Electric piano or keyboards?

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I want to start playing the piano again, but since I live in a rented property and usually move every year or two I can't buy a real one - it would be both too big to fit in here and too heavy to shift when I move. So I'm thinking about getting either a set of keyboards or a digital piano - the problem is, I know pretty much sod-all about either of these, except that the cheapest electric pianos tend to cost hundreds of pounds more than the cheapest keyboards.

Obviously I'm not looking for sound quality or volume since I'd only be playing for myself and not performing to an audience - even if it sounds awful I can use my imagination to improve the sound (same as I'll be using my imagination to improve the quality of my playing :p ). What I WOULD like though is something that feels vaguely like a real piano: heavy, stiff, full-sized keys and vaguely realistic force-responsive volume adjustment. Pedals would be a plus but not absolutely required. A full range of keys would be a minor bonus. I don't care about any extra functions like pitch wheels etc.

Obviously I can't get that with a set of keyboards, so what I should be looking for is an electric piano. As I'm not willing to spend much more than £200, I should be looking for a used one. The question is, are my expectations realistic at that price range even for used pianos, or is it impossible to get anything that feels even vaguely like a real piano unless you spend 4-figure+ sums? Cause if I can't get anywhere near what I'm looking for I might as well go for a sub-£100 synthesizer.

I case I come across a bargain anywhere, what sort of brands and models of electric pianos should I be looking for (or avoiding)? If I'm checking out a particular model, what kind of buzzwords should I be looking for in the feature-list that'll tell me this basically does what I'm looking for? (In other words, please translate the first paragraph of this post into marketese:p) Any other advice you have to give to someone who's looking to buy a piano purely to play for himself?
 
Soldato
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Dont know much about digital pianos, but another option could be to get a Midi Controller Keyboard and get some synth software for your pc to play the sounds. You can get a fully weighted controller keyboard for about £240 something like the Fatar STUDIOLOGIC SL990 PRO which is 88-note full-size weighted, hammer-action keyboard, can add piano style pedals to.
 
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Soldato
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To get a fully weighted keyboard for your budget will be tricky. You'll have to seriously consider heightening your budget.

The shop itself is pap (as well as the staff!) but if you have a Soundcontrol close to you, it might be worth popping in and just having a play on all the different keyboards etc. just to get a feel of what is about in the market and what sort of money will buy you what sort of piano.

Soundcontrol is over-priced, but it's a good place to go if you want to get a feel for what is being sold and have a go on lots of different makes and models.
 
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Good advice! I checked out their website and there's one in Leeds city centre so I think I'll pop down tomorrow afternoon!

I knew I wouldn't be able to get what I wanted for £200, but the question is, how close would I be? If I can get it by spending a little more I will, or wait for a bargain on the 'bay. If I'm nowhere near close enough then I'll just shrug and get a £100 synthesizer. :p

Any suggestions of any other models I can check out at Soundcontrol tomorrow?
 
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I went to the Leeds store and saw a couple of good models that had good weighted keys with realistic resistance at higher pressure levels although obviously they lacked sensitivity at lower volumes. One was the FATAR Studiologic SL990Pro which Chaos reccomended, which they were selling for £240. The other one was the M-Audio ProKeyes 88 which was going for £270, and judging from how empty the store was and the look of hunger in the shop attendant's eyes I reckon I could've bargained them down for both models, at least to the point of throwing in a free sustain pedal ;)
However, I'll take a look at etailers and auction sites and see if I can get them cheaper elsewhere before going back there. Thanks for the advice all!
 
Associate
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I bought a Casio PX-100 the other day for £279 and it'sw a beauty. uses the same weighted keys as the more expensive privia range and has a great Piano sound for the price. Seems to be getting great reviews online as well from what i've read.
 
Soldato
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You might be able to pick up an old Yamaha PF85 which is actually a great piano in terms of action. The sound is OK but there are very few voices other than the basic grand piano. I used one whilst waiting for my own piano to be restored and while the PF85 wasn't in the same league, it at least made the time a little easier to bear.

If you can afford a bit more, I'd go for one of the recent Yamaha models. They are pretty tough so second-hand examples will probably be OK. The Yamaha stage type pianos are all pretty good in terms of action and sound quality.
 
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