Need Keyboard Recommendations (live/home studio)


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I've been playing the keyboard for church praise teams for ten years and I'm looking to invest in a keyboard for my own personal use and occasional gigging. All the churches I've played for have used yamaha s90es/xs or motifs, but I'm terrible at tech and the only functions I really used were the layer/split functions. I have cubase, but what I'm looking for is a keyboard that I could use to edit/create patches, export these onto a computer, and use them on other keyboards.

Non-negotiable:
88 full-weighted keys
easy layering for live performance (4+ voices with onboard volume control)
realistic acoustic piano sounds
warm ambient pads (analog)
able to edit/export patches through midi

I was looking at the Yamaha MOFX8 and Roland FA-08, but I tried them out and I didn't like the action. I was also considering the Roland RD700NX or RD800, which I know are stage pianos. My question is what would I be missing out on by getting a stage piano over a workstation/synthesizer?
 
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Is it true that with the 700 you can only layer two sounds at a time? I looked through the manual and they only mentioned layering two voices, so I wasn't sure about that.
 

happyrat1

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Take a look at the Kurzweil PC3K8 workstation or the new Forte stage piano. Also, don't laugh, take a good hard look at the Casio Privia PX-5S stage piano. Bar none best bang for the buck out there these days in a stage piano/workstation.
 
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Thanks for your suggestion...the PC3K8 looks great, but I feel like I'm paying a lot of money for a board with many functions that I don't really need. I don't see myself having to do a lot of sequencing work...would you say it's still a good value?
 

happyrat1

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I own a PC3K8 and I have to say that it's anything but simple to program. It's amazing value for the money if you can find a deal on a floor demo like I did but still well worth the purchase price.

And as for the good news, it's the best documented synth I have ever owned.

Kurzweil has a complete set of video tutorials on youtube to simplify your learning curve, and the 400 page manual is one of the best written I have ever seen.

Here's a link to the tutorials so you can make your own determination.

http://kurzweil.com/product/pc3k8/video/

And you'll find additional support over on http://cunka.com and http://ksetlist.com

A nice feature is the ability to load up to 128 MB in samples in several common formats to make it truly customizable to your preferences.

Then again, if you're not so techie, then take a serious look at the Artis and Forte stage pianos. They share many of the same sounds with the PC3K models, but a smaller subset but since they are actually newer models they have much larger and improved piano voices. They would also be a little simpler to program for a non techie.

My PC3K8 weighs in at 50 lbs though. I would hate to have to haul it around from gig to gig if I were touring.

The Casio PX-5S however, is an amazing new stage piano that weighs in about 20 lbs. and really does meet all of your requirements.

It too is well supported over at http://casiomusicforums.com and it is so much more than a simple stage piano. It allows foreasy Hex Layering of sounds which is up to 6 simultaneous layers and is 128 note polyphonic. For under a thousand bucks there's nothing else out there that even comes close.

My Kurzweil is also 128 note polytonic and allows up to 32 simultaneous layers, but it sells for more than triple the Casio's price.

Pop by the forums I've listed and weigh the pros and cons yourself before you pull the trigger but as always, it's the best if you can find them in a local store and feel the action for yourself.

By all accounts the Casio has the best feel out there compared to almost anything and there's one fellow over on the Casio forums who's been neglecting his baby grand since he got his PX-5S :)

BTW, here's a link to the Casio PX-5S tutorial workshop they did a few months back.



Hope this helps,

Gary
 
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wow thanks so much! i wasn't considering casio before but i'll definitely take a look next time i'm at gc.
 
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Take a look at the Kurzweil PC3K8 workstation or the new Forte stage piano. Also, don't laugh, take a good hard look at the Casio Privia PX-5S stage piano. Bar none best bang for the buck out there these days in a stage piano/workstation.

I currently own the Casio Privia PX -3S, the 5S's baby brother, and I can vouch for the "bang for the buck" in that they are light-weight, have decent piano sounds and action. My main beef with the Privias is that they don't seem as sturdy as some of the others, and I have a feeling that this may be associated with their very light weight. On opening mine up, I am dismayed at the thin plastic parts that are used on the action. This resulted in keys getting stuck and having to be repaired. It is because of this that I am looking at other hopefully sturdier keyboards such as the Roland RD 800.
 

happyrat1

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Actually the Casio's light weight may actually save it from being damaged when dropped.

Like I said earlier, my kurzweil weighs in just over 50 lbs. and while the sculpted wooden end caps are lovely to look at, if it ever dropped corner first onto concrete I'm certain they would either shatter outright or strip out the screws holding them on.

Fortunately my Kurz stays put in my home studio 24/7 but if I were gigging I'd happily risk dropping a $1000 PX-5S on a gig in hopes of it surviving the fall rather than subjecting the $3000 Kurz to a simple 4 foot drop.

In a case like this, the weights inside the keys as well as the overall weight of the chassis works against you. Force is mass times acceleration so if a keyboard has 150% greater mass it will strike the floor with 2 and a half times the force and virtually explode on impact.

If I were to take a job that mandated schlepping around a beater set of keys night after night I'd definitely cheap out and go with either the Casio or whatever I could pick up dirt cheap on Craigslist.

Gary
 
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Thanks for your replies! I spent several hours at my GC and after several weeks, I bit the bullet and got the yamaha MOXF8 - the very model I was opposed to. Goes to show that first impressions aren't everything. After playing around with the velocities and some tweaking, I was able to get the sound and feel that I was looking for. I guess having grown up with motifs and the s series makes me biased, but I'm quite happy with my purchase. Again, thanks so much for your help!
 

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