Help with buying a piano... EDIT: I bought one!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 29, 2012 5:20 PM GMT
    Just an electronic one, our condo is small, one that can be played silently with headphones, less conflict with our neighbors. No tuning required, either.

    I bought my late partner a Yamaha Clavinova in 2002, sort of like a spinet acoustical piano, a piece of furniture, not a flat keyboard with legs. Cost was about $4000. I gave it to my ex-BF when I left for Florida in 2006.

    I'd like to do the same again for this Christmas, but things have moved on, just like all electronics, and I don't know what's cutting edge today. I want the best authentic piano sound, I don't need sound effects, and I certainly don't need auto-play & accompaniments. I want a true keyboard touch, like I was playing an acoustical instrument.

    I've looked online but specs only tell me half the story. Strangely, there are no electronic piano dealers near me, and the South Florida Yamaha dealer was a jerk with me on the phone. I may have to order blindly (or deafly). So does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!
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    Nov 29, 2012 10:35 PM GMT
    OK, nobody replied.

    So I went ahead, took a chance, and bought a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-480 for him for Christmas. Got a nice discount, I wasn't born right outside NYC for nothing, And didn't buy from that snotty local dealer who gave me a hard time. It's coming from way north of Palm Beach, but also got the delivery discounted, so the local dealer with attitude can go fuck himself.

    I arranged for delivery the second week of January. I couldn't get it before we leave for New Hampshire for Christmas, but it'll arrive right after we return. I'll let him know that's one of his Christmas presents, maybe put a picture of it under the tree in New Hampshire.

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    http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/keyboards/digitalpianos/clp_series/clp480/?mode=model
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    Nov 29, 2012 10:45 PM GMT
    OK, well too late now. I don't know anything about real pianos for real piano players, but you can get a simple MIDI keyboard and plug it into a mac to play garage-band instruments over headphones...

    I've got an old Yamaha electric organ from the 70's that I just can't move. It was an extravagant thing we wanted when we were kids, but couldn't afford. Then Dad bought it just as we were graduating from high school and it was really too late to learn it. Basically it's been gathering dust for 30-some years. The current generation of kids don't want it because their laptop/keyboard setups do more and fit up on a shelf.
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    Nov 29, 2012 10:50 PM GMT
    When I haven't had access to my acoustic piano, I've always rented a clavinova. It will work without all the un-needed bells and whistles, but nothing will compare to an analog instrument. Pianos are living and breathing acoustically.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Nov 29, 2012 11:01 PM GMT
    Art, I can see your point about the headphones and just wanting something to enjoy in a not too serious way.If I had had an electronic instrument with headphones as kid, I certainly would have practiced more and not been a pain for my parents coming home from work to hear a kid planking away.

    From my limited view, Yamaha seems to do as well as most of the electronics in terms of physical integrity. None of the electronic keyboards has anything like the sound of an acoustic instrument. The action of a real piano is nearly impossible to duplicate electronically, especially with the pricing parameters. Yours probably has all sorts of bells and whistles and midi hookups, most of which you may not need, but they can be entertaining at parties.

    As for buying a real piano, if any of you are contemplating it, Larry Fine is the author of a very good book called, I think, The Piano Book. It is probably in its umpteenth edition by now and a must if you are curious about pianos.
  • Pontifex

    Posts: 1882

    Nov 29, 2012 11:05 PM GMT
    I've got a kawai. It depends on your ears a lot of the time. I like it because it has a nice darker sounding sample as well as a brighter one that I use sometimes. They are really things you have to try in person. You might prefer the feel or samples on one over the other.
  • TheAlchemixt

    Posts: 2294

    Nov 29, 2012 11:06 PM GMT
    Art, No one replied it had only been five hours... icon_mad.gif
  • drypin

    Posts: 1798

    Nov 29, 2012 11:10 PM GMT
    Well, Alchemix... you know how the 'wind chill factor' makes temperatures seem lower? The eagerness factor makes hours seem longer! icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 29, 2012 11:23 PM GMT
    ART_DECO saidOK, nobody replied.

    So I went ahead, took a chance, and bought a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-480 for him for Christmas.
    ...
    Good choice! I've been a Yamaha fan for years. I've got a Yamaha Motif 8 that I bought back in 2001, and an el cheapo Yamaha Piaggero SF-11 ($150) that I bought in Arizona just to have something to play.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 30, 2012 1:16 PM GMT
    LJay saidFrom my limited view, Yamaha seems to do as well as most of the electronics in terms of physical integrity. None of the electronic keyboards has anything like the sound of an acoustic instrument. The action of a real piano is nearly impossible to duplicate electronically, especially with the pricing parameters. Yours probably has all sorts of bells and whistles and midi hookups, most of which you may not need, but they can be entertaining at parties.

    As for buying a real piano, if any of you are contemplating it, Larry Fine is the author of a very good book called, I think, The Piano Book. It is probably in its umpteenth edition by now and a must if you are curious about pianos.

    I bought the predecessor of this model, another CLP, 10 years ago, kept it until 2006 when I gave it to my BF. It was very impressive, and this new one has an even higher sampling rate and polyphony. The keyboard action is quite good, and graded, somewhat like the accelerated action of my Steinways (which I no longer own).

    The 480 has Yamaha's best digital sound engine in a residential piano, other than one of their faux-grand piano models. And those really only add automated accompaniments, like a rhythm section, which I don't want, and a bigger color screen, which again doesn't interest me in a simple piano.

    But this does have lots of speakers, like my old CLP, with some firing backwards to create more realism. In fact, there's an interesting self-setup the piano goes through, judging the distance to the wall behind and its acoustic properties, the piano making all these loud banging sounds for several minutes, while an internal microphone listens to the results and adjusts the speaker balance. That older CLP really did sound authentic, and I trust this new one will be better.

    Still, I was hoping someone here might know if something better is on the market. I last played some store floor samples earlier this year, and I still liked the Yamahas, but I hadn't seen everything.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 30, 2012 10:41 PM GMT
    Aristoshark said
    deltalimen saidnothing will compare to an analog instrument. Pianos are living and breathing acoustically.

    Exactly. It isn't just the sound---there's no electronic instrument that can reproduce the way a genuine keyboard on an actual piano feels to the fingers. I sold my keyboard a few years ago because---well, I just really hated it.

    I know this, I owned a Steinway Model L grand, plus a Steinway upright. But the Yamaha has real wooden keys, progressively weighted, and they're very long, extending and hinged all the way at the back of the case, which you can see above. So that the fulcrum is far enough back that the key angle when depressed is very close to an acoustic piano.

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  • TheAlchemixt

    Posts: 2294

    Nov 30, 2012 10:42 PM GMT
    drypin saidWell, Alchemix... you know how the 'wind chill factor' makes temperatures seem lower? The eagerness factor makes hours seem longer! icon_smile.gif


    I know exactly what you mean!
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Nov 30, 2012 10:47 PM GMT
    ART_DECO saidOK, nobody replied.

    So I went ahead, took a chance, and bought a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-480 for him for Christmas. Got a nice discount, I wasn't born right outside NYC for nothing, And didn't buy from that snotty local dealer who gave me a hard time. It's coming from way north of Palm Beach, but also got the delivery discounted, so the local dealer with attitude can go fuck himself.

    I arranged for delivery the second week of January. I couldn't get it before we leave for New Hampshire for Christmas, but it'll arrive right after we return. I'll let him know that's one of his Christmas presents, maybe put a picture of it under the tree in New Hampshire.

    23239_12075_1.jpg

    file-147.jpg

    http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/keyboards/digitalpianos/clp_series/clp480/?mode=model


    What you bought is very practical and it will come close to sounding and feeling like a real piano. You can make it sound better by connecting it to a high quality audio system by using the headphone jack.

    Of course there is nothing quite like a real piano, but one has to be practical.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 30, 2012 11:36 PM GMT
    FRE0 saidWhat you bought is very practical and it will come close to sounding and feeling like a real piano. You can make it sound better by connecting it to a high quality audio system by using the headphone jack.

    Of course there is nothing quite like a real piano, but one has to be practical.

    Such is the price of small condo living.

    I'm not sure if an auxliary sound system would be any better than its internal system, which has 3 separate amps and speaker systems that cover 3 frequency ranges with 12 speakers. Plus as I noted above, some speakers are rear firing, to improve the ambiance, the balance self-adjusting. And the back of the case has a wooden soundboard tied to speakers, to create more of the partial frequencies that make a string soundboard sound so rich. That case shown above is not just empty furniture, it's packed with speakers.

    Although the CLP doesn't have extensive sound effects and accompaniments, it does have some voices, like my previous one did. The harpsichord is very convincing, perfect for Baroque, and there is jazz piano, pop piano, electronic, and 2 versions of grand piano I mostly play. Even the organ isn't too bad, though limited by 1 manual and no pedals. One of my favorites used to be a tinny honky-tonk upright piano sound, perfect for playing Scott Joplin.

    Although I'll be the one playing it, it's also a gift for my partner, who sings. I can be his rehearsal pianist when he practices for performances, who until now has had to drive 30 miles to his sister's home, who has a grand.

    Plus, if I practice enough myself, I might become good enough again to accompany him when he performs, instead of his sister, which would be so wonderful. I used to accompany my first wife for her French horn performances, but that was nearly 40 years ago.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 01, 2012 9:27 PM GMT
    enjoy your upright digital. I have a Yamaha YDP-223. I much prefer a real piano but my condo is very small and there is no way I can easily get my piano (I have a Kawai upright) up three flights of stairs... so a digital it is.

    I am quite pleased with the sound of my digital Yamaha. Yes it isn't the real thing but it comes close... also I can adjust the volume / put headphones on when I practice so I won't bother my neighbors. I also like its finish... looks very nice and fits perfectly in my living room.

    Looking forward to videos of your playing. Here is my only pic I have of my piano...
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    Dec 01, 2012 9:32 PM GMT
    yo_mamali saidLooking forward to videos of your playing. Here is my only pic I have of my piano...

    Thanks for your post, but no pic appears.
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    Dec 03, 2012 12:41 AM GMT
    ART_DECO said
    yo_mamali saidLooking forward to videos of your playing. Here is my only pic I have of my piano...

    Thanks for your post, but no pic appears.


    Don't know what happened... it was a bad picture anyway :-(

    Here I am playing a Chopin prelude off my yamaha...


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 03, 2012 12:57 AM GMT
    yo_mamali saidLooking forward to videos of your playing. Here is my only pic I have of my piano...

    I used to have an audio recording on RJ (analog to digital) of my 1968 performance of the Schubert "Wanderer Fantasy" but I took it down out of embarrassment. Until I'm ready for a current video, here's some candid snaps done of me at a Steinway in 2007, age 58, before I put on all the weight I have now:

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