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best digital piano for about $2,000


kd

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Hello. I would like to buy a digital piano for about $2,000. (I took piano lessons while growing up, haven't played for several years, and recently realized that I miss it.) I tested out 3 pianos in this price range at music stores nearby:

 

Roland HP-237

Technics SX-PX552/M

Yamaha CLP930

 

It was hard for me to compare the pianos because they were all in different stores, so when I played one, I couldn't really remember how the other ones felt. And, since it's been awhile since I've had a piano, I was pretty happy just to be able to play.

 

Have you had any experience with these digital pianos? Which would you recommend? My main concerns are that it has 88 keys, an action similar to that of an acoustic piano, and a sound similar to that of an acoustic piano.

 

Thanks for your help!

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Hi kd. I haven't listen to any of these digital pianos you list. But I've heard the Korg SG Pro X, and I was impressed. Another option, if you don't need your digital piano for live use, is to buy a mother keyboard(like the Studiologic Fatar SL - 880, which I have and its keyboard feel is very good) and a rack sound module which has only piano(and organ/strings sounds usually). This option could probably be more cheap, and also be the base of a decent project studio in the future.

 

Cheers,

 

Mr Sexton

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If you don't need one with built-in speakers I would suggest the Yamaha P80 or Roland RD-600. I tend to favor the Roland, not only because of the piano sounds but the other sounds onboard as well. The grand piano sounds on the Yamaha P80 are very realistic, and I was in a store the other day and a very accomplished pianist was playing one and it was very impressive. Alesis also makes a very good digital piano(can't remember the name or the price)
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After touring on the Alesis DG8 for the past year and having it be my main axe, both home and live, it's my personal favorite, hands down (!). There's many reasons I enjoy it, but the main reasons are the ones that you're looking for - it sounds and feels closer to the acoustic experience than any other digi piano I've felt. Having the speakers built in (they're the Alesis studio powered monitors) is a great advantage as a player. There's so much air moving inside that you actually feel it in your fingers, and it helps the experience to feel real. Plus there's three different piano samples, a bunch of highly usable sounds onboard, AND it's expandable. For the first time, I love the experience of playing piano without it being an acoustic. If you have more questions, just email me - but if you go down and play it, I think you'll love it too.

 

See if you can find a store with the DG8 and as many of the others as possible and do an A/B comparison. Check the samples down low and up high, check the octaves for cancellation, listen to how it plays soft and loud, etc....and then just sit down, shut your eyes, and play...and see which one you want to keep playing the most - that's your answer!

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I'VE LISTENED TO JUST ABOUT EVERY DIGITAL PIANO THAT'S EVER BEEN AVAILABLE. IT'S ALWAYS BEEN A GREAT INTEREST OF MINE TO CLOSELY CRITIQUE PIANO SOUNDS AND TO HAVE AT LEAST ONE REALLY GOOD SOUNDING DIGITAL PIANO IN MY SET-UP. I PARTICULARLY LIKE THE KORG SG PRO X. I BOUGHT THE SG-RACK WHICH IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE. THE 'CONCERT' PIANO SOUNDS GREAT, BUT THERE ARE 12 OTHER ACOUSTIC PIANO SOUNDS - FOR A TOTAL OF 64 'PROGRAMS' (ORGAN, BASS, ELEC. PIANO, STRINGS, ETC.) AND 64 'PERFORMANCES' (2 TIMBRES, SPLITS) I WOULD STILL CONSIDER 24 MB's TO BE QUITE GENEROUS COMPARED TO OTHER DIGITAL PIANO'S, AND 'I' DONT KNOW OF ANY OTHER HARDWARE AVAILABLE (THO THERE MAY BE) THAT ALLOCATES AS MUCH MEMORY FOR ONE PATCH (CONCERT PIANO) STOCK, OUT OF THE BOX. A REVIEW DID SAY THAT MOST OF THE MEMORY WAS FOR THE CONCERT PIANO SOUND. REGARDLESS, IT DOES SOUND VERY PLEASING TO ME AND VERY HAPPY THAT I HAVE THE DISCONTINUED SG-RACK.
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KD... I'd really suggest that you check out the Kawai MP9000 if possible. It's the only one with WOODEN keys, and it probably feels most like a piano. I'm not saying it is best (since that is so subjective), but they are quite nice. You can get one for $1,500.00, and in case you don't like the sound as much (again, taste, but I prefer my General Music RealPiano module, which you could get for the difference), you could still get a module. I should say that when I heard the MP9000 it was coming through a bad system. It is quite adjustable, though, and many people swear by them. It took me a long time just to find one in a store. You will probably have to call Kawai directly to find out where you can try one.

 

If realness of feel matters to you, give it a go. It's won awards as "best" digital piano. You'll notice a difference with the keys right off the bat.

 

One more thing... for several reasons, I didn't get one, but it wasn't about a problem with it. It was more about other synthesizer features elsewhere, and how that fit into my whole system. Those lovely wooden keys made that a tough decision, though.

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KD,

 

as you may have found from reading these posts, there are two entirely distinct categories of "Electronic Piano". One is the types that you mentioned: Home models with built in speakers and usually an attached stand, which are sold in piano stores; and stage/studio models that are typically sold only in synth/guitar/instrument stores like Sam Ash & Guitar Center. Sam Ash is actually one of the only such stores where I've seen a fair amount of both types, but mostly just Kurzweil home pianos.

 

It's hard to examine the differences between models in both categories because not only are they not in the same stores, they're also handled by different parts of a given company such as Roland, and they're definitely not in the same magazines. Most of the people who discuss on this forum only know about stage/studio models, as they are geared towards people who have knowledge in Midi synthesizers and composing. Currently, the top models in this category are: without speakers: Kawai MP9000, Roland RD600, FP9 and the cheaper RD150 and FP3, Yamaha P80, Kurzweil Sp88x, and the Korg SGProX. Those are listed in my order of preference. With speakers, there are the Yamaha P200 and the Alesis DG8, neither of which I like, however they both have devoted users. There are also a few 88key synthesizers that have loads of other features, most notably the Kurzweil PC2X which has recently gone down in price to a tremendous deal at $1900.

 

In the Home piano category, the main manufacturers are: Roland (HP, FP series), Yamaha (Clavinova), Kurzweil (Mark-## series), Technics, and Korg (C##00-series). I have not really looked into any of these keyobards so I just can't tell you too much, other than to go to each manufacturer's websites and check them out.

 

 

One really good value priced model I know is the Korg C1500. It is sometimes sold in both category of stores, and comes in a nice wooden cabinet with 3 pedals. While it has no user-interface (you select sounds by holding down a button and pressing the keys in the bottom octave), it sounds good, feels good, and can be gotten for as low as $1300, even though it's listed at most places for $1500.

 

 

I hope that helps,

 

Steve

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