Our existing set-up dates from the late 1990’s
not sure where we will end up, but the Dell PC tower, VST sampled grand piano and B3 organ will need to go. Initial thoughts are for a completely self-contained engine within the keyboard – without computer and MIDI interfaces – allowing practice sessions to be more spontaneous. On-board piano sounds (both sampled and modeled) have become very good — yet virtual software pianos can have the edge if they are set up well — so let’s see!
PHYSICAL keyboards with internal sounds — TESTS:
Important April 2019 update — look what Nord just did !!!
They took the KAWAI weighted key bed into their incredible red piano: that means in theory that we no longer need to choose between the Kawai MP11SE because of its feel and the Nord because of its amazing piano library — now we get them both in the same (red) box!! However, we wait to see the reviews and if this key bed is really the good one or a lower quality action from Kawai. It seems the Nord incorporates the plastic (“Ivory Touch”) key version of the mechanism that is wood in the top Kawai digital piano model. However, Josh of Keyboard Talks (YouTube) seems to like it a lot.
— Nord series of keyboards – you know those red-colored ones(!) Nord has an extensive library of sampled pianos and which is available on-line for Nord customers. Nord include an organ engine and provide draw bars for its use – thus we consider replacing our B3 (or VST B4). Nord’s organ engine is available as a complete 2-manual draw bar model as a Hammond B3 emulator – see our post of the C2D on stage.
– Here the Nord stage 3 official demo.
— We look at the Roland RD-2000 with good modeled piano sounds and very nice weighted keys. Really excellent comparison Nord – Roland here:
— However, the Kawai MP11SE Stage Piano has one of the best-feel hammer keys and also good sounds. These are the three on our test list.
Many more demo links in the sidebar; decision is not easy!
However – there remains the alternative of moving to a MacBook and stand-alone Piano software (requiring no VST host) and keeping the weighted key RD-600 keybed, the feel of which remains comparatively quite good.