Buying a digital piano

Come post your questions, opinions and observations about the Clavinova CVP series pianos.

Buying a digital piano

Postby jasonw56k » Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:06 am

Hi, I'm completely new to digital pianos and I would like some help in deciding what to purchase. Basically, the only thing I want to do with a digital piano is to be able to play piano while it provides me with accompaniment. I would do this by downloading MIDI's of my favorite songs on my computer, then load the MIDI files (on a USB drive / other interface) into the digital piano. I would then turn off the piano channel of the MIDI, and play the piano part while the digital piano plays the other accompanying instruments (guitar, violin, percussion etc.) in the background. That's really all I want to do.

Since I have no experience in buying digital pianos I might have some completely wrong concepts about how this works. If so, please point them out to me, much appreciated.

I've been taking some lessons on digital pianos at my local music shop, which uses Yamaha Clavinova CVP-405. It's a very good digital piano and it does exactly what I want to do, but the price is a bit too high for me and it has way more features than I will ever use. Even the CVP-401 is rather expensive and I don't need all those auto accompaniment features and all those styles, or ability to record MIDI, etc. I asked the shop staff about the CLP series but they said that CLP won't do what I want to do because those CLP digital pianos can't play MIDI files.

That's why I come here to ask if there are any alternative models from Yamaha (or Roland, I have no brand preference) that can do what I want to do, but at a lower price. I've heard of models like PF1000, Motif XS, YDP... it just makes me dizzy and confused. I hope that the webmaster (Hiram) or some other experts could help.

I am prepared to pay for the CVP-401 if that's the only option, but I do want make sure that there aren't other models first.

Thank you so much!
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Re: Buying a digital piano

Postby Admin » Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:21 pm

jasonw56k wrote:Basically, the only thing I want to do with a digital piano is to be able to play piano while it provides me with accompaniment...I've heard of models like PF1000, Motif XS, YDP... it just makes me dizzy and confused...


You are right. There are quite a few models out there that could do all of what you are aiming to do. If all you are looking to do is play the piano while playing back MIDI sequences, I would recommend going with the S90 ES. It has the BEST sounding digital piano and keyboard that I've ever felt and has the ability to play back MIDI sequences, and do things like muting/soloing tracks, changing transmit channels for interfacing to other MIDI sequencers and create song lists that will automatically load the next MIDI sequence after the previous one ends (great for live playing situations).

The S90 ES currently goes for around $2,000--a lot less expensive than the Clavinova CVP 400 series and Motif XS series. If you want more information about the S90 ES, read my S90 ES January 2008 article.


I hope that helps you a bit.

-Hiram
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Re: Buying a digital piano

Postby jasonw56k » Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:58 pm

Thanks a lot indeed for the quick reply. I'll certainly take a look at it.
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Re: Buying a digital piano

Postby jasonw56k » Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:09 am

Hi, I've been checking out the digital pianos/synths at my local music shop and I have a few follow up questions.

As the S90ES is a synth, it doesn't have any built-in speakers. I suppose it would work with any standard speakers with a L/R audio input? Compared to Clavinova, it does seem a bit troublesome to connect external speakers to get sound out of it, although it is a hassle I can put up with.

I've also been looking at some of the lower-end synths. I noticed that some of them, like MM8, have an 8 track sequencer. What would happen if I try to playback a MIDI file with 16 active tracks? I suppose tracks 9-16 would not play at all?

Thanks a lot
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Re: Buying a digital piano

Postby Admin » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:22 am

Jason56k,

Most professional, higher-end synths and digital pianos (excluding Clavinovas) do not come with built-in speakers because most professionals use an external sound system. As for the MM8 it is 16 part multi timbral, which means it will be able to play back a 16-track sequence; however, if you want to create your own sequences, the MM8 only has the capability to record 8 tracks.

Hope that helps.

-Hiram
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Re: Buying a digital piano

Postby yam309 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:28 pm

Jason56K

Hi,

I'm new to this forum and just looked at this post. Hopefully by this time you have made a purchase of choice.
I just would like to present the following in case anybody else has the same question as to what to buy.
I had a Clavinova 209 and traded it in for a Clavinova 309GP. I always wanted a nice mini-grand. But if I had to do it all over again, I would buy a Tyros3. For much less money you get a more versatile machine. Granted, it does not have the nice piece of furniture built around it and the keyboard is smaller. But it does the same as a Clavinova and more. Clavinovas do not have multipads, Tyros does.
Also, and this is a sore point for me, Yamaha seems to cater more to Tyros than Clavinova. Since the Tyros3 came out, there have been several upgrades to voices and styles made available to Tyros. Not so to Clavinova.
You pay a lot for a Clavinova but you do not get the "goodies" from Yamaha.
I am not a very good musician. I started about 6 years ago and I enjoy my 309. It does more than I can ever master. But I could have saved some money.

Alex
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Re: Buying a digital piano

Postby Admin » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:57 pm

Alex, thanks for the post. I've noticed throughout the years that Yamaha tends to put the new and cool features such as Super Articulation 2 voices into their new Tyros keyboards and then waterfall down some of those features into their other models such as the Clavinovas, YPG, etc.

It really comes down to who you are as a musician that will determine which keyboard/digital piano will fit you. For example, I am a piano guy so three things that I couldn't live without in a digital piano are: 1) A great feeling 88-key weighted keyboard. 2) Amazing and realistic piano samples. 3) Lots of polyphony. Everything else, I can compromise with.

I would encourage anyone who is thinking about buying a digital piano (or keyboard for that matter) to consider what are their top 3 must haves that they absolutely need before making a purchase.
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