Helpful ReplyPianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard

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thepianist65
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2018/12/10 16:03:50 (permalink)

Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard

Fellow pianists, I am looking for a solution to this problem:  Currently, I use a two keyboard setup for my non-jazz gigs, where I will play acoustic and electric pianos, organs, clavs, synths, etc. I have a decent setup, with my "Piano" sounds keyboard a Casio PX-5S, an 88 note fully weighted stage piano that I really like and have used a lot over the past couple of years. It's only 24 pounds in weight, yet has the touch and sound that works for me.  My 2nd keyboard is a Roland VR-09,  61 synth keys, good for organs, clavs, etc. Playing acoustic or EP on it is not so great, due to the synth keys. My Casio has great piano sounds, but the organs are useless, as are most of the other non-piano sounds, IMO.
 
I would love to find a single-keyboard solution, at least for my pop/rock gigs, and just use my Casio for the jazz gigs I do. So I could go with one single keyboard that may not have to be fully weighted (even though I would love that), was 30 lbs or less (this is a must!), but had good piano AND organ sounds and is easy to use on stage. I am considering the following options:
 
Roland VR-730--76 waterfall keys (not weighted), about 20 lbs. Very similar to the VR-09, but better and more keys--not weighted, but could do in a pinch for a lot of gigs where I usually use two keyboards.
 
Yamaha MODX7 or MODX8--the 8 has 88 fully weighted keys and is about 30 lbs (on the heavy side for me, but still light enough), the 7 I am not sure has the waterfall keys (I think not).
 
Nord Stage 3 Compact--73 keys, pricey ($3600), but only 22 pounds and lots of neat features 
Other options would include comparable models from Korg, or even some other brands I can't think of.
 
I would love to hear from other pianists who have similar needs and preferences.  Especially if you have hands-on experience with any of the keyboards I am considering.
Thanks.
 

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#1
Starise
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Re: Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard 2018/12/10 19:32:34 (permalink)
Some keyboardists can be very discerning when it comes to organ sounds. I don't think I'm particular so long as it sounds close. The  rock organ in the PX-5S is passable for me on quick passages where it doesn't stick out a bunch. Nothing like a real B-3 rock organ. No waterfall keys means you don't have the speed you would have with a non weighted board though, so I understand your dilemma.
 
I have had a Roland Juno Stage 88 key for a long time and I love it. It's a good all rounder' too that didn't break the bank. Not strong on the organ though. I listened to the demo for the VR-730 which looks to be from a similar bloodline to mine. That organ is really nice in that one !The controls on it look to be intuitive for stage work. I'm slightly biased toward Roland because those keyboards have treated me so well. I would be inclined to get the Roland.
If money is no object and you can get by with 73 keys the Nord is probably the way to go.They are pretty much unsurpassed in sound quality. You pay a lot more for a little though. I personally think they are over priced.
 
My last choice would be the Yamaha. Like I said I am biased. I'll say that up front. They make excellent keyboards too. If weighted though, might not work as well for organ work and rock band synth work. The weighted keys really make a difference in speed for me personally.
 
 

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#2
thepianist65
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Re: Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard 2018/12/10 21:58:11 (permalink)
Tim, my thinking is similar to yours in most every way here. Both the Nord and Roland have 73 keys (I mistakenly said 76 for the Roland), and the Nord is beautiful and has so much potential, but for the money--why not get a piano I am already familiar with (VR730 is nearly the same as Vr09, but upgraded with # of keys, waterfall keybed, and a few more sampled sounds than the VR-09) I briefly put my hands on one recently, the keys do feel better than the VR-09, playing acoustic piano on the 09 is frustrating. As far as the PX5s, I just cannot find any useable or tweakable organ sounds, and I, too think Roland's sound samples are among the best, expecially when compared to Yamaha.  My take on Yamaha is that while the sounds are decent, maybe not as good as Rolands, they might be more versatile between the pianos and organs to make a difference and be THE single keyboard I'm looking for. They are a bit heavier, but the MODX8 has 88 keys and is 31 pounds, I think I'd be ok with that if it's the only one I'm carrying. A friend plans to get one, so I might wait and try out his and see what I think. The key touch of his MOX88 is pretty nice.
Thanks.

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Please feel free to check out my music, all made with Cakewalk, available on itunes, Amazon, Google, Rdio, etc., etc.
For mostly jazzy stuff on Soundcloud at these locations:
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#3
emeraldsoul
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Re: Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard 2018/12/11 00:46:37 (permalink)
My experience is, if you bring a cheesey, mediocre, artificial B3 organ sound to a gig, everyone hates it, and by extension, you.
 
If you bring a mediocre piano sound to a gig, no one really cares, because all digital piano sounds kind of suck anyway.
 
You don't necessarily need the waterfall keys to play organ - you can abuse your fingers doing glisses on the piano keys, just use your thumbnail. It sucks, but it can be done.
 
I have run with a 20 year-old Roland keyboard RD-700GX, I think it has pretty good organ, ep, piano, and pad sounds, plus a nice weighted feel.
 
But If I were buying something today, I'd sure take a look at the Nords.
 
good luck - my post probably helped you zero! Let us know what you choose?
 
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#4
Starise
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Re: Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard 2018/12/11 13:13:52 (permalink)
thepianist65
Tim, my thinking is similar to yours in most every way here. Both the Nord and Roland have 73 keys (I mistakenly said 76 for the Roland), and the Nord is beautiful and has so much potential, but for the money--why not get a piano I am already familiar with (VR730 is nearly the same as Vr09, but upgraded with # of keys, waterfall keybed, and a few more sampled sounds than the VR-09) I briefly put my hands on one recently, the keys do feel better than the VR-09, playing acoustic piano on the 09 is frustrating. As far as the PX5s, I just cannot find any useable or tweakable organ sounds, and I, too think Roland's sound samples are among the best, expecially when compared to Yamaha.  My take on Yamaha is that while the sounds are decent, maybe not as good as Rolands, they might be more versatile between the pianos and organs to make a difference and be THE single keyboard I'm looking for. They are a bit heavier, but the MODX8 has 88 keys and is 31 pounds, I think I'd be ok with that if it's the only one I'm carrying. A friend plans to get one, so I might wait and try out his and see what I think. The key touch of his MOX88 is pretty nice.
Thanks.


I was under a false impression that the Yamaha was a heavier keyboard. 31lbs. is pretty decent.That might tip the scale if it has really good sounds. I have always preferred lighter keys for faster synth and organ runs. Yeah I get by on the heavier keys sometimes. Here's a video of me just farting around. I'm playing a kind of repetitive electric guitar motif on the PX-5S. If you listen to me play the organ at about the 5:00 time mark it gives you an idea of that organ. I guess it doesn't work for Dave. It's ok for me. If I were seriously using it I would EQ the mids a bit higher to make it cut. I don't think this is stereo either. Sounds better in stereo, and this is what you'll find- some of the internal sounds are better going out in stereo, however gigging you usually don't have that option nor would it sound good. You can adjust the rotary and EQ on it with the sliders. I think it's "passable" but that's me. 
 

 
 
 
 

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#5
thepianist65
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Re: Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard 2018/12/11 15:37:30 (permalink)
Nice video. I checked out the organ, you do seem to have extracted a passable sound, but there is a lot else going on there, sound wise. on it's own, I'm not sure it would do for me, but I guess I could try and tweak them more. Most of the PX5S users all have the same complaint, so I figure it's not just a "user" issue.
Been checking out more Yamaha MODX8 demos, I would like to stay under 30 lbs, but this is close enough I might go ahead. The pianos and EP's and synths are all good to spectacular. The organs are "okay," I could use them. And truthfully the pianos are more important to me, but I do need passable organ sounds for many gigs these days. There is probably no holy grail. I checked out a Nord HP76 Stage 3 with a "compact hammer action," and I didn't care for it that much--seemed like it was somehow in between weighted and semi-weighted, and couldn't make up it's mind who it wants to be for. All for over $4K. I had a unit sent to me and it was dead on arrival, too! 
Still caught betwixt and between. Love my lightweight VR09, but it needs another octave and there's a few other things not great, but it would do all right for times where space was limited, or for more Jam sessions, etc.
Sigh...still in the quandry.
 

 www.davemaffris.com
 BLUES:
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https://www.facebook.com/Midiexpert/?ref=hl
Please feel free to check out my music, all made with Cakewalk, available on itunes, Amazon, Google, Rdio, etc., etc.
For mostly jazzy stuff on Soundcloud at these locations:
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#6
Starise
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Re: Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard 2018/12/11 19:12:57 (permalink)
thepianist65
Nice video. I checked out the organ, you do seem to have extracted a passable sound, but there is a lot else going on there, sound wise. on it's own, I'm not sure it would do for me, but I guess I could try and tweak them more. Most of the PX5S users all have the same complaint, so I figure it's not just a "user" issue.
Been checking out more Yamaha MODX8 demos, I would like to stay under 30 lbs, but this is close enough I might go ahead. The pianos and EP's and synths are all good to spectacular. The organs are "okay," I could use them. And truthfully the pianos are more important to me, but I do need passable organ sounds for many gigs these days. There is probably no holy grail. I checked out a Nord HP76 Stage 3 with a "compact hammer action," and I didn't care for it that much--seemed like it was somehow in between weighted and semi-weighted, and couldn't make up it's mind who it wants to be for. All for over $4K. I had a unit sent to me and it was dead on arrival, too! 
Still caught betwixt and between. Love my lightweight VR09, but it needs another octave and there's a few other things not great, but it would do all right for times where space was limited, or for more Jam sessions, etc.
Sigh...still in the quandry.
 




Sorry I can't help more Dave. Honestly I don't think you could go wrong either way. The really nice thing is you can send it back if it doesn't seem to be doing what you want/need.  I will never get into a battle over who has the best organ  That's all highly subjective and my standards might be pretty low. TBH I play pipe organ more than rock organ and love those lows. I don't think the Casio is capable of that kind of sound. Don't know if you've looked at higher end? Like the Korg line. It's a shame though to buy 2000 sounds when you only need three or four good solid sound in a lightweight board.
 
Good huntin' to ya!!

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#7
thepianist65
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Re: Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard 2018/12/11 19:47:13 (permalink)
BTW, I looked at Dexibell, and it looks like they are fairly heavy in weight, which would eliminate them from the discussion, even though they look like very fine instruments. Maybe the 73 key one would weight less, so it's not totally out of the question, but they are newer and unknown so I may not be comfortable going in that direction.
And the weight is at the top of my list of priorities, which is the main reason I own the Casio PX5S and had hoped it would do "everything" I needed. So the list of items that matter are in this order of importance:
1.  Light weight--I'm gigging a lot these days and I'm not willing to break my back or neck. I'm old. 30 lbs is my max
2.  Great sounding pianos and organs--this is a definite must
3. Key touch/feel--fully weighted is still my preference if I have only one keyboard, but semi-weighted would be ok if it is full-sized and responsive--It's important, but not a deal breaker all by itself
4. No of keys--73 is the minimum amount--no more 61 note keyboards, just not good for a single keyboard solution.
5. Price--I will pay what I must for the right solution, but hope to keep it in the non-Nord atmosphere, unless I have to to get what I need.
6. Brand--Don't really care that much, other than the quality of sound, build, etc. 
Can't think of anything else that really matters at all to me.  
So the finalists at this point--which could change--are, in no particular order:
 
Roland VR730
Yamaha MODX8 (or 7, perhaps)
Nord Stage 3 compact or Stage 3 HP 76 (the one I tried that was dead and mushy keys)
Some new contender (Dexibell, Korg, Alesis, etc.)
 
Thanks for all the feedback, and keep it coming if you are so inclined.
 
 
 

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 BLUES:
https://www.facebook.com/coastalblueband1/
 
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Please feel free to check out my music, all made with Cakewalk, available on itunes, Amazon, Google, Rdio, etc., etc.
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#8
thepianist65
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Re: Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard 2018/12/12 18:04:05 (permalink)
Dexibell's S3 has a weighted keyboard, 73 keys and only weighs 22 pounds. Also has seamless transitions from sound/patch changes (as do Nord and Yamaha), which is a great feature, plus aftertouch. Price is similar to Yamaha, so it now has moved in front of the list temporarily. But organ sounds I am still not sold on, and that is what has prompted my search in the first place. Maybe a leslie pedal or other emulator would work.
 

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#9
Starise
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Re: Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard 2018/12/12 19:43:28 (permalink)
If you have a decent laptop there's a heckuva nice Hammond on the deals thread.8dio 15gigs.
I know...the thought of a lappy at the gig might not be the best thing.I know you've done the ipad thing. Might get kinda cumbersome twiddling with it  as opposed to just having it all in the board.
Dexibell looks interesting. I wonder how they hold up? Has anyone been out there with one on a regular basis?
 
 

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#10
thepianist65
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Re: Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard 2018/12/13 14:17:26 (permalink)
Reviews say the dexibell is built like a tank. But who knows is if it’s teluable. Wish it had drawbars, but I understand that you can connect another device and use souls from that and also your keibiards internal sound. Plus, I listened to more demos and the organs actually sound very nice and useable. I did a decision matrix and the vivid S3 had the highest score. Has good sound, weighted keys, ease of use, good extra features, is lightweight, and the 73 keys are just enough, and will fit in small stage settings I often find myself in. Close to taking the leap of faith and ordering this. Sound set is smaller, but you can upload sound font files to supplement.
Anyone who owns or has tried a Dexibell vivo I hope will chime in here.
post edited by thepianist65 - 2018/12/13 21:22:47

 www.davemaffris.com
 BLUES:
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Please feel free to check out my music, all made with Cakewalk, available on itunes, Amazon, Google, Rdio, etc., etc.
For mostly jazzy stuff on Soundcloud at these locations:
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or for some different styles of music(pop/rock/covers):
https://soundcloud.com/dmpianoman
Tidewater Jazz page:
https://soundcloud.com/user-84355115
 
 
 
#11
soens
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Re: Pianists feedback wanted re: new keyboard 2018/12/13 23:19:13 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby thepianist65 2018/12/14 15:52:24
… and the side caps come in different colors.  
#12
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