best action for stage 88-key keyboard for gig work


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I'm no virtuoso, but I care alot about (and can get alot out of) a responsive, quick but heavy-ish, keyboard. (action comes up for me mostly with any straight-ahead playing, where it's nice to have leg room for fast action, but also just sweet, nuanced playing (ie backing up a jazz singer)

I'm looking to buy a new (or used) stage piano (88) for playing out.
I'd be grateful for any help here on the 'action' or playability from a plain piano player perspective --

Putting $price aside entirely for now, any suggestions re best things to think about/go try?
I need at least::
1 a great piano (or 2)
2 great rhodes options (couple standouts)
3 a B3 that wont drive me crazy. (tricky sometimes)

thank you for any thoughts/suggestions you might offer me, esp any experience (good/bad) covering different types of gigs/material with single keyboard.
 
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Any budget or weight constraints? Do you prefer drawbar control for the organ, or do you just need some common presets?
 
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Some wont agree - but for the action - Roland RD2000. Piano sampled sounds (SN) arnt as good as the nords but there OK. I like the V Piano sounds though some find them a little less dynamic - but for mellow jazz stuff its great.

Rhodes sounds are supurb.

Organ is decent if not sparkling - the Organ Expansion download has some better ones though. Has 9 sliders you can use as drawbars as well putting it about anything but the stage 3 in that respect (which has better organ sounds).


The Stage 3 might be your best for sounds - as I say the Piano is debatable v the RD2000 but many prefer the Nord. Organs ae better and Rhodes just shy of the RD. The keybed though I found terrible.

The only other board I can think of offering drawbars is the Kurzweils but Ive not heard one to compare.


Im actually adding a Viscount Legend Expander for my organs:


Its just better then anything in a stage piano or workstation (including the Nords) and will drive it from my top board (an FA07) - but Im after the best sounds I can and am not skimping (so far have the RD200 for pianos/EPs/Claves - made do with it for organ but adding the Legend, the FA for orchestrat and Rompler stuff - and a Peak for a proper synth).

If you like the sampled pianos - you could Look at something like the Juno DS and add the Legend for a pretty good price - that would be a nice combo if you like the keybed (not as good as the RD) and samples.
 
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88 for piano/Rhodes/b3...

...with piano actions that are reasonably amenable to organ playing, as hammer actions go:
  • Kurzweil Forte (or SP6 but Forte sounds and feels better)
  • Nord Stage 3 if "drawbuttons" rather than actual sliding drawbar control is sufficient
  • Kawai MP7 (limited drawbar control) -- I haven't tried the new MP7SE version
...with actions less amenable to organ
  • Korg Grandstage if you don't need any drawbar control, Kronos if you do
  • Roland RD2000 (or FA08 without the real-time sliders among other differences, but RD2000 is better)
but the very best piano/EP boards are not he very best organ boards.
 
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Not sure of your budget but I'd lean toward the Kurzweil Forte. Excellent piano and Rhodes. TP40L keybed action. It's weakpoint is the B3, however it gets its B3 from the PC3 series. How does this sound to you?

 
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Second any suggestion on trying the Nord Stage 3, I have played one and love it, although not long enough to try many of its setting, what I did try sounded great and the keybed feel was excellent.

The king of workstations has to be on your list of keyboards to at least try and to gauge all others against it, the Korg Kronos, for its sound quality and sheer versatility and the vast range of available patches to expand the features within.

I found a video online of a guy demonstrating a B3 on his Kronos


Personally if I had a good few grand spare to add to my limited collection these would both be on my shopping list.
 
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PIcking up from something I said earlier... the headline asks about "best action for stage 88-key keyboard for gig work" - but best action for piano is not the best action if you're also playing organ from it, so the use can alter the suggestion.
 
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Each to their own.

With the rd2000 you can change how light/heavey the touch is on a patch by patch basis. On its lightest its more suitable to organ than the nord board.

Personally i dont like the nord though. I cant stand the keybed abd find the sounds (other than oiano and organ) totally underwelming abd uninspiring.

I akso am not keen on the krknos. Again the keybed isnt great. While its is outstanding at creating sounds i find them a littke "light" sounding. However by far the worst about it for me us programming. I cant use the touchscreen. Thetes so much on it the font is far too small gor me to read even with glasses. I often change the wrong thing as it thinks im touching somewhere else. Thats not the boards fault, its my fingers. I have the same problem with ohones and tablets too.

Its all personal though. Set your budget, play 3 or 4 in that range choose first on feel...it can sound great but you play the keys not the sounds..then if thetes a choice after that (roland and kirzweil for me) then go on sound and or function.
 
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With the rd2000 you can change how light/heavey the touch is on a patch by patch basis. On its lightest its more suitable to organ than the nord board.
I'd only played the RD2000 very briefly, but I'd find that surprising.

The light/heavy parameter should make no difference, as it is merely an adjustment for velocity response, and organ sounds don't respond to velocity.

Things that affect how suitable a hammer action is for organ would include how quickly and solidly (without bounce) the key returns to top, how rounded (rather than sharp) the key edges are (sides and front), and whether you can select a high trigger point so you don't have to depress the key as far to make a sound. I think the Nord beats the Roland in these things. Of course, no hammer action is ideal for organ, but some are better than others.

Personally i dont like the nord though. I cant stand the keybed abd find the sounds (other than oiano and organ) totally underwelming abd uninspiring.
The only sounds he cares about are piano and organ, so that's not a problem here. Well also EP, if you're not including that in piano, but Nord just improved their EPs this month (and you can download the new sample sets into your existing recent board).

But when you say you can't stand the keybed, are you talking about specifically the model I suggested (Stage 3 88)? Because if you played a current non-88 key model (or an Electro), it's not the same action.
 
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Yes the stage 3 88. Yried it extensivly twice. Once when i ended up with the rd, and once looking for a second board. The nord 8i note beds ate twrrible. By far the worst around.

The keytouch on the rd is not jusrt velocity, reducing it reduces the resistance andcthe keys are lighter.

I have one, and have my organ patch on the lowest touch. Its actually lighter than the stage 3 at that point.
 
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Everyone is different. I wanted to love thd nords but couldnt. The weighted boards were horrible, and thd electros were not flexible with midi out to control outboard modules.

Foe me, with nords at the bottom slightly better but nog much wrre the korgs grand stage and kronos. Neither made me want one.

Theres a big step up to the ysmahas where id usd, then a smaller step up to the rolsnd rd and kurzweils.

Best of the lot were kawai but there mostly if not all pianos so not for me at that time.
 
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Yes the stage 3 88. Yried it extensivly twice. Once when i ended up with the rd, and once looking for a second board. The nord 8i note beds ate twrrible. By far the worst around.
It's subjective, but I can name you a whole bunch of hammer actions that I think are worse! Including every Yamaha that uses their GHS action, the Korgs that doesn't use their RH3 action, every Nord/Kurzweil/Arturia/Dexibell that uses the TP100 action, every Roland that uses the Ivory Feel G action.

The keytouch on the rd is not jusrt velocity, reducing it reduces the resistance andcthe keys are lighter.

I have one, and have my organ patch on the lowest touch. Its actually lighter than the stage 3 at that point.
That contradicts the manual. (And also physics, without a mechanism to physically alter the action.) I suspect you are experiencing a placebo effect. Try having someone else randomly change the setting between heavy and light and see if you can really tell the difference when you don't know which setting has been selected. Assuming you are playing an organ sound where velocity is fixed (as is normal for organ sounds), there should be no difference.

Note the manual descriptions, it's all about velocity, i.e. changing how hard you have to press the keys to achieve fortissimo. Since organ sounds don't normally change volume based on how hard you play, this setting should have no effect.

1324
 
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Im going to try again with the feel, but when i press ligjtly, thete seems morecresistance to the press the higher i set the touch. Might be placebo though yes.

Regards those other boards i cant comment as i only looked at the top endcofferonfs from each manufacturer. Ive no doubt therd are worse rhan thd nords, but it ruined their flagship board for me.

As ive said plenty of times though, its all personal.
 
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Its a good job we all have different preferences otherwise it would be a one size fits all.

Thanks guys for your personal insights.
 

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