Kurzweil PC4-7 or Yamaha YC73 for an all purpose keyboard


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Which would you choose between these two? Just one keyboard for all sounds and ease of use for stage use.
 
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Your criteria are sounds and ease of use. So...

For ease of use: YC73. It doesn't do as much as the Kurzweil, but for those things it does do, it can usually do it more easily,

For sounds: Kurzweil. It has far more sounds available, and for the sounds the two have in common, I think more often than not, the Kurzweil sound is as good or better than the Yamaha. But there is certainly subjectivity to that, and exceptions, such that, for a given sound they have in common, one could easily prefer one or the other. But that said, if the Kurzweil version of a sound isn't quite what you're after, it will be highly editable, YC much less so. (Still, even editing only gets you so far... and itself can be complicated.)

Are there particular sounds you're interested in comparing?
 
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Mostly be used for acoustic piano, electric piano, organ, piano & pads, less used for strings. some synth. no guitars, bass, drums. no sequencing. I am not opposed to some in depth digging, but mostly choose a sound and go with it.

Thanks for your help
 
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For piano and EP, I can find perfectly enjoyable sounds on either of them. That's really subjective. However, I felt Yamaha's EPs played much better from the YC88 action than the 73. However, there's been a recent software update allowing you to better fine tune the velocity response of the action, so I'm guessing I'd be fine with the 73 now, too.

One thing I'll say for the Kurzweil is that it has memory for adding 3rd-party sounds. So for example, if you're not content with its EPs, you can add some other excellent ones, see https://www.purgatorycreek.com/index.php/vkc-for-kurzweil-forte/

Organ is tricky. Overall, I'd say the YC is stronger, but I wasn't happy with its Leslie effect. Hopefully, Yamaha will be making some improvements there in an update, because it is a common complaint. Kurzweil organ has its own limitations, but one of its advantages is that, because the board has separate assignable outs, you have the option of putting the Kurz through a better Leslie effect like a Ventilator. You can't do that on the Yamaha, without putting any other sound you have split/layered with organ through the Leslie as well, and without having to switch the external effect in or out every time you switched to or away from your organ sound.

Something you can do to enhance your organ capabilities on either one of them if you're so inclined is to drive an external organ sound (even the $14 VB3m app you can run on a smartphone can give you a really nice organ sound). The Kurzweil does this a little better than the Yamaha does, because while either one of them lets you use the board's own sliders/drawbars to manipulate the external sound, the Kurzweil also uses standard MIDI CCs for its other controls whereas Yamaha does not, which means of the two, only the Kurzweil also gives you readily available controls for things like percussion and C/V.

Strings are stronger on Kurzweil. So is synth (besides sample-based sounds, Kurzweil has fully editable VA and FM synths engines, whereas Yamaha only has FM and without editability).

Some things you didn't mention that might be relevant:

Do you care about splits and layers? Yamaha supports splitting/layering up to 3 sounds (or up to 2 if you don't one one of them to be organ), with a single split point. Kurzweil supports splitting/layering up to 16 sounds, with whatever split points you want. But this is a good example of the ease of use difference I mentioned. If you ONLY want to split 3 sounds with a single split point, and have the 9 sliders available for drawbar control, it's easier/faster to set that up on the Yamaha than on the Kurzweil. But if you want to go further than that, the Yamaha won't let you, while the Kurzweil supports a lot of other possibilities.

Actions are worth noting as well. Most will probably say that the YC73 action is better for pianos/EPs than the PC4-7 action, but the PC4-7 action is better for organ. The PC4-7 action also has aftertouch, which is nice for synths.

In terms of creating quick access to your favorite sounds and sound-combinations, YC gives you I believe 20 pages of 8 Favorites per page, PC4-7 gives you 50 pages of 10 favorites per page.

Philosophically, YC takes a Nord-like approach of not letting you do everything the world, but letting you do the things people most commonly need, very quickly and easily, with the immediacy of a lot of dedicated hands-on controls. Kurzweil is much more flexible, but it can take more effort to do the simpler things.

*IF* you can do everything you want on the YC, and are happy with it's sounds, I think it may be more "fun." But the Kurzweil is way more flexible. I have to say, the combination of the two would probably be really nice. ;-)
 
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Ok, after much deliberation and much reviewing I have decided to go with Kurzweil PC4 or PC4-7 instead of the YC? So now I need advice from you real keyboard players who are familiar with the Medeli Keybed (I am an amateur multi-instrumentalist, not good at any of them. I do not have an acoustic piano background). I need your input on which keyboard would be best - hammer action of the PC4 or semi-weighted of the PC4-7 for someone using the keyboard as follows:
25% acoustic pianos. 25% electric pianos. 25% organs. 15% strings, orchestral. 10% synths. 0% for guitars, bass, etc. (This of course subject to change in the future, but for now this is pretty accurate). Note: I have a Korg Triton Studio 76 - not crazy about the synth action keys, I have played a Nord Stage 3 Compact several times - not real crazy about their semi weighted key action either. Do either of the PC4's feel like either of them?
Thanks to all for their input.
 
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I typed my post #7 yesterday before seeing the edit you made to post #6. While I'd still say the PC4-7's action is not as bad for piano/EP as the PC4's action is for organ, the PC4-7's action may not be worlds apart from the Nord Stage 3 Compact action you don't like...

...On the plus side, PC4-7 doesn't "push back" at you as much as the Nord does.

...On the negative side, it feels less even in response from the front of the key to the rear of the key than the Nord does.

Overall, I prefer the feel of the PC4-7 to the Nord, but this is definitely a subjective thing.

As for the Numa Compact 2X, it is another action of the same general type. It uses a version of the Fatar TP9, which is I believe a lower end model than the TP8 (the Nord uses a version of the TP8). But actions are so subjective to begin with, that doesn't mean someone couldn't prefer either one over the other. I will say that, in terms of piano dynamic expressivity (natural feeling control from quiet to loud), I don't find the Numa as good as either the Kurz or the Nord. But it is still a nice board, and a great value. Other relative shortcomings to be aware of is that its organ Leslie/overdrive is weak, and (as with the Yamaha as I described in post #4), you can't completely overcome that with an external pedal (though again you could get around that with the $14 VB3m app on your smartphone, and the Numa does have decent MIDI functionality, albeit for only two zones, vs. 4 zones in the YC and 16 zones in the Kurzweil). In terms of some of the other things I talked about above, splits/layers are limited to two (internal) sounds, and there are no buttons for recalling your favorite patches... you can create 100 custom patches, but you access them via a scroll wheel (and the sound will cut out when you switch from one to another). You mentioned synth sounds, and as a synth, the Numa doesn't have a mono mode with portamento, making it weaker on lead synth work. So there are definitely trade-offs, you're not getting a $2000+ board for $700. But you are still getting an awful lot for $700, and maybe it would do enough for you.
 
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I played the Nord Stage 3 Compact again and much prefer it over the Triton Studio synth action, so based on that I ordered a Kurzweil PC4-7. I am looking forward to it arriving. I think I will be very pleased with the sounds and functionality. Can't wait to see how the Keybed feels to me. Thanks so much for your help. I appreciate it very much!
 
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I played the Nord Stage 3 Compact again and much prefer it over the Triton Studio synth action, so based on that I ordered a Kurzweil PC4-7. I am looking forward to it arriving. I think I will be very pleased with the sounds and functionality. Can't wait to see how the Keybed feels to me. Thanks so much for your help. I appreciate it very much!

I received the PC4-7 a couple of days ago. I like it. Great sounds. The key action is not as weighted as the Nord Stage 3 Compact but much better than the synth key action of the Korg Triton Studio. I am satisfied with my decision, thanks for all the input.
 
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Think I’m going the other way.

Piano, organ, EPs but for me the action is better for piano and “less worse” for organ
still weighing both tho, so Yamaha YC 73
is the leader in the clubhouse.
 
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I typed my post #7 yesterday before seeing the edit you made to post #6. While I'd still say the PC4-7's action is not as bad for piano/EP as the PC4's action is for organ, the PC4-7's action may not be worlds apart from the Nord Stage 3 Compact action you don't like...

...On the plus side, PC4-7 doesn't "push back" at you as much as the Nord does.

...On the negative side, it feels less even in response from the front of the key to the rear of the key than the Nord does.

Overall, I prefer the feel of the PC4-7 to the Nord, but this is definitely a subjective thing.

As for the Numa Compact 2X, it is another action of the same general type. It uses a version of the Fatar TP9, which is I believe a lower end model than the TP8 (the Nord uses a version of the TP8). But actions are so subjective to begin with, that doesn't mean someone couldn't prefer either one over the other. I will say that, in terms of piano dynamic expressivity (natural feeling control from quiet to loud), I don't find the Numa as good as either the Kurz or the Nord. But it is still a nice board, and a great value. Other relative shortcomings to be aware of is that its organ Leslie/overdrive is weak, and (as with the Yamaha as I described in post #4), you can't completely overcome that with an external pedal (though again you could get around that with the $14 VB3m app on your smartphone, and the Numa does have decent MIDI functionality, albeit for only two zones, vs. 4 zones in the YC and 16 zones in the Kurzweil). In terms of some of the other things I talked about above, splits/layers are limited to two (internal) sounds, and there are no buttons for recalling your favorite patches... you can create 100 custom patches, but you access them via a scroll wheel (and the sound will cut out when you switch from one to another). You mentioned synth sounds, and as a synth, the Numa doesn't have a mono mode with portamento, making it weaker on lead synth work. So there are definitely trade-offs, you're not getting a $2000+ board for $700. But you are still getting an awful lot for $700, and maybe it would do enough for you.
Scott sums up the Numa 2X very well.

I have had mine for about 18 months and for the price it is hard to fault.

Organ sounds and drawbars suit me but yes Rotary could be better.

Whilst keybed feel is subjective I have played Fatar keybeds that I find have a better feel for my limited skills

The OS is a bit of a pain but managable.

After I had had it for about three months I thought it would be a keeper, now I am not to sure.
 
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I typed my post #7 yesterday before seeing the edit you made to post #6. While I'd still say the PC4-7's action is not as bad for piano/EP as the PC4's action is for organ, the PC4-7's action may not be worlds apart from the Nord Stage 3 Compact action you don't like...

...On the plus side, PC4-7 doesn't "push back" at you as much as the Nord does.

...On the negative side, it feels less even in response from the front of the key to the rear of the key than the Nord does.

Overall, I prefer the feel of the PC4-7 to the Nord, but this is definitely a subjective thing.

As for the Numa Compact 2X, it is another action of the same general type. It uses a version of the Fatar TP9, which is I believe a lower end model than the TP8 (the Nord uses a version of the TP8). But actions are so subjective to begin with, that doesn't mean someone couldn't prefer either one over the other. I will say that, in terms of piano dynamic expressivity (natural feeling control from quiet to loud), I don't find the Numa as good as either the Kurz or the Nord. But it is still a nice board, and a great value. Other relative shortcomings to be aware of is that its organ Leslie/overdrive is weak, and (as with the Yamaha as I described in post #4), you can't completely overcome that with an external pedal (though again you could get around that with the $14 VB3m app on your smartphone, and the Numa does have decent MIDI functionality, albeit for only two zones, vs. 4 zones in the YC and 16 zones in the Kurzweil). In terms of some of the other things I talked about above, splits/layers are limited to two (internal) sounds, and there are no buttons for recalling your favorite patches... you can create 100 custom patches, but you access them via a scroll wheel (and the sound will cut out when you switch from one to another). You mentioned synth sounds, and as a synth, the Numa doesn't have a mono mode with portamento, making it weaker on lead synth work. So there are definitely trade-offs, you're not getting a $2000+ board for $700. But you are still getting an awful lot for $700, and maybe it would do enough for you.
Scott sums up the Numa 2X very well.

I have had mine for about 18 months and for the price it is hard to fault.

Organ sounds and drawbars suit me but yes Rotary could be better.

Whilst keybed feel is subjective I have played Fatar keybeds that I find have a better feel for my limited skills

The OS is a bit of a pain but managable.

After I had had it for about three months I thought it would be a keeper, now I am not to sure.
Greetings from Maryland, U.S.! Thanks so much for chiming in and confirming Scott's analysis. I've been gigging exclusively with an Alesis QS7 for 25 years. It's served me quite well, but I think I'm ready for an upgrade, and the Numa sounds like it could be the way to go. I just need solid vintage sounds -- I primarily play classic rock -- and the demo I heard was impressive, especially for only $700. I do have a couple of key followup questions:

** Apparently the Stick 1 and Stick 2 knobs serve as pitch bend and mod? Do they function well? I'm used to the Alesis' traditional larger wheels you move up and down. I use them when playing synth leads.

** When you say the "OS is a bit of a pain," could you elaborate? I don't plan to spend a lot of time tweaking sounds, but I do need to be able to easily store my favorite sounds and -- most important -- access them quickly when gigging. I'm okay with scrolling as long as I can store them so they're in the order I want.

** Scott mentioned a weak overdrive for the organ. Do you concur? I absolutely need to be able to approximate a decent, Jon Lord-like distorted sound. I didn't understand what he was talking about regarding the "$14 VB3m app on your smartphone."

Thanks,
Harvey
 
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Harvey

The sticks are very small and very sensitive.

It is the accessing quickly that lets the 2X down for me, I’m used to single touch or a couple of prods to chance voices with the Numa you have to be in the right mode and spin the dial. There is no bank of favourites that can be quickly accessed.

The VB3M is a tonewheel organ emulator app, Galileo 2 and the Hammond B3X are others but there are a lot of them but the B3X is the current King of the Apps which it should be for its price.
 
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Thanks for the quick reply! I'm kinda shocked there's no bank of favorites. That's a deal-breaker for me. I can't be changing modes and spinning a dial when performing live.

Regarding the app: I've never used one. I guess you have to somehow connect your keyboard to the app? Sounds complicated to me. I like keeping things simple.
 
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The reason I mentioned VB3m in particular is that it not only runs on iPhones, but even Androids. B3X requires an iPad (or Mac or PC), it won't run on any phones, but it's a nice app. That said, Android is a bit of a "wild west" compared to iPhones, and they don't inherently handle MIDI as well as Apple does, so there is no assurance that VB3m will run (or run well) on any particular model. But your odds are improved if you have a newer mainstream one, like a Samsung. $14 is a pretty minimal gamble, though.

Yes, as I said, scrolling for patches is a Numa weakness. You don't typically have to be "changing modes," though, because, if you're playing the board (rather than editing sounds), you're almost certainly in a mode where turning the knob will let you scroll to your desired sound.

A workaround for this is, again, use your smartphone. There are apps like Set List Maker (which, again, I mention because it works on iPhone and Android), where you can create song lists on your phone (and can re-order them as desired), and when you click the song, it can send a MIDI Program Change to your keyboard to directly call up the desired sound.

Connecting the phone to the Numa is easy. It's basically a USB cable. If you have an iPhone with lightning connector, you also need their adapter... I recommend the one with a power pass-thru so you can keep the phone charger plugged in at the same time.

Apple Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter
 
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The reason I mentioned VB3m in particular is that it not only runs on iPhones, but even Androids. B3X requires an iPad (or Mac or PC), it won't run on any phones, but it's a nice app. That said, Android is a bit of a "wild west" compared to iPhones, and they don't inherently handle MIDI as well as Apple does, so there is no assurance that VB3m will run (or run well) on any particular model. But your odds are improved if you have a newer mainstream one, like a Samsung. $14 is a pretty minimal gamble, though.

Yes, as I said, scrolling for patches is a Numa weakness. You don't typically have to be "changing modes," though, because, if you're playing the board (rather than editing sounds), you're almost certainly in a mode where turning the knob will let you scroll to your desired sound.

A workaround for this is, again, use your smartphone. There are apps like Set List Maker (which, again, I mention because it works on iPhone and Android), where you can create song lists on your phone (and can re-order them as desired), and when you click the song, it can send a MIDI Program Change to your keyboard to directly call up the desired sound.

Connecting the phone to the Numa is easy. It's basically a USB cable. If you have an iPhone with lightning connector, you also need their adapter... I recommend the one with a power pass-thru so you can keep the phone charger plugged in at the same time.

Apple Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter
Thanks! I have an iPhone 12 mini so if I want to explore these app options I certainly can. Incidentally, the first/only time I used MIDI was in the late '80s. I had a Mac Plus and a DX7 (I still do, come to think of it), and bought some software (forgot the name) to play around with.
 

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