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I'm thinking of getting a relatively inexpensive digital piano or keyboard to put in the room where I practice so there is something close by to work out harmony, voice leading etc. I think I might like something with speakers (even though they may not be great) so that I don't necessarily have to have it hooked up to something external or to my computer if I just want to hear something quickly, but I would also like to be able to use it as a very basic controller if I want to input something into a DAW or notation program using a keyboard.

I was looking at a second hand Yamaha P-45, because it is relatively light and compact, has a USB connection that can be used for midi-out and a couple of small, but functional speakers. Is there a downside that anyone can think of? Is 64 note polyphony generally sufficient? Any other alternative suggestions?

Note that I have an upright piano in the house, so if I have the desire to do any serious piano study/practice, that is available.

Thanks!
 

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I currently have a setup similar to the that you are envisioning, and yes, I really like having a piano nearby. I helps visually and aurally. Any keyboard helps in visually and learn theory and working stuff out, even if it is just a little kid’s toy.

The Yamaha p-45 is a great option- if you have a good line on one go get it. The Casio pianos such as the p130 s are quite good as well. I have 64 note and 128 note polyphony pianos and can’t really tell any difference in the sound. My old Yamaha p-60 (64 notef poly) I keep under my new Nord Electro 5d in my practice/rehearsal area sounds great whether I run it through the built in speakers or through a PA.
 

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The P45s are an excellent option for what you're wanting to do with it. The new P125s have a better sound and feel than the P45 in my opinion, but if those things aren't super important to you then you would absolutely be getting your money's worth with a 45. You can't go wrong with Yamaha in terms of affordability, reliability and longevity in digital pianos.
 

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Hey, SaxMandu! Before I even finished reading your post I was going to recommend the Yamaha P45. I do agree with ashwind that the higher-end models sound a bit better, but the 45 will serve you just fine if it's mostly just for practice and MIDI control.

I got my trusty P-85 on Craig's List years ago for under $200 and it's been one of the best and most useful musical tools I've purchased. I never use it on gigs, it just stays in my room for practice, writing, and MIDI tracking. It feels absolutely phenomenal, like a real piano (Yamaha makes some of the best keybeds in the business), and makes practicing piano much more of a joy than using a board with unweighted or semi-weighted keys.

The P-45 isn't much of a step down from the 85, from what I've experienced. Any of those Yamaha digital pianos will serve you very well. Can't recommend them highly enough.
 

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The 64 polyphony is the number of notes that can be generated simultaneously - hit one more note and the oldest note will cut out. But you'd need to do a run with sustain or something to get that to happen!
More or less electronic keyboards either tend towards Piano (feel, note dynamics, voice quality) or Production desk (number of voices, rhythm, multi track recording etc). The more you pay the more/better of both you get. Most the latter can be done with apps / pc for those comfortable to do so. But for noodling & midi controller the low end Yamaha's are fine.
As a thing to think about, some of the rhythm capabilities can be fun to use as an alternative to metronome. Yes, there are apps for that, but a keyboard with speakers that is just in the room and can be set going with two or three button pressed could be convenient. Added value.
 

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I'm thinking of getting a relatively inexpensive digital piano or keyboard to put in the room where I practice so there is something close by to work out harmony, voice leading etc. I think I might like something with speakers (even though they may not be great) so that I don't necessarily have to have it hooked up to something external or to my computer if I just want to hear something quickly, but I would also like to be able to use it as a very basic controller if I want to input something into a DAW or notation program using a keyboard.

I was looking at a second hand Yamaha P-45, because it is relatively light and compact, has a USB connection that can be used for midi-out and a couple of small, but functional speakers. Is there a downside that anyone can think of? Is 64 note polyphony generally sufficient? Any other alternative suggestions?

Note that I have an upright piano in the house, so if I have the desire to do any serious piano study/practice, that is available.

Thanks!
You don't say exactly how much you want to spend. I have a Yamaha CP5 which is pretty good and you can get one used for under a thousand dollars. I also have a real piano though which I use during the day and I use the CP5 at night with headphones. Phil Barone
 

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Thanks everyone!

Claxton, I am also looking at a Casio PX160 (which I take is a step up from the P-45), but I have heard that Yamaha sound is a little better and that the feel is more realistic, although again, for what I am likely to be doing with it, it probably doesn't matter too much. But who knows, maybe I will be caught by the Piano bug and want to use it to practice at night with headphones. I may need to take a trip to the music store to see what I think of the different brands.

HeavyWeather - I have seen the P85s on Craigslist too (Under $200 is a great price!). The only thing that was sort of steering me toward the P-45 was that it is newer (not necessarily important) and it has a USB connection. My current audio interface is very basic and doesn't have midi in/out. Although I imagine there are probably midi to USB cables out there.

lesacks, some rhythm could be fun, but it seems most of the less expensive keyboards with that type of thing tend to have a synth-like feel and a lot of extra sounds and things that I wouldn't use?

Phil, thanks. I didn't mention a budget because I have been leaving it somewhat open, but I am hoping to keep it under $500 and less is even better. I'm not yet sure how much I am going to be using it, so I figured if I don't invest too much I won't feel bad if it doesn't get a ton of use or if it does and I decide I want to replace it with a better model down the road.

I should also mention that space is a concern and the fewer wires the better (I already have too many!) I had originally been thinking about a 61 key synth action type of thing, but then I thought that whatever time I spend on the keyboard would probably be better spent using something more "real" piano-like, with weighted keys.
 

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I had a psr E353 (bottom of the line, unweighted keys) - the rhythm sounds where quite serviceable to practice (kb, sax) with. All the voices except the main piano and maybe the electric organ ones where, indeed, very synthetic and nasty. I did get the bug (but not enough to want to spend much, I'm not a GASer), so I replaced it with a Roland FP30 - the voices are infidelity better, the feel is lovely, but a very limited range of everything; it's a Capital-P Piano... but still does MIDI etc.

I would note that, as far as I can make out, for Pianos, within a similar price bracket - the "sounds better" and "feels better" decisions are purely personal... eg for the Kawai ES110 / Yamaha P115 / Roland FP30 - the difference between them is, by all accounts, smaller than the difference between any selection of uprights!

I'd suggest ... don't panic!
If you really want a P-Piano, go the the store and play some... get a personal perspective.
Otherwise, the P-45, PX160 etc. are probably very serviceable - as I've posted else where, for me anyway, having a kb has really helped boost my understanding of music - even the E353 was good for that.
 

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For what you are planning, almost any keyboard will work. I go back as far as 32 note polyphony on my first Roland digital piano. Used it on solo piano gigs, too. But the real advantage in a midi studio is the software, not the keyboard.
 

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Thanks everyone!

Claxton, I am also looking at a Casio PX160 (which I take is a step up from the P-45), but I have heard that Yamaha sound is a little better and that the feel is more realistic, although again, for what I am likely to be doing with it, it probably doesn't matter too much. But who knows, maybe I will be caught by the Piano bug and want to use it to practice at night with headphones. I may need to take a trip to the music store to see what I think of the different brands.

HeavyWeather - I have seen the P85s on Craigslist too (Under $200 is a great price!). The only thing that was sort of steering me toward the P-45 was that it is newer (not necessarily important) and it has a USB connection. My current audio interface is very basic and doesn't have midi in/out. Although I imagine there are probably midi to USB cables out there.

lesacks, some rhythm could be fun, but it seems most of the less expensive keyboards with that type of thing tend to have a synth-like feel and a lot of extra sounds and things that I wouldn't use?

Phil, thanks. I didn't mention a budget because I have been leaving it somewhat open, but I am hoping to keep it under $500 and less is even better. I'm not yet sure how much I am going to be using it, so I figured if I don't invest too much I won't feel bad if it doesn't get a ton of use or if it does and I decide I want to replace it with a better model down the road.

I should also mention that space is a concern and the fewer wires the better (I already have too many!) I had originally been thinking about a 61 key synth action type of thing, but then I thought that whatever time I spend on the keyboard would probably be better spent using something more "real" piano-like, with weighted keys.
My CP5 has weighted keys and it still doesn't have any of the resistance of my piano. I play the CP5 in the early morning like I did today and at night and it's always a drag. It takes me an hour to get used to it. No resistance at all, it sucks. Phil Barone
 

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My CP5 has weighted keys and it still doesn't have any of the resistance of my piano. I play the CP5 in the early morning like I did today and at night and it's always a drag. It takes me an hour to get used to it. No resistance at all, it sucks. Phil Barone
Pianos are a different animal. Techs can weight the action. My Baldwin R is light and fast, probably not to your taste. I prefer the Fatar/StudioLogic action. I find the Yam action sluggish. My latest rig is the StudioLogic Numa controlling Pianoteq 6 on my MacBook. It's a gas!
 
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