Casio Privia 160 vs Casio CDP350: are they even for me anyway?


Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
33
Reaction score
19
Hi, everyone!

I'm a bass player that's looking to learn keys as well. I think it will add to my versatility as a musician and help me with me music and chord theory.

I'm playing "rock" in a band situation and would like something that will cover things from the classic rock of the 60s and 70s to current music. My band are Gen Xers and we have been focusing on 90s music as of late.

I've been researching keyboards around $500 or less and have narrowed it down to the Casio Privia 160 and the CDP 350.

What I'm looking for is something:
1. with a good "close to piano" feel
2. lightweight and
3. that has the "basic" sounds: ie Piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3/organ, strings and maybe something "synthy." I don't need a lot of sounds, just something that will cover all of the rock n roll basics.

Which would suit my needs better, the Casio Privia 160 or the CDP 350?

I'm open to other suggestions as well.

Thanks in advance and sorry about the noob questions. I can figure out bass, drum, guitar and PA gear pretty well, but there are a lot of moving parts to keys!
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
1,960
Reaction score
1,324
Location
Lancashire, UK.
Welcome.

The CDP is aimed at the beginner market and whilst it has a largish range of tones it is probably not intended as a gigging keyboard hence if you do use it as such then care in its handling may well be needed.

The Privia 160 is again a beginner board but certainly more for users wanting a piano unit with a more limited array of sounds.

Casio do make some excellent keyboards but the rub is do they have inbuilt sounds you seek. That I cannot answer without quite a lot of research, a quick look on the Casio website did not reveal any specific instrument voices for either of the keyboards that you quote.

Still with me because its curveball time?

You are probably looking at the wrong keyboard !!!!

This is what I recommend you seriously consider.

Yes its $200 more but watch this vid and then tell us that this is not the one you want.


BTW
I have seen the Numa in the flesh at a local music store but did not get chance to play it myself but I was certainly impressed by the build quality and materials used.

Do go to a music store and checkout in person the keyboards you will have on a short list.
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2008
Messages
529
Reaction score
61
Location
South Carolina
Welcome to the forums ! I would suggest that a used Yamaha MOXF6 would do a great job for you. It may be more than what you want to spend but it should hold it's value for some time to come. 61 unweighted keys, weighs about 15 pounds, has all the sounds you mentioned plus hundreds more. They sound great too.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
370
Reaction score
157
CDP350 would be better than PX160 to cover the sounds you want. But yeah, the Numa Compact 2X would be better than either for your purposes. If you absolutely can't go that high, maybe the Casio XW-P1. Or if you're willing to look at used stuff, maybe you can get a Roland VR-09, I see there's one on eBay at $525 at the moment.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
33
Reaction score
19
Thank you all so much!

Okay, so as you said, it looks like I'm looking at the wrong keyboard and probably the wrong TYPE of keyboard.

If you don't mind, I'll throw out some more ideas and questions to give you a better idea what I'm up to.

I was drawn to the digital pianos because I wanted something with 88 keys that would feel and sound like a piano.

I don't want to have to plug into a computer. I want to be able to plug directly into a PA or amp.

I don't need a lot of sounds, I just need the "right" sounds. I just need what most people recognize as a "piano," "an organ", etc...

I started to watch the Numa video, but I'm not really sure what I'm looking at. I noticed he had it hooked up to a computer which I'd like to avoid. For instance, I found a Studiologic Numa Compact 2 88 key stage piano for $500, but would I need a computer to run it?

This is what i found:

Do I want what is called a "controller," "synthesizer," work station?

I don't even know what to search for.

Thanks again for your patience and help.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
370
Reaction score
157
The issue with getting something with 88 hammer action (piano feel) keys is that those actions are more expensive, and in your low price range, to get those keys, you're going to end up with weak sounds for one or more of the sounds you're looking for. So at $500, your choice is piano-keys and lesser sounds, or non piano-keys and better sounds. So the question is which trade-off you want to make. So when I said CDP-350 is better than PX-160, but other (non piano-style) boards would be better than either, I meant they would be better from the sound perspective (though my XW-P1 was listed as a "maybe" because I'm not sure it's sounds would beat the CDP-350... the XW probably has advantages in organ and synth but the CDP probably has advantages elsewhere).

Nothing we're talking about requires a computer. It looks like the computer in the Numa Compact 2X video was being used to record his demo.

Numa Compact 2X is better than Numa Compact 2 for organ and synth, but it is possible that the Numa Compact 2 may be sufficient for you.

The thing about wanting a "recognizable" organ sound is that there are, in fact, lots of different possible organ sounds (different drawbar settings, fast or slow Leslie, percussion, etc.) so keyboards fall into 2 basic categories here: ones where you can adjust all those parameters (Numa Compact 2X, Roland VR-09, and Casio XW-P1 of the ones mentioned, though not all of the same quality); and ones that just have some preset possibilities (which would include all the others mentioned... and these can vary enormously in how many organ sounds there are and how good they are).

Definitions:

Controller = something with no sounds which you connect to a computer (or other outboard device, could be an iPhone or a sound module for example). Many keyboards include the ability to function as a controller, but if a keyboard is JUST a controller, it has no sounds.

Synthesizer = traditionally something which creates sounds from internally generated oscillator waveforms (i.e. electronic sound generation rather than playing back recordings of other instruments, think Moog for example), but sometimes sample-based keyboards (which use recordings of other instruments) end up being called synthesizers as well. Usually there is a lot of ability to modify the sounds. As a generality, sampled instruments sound like "real" instruments (pianos, strings, guitars, whatever) and "synthesizers" in the classic sense sound like, well, electronic instruments. But sometimes you can get get some pretty convincing "real" sounds out of a classic synthesizer, and you can also get some pretty wild unreal sounds out of a sample-based instrument.

Workstations = something you can compose/record a complete song into, track-by-track with full editing functions... i.e. a self-contained "recording studio" to create a finished work. It will include at a minimum a range of sampled instrument sounds and a multi-track editable sequencer, it also often includes audio recording and/or sampling functions. Many performers use workstations just to play the sounds that are in them and don't use their actual workstation/sequencer functions at all, though.

Arrangers = automatically create backing tracks as you play. (You can create backing tracks on workstations as well... workstations give you more control over each part that is being played but the parts are not created automatically on the fly.)

Digital Pianos = typically a sample-based keyboard with piano and other sounds, usually 88 keys, usually hammer-action, usually with very limited editing capabilities, often with speakers, often with some kind of rhythm/accompaniment feature... but there are exceptions to every one of those things.

There is overlap, there are blurred lines, not every board neatly falls into one category or another, but those are the general concepts.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
33
Reaction score
19
Thank you again so much.
This is really helping.

As you said, I'm planning to head over to some music stores so I can decide whether I want the hammer action or semi-weighted keys. If I were to learn on something like the Numa Compact 2 or 2X with the semi weighted keys, would there be much of a transition if I tried to play a piano?

I want to make sure I learn good form and habits.

This may be a bad question, but do most players who gig with keys prefer the piano like action or the easier action of something like semi-weighted keys?
(I realize this may just be personal preference.)

As far as "lesser sounds" do you mean lesser in quality or number?

Thank you again!
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
370
Reaction score
157
do most players who gig with keys prefer the piano like action or the easier action of something like semi-weighted keys?
(I realize this may just be personal preference.)
It does vary, but as a rule, people whose focus are the piano and EP sounds prefer the piano action boards (called hammer or weighted), people who play a lot more synth and organ sounds prefer the un/semi-weighted. Many players gig with two boards, largely for this reason, so they have access to the right action for the right sound. But many also "compromise" and use one for everything.

As far as "lesser sounds" do you mean lesser in quality or number?
I was referring to quality.

If you decide you really want 88 weighted keys, the CDP-350 might be good enough, it's worth checking out. If you are disappointed with its sounds, other lightweight hammer action 88s you could look at would be Korg Kross 88, Roland Juno DS88 (maybe a bit heavy), Yamaha MX88, Kurzweil SP6 (probably the best sounding EPs and organs of the bunch)... but they are all noticeably pricier. That might tempt you more to look at a non hammer action board.

Another non-hammer board worth looking at in the used market could be the Kurzweil SP4-7.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
1,960
Reaction score
1,324
Location
Lancashire, UK.
Excellent explanations from Scott about your options, as is usual from him.

Scott briefly covered organ features, if I can explain a bit further in that to achieve the true versatility of organ sound production then a drawbar function by either physical drawbars or electronic drawbars is really required.

Add to this that many of the Hammond organ sounds also included a Leslie speaker with variable speed control (think of the fluttering wah wah sound you hear on hundreds of tracks) which really is required to achieve as authentic a set of sound profiles as possible.

Here is another video by Jack from Andertons showing the use of drawbars, please ignore the face he is using a midi keyboard and add on unit, the operation is the same with a keyboard that has such a feature


If you check out the type of key action that a dedicated organ has or rather the permutations you will find the, a bit different to an acoustic piano’s hammer action.

Personally I think you would be better not having hammer action as a prime requirement, you are a newbie to keys, you will get used to what you play, and by being more receptive to say a 61 key synth/workstation from Korg, Roland or Yamaha then you could also save a few hundred bucks and also have a much lighter keyboard for gigging.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
33
Reaction score
19
Thank you both.

I'm getting okay with the idea of letting go of the hammer action requirement, but do you think it would be safe to go with less than the full 88 keys?

If I'm playing keyboard, there will be no bass player so I'll have to supply bass as well. Can I do that with 61 keys?

Right now, we're a power trio, so it'd be me on keys, a guitar player and a drummer.
 

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
8,236
Reaction score
3,484
Location
GTA, Canada
If you want to keep it under $500 then you'd either go for a used Casio Privia PX-350 with 88 keys or consider going 61 keys instead. In the used market you should be able to find a used Juno DI, GI or possibly even a recently used Juno DS61.

For a pop or techno or garage style band you won't really require 88 keys anyway. 61 keys are adequate for most pop or rock music and don't worry about upgrading later. It's really not that difficult to make the jump from 61 or 76 keys to 88 later on.

Gary ;)
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
1,960
Reaction score
1,324
Location
Lancashire, UK.
On an 88 note keyboard, octave notes have a suffix with middle C being C4 and the first C being C0.

The open E on a Bass guitar is E1.

Now on most 61 note keyboards the first C is a C2 so at first sight big problem but no since Keyboards also have octave shift plus or minus function at a single touch.

How this would work is that the keyboard would be split with the notes to the left of the split point being the Bass instrument voice that you want with octave shift applied to it.

To the right of the split can be any single instrument voice or indeed a full orchestra.

If I use my Korg Kross 2 as an example, I have Programs (single instrument sounds) and Combi’s (multi instrument sounds up to 12 in total). But in itself a Program can actually have multi instrument sounds in it up to the maximum number of oscillators available are filled. So orchestral strings is one Program hence in a Combi you can have a full orchestra sound at the touch of a single key. Other keyboard makes have similar capabilities.

There is also so much a quality keyboard can be set up to do that so far we have only scratched the surface.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
33
Reaction score
19
Thank you all so much.
I really appreciate your help!

Okay, I think I get it:

As you said, I was totally looking at the wrong keyboard. I don't need a digital piano to start.

I'll look for a 61 key semi-weighted keyboard with good sounds. This ought to be what I need to play small parts like intros and outros of songs while I'm not playing bass.

If I can get good at that, I could buy another keyboard down the road with a good piano feel and bring both to gigs.

Am I getting warmer? :)
 

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
8,236
Reaction score
3,484
Location
GTA, Canada
Buying keyboards or Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.) is a monkey on your back like shooting smack or smoking crack.

Once you start you'll never stop until you go to the happy hunting ground. ;)

But in the meantime, yes, start small, hit the used market and buy something fairly recent and not too beat up and you'll enjoy the sound quality much more than starting off with a traditional kiddy starter board.

Check out some of the recent video reviews of stuff you come across on youtube to give you a better idea of the capabilities and sounds of various boards.

Over the years, you'll end up trading and buying and selling all kinds of gear until you have a kick ass rig of your own.

That's all part of the fun :D

Enjoy :)

Gary ;)
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
1,960
Reaction score
1,324
Location
Lancashire, UK.
My suggestion would be to look at a synth/workstation like a Korg Kross 2 or Roland Juno DS61 or Yamaha Moxf6 since once bought they will last for years with no cash loss due to having to upgrade to give the gigging sound you require.

If you look at reviews of keyboards by Yamaha, Roland, & Korg then these will give you a grounding of the functions, features and sounds.

Additionally each manufacturer has video tutorials which are a quick video guide into the features of their keyboard, this is the start of the series for the Korg Kross 2, similar video tutorials are available by other manufacturers

 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
370
Reaction score
157
If I'm playing keyboard, there will be no bass player so I'll have to supply bass as well. Can I do that with 61 keys?
It's nice to have at least 73 keys. If you split a 61 for LH bass, and you want two octaves of bass from E to E, you'll have just 32 keys for your RH part, whereas a 7x gives you at least 44-51 (varies with which 7x you pick), and an 88 gives you 56. You can pick up some RH keys by reducing your bass range, but I think you'd want a minimum of E to B an octave and a half higher, so the most you could increase any of those figures by is 5. If you really want to stick to a 61 for size or price reasons, I would suggest considering a 61 where, as you're playing, you can easily switch the octave your right hand is playing in without affecting the bass you're playing in your left hand... but that's not too common a capability. The Roland JunoDS61 lets you do that, though.

Another nice feature to look for is the ability to pan one side to your left output and another to your right (or even better, have additional assignable outputs, but you're not going to find that in a $500 board), because that lets you send your bass sound to a bass amp and your other sounds to your main keyboard amp, and that can give you better sounding bass. Or if you have a sound person running all your stuff into a PA, that gives them separate "keyboard" and "bass" feeds making it easier for them to do a good mix. Most boards can do that, but some mentioned do not (Roland VR-09, the Numas).

I'll also mention that playing a left hand bass line under a different right hand part may be a bit ambitious for a beginning player, though the complexity will vary depending on which songs you're covering and how accurately you care about covering them.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
33
Reaction score
19
Buying keyboards or Gear Acquisition Syndrome (G.A.S.) is a monkey on your back like shooting smack or smoking crack.

Once you start you'll never stop until you go to the happy hunting ground. ;)

But in the meantime, yes, start small, hit the used market and buy something fairly recent and not too beat up and you'll enjoy the sound quality much more than starting off with a traditional kiddy starter board.

Check out some of the recent video reviews of stuff you come across on youtube to give you a better idea of the capabilities and sounds of various boards.

Over the years, you'll end up trading and buying and selling all kinds of gear until you have a kick ass rig of your own.

That's all part of the fun :D

Enjoy :)

Gary ;)
Hey, Gary!
Oh, don't I know it!
:)
I was trying to get that under control with my bass gear and almost had it!
Now it looks like I'm going to have to manage GAS with two instruments!!!
I was actually looking into getting a backup bass and amp head, but those got bumped for the keyboard. :D

It's nice to have at least 73 keys. If you split a 61 for LH bass, and you want two octaves of bass from E to E, you'll have just 32 keys for your RH part, whereas a 7x gives you at least 44-51 (varies with which 7x you pick), and an 88 gives you 56. You can pick up some RH keys by reducing your bass range, but I think you'd want a minimum of E to B an octave and a half higher, so the most you could increase any of those figures by is 5. If you really want to stick to a 61 for size or price reasons, I would suggest considering a 61 where, as you're playing, you can easily switch the octave your right hand is playing in without affecting the bass you're playing in your left hand... but that's not too common a capability. The Roland JunoDS61 lets you do that, though.

Another nice feature to look for is the ability to pan one side to your left output and another to your right (or even better, have additional assignable outputs, but you're not going to find that in a $500 board), because that lets you send your bass sound to a bass amp and your other sounds to your main keyboard amp, and that can give you better sounding bass. Or if you have a sound person running all your stuff into a PA, that gives them separate "keyboard" and "bass" feeds making it easier for them to do a good mix. Most boards can do that, but some mentioned do not (Roland VR-09, the Numas).

I'll also mention that playing a left hand bass line under a different right hand part may be a bit ambitious for a beginning player, though the complexity will vary depending on which songs you're covering and how accurately you care about covering them.
I had the same thought about left hand bass, too.
Maybe I'll take that out of consideration for this keyboard. If I get good enough to play left hand bass, it'll be worth it to have two keyboards anyway which is what it sounds like many key players do.

That does take a lot of my original requirements out of the way and opens up the possibilities.
I don't have to worry about 88 hammer action keys now...or having the capacity to split the board for left hand bass.
I just need something for intros, outros, etc. and I can use the bass guitar for most of most songs.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
33
Reaction score
19
So far, it looks like the Korg Kross, Roland Juno or the Numa 2X might be possibilities.

Is the disadvantage of the Numa 2X vs the other two mainly that it has less sounds?

Also, is the Roland Juno DS88 the same thing as the DS61, but with 88 keys instead of 61?
This one looks pretty cool!
It's about 35 pounds in the 88 key version. Would this be something that I could use to take to and from gigs?
It also gets good reviews for the feel of the keys.

Is that also the case with the 88 key version of the Korg Kross 2?
This one is lighter than the Roland Juno.

Would it be worth it to make the stretch money wise and get the version with more keys?
 
Last edited:

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
8,236
Reaction score
3,484
Location
GTA, Canada
I owned a DS61 and traded it in for a DS88. With a soft bag from gator it weighs in about 50 lbs. I don't gig with mine but if you're a sturdy fellow and can fit it into your car I don't see any reason why you couldn't gig with it. I really love mine. It has all those voices, the ability to load samples and expansion packs and a vocoder to boot. What's not to love?

I got used to weighted hammer action keys with my Kurzweil PC3K8 and the 61 key version simply didn't cut it for me. It's a decent 61 synth action but the 88 version really shines.

Gary ;)
 
Ad

Advertisements

happyrat1

Destroyer of Eardrums!!!
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
8,236
Reaction score
3,484
Location
GTA, Canada
BTW, if you can't make up your mind between the two, there's also the DS76 with synth action keys to consider. A reasonable compromise between the two. Very lightweight for gigging and a wide enough range for some decent splits.

Gary ;)
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top