Help Choosing Keyboard with Hammer Action Keys


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Hello There,

I am looking for a keyboard or digital piano that has the following features:

1. Full 88 Keys with Hammer Action or similar real piano style weighted keys.
2. Ability to hook up a 3 pedal array (or one that comes with those pedals). 2 would work as well but 3 is better.
3. Made in Japan, Italy, USA, Europe, etc... NOT Made in China or outsourced to a developing country.

It would be nice if it had USB output, the ability to record in HD, etc... but none of that is particularly necessary.

My budget is $500-$900 depending on the keyboard/digital piano.

The ones I have found so far that sort of fit the bill but are slightly out of that price range are:

Korg SV1, Roland KF-10 (Kiyola),Korg Havian 30, Korg Kronos (way out of my price range).

Ones that I found that are somewhat in my price range:

Korg SP500 (used) or Korg LP-380...

I was originally considering getting a straight up digital piano - but now I am leaning towards getting a nice recording keyboard with weighted keys so that when I buy a proper baby grand piano in the future it will compliment it.

I am OK with buying used or previous models as needed to fit the budget. The SP500 is the most affordable one I found so far but it's also the least attractive of the bunch and obviously older and discontinued...
 
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happyrat1

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They're pretty much ALL made in China or S. Korea or Japan these days. Even American and European manufacturers have pretty much outsourced their entire line to Asia these days. Your Rolands and Korgs are made in China these days as well.

With a $900 budget you have an impossible list to fill.

Gary ;)
 
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They're pretty much ALL made in China or S. Korea or Japan these days. Even American and European manufacturers have pretty much outsourced their entire line to Asia these days. Your Rolands and Korgs are made in China these days as well.

With a $900 budget you have an impossible list to fill.

Gary ;)
There is a world of difference between China, S. Korea, and Japan. South Korea and Japan are developed nations with fair wages and labor practices. Japan produces some of the best instruments and audio devices on the world such as the top of the line Yamaha's, Korgs, Rolands, and so many others. And there are plenty of products still made in the USA as well (Rane Mixers, Schiit Amps and Dacs, and a lot of other high-end gear including grand pianos, etc...)

Not all Roland's or Korgs are made in China. That's kind of my point. All of the models I listed are made in Japan besides the Havian 30 which I heard is Made in Italy... There are probably a lot of others I am missing too...
 
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Full 88 Keys with Hammer Action or similar real piano style weighted keys.
Made in Japan, Italy, USA, Europe, etc... NOT Made in China or outsourced to a developing country.
My budget is $500-$900
I don't believe this is a realistic combination of requirements unless you're looking to buy second hand. Even then I think you'll struggle. You'll need to up your budget or compromise on the "made in China" factor. If you want a musical instrument made in a developed country with "fair wages", you'll need to accept that those wages don't come out of thin air.

As an example, you mentioned a Korg SV-1 88. I own one of these and on the label it says "designed by Korg Italy. Assembled in China". Excellent stage piano but it cost me AUD $1600 second hand, and doesn't pass your "developed country" test.
 
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I don't believe this is a realistic combination of requirements unless you're looking to buy second hand. Even then I think you'll struggle. You'll need to up your budget or compromise on the "made in China" factor. If you want a musical instrument made in a developed country with "fair wages", you'll need to accept that those wages don't come out of thin air.

As an example, you mentioned a Korg SV-1 88. I own one of these and on the label it says "designed by Korg Italy. Assembled in China". Excellent stage piano but it cost me AUD $1600 second hand, and doesn't pass your "developed country" test.
I am actually OK with buying second hand as long as the unit is not more than around 5 years old. I didn't realize the SV1 was Made in China. Thank you for that. Within my budget I did post a couple that are not outsource. Korg LP-380 (New for $900) or SP500 (Used for $350) - both made in Japan. Or a used Havian 30 (Made in Italy) for around $800 or so?

I should also mention that I will be upgrading to either a Yamaha Baby Grand or the Yamaha N3 Avant Gard in a year or two and am saving up for it now. This is why I'm struggling to decide between buying a digital piano or a recording style keyboard. If I buy a DP for a bit less (LP380) I will most likely lose money on it and have to resell it for a huge loss. If I buy a recording keyboard that will be more of an investment but I can still use it in a couple of years. There's also something of a compromise between the two with something like the Havian 30 but in annoys me that it's all MP3 based instead of wav or any sort of HD recording. So I'm seeing what other options and opinions you guys have. I'm sure there are others besides the ones I mentioned...

Some others I found are the Korg M3 88 Used, Korg Pa1x Pro 88 used.. I'm really confused as to the differences between all of these different things. They seem like they do essentially the same thing but are called different things - an arranger, a synthesizer, a workstation, etc... but are all keyboards that can record and do similar things...
 
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Fred Coulter

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I am looking for a keyboard or digital piano that has the following features:

3. Made in Japan, Italy, USA, Europe, etc... NOT Made in China or outsourced to a developing country.
Curious as to your reasoning for avoiding developing countries.
 
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Curious as to your reasoning for avoiding developing countries.
I have many including ethical reasons such as fair labor practices and fair wages. But my main reason is that I don't like corporations making tons of money on outsourcing without really lowering prices enough for those items. I don't mind if the super low grade stuff is outsourced but that's not what I am looking for. For me something like the Korg LP-380 that's made in Japan at $899 is a better value for money than a similar $1500 Yamaha digital piano that's made in China (i've even seen $5000 units made in China which is ridic for that price). Also there's a reason that the highest end units of almost any company will always be made in a developed country. That reason is not only for IP but also because for professional units they require the best build quality...
 

Rayblewit

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I have many including ethical reasons such as fair labor practices and fair wages. But my main reason is that I don't like corporations making tons of money on outsourcing without really lowering prices enough for those items
I agree with baronkatz . .
I'd hardly call China a developing country. Very rich country. The wealthy people there are greedy and selfish.
Most other people there at some provinces are poor and they are financially abused by the big corporates.
The manufacturing standards are low quality.
Sometimes we cannot avoid buying the chinese rubbish however.
 
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I'll leave you with three last thoughts on "made in China".

1. If you're buying second hand get the current owner to take a photo of the label and send it to you, that way you'll know for sure. If you're buying in-store take a look for yourself. You'll be surprised how many pianos (digital or otherwise) are made in China or Indonesia.

2. Personally I wouldn't be too concerned about quality control issues if you're spending decent money. I own three "made in China" Korgs which are all more than three years old and they're absolutely bulletproof. Zero build quality issues with any of them and they're gigged regularly. One has had a bass guitar dropped on top of it! They've survived extreme heat, cold and also dusty outdoor gigs.

3. If you're buying second hand you're not really supporting unfair labour practices because none of your money is flowing back to the manufacturer, which may help you with your philosophical concerns.

Good luck with your purchase!
 
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I just found a few more that I could possibly find in my budget on the used market that are Made in Japan (confirmed on sticker). So my choices are now:

Yamaha CP40
Yamaha S90XS
Yamaha P255
Korg LP-380
Korg SP500
Korg Havian 30
Korg M3 88
Korg Pa1x Pro 88

Please help me narrow down and feel free to add any ones you might think are better or equivalent. The most important factors for me are ability to hook up to speakers, ability to connect 3 peddle sustain pedal set, good sound, wonderful build, and of course most importantly how the keys feel and how real they are compared to a Piano. All of them have weighted keys but are probably different.
 
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I also found the Motif ES8 and the MO8 - both of which are higher end units Made in Japan that I can get for under $1000 used...
 
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And another question I have is will any of these be able to connect to Cubase, Protools, Logic, Nuendo, etc... to be used as a Midi Controller? And if so will they produce a different sound or feel at all or does it not matter at that point since you're not using the internal synths?
 
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All will work with your respective DAW as long as they have a MIDI connection, either through USB or MIDI ports. Most digital pianos have this (but be sure to check it in specs!). Your DAW will receive the MIDI data from the digital piano, so if it has weighed keys, it will almost certainly pick it up if you're using a DAW like Cubase with a sound library like I don't know, EastWest or just Cubase's Halion One or whatever you prefer. The sound of the violins, for example, won't sound different though than if you used another keyboard, unless they sound very different depending on the velocity (some violins may be plucked at a low velocity and 'rolled' at a high). I don't think the digital pianos will differ much if they all have weighted keys, however I cannot say for sure as I guess they have different ways up picking up the data from the actual keyboard tangents. For example, I have a Casio Privia PX 350M, and it has tri-sensor scaled hammer action keys, which means (I guess) that three sensors are used to pick up and send MIDI data about the velocity of the keys and such. Don't know if that's how other keyboards work as well, but you're right in wanting to get a keyboard with all 88 weighted keys. So the feel may be different, but not the sound. Unless, of course, you're recording with a mic or something like that.
At least that's what I believe, please correct me if I'm wrong about anything.
 
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That's great - thank you Neutron! Someone also suggested getting the Studiologic SL88 Grand which has real wooden graded action hammer keys with ivorite tops. Supposed to feel close to a real grand piano and is well built and made in Italy. It is a Midi Controller so would need to be hooked up to a computer but it's $900 new and will be a bit less used...
 
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That seems like a nice keyboard. It also has both MIDI ports and USB connection, which can be an advantage in some circumstances. Now, I don't really know your motive for buying a keyboard or how skilled you are, but if part of your reason for making a purchase is to learn to play the piano, I would personally not be satisfied with a keyboard that doesn't have built in speakers. Constantly having to turn on the computer in order to play the piano would drive me nuts, especially if one day you want to get a new computer and have to install all the software again or just want to move your computer without also having to move the keyboard (which can be quite heavy to move I have to say after having lifted my - was it 17 kg? - digital piano from the gas station). With built in speakers, there's just so much more freedom, and you can still plug in your headphones if you want to play in private (and still hook it up to the computer as well).
But that's just my opinion. However, if you're only planning to use it in order to play around with virtual sound libraries in your DAW, then of course it doesn't really matter that much.
 

Fred Coulter

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Now, I don't really know your motive for buying a keyboard or how skilled you are, but if part of your reason for making a purchase is to learn to play the piano, I would personally not be satisfied with a keyboard that doesn't have built in speakers. Constantly having to turn on the computer in order to play the piano would drive me nuts, especially if one day you want to get a new computer and have to install all the software again or just want to move your computer without also having to move the keyboard (which can be quite heavy to move I have to say after having lifted my - was it 17 kg? - digital piano from the gas station). With built in speakers, there's just so much more freedom, and you can still plug in your headphones if you want to play in private (and still hook it up to the computer as well).
I concur. Even with my other keyboards, there are times I just want to play. With the DGX-650, I can just press the power button and go.

(On the other hand, I wouldn't want to move it anywhere.)
 
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Exactly. It can seem like a trifle, but in the long run it can really get annoying if you can't just play instantly when you want to.
 
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The more I have to do to just play cuts down on my playing and practice big time.
 
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I ended up getting a CP50 in mint condition on Craigslist for under $600! It was a great deal and I am very happy with it. The menu is a bit confusing and takes some getting used to but the build and sound quality is great and the keys feel wonderful. I do wish it had built in speakers but for the price I can't complain considering it retailed for over $2000 and is still listed on Amazon for $2,324. For anyone that said that it was impossible to meet all my conditions for less than $1000 - now you see it is possible to buy something great for the price of something not so great... Thanks for all your help. :)
 
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I didn't really want to butt in since I have little knowledge but I should have thought of that. I've bought a lot of stuff on ebay, craigslist and local auctions. Local auctions would usually be the cheapest if you have the patience. I've seen about 5 pro keyboards at local auctions in the past year. Govdeals.com often has good keyboards and music accessories from the various universities. I just bought a lot of misc midi and electronics stuff from my local university through govdeals. They had 3 korgs and yamahas a few months ago but that was before I joined here and I didn't know much about them.
 

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