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DP opinions after using them for some time...
#1747363 09/06/11 09:44 AM
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Hi All,
While looking for my next DP i realized something: Playing and comparing them at the store for few hours is really not that helpful to make up one's mind... Many high(er) end models from most companies have decent sound and touch... At least when you first play them...

It's not until you take a DP home and play it for few months that you start realizing there are some annoying things that you could have never paid attention to at the store: Maybe the way the keys feel or have that weird clunk, or the piano sound has a certain monotenous or boring character that you can't just take anymore, or maybe you realize that doing simple tasks requires multiple keystrokes or menu selections that it really gets annoying...

Personally, after trying several DPs from Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, Nord, etc... i'm currently considering either a Roland FP7-F or a Kawai MP6 (with possibility of going with RD700-NX or MP10 if they are that much better)...

So any opinions (specially for those 4 boards above) would be greatly appreciated... Are you still enjoying your DP after several months? Did it grow on you and you're liking it better now? or the opposite?

Thanks!

Last edited by safari70; 09/08/11 02:58 AM.
Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
safari70 #1747388 09/06/11 10:47 AM
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From a straight AP standpoint, the FP-7F is a very accomplished board. I find practically nothing to criticize in action, interface or sound. I've said before that the sound is characteristically "Roland," meaning that there's a strong family resemblance in tonal quality across different models (the basic sound is very similar in the FP-4, for example), and so if you dislike the Roland approach to what a grand piano should sound like this board is probably not for you. Obviously, there is no ability to download different piano samples (like Nord), and there aren't even two different AP samples to choose from (as with the Yamaha CP5); what you hear is what you get (bar some tweaking in the sound designer section).

The FP-7F has quite a mellow AP sound with a wide dynamic and timbral range. If I had to pick anything to criticize in the sound, I would say that there is just a hint (and I do mean a hint) of "plinkiness" / short decay in a few upper mid-register notes. But that is being hypercritical. Maybe the bottom end is a little too strong for the piano as a whole, but that could be sorted out with eq and/or an external sound system. It is a complex but pristine sound, if that makes sense. It isn't full of character and "individualism" like the Nord Bosendorfer, say, but is more like the ideal of a grand piano. To be honest, I'm fine with that as the modeled elements of the sound seem to ameliorate the otherwise somewhat bland nature of the samples.

The action is superb for a DP and connects very well with the sound. I don't notice any annoying sounds from the action. I think the action is good enough to enable you to work seriously on technique. (Caveat: not as heavy an action as most Yamahas.)

Speakers are adequate and, for the size, actually sound pretty good. You won't fill an auditorium with them, but for a portable DP they are probably as good as you can expect, with a surprisingly capable bottom end.

The interface is very easy to operate. I don't use 90% of the additional sounds/features on this piano. I don't really like the EPs, the tonewheel organs are OK, but without real-time control are wasted on me. I don't sing, so the vocal harmonizer lies dormant. I rarely use built-in rhythms, and never use automatic accompaniment, so can't comment on those features. I gave up trying to program the FP-7F in the same way I have done with my FP-4 (for live use) as there is no access to the effects bank, and you cannot save MIDI information in the same way. Also, the output is too low for stage use, but if you turn up the gain it affects the internal speaker system as well, and if you turn the piano off, it loses your gain settings. The piano has been effectively neutered so that it won't be used for anything but occasional stage use, presumably so as not to drive sales away from the 700NX.

Aesthetically, it's bland, but so what? I think that overall it represents excellent value for money if you're looking for something that plays pretty close to a good quality grand. And because it's Roland, I feel confident that it'll give years of good service. I haven't noticed any deterioration over the time I've had it.

I will soon have an MP6 to compare it to - which should be interesting.

Last edited by voxpops; 09/06/11 11:07 AM.

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mabraman, 2015
Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
safari70 #1747402 09/06/11 11:33 AM
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I could agree with some of your points. I think it's hard to get a good idea of what you will live with or not in a DP by just playing it at the store, though, there aren't very many other practical options unfortunately.

As far as boards, play everything you're considering. I think the FP-7F's is a little better than the MP6, but not as good as the MP10 fore acoustic piano playing. Unless you want the other stage-oriented features of the RD-700NX, the FP-7F is about the same as far as sound and feel go.


Kawai MP7SE w/ GFP-3
Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
voxpops #1747403 09/06/11 11:33 AM
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I just want to second voxpops opinions. I just bought a Yamaha CP-33 because I was in a Sam Ash and loved the key action (it's heavy, but nice). When I got it home and started practicing on it I could tell that it was different from my teachers grand.

I finally did something that I should have done from the beginning. I went to a real piano store that also sold digitals.

I had an opportunity to test Kawai DPs and Rolands. I went back to the Acoustic grands on display and realized that my Yamaha was heavier than them ( I was trying Steinway,Yamaha, and Kawai acoustic grands in the store).

I went back and forth between them and the DPs and found the Roland FP-7F to be the most pleasing to me and the most similar to the Acoustic Pianos on display.

Needless to say, the CP-33 is going back to GC and the Roland is on the way.


Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
far_star #1747459 09/06/11 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by far_star
I just want to second voxpops opinions.



I second those opinions too, or third them.

I felt the Yamaha AG N2 sound was tolerable but bland from the beginning, and now I pretty much use the N2 to run Synthogy Ivory II (which can be a production -- boot the computer; pull up Ivory, then the samples, then my personalized settings). On the other hand, after five months with the Roland RD-700NX, it's still interesting and beautiful to listen to. I sometimes wish the action were heavier, but I have an acoustic and the Yamaha for variety in touch. I've played a little bit with the Roland UI, but mostly I turn it on and play the default Concert Grand. Sometimes I use the Studio Grand. Sometimes I use the metronome. I do wish the RD-700NX recorded MIDI. That is one simple feature that I use a lot on the N2 but that is lacking on the Roland (unless it isn't lacking, in which case the UI is truly unintuitive).


Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX
Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
safari70 #1747481 09/06/11 01:46 PM
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"...As far as boards, play everything you're considering...."

Limited as it may be, you'll find out more by playing them than you will by not playing them.

A look at the online manual can be useful.


Clef

Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
kippesc #1747484 09/06/11 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by kippesc
I do wish the RD-700NX recorded MIDI. That is one simple feature that I use a lot on the N2 but that is lacking on the Roland (unless it isn't lacking, in which case the UI is truly unintuitive).

MIDI recording does not exist on the NX.

Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
voxpops #1747485 09/06/11 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by voxpops
I will soon have an MP6 to compare it to - which should be interesting.

I'm very much looking forward to that comparison!

Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
PianoZac #1747581 09/06/11 04:27 PM
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Voxpops, thanks for the detailed response… It sounds that you're still enjoying the FP-7F so that's a good sign smile

I briefly played an FP-7F two times in different stores, and overall i totally agree with you regarding its excellent action/touch and AP sound (I wish it had better EPs though)… Funny thing, the first time i played it, even though i liked the action and the sound (from a technical perspective), I didn't find it to be very "engaging" or "exciting" to play (for lack of better words)… The 2nd time was much better and i actually enjoyed it. Not sure why, it might be due to different headphones, or maybe the first wasn't set up properly…

I'll be visiting another music store later this week where they have both Roland and Kawai models side-by-side, which would make it easier to compare and finally make a decision…


Zachary, while searching and reading up on those DPs i got the impression that you've done the rounds going from an RD-700GX all the way to a Nord Piano / AvantGrand combo, after flirting briefly with an RD-700NX… and if i'm not mistaken you're currently considering a Kawai MP10 or MP6 (or was that before the AG) ?

I'm curious regarding the RD-700XX, did you actually like it when you first tried it, only to find out later on that it's not working for you? or were you not really convinced from the get go but still bought it because you haven't tried anything better at that time (or for other reason)?

Only thing i didn't like about the FP-7F were the EPs… How did you like them on the RD-700NX (being SuperNatural and all, unlike the FP)? I know the Nord have killer EPs but unfortunately i couldn't get over the key action/touch (I wouldn't have looked further than the Nord Piano if it had decent keys)…

Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
kippesc #1747587 09/06/11 04:35 PM
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far_star and kippesc, thanks for your input... that's exactly why i started this thread...

Kippsesc, have you tried controlling the RD-700NX's piano from the AvantGrand (MIDI)? would be interesting to try it out...

Unfortunately i don't have the space nor budget for 2 DPs so i guess i'll just have to compromise and get only one smile btw, how do you like the RD-700NX's EPs?

Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
safari70 #1747595 09/06/11 04:43 PM
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Yep. I've got a Clav and I love it. The only thing that's ever annoyed me about it is something that had annoyed me on every single acoustic piano I've ever played: a clicking/squeaky damper pedal. Other than that, it's wonderful.


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Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
safari70 #1747647 09/06/11 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by safari70


Kippsesc, have you tried controlling the RD-700NX's piano from the AvantGrand (MIDI)? would be interesting to try it out...



I haven't. I've got them in two separate rooms and have never taken the time to lug the Roland to the N2. One reason I bought the Roland was so I could move it to various rooms of the house. The N2 requires a couple of piano movers to move; it is very top heavy, with a weight distribution that is very different from an acoustic vertical.

I like the PHA III action enough that I don't think I'm missing anything, not using the N2 as a controller. Also, I suspect the N2 velocity curve is very different from the Roland's internal action. You have to absolutely nail the N2 to reach velocity 127, whereas the Roland arrives at 127 somewhat short of what I would call fff.

Last edited by kippesc; 09/06/11 06:17 PM.

Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX
Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
safari70 #1747655 09/06/11 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by safari70
btw, how do you like the RD-700NX's EPs?


I don't know very much about EPs, but for what it's worth (and my opinion on EPs does not come from much experience) the Roland EPs don't sound all that interesting to me. Have you listened to the Pianoteq EPs? You can download the free demo and see if those interest you. If they do, the UI on Pianoteq is outstanding.


Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX
Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
safari70 #1747689 09/06/11 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by safari70
It sounds that you're still enjoying the FP-7F so that's a good sign smile

Yes, I'm very impatient with regard to DPs, and have gone through a lot of the non-console variety in the last few years. They rarely keep me engaged for too long, but the FP-7F is something a little different (but see below).

Quote
Funny thing, the first time i played it, even though i liked the action and the sound (from a technical perspective), I didn't find it to be very "engaging" or "exciting" to play (for lack of better words)… The 2nd time was much better and i actually enjoyed it. Not sure why, it might be due to different headphones, or maybe the first wasn't set up properly…

I can fully understand this. It's not an "exciting" piano. The sound is rounded and full, but perhaps just a touch dull or lacking in character. For me, it is more the way the sound responds to touch that keeps me engaged. Of course, if you were to put it through a big sound system it might become more exciting. But as it stands, it is a little like a very competent school piano (compared to a wonderful Bechstein or Bluthner concert grand).


"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015
Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
safari70 #1747959 09/07/11 05:20 AM
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This topic interests me too. I have a plan to stick with Roland FP7F for a few years and at least in the next year or so use only that also for my recordings (I haven't got very capable PC at the moment to use it as MIDI for Pianoteq, etc.). But I wonder will it be enough. There are people who suggest Nord 88 is a good thing for recordings, but action compared to Roland is lighter. And that's true as I have tried both. Also I found Roland FP7F more expressive and actually I think it doesn't lack character, meaing-you just have to give it it's character by playing good. Neutral piano itself is a good thing. As for EP's - there are many of them and there was about 2 or 3 that sounded OK. Some of the organs are OK too.

Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
safari70 #1747964 09/07/11 05:33 AM
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In my experience of both acoustics and DPs, it's the ones with lots of overtones (i.e. bright-sounding) that initially sound impressive, but then pall over time. Compared to Yamaha, Roland tends toward the mellow (some would say dull) side - just like a Blüthner or Steingraeber acoustic when compared to a Yamaha acoustic: many young pianists find the former dull-sounding initially.

I've been playing my V-Piano for some 15 months now, and though I've customized several different piano sounds on it based on their acoustic brands (see my V-Piano thread), I find myself playing the mellower settings most of the time. And I enjoy playing it even more now than when I first bought it. Unlike most other people who own and play DPs, I've no intention of ever buying another one as a supplement, or 'upgrading' 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: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
voxpops #1747987 09/07/11 06:40 AM
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Quote
Of course, if you were to put it through a big sound system it might become more exciting. But as it stands, it is a little like a very competent school piano (compared to a wonderful Bechstein or Bluthner concert grand).


Yep, the "sound reproduction system" is the other big piece…

I mean, honestly, most of the latest generation DPs have advanced technology to produce a reasonably convincing piano experience (action, touch, sound, control, etc…), what we don't have, as far as i know, is a dedicated "Piano" sound system specialized in reproducing the sound of those DPs as faithfully as possible (i.e. how do we best amplify and reproduce the piano sound form a sample-based/physically-modelled instrument?).

What i'm thinking is something similar to console-type DPs like AvantGrand or V-Piano Grand or others where they have a carefully matched sound system and speakers, but in a standalone "enclosure" that could be used with non-console DPs (maybe those do exist but i'm not aware of them?). or maybe the market is not big enough to make business sense.. who knows.

Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
bennevis #1747997 09/07/11 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
In my experience of both acoustics and DPs, it's the ones with lots of overtones (i.e. bright-sounding) that initially sound impressive, but then pall over time. Compared to Yamaha, Roland tends toward the mellow (some would say dull) side - just like a Blüthner or Steingraeber acoustic when compared to a Yamaha acoustic: many young pianists find the former dull-sounding initially.


Personally i usually like a "mellower" sounding A.Piano (European?) better than a brighter one like a Yamaha (I said "usually" because once i played a Yamaha U3 and it sounded fabulous - Unfortunately not all U3s impress me that much so there might be variations)... Well, I know this is subjective but generally i do agree with your statement above.

Originally Posted by bennevis
I've been playing my V-Piano for some 15 months now, and though I've customized several different piano sounds on it based on their acoustic brands (see my V-Piano thread), I find myself playing the mellower settings most of the time. And I enjoy playing it even more now than when I first bought it. Unlike most other people who own and play DPs, I've no intention of ever buying another one as a supplement, or 'upgrading' it.


I know opinions on V-Piano are rather polarized, you tend to love it or hate it... smile In my opinion, after playing one at the store, i was very impressed and found it to be super inspiring and enjoyable... maybe not as much if you want to *clinically* compare it to an Grand AP, but just for a very simple reason:
it plays like a real authentic instrument by itself, no need to compare it to anything else at all (if that makes any sense)... Unfortunately it's out of my budget at this time (I'm hoping something like Pianoteq with a decent DP controller would approach that feeling i had with the V-Piano).

Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
safari70 #1747999 09/07/11 07:00 AM
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I loved the lighter action of the Roland RD700GX that I had, but it was a very loud and thumpy action and I didn't really like the onboard sounds - including the SN expansion that I installed. The Kawai MP10 had a better native sound to it, but I actually found the action to be a little too heavy for me (it caused pain in my left forearm after only 10-15 minutes of playing).

So, with both of them gone I've come to the determination that Ivory II blended with Pianoteq (I bring in a little Pianoteq at the attack and use side-chain compression to keep its decay way down) is a very usable tone for solo piano recording.

Now, I'm once again on the lookout for a controller. I may be revisiting the Nero NUMA in the very near future. Toss that in a Plan B enclosure and I think I'll be SET!

Curt

Re: Digital Pianos: Owner's opinion after several months...
safari70 #1748002 09/07/11 07:10 AM
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I never played on a AP, I mean... I did once, but it was of tune... I've a yamaha p85, that I believe is one of the top DP in the sheep DP. It feels very plastic, the sound is ok, but I just added some speakers and know it's a little better.

I can tell the diference from this to the roland I played in classes.

If I'm happy with it? No, but I can't have a better one because I'm poor, or do I can have an AP because someone would kill me, I have no space and money to afford one... and my dream piano is very hard to find here.

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