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Best piano-feel 88 key controller?
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ChrisDuncan
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2020 6:15 pm    Post subject: Best piano-feel 88 key controller? Reply with quote

A friend of mine was a classically trained pianist in college but got away from it for decades. She wants to get back to piano + all the cool things midi can do. She loves my Kronos (I mean, who wouldn't?) but that's more than she's going to be able to spend.

I figure even a high controller without sounds will be much less expensive than a flagship workstation. She can start out with the libraries that come with Cubase and just add new ones incrementally once she discovers that particular rabbit hole.

For a pure and simple 88 key midi controller, what would you guys recommend in terms of feeling the most like an actual piano, and hopefully on the lower end of the pricing scale? She's in the US, if availability is a factor.
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GregC
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2020 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

easily a dozen choices or opinions on a weighed 88 controller.

To get key bed quality, she will have to invest $$$

check into what Roland offers. I like their approach.
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emilloparski



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Best piano-feel 88 key controller? Reply with quote

ChrisDuncan wrote:
A friend of mine was a classically trained pianist in college but got away from it for decades. She wants to get back to piano + all the cool things midi can do. She loves my Kronos (I mean, who wouldn't?) but that's more than she's going to be able to spend.

I figure even a high controller without sounds will be much less expensive than a flagship workstation. She can start out with the libraries that come with Cubase and just add new ones incrementally once she discovers that particular rabbit hole.

For a pure and simple 88 key midi controller, what would you guys recommend in terms of feeling the most like an actual piano, and hopefully on the lower end of the pricing scale? She's in the US, if availability is a factor.


The best piano feel is - Controller - Kawai VPC 1, approximately 1200 $, Stage piano : Kawai MP11SE (2200 $)

I am not Kawaii seller, I am Kronos 2 and Modx 7 user, but recently I was interested in finding the best piano feel keybed, since my Modx has amazing sounds but terrible keybed. The problem with these Kawaii keyboards is that they are too heavy 29 and 35 kg. If your friend doesn’t plan to move around the piano then it’s the best choice.
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pedro5
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are so many to choose from,but most of the better ones come with a price to match.

The casio range have good reviews about piano feel,at a low cost etc.

Have a look at this review by our good friend PianoManChuck.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-VGNHhGVOs

As always,it is highly reccomended to try before buy,whenever possible.

Best Wishes.
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GregC
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casio- that is a worthwhile brand controller to check out.

There are a few challenges for the piano person, almost all skilled piano people are particular about action.

They are accustomed to their Stenway, Yamaha etc etc acoustic piano -- which have traditionall 100 year workmanship.

The digital equivalent will be somewhat less.
A person can adapt but its a subjective experience.

Thus the hunt to try out the field is a challenge.

It is useful to develop a list, and go from there, hunt for a way to demo the midi controller.
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pedro5
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said GregC....good advice. Smile
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GregC
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pedro5 wrote:
Well said GregC....good advice. Smile


someone should pay for our wisdom..

maybe Korg ?

Wink
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DeltaJockey
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a pianist myself, I have spent considerable time and effort searching for what I am happy with. I tend to categorise hammer actions into..... most satisfying action to play regardless of weight, and most lightweight enough to be portable.

I agree that the Kawai VPC1 would satisfy a pianist in general, notwithstanding personal preference, (I have an MP11SE and it is truely enjoyable for piano as a controller too), as long as it is to be left in one place. On the other hand, the Casio PXS 1000/3000 are excellent hammer actions for the little weight they are. There is a nice fulcum balance and the smart scaling tricks your mind into thinking the keys are heavier than they really are.

I've pretty much given up the comparison of any digital keys closely emulating the real acoustic, as none I've ever tried are close to my Kawai acoustic grand, instead favouring a weighted action which is simply pleasant to play, and gives my muscle memory what it needs to trick my mind and keep me fit for playing my real acoustic. Secondly, there is such a wide variation in the feel of real acoustics we never pay mind to, that the comparison goal post would be forever moving!

It just comes down to what the player enjoys playing and the keyboard which provides long sessions without mental or physical fatigue is the one, and for that the pianist needs to sit down and audition the ones they are interested in.
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Musicwithharry
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would have to agree with the other posts recommending Kawai products. The action is incredible and truly a joy to play.

I used to own the MP5 and LOVED its action. I have also owned the Yamaha MM8 and the Yamaha P95. They were good, but it was a pleasure to play the Kawai.

I now own the Lowrey EZP3 (which is basically a Kawai since they own Lowrey). I also own the Korg Kross 88 (see my other posts about the Kross keyboards, as I have 4 of them).

The MP11 has even better action than the other ones that I have owned. Reviews and reports on it say that it really is very close to grand piano action. Yes, they are heavy units but really are worth it to a professional pianist. I would love to get one, myself.

Casio keyboards are nice too, but there was some controversy on their action and it was interesting to read about the YT videos on it and Casio's response.

The VPC-1 from Kawai is very nice, but is only a controller. I prefer to have my sounds contained in the keyboard and not in a soft-synth.

I do like the action on the Kross 88 as well, but the Kronos certainly has better action than the Kross. The Krome and Kross 88 actions are pretty much the same. I believe that their keybeds are identical.

I am pretty flexible with my playing though and have no real problems with any action. I own 61-key boards from many different companies, as well as the 49-key Behringer Deepmind-12. I am not terribly picky, to be honest, because I have learned to adapt. With that said, I would prefer an 88-key weighted affair when playing piano type stuff.

There are a lot of options out there, but I like Kawai Smile

Grace,
Harry
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ChrisDuncan
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, guys.

Thanks for all the great feedback, much appreciated. I think the short answer is that she just needs to drag herself to a music store and lay hands on a few.

Or find online retailers with very forgiving return policies. Smile
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Chris Duncan
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GregC
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almost all the quality retailers have a 30 day return policy, for full refund.

There is usually a catch

Buyer has to pay return shipping. For example, my 30 pound FA-07 would cost
$135 to ground ship

Shipping is expensive. Keyboards are heavy
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ChrisDuncan
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, hence the "very forgiving" part. Smile
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Lightbringer
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They don’t make them anymore but if you can find a used MAudio Keystation 88 Pro locally where you can test it out, might be a good option. When they were still in production, it was almost a silly low price for fully weighted hammer action keys. Plenty of controllers too.
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aellison62
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:22 pm    Post subject: 88 key controller Reply with quote

Chris,

To add to the suggestions, Roland RD-88. This is a fully functional "stage piano" that is VERY lightweight, in case your person is interested in portability, and has decent built in speakers, but beyond it's on internal sounds (>3000) it has a very nice PHA-4 weighted action that can be used as a controller keyboard quite effectively. And cost $1199 brand new. I use this keyboard as a controller for software all the time. But if I simply want to practice a song without firing up my compluter, or I want to do a simple small gig somewhere, I can just turn it on and play it. It's really a very versatile board and should e played of course to see how the action appeals to your person in mind.
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ChrisDuncan
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw some used MAudio Keystation 88 Pro on eBay for $300, which is a great deal for something that capable. Drivers for older gear are sometimes an adventure though, as is the x factor of what you get buying used gear. Still, pretty cool.

Then I looked at the Rd-88. As Greg and others mentioned, and per my own experience, Roland has always been a solid choice, but this really looks like a great keyboard for a very reasonable price (as keyboards go). In addition to getting any sound you want via a computer, it's also nice that it has built in Rhodes & B3 along with the piano sounds. The fact that it has speakers is also a plus since this is just for playing around the house, so it's nice to be able to just flip a switch and press the keys.

As for my motivation for getting her to buy a new keyboard, she recently moved to a new house and didn't bring her old keys with her (they were pretty ancient), but that's not really it. Once upon a time I was happy drinking Bacardi. Then she showed up at a party and gave me a bottle of rum she found in the Bahamas that made Bacardi taste like lighter fluid. More expensive, of course, so she instantly doubled my liquor bill.

This is my revenge. Smile
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Studio: Cubase 10.5 | Windows 10 | Yamaha TF5 | Mackie MCU | CMC AI, QC
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Chris Duncan
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