Digital Keyboard Recommendation?

I’m looking for a digital keyboard to replace my old one. I want 88 full-size keys, action sufficiently close to an acoustic piano, and (here’s where it gets problematic) I want an assortment of classic keyboard sounds closely resembling rhodes, wurlitzer, hammond and the like.

The keyboards on the market seem to fall into either of two categories, those that sufficiently replicate an acoustic piano but lack any electric keyboard sounds or those that include those sounds along with a ton of cheesy sounds I don’t care about such as tuba while being relatively lacking in realistic piano sound and key action.

What would be the best keyboard for me that’s under $2,000?

That’s a doozy. IIRC, Technics (a wholly owned subsidiary of Panasonic now), makes some decent keyboards and digital pianos. To get an impressive array of organ sounds, AND a good acoustic piano, AND have weighted keys…I haven’t seen the full shebang for $2,000. Maybe a second hand instrument if you’re lucky.

ETA: apparently Panasonic has discontinued the Technics line. D’oh!

Oh. I was all set for an answer until you mentioned good EP sounds. I still use a Yamaha P80 for piano and there’s a Motif (not ES) rack somewhere in a closet, but I don’t use it. Good piano sound, decent heavy-ish albeit feel, not that great sound-to-finger connection.

If you’re up into a few thousand, the Nord Stage in some of it’s various iterations might be it. You might have to settle for 76 keys, though, to fit in your price.

Let me ask. How much Hammond do you want? Do you want separate controls for perc, v/c, leslie sim, drawbars? Or can you deal with presets? I’m guessing since you want weighted keys you’re more looking for a gig-in-one-case kind of thing, so probably something like the Nord Stage or one of the newer Kurweil’s might be it.

Music store around you? Bring your own cans and check it out, I guess. I could do some recon from some friends online and IRL with some more info.

ETA no the rack is not for sale – it still has a good Rhodes sound and the XK-1 is perfect for my Hammond portable needs. And yes I did have the action replaced free-of-charge on the P-80. It’s also falling apart. But it still works so I use it for piano sounds and as a weighted controller/lower manual. Don’t laugh at me!

Oh shit the new thing for the past 8 months has always been the Hammond-Suzuki SK-1 – but it has a Hammond-style keyboard, with waterfall keys. From what I’ve listened to, though, the EP sounds are more than adequate – even the Wurli. I don’t know why people never get the Wurli right – my 720A needs some DeOxit and resoldering but a trem pedal through a real Rhodes is close enough. Seems easy, right? Keyboard folks, I guess.

I’d go for the SK-1 and a weighted controller maybe like one of the Casio Privias, but that’s a two-keys solution. I don’t know any better way.

OK. (I don’t use JavaScript here so I’m not doing the neat quote thing, but that’s to a Nord Electro 3 HP from Sweetwater for $2599. Weighted 73 keys, Hammond interface, good EP sounds, good acoustic [or good enough – free updates from manufacturer Nord]).

Sounds like you need another six hundred or shop around or shave your ass and sell it to the highest bidder. That’s what I would go for in an all-in-one-box. Besides, unless you’re using complex MIDI zones or whatever, keep in mind that the 88-key wasn’t really a standard until well into the twentieth century. Yeah, I like the extra room, but I don’t ever use the top octave. Do you really need 88 keys? I think I do but then again I think it’s more a psychological fixation than anything that can’t be worked around. They said Professor Longhair used to learn on a piano with a bunch of busted keys so he learned to work around them. Me and my shit Rhodes – only I can play it. Everybody else sounds like shit on it, because they don’t know how to get around the “trouble” spots. Think of all those great records Bud and Monk and Sonny Clark made on bunk pianos – they still made them sound good. To me, that’s what separates a good pianist from a wanker.

Any opinions of the Roland RD200NX? How is the rhodes and wurli sounds? I need just a basic hammond sound for my immediate purposes, which is owning just one keyboard with versatility to play anything including some classical. Is it 88 keys? 76 keys would be okay if the sound and action are good.

There are no local music shops around here, but I’ll be able to browse at some music shops in a few weeks. I want the key action to be more like an acoustic piano and less like an organ. I don’t the keys to push back up on my fingers if that makes any sense. I’m listening to the Yamaha CP50 on youtube.

Also, I’d like to buy it from Amazon to save money. Does Amazon have good customer service if the keyboard is delivered damaged or breaks down within the first few months?

Don’t know about Amazon – I assume they’re fine as far as service. I’ve used Sweetwater (famous for excellent customer service – I don’t know if they still throw some wrapped candies in their shipping boxes), Zzounds (also great – I think they might be out of business), and Guitar Center (in person only – eh, you got to grind them down on price and there’s always a bunch of little wannabe DeeJays blasting crap through some synth in the keys room).

Don’t have any knowledge of the Roland but I have heard amazing things about the Yamaha CP series – clearly Yamaha has the ability to produce awesome EP sounds, and maybe they started putting in their “piano” stuff that same technology. I’ve heard of a lot of high-end pros, like name players, using the Yamaha CPxs, but those are jazz guys who just use acoustic piano sounds. I’d bet the EP is good and the Hammond might be good enough for just the basic presets (they’re probably named things like “Jimmy” and “Groove” and “Booker T”).

If the Hammond is failing when I started playing professionally – not full-time, but for money when I was in grad school I used the P-80 with a Voce MicroBII (I think it was called). You can probably get one of those for almost nothing now. It’s a cheap, old module that sounded plenty good enough. (Although obligatory note now that I’ve been playing Hammond a lot in the past three or four years, you really can’t do all those cool Hammond things with weighted keys. But sure you can lean on some chords).

But serious note about the Hammond sounds – you NEED, as in not optional, the ability to use a “swell” pedal (an expression pedal). I use a Yamaha FC-7 – they’re about forty bucks, and work good, but your keyboard NEEDS to have an input for that kind of thing. Hammond just does not sound like it should without it. Learning to use it properly is harder IMO than kicking/tapping bass on pedals with left foot, but it just won’t sound right without the expression pedal ability.

Missed edit. Yeah I do know exactly what you mean about the keys bouncing right back up. It basically sucks playing piano or EP on a Hammond-style keyboard or some synth-keyboard. It’s just wrong.

Also forgot to add Musician’s Friend as a source – I used to have a store credit card from them. I think they’re the same company as Guitar Center. I wouldn’t worry about prices so much – online pricing is VERY competitive, so you’ll probably get the same prices at any of the big players. For my Hammond XK-1 I used a guy BBorgan (Bill Brown) it’s a shop he owns with big online presence – he gave me a sweet deal, but that’s a more specialized niche.

You might think going used? Keyboards now are pretty damned robust and even a warranty repair will still cost you shipping and weeks and weeks of waiting to get your keys back. It’s worth being a little bit of a self-helper and learning to do stuff like change batteries (often hidden WAY inside the guts of the brain) or fix keys or clean the MIDI contacts with DENATURED alcohol if you need to, so used is probably a good option as well. Keyboard Corner forum has a good, reliable sale/trade sub-forum, but you can’t post there unless you have a certain amount of posts in the main forum. I hang out there a lot (not under this handle) and there are quite a few hardcore pros and endless debates about products and amplification/speakers.

“Aren’t all keyboards digital?” thought Vinyl Turnip until he actually read the OP and realized: oh.

I use a Roland RD700GX, and the model down, in the newest generation (RD300NX) fits your price point. I love my board for accoustic and electric pianos, and from what I read, the NX is pretty similar. Not the best organs in the “300” series; the 700s have tweakable sims, while the 300s have uneditable patches.

I’d hesitate to buy anything without playing on it first, unless you’re really willing to send it back if you don’t like it. The action/feel on all the boards out there are different from each other, and preferences can be very personal.

Also, is the $2000 budget just for the board? These Rolands, for example, don’t come with stands, amp/speakers, a bench, or anything like that (the Roland FP series are their more all-in-one boards, with built-in speakers)?

I’ve been watching some Yamaha CP300 videos on youtube, and I may buy one from KraftMusic. It has some features such as an equalizer that separate it from an entry-level keyboard. I will test some keyboards out at a store before buying anything online though. I’ll check out the Roland 300NX, and would pay slightly over $2000 to get the extras such as carrying bag.

And yes, I don’t want the keys bouncing up on my fingers like an organ, especially when I’m playing classical piano. Part of the reason I want the action to resemble a piano is so I can play an acoustic piano, like at a restaurant, without feeling as though I’m playing an entirely different instrument. In my youth, I only played acoustic piano, but that would not currently be a choice due to circumstances. It would also be great if the keys are relatively quiet. I noticed my old keyboard has noisy keys when I played it with the volume turned off.