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Which 88 keys synth/Piano should I go for?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Which 88 keys synth/Piano should I go for?

So I've been producing music for a while and recently started taking piano lessons. As I progress with my lessons, I start to realise that an 88 hammer actions keys are very much needed for my progress, which leads me to my question.

Since I am buying an additional keyboard, I might as well get one that has a unique sound and give my productions/music an additional sound pallet. I must Add that I draw most of my music inspiration and ideas from playing through presets so having a large number of high quality presets is very important.

I am currently looking at the Nord Stage 3, Roland Fantom 8 and... a keyboard no one seems to talk about and there is very little information about on the information super highway - the Viscount Physis Piano K4 EX.

The Physis piano has a pretty interesting physical modelling sound engine with an unusual and deep sound design capabilities + the price in Thomann is less than half of the two other options that I have mentioned. But yeah, almost no information about it on the net which is a bit dodgy.

I looked at the Yamaha Montage 8 but it seems a bit old school and uninspiring with its sample based engine (though having a DX7 included in the package is awesome!)

Am I missing any other options, ideas?
Any opinion would be highly appreciated

P.S

I dont want to have to turn on my computer in order to practice so just a controller keyboard is out of the equation.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by ItoLevy View Post
So I've been producing music for a while and recently started taking piano lessons. As I progress with my lessons, I start to realise that an 88 hammer actions keys are very much needed for my progress, which leads me to my question.

Since I am buying an additional keyboard, I might as well get one that has a unique sound and give my productions/music an additional sound pallet. I must Add that I draw most of my music inspiration and ideas from playing through presets so having a large number of high quality presets is very important.

I am currently looking at the Nord Stage 3, Roland Fantom 8 and... a keyboard no one seems to talk about and there is very little information about on the information super highway - the Viscount Physis Piano K4 EX.
My suggestion is to wait until NAMM in January, some of the 88 key workstations out there are due for an updated model - particularly Korg.

Out of all those I'd go for the Nord Stage 3, its by far what I see most at live shows.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Nut
 

The best piano-action in my opinion for a pianist are to be found on Kawais, even the cheaper stuff. If you want the best of the best action then go for wooden keys Kawais. I also love their piano sound more then Yamaha's, but their other sounds are rather mediocre. (at least on my digital piano). Rolands are very sweet sounding and brighter then Kawai. I like the darker sound of kawai.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
basehead617's Avatar
From my personal experience, the Nord Stage 3 88 is the king of this area. I love their keyboards as a controller and it has great sound engines from all their other products as well.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Head
I have had excatly the same issue, moving from "maker" to "player" and really felt I needed a hammer action as my skills improve. In last few month put a bit of effort in trying all the weighted action/piano orientated board options I could back- to-back. This meant only trying easily available main-stream choices, which may not be what youre after, anyway here is what I came up with.

Roland RD2000- I wanted to like this as Im very much a Roland fanboy! its the best controller and has plenty of sounds but one of its a main features is its modeled piano but I really dislike it, I also feel its other pianos seem a generation behind other options I tried. Its keybed is good rather than great.

Korg grandstage - suprised me as the best all-rounder I think. I thought its keybed was better than the Roland. Great variety of keyboard sounds and all of the options of classic piano types. Also tends to be cheapest.

Yamaha CP88- anyone looking for stage piano should strongly consider this, a very high quality keybed and first rate bulid quality , great ergonomics and piano sounds are top-notch. Limited sounds compared to most. If I didnt prefer the kawai piano sound so much this would be an easy winner for me.

If keybed is no 1 priority - I believe Kawai mp11 is the best, but its a heavy beast and very much a specialised piano, for example no organ sounds, tiny screen and poor features as a midi controller etc.
If budget/weight is an issue a slight step down is the MP7 - same sound and keybed 80% as good. Personally I like the Kawai piano sound the best, disadvantage is there are no other brands of classic piano sounds on board.

Nord- I have no real opinion on these as they are overpriced where i am so have hardly tried one as its a non-starter for me. I have read it may have same keys as kawai mp7 but not certain if thats true.

Hope this helps.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
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adydub's Avatar
 

I ended up going for a Kawai CA78 which is a full digital piano. I originally thought I was going to go for a Nord Stage 3 for a very hands-on do-anything instrument. Demo’d it and didn’t like the pianos at all. I then tried nearly everything except the Kurzweils and Dexibells and found the Kawai had the best action and sound. Although I wasn’t thinking about a digital piano initially, the Kawai gave me the feeling of actually sitting in front of a piano. The piano sound engine is a combination of samples with a physical modelling synthesis layer for sympathetic resonance that is extremely expressive.

If you don’t need to gig it, a digital piano is a handy thing to have in the studio because you can just sit down and start playing without needing to worry about anything else and the sound coming directly from the instrument is more involving than a set of monitors off to the side or something. And you still have MIDI over usb, 5-pin DIN and Bluetooth for integrating with the rest of your studio.

Last edited by adydub; 2 weeks ago at 10:05 AM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by adydub View Post
I ended up going for a Kawai CA78 which is a full digital piano. I originally thought I was going to go for a Nord Stage 3 for a very hands-on do-anything instrument. Demo’d it and didn’t like the pianos at all. I then tried nearly everything everything except the Kurzweils and Dexibells and found the Kawai had the best action and sound. Although I wasn’t thinking about a digital piano initially, the Kawai gave me the feeling of actually sitting in front of a piano. The piano sound engine is a combination of samples with a physical modelling synthesis layer for sympathetic resonance that is extremely expressive.

If you don’t need to gig it, a digital piano is a handy thing to have in the studio because you can just sit down and start playing without needing to worry about anything else and the sound coming directly from the instrument is more involving than a set of monitors off to the side or something. And you still have MIDI over usb, 5-pin DIN and Bluetooth for integrating with the rest of your studio.
Wow that's a nice one! I myself have one of the cheapest models (don't remember its name and it's not here with me but it cost me about €750) and it's already a dream to play.
Enjoy!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
Hi,

I'm a piano player for decades, if that counts.

It's a question if you want
1. to be as close as possible to a real piano (which is by far the best and still something other than the simulations) or
2. more a general keyboard with piano action.

If 1.
A good digital piano (better) or a stage piano.
Brands: Yamaha (CP88), Kawai, Casio (really not that bad, CDP compactest digital piano), Korg (Grandstage)

if 2.
Eg. Yamaha Modx/Montage8, Korg Kronos/Kross, Roland Fantom, ..

The mentioned Physis Piano K4/5 EX has an almost unique specialty for a digital piano, it also has aftertouch!!

If you don't want to enter the concert level on the piano, you don't really need 88 keys. But of course it doesn't hurt.

best regards
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Head
Im hoping for Roland updating the A800-pro and A88 midi controllers. I was a bit surprised the A88 was discontinued but I"ll be on the lookout for local 2nd hand ones. Id love to have a 76 or 88 key.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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Mcnulty's Avatar
 

I was recently given a Korg SP170s keyboard that someone had purchased for their daughter to learn piano. It’s an entry level 88 key digital piano that has 10 presets and very minimal controls with midi out. I was pleasantly surprised with the action as my other 12 keyboards are all synth actions and this one feels very similar to my old pianola that I learnt to play on. The sounds are all usable and it does have built in speakers that are quite good. Not as good as my Eve monitors but good enough to just turn this on and play for enjoyment. Lots of these around 2nd hand and higher end models as well. Maybe consider something like this to save some money.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Nut
 

The topic starter already made his choice, please see message #6

EDIT: please ignore this message above it turns out I was wrong, ty
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
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Mcnulty's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wishy washy View Post
The topic starter already made his choice, please see message #6
Sorry he wasn’t the topic starter just someone who contributed
Old 2 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcnulty View Post
Sorry he wasn’t the topic starter just someone who contributed
ooops sorry, my bad! So strange because I did check to see if it was the same username, all in vain and still mistaken.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Mcnulty's Avatar
 

I thought the same when I read reply then read first post. I agree about the Kawai as the darker sound in my opinion is more usable. My free Korg is a little too bright but the action is surprisingly good.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #15
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adydub's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wishy washy View Post
ooops sorry, my bad! So strange because I did check to see if it was the same username, all in vain and still mistaken.
Sorry, should’ve been clearer that I was talking about being in a similar position to the OP. But I do really like my Kawai CA78
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Thank you everyone for sharing your opinions!

So it seems like my choice is between either the Nord stage 3 which has a huge variety of different sounds + available expansions online
and the Kawai Kawai MP-11 SE which is the nearest to a real Piano as I will get from a keyboard. (And an additional 1100 euros for the Nord...)

I also completely forgot about NAMM and as it is just around the corner, it would be a good idea as iksrazal suggested to wait and see if nothing revolutionary pops
up over there.

Thanks again!
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