Casio Privia PX-S5 or Kurzweil PC3-LE8?


A

Anon_TJ

Hi All,

I was on the verge of buying the excellent PC3-LE8 when the Casio Privia PX-S5 came to my attention. The PX-S5 appears to be an excellent keyboard with great sounds. I'm wondering how the non-piano/electric sounds like brass, strings, synthesizer sound though, I can't find many demos of those sounds. The Kurzweil reproduces these pretty well. The keybed and weight are huge selling points as well for the PX. I wonder if the the PC3-LE8 has armor plating it's so heavy. Plus it's getting on a bit, it's been out five years now and only has 64 note polyphany, but those Kurzweil sounds are top tier imho. It's also come down in price to nearly the same price point as the PX-S5, to under a 1000 Euros at Thomann.

I'm leaning towards the PX-S5 now, but I would like to know one important thing: can it record standard midi notes? I see there is a phrase sequencer, but the description sounds kind of vague. Is it possible to sit down at the PX keyboard, hit the record button, improvise for say five minutes on the grand piano, and have all the midi notes recorded for playback, maybe on a different instrument like the clavicord? Or do you need to be connected to a DAW in order to do that? If the PX can do that, it's a deal maker for me.

Many thanks,

Tim
 
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happyrat1

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It truly is a tough call.

For all things Kurzweil visit http://www.cunka.com/forum//index.php

and for all things Casio visit http://www.casiomusicforums.com/

Those would be the best places to hear hands on reviews of each.

In North America price would be a determining factor.

The Casio sells for under $1000 while the Kurz sells for about $1800 here.

Otherwise though, they both boast an impressive set of capabilities.

Also one problem with the LE line is a bug which causes "blinking lights of death." It's been corrected as of early this year, but if you get an older unit it may not have the fix applied in which case you'd be playing Russian Roulette with a warranty return.

Gary
 
A

Anon_TJ

Hi Gary, thanks a lot for your advice. I'm signed up at Cunka and posted my concerns about the blinking lights of death problem. Jean at Kurzweil support was very helpful saying there is a fix and as you say the most recent units have already had the fix. Plus the store I'm going to buy from has a three year warranty, so it's tempting to go for the PC3LE8. I'm wondering if the knock down price on the PC3LE8 here is because it's about to be superseded by a new range of workstations, or if they're selling the older units that might still have the blinking lights problem. I think the LE8 came out in 2010, so I would also be concerned about getting parts for it if necessary.

I'll check out the Casio forum to see if the PX-5S can record lengthy MIDI pieces.

Cheers

Tim
 

happyrat1

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Actually it's not so much a knock down price on the LE as it is that the Casio is overpriced in the EU. Don't forget the Euro is worth about $1.40.

Anyway, Kurzweils don't seem to be as popular in the US and Canada as they are in other parts of the world.

It probably boils down to whatever distribution agreements they've negotiated in each country.

Gary
 

happyrat1

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As for new models of Kurzweils, they already released the Artis and the Forte last year. So far I'm not really expecting any new workstations from Kurzweil for at least another year or two.

Gary
 
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Anon_TJ

OK, so I'm probably safe in assuming the PC3LE8 will still be in production for a while. I don't gig, so the weight's not a factor really, unless it needs to be shipped back to the repair shop. Posted on the Casio forum about the PX-5S sequencing capabilities, hope to hear something soon. Thanks again.

Tim
 
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happyrat1

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Considering that I own both a Kurzweil PC3K8 as well as a Casio XW-P1 I have a lot of experience with both forum boards.

Lots of good people on both of them. They'll get you fixed up right. ;)

Gary
 
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I have a PX5S. Casio calls it a "stage piano" which is a good description. It is not a "workstation" in the sense that it doesn't have a sequencer , but it can use midi phrases. Since I don't use these features, I'm not very familiar with them. I can tell you that it is a great gigging board, has great acoustic and electric piano sounds, and a great feeling and expressive keyboard feel.
 
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Anon_TJ

Thanks Don, those audio demos are great, the S5 is really a powerful keyboard. What I'll probably do is go ahead and get the Kurzweil workstation, since that was my original plan, save up my money and get an S5 next year. I'm a big fan of synthesizers as well, and the S5 seems to have a unique form of synthesis. Maybe by then Casio will use the S5 as a basis for a new workstation, beefing it up with a proper sequencer, better supporting sounds samples, a larger LCD display (the current one looks too much like a pocket calculator display!), and maybe sampling capabilities. I (and countless others) would be willing to pay a few hundred extra dollars for those features. They're headed in the right direction thought. A lot of people are looking for an alternative to the Yamaha, Korg and Roland giants. Kurzweil and Casio seem to be making some inroads.
 
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I'm wondering how the non-piano/electric sounds like brass, strings, synthesizer sound though
Kurz has stronger brass and strings, and is also more capable as a virtual analog synth (including having a monophonic mode, which the Casio lacks). It also has the KB3 drawbar organ mode. It has 16 zones instead of 4. It also has aftertouch.

Is it possible to sit down at the PX keyboard, hit the record button, improvise for say five minutes on the grand piano, and have all the midi notes recorded for playback, maybe on a different instrument like the clavicord? Or do you need to be connected to a DAW in order to do that?
I'm pretty sure you need a DAW to do that. I think the built in recorder is for audio (wav), not MIDI data.

I think you're right about the PC3LE8 being on the verge of being discontinued, though. They've gotten hard to find in the U.S. So yeah, that might explain more aggressive pricing.
 
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A

Anon_TJ

Kurz has stronger brass and strings, and is also more capable as a virtual analog synth (including having a monophonic mode, which the Casio lacks). It also has the KB3 drawbar organ mode. It has 16 zones instead of 4. It also has aftertouch.


I'm pretty sure you need a DAW to do that. I think the built in recorder is for audio (wav), not MIDI data.

I think you're right about the PC3LE8 being on the verge of being discontinued, though. They've gotten hard to find in the U.S. So yeah, that might explain more aggressive pricing.

Thanks for your input anotherscott. The indecision continues! There will always be a trade-off between keyboards no matter what. I think I've ruled Kurz out due to reliability and quality control issues highlighted by a lot of forums, at least for the LE series. So I think I've narrowed the field (yet again) to either the Privia PX or the MOXF6. Can't afford an MOXF8 or I would go for that. The MOXF6 has great sounds, great sequencing, flash memory, accompaniment patterns, and a great free PC editor. But it's only 61 keys and I hear the keybed isn't so good (hope to try one myself before I buy).

The PX has a great keybed from what I hear, 88 keys, but not so great support sounds, although acoustic and E-Pianos sound pretty good from the demos I've heard. There is a phrase sequencer I see, but I think it has a lot of limitations. I had thought about the Kurz SP5-8 but it's purely a Rompler only, although with midi capabilities. And then I heard the keybed is Chinese, not Fatar like they used to be, and the quality has suffered. Great sounds though, from the PC3 library.

Maybe I'll just flip a coin and decide that way!
 
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Kurz has stronger brass and strings, and is also more capable as a virtual analog synth (including having a monophonic mode, which the Casio lacks). It also has the KB3 drawbar organ mode. It has 16 zones instead of 4. It also has aftertouch.


I'm pretty sure you need a DAW to do that. I think the built in recorder is for audio (wav), not MIDI data.

I think you're right about the PC3LE8 being on the verge of being discontinued, though. They've gotten hard to find in the U.S. So yeah, that might explain more aggressive pricing.

Hope you did not make your purchase decision based on the wrong assessment above. Brass and strings are homeland of the Casio PX5S! By no means does the Kurweil do this kind of sounds "better". Apart from that the Casio has much better AP sounds which outclass the outdated Kurzweil Triple strike. Go for the Casio. Best instrument purchase I ever made. I still have a PC3X and I like it. But if I could only keep one of these two I would keep the PX5S for sure.
 
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There is always some subjectivity to these things, but here are some samples:

Casio brass and strings:

short Kurzweil brass and strings:

more Kurzweil brass:
and

more Kurzweil strings:
 
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This particularly awful demo of the PX5S doesn't do the instrument justice. There are much better demos available. Just wondering why AnotherScott choose the worst demo of the PX5S available?
 
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This particularly awful demo of the PX5S doesn't do the instrument justice. There are much better demos available. Just wondering why AnotherScott choose the worst demo of the PX5S available?

It was the only PX5S strings/brass demo that came up in a youtube search. If you know of a better one, please post it!
 
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There are plenty of demos at soundcloud. Will post some links later when I have access to a PC. It's too difficult on my smartphone.
 
A

Anon_TJ

Hope you did not make your purchase decision based on the wrong assessment above. Brass and strings are homeland of the Casio PX5S! By no means does the Kurweil do this kind of sounds "better". Apart from that the Casio has much better AP sounds which outclass the outdated Kurzweil Triple strike. Go for the Casio. Best instrument purchase I ever made. I still have a PC3X and I like it. But if I could only keep one of these two I would keep the PX5S for sure.

Thanks for the invaluable advice everyone. I've pretty much ruled out Kurzweil, since the one affordable (at least for me) workstation series - the PC3LE series - seems to be plagued with reliability issues. Plus you're looking at 2009 technology.

Unfortunately no local music store carries the PX-5S, but one does stock the MOXF6, which I'll test drive this weekend. I hear that has high fidelity piano and string sounds. Some of the PX-5S sounds do sound like humdrum GM sounds, but that can be got around by layering and effects. There are weak points on every model I guess, especially the ones that are more budget oriented. Not sure if you can use one oscillator to modulate another oscillator on the PX-5S, but I find this form of FM synthesis useful.

The keybed of the PX-5S is superior to the MOXF6, but if the MOXF6 does have a half-way decent feel to them I might well go with that model. It is loaded with features and the full Motif sound banks. I don't generally use the upper and lower octaves on an 88 key machine, so that wouldn't be a problem. Well, need to decide by Christmas. The usual dilemma, buy one model then wonder what you're missing out on by not getting the other one! That's probably why you see a lot of musicians with stacks of keyboards. One possibility is to buy the PX-5S and use it, in addition to a decent standalone stage piano, as a controller for either a rack and/or decent software samplers like Kontakt.
 
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