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Researching DP options for a retired senior at late elementary stage. I'm coming from a lifetime with the classical guitar (RCM Grade 9), wanting to acquire good piano/keyboard skills. Experienced pianists/teachers here may have some useful advice for me. I have a good grasp of general theory, but my goal is to gain more sophisticated ability with jazz theory, improv and new age/minimalist music. Right now I have an Arturia KeyLab 61 mkII midi controller with loads of VSTs and some good studio monitors. This is fine but it hasn't taken me long to realize the limitations of 61 keys, with synth action.

I'm caught in the horns of a dilemma concerning what sort of DP I ought to get to help me advance toward my goals. I may be way out in left field (which is why I'm soliciting seasoned players' advice!) but it occurred to me that an arranger type of piano might a good learning tool for practicing stuff like modal improvising, or improv over chord changes, working up arrangements from lead sheets, composing, circle of 5th drills, or just making routine practice of scales and chords a little more creative and interesting with an arranger that I can program with accompaniment changes, rhythms, etc. I've looked at specs for the Yamaha DGX670, Casio's PX-S3100, and the Roland RD-88. I haven't include Kawai because the closest dealer is a 5-hour drive away.

But, not being an anywhere close to knowing what's best for developing piano techniques, I'm wondering if I've blundered with this line of thinking. Could all the arranger's bells and whistles actually retard my progress instead of helping it? And would it be fair or unfair to suggest that many of the preset styles for backing instruments or rhythms are barely a step or two beyond the "Cheeze Zone"? Too many cliches? Is it possible that an arranger keyboard could turn into trap, imposing arbitrary limitations where musical liberation is my goal? What do you think?

With these doubts, I've also taken a close look at specs for more piano-centric DPs, like Roland's FP 60X or Yamaha's P515, or even much less expensive like Casio's PX-S1100. These models strike me as concentrating more on piano features than the arranger keyboards. And although I haven't actually heard or tried any of these DP's, the specs appear to point to superior sound and action features. But, they simply don't look like as much fun for practice drills as the arrangers. I dunno the sound quality I'm predisposed to think none of these models can match my VST's through studio quality monitors, so this sound fidelity isn't a be-all-end-all for me. If I'm dead wrong here, please blast me! I'll probably hang onto my Arturia controller because it integrates so beautifully with Arturia's own products like Analog Lab V, Piano V2, and Pigments 3.0 among others. Works great, too, with my DAW, Reaper.

I dunno, maybe some of you may think, I ought to use the midi controller and the zillions of plug-ins to take up the project of enhancing theory skills and get a DP that emphasizes piano emulation above all else.

I also have the thorny issue of living on the remote island of Prince Edward Island, and the one music store doesn't have an inventory to try out any of these particular makes/models. I suspect I'll be buying whatever sight unseen, instrument unplayed, a blind purchase. Not good, I know. So I'm putting stock in what I learn in forums like this one.

My budget is $1500 to $2000 thereabouts. Also, no available teachers with strong expertise in the genres I'm interested in. Just classical. I'll reserve my classical guitar playing for that.

Welcoming opinions, criticisms, suggestions along any of the lines mentioned in this post. I appreciate the input.
Originally Posted by bob@pei
. .. I dunno the sound quality I'm predisposed to think none of these models can match my VST's through studio quality monitors, so this sound fidelity isn't a be-all-end-all for me. If I'm dead wrong here, please blast me!

You're quite right about sound quality. All slab-format, moderately-priced DP's are limited by their built-in amps and speakers -- that's inherent in the design trade-offs. And -- maybe for marketing reasons -- they don't have samples (or modeling) that matches good VST's.

I have a Casio PX-350 (ancestor of the PX-S3100). I've owned it for 7 or 8 years, and I've hardly used the accompaniment features. But I don't practice improvising over chord progressions, and that's a reasonable use for those features. I have, occasionally, used the built-in rhythms, and found those to be useful.

The accompaniment features are inexpensive, and they come with a whole encyclopedia of extra voices, and better recording capabilities. So the worst that will happen is that you'll ignore them. I don't think they'll capture your soul, or very much of your practice time.

I've never been to PEI, will have to do that some day.
here's an opinion since you're asking for them smile

if you're mostly using vsts then you're already on the computer, and software can do all your sequencing / arranging without buying an arranger keyboard. so to my mind you'd be better spending the money on a weighted 88-key keyboard to complement your 61 key synth action, and use the computer (and/or backing tracks on YouTube of which there are countless) for accompaniment

from what you say you want to achieve, it seems there is a weighted keyboard in your future and sooner is probably better
True. I guess that an 'arranger' is a keyboard that has a bunch of instrument samples, and also onboard sequencer for laying out the tracks.

And the vst plus software sequencer of desktop/laptop computers plus a midi-keyboard controller is along the lines of the same thing.

Nice comments from charles and jack.
Thanks for weighing in with comments, @SouthPark, @jackopiano, and @CharlesCohen. I appreciate getting your various perspective so I'm not feeling alone in wilderness! Interesting to hear, Charles, that you can see the potential utility of using arranger harmony/rhythm functions to help with technical studies. But also interesting is jackopiano affirming that it might make more sense to using my existing controller/computer setup for studying and focusing on the piano's primary attributes like weighted hammer action. SouthPark, you have a balanced view which is probably close to my own posture, that I could go either direction.

The arranger option seems to have the convenience of out-of-box easy, quick setups for harmony/rhythm backing to make technical piano practice more fun. But I suppose this points to me making efforts of getting quicker, more skilled with my DAW, plugins, and controller to make my own setups.

I didn't mention "portability" as a criteria in my original post, but this is a priority for me. Retired, I'm starting think about downsizing my living quarters, so portability for me translates into flexibility. That's why no furniture style DPs appear on my lists.

Appreciate your input!

bob
My vote would also be for a DP rather than an arranger type keyboard. You can get most of what you are looking for from apps these days in terms of accompaniment. There have been some great threads on that subject in the Non-Classical section of this forum along with some other great threads regarding your development in the areas you mentioned.

In terms of specific DP recommendations since availability is a concern do not overlook something like the Yamaha P125 or perhaps a Korg D1. (the Kawai ES110 would be my first choice but are hard to come by these days) Given that you are a retired senior something with a lighter action in my opinion would suit you best. Good luck with it ...
Hey @Farfisakid thanks for introducing several thoughtful ideas I hadn't thought about myself. Like all the accompaniment apps in the marketplace. I'll check out the threads you're pointing to, thanks. Interesting comment about lighter action as appropriate for seniors and seems to be make sense. Your hypothetical choices like the Yamaha P125 or Korg D1 are super practical, coming in well below my budget of $1500-$2000.
I didn’t go for it because it didn’t have what I needed in terms of the key action - but the DGX 670 is an amazingly fun instrument. From what your description is though, I think you might be wanting the RD-88. Very portable, great sound, reasonable action.
Thanks for your input @JacksonTree. It seems the DGX 670 has been a really successful replacement/update for the DGX 660. Fun is a key criteria. Yes, you're right, the RD-88 should tick all the boxes, even though I haven't had direct experience with it.
Originally Posted by bob@pei
But, not being an anywhere close to knowing what's best for developing piano techniques, I'm wondering if I've blundered with this line of thinking. Could all the arranger's bells and whistles actually retard my progress instead of helping it? And would it be fair or unfair to suggest that many of the preset styles for backing instruments or rhythms are barely a step or two beyond the "Cheeze Zone"? Too many cliches? Is it possible that an arranger keyboard could turn into trap, imposing arbitrary limitations where musical liberation is my goal? What do you think?

Welcoming opinions, criticisms, suggestions along any of the lines mentioned in this post. I appreciate the input.

Since you’ve already gotten a fair amount of thoughtful replies ….and you did specify you welcome opinions, here’s mine.

Basic piano learning ultimately involves a person learning a complex skill not unlike choreography; the grey matter applies its collective efforts in teaching / conducting the fingers and foot / feet to dance in all the right ways at the right times so as culminate in producing a song or piece / riff therein that, at a minimum, is acceptably pleasing to the grey matter of the owner/operator (gmooo) .

Along the way they ( gmooo) may have to spend some time learning how to tweak their piano - AP or Digital - so as to put its best sound foot forward in an effort of satisfying the collective senses (sight/sound/tactile/olfactory plus the ever present opinions/preferences of the gmoo’s mind). It may be they spend anywhere from minutes to months tweaking their DP’s virtual piano tuning settings and eventually conclude such are either fine or so-so. In the case of the former, they carry on with their main goal - learning basic, pleasing piano playing.

In the case of the latter, they may only be stuck with how to get the metronome volume balanced with the piano sound volume or they may have more complex virtual tweaking issues to resolve but either way, after not finding the right press-this-then-that sequence, they opt to buy / add one or more virtual pianos to the mix, after which they may spend minutes to months tweaking virtual virtual-piano-tuning settings and eventually conclude such are either fine or ….. maybe it’s best to try/buy a more better different DP or virtual piano package or maybe go an different direction with their spare time ….. like learning yoga or knitting …. or volunteering to help the local meals-on-wheels chapter 😉

The short end to this long opinion is, have you ever watched videos of dealers demonstrating - improv style - scales/rhythm / drum pattern / backing track / auto-accompaniment / auto-chord features on a given make & model of DP that is or isn’t officially positioned as having arranger features? Not only do they usually demonstrate the use of staff pianists who are very good at choreographing their fingers & feet to produce basic, very nice piano songs/pieces/riffs, they are also skilled in simultaneously choreographing the fingers and feet to quickly trigger on & off the aforementioned accompaniment features WITHOUT missing a beat! In my opinion, the answer to your question may depend on whether or not your gmoo logic is a good match for the gmoo logic of the engineers who designed the accompaniment features - basic built in ones OR arranger ones - you must learning to use to your satisfaction with whichever route you go.

I think DGX670 is potentially a good example. Ive been studying its features and dealer videos for months. They sure look like they might be a lot of fun even for anyone not named Emerson, Wakeman et al 🙂
Hey @drewr, thanks for putting you cerebral spin on my dilemma of Arranger vs Basic DP. I take your intriguing points on the GMOO ( I like that!) as healthy food for thought. My immediate gut response is to simplify, simplify, minimize, minimize, focus, focus toward what you refer to as "pleasing piano playing". Tweaking this, that and the all the other things that would present themselves--and likely seductively so!--could be a recipe for distractions that go contrary to simplify, minimize, and focus on pleasing piano playing".

I recognize the clear and present risk you hint at if one is gobbling up time with this VST, then the next, then.... I should know better, because I'm prone to this accumulating pathology. Keep me out of the candy store!

It struck me as salient, your point about makers and sellers extracting every drop of marketing juice from highly skilled staff pianists. Digging deeper, your mention of engineer/designer compatibility with the end user is quite illuminating. I hadn't thought of that, but it does resonate for me.

If there's a flip side, of discipline, strategies, GMOO conditioning, all towards "pleasing piano playing", for me it's the fun, exploratory meandering, the meditative no-goal, no strategy philosophy. Like a walk in the woods, along a path unconcerned about which might be best tree species for construction, the straightness of the path, or the sense of accomplishment at the path's end.

I'd venture that this sort of contemplation is where you ended up in your post, where the final words point toward curious desire, plain fun, and dreams in jest. I can relate to what you're writing here and I appreciate you chiming in with such a spirited, well-thought message.

bob
Bob,

I’m glad you took my post in the spirit intended.

Despite being a beginning pianist, you have an advantage; many years experience in music on a different instrument. Also, with your stated budget, even if you decide on a non-arranger DP, you will get bells & whistles whether you want any of them or not. All of the models you mentioned are worthy candidates for a beginner, IMO.

I am interested to know how your decision works out with respect to what kind of preference you may or may not have for piano action; something that many beginner pianists grapple with since they generally have little experience with feel. Obviously, feel with a guitar versus piano are different beasts BUT nonetheless, your guitar experience may give you some benefit that true beginners do not have.

* side note: in your years playing guitar, did you happen to observe if guitarists - beginners to experts - also have a tendency to obsess / worry about how a given guitar strings/frets feel the way pianists do with key actions?

On the way out, here is a brief 670 demo/vid which begins with an improvised, jazzy version of a classic classical tune that has lots of backing sounds, and you may find the guitar voice demo later in the vid to be somewhat realistic.




Good luck!
Thanks for your followup post, @drewr. I suppose you're right that a lot of guitar experience confers benefits unavailable to the average beginner without musical experience. Whether it'll help me with respect keyboard action attributes is another question! If nothing else I can certainly appreciate the importance the experienced pianist lays on the nuances of keybed action.

I guess where I'd part company with the pianist's obsession with action compared to a guitarist, is to say, guitar action is very much a function of style. So, for example, the slick action of the iconic Fender Stratocaster is a foreign and distant land to me with the sprawling action of my Classical guitar. Standards for everything from string material and diameter, to scale length, to nut width, neck profile, fret types defies any attempt to mimic the pianist's general, but powerful call for DP's to emulate acoustic piano action. It's a rare guitarist indeed who can comfortably skip to and fro from one species of guitar to another. Eric Clapton comes to mind, as does Mark Knopfler. By and large a guitarist finds a single niche and action type usually goes hand-in-hand with it. I might be wrong, but I'd guess that this might be akin to the gulf between a concert pianist and her gear vs a keyboard synth player in a new age band.

This gives me to wonder if there's anything axiomatic to be said about action difference/preferences, say, between traditional jazz pianists and pop artists?

drewr wrote:
* side note: in your years playing guitar, did you happen to observe if guitarists - beginners to experts - also have a tendency to obsess / worry about how a given guitar strings/frets feel the way pianists do with key actions?

Yes, I'd say you're right on about action obsession with guitarists. On the other hand, I'd say there are diverse baseline standards to go with each genre or species, especially given physical material differences and dimensional disparities. Now, this knowledge imported from Guitaristana does make me a little suspicious about any presupposed homogeneity of acoustic piano keybed action. "Graded Hammer Action" strikes me as a very loose rubric and I imagine a finer-cut typology of differences nested within that rubric to reveal many more differences than generally spoken about. Perhaps they are not as gross and in-your-face as the zoo of guitar action possibilities, but surely there can be no absolute AP standard. And indeed I've seen evidence of that expression of AP action differences in many posts from experienced pianists.

What I appreciate about your entry into this discussion is to spark unusual ideas and concepts in my decision making process that I hadn't given much if any thought to at all, but which do warrant attention.

I'm even thinking of delaying any decision until I can make the trip to a big piano retailer to actually sit, listen, noodle, push buttons and compare models. I'm in Prince Edward Island, a lonely island floating in the Atlantic, but planning a trip to Toronto, where I still have family to visit this summer.

A journey within a journey so to speak.

Thanks for your comments!
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. . . I'm even thinking of delaying any decision until I can make the trip to a big piano retailer to actually sit, listen, noodle, push buttons and compare models. I'm in Prince Edward Island, a lonely island floating in the Atlantic, but planning a trip to Toronto, where I still have family to visit this summer.

The usual advice here includes someone saying:

. . .
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We can give you _our_ preferences. If you want to know your own preferences, spend some time at music stores, trying out various DP's.

Toronto should have at least a Tom Lee and Long & McQuade (probably several of each). If Steve's is still around, it would be worth a visit. Find the Kasai dealer list, as well.
Thanks for pointing to Toronto store options, @CharlesCohen. No denying it, that the in-person, physical experience of trying out this one or that one is best. Where I see minor risk (or maybe it's major!) is getting sucked into something by impulse, a perfectly persuasive sales person, going way over budget.

I think of car shopping. The old way would have the poor shopper tramping from dealer to dealer, test driving everything in sight, a real crap shoot. These days, the savvy car buyer does a lot of silent, self-directed research, narrows down options in the calm and cerebral confines of their own home, and maybe even pits one dealer's quote against the competition.

Maybe my analogy is lame and broken, and certainly I'd be stupid to dismiss the usual advice your pointing to. I suppose an equal measure of rigorous research and focused in-person test-playing is probably best.

In terms of my technical criteria, I haven't mentioned MIDI facility, but an earlier poster suggested I could do just as well with piano skills development with the backing tracks and theory drills made with MIDI files and my DAW. However, a slab DP with half-decent MIDI record and playback functions would be great because I could then easily transit from controller/computer setup to my DP. I mention this because the much touted Yamaha DGX 670 is not really MIDI enabled, say, compared to Casio's PX-S3100 with which one can record three tracks of one's playing in MIDI (or Audio), not just play MIDI files. Roland's FP-60X can do the same, with more memory, but only one track.

I can anticipate a critique of this thinking which says if you really want to develop your piano skills why are you dithering so, allowing yourself to get so damn distracted with these secondary concerns? Fair point, I'll admit.
> However, a slab DP with half-decent MIDI record and playback functions would be great because I could then easily transit from controller/computer setup to my DP.

I think the controller/computer setup is much more convenient for home use than these boards with a very restricted user interface.
A workstation type keyboard with the right buttons and dials may be different matter, but it also takes a minute to boot up. Even these are losing the race with computers.
Thanks for adding your comment, @_sem_. I hear you when you speak of the controller/computer setup being more convenient and less restrictive than a workstation type keyboard. It's practical to inject this caveat because I'll be much less likely to set myself up for disappointments with the computational weaknesses of the all-in-one keyboard compared to the near limitless, interstellar power of my computer/controller setup. That said, sometimes it feels like one needs to be rocket scientist to get even semi-close to a comfort level with electronic music production. I've had my setup for a few years now and sadly, I confess I've barely scratched the surface of its potential. It's still very intimidating.

As such, as long as my expectations for a slab DP are realistic, the DP workstation could bring at least some partial relief from complexity.
I mean, on my DP, deleting a recent failed recording takes about ten presses of different keys, and having read the manual I've never bothered to try renaming a recording from a default name.
The control panels of the workstation synths are stone age compared to current smartphones and computers.
I think it is a very good idea to go and try such things out in a store if they really work for you, instead of purchasing immediately after salivation over the features list.
home studio isn't how arrangers are typically used. arrangers keep quick set of tools handy for stage purposes, the ui is not made for recording/studio use.
DGX670 has a 16 track recorder for midi / audio recording to internal memory or usb stick. The menu system also has Song Creator sub-menu for editing recordings. I suspect this may serve some basic recording needs but since 670 supports midi over USB, users may need to rely on their PC/DAW/studio apps for comprehensive recording needs.


There are some typical limitations to the midi recorder. For instance, vocals ( via the built-in mic port) cannot be recorded to midi.

Also, after 10 months of effectively co-habitating with the 670 owner’s manual, and reference manual, and marketing literature, and studying approximately 10 ( and still counting) demo videos, and discussing on forums, i’m convinced that another limitation is - there is no single reference source that adequately describes what can or cannot be on the the DGX670. IE. There is no such manual or combination of manuals, and videos and forums and blogs. Despite all of this, I suspect that if planets align, anyone who has all these reference sources and also owns a 670, might be able to figure out how to do whatever it can do 🙂
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?
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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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.
@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!

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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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:

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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.

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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!
@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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
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.

yeah fair point. tbf, i did say something like 'in terms of the enjoyment i get'. i use both for different purposes
KawaFanboi wrote:
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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.

But wattage is the de facto standard of published specs comparison at least among all the DP makers. As you say, and I agree, "the watt tell you a whole lot", but it tells us something. It's certainly not meaningless. I think the DGX670 6wx2 versus the P-515 15w +5wx2 says something, just far, far from the whole story. And not just amp/speaker specs play in, but placement in the DP unit. For example, I've come across several criticisms, some stinging, of the speaker placement for Roland's FP-30X, which face downwards. Claims that this muddies the bottom or clouds general sonic clarity or too indirect for the player seem to be tossed at it. I don't believe this downward facing speaker arrangement is likewise on the 60X or the 90X. Again, in-person auditions would be the only way to judge for oneself.

The Ferrari/wreck analogy had been applied to his personal preference, which is "colorized" subjective. Yes, and I took the bias for what it is. His preference can't be wrong; just is. Still wholly legit keeping that in mind. You've switched the original context to an objective one which also makes perfect sense, the car/truck, different tools for different applications. I think it's good you offer this qualification, it needs to be said. But this is no different than the two analogies, themselves, "they do different things", one subjective (legit) and one objective (legit).
Originally Posted by bob@pei
KawaFanboi wrote:
Quote
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.

But wattage is the de facto standard of published specs comparison at least among all the DP makers. As you say, and I agree, "the watt doesn’t tell you a whole lot", but it tells us something. It's certainly not meaningless.

To some extent, the sentiment “ singing to the choir” is holding sway here.

It is likely that many among the PW DP enthusiast’s choir here realize - in spades - that sound system Watts by themselves is old-news-been-there-done-that woefully lacking in adequately informing a given DP enthusiast…… but, that is what DP S&M departments across most brands routinely serve up, effectively arming enthusiasts with the Watt “knife” for their use in the fidelity “gunfight/battle” that often devolves into the veritable Who’s on first?, I Don’t Know, third base, Watts on second ooooooEEEEEEOOOooooo …… IMHO! 🙂
With a pair of good studio monitors available, why worrry about the sound quality of the built-in speakers on a slab piano?

If sound quality matters to you, you'll either be using headphones, or the $800 monitors.
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With a pair of good studio monitors available, why worrry about the sound quality of the built-in speakers on a slab piano?

If sound quality matters to you, you'll either be using headphones, or the $800 monitors.

A fair question given what I've said so far. Couple of reasons for not going that route. One is portability; I don't fancy the thought of hauling clunky speakers around the house, upstairs, downstair, patio. The other is that keeping my midi controller keyboard I won't lose a thing in audio quality with my controller/computer/monitor setup. And though I did say quite a few posts ago that because I've got a good audio setup now, the sound of the DP I get won't be a reigning priority. I can live with the compromises. I'm not fussy on headphones especially when in my house situation I don't need to be quiet. Getting the DP is mainly about weighted 88s, and having a standalone instrument for working on improving piano skills.

But for all that, I still want to maximize the audio value I get for the dollar spent. I can understand how my recent posts would give the impression that this audio element of the DP decision is a huge deal. It isn't, but it is one element nevertheless. And an interesting one.

I suppose another more compact VST setup with the new DP along with a small pair external speakers. Probably not. I dunno, I could be whistlin' Dixie here, because I read lots and lots of posts where pianists with tons more experience than I have are perfectly happy with the sound of their DP's internal speakers.
Bob@pei,

In trying to catch up to this thread, I'm having a hard time nailing down what your priorities are.

Being a DP forum, a lot of folks here are likely to skew towards keyboards that focus more on replicating an acoustic piano. 88 keys, hammer-weighted, graded, realistic sample/model set, resonances, pedal support, decent speakers that approximate the sound, feel, volume of a real piano. And some of us will probably prioritize those over portability, and non-piano functions. And digital pianos that focus on being a piano will be really emphasize the piano component, and make those easy to access and plug and play, even if they support more advanced features.

Is portability important? Will you be lugging it regularly up and down stairs? Are you going to be focused on arranging, composing, ensembles, creating custom pieces/exercises for theory? You can get all of that in an electronic keyboard or digital piano, but you'll likely be compromising aspects of the piano experience to get it, and you'll be paying a large portion of the cost for those features rather than the piano ones.

So it's kind of up to you; there are no wrong answers. What's critical must-have to your use case? I would NEVER buy a Casio PX-S1000 if I was looking for the best piano experience in a digital, but if I was going to move it every single day between rooms, that might be my runaway #1 choice.
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Bob@pei,

In trying to catch up to this thread, I'm having a hard time nailing down what your priorities are.

Being a DP forum, a lot of folks here are likely to skew towards keyboards that focus more on replicating an acoustic piano. 88 keys, hammer-weighted, graded, realistic sample/model set, resonances, pedal support, decent speakers that approximate the sound, feel, volume of a real piano. And some of us will probably prioritize those over portability, and non-piano functions. And digital pianos that focus on being a piano will be really emphasize the piano component, and make those easy to access and plug and play, even if they support more advanced features.

Is portability important? Will you be lugging it regularly up and down stairs? Are you going to be focused on arranging, composing, ensembles, creating custom pieces/exercises for theory? You can get all of that in an electronic keyboard or digital piano, but you'll likely be compromising aspects of the piano experience to get it, and you'll be paying a large portion of the cost for those features rather than the piano ones.

So it's kind of up to you; there are no wrong answers. What's critical must-have to your use case? I would NEVER buy a Casio PX-S1000 if I was looking for the best piano experience in a digital, but if I was going to move it every single day between rooms, that might be my runaway #1 choice.

Some good points, Gombessa.

Speaking strictly from my own perspective, and since I already have more than one nice acoustic piano, I prefer the slab/stage digital piano that is easily versatile and transportable.

The reason being is that, chances are, I'll rarely, if ever (although I have in the past), transport the digital for whatever reason. However, if that opportunity were to come along, to play at a gig or other event, I'd want exactly what I have, which is a digital stage piano, easily transportable, can be connected to an amp or PA system, and actually sounds good and plays well, with the option of some nice rhythm and other accompaniments if needed or wanted.

As mentioned, you do bring up some good points...

Wishing the OP, Bob@pei, all the best in their decision!

Rick
Gombessa wrote:
Quote
In trying to catch up to this thread, I'm having a hard time nailing down what your priorities are.

Yeah, for sure, hard to nail down because I'm in the exploratory phase, deliberating different options deliberately and so there's been quite a bit topic drift in this thread. Some folks will understandably find this annoying. But the themes expressed in the original post still hold. Essentially, I'm wondering if an arranger type of digital piano would be a plus or a minus in terms pianistic technique development and theory study. That relates to the "pedagog" in the title of this thread, that is, the educational aspect. But I've also wondered if the compromises necessary to incorporate all the arranger's bells and whistes, somehow goes counter to the more pure piano characteristics.

And you've offered an interesting comment on that last point.

Gombessa wrote:
Quote
Being a DP forum, a lot of folks here are likely to skew towards keyboards that focus more on replicating an acoustic piano. 88 keys, hammer-weighted, graded, realistic sample/model set, resonances, pedal support, decent speakers that approximate the sound, feel, volume of a real piano. And some of us will probably prioritize those over portability, and non-piano functions. And digital pianos that focus on being a piano will be really emphasize the piano component, and make those easy to access and plug and play, even if they support more advanced features.

You know what, I hadn't really taken this fundamental but key point about the forum's natural "skew" and given it a proper place. Obvious, but easy to let slip.

Quote
Is portability important? Will you be lugging it regularly up and down stairs? Are you going to be focused on arranging, composing, ensembles, creating custom pieces/exercises for theory? You can get all of that in an electronic keyboard or digital piano, but you'll likely be compromising aspects of the piano experience to get it, and you'll be paying a large portion of the cost for those features rather than the piano ones.

Well, you've sorta busted me here! Truth is once acquired I won't be moving it much, but I'd like to hang onto that option and I have no interest in another piece of fixed-in-place furniture. The important takeaway I'm getting from your message here is awareness of the inevitable compromises of what you've called "the piano experience". If I'm not mistaken you are the first contributor to assert that "a large portion of the cost [go] for those [arranger] features rather than piano ones". I'm not qualified yet to make an opinion on this, but by analogy with many other types of purchases, I'd agree that as the feature list lengthens, the main function of the tool/vehicle/appliance/ tends to slip in quality. First thing that comes to mind is the "adjustable wrench". The adjustment feature itself is the very mechanism that makes that tool less effective than a one-size socket or open-ended wrench. But maybe this analogy is flawed when it comes to DP and this is where I was seeking some expert insight.

To your other point, which by the way, is well put:
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Are you going to be focused on arranging, composing, ensembles, creating custom pieces/exercises for theory? You can get all of that in an electronic keyboard or digital piano,

The answer is yes, yes, yes...composing, arranging, improv, custom etudes, technical drills, theory exercises. This is probably what caught my attention about the arranger type DPs in the first place. Maybe, just maybe, some of the drier, more militant drills could be made a little more fun with DP with accompaniment features .And I'm no purist, so I don't mind at all compromising some of the pure pianistic experience. But neither do I want to sacrifice it entirely.

Gombessa wrote:
Quote
So it's kind of up to you; there are no wrong answers. What's critical must-have to your use case? I would NEVER buy a Casio PX-S1000 if I was looking for the best piano experience in a digital, but if I was going to move it every single day between rooms, that might be my runaway #1 choice.

Fair comments, to be sure. I'd suggest that when there are no wrong answers there can be no such thing as a critical path. Right now, as aggravating as it might be to some folks, the path is winding, meandering, exploratory, where indeed there is no wrong direction. I follow the logic of your resistance to the thought of Casio PX-S1000 for piano experience and it does resonate. And I think you have called me out insofar as truth be told I won't be skipping from room to room, upstairs and down, hither and yon! I can certainly live with a 50-pounder that takes up more space than that featherweight Casio.

Thanks for weighing in, @Gombessa. Part of my mission, as unorthodox as it may seem, has been to subject my own assumptions to a critical cross-examination. Hard questions from contributors have given me much food for thought as I formulate my own opinions. But I remain for the time being in the formulation/exploration phase, which is exactly why my messages here aren't nailed to any fixed focus.
I certainly did not mean for my response to sound annoyed or exasperated at your situation (it was neither)! Just trying to see if there was a way to provide a more focused, helpful response. My apologies if it did come off that way. You certainly should be exploring options to set down the ultimate path and asking for questions/feedback at each and any stage is entirely appropriate!

Best of luck with the piano hunt!
Gombessa wrote:

Quote
I certainly did not mean for my response to sound annoyed or exasperated at your situation (it was neither)! Just trying to see if there was a way to provide a more focused, helpful response. My apologies if it did come off that way. You certainly should be exploring options to set down the ultimate path and asking for questions/feedback at each and any stage is entirely appropriate!

Best of luck with the piano hunt!

Oh, no worries at all @Gombessa. Your response did not come across with any hint of a tone of annoyance or exasperation, no nothing like that at all! The fault is mine for failing to make that clear. And no one else who have contributed opinions here in this thread have expressed that kind or level of irritation. But I do invite tough questions and frank criticism of any of the assumptions I'm toting around. That's my way of learning.

What you were trying to do worked!


One thing I was wondering about, though, and I don't want to stir up any controversy, but you pointed out that the added features and functions of the arranger translates into a significant cost compared to a DP model which applies its strongest focus on piano-specific attributes. I'm wondering if you'd venture an real world example you see or if what you were relying on is a perfectly understandable intuitive feel which goes something like , 'the more bells and whistles you build into anything functional, the more you risk compromising the quality/reliability/durability/elegance of the primary function."
A friend of mine has a Casio PX-S3000 (the "arranger" DP), which I think has been replaced by the PX-S3100.

So far as I can find out, it doesn't sacrifice _anything_ that was available in the PX-S1000. I expect that the same is true in the S3100 / S1100 comparison:

. . . the "arranger" version is enhanced, not ccompromised.

The "arranger" version is somewhat more expensive -- that pays for its extra features ("arranger" features, more connectivity). Note that the "arranger" features include multi-track MIDI recording, several digital effects, and other goodies.

I suspect the same thing would be true, if you compared the Yamaha P-125 against the latest arranger (DGX-670, I think). Check the keyboard action, check the sound generator.
Originally Posted by bob@pei
One thing I was wondering about, though, and I don't want to stir up any controversy, but you pointed out that the added features and functions of the arranger translates into a significant cost compared to a DP model which applies its strongest focus on piano-specific attributes. I'm wondering if you'd venture an real world example you see or if what you were relying on is a perfectly understandable intuitive feel which goes something like , 'the more bells and whistles you build into anything functional, the more you risk compromising the quality/reliability/durability/elegance of the primary function."

These prices may be a bit wonky and all over the place due to COVID supply issues, but generally speaking, what I see is:

P-125: $600-700, basic budget DP. Piano focused.
DGX-670: $850, same action as the P-125, looks like an updated sound engine.
PSR-900XS Arranger: $2500, 61 keys, unweighted, lower end AWM sound engine.

P-515: $1600, 88 weighted keys, NWW action, latest CFX/Bosendorfer samples with binaural sampling. Piano focused.
CP-88: $2600, 88 weighted keys NW-GH action (no escapement), older AWM2 sound engine lacking resonances and other piano effects. Stage performance focused.

N1X $9000, real acoustic piano action, multichannel sampled sound engine. Piano focused.
CVP-809 Clavinova Ensemble: $15,000, GrandTouch (digital) action, lacks any multi-channel output.

When you get into the arranger and ensemble features (and anything more specialized than just playing piano), the price really tends to go up...

As to the point made about the Casios, I think it's fair to say that actually makes the same point. You either pay more to get the same level of piano features, or if you balance against the DP price, you'll have to look for a downmarket arranger, and likely end up with less. IMHO, not really accurate to compare something higher priced to lower priced and say there isn't any sacrifice, since cost is inherently part of the feature.

PX-S1100: $650
PX-S3100: $870
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by bob@pei
One thing I was wondering about, though, and I don't want to stir up any controversy, but you pointed out that the added features and functions of the arranger translates into a significant cost compared to a DP model which applies its strongest focus on piano-specific attributes. I'm wondering if you'd venture an real world example you see or if what you were relying on is a perfectly understandable intuitive feel which goes something like , 'the more bells and whistles you build into anything functional, the more you risk compromising the quality/reliability/durability/elegance of the primary function."

These prices may be a bit wonky and all over the place due to COVID supply issues, but generally speaking, what I see is:

P-125: $600-700, basic budget DP. Piano focused.
DGX-670: $850, same action as the P-125, looks like an updated sound engine.
PSR-900XS Arranger: $2500, 61 keys, unweighted, lower end AWM sound engine.

P-515: $1600, 88 weighted keys, NWW action, latest CFX/Bosendorfer samples with binaural sampling. Piano focused.
CP-88: $2600, 88 weighted keys NW-GH action (no escapement), older AWM2 sound engine lacking resonances and other piano effects. Stage performance focused.

N1X $9000, real acoustic piano action, multichannel sampled sound engine. Piano focused.
CVP-809 Clavinova Ensemble: $15,000, GrandTouch (digital) action, lacks any multi-channel output.

When you get into the arranger and ensemble features (and anything more specialized than just playing piano), the price really tends to go up...

As to the point made about the Casios, I think it's fair to say that actually makes the same point. You either pay more to get the same level of piano features, or if you balance against the DP price, you'll have to look for a downmarket arranger, and likely end up with less. IMHO, not really accurate to compare something higher priced to lower priced and say there isn't any sacrifice, since cost is inherently part of the feature.

PX-S1100: $650
PX-S3100: $870

Thanks @Gombessa for expanding on your point about feature costs and piano focused DPs with this summary. And yes, with the Casio example, that price difference is solely the added arranger functions.
In particular order following on Gombessa, CharlesCohen and jackopiano ,

i think dgx670 is mis-skewed.

It’s positioned as an under-$1000, basic piano-centric portable DP with a USB midi & audio interface, and a nice color display, packed with a nice complement of basic as well as advanced features for hundreds of sounds/rhythms/backing tracks/ & recording “arranging” with a mic input and a peculiar single 1/4 inch line output stereo jack for connection to headphones or an amp or a Y cable to monitors. I do not see it qualifying as a typical (thin with straight lines) portable slab but instead it is jumbo (thick & curvy ) slab weighing over 50 pounds.

Yes, arrangers generally are not for i-just-wanna-play-piano folks but the 670 is just as simple to use for basic piano playing of Yamaha’s top GP sampled voice - with resonances - as Roland and Kawai, but the roaming nature of the included econo foot-switch pedal might add some aggravation like Casios do.


Price wise , if you get the basic package, it belongs with the under-1000 gang - fp10, fp30x and es110. If you get the stand w/3 pedals ( which replaces the single, wondering foot-switch with a 3-pedal lyre) it is even less portable and also belongs with the over-1000 gang - fp60x and es520 - where $800 monitors are a bit more practical.

Maybe i’m alone but portability & slabbyness generally serves the needs of the traveling digital pianist, not the needs of basic, simple, no-frills piano playing at home. Either way, Kawai 110 & 520 might win the closer-to-a-real-GP action/feel, but as to which DP overall best serves the needs of a simple digital pianist? ; all the models jackopiano listed are worthy …. and may the old & still ongoing debates continue 🙂
Thanks @drewr for further expanding on the attributes of Yamaha's DGX670. It's helpful to me because I can see myself NOT in the end-user classification you describe as "I-just-wanna-play-piano"...

Quote
Yes, arrangers generally are not for i-just-wanna-play-piano folks but the 670 is just as simple to use for basic piano playing of Yamaha’s top GP sampled voice

How you've situated pricing with/without extras vis a vis competing brand/models is also practical info.

With all the great info in this thread, I'm tilting towards a lower-end entry model because I have a hunch I'll be in the market in another year or so once I gain clarity on my working priorities. Several posters have commented on my fuzzy priorities and I confess, guilty as charged. With this absence of fine-cut demands, I reckon it's probably best to keep the ante low in the beginning. I risk making an expensive, regrettable mistake going to the top end of my budget or beyond. That self-discovery would retain Yamaha's DGX670 as you've profiled it as a low risk, reasonably low cost option.

Thanks for continuing to elaborate your perspectives on this subject. Both instructive and interesting for me.
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