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Weird Comparison Review: CP4, RD-2000, Spacestation...


Carl Lumma

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I have 76s, 73s and shorter. When I get into the moment, I forget myself, and reach for keys that don't exist.

I sometimes use a 73 or 76 for piano. It bites me sometimes. Where's that low C for the last chord of Let It Be? Where's that top octave for ELP's Trilogy? I keep thinking I should try to get more fluent with octave shifting the boards as needed.

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 CP4 and RD2000 are the two best (sub 50 lb.) stage pianos currently available with regard to sound, play-ability , and reliability. I can't imagine getting much of an argument from anyone that has an extensive acoustic piano background and considers themselves, first and foremost - a serious piano player...AND is not all that concerned with "other sounds".

 

Granted , they ain't pianos but compared to what we were schlepping around to gigs in 1999, it's a quantum leap !

 

Of course there are lighter weight gigging options but for me they come with more compromises....and I'm already compromising enough the second I hit the "on" switch if you know what I mean. ;)

 

I was putting the Nord Piano 3 in the "top 3" category. However I now have to relegate it to an honorable mention only because of the numerous complaints that have been heard on the Nord forum with regard to clacking keys and other reliability related Fatar action issues. When one particular serious player goes through three brand new units in 4 months, then decides to bail on the NP3 altogether - something's rotten in Denmark. It's too bad they can't get the most important upgrade of the latest generation together , especially after previewing the keyboard at NAMM '16. :idk I understand early production run glitches but the thing's been out for sometime now.

 

Oh and put me in that old school of needing 88 keys too.for some reason I just can't let that whole antiquated concept go. It's weird I know. ;)

 

Maybe Carl will resurface again in another 11 years, 4 months, one week and one day with his newest review of what's available. :)

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Speaking just for myself, most of the actions I would want to play on happen to be 88 key.

 

Same here,- but it´s not so much the number of keys available,- for me it´s the keyrange A-C for a weighted piano type action !

That´s why I´d prefer any shorter keyboard w/ an A-C keyrange over any E-G, E-E, F-F or F-C options.

 

Surprisingly, Wurlitzer did it right,- it was just only too short by 1 octave, at least for me.

 

So, I`d be fine w/ 76-keys and A-C, then play the highest octave by using an octave shift switch/ft-Switch (toggle or momentary user selectable).

That would be the most acceptable compromise for me.

 

As a result, I've become a user of all 88 keys of a master keyboard in splits and layers. This is often not as ergonomic as two or more smaller keybeds positioned above and below each other.

 

That´s right !

I always prefered not to have too many splits across one single keyboard.

A combination of different keyboards, stacked and in L-config or sometimes U-config too, w/ splits and layers carefully organized, did a much better job.

A 3-keyboard rig (88 weighted, 76 & 61 synth-actions) w/ MIDI-racks was standard for me for a long time,- and it´s not easy replaceable by a smaller solution.

The easiest part is replacing rack gear by software, but shrinking the controllers might come w/ serious consequences.

 

If "88 key master keyboard people" (like self) are to move to the smaller keyboards, it would help if 1) the smaller keybeds are of high quality,...

 

Well, I really dunno why no company introduces the A-C 76 weighted keys solution in the same quality their 88-keys solution is.

It´s not a matter of price IMO,- many players simply cannot transport a 88 keys instrument in their car they normally use private only and they probably cannot or don´t want buying twice, a long and a short board of same quality.

Maybe it´s only me, but I need the low range of a piano more than the top octave keys c#-c.

 

and 2) keyboard stands were designed which allowed fine-tuning of the depth and height of 2nd and 3rd tier platforms. I don't know if the people involved in 1 collaborate with the people involved in 2. Perhaps they should?

 

The only stock keyboard stand I use is the K&M 18950 which I use for my MK80, then put a keyboard on top of the MK80 w/o need of any additional support.

That´s cool for sitting position.

For multiple keyboard rigs and performance in standing position, nothing worked for me except my custom designed stand solutions made from Ultimate Support parts,- and luckily I have enough parts in stock to construct all the stands I need myself.

I don´t think there will be "ideal for everyone" stands available ever.

There´s the Gibraltar stuff, but it´s originally made for drums.

The Ultimate tubing and accessories from the past, all available in single pieces, were the better solution for keys, at least for me.

 

A.C.

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Curious, I wonder how other instruments and studio-logic's own SL-88 Grand is doing on this maiden voyage of their knew triple sensor wood veneered actions. In the case of the NP3 - Nord ditched the faux ivory key tops from their Fatar order, I'll recall them saying it was related to consistency issues, possibly longevity of the surface material.

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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My opinion is we've been led into just accepting much lower quality for the money

Can you give an example where a manufacturer used to provide better quality for the same money?

 

Better quality for the same money? I'd point you to the Nord downloadable samples, which have been a complete joy over the last few years.

I'm not sure that answers the question I posed, unless you're saying that Nord used to provide more value for the money than they do now...?

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 have 76s, 73s and shorter. When I get into the moment, I forget myself, and reach for keys that don't exist.

I sometimes use a 73 or 76 for piano. It bites me sometimes. Where's that low C for the last chord of Let It Be? Where's that top octave for ELP's Trilogy? I keep thinking I should try to get more fluent with octave shifting the boards as needed.

 

I'm sure I don't actually play the top and bottom 5 keys often, but I still prefer 88 keys. This may be partly psychological. It makes me feel more comfortable knowing I am not hitting the absolute highest and lowest part of the keyboard. Kind of like how I feel uncomfortable if I have to turn an amp to its highest volume. Even if that volume seems to suffice, I find myself worrying about the possibility that more volume might be needed later.

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sometimes you need kick, boom. sometimes you need sizzle, filter wide open. timpani, piccolo. for fun, even. for endings. sub-bass. our 88 keys are our tone-shaping knobs, always ready, if you can do octaves, and jumps, and skips. if you've got chops.

 

of course, they're not needed. and a 73/76 weighted-action AP is definitely a good thing as it's lighter to the 88 note version. ... CP4 truly is a good balance for the moving pianist.

 

Yeah the case "materials" are not tank materials. And cave in if you step on them, or put some heavy gear on it. (I don't step on it.) (But, if a kid or a tiger were to step on it.) (Don't let them.) ... I can move it around with less hoopla than tank pianos.

 

And ... I would imagine the following is the case with all instruments. If you tune in to what it does, you can make it sound how you want. Assuming certain fundamentals in place. It's that mystery in between those two points that propels forums like this. I am particular. CP4 does it. Amplification-wise, I haven't gotten there. By a long shot. I know it's not the CP4 because of how it records direct. Moreso, I don't ever think about 38-pound sound-less pianos any more. 12 pound maybe. good 760-pound pianos (with built-in sound)? not in my cards now. (boy I'm bored.)

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Speaking just for myself, most of the actions I would want to play on happen to be 88 key.

 

Same here,- but it´s not so much the number of keys available,- for me it´s the keyrange A-C for a weighted piano type action !

That´s why I´d prefer any shorter keyboard w/ an A-C keyrange over any E-G, E-E, F-F or F-C options.

 

Surprisingly, Wurlitzer did it right,- it was just only too short by 1 octave, at least for me.

 

So, I`d be fine w/ 76-keys and A-C, then play the highest octave by using an octave shift switch/ft-Switch (toggle or momentary user selectable).

That would be the most acceptable compromise for me.

 

 

Well, I really dunno why no company introduces the A-C 76 weighted keys solution in the same quality their 88-keys solution is.

It´s not a matter of price IMO,- many players simply cannot transport a 88 keys instrument in their car they normally use private only and they probably cannot or don´t want buying twice, a long and a short board of same quality.

Maybe it´s only me, but I need the low range of a piano more than the top octave keys c#-c.

 

A.C.

 

+1000! Personally I love having that low A there, very playable if you're rocking LH bass with some sounds or going for a more drone-y sound. Whereas the upper octave on an 88 note keyboard rarely if ever gets played by me. I'm surprised there's not more of us out there Al, I've seldom heard this preference. The RD64 is interesting, but for me I'd miss the upper octave, don't like octave shifting in the heat of the moment.

 

Randy

(Oops, the quotes above didn't come out right after I deleted a lot of text. To be clear, my only part of this post starts at +1000)

Numa Piano X73 /// Kawai ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000 /// Yamaha EW425

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Soundcore Motion Boom Plus 

Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

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Speaking just for myself, most of the actions I would want to play on happen to be 88 key.

 

Same here,- but it´s not so much the number of keys available,- for me it´s the keyrange A-C for a weighted piano type action !

That´s why I´d prefer any shorter keyboard w/ an A-C keyrange over any E-G, E-E, F-F or F-C options.

 

Surprisingly, Wurlitzer did it right,- it was just only too short by 1 octave, at least for me.

That's also the Roland RD-64 design.

 

I`d be fine w/ 76-keys and A-C, then play the highest octave by using an octave shift switch/ft-Switch (toggle or momentary user selectable).

That would be the most acceptable compromise for me.

That's basically what Infinite Response did with the VAX77.

 

I see the appeal of that, but in looking at my own use, I'd prefer to not have to worry about the octave shift, and I think I'd be happy with a 77-key that went from the lowest C to the highest E, which of course is a design that no one has! I never hit the bottom three keys of the 88, and while I occasionally go for keys above the highest E, they are not indispensable. I'm kind of surprised no one has done this, in that it is in a sense a simpler design than some of the others, since the lowest and highest keys do not have to be changed in any way from what they would be in an 88 (i.e. you don't have to make allowance for "missing" adjacent black keys).

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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  • 7 months later...

Carl, I'll be brutal I'm not surprised you weren't impressed by the CP4 or RD2000...playing them through a Roland combo amp so notorious and despised for its coloration it even has its own meme around here.

 

Had you got to audition either of those two keyboards through decent powered monitors or studio nearfields, you might have heard and recognised some of the genuine advances since the last time you dipped your toe into the retail market.

 

I'm the first to admit that the CP4 is a bag of compromises but, by and large, they're the right ones. I'll settle for a plastic case if it means I can get a decent action and still keep the weight low. All three grands have excellent, dedicated mono versions. And with a few tweaks, the Rhodes models are as good as you'll find anywhere. All in a package that weighs only 4kg more than your K5000S.

 

As for pricing, allow me to observe that within the confines of a pretty narrow, specialist market, musical instrument customers have (to quote a former UK prime minister) never had it so good.

 

I don't know (and couldn't find out) how much that K5000S of yours was new, but I do recall (as I came within an ace of buying one) that Kawai's K1 went for around £600 in 1988 when it debuted.

 

Allowing for inflation, in today's money that's closer to £1300. For that amount of money today, you could buy any number of synths which make the K1 sound like a Casio VL-1. Or even an 88-note digital piano with high quality samples (CP4's little brother, the CP40) and weighing in at a meagre 16kg.

 

If none of the above sounds like progress, I would respectfully suggest that you need to get out more.

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

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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"I don't need 88 keys and neither do you. "

 

Speak for yourself. ;-) I am at the ends of my 88's regularly. Also, in some of my Mainstage programming, I use them for switching, launching samples, etc. when available.

Yamaha P515 & CK88, Pianoteq, Mainstage, iOS, assorted other stuff.

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"Alesis QS8 (wish I would've kept that for a bottom controller)"

 

I'm using one currently. Was able to ebay a new-in-box QS8 a few years back. That TP/20 action is my favorite, I wish you could find it in a current controller.

 

Yamaha P515 & CK88, Pianoteq, Mainstage, iOS, assorted other stuff.

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For stereo sources, well, I didn't really get much stereo effect, at least in the aforementioned large, carpeted room. The manual says the stereo effect gets better with room reflections and distance from the listener. Distance in this case was limited by the aforementioned phone cables I had on hand (6 ft or so after rounding corners).

 

I got *some* stereo sensation, but nothing like what separate speakers produce. A different room or setup might improve things somewhat, but it's clearly not worth the upgrade from the KC-300.

 

You cant blame the Spacestation because you decided to ignore the instructions. I run mine anywhere from 15 to 30 away from me. For dry, carpeted rooms turn up the width.

The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

 

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

 

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You lost me at "KC300 sounds fantastic."

 

Wheres that like button?

The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

 

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

 

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My opinion is we've been led into just accepting much lower quality for the money

Can you give an example where a manufacturer used to provide better quality for the same money?

 

One could argue Nikon.

The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

 

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

 

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You lost me at "KC300 sounds fantastic."

 

Wheres that like button?

 

click on the smiley face box, first one to the left. The "like button" is second on the top, between coffee and mad.

:like:

 

:like:

The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

 

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

 

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