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Lindsey Kuper

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The keyboard is dead. [Feb. 13th, 2005|11:27 am]
Lindsey Kuper

Long live the keyboard.

J-J meterbridge had helped me take it out to Gand where they could try and figure out why it wouldn't power on. They had it for about a week and a half, and then a couple days ago I got a phone message from one of the techs there. Turns out that a large packing staple had been rattling around inside the case, and there was no telling how much damage it had done. I probably don't have to explain to you guys that it's not exactly ideal to have foreign objects sitting around on circuit boards. Especially if they're made of metal. And bridge-shaped.

Anyway, the impression I got from the message was that there's not much to be done, since the cost of figuring out what's wrong and fixing it would be more than what the keyboard is worth. The guy said, "You can send it back to Korg," but he didn't sound especially hopeful about the possibility. What would be the advantage of sending it there? Do they have access to replacement parts that Gand doesn't have access to, or something? I should get that guy on the phone and figure that out, but I'm not holding out much hope either.

I think it's time to start thinking about getting a new keyboard.

The Kurzweil SP-88X is good. I used this board when I was writing the music for my jazz senior project because it's what we had in the lab at school. I liked how the action was firmer than my Korg's -- I like keys that offer plenty of resistance. (I notice the very first reviewer points out that the keys are better-feeling than Korg's, too.) One drawback of this keyboard is that it weighs 52 pounds, so it's about ten pounds heavier than what I'm used to, and those ten pounds could really make a difference, depending on how far I had to carry it. It's also not a very attractively designed keyboard, in my opinion. Out of these three, it doesn't have the simplicity and symmetry of either the Yamaha or the Korg (especially the Korg). But it is really solidly built. It costs $800 at Musician's Friend, which is what I paid for my Korg new. (They're also offering a scratch-and-dent special of it for $680, but I'm not sure if that's smart or not. (I emailed for the prices so you don't have to!)) It has 32-note polyphony, which is what I've currently got.

Then there's the Yamaha P90. I love that it's designed with a side panel rather than a back panel for connecting cables. The side panel is easier to use and better-looking, too. I haven't called for the price yet, but I see that they want $750 for the P60, the cheapest of the P series boards, and $1200 for the P120, which has onboard speakers, so I'm guessing they want about $1000 for this one. (A minute later: Ooh, I'm good. That's what they want for it here and here.) The reviewers on Musician's Friend say it has a heavy action, which is what I want, but when I test-drove a P120 at Gand when we dropped off my keyboard, it didn't seem especially heavy to me, and the P90's action is the same, according to the Yamaha website. I'd like to be able to compare the P90 side by side with the Kurzweil.) Another nice thing about this board is that it has 64-note polyphony. (I'm not sure if I need that, because I haven't noticed notes cutting out on my current 32-note polyphonic board, but maybe that's happening and I'm just not realizing it. I do pedal a whole lot.) This keyboard also has a display that's busier and uglier than what I'm used to, but also more useful. For instance, my current keyboard doesn't give any indication of what the current metronome setting is, but this one does. Also, this keyboard only weighs 37 pounds. Holy cow.

Finally, there's the option of getting another Korg. The SP-200 is the most recent incarnation of the one I have now. It's only $600, a steal. And I really like the streamlined design of the Korgs. They're everything you need and nothing you don't. For my purposes, it would be pretty much the same as the keyboard I have, but with a few improvements. There's a new, and ostensibly improved, sound generation system. Also, this one is said to have a "Hammer Action keyboard" while my old one is listed merely as "hammer-action simulation". So maybe it's got a more realistic touch and feel, maybe not. It also claims 60-note polyphony, but my understanding from the spec is that if you're using an effect, that number decreases, though I'm not sure by how much. Since I pretty much want reverb on all the time (it's on by default on my current board), I doubt if I'd ever get to take advantage of the 60-note polyphony. It weighs 41 pounds, just like my current board.

I want to try out all of the above and see what they're like. I'm not limiting myself to these three choices, but it's a start. I need to continue researching and narrowing it down.

LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: jwithington
2005-02-13 05:43 pm (UTC)
sucky.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-02-13 07:51 pm (UTC)
Update: I had thought that there was no way I could get a discontinued Yamaha P80, but it turns out there are several of them up for grabs on eBay. The P80 is just like the P90, but without a few of the bells and whistles -- things I don't need. Hmm.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-02-14 12:14 am (UTC)
I may or may not have just bid on a P80.

*wigs out*
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sonetka
2005-02-14 12:47 am (UTC)
Congrats on bidding on the P80. And speaking of the main post, is it just me or does "Korg" sound like somebody who would have hung out with Grand Moff Tarkin?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-02-14 05:52 am (UTC)
That depends. Who the heck is Grand Moff Tarkin?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sonetka
2005-02-14 11:29 pm (UTC)
The Evil Commander guy from the first Star Wars movie. "Evacuate? In our moment of triumph?" That guy. I was thinking of the scene where he's sitting at a conference (or whatever) of Evil People and they all seem to have incredibly goofy names.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-02-15 05:18 am (UTC)
I've never actually watched the Star Wars movies.

*hides*
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nintendo_lula
2005-02-14 04:08 pm (UTC)
Hi, this is completely unrelated to anything you've posted, and I'm sorry about that. Just thought I'd tell you that I have recently made a community all about hating the font Comic Sans. anti_comic_sans. Please join up if you're interested.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: leadsynth
2005-02-14 07:35 pm (UTC)
NICE!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2005-02-15 01:47 am (UTC)
Sweet. I'm in.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)