I think I'm going to order the Kawai MP 7 digital piano and controller tomorrow morning. I've been waiting for this one for a few months now and it's finally become available at Sweetwater which is who I usually deal with online.
This is an evolution for the gigging, DAW controller piano slab. It has sendable to a DAW host MMC control built into it as well as the ability to function just with the top sensor of it's triple key sensors for a close to semi weighted action when needed. It also can record a single Standard MIDI File that you can load on to a thumb drive and move to your Computer besides recording and saving the standard muti-track MP3s and WAV files. Many other features.
For playing, besides several nice pianos it has some fine instruments patches such as strings, choirs, pads and a very good tone wheel organ that you can adjust with on board sliders like the real thing. Look out Nord!
I tried out a Kawai digital piano in Tacoma which has the exact same key bed which is the one thing you can't experience online. it does have a pretty decent action for a short key bed.
I just put in a call to my Sweetwater rep and waiting for a call back. I need to make sure it arrives on a either M-Tu-F which are my days off now. I don't want something that expensive left on the front porch!
I haven't done any live playing for several years besides choir singing but I plan on doing something now that I'll have more time and energy going from semi to full retirement by the end of this year. Maybe I'll do a single again, possibly a two piece but just one shot deals for mostly fun and a little coffee money.
Regardless, I've always preferred playing even just for personal enjoyment on a digital piano and not with software samples or even the more responsive synth pianos which don't sound quite real to me. There is always a nano second of latency that gets in the way of the experience. I'd love to have an acoustic but that's really big bucks to compete with the new digital pianos sound a feel. I tried a Kawai home digital piano at Prossers in Tacoma that is about 90% there. It has the same full length key bed as the Kawai MP11 which is the big brother to the MP7 but weighs over 70 lbs. I imagine electronic pianos will pretty much replace acoustic pianos within the not to distant future just like what is happening now to printed books. The traditional piano stores are already feeling it. The only piano dealer left in Olympia is closing and the owner of Prossers told me the acoustic piano market is pretty stressed. Some of that is probably this somewhat stagnant economy but not that much.