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This is an 88-key stage piano by Technics that currently (May 2002) sells at a price somewhere between 900 and 1100 euros. Having compared it directly to the competing Korg SP-200 and Yamaha P80, I bought it for its superior keyboard and grand piano sound.

The hammer action keyboard is nicely weighted; the weighting even increases from right to left, as it would with a real grand piano. It's built into a slim and shapely brushed aluminium housing, and the entire beast weighs just 16 kg, which is not much for a decent stage piano. It comes with 64-note polyphony and 18 sounds:

  • Concert Grand -- very nice grand piano sound
  • Pop Grand -- a bit brighter. Actually I don't know how this relates to pop.
  • Upright -- well, an upright piano sound. Could do with a little more brilliance.
  • E Piano 1 -- a dry Wurlitzer e piano sound with a nice bite
  • E Piano 2 -- the obligatory Fender Rhodes, nice and dry, this one, too
  • Harpsi -- harpsichord, very good: like a real harpsichord, it is not touch sensitive, and the fallback noises of the plucks have been sampled, too
  • Vibes -- decent vibraphone
  • Strings -- so-so synth strings
  • Vocal -- so-so synth aah choir
  • Organ Presets -- four church organ and five Hammond organ sounds, all of them quite great, unfortunately the Leslie simulation can't be switched off and the organs are touch sensitive

There's a five-step mellow/bright brilliance control and a three-step (light/normal/heavy) touch sensitivity control; two sounds can be layered. A "Digital Effect" button adds chorus or switches to the fast Leslie setting for organ sounds; there's a five-step (none/room/stage/hall/concert) digital reverb setting; if you turn it off, the reverb DSP is used to add string resonance to the piano sounds.

Other features include transpose buttons and fine tuning in the 427.3 453.0 Hz range. All sounds are assigned to proper MIDI channels, so you can use the thing as a multitimbral MIDI tone generator if you wish. Oh, and it also comes with an LED display to check on values, and a whopping load of useless demo songs.

There's hardly anything that gives you as much bang for the buck as the Technics SX-P50. The only downsides I can see are: a) the touch sensitivity can be regulated, but not switched off; b) no split mode; c) no provision for a second footswitch (as a soft pedal or Leslie slow/fast switch). The dinky Technics footswitch they ship with it as a sustain pedal is OK, but keeps slipping away if you don't bolt it down onto a floorboard or such.

Oh, and it looks cool.

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