Budget Weighted Key Controller

DerGeist

Active Member
Hi all

Could use some advice. I have nice upright piano (Yamaha U3) and a number of semi-wieghted key midi controllers and knobby controllers, etc. Because I can't always use the piano (mornings when I am the only on up) I would like to get an 88 key weighted keyboard. This would be only used for very occasional practice or maybe a piano part in my DAW. My sounds will come from Walker D so I don't really need any internal sounds. Also don't need controllers, pads, etc. I would like a semi-decent keybed. It doesn't have to be the best, just good enough to do some casual practice until I can get on the proper piano.

Looking at midi controllers, they seem either to cheap or too expensive. I tried the M-Audio Hammer 88 at hated it. It seems like the best option might be a lower end digital stage piano. I played the yamaha P45 and deemed it "good enough." Is there anything in a similar price range I should consider? I really only care about the feel since the computer will provide the sounds.

Thanks
 
OP
DerGeist

DerGeist

Active Member
I'm in Canada. I have been looking for used keyboards but it my city most of them seem to be either 20 years old which is pushing my comfort zone.
 

Daniel

Senior Member
P45 and Walker D = perfect match. Go for it. (I am using the old Yamaha P35).
The same price range : Casio S150 or Roland FP10. Casio weighted keys lighter than Yamaha. Never tried Roland FP10 since my local store rarely put it in the showroom.
 

Quasar

Senior Member
IMHO used digital stage piano from instead of MIDI controller per se is the way to go. I got a Yamaha CP33 for under $500 at Reverb.com and it's great.
 
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DerGeist

DerGeist

Active Member
P45 and Walker D = perfect match. Go for it. (I am using the old Yamaha P35).
The same price range : Casio S150 or Roland FP10. Casio weighted keys lighter than Yamaha. Never tried Roland FP10 since my local store rarely put it in the showroom.
Thanks! I'm really headed in that direction. Since this is largely for practice I would prefer the heavier weighting. Might as well struggle on the practice piano and fly on the real one!
 
OP
DerGeist

DerGeist

Active Member
P45 and Walker D = perfect match. Go for it. (I am using the old Yamaha P35).
The same price range : Casio S150 or Roland FP10. Casio weighted keys lighter than Yamaha. Never tried Roland FP10 since my local store rarely put it in the showroom.
Can you can confirm that your p35 sends the full midi velocity range? Years ago I had a Yamaha P90 which I really regret selling now. The issue with it was it didn't send the full midi range. I think it went 0-100.
 

visiblenoise

Active Member
Have you looked at the Arturia Keylab 88? I haven't played on it, but it has a weighted Fatar keybed. I didn't give it a thorough look because I already had a Yamaha DGX-660 (which I think feels really decent but maybe not phenomenal, it's been a long time since I actually played piano seriously), but I'm really happy with my Keylab Essential 61 in terms of general build quality, ease of use, etc. (it doesn't have weighted keys so I can't comment on the feel)
 
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DerGeist

DerGeist

Active Member
A new contender, Roland FP-10. I have played an FP30 and liked the keybed. Same keybed in both models and since I plan to only use it for midi the other parts of the FP30 are not big selling points.
 
OP
DerGeist

DerGeist

Active Member
Have you looked at the Arturia Keylab 88? I haven't played on it, but it has a weighted Fatar keybed. I didn't give it a thorough look because I already had a Yamaha DGX-660 (which I think feels really decent but maybe not phenomenal, it's been a long time since I actually played piano seriously), but I'm really happy with my Keylab Essential 61 in terms of general build quality, ease of use, etc. (it doesn't have weighted keys so I can't comment on the feel)
Looks nice. It is tempting but I will never use the controls so it would be overkill.
 

Daniel

Senior Member
Can you can confirm that your p35 sends the full midi velocity range? Years ago I had a Yamaha P90 which I really regret selling now. The issue with it was it didn't send the full midi range. I think it went 0-100.
I just checked my latest project, Walker D with P35, the highest velocity only 98. And it is perfect for my projects. I am just sitting and playing P35 and no problem with velocity range, it will go naturally and really enjoyed. IMHO, P35 with Walker D /Emotional Piano--- to me P35 is the affordable price and could deliver midi velocity as well. (note: budget wise, )
 

tc9000

Absolute Member
I've had a Roland FP10 for about 6 months now. Very happy with it. That said, I don't have anything to compare it with, as its my first weighted keyboard. I also have had very little exposure to real pianos. When I first got it, the action felt a little heavy / sluggish but that was to be expected because I was coming from an unweighted synth keyboard. Now I'm used to it, I love the feel of it.

Construction seems reasonably sturdy. It occupies a small footprint (for an 88 key weighted keyboard). It is heavy and you will probably want to invest in the (not included) stand (KSC-FP10). The onboard speakers are weedy as hell, but as I use it as a controller its great. Pairs well with all of my piano VIs. You will need to invest in a proper foot pedal, the provided one is trash. There is no 3-pedal option for the FP-10, but I think you can maybe have half pedalling with the DP10 pedal?
 
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DerGeist

DerGeist

Active Member
I've had a Roland FP10 for about 6 months now. Very happy with it. That said, I don't have anything to compare it with, as its my first weighted keyboard. I also have had very little exposure to real pianos. When I first got it, the action felt a little heavy / sluggish but that was to be expected because I was coming from an unweighted synth keyboard. Now I'm used to it, I love the feel of it.

Construction seems reasonably sturdy. It occupies a small footprint (for an 88 key weighted keyboard). It is heavy and you will probably want to invest in the (not included) stand (KSC-FP10). The onboard speakers are weedy as hell, but as I use it as a controller its great. Pairs well with all of my piano VIs. You will need to invest in a proper foot pedal, the provided one is trash. There is no 3-pedal option for the FP-10, but I think you can maybe have half pedalling with the DP10 pedal?
That is what I wanted to hear. I like the keys on the FP-30 and the 10 is supposed to be the same so this sounds like it could be the one. I have loads of stands and a couple of pedals so I'm set there. Will never use the internal speakers so no issue there. This could be a winner. No more practicing Rachmaninoff on a semi weighted 71 key Nord electro :)
 
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DerGeist

DerGeist

Active Member
I just checked my latest project, Walker D with P35, the highest velocity only 98. And it is perfect for my projects. I am just sitting and playing P35 and no problem with velocity range, it will go naturally and really enjoyed. IMHO, P35 with Walker D /Emotional Piano--- to me P35 is the affordable price and could deliver midi velocity as well. (note: budget wise, )
Cool, thanks. I didn't realize but this seems common to digital pianos. I thought my P90 was an anomaly. Did you play with the dynamic scaling in the Walker?
 

IvanHuorMusic

New Member
I'm from Canada as well, so I feel your pain when looking at prices. There's honestly not a lot in the $600 - 700 price range. The P45 is likely your best bet for something cheap and reliable. If you want to stretch it a bit, you can look into these:

- The Casio PX-S1000 received lots of praise when it was released. New sound engine sounds good too.
- I really like the RH3 action from the Korg D1. It's the same action from their flagship Kronos.
- Roland's FP30 is very popular. Not a fan of the PHA4 Standard action though. Feels different than what's on their nicer boards.
- I'm really curious about the ES110 from Kawai. They are well known for their action so this might be worth exploring.
 

Daniel

Senior Member
Cool, thanks. I didn't realize but this seems common to digital pianos. I thought my P90 was an anomaly. Did you play with the dynamic scaling in the Walker?
No worries! Hmm ...I didn't using it,. maybe sometime I will do. Actually I am the type of person who use something "preset" for all my libraries ;)
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
Yamaha KX88 for the win. They are runing for 250 dollars on e bay and they have a premium action
Yeah, I have to say that Yamaha's equipment from as far back as the '80s and '90s is amazingly well built.

And I have the RX-15 I bought in 1986 to prove it, in fact I was prompted to take it out of the closet for the first time in years as I was writing this post. :)
 

Quasar

Senior Member
Yeah, I have to say that Yamaha's equipment from as far back as the '80s and '90s is amazingly well built.

And I have the RX-15 I bought in 1986 to prove it, in fact I was prompted to take it out of the closet for the first time in years as I was writing this post. :)
Yamaha is my preference for digital pianos/controllers, though I'm also impressed with Kawai from what limited experience I have. The Casio Privia series is a tempting way to go because you get the 3rd sensor at an extremely attractive price point, but when I had the chance to try a few I was not happy with either the build or the key action, which felt cheaper and "spongier" or something. This is totally subjective, YMMV and all of that...

...FWIW, Yamaha has a tiered graded hammer action series, from low to high-end: GST, GHS, GHE, GH3, GH3 NW. The first is a "soft touch" that is of no interest to piano players. GHS = Graded Hammer Standard, present on the more inexpensive "P" series (I believe the P35 & P45 use this). I tried the GHS on a P80 before buying the somewhat pricier P120 because it had the better GHE (=Graded Hammer Effect). The difference between GHS and GHE is the cutoff point at which I actually like the action... If I had more money I would likely upgrade to GH3 NW (natural wood) with the triple sensor, but it's not a pressing concern. My current CP33 uses GHE too.
 

Nick Batzdorf

Moderator
Moderator
The Casio Privia series
I was in Guitar Center the other day (oy, what a mess) and strolled through their keyboard area. The Casio CDP-S350 was on sale for $400, and I was really impressed with its action.

It wasn't hooked up, so I don't know how it actually responds, but I was shocked at how good it feels for that price.