However, since we are, after all, building a house, there aren't piles of unspent money just laying around the house / yard/ mattresses. For this reason, I am interested in paying as little as possible for a DP that satisfied the following requirements:
- Weighted keys - Non-negotiable, this. It absolutely MUST feel like an acoustic piano.
- Reasonable sound - This, however, is negotiable. I accept that I (and perhaps Jillian, and some day, Jason, and some day, Rowan, and some day...) will practice with headphones. I have read that headphones make inexpensive DP's sound really nice. And since I am not going be buying a Clavinova or a Roland or something anywhere near four figures, I accept that sound may be somewhat compromised.
- Features - meh. I am looking for a piano substitute, not something that could double as a pipe organ / harpsichord / Jimi Hendrix.
- Toughness - I am not going to be guarding this thing 24 hours a day. Kids will play on it. Kids will bang on it. It needs to not complain about this sort of treatment.
My initial research has me pointed directly at Casio. In particular, the PX-120 seems to be the lowest acceptable entry point (although I would scoop up an older floor model should such an opportunity present itself). I get the feeling that Yamaha sells more in my price range (or slightly above it), but their comparable pianos seem to have semi-weighted keys, which scares the bejeezus out of me. I am going to give this a couple more days' worth of thought.
But one thing has sort of caught me by surprise... just because a keyboard / DP is, say, $399, that doesn't mean you are going to be playing for $399. No sir / ma'am. You are going to have to add a bench, stand, and pedals, unless you are shelling out for a higher-end model that already has these niceties. And I haven't the foggiest notion of how to connect such a unit to my laptop, thereby giving you kind folks the pleasure of hearing any output we might generate from it. That probably involves some cables, and maybe some software. I don't know.
Anyhow, it's early. More updates later, but I wanted to get this posted first. Next couple of days are shaping up to be busy.