for those of you who are out and about gigging, i was just wondering what you use for a good piano sound, where a real piano isn't available. seems like a lot of people carry a computer around with them, but i can't see this really being practical. one spilt pint, or a corrupted computer, and the gig could be over before it starts.
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nowadays, it isn't hard to find a good piano sound. however, there are other aspects to consider, like touch, price, ease of use, weight, durability, on board speakers, pedal included, etc.

personally, i need a  kb that feels & responds naturally, so it behooves me to spend a little more, and perhaps deal with something heavier so that i'm comfortable playing.

a couple of years ago i bought  a kb that felt pretty good and only weighed 36lbs, but in the long run i was unhappy with the sounds, so i bought something heavier and more expensive.  recently i had a health issue that makes hauling the newer one around, kind of a drag, so i'm again considering a lighter option.

the soft synth option is gaining popularity, but like you said, it seems a bit risky to me, especially if someone swipes your laptop off the band stand, or your hard drive takes a dive in the middle of a tune/gig.

so what am i using currently?  a yamaha s90sx.

which lighter option am i considering?  i'm not sure of the model number, but apparently casio has a brand new light-weight pro model for less than a grand and less than 30 lbs.  however, i have not played one yet.

let us know what you end up getting!


i have a roland fp model controller (88 keys with great action and not very heavy) with an outboard kurzweil micropiano.

the micropianos are not made any more, and the kurzweil sound is a bit long in the tooth for modern ears (at one point kurzweil ruled, but other manufacturers have surpassed their piano sound in recent years).

if i had my druthers, i'd still keep my roland keyboard, and get ivory as an outboard sound generator.

but that would require buying a dedicated laptop and, of course, purchasing ilio's software.

all that would add up to a couple of thousand dollars - but you can't buy a 9' steinway for that kind of change, so ivory would be a great deal if i had the moola ...
if you're looking for something more responsive and customizable, pianoteq (soft synth) has made great strides in acoustic piano modelling.  almost negligible hard drive footprint and natural dynamic response.   it's not going to replace a sampled acoustic like ivory yet, but they're on the 4th gen and they get a little closer every time.  
also, i guess you should make sure that you kb has at least one passable onboard sound in case that pint takes out your laptop.

on a related note, i've been looking into using a netbook, midi controller, and outboard sound card for my secondary "rock" rig (b3, clav, synth leads/pads).  i know netbooks aren't supposed to be the most powerful things, but i'm hoping that one could handle some of the better low-wattage soft-synths. has anyone tried this?

i play primarily on my motif es8, i use it primarily for sounds other than piano though (and sequencing, sampling, effects, etc.). downstream i have a roland xp50 with four expansion cards that i use for sounds that the motif just doesn't work well with in my opinion. for my true piano sounds, i still use my kurzweil micropiano as does 7. i insist on carrying too much crap and the micropiano is the smallest and lightest piece of equipment i have, so as much for that and some absurd emotional attachment, i will probably use it until i die, lol.
i know what you mean about weight. i'm carrying around a fatar sl880, mother keyboard, which has metal casing, and weighs a ton. when i got it (about 20 years ago!), it didn't seem too bad. it is however, very robust, and i think has a nice feeling action (if a bit noisy now when practicing quietly).

for the moment i may may just purchase a sound module to plug in. so far i like the look of the gem rp-x, which may be a bit outdated and hard to get hold of now, or the linex vienna grand. i've also looked at the peavey musebox, but i think this may be more than i need, as i just want a really good piano sound. don't mind spending the extra money, but its a bit pointless if i'm buying stuff i don't actually need.

sound modules seem less popular now, and it's not easy to go to your local music shop and listen to one, so i'm relying on listening to sound samples online, and reading reviews, which is less than ideal.

i will check out what some of you are using/suggesting when i get a bit more time to google.
i'm a recent convert to the nord stage 2 and will say that if you have the bread, this is the machine to get.
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just had a look at the nord stage 2 scot. a fantastic looking keyboard, but i think i prefer the look of the nord piano 2 as it has the full 88 keys with hammer action. love the idea that you can update the sound free of charge online. still, a lot of money....

just found out the uk distributor is only 10 miles down the road from me. i must see if i can get a demo.
jerry- the nord stage 2 is full 88 keys with hammer action (best action i've felt on a keyboard.)

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/stage2-88/ />
the piano 88 is also great, just doesn't have the synth and other modules built in like the stage 2 does:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/piano2ha88/
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
stage 2 link broke:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/stage2-88
If I'm not back in 24 hours, call the president.

Scot is available for skype jazz piano lessons (and google hangouts, phone call, etc...)
Use the contact link at the top of the page.
thanks scott. should look closer when i do a quick google search. i thought it was a bit strange that you would use waterfall keys on a short keyboard.

i already have a hammond drawbar module, which i think may be enough sounds for me when plugged into the nord piano 2, but i will see if i can get a demo of the stage 2 also, and make a more informed decision.
have now got myself a nord piano 2. sounded great in the shop, but i haven't yet gone through all the functions in detail at home. i would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking  of spending that amount on a gigging piano.

thanks to everyone who gave their advice!
congrats! i've never heard anyone say: "dang! i wish i didn't have a nord.".
nords had the reputation of having a bad piano sound for a while.  is that fixed?
it's a slick board. check it out:

glanddoc, i wouldn't say i have extensive knowledge of what piano sounds are out there, but this was a big improvement on my previous setup (a very old roland p330 going through a fatar sl880).

i wanted something i could do band gigs with, and also solo piano gigs where a real piano wasn't available. this definitely has the full sound and expressiveness of a real piano. i guess if they had problems in the past, they have now sorted them out.

as a matter of interest, the guy in the music shop said all nord keyboards were developed and manufactured from one small factory in sweden with not many employees. if this is true, i would think small changes in the workforce could bring about big changes in the products.
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