Thursday, November 13, 2008

Couple topics as we move on

Having submitted the Ombre recording for recital #12, I am now moving my attention to the next one. I have been tinkering with Stella del Mattino for a couple of months now, I haven't really given it my full attention. This, combined with some unfamiliar rhythm patterns, have kept me from making the sort of progress on Stella that I would have expected. But now that I don't have to strive for perfection on Ombre, perhaps Stella will come together quickly.

I hope so, because I have already begun experimenting with I Due Fiumi. Which seems like A LOT of fun, and not quite as hard as it sounds.

I Due Fiumi - Ludovico Einaudi

Congratulations to Michelle Himes (mom3gram) on her recent purchase of a Casio Ap-200. She claims my recent purchase of same had no influence on the decision, but I know better (wink). mom3gram, feel free to chime in periodically on your thoughts on the Casio. For me, I have mentioned a time or two that I am overall very pleased with it, albeit perhaps underwhelmed by the sound. I've had a handful (well, we're up to three, so not quite a handful) of people contact me on Pianoworld asking me to expound on this. So here is my take on that.

The Ap-200 has two 8 watt speakers. For comparison's sake, consider the Casio PX-800, which has 40 watt speakers. When you consider an acoustic piano, it's a deceivingly loud instrument. It would be very difficult to carry on a conversation in a regular-sized room while someone was playing an acoustic piano, unless they were playing very, very softly, and/or the room was very large. This is not true for my Ap-200... even when I have the volume turned up the whole way, which I usually do. I would assume that the Px-800 is probably much closer to an acoustic, at least in terms of volume. The sound samples, from what I understand, are the same. So although they would sound identical, 8 watt speakers simply can't provide the same volume and depth (especially depth in bass) as 40 watt speakers. This is my main complaint with the Ap-200. I preferred the sounds of the Yamaha instruments I cross-shopped.

That said, I am not disappointed. I understand that Casio had to save some money on speakers in order to keep the prices low. I didn't buy the Ap-200 for its sound, but rather for its sturdy stand, and keyboard feel. I can always improve on the sound by wearing headphones. The equivalent model from Yamaha (which would be the cheapest Arius) costs $200 more, and, to my fingers, is a league below the Ap-200 in terms of keyboard feel. This was more important to me.


Michelle Himes said...

I am still getting used to the weighted keys on my AP-200, but I am very happy with it so far. It is a huge step up from the 61-key unweighted little Yamaha that I had been playing on. It's interesting to hear that you feel the sound is not as strong as you would like. I just assumed that I was not yet hitting the keys hard enough. I will have to get stronger fingers before I can really make an educated comment on the sound. I use the speakers during the day, but in the evening I play with my headphones so as to not drive my son out of the house with my repetitive practicing.

One little nit that I have is the settings, and how hard it is to see what one is doing. I imagine that Casio didn't want to detract from the looks of the piano, but between the lighting in the room and my aging eyes, I can't see the labels on the settings at all unless I use a flashlight. Pressing the "setting" button while at the same time pressing one or two keys and holding a flashlight is a feat in itself.

How are Jillian and Jason coming along with their piano studies?

Karen said...

Great blog! I'm looking for a dp for our family and plan to learn piano and expose our kids to the instrument (ages 4, 2, and 6 weeks).