as much crap as the drummer...Should I buy some headphones for the audition, use the K4, or something else? If something else or headphones, please recommend something, because I haven't the first clue what is best in that area. I did an A/B with a Roland KC550, KC880, Traynor K2, K4, and Motion Sound KBR 3d, and K200 and liked the Traynor K4 best with my Roland and Kurz. Was the K4 a bad idea for piano?

You should audition them all through the same thing, and I'd suggest a good pair of headphones, which will be best sounding and easiest to carry around. (I happen to like the Denon AH-D2000, but there are decent lower cost choices too.) By reputation, the K4 is not so good for piano, but also by reputation, everything you compared it to is about the same or worse. Before you go anywhere with heapdhones, though, I'd suggest you listen to your current stuff through those heapdhones first as a point of reference. As for a speaker you might buy, in something very portable, I like the EV ZXa1.

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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Dave and Scott:

 

I was on the cusp of buying two cabs for stereo and as odd as it may be by first choice was the EV Scott recommended. I went with the K4 because of its tube ability for organ sounds and portability. I may regroup all together and consider two cabinets instead. Thanks for the headphone recommendation, I've needed to get a pair for mixing and listening anyway.

Roland Fantom X8 | Kurzweil PC361 | Yamaha Motif-Rack ES & Original | Korg Triton Rack
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I hear people love the Nords I'm failing to see the value for the huge price. Of course that might change if I could play one, but it's hard to spend the extra thousand. Bottom line, I need to play one. I'm honestly torn between a ungodly amount of sounds in some of the Workstations vs just a piano. They're roughly the same price and it seems like so much more in the workstation.

 

You might have missed the most important feature of the Nords - an open-ended, downloadable sample library, with regular updates of new and improved pianos.

 

When you buy any other hardware DP, you're stuck with the sounds you auditioned at the store. Period. Bad luck if you later realize it doesn't work in your band context, or whatever - you can't change the sounds. Yes, a lot of DPs offer tweaking options, but they can only take you so far.

 

With the Nord, there's every possibility that a year later, you can download a completely brand-new sample of a Steinway or a Bosie. Absolutely free. Completely different from anything you've heard so far! The library is already impressive, and so is their track record. You've mentioned the 'typical' Roland piano sound - there's no such thing as a 'typical' Nord piano sound!

 

To put this in perspective - no other manufacturer has dared to offer anything similar (except Kurz for non-AP sounds, perhaps). Think of it this way - you're purchasing a contract for all Nord's future production of sampled sounds, along with the DP.

 

So when you audition the Nord, it's best to perhaps ignore the sound, and test out the other stuff - action, build quality, etc....

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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So when you audition the Nord, it's best to perhaps ignore the sound, and test out the other stuff - action, build quality, etc....

as long as there's at least one piano sound already availlable for it that you really like!

 

But yes, that's the big plus the Nord has over other pianos... even if they never came out with any new samples, it already has a wider range of different piano sounds in it than anyone else offers.

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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The Korg SG1 was great when it came out. The liked RD-500 a lot when it was new. Now every thing is better than those.

 

It's all good just pick one that feels good. You can do a lot with EQ and velocity curve adjustments... and bigger amps.

 

Gear is overrated. :D

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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I had said earlier that I didn't want to do the laptop/computer thing for live playing. Is it as unreliable as people claim it is? And, are the pianos like Ivory, AP, etc. really that far ahead of the hardware DPs?

 

Unreliable/reliable is perhaps not the best way to look at it. Think of it this way - when you buy a DP, you don't have to open it up and fiddle with the circuits to produce sounds. The manufacturer has a team of engineers whose job is to make it work 'out of the box' for you. If it's a laptop, you're the engineer; you've got to choose the various components - hardware, OS, host, plugin, interface. It's quite possible to ensure rock-solid stability - but you need to work at it. Not much, but still. For some of us, this comes naturally, for others, it's a bewildering PITA.

 

So is it worth it? Again, how "far ahead" Ivory & Co are compared to DPs, may not be the right question to ask. Of course, the software pianos trump most hardware in the studio. The higher quality might get drowned out in a band context. But that's really not the whole story.

 

Piano sounds and action preferences are very personal and subjective. Stick around the forum, and you'll hear a lot of this: "I wish I could have Brand X action with Brand Y sound". That's the problem with DPs: the action is married to the sound; you have a limited set of options to choose from.

 

And even if you're one of the blessed ones who is content with both sound and action - preferences change over time. You might land a different gig, and need something that 'cuts through' more, or is more refined. Or you may be asked to play a Sax part, which can't be "added" to a hardware instrument. Or you might just get plain bored with your sound. Or you might find your dream DP, with perfect action or feel, too heavy to schlep...

 

This is where the laptop thing shines. For starters, you get to mix 'n' match - find the action of your choice, choose the sound that gets you most. Need/want to change the sound? Use a different plugin. Want to add a sound? Add another plugin. Controller too heavy? Choose a lighter one, *without* compromising on your sound.

 

So it's not about Ivory & Co. being "better", it's about much more ways for you to be satisfied. But like I said, you need to do your homework, learn and fiddle around with stuff to make it work. For many, it's simply not worth it. For others, it's a godsend.

This is really what MIDI was originally about encouraging cooperation between companies that make the world a more creative place." - Dave Smith
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Thanks again for all your help guys. I intend to play the Nord and I know they put out new samples. It's just hard to overlook that price tag lol. I can buy almost two of the others for the price of that one. I did have some questions about sample memory. 512mb in the Nord vs ?GBs in the Korg, is there a huge advantage? Also the polyphony on the new Nords is something to the tune of 60/80...I'm perplexed. Is this 60 stereo notes, ie. 60 left and 60 right or is it 60 period ending up to be 30 notes? The Roland has 128 notes but the stereo samples use two voices, thus it's actually only 64 voices when stereo.

 

Also, are there any headphones in the 100-150 range that will be decent, I'd rather put the 300 towards the keys right now.

 

I've just come to the conclusion (which most of you have said in different ways...thanks!) that I'll find the two or three that feel the best and then audition the sounds as they can be changed and not the feel.

 

This said it best, "Sound is important, but finger-to-sound can be equally, if not more important"

 

Thanks again everyone.

Roland Fantom X8 | Kurzweil PC361 | Yamaha Motif-Rack ES & Original | Korg Triton Rack
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I did have some questions about sample memory. 512mb in the Nord vs ?GBs in the Korg, is there a huge advantage? Also the polyphony on the new Nords is something to the tune of 60/80...I'm perplexed.

Short answer: It doesn't matter. Go with what sounds and feels best.

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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Hey Firedude... I'm jumping in a little late to the discussion, but welcome to the forum !

 

D-Bon's comment about finding a 'favorite action' is spot on. Mizu's reference to the 'finger to sound' component is indeed 'Word' in this case.

 

My best action/finger-to-sound experiences have been with Yamaha keyboards - specifically the S90ES (playing the S700 piano Voices), and the CP50. I owned an S90ES, but discovered that consistently playing its balanced action - over a couple years - brought on a case of moderate RH tendonosis. I did some traveling with a country act between 2006 and 2008 when I used the S90ES; sonically it worked great for country. For awhile after that I played a Yamaha P-85 for piano - which has a graded action, and found that to be much better for my RH. I have played a few different CP50's over the past two years - in different stores, both through speakers and headphones - and have found the 'connection' superb, for me; the CP50's action is graded.

 

Currently I use a Kronos 88 as my digital piano. The graded action is heavy, but has a long throw; so far no tendonosis issues. The 'finger-to-sound' connection is excellent - second only to the CP50 for me. But the Kronos, for everything else it does, is the most practical instrument for my present gig.

Before that I did try a Roland RD-700NX briefly; though it does have a graded action, it did have a fairly short throw (bottoming out quickly) - which aggravated the RH tendonosis. The RD-700NX did provide a solid 'finger-to-sound' experience though.

 

I recommend checking out the CP50 as well as the CP5. The CP5 does offer more sonically, and has a newly developed balanced action - which you may find to your liking. But if you can play a CP50 as well it would be a good basis for comparison - as the keybeds of the two instruments differ.

Also check out the Kronos; it's a great sounding keyboard, and a lot of fun for playing piano. While I use mine in a variety act, I have used it for several 'hired gun' gigs with a country act that comes through here often. The Kronos works great in a country mix - everything from traditional to modern/current. I've had great results with both the German and Japanese Grand variations, depending on the song being played.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm going to likely play everything I can but plan to spend time with the Nords, Yamaha CP5, Kronos, and RD700NX. I'll check out the CP50 as well.

 

Thanks again everyone!

Roland Fantom X8 | Kurzweil PC361 | Yamaha Motif-Rack ES & Original | Korg Triton Rack
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AKG 240s. $99. An industry standard. I never go into any store to listen to keyboards without them.

It may be worth noting that the current AKG 240 series is not as accurate as their older models, but they are still decent phones. Also, though, for auditioning in a potentially noisy store environment, I find it preferable to use a closed back design instead of the AKG's semi-open.

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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