View Full Version : Just bought a digital piano

21-10-2002, 10:08:56
Having grown up being forced in to piano lessons when I was 10, but having a Steinway grand piano to play on every day, I have been missing more and more not being able to play a piano anymore. My small flat, and notwithstanding not having several thousand in spare greenbacks, meant that buying a proper piano has just not been an option.

However, recently I was offered a "can't refuse" deal on a Yamaha P-80 digital piano, which I took up, and I'm really impressed.

The main thing for me was to have something that was convincingly piano-like in both touch and tone. Keyboards I've played in the past have either been disgusting to listen too, awful to play, or both. Piano is probably the hardest musical instrument to synthesise due to the incredible range of harmonics, dynamics, attack and resonance that you can get out of the instrument. It's also very difficult to replicate the action of a proper mechanical, weighted hammer action with a spongey plastic potentiometer.

The P-80 has a full 88 key keyboard. It also has no internal speakers. It has 8 different piano samples and a couple of other, seemingly obligatory, strings /organ / harpsicord "Sounds".

The first thing I noticed was the touch - heavy keys which rebound with convincing speed that respond well to weighted touch. Nice. Not your usual plastic sponge here.
Second thing I noticed, once I'd plugged in my headphones, was just how good the classical and grand piano sounds are. Turn off the reverb, set the touch to medium and the stereo samples of these two pianos are good. More than good, this is the best stab at reproducing a piano I've come across. The Jazz piano sound is, well, different, and the rock piano sound is not something I'll be using, but I can imagine if you were to use this as a gigging machine it would be a good sound to cut through a PA with.

The other samples are, well, token gestures I'd say. The harpsicord is fun for a bit of Mozart, but don't take it seriously. The Organs are crap, as is the strings, and the bass is just low and farty. No, this is definitely a Piano-orientated machine.

It's got some MIDI capabilities, but I've not connected it up to my pc yet to see how it would function as a MIDI controller. Again though the design priorities of this machine are toward being a digital piano first. This isn't a MIDI workstation.

I understand it's based on the Yamaha Clavinova series, but because it doesn't have a built in amp or speakers, it's a keyboard rather than a full-on "electric piano".

I paid 300 quid for this machine, second hand and I think that's a pretty damn good deal. I believe that new this retails for almost 1000 but again that's impressive performance for the money for a piano. It doesn't go out of tune for a start, and doesn't upset the neighbours with my bad playing at 11pm at night.

Of course, it's not perfect, and it's nothing like as good as the real thing. However, with a decent piano costing as much as a new car and needing a big room to house it in, this is a pretty good compromise!

21-10-2002, 11:51:41
A very good deal.
Afriend of mine just spent 1500 on a Korg which is beautiful to the touch and ear. Even from a wannabe ivory basher like me.

21-10-2002, 12:25:58
Good controller keyboard as well - if you like the key action.

21-10-2002, 12:56:55
Which, the Yammie or the Queeg?