My KX88 Finally Died! Suggestions?

soundchaser59

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I'm now a TGP guitar rig guy who also is in need of some keyboard referrals. My KX88 has finally died, 35 years after I took it home brand new from Dietze here in Lincoln. As much as I love all of my guitar gear, I feel lost without a good piano. If I can't get new parts from Yamaha (I suspect the key contact boards are shot) then I have to start looking at how far keyboards have come and what I can afford to replace the KX88.

I can't decide if I should just get a good piano that has some good grands, electrics, clavs, and organs, or if I should save up for something more elaborate like a workstation or a nice synth. (but I do already have a ton of synth sounds available on my DAW) I guess my main question and my main concern (besides the obvious feel and sound quality) is build quality and reliability.

So if you have any opinions about quality keyboards that can take a lickin' and keep on tickin' then I'd like to hear which brands you recommend. I'd like to keep it under (or not much over) $2k, and nothing with less than 76 keys please. I'm doing home recording so I need midi, and I'm focused on blues, classic rock, jazz rock, and lite fusion type sounds. Portability is an added bonus but not necessarily required. Thanks in advance for your input.
 

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
3,784
I'm now a TGP guitar rig guy who also is in need of some keyboard referrals. My KX88 has finally died, 35 years after I took it home brand new from Dietze here in Lincoln. As much as I love all of my guitar gear, I feel lost without a good piano. If I can't get new parts from Yamaha (I suspect the key contact boards are shot) then I have to start looking at how far keyboards have come and what I can afford to replace the KX88.

I can't decide if I should just get a good piano that has some good grands, electrics, clavs, and organs, or if I should save up for something more elaborate like a workstation or a nice synth. (but I do already have a ton of synth sounds available on my DAW) I guess my main question and my main concern (besides the obvious feel and sound quality) is build quality and reliability.

So if you have any opinions about quality keyboards that can take a lickin' and keep on tickin' then I'd like to hear which brands you recommend. I'd like to keep it under (or not much over) $2k, and nothing with less than 76 keys please. I'm doing home recording so I need midi, and I'm focused on blues, classic rock, jazz rock, and lite fusion type sounds. Portability is an added bonus but not necessarily required. Thanks in advance for your input.
If you just want a controller, the Arturia Keylab 88 mkII gets good reviews and includes Analog Lab if you need more VSTs. Like with most keyboards, feel is very particular, so there are some people that hate the keybed, but other people rave about it, so you might want to see if you can find one to play before you buy. The other options for controllers with weighted keys are Roland, Korg, Studiologic (Fatar - makes the keybeds for Arturia - less controls and less software, but priced commensurately) - lots of options to explore (https://www.sweetwater.com/c513--MI...ldCI6eyJUeXBlIG9mIEtleXMiOlsiV2VpZ2h0ZWQiXX19)

If you want additional sounds, I'm currently using a Roland Juno DS-88 mostly as a controller. The keys feel really nice to me, but I'm primarily a guitarist, so take my opinion with a massive grain of salt. It's got a lot of sounds on it and features I don't use very often, but I got it for a great deal used (even full price is well within your range). I believe Roland makes their own keybeds and real keyboardists seem to like them.

Nords are also super nice, but pricey - probably out of your range unless you can find a good deal used. Great organ and piano tones, decent, but limited synth tones (just samples - no native synth). I believe their keybeds are also Fatar.
 

soundchaser59

Thank You Great Spirit!
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If you just want a controller, the Arturia Keylab 88 mkII gets good reviews and includes Analog Lab if you need more VSTs. Like with most keyboards, feel is very particular, so there are some people that hate the keybed, but other people rave about it, so you might want to see if you can find one to play before you buy. The other options for controllers with weighted keys are Roland, Korg, Studiologic (Fatar - makes the keybeds for Arturia - less controls and less software, but priced commensurately) - lots of options to explore (https://www.sweetwater.com/c513--MI...ldCI6eyJUeXBlIG9mIEtleXMiOlsiV2VpZ2h0ZWQiXX19)

If you want additional sounds, I'm currently using a Roland Juno DS-88 mostly as a controller. The keys feel really nice to me, but I'm primarily a guitarist, so take my opinion with a massive grain of salt. It's got a lot of sounds on it and features I don't use very often, but I got it for a great deal used (even full price is well within your range). I believe Roland makes their own keybeds and real keyboardists seem to like them.

Nords are also super nice, but pricey - probably out of your range unless you can find a good deal used. Great organ and piano tones, decent, but limited synth tones (just samples - no native synth). I believe their keybeds are also Fatar.
Plus for the Roland DS. And you'll have a grand cash left over.
WOW ! Thanks for the direction. The Roland Juno DS-88 and the Yamaha MX88 seem to be going head to head in a lot of the online clips and reviews. Great sounds, midi out for playing VST sounds, line outs for live to amp/pa or for recording, and supposedly very nice grand piano feel true weighted action. And well under $2k. Way better options than I expected to find.

I like the bang-for-buck Korg offers but my good friend has one of the mid line Korg and has had problems with it, controls cutting in and out, keys going dead, action breaking, etc. And I've never been able to sit 100% comfy with the Korg grand piano sounds. (my second major in college was piano, so it's of great importance to me, even though I tend to focus on guitar) I think my ears tend to catch the upper mids better than some people, and Korg pianos always sound a tad bit harsh and metallic to me.

I listened to several demos and compare clips using some nice Cerwin Vega speakers, most of it comparing Yamaha vs Roland with a Korg here and there. I was intensely drawn to the DS-88 vs MX88 shootouts, and it seemed rather hard to hear the differences. Both have great sounds, and supposedly awesome feel and touch on the weighted keys, plenty of other sounds like elec pianos, clavs, and organs, with the classic Juno synth sounds being an added plus that I could definitely find a use for. The only drawback was liking the pianos better on one but the clavs better on the other, liking the epianos better on one and the organs better on the other. The great equalizer on the playing field is me having enough experience with keys and synths to know that when there are several hundred sounds to choose from, I will always find one or two or three in each category that I repeatedly gravitate to. So I'm not really concerned about the Roland or the Yamaha missing sounds that are only available in the other. I believe either one will be able to gratify my appetite for a few solid sounds in each category. Besides on my DAW I have Pianoteq, which is awesome in its own right.

What does concern me is the fact that I refuse to buy something like this without actually touching it first, and there is an incredible lack of support in my area (Lincoln/Omaha) for pro line keyboard sales. So if I'm going to touch one and play it myself I may have to take a drive to KCMO. But, it's that important to me for the keyboard to feel and sound right for me and my hands, so I'll do what I have to do.

The main thing is getting pointed to such great sounding and great playing keyboards at great price points with just one well placed question, so THANKS for this! I'll keep you posted. In my budget, Yamaha and Roland seem to be the top contenders. Nord is out there and has great offerings, but I did find some reviews that reveal problems out of the box. A $4500 dollar keyboard should not have QC issues right out of the box, period. Could be a fluke, I don't know, but I can't risk that kind of money on it.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
14,508
I'd agree with DS88 but the FA08 has the Supernatural sounds in it.

You might want to investigate that and compare with the DS88
 

DCFanatic

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
309
I'm now a TGP guitar rig guy who also is in need of some keyboard referrals. My KX88 has finally died, 35 years after I took it home brand new from Dietze here in Lincoln. As much as I love all of my guitar gear, I feel lost without a good piano. If I can't get new parts from Yamaha (I suspect the key contact boards are shot) then I have to start looking at how far keyboards have come and what I can afford to replace the KX88.

I can't decide if I should just get a good piano that has some good grands, electrics, clavs, and organs, or if I should save up for something more elaborate like a workstation or a nice synth. (but I do already have a ton of synth sounds available on my DAW) I guess my main question and my main concern (besides the obvious feel and sound quality) is build quality and reliability.

So if you have any opinions about quality keyboards that can take a lickin' and keep on tickin' then I'd like to hear which brands you recommend. I'd like to keep it under (or not much over) $2k, and nothing with less than 76 keys please. I'm doing home recording so I need midi, and I'm focused on blues, classic rock, jazz rock, and lite fusion type sounds. Portability is an added bonus but not necessarily required. Thanks in advance for your input.
I have the Yamaha CP4 and it is a nice feeling keyboard but terrible MIDI integration. The sliders on the control panel are not functional for integrating with a DAW or Software VSTS. To be honest if you are just doing home recording working with a DAW and MIDI I would look an Arturia Keylab 88 Mk2! I've heard great things about them and it comes with some Arturia sound packs.

I am using my CP4 live as a MIDI controller plugged into my laptop using Native Instruments and IK Multimedia stuff to play bass guitar, piano, B3 and some other synth sounds... I think the laptop tech has come so far that it's starting to make more sense to go that way. If you have any questions about the set up feel free to ask! I've spent a lot of time tinkering and getting it set up.
 

soundchaser59

Thank You Great Spirit!
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12,515
At this point, just based on watching entertaining demo clips on youtube and a lot of reading, the list is down to:
Yamaha MX88
Yamaha P515
Roland Juno DS88
Roland RD88
Roland FP90 (would be quite a stretch price wise, but great demos)

Currently looking for demos on Kawai, like the ES8. Never known much about the brand or the build, but seems to have great sound.
Also willing to give another look at some Korgs, but not yet sure which ones would be best for my uses.
Any thoughts on which Kawai or Korg to look at in depth in the $1k-$2k price range?
Some sites also like to review the top of the line Casio, but I know nothing about the brand. All I have is some 40 year old stereotypes of it as a Radio Shack brand.
Most of the demo clips are really good, a lot more fun than our run of the mill guitar amp and pedal demos. LOL!!

At this particular moment I'm feeling like that Juno DS88 might be hard to beat, especially if I can't come up with some extra cash to hit the $2k mark in my budget.
 

drfrankencopter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,159
Check the used market for stage pianos....I’ve got a Roland Rd750nx myself, it’s almost 10 years old, but I still like the internal sounds for piano, and EP. I can’t imagine they’d be more than $1k on the used market now
 

soundchaser59

Thank You Great Spirit!
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Messages
12,515
Yup, I finally concluded that what I want is a "Stage" Piano. But I'm also more and more thinking I should go for something that's no more than 2 or 3 years past its release date.
I think one of the main factors that has me still tossing between Roland and Yamaha is whether I want the keyboard to also have built in recording. At the very least the ability to load and play back wav (or mp3) files would be quite useful. Seems like a number of different keyboards can do that, but not all. I think there is one Yamaha model that has a 16 track recorder built in, but I don't recall for sure if that's a recorder (audio and midi) or just an internal sequencer (midi only).
 

soundchaser59

Thank You Great Spirit!
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And the winner is....... Yamaha P-515.

But now what to do with a broken KX88?
 

63blazer

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Messages
99
MX88 is such a standard now in its price range.

Not everybody can buy a Kronos, Fantom, or Montage nor does everyone want to.

An 88 key Korg Krome may be a good purchase:

 

soundchaser59

Thank You Great Spirit!
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,515
MX88 is such a standard now in its price range.

Not everybody can buy a Kronos, Fantom, or Montage nor does everyone want to.

An 88 key Korg Krome may be a good purchase:

That was my #2 pick. But I chose the P-515 instead because the Krome doesn't have speakers. My first digital keyboard was a DX7, so I already knew I didn't want to spend more time programming than playing. The P-515 may not have quite as much synth power as the Krome, but I won't be tempted to spend all day programming it. It is slightly more targeted at simply playing, and anything it won't do I can do on the computer in Reaper anyway.

But if I had another $1500 to burn I would buy the Krome for my song writing buddy, sight unseen, no questions asked!
 




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