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Portable keyboard with built in speakers


Moses2

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Good Morning. I am new to the forum. I have played many venues (I am getting OLD)with many combinations of amplification/speaker arrays. I'm at a point in life where lighter is much much better, but..I still like a sound with depth and clarity. I agree with some of the posts about stereo, when your in that sweet spot. It's the next best thing to headphones. I recently had both the QSC K8, and Yamaha DXR12 in stereo configurations, and really loved it, but I don't want to carry all that gear for the type of venue I am currently, and maybe lastly in. I play mostly AP sounds, some EP and a layer or 2 in a jazz duo with a bass player, no vocal. Small crowds (25-100) and small places. Picked up the new Spacestation, and I'm impressed with how well it sounds, and it transports well. I am playing a MOXF8 with some of the stage piano sounds loaded on the flash board which are pretty good. I liked them better in the stereo sweet spot, but again, I found the Spacestation sounding better than any one speaker of the stereo pairs. Is there a portable keyboard (88 keys) that anyone can recommend that has built in speakers, that sounds good/plays well? I know that is a personal preference, but I live in a rural area and don't have access to the larger stores to audition. What I hope to do is to get myself in a sweet spot again with the speakers on the keyboard, and then feed a line out to the Spacestation. Thanks for you time.

keys:Nord2 HA88,Roland FP50,Yamaha MOXF8,Yamaha P105

cabs:SSv3,QSC K8.2

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Check out the recent Roland FP-90 release. I work in music instrument retail in Australia (no affiliation with Roland, just a humble shop dude) and we got one on the floor about a week ago that I've been really impressed by. The FP-30 is also nice, perhaps a bit more difficult to use interface-wise. Haven't played an FP-50.

 

FP-30 and FP-90 have great actions (in my opinion), so that's a plus!

Viscount Legend, Leslie 142, Nord Stage 3 HA88, Rhodes MK1 1977, Moog Sub 37, Dave Smith Rev2, Juno 106, DX7
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Is there a portable keyboard (88 keys) that anyone can recommend that has built in speakers, that sounds good/plays well?

 

Slab digital pianos with built in speakers are not the greatest for solo piano, duo, singer+piano, trio work - where you are looking to have the built in amplification replace what an acoustic piano does. Not that there aren't some guys here that do it. But IMHO the built in amp and speakers are generally weak and not necessarily placed well for audience and players perspective. Also, most of these compact actions are noisy - a whole lot of thumping going. If you push the volume it will cover the noisy actions, but you'll be reluctant to dig into the action - and certainly be disappointing when compared to monitoring from your Center Point Space Station.

 

On the other hand if you just need the internal speakers for practice and will be using the Space Station live, that's another story. There are a bunch to check out. Nicest one on the list for me is the Kawai ES-8. Action and sample sets are nice, and the internal speakers are best of these current slabs.

 

Other things to look at that might be lighter to carry -

Kawai ES-100

Yamaha P-255, P-115

Casio PX-560, PX-360, PX-160

 

 

 

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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I went through this process last year to choose a slab piano, and compared the Yamaha P-115 (I think that was the model), Casio Privia PX-350 and Kawai ES-100.

 

After playing them all, I chose the Kawai for its slightly better sound and action (IMHO), but it was a close-run thing - all are really good, and it comes down to personal preference. I've been really pleased with it.

 

The Kawai is probably best if you only want AP (EPs are very limited).

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IMHO the built in amp and speakers are generally weak and not necessarily placed well for audience...

 

On the other hand if you just need the internal speakers for practice and will be using the Space Station live, that's another story.

Neither of the above. ;-) I think you missed this important piece of his post: "What I hope to do is to get myself in a sweet spot again with the speakers on the keyboard, and then feed a line out to the Spacestation. " So the on board speakers are to give him a better personal experience live, while *also* playing into the Spacestation for the audience.

 

Personally, I am skeptical of this approach, Most built-in speakers (like on the Casio and Kawai you mentioned, at least) are relatively quiet, I think you'd barely notice them if you were playing with an audience-volume-level Spacestation playing nearby. You'd probably get some visceral benefit of feeling the vibrations in your fingers, but I don't think you'd hear much stereo happening from them, which is his goal.

 

Maybe some IEM?

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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Thank you drawback. Although I have heard great things about the CP300, it's about the weight. I never thought I'd see the day (when I was hauling around the Hammond, an acoustic piano with barcus barry contact mics and an SVT with a V4B bottom)that 70#s is too much for me to carry at this time of my life.

keys:Nord2 HA88,Roland FP50,Yamaha MOXF8,Yamaha P105

cabs:SSv3,QSC K8.2

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Thank you JWhllr. The FP-90 is more than I would like to spend, but I am looking at the FP-50 and per another post, the Yamaha P255. Have you been able to audition the Yamaha?

keys:Nord2 HA88,Roland FP50,Yamaha MOXF8,Yamaha P105

cabs:SSv3,QSC K8.2

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I've got a Yamaha P255. I've played it on small venue gigs using just the on-board speakers and find them to be perfectly satisfactory for that purpose. There are two nice features of the board that help make it possible to do this. First, you have a choice of four different pianos. They have fairly distinctive sonic personalities ranging from fairly dark to very bright. Second, it's got an on-board three-band equalizer. By playing around with the different pianos, and the EQ, it's pretty easy to dial in a sound that will work in whatever room you're in. (There's on-board reverb too, which can be helpful in rooms that are acoustically dead.)

 

It also helps that the thing is so light. Really easy to haul.

 

For gigs where I need to be louder, I use it with a pair of EV ZXA1s. Under 20 lbs per speaker, beautifully clear sound, plenty loud.

 

Build quality seems good. Action is typical for Yamaha -- stiffer than the competition, but still very playable.

 

Highly recommended.

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^^^

I play mostly AP sounds, some EP and a layer or 2 in a jazz duo with a bass player, no vocal. Small crowds (25-100) and small places.

 

Yeah the P255 is excellent. And coupled with a pair of EV ZXA1s - I don't think I could come up with a better piano/speaker combo (especially for a jazz pianist) with regard to price point, weight , solid piano action along with clarity and warmth of sound.of course for an electronic keyboard. :D

 

Count me as another person interested in playing the new Roland FP-90. Primarily for our office by the computer where the CP5 resides now. It would be so nice not to have to use phones all the time.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

https://www.youtube.com/@daveferris2709

 

2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, CP88, P515

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yamaha P255 looks great as well! Haven't had one in the shop yet, but I'm keen to. The rest of the P series Yamahas are excellent, I've taught on P45s and sold a bunch of P115s. I wouldn't expect the P255 to be anything but a step in the same direction.
Viscount Legend, Leslie 142, Nord Stage 3 HA88, Rhodes MK1 1977, Moog Sub 37, Dave Smith Rev2, Juno 106, DX7
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Thank you jamienewman. I own a P105 that I use for practice at times. Very portable, and the sounds and action are not bad. After reading some reviews, and getting feedback here, I think the P225 is the direction to go. I intend on keeping the Spacestation for amplification, at least for now as I do like the cabinet sound, and it saves me some extra work. I had considered also the Roland FP50, but I have hopes that the samples in the P225 will be pleasing, and I am already familiar with the feel of the Yamaha keys. They are a bit of a workout, but I hear the Roland is even more so. I have checked into the Casio mentioned in a post here, and I do believe it is alot of bang for the buck. I felt that way about the P105 as well. I will probably order from Sweetwater, as they have a 30 day return , should I not be satisfied. The return shipping is still a better deal than the trek to a music store where I could audition.

keys:Nord2 HA88,Roland FP50,Yamaha MOXF8,Yamaha P105

cabs:SSv3,QSC K8.2

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I own a P105 that I use for practice at times. Very portable, and the sounds and action are not bad. After reading some reviews, and getting feedback here, I think the P225 is the direction to go.

FYI, the P105 and the MOXF8 have the same kind of action (as you probably realize). The P255, while generally considered a better action, is also a hevaier feeling one.

 

Since you already have the P105, why not try using that first, at least to see if it's even putting you in the ballpark of what you're trying to accomplish. (And maybe someone else can chime in about whether the P255 is significantly better than the 105 in terms of its built-in speakers.)

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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AnotherScott, again many thanks. I have tried the P105 in this configuration. It worked well, but my main preoccupation was with the voices. I was hoping that the sampling would be improved in the 225, in both the AP and EP offerings. My bass player said after the gig that all he heard was the Spacestation, which he said sounded great. I am also hoping that I will like the 225 voices better than the MOXF8, which is using some of the stage piano samples (I think CP300) I loaded on the flashboard.This being said, I did hear the speakers on the 105, but would have liked better sounding voices.

keys:Nord2 HA88,Roland FP50,Yamaha MOXF8,Yamaha P105

cabs:SSv3,QSC K8.2

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I demo'd the P255 and really like the action and AP sounds - I wound up shelling out for the CP-4 for some features that the P255 doesn't have, but that said I would be very happy with the P255 on most gigs. I think it would be a great board for your intended use.
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I highly recommend the Casio PX-360. I feel that it's action is more dynamic and realistic than both the Yamaha and the Roland in the same price range. Some of my students have the new Rolands and Yamahas and I believe that their action are quite inferior.

The Casio has 4 speakers built in with deep bass and clear loud volume. Highly recommended for gigs with a little reinforcement amp of any kind on the floor.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find 700 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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Thank you all so much for your input. I am going to have to make a trek to the capital district (Albany area) to audition. They have a Guitar Center there, and I will at least be able to find the Casio, and possibly Yamaha and Kawai. It doesn't sound like I can go wrong with any of the suggestions. I am intrigued by what you said regarding the action on the Casio. The action on both the MOX8F and P105 can get a little tiring by the 3rd hour of a gig, but I can manage if the sound is appealing. The Spacestation has taken some of my load off in that regard, and if I can get a 'slab' (I never knew that term till meeting you all) that sounds and plays well for practice and smaller of the small gigs I play, wonderful.

keys:Nord2 HA88,Roland FP50,Yamaha MOXF8,Yamaha P105

cabs:SSv3,QSC K8.2

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I think the Yamaha P255 (and the Rolands) will go significantly louder than the Casio 160/360/560 or Kawai ES100... but the P255 is 5+ pounds heavier than your MOXF. Still, if your P105 seemed loud enough, those others might do. At least you're not playing with a drummer. Some other lighter boards with above average speaker volume could be the Korg Havian and the Kurzweil KA90 (and its various doppelgangers). The KA90's internal sounds are nothing to write home about, but it has a line in, so you could possibly trigger a better sound externally (from an iPad perhaps), essentially just using the board for its keys and speakers/amp. The Havian, unfortunately, has no line in, so you're out of luck if you're not content with its internal piano/EP sounds.

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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I highly recommend the Casio PX-360. I feel that it's action is more dynamic and realistic than both the Yamaha and the Roland in the same price range. Some of my students have the new Rolands and Yamahas and I believe that their action are quite inferior.

The Casio has 4 speakers built in with deep bass and clear loud volume. Highly recommended for gigs with a little reinforcement amp of any kind on the floor.

 

I use a PX-160 because it does not have most of the "band in a box" add-ons that the 360 has. I had a PX-350 and never used all the "make a tune" features. So, I got the same sound engine and the same action without all the extras. I have owned a lot of digital pianos and the Casio Privias (PX) are my favorite.

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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The Korg SP-280 looks great on paper. I have not been able to audition one.

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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The Kawai MP-7 hasn't any amp and speakers internally.

Ah yes, I meant ES100, thanks for the catch, fixed.

 

As for the ES8, at 49 lbs, I don't think that's for the OP, nice as it may be.

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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For sure, the ES-8 is on the upper side of what you may be inclined to drag around. The action however is better than the ES-100. As are the amp+ speakers. I'm not hot for internal amp+ speakers so I'd be inclined to decide between an MP-7 or the CP-4. The CP-4 being the lighter of the two with arguably a better variety of sample sets.

 

Back on models with internal speakers... anyone sat down at a PX-560 yet? It will have the pianos and electric pianos and plenty else from the PX-5S and the OP's desired monitoring and it's cheaper than the P-255.

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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I think the key things to keep in mind (if I understand the OP correctly) are:

 

... he is content with the sound and action of his MOXF8, he just wishes it had speakers

 

and

 

..."I'm at a point in life where lighter is much much better"

 

So I think there's little reason to talk about (a) anything without speakers, or (b) anything heavier than a MOXF8.

 

So I think the MP7 and CP4 are kind of ruled out on those counts. But yeah, the PX560 could be a possibility. If he liked the Casio sounds and action, that's pretty much the pick of the litter, at least if you want speakers.

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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For stage piano tones, I've always been a Yamaha fan. Have used an S90XS for a long time; also owned a P105 for a couple years. The P255 would certainly be a strong choice. But for a speakers-included digital piano I chose a Roland FP50 earlier this year. Its playability, variety of tones, and speakers hit a sweet spot for me. Definitely worth the comparison if you can get your hands on one.

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

 

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I have just read the reviews and specs on the PX560 and the FP50. Again both seem to have their fans. Because of the lack of inventory at the Guitar Center, and the return policies offered, I am just going to have one shipped to my home to try. You are correct AnotherScott about the MOXF8 and the speakers (weight and sound)and after reading about the differences in actions, especially GH and GHS (which I have in both keyboards) I am interested in that change. In some previous setup in the early '90s, I was using modules and a Fatar in a multi keyboard array, and remember loving this model keyboard. It had some weight to it but the keys were actually fun to play. Material I would normally gravitate toward synth or waterfall keys (like Roundabout or Foreplay by Yes and Boston)were not just manageable, but very doable on this old Fatar. The newer models I had during the early 2ooo's were not the same.

I have never given Casio (like the price) a thought till this forum, and see that the 560 is available through Sweetwater, as are all the mentioned models. Just need to pick. I would want to know also that for the price diffence, the Yamaha P255 is as improved over the P105.

keys:Nord2 HA88,Roland FP50,Yamaha MOXF8,Yamaha P105

cabs:SSv3,QSC K8.2

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Allen_evett, I watched a demo of the FP50 on YouTube and found it very impressive. Hard to tell about the sound through the demo, as you know. I have used Yamaha gear for a while now, but the various Roland synths I have owned always had a particular warmth to them that I always enjoyed. Here's a link to a project where I used some other older gear-

Thanks for your input on the Roland.

keys:Nord2 HA88,Roland FP50,Yamaha MOXF8,Yamaha P105

cabs:SSv3,QSC K8.2

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Thank you ElmerJFudd for your thoughts on the Es-8. It is more than I would like to spend, but understand the 'get what you pay for' that applies to this, and others like the FP90 that approach this price point. I regret that the weight of the gear has also become an issue for me, but I have had a lot of fun with my body, and am by no means complaining about OP status. Hey I may even decide on a few replacement parts !:>)

I am interested in the PX-560, and need to try one.

keys:Nord2 HA88,Roland FP50,Yamaha MOXF8,Yamaha P105

cabs:SSv3,QSC K8.2

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