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All good points to ponder from @drewr, @_sem_ and @Kawafanboi. I was totally misinformed about the DGX670's MIDI capabilities, whoops. I' ought to go and read the manual. Thanks for the correction, @drewr. So, @Kawafanboi, if as you say the arranger keyboards are not really made for home recording/studio, is there any DP make/model that you'd suggest might fit me?

I like the phrase "co-habitating with the 670 manual". hehe A very curious observation that even with all the multiple and various reference sources you cite, you lament the absence of what you're calling the "single reference source". Kinda like a Bible of 670? Actually, it's impressive that you've co-habitated with the 670 manual for such a long time, like you were made for each other? As I read it, the fact that despite the gnawing desire for a single reference resource, you're sticking with the possibility of a longer term relationship? Given a certain family resemblance have you also slept with the Casio Privia PX-S3100 manual or is that a no-no to even suggest you may have musical mistress?

Last edited by bob@pei; 05/11/22 01:17 PM.
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A few hours ago I replied to the most recent posts by @_sem_, @drewr, and @Kawafaniboi but, hey, what the...where is it? It didn't get posted for whatever reason.

Anyhoo, thanks for weighing in and thanks @drewr for correcting on my misinformed statement about the DGX670 and MIDI. I did go back and look at the manual, sure enough, you're right, but of course, you're "co-habitating" with that manual. Striking up a long-term, intimate relationship it appears. In my disappeared post, I did ask if you had flirted with the likes of the Casio Privia PX-S3100, because that one and the Yamaha DGX670 appear to share a family resemblance.

I take your point, @KawaFanboi that arrangers aren't the norm in home studios. I think it is helpful for you point out that the setup of arranger controls favors live streaming performance as opposed to recording. But it looks like there's a segment of the home market which wants the performer's tools without actually having to perform. For me, the accompaniment functions wouldn't be about recording but trying to spice up routine piano practice and skiils development with scales, chords, rhythm, ear, and theory. From what I'm learning, however, my purpose is likely to be equally or better served by doing the backing tracks on my computer/controller setup. The downside of that is that it wouldn't be at my fingertips or easily changed, which, lo and behold, is what I think you are getting at what the performer needs. To some extent, performer and home piano student could share the desire for convenient, easily switchable accompaniment parameters in an all-in-one slab.

And @_sem_, thanks for pointing out the "stone age" characteristics of these digital pianos compared to the space age speed, power, and versatility of computer based music production. It's important, because I don't want to set unrealistic expectations and to recognize the current limitations.


I hope this my second shot at replying doesn't disappear like the first one. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts on my dilemma.

bob

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Originally Posted by bob@pei
For me, the accompaniment functions wouldn't be about recording but trying to spice up routine piano practice and skiils development with scales, chords, rhythm, ear, and theory. From what I'm learning, however, my purpose is likely to be equally or better served by doing the backing tracks on my computer/controller setup.

don't discount YouTube for this. There are lots of backing tracks etc on there for jazz

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Thanks @jackopiano for the tip on backing tracks via YouTube.

So, several posters have made really practical suggestions about creative alternatives to the offerings of an arranger type of DP, such as the Yamaha DGX670 or Roland RD-88.

I don't want to presume too much, but would it be fair to conclude that a better option in the DP marketplace might be DPs that concentrate on pianistic attributes. Examples in my budget might be Roland's FP-60X, Yamaha's P515 on the high end, or others on the lower end from the usual suspects, Yamaha, Casio, Roland, Korg, Kawai? That range is $1500-$2200.

Let me say that the input contributed in this thread has been really helpful, with insights, angles, and ideas I couldn't have come up with on my own. I'm grateful for commenters sharing your perspectives.

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you're overthinking this, you don't even need weighted 88 keys unless you intend to play classical piano and later move to acoustic. modern keyboard music is perfectly at home on the unweighted 61 key you already have.

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I tend to agree @KawaFanboi. You seem sure your 61 key board is insufficient for your piano-learning needs, so, i say, get out to your local shops, try what they have and get one.

All of the DPs you’ve mentioned interest in below or above $1000 allow you to focus on just playing the piano. Yes, the Casio PXS3100 and Yamaha 670 have bells & whistles to allure …. spice things up if/when you are in the mood but they are fine as plain pianos if the mood never strikes. The 670 has Yamaha’s top of line CFX samples and features 1-button press for Piano Room, so if the mood never strikes, stay in that room and piano away to your hearts content. The more expensive $1500-$2000 range might get you a better action but they all have bells & whistles too, and caveat for beginners - YMMV when it comes to learning what you bob@pei like or dislike in a DP action. Get something to get you on the board in an 88 key model then in a year or two, maybe you’ll know better about what kinda action you prefer.

As far as -

Originally Posted by bob@pei
Given a certain family resemblance have you also slept with the Casio Privia PX-S3100 manual or is that a no-no to even suggest you may have musical mistress?

action, philosophically, a big no-no. I’m not really wired that way …. but then again, i’m juggling an already long-term relationship with a Roland console and a short-term, lost-cause platonic fling with an MP7 that will be gone as soon as i can find a loving home for it …. the situation with the manuals/videos/sources is totally off the books …. it didn’t happen except on virtual paper ….. i did not have actual relations with that alleged musical mistress.

Last edited by drewr; 05/11/22 11:37 PM.

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you're overthinking this, you don't even need weighted 88 keys unless you intend to play classical piano and later move to acoustic. modern keyboard music is perfectly at home on the unweighted 61 key you already have.

Yeah, a fair criticism. This is my usual habit with any major purchase. Go to the limits of deliberating and then wait for some kind of signal which says I've crossed the line into overthinking. You're my signal!

I'm glad to see your assertion about not even needing 88 weighted keys, because it goes against the overwhelming grain generally broadcast in these forums. But, you are absolutely right in your assumptions: 1) I have no intention to play classical piano; 2) I have no intention to move to an acoustic instrument. So this is a breath of fresh air and I'm feeling a little more liberated because of it!

Thanks @KawaFanboi for your frank, but very fair comments. They've been super helpful.

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@drewr wrote:
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I tend to agree @KawaFanboi. You seem sure your 61 key board is insufficient for your piano-learning needs, so, i say, get out to your local shops, try what they have and get one.

Yes, I can see how I've given this impression, but you know what, it's true. I have been sure that 61-key controller falls short, but given what @KawaFanboi put forth about not doing classical piano and not planning to move to acoustic, I can see where I've gone off the rails into a blind tangent. You guys have definitely done a great service for me!

Quote
Get something to get you on the board in an 88 key model then in a year or two, maybe you’ll know better about what kinda action you prefer.

And this is also to hint at not obsessing over the absolutely perfect make/model as if it's a one-time, do-or-die, decision. Get into the 88-key game in whatever way you can and "maybe [I"ll] know better about what action I prefer". Funny, but there's an exact parallel if I were advising a beginner on the classical guita: there's no need to spend beyond the basic attributes of classical guitar, 2"nut, a solid wood top, and a standard scale length. Come back to me in a year when "you'll know better what kinda x, y, and z, you prefer"

So, it's probably best I close the curtain on this thread, lest I risk annoying others with my pathologies! hehe

But, honestly, I do appreciate all the comments, learned a lot, not only about the options, but about the flaws in my own thinking. Thanks to all!

Last edited by bob@pei; 05/12/22 07:28 AM.
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Originally Posted by bob@pei
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you're overthinking this, you don't even need weighted 88 keys unless you intend to play classical piano and later move to acoustic. modern keyboard music is perfectly at home on the unweighted 61 key you already have.

Yeah, a fair criticism. This is my usual habit with any major purchase. Go to the limits of deliberating and then wait for some kind of signal which says I've crossed the line into overthinking. You're my signal!

I'm glad to see your assertion about not even needing 88 weighted keys, because it goes against the overwhelming grain generally broadcast in these forums. But, you are absolutely right in your assumptions: 1) I have no intention to play classical piano; 2) I have no intention to move to an acoustic instrument. So this is a breath of fresh air and I'm feeling a little more liberated because of it!

Thanks @KawaFanboi for your frank, but very fair comments. They've been super helpful.

I'm an infrequent participant here in the DP forum, but I'll share a few thoughts. I was gifted a pretty nice Casio 61 key digital piano that had the option of having the keys light up when playing a recorded piece, or when playing it. The keys were not weighted. The tone was not bad, and all the accompaniments sounded decent for what it was. I didn't play it much myself, because I had an 88 weighted key Casio that I liked much better. I gave the 61 key keyboard to my 6 year old grandson who shows some interest in playing the piano. At least he bangs on my pianos whenever they come over for a visit.

That said, I'm partial to the 88 weighted key digital, whether an arraigner or just one with a few tones and a metronome option. Having owned a DP arraigner, or at least one with lots of different tones, combos, and other accompaniments, I'm thinking there is a lot more "fun factor" involved with the arraigner model than one with few options, bells and whistles.

Also, the model with 88 keys is much closer to the keyboard of a real acoustic piano, at least in my mind, for not a lot more money, even if you don't play the keys near the lower or upper octaves very often; they are there for reference if you do ever need them.

My latest DP acquisition was a pre-owned Casio Privia PX-360 slab piano, and I absolutely love it!

Good luck!

Rick


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Thanks for sharing your 61-88 key story, @Rickster. Kind of a relaxed, open perspective which for me counterbalances a lot of the more hard-core, high-stakes threads we can find in these forums. This is not to discount those with strong opinions at all. We need all kinds.

You've picked up and run with the "fun factor" concept which is one of my stated priorities. I guess the only distinction I'd make is that the sort of fun I'm looking for is not spontaneous play with no ends in mind (although I see value in that too!). Rather, I'm working on structured stuff like diatonic/modal/pentatonic scales in all keys, drills for the ears, finger dexterity, jazz harmony, all rigorous pursuits. All invaluable disciplines, but also demanding a persistent, patient, dedicated student, which is probably one of the big reasons why so millions of kids and adults start the study but drop out by millions too. Sacrifices must be made to achieve anything worthwhile. But a little bit of sugar helps the medicine go down, so they say. And I believe it.

So I hear folks who talk about doing this same hardcore technical work to the beat of an instrumental rhythm track and makes their work way more fun than just a militant and never-ending submission to the tic-toc-tic-toc metronome.

An analogy in my personal world of physical fitness. You will never find me walking, jogging on an indoor treadmill...never, never, never. I don't doubt the benefits for minute, but the costs of robotic sameness ain't for me. Instead, I'll play 90 minutes tennis or pickleball, go for leisurely 10km bicycle ride, or just a plain old walk in the woods. The cardio component of the fitness is satisfied, not mention the bonuses of flexibility, coordination, reflex training, and inner calm.

An aside: one of the most frustrating situations with the 61-key midi controller is doing piano type scale studies or etudes which do go outside the range of my keyboard. The lowest note for me right now is C2. Oh, I can easily hit the Octave +/- button, but not without disrupting what I'm trying to do with my hands.

I think you're the third or fourth person, @Rickster to point out that one can always default to the straightforward piano sounds on an arranger type of piano, and those bells and whistles are there if you need them or get the urge. Yeah, it does make sense, and probably fits my dithering constitution quite well. It might be a false assumption on my part, however, it can also be said that accomplishing a singular goal, like a great piano tone, best fidelity, highest reliability, comes at the cost of sacrificing the addition of more and more peripheral features. Maybe this thinking is weak when it comes to DP options. There are less sexy attributes which seem to play into final products, like the number and size and variety of line outputs. A small annoyance, but I use headphones with a 1/4" standard and some DPs have this, some only have the 3mm plug; some have both. Similarly, stuff like amplification, not much is said about fidelity here other watts, but as any audiophile will argue there are clean, steady watts and there are dirty, peak watts, not mention frequency response and whatever other list of criteria. Costs for this stuff must play into DP design and manufacture.

In this sound arena, I'd be really curious to hear the difference in the quality of audio fidelity between say, a Roland FP-60X (13w/side) vs the Yamaha DGX 670 (6w/side). I don't give a hoot about how much volume the amps can deliver, but rather attributes like sound dispersal, color, cleanliness. Given that one is spending 30 minutes, an hour or three hours every day with the instrument, I should think a really pleasing sound output could elevate one's enjoyment.

Anyhoo, I can imagine @KawaFanboi shaking his head, thinking, "This guy is really overthinking things, way too much". And maybe he's right! hehe But it's fun, too.

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If you want to buy something, buy it, but as a seasoned musician, you are well aware that the largest expense to the musical ordeal is the investment in practice time. you've got really bad gas, gear acquisition syndrome.

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Haha! G.A.S.

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If you want to buy something, buy it, but as a seasoned musician, you are well aware that the largest expense to the musical ordeal is the investment in practice time. you've got really bad gas, gear acquisition syndrome.


Yeah, okay, maybe so, but for some, the journey, the pursuit, the hunt is as much fun as the end destination, the final prize, the ultimate goal. Some Type A folks are straight line A to B for its logic, efficiency, speed, and clear-sighted ease. Others, like me, Type B, draw a squiggly line from A to B, meandering, taking foggy pauses, unrushed. Type B can drive the Type A's crazy.

But yes, there's no getting around what you're calling the "musical ordeal is the investment in practice time". No doubts here.

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Originally Posted by bob@pei
In this sound arena, I'd be really curious to hear the difference in the quality of audio fidelity between say, a Roland FP-60X (13w/side) vs the Yamaha DGX 670 (6w/side). I don't give a hoot about how much volume the amps can deliver, but rather attributes like sound dispersal, color, cleanliness. Given that one is spending 30 minutes, an hour or three hours every day with the instrument, I should think a really pleasing sound output could elevate one's enjoyment.

Two 670-specific caveats:

1) i think it is safe to say that many if not most people - here at PW or anywhere in the real or virtual world - would immediately dismiss the 670 as a legitimate DP with respect to having 2-6 Watt speakers. However, there have been a few people here that spoke well of these seemingly tiny watts. Towards the marketing end of the (other end of the ) spectrum, a Yamaha sales / engineering rep * in a 1.75/hour “virtual clinic” demo video, gave credit to Yamaha Corp’s long experience in providing high fidelity audio equipment as the reason why the 670’s speaker design is sufficient to “ fill an average house with good piano sounds”.

* yes, for any other old-timers here, sales engineer as a title is seemingly an oxymoron for traditional speaking of language BUT nonetheless not-uncommon with what currently passes for modern speak;

2) 670 has a single 1/4 inch stereo jack intended mainly for attaching headphones OR anyone up to the challenge of demystifying what Yamaha Corp clearly prefers to leave as a mystery, for now, for anyone who may want to connect this jack to two monitors or other stereo sound equipment.

With respect to any 670 caveats, if or when you might be close to buying one, you really should find a dealer willing to let you sit at / play and question what you are close to buying.

Last edited by drewr; 05/12/22 10:59 AM.

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i don't think the op is overthinking anything. everyone has opinions on here (as anywhere) and they vary widely

more opinions from me ...

for new age stuff, a 61-key synth action keyboard is probably fine

if your goal is to play jazz, you can do it without a weighted keyboard, sure, but go listen to / watch monk, bill Evans, Herbie, Oscar Peterson ... if that's what you're aiming towards, you will get closer sooner by having a weighted action with 88 keys.

if that's not your thinking, maybe what you have will suffice, but you're on here asking because you're dissatisfied with the limitations of your current instrument. if you're looking to advance expression and subtlety in your playing, any synth action is going to bring you to a ceiling in technique.

i have a synth action keyboard as a MIDI controller and an 88 key weighted p515. it's like driving a wreck vs a Ferrari in terms of the enjoyment i get out of playing. i am a beginner on piano but
a drummer of over 30 years so i have some empathy with your situation, and even i can get much more (accurate) expression out of the weighted keys

so, *if* you're considering weighted keys ...

The dgx670 would be fine if you want the various functions it offers, though i don't know about the speakers

in terms of more simplified slabs, the big 3 are Roland, Yamaha, Kawai. three tiers of models lowest to highest ...

fp10
fp30x
p45
es110

fp60x
p125
es520

fp90x
p515
es920

korg d1 is regarded well by many. korg b2 is a very decent cheap option for a beginner

latest casios are regarded well by some

The piano dreamers website has excellent reviews of digital pianos and all kinds of keyboards. Stu Harrison's reviews on Merriam's YouTube channel are also an excellent resource for digital pianos. There are countless threads on here reviewing/debating the models I've listed above

almost everyone on here will tell you to try actions before you buy. My thoughts (and experience) are that you will quickly get used to the action of any quality weighted piano such as those listed above, and will quickly get used to the action of any upgrade you make down the track when the differences in weighted actions become more important to you as you improve (at that point it will become very important to try actions before you upgrade)

good luck smile

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A deep bow of gratitude for you excellent summary post. You've grasped my dilemma with nuance and sensitivity. I know this because every paragraph resonates with important relevance for me. Not only, but reassurance, like this comment:

Quote
My thoughts (and experience) are that you will quickly get used to the action of any quality weighted piano such as those listed above, and will quickly get used to the action of any upgrade

Thanks for pointing to other online reviewers.

Your junker car/Ferrari metaphors tell it all, I'd say, to describe the experiential difference between synth action and weighted 88s.

Quote
i have a synth action keyboard as a MIDI controller and an 88 key weighted p515. it's like driving a wreck vs a Ferrari in terms of the enjoyment i get out of playing


This illuminating image has cemented my commitment to that weighted 88 attribute. But not only that, I follow you when you also posit that listening the likes Herbie, Evans, Peterson et al will get me drifting toward the weighted 88. What you describe is a natural, organic, if indirect force, but plausible nevertheless.

An analogous situation in the guitar world with which I'm more familiar, would be the steel string finger picker listening to likes of classical players. That listening is going to beckon him/her towards the scene of nylon strings, finely manicured right hand finger nails, and a wide fret board. Bach on a steel string just doesn't cut it, but on the classical guitar it's divine.

Thanks too, to @jackopiano for the Yamaha DGX 670 caveats you explain. Duly entered in my decision making consciousness.

My questions are starting to run dry, which means I'm getting closer to clarity.

Thanks @jackopiano and @drewr for your kind and patient and helpful encouragement!

Last edited by bob@pei; 05/12/22 07:41 PM.
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@drewr wrote:
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i think it is safe to say that many if not most people - here at PW or anywhere in the real or virtual world - would immediately dismiss the 670 as a legitimate DP with respect to having 2-6 Watt speakers. However, there have been a few people here that spoke well of these seemingly tiny watts.

I guess I'll have to find a way to listen to the DGX670's audio myself to see which camp I land in--Yea! or Nay!

Funny, how little attention speakers can receive from reviewers even though a DP is a full-fledged piece of "audio" equipment. Here's a review of the Yamaha P-515. The word "speakers" appears once in one lonely sentence without any sort elaboration.
Yamaha P515 Digital Pianohttps://musicalinstrumentpro.com/yamaha-p-515-digital-piano/

At least the Yamaha site had the P-515 speaker specs: 15W + 5W x 2 Even there, however, it seems like basic no mention at all is fine for basic audiophile criteria like RMS (continuous power) and peak power. I suppose I'm splitting hairs, but I haven't seen a single DP reviewer video that actually digs deep into the amp/speaker qualities. For all we know, the 6W of the DGX is super clean continuous power and the P-515's 15W is peak and a little dirty. Unlikely, but for reasons beyond my grasp, speaker/amp specs beyond mere wattage are deemed superfluous. Fuggedaboudid

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Good point bob - about the P-515 power into one speaker. I'm just going to assume that each speaker has a 15/2 or 7.5 watt rating ----- average power.

If I take 7.5W average power, and then add the 2.5W average power, we get 10W average for one side. So 20 watt average power for both sides.

And the specified power consumption of the P-515 (without any audio output) is 15 watt.

So 20 watt plus 15 watt comes out to 35 watt.

That looks about right, because the PA-300C power supply has 16V, 2.4A ratings - approximately 38W.

The '15W' values in the marketing appears to be peak music power output, or something along those lines. Bigger numbers just look more 'appealing' to customers haha.

When I slide the volume slider all the way to max, no distortion or hiss etc from the speakers. The sound is really quite nice from those speakers.

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Thanks @SouthPark for elaborating on speaker power consumption. Your grasp is much more sophisticated than mine. It's been my assumption that generally for speaker to be able to pick up and deliver sonic nuances, coloration, dispersal, and frequency response, along with sheer oomph in clean amplitude, demands a certain minimal level of RMS watts. Maybe that's old fashioned thinking especially progressive developments in technology over the years, especially in speaker design.

And I suppose some might say if I'm going to start nitpicking about audio, get a slab piano with no speakers and hook it in some fancy schmancy studio monitors. Well, I'm not that fussy, but still kinda spoiled by my studio monitors, which on their own were like $800.

I realize it'll all come down to in-person listening to DPs. This is extremely frustrating for me in Prince Edward Island where I'm huge distances from any music store with a half decent inventory. I could spend as much or more on travel expenses as the piano itself! Sigh....

So, maybe this is where @drewr's advice to at least get in the weighted 88-key game without thinking this is the final instrument. With that philosophy, I'd actually go BELOW budget with a lower priced model to get me started.

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Most welcome bob. True. For particular speakers, too little amount of power won't get adequate movement in the speakers.

Interestingly .... there is no electrical term called rms power. But I know what people mean when they refer to rms power. It probably just same about when taking rms voltage ... and squaring it, then dividing by a resistance value. It gives a power quantity .... and they formally call it 'average power'. The origins I think ... is from basic test waveform .... a pure sinusoidal waveform. Or at least a periodic waveform. So the average is over one cycle (period) in time.

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the watt doesn't tell you a whole lot without the sensitivity rating of the driver. it's not a very good metric for comparison.

ferrari vs wreck is not a good analogy, it's heavily colorized by personal bias. between weighted and unweighted is like a car vs a truck. they do different things and drive differently.

Last edited by KawaFanboi; 05/13/22 01:51 AM.
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