A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Covering The Full Range Of Casio Privia Pianos

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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by anotherscott » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:08 am

Derek wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:05 pm
Saul wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:19 pm
Actually a lot of keyboards no longer have DIN type MIDI ports.....
A lot of pro musicians that I know still swear by conventional MIDI DIN ports, and refuse to use USB connections on stage as they think they are too unreliable.
The thing about USB (besides being flimsier) is that it doesn't support direct connection to another keyboard. For a new Privia 88 to work for me, it would need a DIN MIDI out to trigger pianos/EPs from a Nord Stage 3 waterfall keyboard above. Or maybe a MODX7. USB-only won't work for me there. Really, anyone using multiple keyboards on stage who doesn't want to use a computer is going to want a regular MIDI jack.
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by Saul » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:15 am

But that's the thing. Things are moving on and many up and coming keyboard players are no longer using regular midi ports because they can either do everything they need within one keyboard or they are hooked up to a laptop running vst's.

A lot of legacy gear is now modelled or sampled so well that players no longer need to cart a load of heavy hardware around with them.

You can be pretty sure companies would not be dropping standard midi ports if there were a demand for them.

So for sure this Casio won't work for you but it will work very well for the majority and that is where a business needs to focus it's development dollars these days.

I am surprised though that no one has come up with some box of tricks that allows usb equipped keyboards to directly connect with each other. I have a feeling that would be quite a complex task or someone would have done it by now?
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by Swithin » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:43 am

Is a USB MIDI connection possible between two keyboards from the same manufacturer? I mean, can you connect a Yamaha to another Yamaha or a Casio to another Casio by USB?
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by SeaGtGruff » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:51 am

Unfortunately, no, there’s no ability to directly connect two keyboards from the same manufacturer with each other using USB; you still need to connect each of them to a USB host device and use the host to route the MIDI data from one to the other.
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by Derek » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:18 am

SeaGtGruff wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:51 am
Unfortunately, no, there’s no ability to directly connect two keyboards from the same manufacturer with each other using USB; you still need to connect each of them to a USB host device and use the host to route the MIDI data from one to the other.
That's a bit of an "it depends". The Kronos can take MIDI data from any class compliant MIDI keyboard (i.e. no driver required on the Kronos) as an example on its USB ports.

I think it is wrong to remove MIDI DIN plugs, as there is still a use case for them if you want to connect two devices together on stage with no computer (assuming your keyboards are not USB class compliant).

The rhetorical question of why I have moved to USB is answered because I have a computer as a MIDI processing hub (using Cantabile) and my keyboards are "spoked" onto that hub. I went this way because neither the Montage or Kronos support MIDI ECHO that my EX5 and Novation Remote did. MIDI Echo is such a simple feature that would be peanuts for manufacturers to add, which meant that I could plug my FC300 into my EX5 and my EX5 into my Remote and my Remote into my gig rack of computer in a single chain. The EX5 and Remote would merge their MIDI in data with their own data and send it all on MIDI out, which means no need for discrete mergers on stage, and I could setup my keyboards and computer/gig rack to take data from any keyboard.

Few keyboards support this now (another madness in my opinion), and of course you have the issues with Montage MIDI ZONING that Yamaha are being lobbied to fix, and also in some songs I was working on, I wanted to go from Kronos to Montage, not just Montage to Kronos. So using Cantabile as a MIDI hub was the best way to go. All of my MIDI processing/filtering/mapping/zoning is now done in Cantabile, where it is easier to setup as well, and this is why I went the USB MIDI route to cut down on the IO count on my rack.

So, I agree with the general sentiment that manufacturers should think hard about their overall market, and the fact that DIN based MIDI presents a lowest common denominator approach for connections that has worked for over 35 years and is amazingly resilient.
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by andreyasko » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:48 am

Hello there!
Saul, thanks for sharing your experience with us.
I am about to get a new PX 560M and just wanted to ask you if Casio is going to announce a superior version of this model this year.
I'm not a huge fan of Bluetooth controls via smartphones and 560M's touch screen felt quite convenient.
So is there any point in waiting for an upgraded version of Privia PX 560M or is it safe to get one right away?
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by Saul » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:03 pm

andreyasko wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:48 am
Hello there!
Saul, thanks for sharing your experience with us.
I am about to get a new PX 560M and just wanted to ask you if Casio is going to announce a superior version of this model this year.
I'm not a huge fan of Bluetooth controls via smartphones and 560M's touch screen felt quite convenient.
So is there any point in waiting for an upgraded version of Privia PX 560M or is it safe to get one right away?
Hi andreyasko, welcome to the forums :)

As far as I know there is not going to be an updated version of the PX560M. There is something coming later in the year that could be seen as a "replacement" for that keyboard but it is not an updated version of the same board. It is more a higher end version of the new Privia that is being announced on Monday. There are two new Privia's by the way. There is a mid-range version coming on Monday and the premium version to be announced nearer NAMM.
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by SeaGtGruff » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:31 pm

Derek wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:18 am
SeaGtGruff wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:51 am
Unfortunately, no, there’s no ability to directly connect two keyboards from the same manufacturer with each other using USB; you still need to connect each of them to a USB host device and use the host to route the MIDI data from one to the other.
That's a bit of an "it depends". The Kronos can take MIDI data from any class compliant MIDI keyboard (i.e. no driver required on the Kronos) as an example on its USB ports.
I was aware that there was at least one keyboard (or controller?) that can do this, but I didn't know the make and model because the person who had stated (on another forum site) that his synth?/keyboard?/controller? could do this had posted a photo showing the ports on the back but I couldn't tell what it was-- although it definitely wasn't a Korg Kronos, so that makes at least two that can act as a USB host device.

In any case, without being able to list which keyboards can do this, I decided it was better to simply answer the question as it was asked, which-- as I read it-- is whether or not two keyboards with USB-MIDI can connect via USB if they're made by the same company; that is, does being made by the same manufacturer allow them to "talk MIDI" to each other via USB.

Generally speaking, no, it doesn't work that way. And those that do have the capability to do this aren't limited by the manufacturer-- that is, if they can act as a USB host device for a second keyboard then (as I understand it) it doesn't matter which manufacturer made the second keyboard, only that (I assume) the second keyboard doesn't require a proprietary USB-MIDI driver to be installed on the device that's acting as a USB host.

This situation is definitely a hassle, unless one is able to use a computer or some sort of USB-MIDI interface device to act as a go-between-- such as made by iConnectivity, Kenton, or Sevilla Soft.
Michael Rideout
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by EXer » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:38 pm

anotherscott wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:08 am
The thing about USB (besides being flimsier) is that it doesn't support direct connection to another keyboard.
Derek wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:18 am
I think it is wrong to remove MIDI DIN plugs, as there is still a use case for them if you want to connect two devices together on stage with no computer (assuming your keyboards are not USB class compliant).
I could not agree more.

Removing MIDI would not be a step forward but rather a setback.

MIDI was invented 35 years ago, it has a low bit rate by today standards, but it has some major advantages:
• it is a universally accepted standard
• it has proved its effectiveness
• it is technically simple and inexpensive to implement
• it allows flawless communication between all generations and all makes of electronic musical instruments
and, above all,
• it allows them to communicate *directly*, i.e. without having to resort to outer technologies and protocols which are prone to obsolescence.

You could still use your MIDI equipped gear when the USB protocol rusts away in a junk yard...
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by Saul » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:35 pm

Whilst standard midi ports have been around for a very long time most keyboards sold now do not have them because for the most part they are no longer needed.

The majority of keyboards sold are not to people who want to connect keyboards together. They are sold to home users who either play their keyboard standalone or have it plugged into the computer via usb. I am not sure if it is manufacturers driving the market or consumers but there it is.

I have not "needed" DIN type midi ports for a very long time. Every keyboard I have owned since around 2003 has had a usb port and I have always used that to connect to a computer. As I mentioned previously the only time I used standard din type midi ports recently was to test the REVO1 with the MODX. Although the REVO1 does have usb too so it can connect direct to the computer.

Found this by a user named 'leftaroundabout' on stackexchange.com whilst researching why standard midi ports are being made redundant. Some interesting points if a little over enthusiastically expressed ;)
MIDI is an ancient technology. I mean, 7 bits, seriously??... IMO it's obsolete entirely, but the continued popularity of MIDI tracks and the universal compatibility (with no serious competition) means it will remain relevant for years to come, as a digital standard.

However, that's only the software part. On the hardware side, there is another standard with near-universal compatibility: USB. That can be used just as well for transmitting the MIDI data, and is superior to the old DIN plugs in, almost literally, every sense:

It can easily handle the bandwidth of a normal MIDI connection (or multiple – I mean not just the 16 channels but possibly a whole bunch of entire 16-chn MIDI streams). And it won't immediately get into trouble when you try to merge two busy streams of controller messages.
It can also transmit non-MIDI information in real time (with direct protocols, rather than awkward controller-encoding or SysEx hacks).
Power supply built-in.
It allows you to identify devices by name, rather than channel number
Its connectors are more robust & safe (if still nowhere near as rugged as XLR, alas...).
Slightly more stable WRT to interference in long cables (though USB isn't really made for long lines either; there are now ethernet-based standards which can work over hundreds of yards, if you need that).
The single “benefit” of DIN is: the devices don't even notice it when you unplug the MIDI, so you can hot-swap anything. But that's technically horrible, and often leads to stuck notes etc.. Better change the routing in software.

So this is now the reasonable thing to do: connect every MIDI device via USB, rather than DIN-MIDI.

This leaves the DIN plugs as only a backup: use them if you quickly want to set up a single connection between devices from the pre-USB age. For anything more complex, forget about DIN – if a device doesn't have USB, glue a cheap USB-MIDI interface to it.

But daisy chains of DIN cables to connect devices via MIDI-THRU? Definitely obsolete.
Getting back to the new Casio keyboards though. USB and Blutooth only.
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by PartTimeAmateur » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:59 pm

Hi everyone, I just joined.

Re the USB to DIN MIDI converter I see a Kenton model for about £90 and one at Hobbytronics for about £40, both of which claim to do this, though I haven't used either (or any other). I would think there are a few around as it would make an ideal project for a Raspberry Pi or Arduino enthusiast.

The stackexchange poster made some interesting points though until every midi device comes with both A and B ports and USB Host functionality then eiher a computer or at least one such-equipped keyboard would be needed to act as a central hub which limits its usefulness for connecting devices together.

I was actually following this thread because I was about to commit to a PX-560, as being excellent value-for-money compared to the MODX or Krome given my needs (see my user name), but I was waiting for NAMM announcements before I plunged. (I was swayed by PianoManChuck on YouTube, though I'm not sure how independent he is, given that he sells Casio keyboards).

However, after reading Saul's posts (thank you Saul for posting this, excellent info) I think I will go ahead (after first waiting to see what Monday's announcement is).

Finally, to andreyasko, my guess is that bluetooth is more likely to be for use with wireless headphones rather than for controlling the interface via your phone.

Thanks
Paul
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by Saul » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:30 pm

Hi Paul, a very warm welcome to the forums :)

I am always a bit hesitant with retailers reviews because of course the overriding reason they are showing us the product is to advertise it and hopefully sell a few. That isn't to say they are not being honest but...they do have a vested interest? Still, always useful to actually see and hear the product so from that point of view it still works for us consumers.

I guess some might say the same about this forum and us promoting Yamaha but, anyone who has been here a while and read through some of the threads will soon discover we are in no way partisan. This is a fully independent site and our views are based on our own experiences.

Personally I use what works for ME no matter what the brand is and I think that is the same for most people here :)

The reason I am particularly enthusiastic about the new Casio Privia(s) is because I have seen and played them. Otherwise it would be all speculation and that is always very shaky ground upon which to recommend something.

Of course what I like and what other people like may be entirely different but, I have played an awful lot of keyboards over the years and although I would never class myself as a pianist I do know what feels right and what does not.

The keybed quality on these new Casio keyboards is just amazing and when you see the price you may get a better idea of quite why it all adds up to an incredible package. The sound is also superb...but you will have to wait for the full reveal. Would love to give you all the details but there are NDA's involved so have to bite my lip for now ;)

By the way, Yamaha have a new stage piano coming for NAMM. I am due to take a look at it sometime next week so for now I know nothing more about it but at least I do have something to compare it to ;)
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by anotherscott » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:36 pm

Saul wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:15 am
You can be pretty sure companies would not be dropping standard midi ports if there were a demand for them.
I think they are in high demand among gigging players, but gigging players is a small percentage of the total market for budget-priced keyboards... and the manufacturers may be happy to keep it that way, as keeping MIDI jacks off low-priced gear incentivises these players to buy these companies' higher priced keyboards instead.
Swithin wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:43 am
Is a USB MIDI connection possible between two keyboards from the same manufacturer? I mean, can you connect a Yamaha to another Yamaha or a Casio to another Casio by USB?
Common manufacturer has nothing to do with it. Standard MIDI is peer-to-peer, USB is host/slave. Most keyboards do not have the hardware and software needed to function as a host.
Derek wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:18 am
That's a bit of an "it depends". The Kronos can take MIDI data from any class compliant MIDI keyboard (i.e. no driver required on the Kronos) as an example on its USB ports.
Kronos is a rare exception, it can act as a host. Probably because there's an actual computer motherboard inside, running Linux, so in effect, that functionality was already there in the underlying architecture.
Saul wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:15 am
I am surprised though that no one has come up with some box of tricks that allows usb equipped keyboards to directly connect with each other. I have a feeling that would be quite a complex task or someone would have done it by now?
You need a host, it is simply impossible to directly connect two slaves. But there are boxes that can convert USB to standard MIDI (like Kenton, as SeaGtGruff posted). But they are not universally compatible, require more cabling (including their own power supplies), are not particularly cheap, and you would need two of them to connect one USB keyboard to another.
Derek wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:18 am
{DIN MIDI} has some major advantages:
• it is a universally accepted standard
• it has proved its effectiveness
• it is technically simple and inexpensive to implement
It's also not susceptible to noise/ground hums as USB can be in some situations; and it uses a much more rugged receptacle that is less susceptible to damage/need of replacement than a USB connector in a board.
Derek wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:18 am
• it allows flawless communication between all generations and all makes of electronic musical instruments
and, above all,
• it allows them to communicate *directly*, i.e. without having to resort to outer technologies and protocols which are prone to obsolescence.

You could still use your MIDI equipped gear when the USB protocol rusts away in a junk yard...
Another good point. Today, a 35 year old DX7 can still be connected via MIDI to any other MIDI keyboard, any computer. There's a good chance it will still be true 35 years from now. A USB-only keyboard purchased today is more likely to have zero connectivity to anything being made 35 years from now. In fact, it can be easier today to integrate a DX7 into your modern system than it is to integrate early USB keyboards which were not class complaint, as they could require the use of custom drivers that are not supported on today's operating systems.
Saul wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:35 pm
Whilst standard midi ports have been around for a very long time most keyboards sold now do not have them
Once you go over $800, I don't think there's a single keyboard on the market that does NOT have them. And that's an awful lot of keyboards! (And of course, there are still plenty of sub-$800 boards that have standard MIDI jacks as well.) In terms of number of instruments available, more have MIDI jacks than do not... in terms of total units sold, I don't know, we don't have sales figures, though I imagine that Casio and Yamaha sell more $200 keyboards than $1200 keyboards.
Saul wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:35 pm
Found this by a user named 'leftaroundabout' on stackexchange.com whilst researching why standard midi ports are being made redundant. Some interesting points if a little over enthusiastically expressed ;)
Some of what he said there is simply wrong. And most of what is right ONLY applies to connecting keyboards to a computer.
Last edited by anotherscott on Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by parametric » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:44 pm

Saul is quite correct here (IMO). . . .

The Pros and Cons of the plethora of keybeds out there will always be a topic of hot discussion, but in the final

analysis, it is YOU the player only, who can know when it's "right" for you, both with respect to how it FEELS

to play, and also how it SOUNDS to you.

Piano Players especially will subconsciously "adapt" to the feel of a "strange" Piano . . . .

I've never really understood how this works, but I guess it's just the desire to sound as good as possible

with "the instrument" you've got . . .

If you find yourself "smiling" as you play, then you've probably found the right one . . . . ((i))

It really is of little importance if 98 people recommend "Brand X. Model Y" . . . .

If it doesn't make YOU smile - then it's probably not the right one for you . . .

Those people can help with creating a "shortlist", but the final choice must be yours . . . . :roll:

The argument is similar to the question of "correct colour" on a TV . . . .

We all perceive colour differently and WILL have precise opinions as to what constitutes "correct" rendition . . .

I would suggest its a kind-of Musicians' Holy Grail :lol:

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Re: A NEW Era for Portable Pianos by CASIO

Unread post by Saul » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:37 pm

The largest market for keyboards is not us lot. It is schools and education and in most of those situations the keyboards are not actually connected to anything. It then makes fiscal sense to only include the most commonly used port, which these days is USB by a wide margin and not bother with din type midi ports which will not be used.

Might be going out on a limb here but I am pretty sure if you asked most school children who are learning piano to tell you what a din type midi port is they would stare at you with a blank look wondering what the hell you were talking about. These are the musicians of the future!

I know many here don't like change and especially when that change doesn't bring huge benefits for the way you work but this is the world we live in and as someone who doesn't need din type midi ports and never has I am fine with USB and bluetooth. Even that is now looking old :lol:
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