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Re: How important is graded action to you?
JFP #1618735 02/13/11 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by JFP
But...if you want to use this DP as a temporary replacement and/or a practice instrument, you will be stuck with a bigger difference between the DP and the AP feeling when you switch back and play the real thing again.

I switch back and forth all the time, have for most of my life, I don't find it to be a problem. As you point out, there are plenty of differences among real piano actions as well, and people typically have no problem playing many different pianos (though again, as you point out, some real pianos can be awful).

And even on real pianos you can notice the grading more on some than others.

The difference between the feel of a real piano and most digital pianos is so noticeable that whether or not the digital was graded will be the least of the differences to worry about.

Again, a better feeling action that is not graded is much better than a worse feeling action that is.

I'm not suggesting you avoid grading; and if you had two models that you liked equally, you might make the final decision based on whether it was graded, making that the tie-breaker. But I would certainly not choose an action I didn't like as much on the grounds that it was graded and the one I preferred was not. Get what feels better, not what the brochure tells you "should" feel better.

Re: How important is graded action to you?
ando #1618741 02/13/11 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Dave Horne
What about your Avant Grand, Dave? That certainly has a graded action. Are you saying it's worthless to you? Or is this just about stage pianos?

I don't see the need for graded actions for digital pianos. Regarding acoustic pianos - for practice purposes, I prefer a heavier action and a deeper key dip than what is considered standard. A graded action in a stage piano simply makes the already light keys even lighter than the rest.

A graded action in a stage piano is pure marketing. Feel free to disagree. smile


I'm not so much disagreeing but asking you what you are talking about. I've lost count of the number of posts of yours that praise the "authentic" action of your Avant Grand - presumably because it replicates the feel and weight of an acoustic Yamaha grand. If that's the case, why on earth would you consider the graded action expendable?


Sigh ... as stated at least once before, I'm talking about slabs - stage pianos.

As I explained before, the action in stage pianos - you know, the actions that are mostly made from plastic, are light to begin with, especially when compared with most of the grand pianos I've played. Why on earth would anyone want some keys even lighter?






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Re: How important is graded action to you?
Dave Horne #1618809 02/13/11 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Dave Horne
What about your Avant Grand, Dave? That certainly has a graded action. Are you saying it's worthless to you? Or is this just about stage pianos?

I don't see the need for graded actions for digital pianos. Regarding acoustic pianos - for practice purposes, I prefer a heavier action and a deeper key dip than what is considered standard. A graded action in a stage piano simply makes the already light keys even lighter than the rest.

A graded action in a stage piano is pure marketing. Feel free to disagree. smile


I'm not so much disagreeing but asking you what you are talking about. I've lost count of the number of posts of yours that praise the "authentic" action of your Avant Grand - presumably because it replicates the feel and weight of an acoustic Yamaha grand. If that's the case, why on earth would you consider the graded action expendable?


Sigh ... as stated at least once before, I'm talking about slabs - stage pianos.

As I explained before, the action in stage pianos - you know, the actions that are mostly made from plastic, are light to begin with, especially when compared with most of the grand pianos I've played. Why on earth would anyone want some keys even lighter?




That's just it Dave, not all stage pianos are as light as you are saying. By making these statements you are constructing a straw man argument - you set the conditions for your statements to be true and other's to be false. Lumping all stage pianos together as "light" and plasticky is misleading because there are higher end stage pianos that do have a heavier action than the cheap light ones. They may not be as heavy as a real grand piano, but it doesn't make them light, nor does it invalidate grading. In fact, you don't seem to be against grading as such - only poor implementations of it. Unless you have played all the heavier, higher-end stage pianos and confirmed that they are indeed as light as you are saying, you may very well be undermining your own argument by being so gung-ho and condemning graded actions on all stage pianos. Why be so focussed on the substandard stage pianos? A serious player could afford to source a quality stage piano and enjoy a good graded action. You can sigh again if you like, but you are the one making arguments that don't take into consideration the range of real world situations.

PS - another contributing factor to the perception of weight on DPs is the default velocity settings. It is quite common for them to be set to play light. Often with some adjustment to the velocity curve, the action does indeed play heavier. I agree with you in the sense that the action mustn't be cheap and light to start with, of course - that can't be corrected nor would grading assist.

Re: How important is graded action to you?
heteroskedasticity #1618869 02/13/11 11:13 AM
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ando, the stage pianos with the heaviest actions that I've played come nowhere near the grands or uprights I've played that had heavy action.

I've opened up several stage pianos and replaced parts of the action. I saw a shitload of plastic. smile That's not an editorial statement, it's just a fact.

If you think a graded action is great for stage pianos, fantastic. I, on the other hand, while preferring the heaviest action possible for stage pianos, I would never want a stage piano to have the same heavy actions from some of the acoustic pianos I've played.

We can agree to disagree.


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Re: How important is graded action to you?
Dave Horne #1618888 02/13/11 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
ando, the stage pianos with the heaviest actions that I've played come nowhere near the grands or uprights I've played that had heavy action.

I've opened up several stage pianos and replaced parts of the action. I saw a shitload of plastic. smile That's not an editorial statement, it's just a fact.

If you think a graded action is great for stage pianos, fantastic. I, on the other hand, while preferring the heaviest action possible for stage pianos, I would never want a stage piano to have the same heavy actions from some of the acoustic pianos I've played.

We can agree to disagree.


Agreed. wink

Re: How important is graded action to you?
Dave Horne #1618951 02/13/11 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
ando, the stage pianos with the heaviest actions that I've played come nowhere near the grands or uprights I've played that had heavy action.

I have the opposite issue, I find most stage pianos keys too heavy. Almost every piano I've played (console through grand) has felt lighter to me overall than most digital pianos! I have a Yamaha C6 grand, and only about the bottom 2 octaves are in the range of as "heavy" feeling as most DPs I've tried. I don't mind playing a DP where the bottom two octaves are lighter than expected, but I don't like when the whole rest of the piano is heavier than expected. The first scenario won't result in a weaker performance, the second scenario might.

Re: How important is graded action to you?
heteroskedasticity #1618955 02/13/11 12:44 PM
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I am unable to detect any mass difference across the V-Piano. It may be there as a small % or as a dynamic inertia thing, or it may be in the software and is controllable. I play it as a KB and would not like it constructed to emulate an acoustic. Roland others have selectable "touch" which is accomplished through a clever velocity algorithm. That way grading can be simulated or defeated.

Re: How important is graded action to you?
ando #1618957 02/13/11 12:45 PM
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Bear in mind that it's not just the weight of counterbalances which directs how "heavy" an action will feel. The depth of travel also makes a vast difference to how easy it will feel to move those keys.

The last three acoustic pianos I played in the course of my professional duties were a Bluthner, a Bechstein and a Broadwood respectively. All three had actions that felt appreciably lighter than the RD700GX. I don't think they were any lighter, but they did have a more shallow key throw.

Similarly, it's partially the much shallower action of the CP5 which makes it feel a great deal lighter than other, comparable DP actions.

That said, of course I've come across real bastard-heavy AP actions and I'm with Dave on this one - no thanks to that in a DP, or indeed any piano I'm going to shell out money for.


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Re: How important is graded action to you?
heteroskedasticity #1619653 02/14/11 11:16 AM
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I'd turn around and walk away on the spot. No just kidding if it plays well and connect to the sound in a pleasant way I don't care about grading. The CP5 is a great example of this.

I don't feel it adds much to my playing anyway.

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Re: How important is graded action to you?
krzyzowski #1619667 02/14/11 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by krzyzowski
I am unable to detect any mass difference across the V-Piano. It may be there as a small % or as a dynamic inertia thing, or it may be in the software and is controllable. I play it as a KB and would not like it constructed to emulate an acoustic. Roland others have selectable "touch" which is accomplished through a clever velocity algorithm. That way grading can be simulated or defeated.


The V-Piano's keyboard is graded and I can detect the difference between the low and the high notes, but it's small. Incidentally, the V-Piano does allow you to adjust its touch sensitivity ('sound lift'), which changes its perceived key weight.

I've played all sorts of acoustic pianos and there doesn't seem to be a standard grading - in fact, some cheap baby grands have a much greater difference in key weights between their low and high notes than high-end concert grands. If the prestige piano manufacturers like Fazioli strive to minimize the difference, that would explain it.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How important is graded action to you?
bennevis #1619847 02/14/11 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis

I've played all sorts of acoustic pianos and there doesn't seem to be a standard grading - in fact, some cheap baby grands have a much greater difference in key weights between their low and high notes than high-end concert grands. If the prestige piano manufacturers like Fazioli strive to minimize the difference, that would explain it.


Slightly off topic but wouldn't his be pretty easy to do? Just reverse the weights they put into DP keys to make the lighter keys heavier. So a slight variation to adjust the acoustic versions' volume (thicker strings = louder?) is still pretty good. Obviously not necessary in a DP. I like it, don't need it.


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Re: How important is graded action to you?
FredFabulous #1620020 02/14/11 07:45 PM
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Good topic- it is very important because it is now accessible.
Whereas in 1997 I was happy to get a Fatar Studio 900 which was non graded, I really love my P95 ESPECIALLY the fact that it is graded. I feel as though I am getting something back when I play it


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Re: How important is graded action to you?
heteroskedasticity #1621242 02/16/11 10:21 AM
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One more point about why I think gradedness, while not bad, is over-rated in importance... It is most noticeable at the top and bottom extremes. But probably 80% of the time, you're playing in the center 4 octaves. The difference in gradedness over that region is not great anyway.

Re: How important is graded action to you?
heteroskedasticity #1621293 02/16/11 12:28 PM
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I think it's complicated thing and while some of us are slightly unaware of what the dynamic weight is.
It's very important WHERE are the weights and how heavy they are, what are dimensions of action elements and their weight.

The only way to talk about it in objective way is to measure BOTH static and dynamic weight of a few keys from different zones, and check how many force you need to achieve no sound, ppp, pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, fff. You should do it on a few acoustic pianos, and then on DP. On DP you can also measure MIDI number from 0 to 127.

Sometimes DP actions are weighted, and while you can have impression that it is realistically heavy, after long time testing you feel it is more tiring than on acoustic piano. In this case weighting and grading is sign of unskillfulness rather than professionalism. I thing wise grading is better than none, but you have to play it to check is it good or not.

Also, if you gig with piano, you nay use split and/or switch octaves, using other voices, which don't go with grading very well. Other thing to consider is the overall action weight, which affects overall instrument weight.

Making 1:1 action which is identical to acoustic is the way to go, but for me modern action means using lightweight materials and use them in very wise way to make instrument that feels close to acoustic, but is lightweight and durable. You can combine many factors, like adjusting velocity curve, use slight weighting, use good action proportions, modern materials, good sensors numbers/position, and math.


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Re: How important is graded action to you?
heteroskedasticity #1621299 02/16/11 12:41 PM
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I think on all current high end DP's the mass inertia corresponds to a mass about three times the static weight. That follows from the construction, the overall ratio between key travel and hammer travel is about 3 and the mass of the key is almost neglectable.
Only the grand touch and Avant Grand are different.

The perceived inertia can be different, depending from velocity curve and pressure dependant friction.


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Re: How important is graded action to you?
kiedysktos. #1621323 02/16/11 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by kiedysktos.
I think it's complicated thing and while some of us are slightly unaware of what the dynamic weight is.
It's very important WHERE are the weights and how heavy they are, what are dimensions of action elements and their weight.

The only way to talk about it in objective way is to measure BOTH static and dynamic weigh
...
sometimes DP actions are weighted, and while you can have impression that it is realistically heavy, after long time testing you feel it is more tiring than on acoustic piano. In this case weighting and grading is sign of unskillfulness rather than professionalism. I thing wise grading is better than none, but you have to play it to check is it good or not.

Good point. The new Casios are graded, put they "push back" more than a real acoustic piano does, which makes them more tiring. I'd certainly rather play a non-graded piano with a better feel than a graded one with a less realistic feel in other ways... gradedness is, IMO, about the least of the concerns in trying to make an imitation action feel more real. It just happens to be one that manufacturers can do pretty cheaply and explain easily, so suddenly everyone thinks it's important.

Originally Posted by kiedysktos.
Also, if you gig with piano, you nay use split and/or switch octaves, using other voices, which don't go with grading very well. Other thing to consider is the overall action weight, which affects overall instrument weight.

Two more excellent points there.

Also check another current thread here, "Playing Classical on the Nord Piano, how is it on your keys?" There are lots of people very happy with their (non-graded) Nord PIano action, and some youtube links there showing how well they can be played. There's a non-graded action that definitely feels better than some graded actions.

I am surprised at how many people find many digital pianos too light feeling and want them heavier. I think they may have simply grown up playing poor pianos. All the high quality pianos I've played (i.e. models over $20k, from Yamaha, Steinway, Bluthner) feel much lighter to the touch than the vast majority of DPs (the $80k Bluthner was the lightest, and a total joy to play). To my fingers, most DPs I've tried are too heavy feeling.

Re: How important is graded action to you?
anotherscott #1621362 02/16/11 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
I am surprised at how many people find many digital pianos too light feeling and want them heavier. I think they may have simply grown up playing poor pianos. All the high quality pianos I've played (i.e. models over $20k, from Yamaha, Steinway, Bluthner) feel much lighter to the touch than the vast majority of DPs (the $80k Bluthner was the lightest, and a total joy to play). To my fingers, most DPs I've tried are too heavy feeling.

I primarily play guitar, but make it a point to play a short piece or at least play a few notes on every DP and AP I encounter. My fairly limited experience tells me is what I consider to be a good feeling action on a good grand feels more heavily graded, yet lighter overall, than most DPs. Repeated notes on a good AP grand are generally much easier, and AP key travel is usually shallower feeling.

When our 700NX goes out of warranty I might take it apart to see what it would take to remove the grading and make all the keys feel like the lightest top ones. I'm still very interested in what the 300NX keys will feel like.

Re: How important is graded action to you?
anotherscott #1621452 02/16/11 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
I'd certainly rather play a non-graded piano with a better feel than a graded one with a less realistic feel in other ways... gradedness is, IMO, about the least of the concerns in trying to make an imitation action feel more real. It just happens to be one that manufacturers can do pretty cheaply and explain easily, so suddenly everyone thinks it's important.

The thing is, the two have nothing to do with each other. If the overall action design is bad, the grading won't make it worse. Furthermore, having no grading won't address deficiencies in the action. What you're saying is that first and foremost, an action must be very well designed and authentic. Adding grading to an already good design won't hurt anything. It's not an either/or situation. I have never actually found this mythical ungraded, brilliant DP action that people speak of. I think actions are gradually improving and grading is being built into the equation.

Re: How important is graded action to you?
heteroskedasticity #1621463 02/16/11 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by heteroskedasticity
In my case in particular, I would prefer something without graded action, or at least with heavy upper keys. My right ear is sensitive, especially to higher sounds, and this can be bothering and even painful when playing. Upper notes sounding too loud for me[b][/b] seems to be a very recurring problem with almost any DP I play.


I had that issue with playing my friend's Korg SP-250, but the reason was poor speakers that boost high mids. I also experienced it when playing another piano with poor earphones, which also boosted some frequencies and it made high notes (like between one and two octaves above middle C) painfully striking my ears. But when I listened to same sound with better speakers, the problem disappeared. So watch your sound source, and try use some EQ in high mids, lowering them can help.


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Re: How important is graded action to you?
ando #1621472 02/16/11 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ando
What you're saying is that first and foremost, an action must be very well designed and authentic. Adding grading to an already good design won't hurt anything. It's not an either/or situation.


Right. I have nothing against gradedness, but it's not on my list of things to look for, either. I didn't mean to imply either/or, I just was trying to say, don't worry about it. FInd an action that feels good. If it happens to be graded, fine. If it isn't, that's fine too. I don't think anyone should cross something off their list because it's not graded.

Originally Posted by ando
I have never actually found this mythical ungraded, brilliant DP action that people speak of.


Some of the best actions of past years weren't graded, and if you liked them then, they're still good today. Personally, I haven't found any brilliant DP action in anything I've played, graded or not! I haven't played the multi-thousand dollar models, though. I do happen to like the action of the Yamaha P95, but I would not claim it feels like my Yamaha C6 grand.

I'd like to play the Nord Piano some time. It seems to generate some pretty extreme responses, some people love it and some people really... don't.

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