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LTC Offline OP
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I am looking for advice here. Thanks in advance.

1. I'm looking for a home piano that sounds great....but is also gig worthy for cover bands.

2. Internal speakers are a must.


I tried the Korg SV2-S: If felt great and I love the feature set...but didn't sound all that good.

Hows that new Korg XE20?

I tried the Yamaha P515: It sounded great but action was heavy (and only a few velocity curves)

I can't try any of the Kawai offerings here in my city....but head the ES920 is great in both feel and sound.

The Roland FP90X? Have not tried one yet
Roland FP60X? Same thing? I heard the FP90X sounds amazing...but is it good for cover bands?


The Korg grandstage sounds great....through headphones.....so do the Nords and Yamahas.....they only sound as good as the amplification you're using.

Advice?

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Maybe add the Roland RD88 to your list.


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I gig on a Kawai ES920. The speakers work fine for non-amplified chamber music and jazz gigs.


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Also consider Dexibell S7 Pro M. They have some very nice downloadable piano sounds, plus you can load soundfonts. I have an older Dexibell, the speakers are surprisingly good. Mine and the S7 Pro M both have the not-well-regarded TP100 action, but somehow, in this model, it really works, it plays nicely (and I've hated it on some other boards). And importantly if you're going to gig with it, the travel weight is better than most.

I haven't played them, but I'd also check out, not just the Kawai ES920, but the ES520 as well, which still has a lot to recommend it and, again, is lighter in weight.

ETA: you may also want to look into the board's ability to easily integrate external sounds (e.g. from an iPad) and play them through the keyboard's speakers as well. You can't change the action, and (if you insist on playing through internal speakers) you can't change the speakers, but the sounds are something you can expand on that way, sometimes quite easily.

Last edited by anotherscott; 02/05/22 11:29 PM.
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What kind of music are you going to play in the cover band? For a typical top 40 cover band I would look for quick and easy handling of the sound setup and flexibility in sounds. You most likely need to add a second keyboard to the set-up. I really like the Roland FP-90X, but for a cover band I would rather take something in the lines of the Roland RD-2000 or the Nord Stage. I would try to avoid a more complicated set-up with an iPad or external sound generator for the bread and butter sounds.


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LTC Offline OP
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I think I'm looking for an RD2000 or Korg Grandstage with the speakers of a Roland FP90X

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Just to clarify, are you looking for good internal speakers in order to achieve the sound quality you want just at home, or are you thinking you also want to be able to use the internal speakers for gigging? Because no keyboards have good (loud) enough speakers to do cover band gigs with, assuming you mean full rock/pop/dance band with drums, electric guitar, etc. At best, internal speakers may be loud enough for solo piano gigs or basically "unplugged" duo/trio kind of stuff.

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Originally Posted by LTC
I am looking for advice here. Thanks in advance.

1. I'm looking for a home piano that sounds great....but is also gig worthy for cover bands.

2. Internal speakers are a must.


I tried the Korg SV2-S: If felt great and I love the feature set...but didn't sound all that good.

Hows that new Korg XE20?

I tried the Yamaha P515: It sounded great but action was heavy (and only a few velocity curves)

I can't try any of the Kawai offerings here in my city....but head the ES920 is great in both feel and sound.

The Roland FP90X? Have not tried one yet
Roland FP60X? Same thing? I heard the FP90X sounds amazing...but is it good for cover bands?


The Korg grandstage sounds great....through headphones.....so do the Nords and Yamahas.....they only sound as good as the amplification you're using.

Advice?

The Korg XE20 is a portable arranger piano similar to the Yamaha DGX660 (DGX pianos are portable versions of the Yamaha CVP range). In general, the auto-accompaniment feature is more useful for one-person shows: wedding singers, cruise ship players, and people interested in creating arrangements to play live. A used Korg PAX4 might be worth looking into if this is your bag, as they have semi-weighted actions.

Personally, I don't go in for arranger keyboards/pianos any more, but if I had a desire for one, it would be the used market all the way, as the new price of such instruments are ridiculous for what you're getting. The used prices are much better.

None of the portable pianos (Roland FP90X, Kawai ES8/920, Yamaha P515) are meant for gigging; rather, they are for students who move accomodation often or who might occasionally meet up for playing somewhere. If you want an instrument for gigging, you'd be interested in either a workstation or a stage piano. The only exception is the Casio PX-S3000, which is designed for wedding players etc., who need a battery powered very light-weight but classy looking board.

Having inbuilt speakers is a bit of an anti-thesis for giggin: gigging musicians tend to want lightness, and portable piano speakers don't really work as monitors when playing with a band, but add to the weight you have to lug around.

The P515 action is a pianists action, not meant for gigging. In no way would you want to play organ and synth licks on that action.

For gigging boards that have speakers, you're basically looking at these:
Korg SV2
Dexibel Vivo S7 pro

That's it: only two stage pianos currently come with decent sized speakers (the Roland RD88 has really small speakers just meant for hotel room practice between gigs).

Regards to stage pianos that you can gig and make good home instruments:
Yamaha CP88 / Yamaha YC88
Kawai MP7SE / MP11SE
Roland RD2000
Dexibel Vivo S9
Kurzweil Forte / Kurzweil Artis
Viscount Physis Piano
Nord Grand
Nord Piano 4 / 5
Nord Stage 3
Viscount Legend 70
Crumar 7

Regards to workstations that you can gig with and make good home instruments
Roland Fantom 88
Korg Kronos
Korg Nautilus
Yamaha MX88

Synths worth looking at
Yamaha Montage
Yamaha MODX8

Another good option is to use a sound-module with a piano controller or laptop.
For instance,

Kawai VPC1 with the Dexibel SX8 sound module or with a laptop and VST (pianoteq, Garritan CFX Grand etc).
If you wanted things like Tonewheel organs, add the module from Viscount: the Legend Exp.

Bear in mind that gigging --- if it includes synths and organs -- might not benefit from a realistic piano action. Then, boards like the Hammond XK pro come into their own: a weighted waterfall keyboard!
One could even go for things like the Studiologic Numa X, which is light-weight, weighted action, has lots of features, quite cheap.

If you are gigging, a small PA system makes more sense and would be better as a monitor in an actual gig ---if none where available---compared to onboard speakers.
Powered monitors make a good option for small rooms. Expect to pay at least £600 for a pair of these to get a great amplification; £1200 for a pair if you want headphone quality sound.

In general, at home I exclusively use headphones: a pair like the Sennheiser HD599 would make a good option for a stage piano---comfy, light, and closed back so the sound doesn't bleach into others ears if in a living room.
Other good cans include the BeyerDynamics open back/closed back OTE (over the ear) cans e.g., DT series; Shure OTE CANS; Philips OTE cans (Fidelio); etc.


I chose the MP7SE because for home and giging use, it offers a piano-centric board with similar functional abilties to boards like the RD2000 and user interface which is pretty good for gigging. The MP7SE is good value for money and has a light action that you can use for organ just.


Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
Software..........Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand...............K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Piano stool.......K&M 14093 Piano stool
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My limited jamming experience is that the fp-90x is fine by itself in a normal volume environment.

Throw in a loud drummer and everyone starts cranking up their amps, you will need some help.

And if you have a PA, well you feed into that anyway.

Personally, from my very very limited giggling, I would not want to be lugging around a 50lbs keyboard.


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LTC Offline OP
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Thanks for your input: yes, my intention is for the piano to sound great at home....then use a pair of QSC 8.2's for gigging.

I suppose I could buy a piano (sans speakers) and invest the money in monitors?

My beef is this:

An acoustic guitar sounds like an acoustic guitar. A cello sounds like a cello. A trumpet sounds like a piano. A digital piano does not sound like a piano should...unless you spend another $2000 on amplification.

I'd like to have a piano I can bring to a practice without having to drop $2200 (then carry) on amplification. A violin player just brings their violin.

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are the organ and other synth sounds good for a cover band?

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I tried the Roland RD88: speakers too small.

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Just bought Roland RD88 2 weeks ago. I absolutely love it. Was skeptic about the speakers, but for usage in the apartment - loud enough, quality not so bad, but to have built-in speaker for this type and price range stage piano - that's just brilliant. The number of sounds is enormous, I'm really satisfied with the synth sounds.
So to sum up, I think that for the price range of 1000 eur there's no better "hybrid" type stage/recording/home piano with good piano + synth sounds. There are probably even better options in the higher price range of course, so it's up to your budget.


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Originally Posted by LTC
Thanks for your input: yes, my intention is for the piano to sound great at home....then use a pair of QSC 8.2's for gigging.

I suppose I could buy a piano (sans speakers) and invest the money in monitors?

My beef is this:

An acoustic guitar sounds like an acoustic guitar. A cello sounds like a cello. A trumpet sounds like a piano. A digital piano does not sound like a piano should...unless you spend another $2000 on amplification.

I'd like to have a piano I can bring to a practice without having to drop $2200 (then carry) on amplification. A violin player just brings their violin.

I know, I too am reluctant to buy expensive monitors. In my case, I brought my MP7SE---1 year old, lightly used---for £850, and new monitors were going to be around about that value.

Tbh, the headphone experience works for me. If I did have monitors, I'd barely use them.

HiFi works quite well for amplifying Kawai digitals, so if you have a system already, that might do. You might get a better deal on used hifi and find that much cheaper.

I would consider what you value most for the piano: action, sound, functions, weight, build quality etc. The available boards ate extensive, but what do you think you'll need most?

The MP7SE and MP11SE are piano centric stage pianos. The MP7SE you can do organ and synth work. If organ was very important, better to have a separate controller with a light waterfall action. In that sense, the MP7SE is a wonderful midi controller, as is the RD2000 (although it has 8 knobs and sliders, its twice as expensive)

Those are the 3 piano centric stage piano boards, if you don't count the Nord Grand (which is £3 grand 😀), and one workstation (the Roland Fantom 88, same action as the RD2000, but costs a lot more).

Of the other boards, the CP88 and Korg grandstand both have fairly decent digital piano actions. The CP88 action IMO is a better than the RD88's action, and the Korg Grandstage action is in that ball park.

The other boards mostly use Fatar actions, with the TP-400 Wood action in the Studiologic Numa x and in the Dexibell Vivo S9 being the best of the Fatar actions.

However, if piano action is central to your deliberations, then the Kawai MP boards and Roland RD2000 currently offer the best piano experience, with maybe the Yamaha CP88 and YC88 models (YC88 if you want decent organs on a Yamaha) being a good compromise.

Last edited by Doug M.; 02/07/22 06:28 AM.

Instruments......Kawai MP7SE.............................................(Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000)
Software..........Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
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Originally Posted by LTC
I suppose I could buy a piano (sans speakers) and invest the money in monitors?

My beef is this:...A digital piano does not sound like a piano should...unless you spend another $2000 on amplification.

I'd like to have a piano I can bring to a practice without having to drop $2200 (then carry) on amplification. A violin player just brings their violin.
Alas, you chose to learn how to play piano instead of violin. ;-)

But you do not have to spend anywhere near $2k to get amplification that is competitive with anything you'd find in a portable piano with built-in speakers. For $300, you can get a pair of iLoud Micro Monitors, which will probably sound as good or better than the speakers in any of the pianos mentioned, and the pair only weighs about 4 lbs. If the idea includes bringing them to rehearsals where you don't need "full band volume", you might want to use velcro so you can easily/quickly "mount" them where you want them (i.e. if your keyboard has a good place to put them).

Originally Posted by LTC
are the organ and other synth sounds good for a cover band?
In part, that is subjective. what qualifies as "good." I'm not sure which board you were asking about, but models marketed primarily as "digital pianos" (which also encompasses most of the boards with speakers, except for arrangers) are generally not strong for organ. Also, many of these boards do not have pitch/modulation controllers, which is one way they might fall short on the synth side as well. The more things you want, though, the harder it is going to be to find it all in one board, without some serious compromises.

No one asks the violin player to give them anything but violin sounds. You're asking for a piano to be, not just a good piano, but as needed, also a good organ, a good synth, and probably even a good violin! ;-) You can find keyboards that can do tons of things, but you don't always get everything you want in the same board, and you either have to decide where to compromise, or use more than one board. Taking built-in speakers out of the equation opens up a lot more possibilities for you.

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Originally Posted by LTC
I'd like to have a piano I can bring to a practice without having to drop $2200 (then carry) on amplification. A violin player just brings their violin.

In my experience you won’t have to bring the amplification system for practice with the typical cover band. Singers need a PA as well and you just leave it in the location where you practice.

If your band practices regularly you probably should consider leaving a keyboard in the practice room as well. In my experience it’s really no fun having to dismount a heavy stage piano, pack it up, heave it into the car, unpack it, mount it, … considering you might have already had a hard work day, you just want to relax playing some music and your back is hurting just thinking that you have to redo the same procedure after the practice session.


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Originally Posted by LTC
Thanks for your input: yes, my intention is for the piano to sound great at home....then use a pair of QSC 8.2's for gigging.

I suppose I could buy a piano (sans speakers) and invest the money in monitors?

My beef is this:

An acoustic guitar sounds like an acoustic guitar. A cello sounds like a cello. A trumpet sounds like a piano. A digital piano does not sound like a piano should...unless you spend another $2000 on amplification.

I'd like to have a piano I can bring to a practice without having to drop $2200 (then carry) on amplification. A violin player just brings their violin.

Violin has a very different story. For gigging in local bars etc I'd get a beater instrument. Plastic-bodied instruments aren't that great for gigging. If you're jamming with friends, then get a nicer one SV2 is probably as nice as you can go.

Note that it's a very rare thing to see a professional stage piano with speakers. You can carry an old mono amp for jamming etc... and it's not that heavy.


Kawai MP7SE, Yamaha MOTF XF6, Yamaha WX5, Yamaha Pacifica 112v

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