Korg SV-1, Yamaha MX88 or ???

Mar 5, 2019
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Hi ya'll!

I'm looking for an 88 weighted key stage piano to replace my old Kurzweil PC2x. I already have a Nord 4D which I'm very happy with. The only downfall is it's a waterfall key and more geared for organ/clav playing. I'm looking for something to serve a bottom tier function with my Nord.

Because of that I'm pretty much exclusively looking at key feel and acoustic piano/rhodes/wurly samples and functionality.

So far what I really like about the SV-1 is its rhodes samples and the easy customizability of the amps and effects. I haven't had a lot of time on the MX88, but I remember liking it's acoustic piano samples and the key feel.

Anybody have any thoughts on the SV-1 and MX88 and how they stand up in those specific categories; or have another keyboard in mind in the $1000-1500ish price range?



Jun 28, 2014
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Adelaide, Australia
I've been using an SV-1 88 regularly in live gigging and rehearsal room scenarios for a couple of years now and can provide this review:

  • Rhodes sounds brilliant
  • Wurly sounds brilliant
  • Amp sims and effects are excellent and easy to use
  • Control surface is simple and intuitive
  • Weighs a ton
  • I'm told you can't store it any way except for keys facing upwards as this can mess with the action
  • Not overly versatile. It does what it does, and does it very well.
  • Many of the surfaces don't light up. Challenging when a stage goes to black.
Other things to be aware of:
  • Some don't like the AP's (personally I'm very happy with them)
  • It has an RH3 action (also found in Kronos 88 and Grandstage). I think this feels fantastic, some don't like it.
  • Unusual retro look and shape means you can't rest things on top of it. This also meant I had to get my hard case custom made.
  • Amp sims are very realistic and hiss and hum a little.
Overall I love gigging with it.
Jun 26, 2010
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CowboyNQ described the SV1 pretty well. I'll just add that, with the right stand, you can still easily stack a keyboard on top (see below), you can at least get a non-custom soft case that will fit, if that's suitable for you.

To the question of SV1 vs MX88, the SV1 is much better for EPs, while the MX88 is much more versatile overall. The SV1 is relatively limited, but if your focus is EPs and the SV1 does what you need, it's the one I'd rather play.

As for alternatives in the $1000-$1500 range, with a focus on piano/EP, I think another worth looking at could be the Kurzweil SP6. It's supposed to be a strong piano/EP board, but it's also pretty flexible on the MIDI side, so you'd have more options in terms of also triggering your Nord sounds from it, if you wanted. One more possibility could be the Casio PX5S which is lighter, probably has the better action, and also has good MIDI capabilities, and some nice pianos and EPs, particularly if you download the optional ones from the casio forum. Though its sounds in general are probably not as good as the other boards mentioned here.



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