Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Covers both the Yamaha CP73 & CP88

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Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by Dukerbud88 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:05 pm

For my history, I have previously owned a Roland A90 Piano/Midi controller and a Yamaha Clavinova PF-100 (circa 1994) and I got incredible amount of use from both but due to personal changes in my life I thought it was time to upgrade since I haven’t had anything new for almost 25 years.
Just so everyone knows, I am not biased with any company whatsoever.

Fast forward to Nov/2018 where I purchased a Nord Piano 4. Absolutely LOVED the sound however, there was a huge issue with the keybed as it was making more noise than it should. To the point upon release of the keys the noise would resonate through my mic and through my L1 compact. Not acceptable.

After many views Youtube comparison videos and personal demoing in my local music stores I was undecided between the Korg Grandstage, Korg Kronos, Roland RD 2000, Yamaha CP4, Korg Krome nd the Roland FA-08.
All great pianos/workstations so it was a matter of sound, versatility and of course the keybed.

So, back in April I my local store had a CP88 so I jumped on. They had it running through a small Fender amp and even with that I got soooo sooo excited ….just as I did my Nord. So, when that excitement hits, instinctively I go with it. Plus, the keybed/action was just so soooo amazing that the decision was made there and then. So, traded in my Nord Piano 4 it in for my new love, the CP88. Unfortunately they only had the floor model so they gave me their floor model as a loaner until the new one came in.

So, as far as sound. I will admit I am not as happy with the piano sounds themselves compared to the Nord but with some tweaking with the EQ I have got 3 amazing piano sounds that I am very very happy with. The CFX has this sort of tinny sound to it and I will admit I thought the CFX on the CP4 was a bit better. However, the Imperial, S700 and the upright U1 are truly amazing. A little tweaking and you can basically get a great sound out of it.
The CP80/70 sample is definitely comparable to the Nord (which I use quite a bit in my set) so apart from the bug that’s going to b fixed this coming September it sounds absolutely incredible.
The Wurlitzer (especially with April’s update) totally blows the Nord away. I am just so so happy with it as it really helps with my Supertramp/10cc tunes that I use in my setlist.

The keybed, Well, it truly came down to the CP4, the RD2000 and the CP88. The CP4 was great for sure as was the RD2000 but after a number of jumps between the CP88 and the RD 2000 I found the RD was a little heavier than the CP88 and the CP4 was a little lighter so the CP88 was the perfect balance between the two. As weird as it sounds (no pun) I feel my playing has actually improved on the CP88. Songs that I had a hard time playing before (Tony Banks’ Lamb intro and Firth Of Fifth plus some blues scales for example) are coming much more easier. Weird how that works.

Yes, there are only 57 sounds with the CP88 as opposed to the NP4 and yes you can load samples into the NP4 but I had to be practical within myself. I use Logic Pro X for a trillion sounds that I can trigger so for home use/editing/sequencing for backing tracks the limitation of the sounds in the CP88 is not limiting to me at all. Plus, one has to ask themselves……or myself…how many sounds does one actually need? I mean seriously…these are stage pianos. I usually get between 3-5 gigs per month and I do not use more than 4-5 sounds within my 40 song setlist. So it’s basically, Acoustic Piano, CP80, Wurli, Rhodes and a AP with a combined Ample Acoustic Guitar (triggered through my laptop) /Piano sounds. The rest are just icing on the cake.
Ok, the other pianos may give you way more sounds but in all honesty, many of them are just different variations of the same sample, Don't let 1000 sounds fool you into thinking you're getting 1000 samples because you're not.

Now, that’s just me and I can’t speak for anyone else’s needs as everyone has different needs and requirements.

I also love the fact that I do not have to use my M-Audio interface anymore as the CP88 has a USB audio interface built in so with that and my upcoming purchase of a Yamaha MG10XU mixer (USB audio interface) going through my Bose L1 Compact system will be the perfect match for me.

So this whole notion that CP88 blows this out of the water…or The RD2000 feels better or the Nord Pianos sound so much better is total nonsense. It is ALL down to personal taste for personal needs.

I will say for price, keybed, versatility (again depending on your needs), sound and weight (yes I can actually carry the piano in my gig bag with one hand) the CP88 is hard to beat….but that’s just me.

Finally, I will say buying a piano is actually worse than buying a house or a car. Very stressful at times and we always want to make the "right" purchase. Yes, you can watch a trillion Youtube videos, read all of their comments, jump on the forums, get a a thousand different opinions and yes it helps but many times it can actually confuse you even more and also cause ulcers...LOL.
It’s best to think of your own needs and try not to let anyone’s opinions (comments) sway you but your own.

Cost/price aside there will ALWAYS be pluses and minuses to any of these pianos and if I had to do it all over again I would have waited until April this year before purchasing the Nord and maybe taken more time to study as it’s been 9-10 months to land to where I am now.

I hope my experience/review will resonate with anyone who is undecided in purchasing the CP88 or any other piano for that matter.

Now get out there and get a CP88! You won’t regret it….LOL!
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by parametric » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:58 pm

That's a very nice, Well-considered Appraisal <Dukerbud88 >

I can't agree more with what you say . . . .

It is SO important to get hand-on with any board you are considering.

Only you can say if it pleases - despite what is written elsewhere.

YT Vids are great for giving an overall impression of likely capabilities, but only your hands and ears

can truly make the right choice in the end.

Given that you already have a well organised set-list, it's important that you have the necessary

"bread and butter" sounds you need - and that they please you . . . !

It is all to easy to get moonstruck with hundreds of presets on offer, and as impressive as that often is,

when you are sitting there performing, it's much more relaxing to know that your "bread and butters" are

just a button push away - without the physical histrionics of menu-diving to find them . . .

You can then "enjoy" the performance and the event yourself . . . .

I DO so agree that when you have found THAT keybed, the more challenging songs seem to

become "easier"and everything just seems to "flow" . . . .

I've no idea how that works exactly, but it just seem to . . . :D

When I tried the CP88 at Yamaha HQ here in the UK a while back - I didn't really have time explore it

in depth and only tried Piano and Strings (always a favourite of mine) . . .

You need uninterrupted HOURS to do this properly, but all I can say, is that it seems to be a

fabulous board with a keybed that pleased ME right away . . .

I'm sure you will be increasingly happy with it as you put it to use in your forthcoming Gigs . . . (Y)

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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by Dukerbud88 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:25 pm

Thanks so much for your response. I repeated my post on almost all of the YT videos and other forums because I just wanted to remind people who have all this "know it all I know what I'm talking about" attitude that it's mostly about personal opinion and personal needs.
It takes so long to get a piano that's right and in the end there's always something that is lacking so I just wanted to share my experience hoping that it would help or resonate with potential buyers.
It took so long for me to get to this point but I am glad. It was a true close call between the CP4 and the CP88 but in the end I made the right decision....that's until next year when something else comes out...hahahah.
Gonna have to turn my internet off for the next 10 years so I don't see any new toys that I may want.
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by parametric » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:47 pm

I can well understand the close call between the CP4 and the S-88.

The CP4 is no slouch - being itself an Excellent Stage Piano . . . .

A friend of mine Russ Hayes, who I tech-supported through his degree at University, moved up to a CP4

from his previous S90 ES. He and his wife Carly have a thriving Piano Duo thing going - for Weddings/Events.

I have to say that the S90 ES sounds pretty good too . . . .

Russ also runs his own Studio and is a very talented Recording Engineer and Producer . . . .

he's also quite simply - a really nice bloke . . . . .

http://carlyandruss.co.uk/index.html

parametric
Alesis Fusion 8SSD AND 6SSD - BOTH are 384Mb/120Gb SSD/Akai ADVANCE61/Yamaha MOXF6/1024Mb Flash Ram/Yamaha SY85/8.5mb vol/1024k non-vol/DX21/Roland MT32/Bachmann double overstrung Baby Grand Piano/Win10 Pro/Ubuntu MATE 15.0.4/iBook G4/Mac OS 10.4.6/ProTools 7.4/MBox2/M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96

NI Komplete11 Ultimate

Sector101 2x SYEMB06 / 4 x EXM-E3 128MB DRAM Module

BRAND NEW DSDD (720k) FLOPPY DISKS FOR SALE - http://www.yamahaforums.co.uk/forum/vie ... =22&t=9217

Watch out now! take care, BEWARE of the greedy leaders! They'll take you where you should not go - (George Harrison)

IT'S TRUE - "MONEY TALKS" - TO ME, IT MOSTLY SAYS "GOODBYE" ;-)
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by Saul » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:17 pm

Agree with everything that has been said so far. It is such a shame that there are people out there who think their opinion is the only one that matters and no matter how many times you tell them that you are happy with whatever it is you have bought, they insist you are wrong and must be musically lacking in some way. :/:

It is exactly the same with guitars which is my own area...although of course I do love keyboards too. Some of the nicest guitars I have played over the years have not been the most expensive or have a big brand name attached but they suit ME and that is the only criteria I go by.

Same with keyboards. I like what I like regardless of brand or price.

I think the Yamaha CP is an excellent stage piano. The ONLY thing I would change about it is the loading and saving of sounds. As mentioned many times before I much prefer the way Dexibell do it but that is a minor gripe.

Would I buy a Yamaha CP? Probably not but that is only because my needs are fairly simple, just acoustic piano and I have the Casio PX-S1000 for that. At just a shade over £500 it does everything I need it to do. However I definitely appreciate the quality of the CP88 and understand why it costs what it does.
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by RwMcWilson » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:46 pm

I live in a small town with no music stores and did all my recent shopping researching online. This review was instrumental :) in my purchase of the CP88. I owned a P80 a long time ago and was really happy with it even though I broke a key after a few years. I repaired the key and replaced the felt in the bed. After storing it for more than a decade and gave it to my grandson for music lessons a year ago. It still plays like new!

Which brings me to my question/comment and why I joined the forum:

I am sadly underwhelmed by the sounds of my CP88. I love the build quality and layout but expected a whole lot more after 20+ years of digital piano development. The sound system I purchased is prosumer grade and great with the electric pianos, synths, so so with the string pads and awesome x2 with my pedal steel. The piano patches are bright, tinny, and sound really weird in the lowest bass notes, nothing like a real acoustic.

Most keyboard players love the DXR10 powered speakers, some do not. Again, I thought the technology would have advanced more than it has. I know this system focuses on power and I should have come here first before making my amplification choices.

A real piano has a massive sound board vibrating in your lap. I tried putting one of the speakers under the keyboard and it did improve the experience, but the sound is too focused at close range (90 degree dispersion). I have some old passive JBL 3-ways I rebuilt and may try them out. I spent the whole wad of allocated funds so no new purchases, unless I sell something.

Perhaps I am expecting too much? I practice in a 18x30 foot room with a concrete floor and 10 foot ceiling.

Cheers!
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by Fleer » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:16 am

Welcome.
Your post made me rethink my decision to get the CP88. That and the fact it’s Indonesia made, unlike the preceding CP4.
I read many posts saying one should understand the sound of these stage pianos are indeed stage oriented and should be taken as sounds-in-a-band.
Well, I want my stage piano to sound great in the studio and at home as well.
So, will probably get the Korg GrandStage, as it’s finally being sold without that ludicrous and expensive stand.
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by Saul » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:23 am

Interesting points. I have not tried the CP88 in a home environment. Me and Chris (Parametric) tried the CP88 at Yamaha HQ but it was in a large room and plugged into stage monitors. It sounded great.

Going on past experience with Yamaha keyboards you do need to "tweak" the sounds yourself. Unlike other makers Yamaha tend to leave the presets pretty basic. In other words and to use a painting analogy they give you a palette and the oil paints but it is up to you what you do with them?

There are a lot of people very happy with how the CP88 sounds so either they all use the keyboard on stage only or they have found a way to make it sound great in the studio/home environment.

If I had one I would be using it with a pair of active monitors, as I do with all keyboards. Robert have you used the CP with headphones and if so does it still sound a little on the dull/lifeless side?
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by RwMcWilson » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:40 pm

Massive improvement! I bypassed my mixer and connected xlr out directly into both speakers (DXR10) and relocated them at face level 3 ft in front of the keys. I can say it sounds wonderful, including the acoustic pianos!

The fix included enabling the eq section. Bass and treble straight up (no change) and cut the mid way down and tune it in with the mid frequency sweep.

I wanted a Korg also but their keyboards have more than a few reports of mechanical issues.

It may be built in Indonesia but rest assured the the build quality is the best I have seen! Hats off to the craftspeople in that country and China as well! This compliment comes from a manufacturing instructor (myself) who is very anal and rarely pleased.

Current products built in the USA or the EU, buyer beware. Mexican products are excellent as well.

I gotta go play this thing, see ya!
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by RwMcWilson » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:49 pm

The acoustic piano samples (with my gear) benefit from adding a very very small touch of “drive”, whatever that is. This is a good discovery because that effect can be saved, unlike the EQ.

I routed through the mixer and all is well. “In your face monitors” was the solution, I didn’t like them on the floor.

You’re absolutely correct about “tweaking” to taste. A parametric EQ is at the top of my wish list. I used one this summer mixing a band in the park. IMHO parametric EQ is the greatest development in sound reinforcement this century.

This forum is great, one day in and I am good to go, except now the CP88 will compete for time on pedal steel!
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by Saul » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:08 pm

Thanks for the update Robert. I knew you would get there in the end :) Everyone's situation is different so a little playing around with speaker placement and tweaking those settings works wonders. (Y)
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by Fleer » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:55 pm

Great news indeed :D
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by Fleer » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:44 am

RwMcWilson wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:40 pm
It may be built in Indonesia but rest assured the the build quality is the best I have seen! Hats off to the craftspeople in that country and China as well! This compliment comes from a manufacturing instructor (myself) who is very anal and rarely pleased.
Thank you very much. This and your confirmation that the bottom is aluminum, not MDF, is making me turn away from Korg’s GrandStage, back to the CP88!
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Re: Why I bought the CP88 (long-winded review/statement)

Unread post by RwMcWilson » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:27 am

The price on CP’s are fixed, online or music store. I got the Yammy case for $100 (list is $350). Super nice and will hold pedals and the music stand. The music stand was an extra $70, overpriced piece of plastic but works well, try to get a discount if you can. I actually don’t want to take the CP out because eventually, it will get scratched. I hope the aluminum alloy is a hard one because I would hate to get a dent from a wild guitar player! Plastic does have its advantages but those expensive plastic synths look cheapo next to the CP. I really dig the toggles, rockers, lights, and rear layout of in/outs. I am not very tech savvy with digital keys, don’t need to be. Started playing this immediately and didn’t read the manual for weeks.

I would have bought the CP70 if it had the option for the weighted keys, but since getting it dialed in, those extra bass notes have a big sound! I am gaining back finger strength and dexterity thanks to the heavier action. I do recommend a test play because it’s a long term investment and there are many fabulous instruments out there. Testing with headphones was not impressive as the output is lowish. Organs are so so but I don’t use them. The action is expressive and with continuous updates it shouldn’t ever get boring. The sound library is sparse but that is okay because I spend my time practicing music, not enless fiddling!

I wanted a Nord but purchased this with accessories and killer pa system including a $1000 sub for the same price. Shop around, I got 3 years no interest from MF for $3600. Best $100 a month I could spend! I quite smoking the CO legal weed available in my town and enjoy the high from this rig far more, and am $ ahead!
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