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Digital piano upgrade: seeking advice


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Hi all.


For the last year, I have been using the following keyboard setup:

  • Nord Electro 2 (63-key)
  • Casio Privia PX-310

This is a decent rig, but there is one huge problem with it: the piano patches I like are spread out between the two keyboards. I despise the acoustic piano on the Nord (even with OS 3) and the EPs on the Privia are mediocre at best. So I MIDI them together, but in a performance situation its too cumbersome for my tastes to keep switching. Even if I could work out the MIDI switching issues, there would still be problems, since the Nord is not multi-timbral, and I cannot get EP and organ going at the same time.


So, I want to make a change. I am considering three options:

  • Replace the Privia with a better digital piano, like the S90ES or the new PC1se.
  • Get a Muse Receptor and control it from the Privia
  • Replace Electro 2 with Stage Compact

Option 1 has the advantage of simplicity, but I would have to lug around a 50lb board (the Privia is about 25lbs).


Option 2 allows me to keep using the lighter Privia and gives me lots of flexibility. But I wonder how awkward the Receptor will be to gig with. It sounds silly, but I'm not sure where I would even mount it, since I don't use a rack at the moment. Perhaps I could attach it to my keyboard stand with a little ingenuity.


Option 3 gives me multi-timbrality and better acoustic piano patches. This means that I can make the Privia into a dedicated controller, and easy rig to set up. However, I am not really considering this option very strongly, since I find the price of the Stage too high and don't have faith in Clavia's acoustic piano patches. But perhaps I can be swayed.


I would really welcome some help making this decision. What do you think?


And a hesitation I have about the Receptor: it seems expensive for what it is, given the price of computers today. I cannot help but wonder if there are cheaper alternatives for running virtual synths at a gig. Any thoughts about this?



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Well you opened Pandoras box with this one and in my opinion you may have already answered you own questions. You will get alot people that may give differing opinions but in the end remember its you who is dealing with this.


In reading your comments it may come to the following: the weight of the S90ES versus the awkwardness and your hesitatrion with the receptor. As for the stage some people swear by it, others think there are better options out there considering all the options. You really need to play a stage and decide for yourself. In the end maybe the best solution is your own gut feeling.

Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive

- Rush

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Have you tried layering two of the Privia sounds together? (EP1 + Grand1, for example).


I'm also not wild about the raw EP patches for the Privia -- but there are some combos I've tried layering two of the Privia patches that actually sound much better to my ear. (No muss, just press two buttons simultaneously).


The combo won't give you a classic Rhodes sound, mind you - but something unique, but potentially playable for what you need.

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One thing I did not make clear: I want to use one non-weighted keyboard for organ and one weighted keyboard for piano. So, for example, I could continue using the Electro 2 for organ and add the S90ES for piano. Or I could break out my old VK-7. Etc.


Well, this thread could just become another "what digital piano should I buy" thread, and that would actually be helpful for me, since I'm in the market again. But the real intention of this post was to take a deeper look at some of the tradeoffs and issues that come up with a multi-purpose keyboard like the Nord series, and also to ponder whether a weighted controller with a soft synth is the way to go nowadays for a killer piano sound.


Speaking of digital pianos, I'm also going to look at the CP-33, since someone said it had good piano and EPs. The CP-300, with its internal speakers and higher price tag, has less interest for me, but I will try it out also. Tomorrow I will hit up the local music stores, and if I come up with some interesting observations, I will post them.

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Layering the Privia sounds is an interesting idea. I've played around the piano/strings combinations with some success. But as you imply, there is no way to get a really killer Rhodes out of the Privia, and since this is a patch I depend on often, I am very picky about it. I like the EP patches on the Electro, they honk they way I need them to.


The Whurly patch on the Privia is actually pretty decent if you turn off the DSP (chorus, I think). But it's not good enough to be my go-to patch, I would quickly tire of it.

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Well, I went into Guitar Center to check out the CP-33, the CP-300, and the S90ES.


Of course, Guitar Center did not have the Kurzweil PC1se, but I had already lost interest in it, due to 2 things:


* My keyboard tech warned me that Kurzweil parts are hard to come by, and that he was unimpressed by their overall engineering


* Several members mentioned that the action was very light, lighter than the S90ES. If it's like the other Kurzweils I've played, that's too light for me.


GC had 2 CP-33s, but neither was plugged in nor had a power adaptor attached to it! Tells you something right there. Finally, they got one of them hooked up, and I was impressed by the feel and the mono piano patch. But the EPs were worthless to me, just like the ones on the P series. I need patches that really groove, and these were lifeless. Plus, there's only 4 of them, very limiting. Really, this is a board for acoustic piano only. And for $1200, it's a bit pricey.


I did not even try the CP-300. It was not plugged in, either, and those *huge* speakers totally turned me off. It's quite large because of the speakers, and it's price tag was the same as the S90ES. Even if the acoustic piano was amazing, I bet the EPs were similar to the CP-33 (someone please correct me if I'm wrong).


Finally, I tried the S90ES. What a great keyboard! Great feel, wonderful piano, honking EPs, groovy clav. I decided to take the plunge and I bought it! They gave me a great deal, essentially no sales tax. So I'm happy. By the way, they have a deal going where you don't have to pay anything for one year on a purchase over $400. Pretty cool!


Tonight I gig with it. Should be fun to finally have all the pianos at my fingertips. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

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