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Inkorgible
July 27, 2011 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Korg, Kurzweil, Roland... What other brands am I not yet looking for in an excellent digital concert piano?

Having spent a month being frustrated at not being able to find a real live Korg or Kurzweil concert model piano within 50 miles of the Chicago area to test drive and buy as a replacement for my dear, dottering and now departed Korg C-45, I must expand my search to other brands. However, I CAN'T STAND YAMAHAS. Please, do not suggest anything Yamaha. Trust that I know that I do not want a Yamaha. The question, therefore, is what brands apart from the 3 listed above the fold should I be seeking out, either retail or used, to ply my daily practicing upon? Bonus points if you can direct me to a store wherein I can interrogate the thing in person within a reasonable drive of Chicago.
My korg died last week, and as a daily practicer, the jonesing is starting to get bad already. Please Help!
posted by Cold Lurkey to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Price? The Casio PX-3 (don't laugh) has gotten good reviews. Nord have some good stage pianos. There's also Behringer and Kawai.

The best piano sounds I have come across are from the Native Instruments samples played through the Kontakt sampler on a laptop, from a controller keyboard, and amplified. But that's probably not what you want. Beats a standalone keyboard into a cocked hat though.
posted by unSane at 6:43 PM on July 27, 2011


Kawai?
posted by ghharr at 6:48 PM on July 27, 2011


Yamaha Digital Pianos.
posted by gen at 8:05 PM on July 27, 2011


whoops- sorry! missed the part where you hate yamahas.
posted by gen at 8:06 PM on July 27, 2011


Nord, Casio and Kawai come to mind as all making quality digital pianos in addition to the brands you've already tried. Have a poke around the pianoworld digital piano forum for some some more suggestions perhaps.

(I ended up buying a Roland FP-7F & think it's the bees knees but everyone has their own personal preferences.)
posted by pharm at 1:40 AM on July 28, 2011


I have a Kwai mp9000, it's about 10 years old so I don't know what the current version is but I do remember it as having noticeably better sound than yamaha. This model has no external speakers though, need an amp or headphones.
posted by lemonade at 4:59 AM on July 28, 2011


Try the PianoWorld forums.

Bonus points if you can direct me to a store wherein I can interrogate the thing in person within a reasonable drive of Chicago

I'm more of a synth guy than a piano guy, so I'd love to check out NovaMusik. They do carry Kurzweil, but it makes sense to give them a call before you visit to make sure they actually have digital piano inventory on display for you to play with.

The question, therefore, is what brands apart from the 3 listed above the fold should I be seeking out, either retail or used, to ply my daily practicing upon?

What is most important to you in a digital piano?

The Casio PX3 seems to be the great value choice. Roland's SuperNatual pianos resonate with my inner nerd, but then so do the VAST Kurzweils. Do you hate the sound or feel of Yamahas, or just hate the company? There are lots of nice used Yamahas around, so if you just hate the sound, you could get a used keyboard and run Pianoteq or one of the massively sampled soft-pianos.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:08 AM on July 28, 2011


Thanks for all your input. On your advice b1tr0t, I've tracked down some Roland SuperNATURALs to try while I'm out interrogating a used Kurzweil baby grand. As for my distate for yamahas, it's a pure tonal/tactile aesthetic issue on my part. I realize that they're perfectly serviceable, but I find their sound, especially on the low end, rather muffled and incorporal, and their high end is tinkley and insipid. The touch is lighter than I want, and yet less responsive. And that's the real pianos. Their clavinovas etc, just sample the thing that I don't really appreciate and sell it back to me different. I'm not aware of any beef I could have with the company, but I'm more than happy to hear why I should avoid them, apart from my delicate flower aesthetic issues.
I've only been able to try the new kurzweils in a stage piano set up, but woah, the bass range is crunchy and delicious, and the upper octaves are bright without being grating. Just like my (sniff) old korg.
And also, while my inner nerd really likes pianoteq, I really just want a stand alone keyboard that mimics a piano that I can't afford as effortlessly as possible. I'm afraid that i'd get caught up in effects/twiddling overhead before I'd could really get down to just bang out some Schubert.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:16 PM on July 28, 2011


There's a lot to be said for having something that's always there to bang something out on. Pianoteq is really interesting thought because it behaves dynamically MUCH more like real piano than anything else I've tried and it's very low on CPU overhead.
posted by unSane at 9:08 PM on July 28, 2011


The nice thing about Pianoteq is that you can always add it on later if you want.

The touch is lighter than I want, and yet less responsive. And that's the real pianos. Their clavinovas etc, just sample the thing that I don't really appreciate and sell it back to me different.

I was thinking more of the S08/S80/S90 series as a potentially cheap controller keyboard with a sound module or softsynth that you like. I don't know how similar the mechanisms are between the S series and the actual pianos. You might try one out if you can find one on Craigslist, but it seems like you are already leaning strongly in the direction of Kurzweil.

I'm afraid that i'd get caught up in effects/twiddling overhead before I'd could really get down to just bang out some Schubert.

Definitely check out the Casio PX3. You might hate it, but if you don't then it is cheaper than pretty much everything else you are considering.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:32 AM on July 29, 2011


Well, just to keep you updated, as I know you're on the edge of your collective seats, I've gone and bought a kurzweil mark 152, used, from craigslist. I did so only after checking out the rolands, which are underpowered for the pricepoint that I got this crazy weird kurzweil... Their touch is very nice, in the higher price ranges, but I didn't want to be paying a premium for what I considered a bare minimum responsiveness in the middle octaves.
I have not, however, looked at the kawai or casio models, but if the Rolands have taught me anything, it's that the lower models are not as sonorous in the midrange. The rolands are really quite sensitive in the higher octaves, which is commendable, but the middle c-a are really lacking in the oomph category. For more money, I could get a higher powered roland (HP307) that does the trick, but... i've gone and fallen for this kurzweil and all its eccentricities.
thank you all for opening the spectrum up for me, it makes me feel more assured about my choice.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:34 PM on August 3, 2011


Wow, it's a mini grand!

Best wishes for you & your new piano :)
posted by pharm at 6:14 AM on August 4, 2011


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