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Best Acoustic Piano sound from a full sized keyboard/synth
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Alex Wyler
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10th May 2007
Old 10th May 2007
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Best Acoustic Piano sound from a full sized keyboard/synth

Which portable full sized keyboard/synth sounds the most like a real grand Piano when recording it directly from the outputs?

I am not interested in anything but hardware.

So far I have found this one to be the best -

The Clavia Nord Stage Piano.

Is there something better?
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10th May 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Wyler View Post
Which portable full sized keyboard/synth sounds the most like a real grand Piano when recording it directly from the outputs?

I am not interested in anything but hardware.

So far I have found this one to be the best -

The Clavia Nord Stage Piano.

Is there something better?
I'm a fan of the higher-end Yamaha pianos like the PF-500 etc.
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10th May 2007
Old 10th May 2007
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In my book, the best is the Yamaha higher end models. I use the PF 500 in my studio and the P250 when I play out. They have the same grand piano samples in them. Yamaha has a newer piano - the CP 300 and it has different samples in it. More top end in the sound - a crisper top that sounds really nice, not better than the other 2 just different. The 2 that I have are a little warmer sounding. You have to get into the high end models to get their best piano sounds, with the soundboard samples and stuff. Their lower end ones, say $1200 on down, still sound very nice but they don't have all of the same samples in them that the $2000 models have so aren't quite as realistic sounding. I do alot of score to picture and use Yamaha exclusively. If you want to hear what the PF 500 sounds like you can go to my website. Pretty much all the piano sounds on my MP3 page are from the Yamaha 500. I haven't heard a better souding piano than the Yamahas. You would have to spend upwards of $20,000 or so to do better by buying a real Yamaha grand, miking it up and keeping it in tune. Lots of work and money there.

my site and then go to the MP3 page - http://www.robertsandsmusic.com/
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10th May 2007
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I have a Roland RD700SX and it sounds great. XLR outs as well. I bought it for the piano sounds in particular.
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10th May 2007
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I have both a Roland Piano 5500 which is a big space age looking spinet piano thing from the late '80s AND a Kurzwell K2000.
It is a toss up, but the Roland 5500 sounds pretty reralistic.

There was a rack mount version of the Roland as well.

DB
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10th May 2007
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I look at this thread and it brings me back to doing a live radio concert with Bruce Hornsby..He came in with a Yamaha CP30 i believe ..We had a 1917 Steinway that was meticuously maintained/tuned.

I was like lets use the grand. He was like I endorse yamaha..I was like who the fawk is gonna know over the radio.. are there yamaha staff monitoring your performances?

Of course I was outta line , but knew I 'd never see the guy again..and of course he used the yamaha

just brought back memories for an old fart
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10th May 2007
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Forgot to mention the action in my above Yamaha post. Yamaha Grand pianos have always been known for their keyboard feel and the higher end digitals - 250,300 and 500, are great also. If you've spent alot of time on a real piano you will love the action on these models. Just the right amount of weight and responce.
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10th May 2007
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KAWAI MP8!!!!!!!

blows everything else out of the water in my oppinion. Not only is the sound amazing, but the action is as flawless as an electronic piano could be. The keys are wooden, and the action is modled after their grand pianos. Its about 2 grand. Great investment if you ask me.
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10th May 2007
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Hey My two cents.

I would agree that the p250 and up are better yamaha models. I have a p60, and I had an experience where i just went line out into and RNP. When i brought the recording to my friends studio the first thing out of their mouths was "thats a real piano".

They are all school trained recording engineers, and very excellent musicians.

I fooled them without even trying..

My new trick is just to record the speakers built into the P60

The lower model yamahas only have 3 sample layers as opposed to 4.

They still have great hammer action and sound like a piano.

I still like playing on a real piano because of the feel.

Good luck
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10th May 2007
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I've tried alot of the higher priced spreads, including the new Yamaha, which I returned. I picked up a Casio Privia for under $500 which really, to me, doesn't suck much worse than the big boys, and actually feels more fun to play.

For recording, I use Ivory with a Korg T-1 (ancient) weighted master keyboard.

Or my Yamaha C7,

-R
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10th May 2007
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I have a lot of Keyboard [>20] and I think Kurzweil PC2X have the most realistic Pianno sound, stand in the mix very well unlike other [Roland/Yamaha tends to sounds great when playing solo but blurry in a mix]
Sonny
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10th May 2007
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hands down without a doubt the yamaha S90ES. This keyboard is FANTASTIC!!! I have one and love it. There is a short video of my playing it on my website at Jim's Musical Blog Also, this keyboard comes highly recomended on harmony-centrals forums. I have Ivory and I like the S90ES piano sound better than ivory.
Alex Wyler
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11th May 2007
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Wow...seems liek there are a lot of varying opinions!

What do you folks think of the Clavia Nord Stage Piano compared to the Yamahas and the others?
Alex Wyler
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11th May 2007
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Any more opinions?
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11th May 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsstudio View Post
I think Kurzweil PC2X have the most realistic Pianno sound, stand in the mix very well unlike other [Roland/Yamaha tends to sounds great when playing solo but blurry in a mix]
Sonny

I agree, it's what we use, and I think it's excellent. A very tight real sound.
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12th May 2007
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...and what about rack units?

I recently heard a Clavia Nord rack unit (Electro2 Rack I believe), very impressive piano sounds.... and very impressive organ as well.

I have an old Roland XV5080, and apparently there is a newer Roland piano expansion card for it, sampled from a real piano... wondering if I should give this a shot. Anyone familiar with this stuff?

Ive heard that the latest software stuff out now is the best... I have yet to hear it. You can get one of those Muse rack plug-in player things and run the software on that. I'm hearing more and more good things about going this route.
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12th May 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Wyler View Post
Wow...seems liek there are a lot of varying opinions!

What do you folks think of the Clavia Nord Stage Piano compared to the Yamahas and the others?
You really have to play them yourselves - not listen to demos - play them. THe Nord Stage pianos are very much a love/hate thing.

I have the Nord Stage as well as a Yamaha P250. I don't enjoy the Nord Stage pianos for live use at all. Note that I gig in mono. While I have read criticisms of Yamaha stage pianos in mono, it sounds, feels, and plays a hundred times better than Nord for me. I also use Ivory live on a Muse Receptor. In fact if I bring the Nord to a gig that is usually what I do. This probably edges out the Yamaha sound/wise, but not by all that much for live use, and I like the P250 action better.

In the studio, and in stereo, the Nord Stage pianos might be better, but I haven't tried them as I have a grand piano, and for quickie demos I'd be more inclined to use Ivory than to set up the stage.

I agree with the poster who said you should check out the Kawai MP8. I used to own a Kawai MP9500 and absolutely loved the keyboard. Wasn't crazy about the sonics and the dynamics of the internal sounds, but that has likely improved for the MP8.
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12th May 2007
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Kurzweil PC88
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12th May 2007
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Another vote for Kurzweil PC2x. Probably not for solo work, but it fits into mixes right nicely.
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12th May 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
I have an old Roland XV5080, and apparently there is a newer Roland piano expansion card for it, sampled from a real piano... wondering if I should give this a shot. Anyone familiar with this stuff?
I have the piano expansion card for my XV5050. It's a little on the mellow side - not very useful for rock music or C&W uptempo, but nice for ballads and such. I'd be tempted to try the PC2x, based on the comments that it sits in the mix nicely. With the XV5050, the stock rock piano is a little thin, and the expansion card piano is a little thick, and there seems to be nothing in between. The Roland JV1010 has a nice piano called 'session piano', but it's only useful in a dense mix. Probably only has one or 2 levels of samples, but I couldn't tell you for sure.
I had a Yamaha piano in here on a jazz project, and it sounded great. Probably the over 2 grand model, but I can't recall. The problem I have with Yamaha's is the action feels sluggish to me, especially compared to Roland. But I play with a light touch, and many pro keyboard players prefer the Yamaha action, so it sort of comes down to whether you're buying for yourself, or your clients. I can tell you that I hated the M-audio piano action, and the Casio PX series. I get nauseous just thinking about them.
As far as software pianos go, you'll probably get latency if you try to play one live, so you're pretty much limited to patching them in after you've recorded your midi part into your sequencer.
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24th May 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Wyler View Post
Which portable full sized keyboard/synth sounds the most like a real grand Piano when recording it directly from the outputs?

I am not interested in anything but hardware.

So far I have found this one to be the best -

The Clavia Nord Stage Piano.

Is there something better?

Roland RD700sx with the classical piano expansion card SRX-02, is by far the best!

I´ve got it and tested it thoroughly up against the Clavia Nord Stage Piano and the yamahas (P 250, P 300, P 90, CP 30, S90ES)

The sound of the nordstage (with piano expansion) is quite good, but the feel is nowhere near the league of the RD700sx.

Soundwise Yamaha S90ES and Roland RD700sx (without expansion card) are pretty close, it would be a matter of taste and aim of use. For me, I like the feel of the roland more, it has the best action of all pianos I´ve tried, and with the piano sounds of the SRX-02 card, it sounds better too, when it comes to classical grand playing and feel. Much more subtle and nuanced.

It´s a REAL joy to play, and I never felt that way before with a digital piano.
Also it has the advantage, that they keep developing new expansion cards of the highest quality. Fx also the SRX-11 card is the best rhodes and wurlitzer out there in my opinion.
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24th May 2007
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Kawai MP8 feels the most like a piano. If feel is super important, look at this one. As for the sound, I don't think it's any better than the Yammy or Roland sounds.

I have a PC88 and like the piano sounds alot. I don't think they sound quite as realistic as the Yamaha or Roland sounds, but it they do sit very well in a mix.

I have the Roland piano expansion card. I think it's realistic, but doesn't sit in the mix as well as the Kurz or even the Yamaha piano sounds for some reason. It's almost if they've done some EQ tinkering along the way that somehow gets in the way.

I really like the Yamaha piano sounds as well. I think it's fits in with many songs better than the Roland but not quite as nice as the Kurzweil PC88. The keyboard of the Yamaha S90es also has a very nice feel to it. Not quite as heavy/thick as the Kawai (IMHO), but still quite substantial.

Nobody has mentioned Korg in this thread, which is good as I think their piano sounds are worse than all of the those already mentioned in this thread.

You owe it to yourself to get out and play with as many of these as you possible can. In the end, I think it's hard to go wrong with Kurzweil and Yamaha. These would be my top two picks.

-Tom
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8th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsstudio View Post
I have a lot of Keyboard [>20] and I think Kurzweil PC2X have the most realistic Pianno sound, stand in the mix very well unlike other [Roland/Yamaha tends to sounds great when playing solo but blurry in a mix]
Sonny
Do you have any music posted using the PC2X? I would it mostly for jazz. Would like to know how the B3 sounds are as well?

Thanks for your help-!!

-jim
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30th January 2012
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I am bumping this old thread because it's 2012 and there's probably something better out there now and I am looking for it. I want the best feeling and sounding acoustic piano that I can use for recording mainly and occasionally live. In the past I have used Kurzweil rack units and a Studio Logic keyboard controller, but would prefer an integrated unit. Not a software program for my Mac. What's cool? Anything amazing from Winter NAMM 2012?
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30th January 2012
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I'm not aware of anything new at NAMM. Most likely, the newest versions of the Yamahas and Rolands are still probably the best choices.
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