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Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
#2060639 04/07/13 04:22 AM
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I'd like to hear from people regarding their thoughts about the digital piano sounds from the various digital pianos. Which do you prefer after having tried them? I bought the Casio online after after good reviews, but I regretted the purchase not only due to the muffled sound but also other reasons too. I've listened to Yamaha and Kawai and they sound better to me, more authentic. I've listened on sample plays on youtube and this also confirms what I hear. What is your preference in the various brands on the DP pianos strictly in terms of the sound.

My theory is that maybe companies that produces Acoustic Grand Pianos or licenses the sound from these well known acoustic pianos give better sound? I don't think Casio makes acoustic pianos and thus the difference in quality of sound.

***I just wanted to know what people think in terms of sound first and foremost, then if you want to talk about touch, that's secondary. *** I would appreciate if you can rank the sound first in order. And then later if you want, rank again in terms of sound and touch. Why do i first want sound first? Because it's probably the most important...

This is a side question:

Also, do you prefer getting a studio piano (one that doesn't come in cabinet) and you use your own speakers? Which sounds better, getting your own speakers or getting the cabinet w/ speakers...

Again, first and foremost, sound of the DP.

Updated request:
The original budget was under $2000. However, it can be below or a little above, but primarily I'm interested in the "sound."

Though this piano is above the price range, it sounds very authentic and very good: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2053050.html

http://www.korg.com/KronosX

You know, I think one should be very leary of DP brands that don't post sample sound files on the site. Casio doesn't put sound files on the site for obvious reasons smile

Thanks.

Last edited by pianoworldanon; 04/07/13 05:10 AM.
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Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
pianoworldanon #2060640 04/07/13 04:24 AM
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How much did you pay for the Casio compared to the Yamaha and Kawai models you're comparing to?

What models are you referring to?


Baldwin M
Casio PX-330
Casio AP-45
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
pianoworldanon #2060641 04/07/13 04:37 AM
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For playing at home with quality reference speakers/headphones. My favourites based on what I've owned and tried in music stores would look something like this if we're talking stagepianos:
Best: Roland SN, Yamaha, Nord, Studiologic.
2nd best: Kawai
3rd best: Casio (I hope the new PX5-S will have at better sound than what I've heard and tried from Casio so far)


Roland RD800, EV ZXA-1.
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
jrcallan #2060642 04/07/13 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jrcallan
How much did you pay for the Casio compared to the Yamaha and Kawai models you're comparing to?

What models are you referring to?


Under $2000 was my budget, but the ap-620 at the time was about $1300. And I think at the time the mp6 was about $1700. I currently have the Casio AP-620. Sounds muffled, not sharp enough. I'm not the only person yet I don't know how a popular online review could give it such high rating even though this person is a pro. I'm trying to figure out if a better piano in terms of sound could have been purchased at the time. I was thinking of the Kawai MP6 vs. the Casio AP-620 at the time. My gut told me to pick the MP6 but the person said that "the AP-620 would be a better fit for your kid and that you can get a more advance piano after your kid outgrows the AP-620." In hindsight, I regretted listening to the advice because the AP-620 sounds muffled by default. In addition, in practice, my kid doesn't use those fancy features besides the metronome (seldom too) and honestly, my kid wouldn't have access to these fancy features had she picked an acoustic piano. My gut at the time told me to pick the best touch and sound, and gut told me I should get the MP6.

I listen to the AP-620's large databank of songs.. they are good, but not out of this world primarily because of the dynamic range in tone, for example, soft to loud. When I listen to youtube, after much time have past, I see few AP-620 videos, and many of the videos are filled with talk and little time is spent on the actual demo of the sound where as with other brands such as Yamaha and Kawai, I see much more actual play of piano music. I love the fact that Kawai put online sample music on their piano models. In hindsight, I really believe the AP-620 was hyped and is confirmed by reading what other people say on PW. I'm on PW these past few weeks to research terminal software issues with the AP-620 and this is where I discovered that for the money I paid, had I go with my gut to pay a little more. I could have gotten a far superior instrument that my kid would never grow out of.

However, in this thread, I just wanted to know what people think in terms of sound first and foremost, then if you want to talk about touch, that's secondary.

Last edited by pianoworldanon; 04/07/13 05:55 AM.
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
pianoworldanon #2060681 04/07/13 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoworldanon

Updated request:
The original budget was under $2000. However, it can be below or a little above, but primarily I'm interested in the "sound."
.


Check out the new Roland FP80 and Kawai ES7. Both are dead on with your budget and sound requirements.

Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
Marko in Boston #2060689 04/07/13 08:21 AM
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Korg has always been my favorite (I prefer Steinway over Yamaha for the type of music I do).

I REALLY enjoy my SP280 so far. To me their Steinway sound is more natural than the Casio x30 or x50-but I will give Casio the edge with the x50 actions.

I did have the Yamaha P95 and found it okay for headphone use but it was muffled through the internal speakers.

I have a Roland Juno Gi and although not a digital piano, it comes across well in my recordings.

Certain Yamaha sounds I prefer for Elton John songs


Kawai Es8
Korg Krome 61
Yamaha P125
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
pianoworldanon #2060697 04/07/13 08:46 AM
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@Possum; Totally agree with you re Elton John on the Yamaha. I played Tiny Dancer and Rocket Man on my friend's CP33 (with headphones). Yamaha really sounds great with EJ. I know the CP33 is older technology, but nice, solid, easy to use keyboard. I can see why Yamaha has not changed the CP33 and CP300 in years. Great just the way it is IMO.

Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
Marko in Boston #2060707 04/07/13 09:13 AM
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Yamaha CP5, then they can all get in line... grin

CP50, Nord Piano 2, Roland 700NX (just the Studio Grand) , Yamaha CP300, Kawai MP10, CP33, Korg Kronos, SP280. Pretty much in that order.

Based on what I've played (haven't played the PX-5S), not a Casio fan at this time..

My criteria is based on live playing, not home solo use.

Last edited by Dave Ferris; 04/07/13 03:17 PM. Reason: added thought and ES7 taken away..I consider that more a home model

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D
Yamaha CP4
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
pianoworldanon #2060723 04/07/13 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoworldanon
***I just wanted to know what people think in terms of sound first and foremost, then if you want to talk about touch, that's secondary. ***
...
Why do i first want sound first? Because it's probably the most important...
...
Though this piano is above the price range, it sounds very authentic and very good: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2053050.html

http://www.korg.com/KronosX


There's a lot of personal preference to this. But I almost always like Yamahas. The only Kawai I've heard that I really liked is the MP10. [Edit: I realized the only ones I've heard are the MP6 and MP10.] I like some of the models you can load into the Nords. I'm not the biggest fan of the Korgs. But if your priority is best sound, most people will probably suggest that you run a MIDI cable from your keyboard and trigger one of the high end pianos you can load into your computer.

But if you want something stand-alone (no computer), I'd probably look at the Yamaha CP5 (or the lesser CP50 if budget demands), Nord Piano 2 (or the lesser Nord Electro 4HP), and Kawai MP10. But even within these, the sound and feel vary enormously, and you may have very strong preferences one way or another. And really, all that matters is what you think. For my own taste, I don't rank the Roland SuperNaturals up with any of these, but there are people on this board who like them best (models like the FP-7F/FP-80). And some people like that Korg a lot more than I do.

(I have no experience with "console" models.)

Last edited by anotherscott; 04/07/13 10:28 AM.
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
pianoworldanon #2060727 04/07/13 10:18 AM
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I have had Korg, Yamaha, Roland, and Kawai.

I have now settled in with my ES7 and am very happy with the sound.

That doesn't mean that my choice will last forever. This sound thing never seems to last.



Don

Casio PX-S1000, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq, FocusRite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Focal Professional CMS 40 monitors
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
anotherscott #2060735 04/07/13 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
But if you want something stand-alone (no computer), I'd probably look at the Yamaha CP5 (or the lesser CP50 if budget demands), Nord Piano 2 (or the lesser Nord Electro 4HP), and Kawai MP10. But even within these, the sound and feel vary enormously, and you may have very strong preferences one way or another. And really, all that matters is what you think. For my own taste, I don't rank the Roland SuperNaturals up with any of these, but there are people on this board who like them best (models like the FP-7F/FP-80). And some people like that Korg a lot more than I do.


This pretty much sums up my own experience as well. Soundwise and for solo piano playing, the most recent Nord AP sounds get my vote, with the Yamaha CP5 closely following. Actionwise the Nords fall below Kawai and Yamaha.


Shigeru Kawai SK-2, etc.
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
pianoworldanon #2060767 04/07/13 11:45 AM
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First, on the AP-620:

. . . Is there a "Brightness" or "Brilliance" control in the menus?

You keep calling it "muffled", which suggests that you don't have enough high-frequency sound. Increasing the "brightness" or "brilliance" control (if it has one) might help.

Or another possibility:

. . . Your loudspeakers are 2-way (woofer + tweeter), and the tweeters
. . . have burned out.

How does the piano sound through good ($100 or more) headphones? If it sounds OK, you might try a pair of powered monitor loudspeakers -- they'll be better than whatever is built into the AP-620 cabinet.

Second:

As the owner of a Casio PX-350 (about $800), I am compelled to say:

. . . Yes, you can get better sound for $2000 than you can get for $1000.

Based on my listening, if I had the money, I'd probably buy a Roland FP-4F, RD700NX, or something else from Roland. [The FP-7F is discontinued, but really nice.] I'm one of those who likes Roland's "SuperNatural" sound. But judgements of "piano sound" are very subjective, as you can see from the responses here. The Kawai CE220 gets some good press; certainly it, and the ES7, are worth trying out.

The suggestion of a "virtual piano", running on a PC, is a good one _if_ you can deal with the complexity, and you like the "feel" of the AP-620 keyboard. And you must budget for a set of loudspeakers.

. Charles



. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
pianoworldanon #2060769 04/07/13 11:47 AM
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My take on the characteristics of the different brands (in terms of AP sounds only):

Yamaha: bright, clear, even, coherent, slightly sterile

Kawai: bright, clear, dynamic, slightly harsh, slightly sterile

Korg: warm(er), rounded, expressive, slightly truncated initial decay

Roland SN: warm(er), very expressive, harmonically coherent, realistic decay, dynamic, slightly dull/muddy, possibly overly metallic in certain registers (according to some)

Nord: choice of standout samples, transparent, expressive, realistic resonance, more authentic

Casio: warm(er), expressive, too long since I played one to remember subtleties


I find it difficult to rank these as they all have certain unique characteristics, and some work better in one context than another. But for an all round playing experience that comes somewhere near what can be achieved with an acoustic - and at a budget not exceeding $2k - I would start with Roland. It does NOT have the most beautiful or authentic piano sound when individual notes are played in isolation, but the total experience is, to me, more expressive and more engaging.

Yamaha is a solid choice, but, unlike Roland and Kawai, you will have to put up with stretched samples, as opposed
to 88-note sampling. You will also have to prefer the sound signature of a Yamaha grand piano, because that is all you will get. Generally, although you will need to spend more than your budget to get their best sound reproduction, Yamaha DPs play consistently well, and are therefore quite expressive.

Kawai at circa $2k is a good choice - again, if you like the sound of Kawai pianos. As with Yamaha, at that price you will not get their best sound engine/samples, but their newer ES7 has improved resonance characteristics, and a lot of people enjoy the sound, esthetics and ease of operation of Kawai DPs.

The Nord has perhaps the most authentic selection of samples available in any DP, and they are all very different in their characteristics. However, you will be unlikely to find a weighted action Nord for $2k.

Korg offers a lot of bang for the buck with their Krome and SP-280. I also quite like their fairly rich Steinway samples. I have not played the SP-280 but have played the Krome, the SV-1 and the older SP-250, and would say that the overall sound is pleasing, but the samples combined with resonance features etc. lack a little of the sophistication of Roland, Yamaha, Kawai and Nord. Korg tends to cater more toward the gigging musician where out-and-out authenticity is perhaps less important.


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

mabraman, 2015
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
voxpops #2060792 04/07/13 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by voxpops


Kawai: bright, clear, dynamic, slightly harsh, slightly sterile


Kawai at circa $2k is a good choice - again, if you like the sound of Kawai pianos. As with Yamaha, at that price you will not get their best sound engine/samples, but their newer ES7 has improved resonance characteristics, and a lot of people enjoy the sound, esthetics and ease of operation of Kawai DPs.



@voxpops; I have a ES7 and I think your analysis is right on target. However, I think Kawai has a little warmth in its sound. Especially with heavy touch curve or mellow settings. The Virtual Technician in some Kawai DP models is an outstanding tool (and underrated IMO)

Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
Marko in Boston #2060800 04/07/13 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Marko in Boston
Originally Posted by voxpops


Kawai: bright, clear, dynamic, slightly harsh, slightly sterile


Kawai at circa $2k is a good choice - again, if you like the sound of Kawai pianos. As with Yamaha, at that price you will not get their best sound engine/samples, but their newer ES7 has improved resonance characteristics, and a lot of people enjoy the sound, esthetics and ease of operation of Kawai DPs.



@voxpops; I have a ES7 and I think your analysis is right on target. However, I think Kawai has a little warmth in its sound. Especially with heavy touch curve or mellow settings. The Virtual Technician in some Kawai DP models is an outstanding tool (and underrated IMO)

I totally agree. There is warmth and there is a lot of adjustment available. What I, and I believe some others, have found is that you need to spend some time tweaking to get a smoother, more rounded tone, and less of the brittle character.


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

mabraman, 2015
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
pianoworldanon #2060817 04/07/13 02:08 PM
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Sadly, trying to adjust the brightness was where I discovered that my piano has an issue Saving the settings across powercycles. I've cycled the backup flag from off per instruction. I was able to save the brightness before, but not anymore.

I would never touch any CASIO piano with a 10 foot pole, and thus I wrote here:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2059056/Casio%20AP-620%20error:

There's so many software issues with it that it makes my stomach churn. It's just very unnerving. I wish they provide software that would allow me to reset the software back to factory direct including all the file directories on their internal flash drive. The procedure listed on the manual to do a factory reset no longer works. The think the issue is that Casio used inferior flash memory. Why? Because just to format 16 megabytes of their flash drive took forever! I suspect they use some sort of flash memory that is really old stock. I didn't expect it to be fast, but not super duper slow. It took many minutes. I attempted to format the flash drive only after discovering the "please wait" error.

Last edited by pianoworldanon; 04/07/13 02:19 PM.
Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
Charles Cohen #2060835 04/07/13 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
First, on the AP-620:

The suggestion of a "virtual piano", running on a PC, is a good one _if_ you can deal with the complexity, and you like the "feel" of the AP-620 keyboard. And you must budget for a set of loudspeakers.

. Charles



Virtual piano? Tell me more about it. Might as well try it since I have the AP-620 should I not decide to sell it and get something else.

Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
voxpops #2060837 04/07/13 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by voxpops
Yamaha is a solid choice, but, unlike Roland and Kawai, you will have to put up with stretched samples, as opposed
to 88-note sampling.


@voxpops,

There is one exception:

If you are able to find and purchase a Clavinova CLP-990 model (990, or, 990M) from 2001, it does in fact have 88-note stereo sampling.

Here is the general description:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Features

PURE PIANO SOUND — EVEN "BETWEEN" THE NOTES

If you're serious about your music, you don't want an instrument that sounds and plays "like" a piano. You want a piano. Which is exactly what you get with the CLP-990. Cutting-edge AWM tone generation technology ensures that every subtle nuance — from the lowest to the highest notes, and from the softest to the loudest dynamics — is right there at your fingertips. All the keys boast separate stereo samples. And for a new level of grand piano touch realism, there's the natural spruce keyboard. Plus a wide range of features to further expand your performance possibilities.

The CLP-990 — the ultimate choice for piano purists.

Woodgrain cabinet with Dark Rosewood (CLP-990 shown) or Mahogany (2373 LNK CLP-990M) Finish.

88 Stereo Sampling

In the same way that an acoustic piano has separate strings for each key, the CLP-990 has separate stereo samples for all 88 keys — each one painstakingly recorded from a top-class, perfectly maintained Yamaha CFIIIS concert grand. There's no tricky filtering or pitch shifting to make a single sample sound like several notes: each individual note is a separate and distinctly vibrant entity. What's more, each note is sampled at five separate dynamic levels so that the timbre is right from the meekest pianissimo to the most commanding fortissimo. Naturally, this requires a lot of memory: how about a whopping 80.4 megabytes just for the Grand Piano sound?

Further Steps Towards Achieving The Ultimate Piano Sound

The CLP-990 features more than just 88-key Stereo Samples to assure authentic piano sound. String Resonance delivers the sound of strings in the related harmonic series resonating when other keys and the damper pedal are pressed. To recreate the changes in soundboard and string resonance that occur when, for example, the damper pedal is pressed, there are Stereo Sustain Samples. Plus Key-Off Samples that reproduce the change in timbre as keys are released on a real acoustic piano. As a final step towards achieving perfection, the CLP-990's Soundboard Reverb effect provides the residual resonance of the soundboard and cabinet after the keys and damper pedal have been released.

INCREDIBLY REALISTIC TOUCH

Natural Keyboard

In addition to unrivalled sound, the CLP-990 delivers unbelievably realistic touch with the "Natural Keyboard" featuring spruce keys. As with the highly acclaimed GH (Graded Hammer effect) keyboard of all other Yamaha Clavinovas, key weight is graded from heavier in the lower registers to lighter in the higher, exactly like a grand piano. However, in the "Natural Keyboard", this grading is in 8 steps as opposed to 4 in the GH keyboard. For even more realism, this new keyboard also uses a new hammer action that lets you actually feel the hammers and cushions as you play. What's more, there are two sensors — one under each hammer and one under each key. The hammer sensor detects velocity, while the key sensor detects when the damper is on or off. The result is the same feel and response as a grand piano's keyboard when playing fast, delicate passages. Add to this the warmth and texture of natural wood keys, and you have touch and control that is closer than ever to the real thing.

BEYOND PIANO PERFORMANCE

A Versatile Selection of Voices

In addition to its incredibly expressive grand piano voice, the CLP-990 offers a range of instrument voices that can add new dimensions to your sound. With its huge sample memory, the quality of each and every voice is superb. Just listen to the presence of the key-off a harpsichord or the vibraphone. Here's a performance palette that won't limit your style or talent.

High-performance Speaker System

To deliver the newly sampled instrument voices with all the power and authority they deserve, the CLP-990 features a newly designed speaker system and high power stereo amplifier. With 60W per channel, the amplifier easily delivers the dynamic range of a grand piano. The CLP-990 also features 16cm polypropylene woofers and 5cm tweeters in wooden enclosures above the keyboard to deliver high quality sound direct to the ears of the player. The result is astonishingly lifelike power.

OTHER VALUABLE FEATURES

Song Recorder

Record songs using up to 16 tracks to the CLP-990's large internal flash memory the song data stays in memory even when the power is switched off.

Floppy Disk Drive

Use external floppy disks for unlimited storage of songs you've recorded using the CLP-990 Song Memory, or load commercially-available XG song disks and take advantage of the CLP-990's 480-voice XG tone generator for playback. You can simply listen, or play along for practice.

PC Interface

Connect the CLP-990 directly to your Windows® or Macintosh® personal computer using a single cable. Then you're ready to take advantage of the PC-based sequencing software to record and play back your performances.

Extended Polyphony

The CLP-990 features 192-note polyphony combined with Yamaha's unique "intelligent key assigner" system so you'll never experience note cutoffs.

Digital Reverb & Effects

A variety of room reverbs as well as chorus, delay, and brilliance effects let you create the ambience your music deserves.

Dual & Split Modes

Stack two voices for simultaneous performance, or split the keyboard and play different voices with the left and right hands.

Half-Pedal Effect

Continuously variable sustain or pitch bend via the right pedal.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Or, here:

1) Rosewood finish:

http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musi...italpianos/clp_series/clp990/?mode=model

2) Mahogany finish:

http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musi...talpianos/clp_series/clp990m/?mode=model

The specifications are the same in both models.

Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
pianoworldanon #2060868 04/07/13 04:07 PM
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Roland Studio Grand SN, Nord, Yamaha, Korg.

Wishlist: Yamaha CP5, Korg Kronos X, Nord Stage/Piano 2. :^)

Great, now I'm checking CP5 prices.

Re: Your preference of DP piano sound from various brands.
pianoworldanon #2060871 04/07/13 04:12 PM
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Quote
Virtual piano? Tell me more about it. Might as well try it since I have the AP-620 should I not decide to sell it and get something else.


A "virtual piano" is a piano-like synthesizer, running on a computer. Usually, that means a Windows PC, or a Mac.

So, if you think the keyboard action of the AP-620 is OK, you could just replace the whole "sound generator" electronics section with your PC.

You can use your AP-620 keyboard mechanism (if you have "MIDI out" or "USB" connections) to connect to the computer, and drive the sound-generating software. You use the computer's sound card (or an add-on, higher-quality soundcard) to drive loudspeakers.

I should warn you that there's a lot of 'tall grass' to get lost in.<g>

There are two main varieties of this software:

1. "Sampled pianos" -- for example Galaxy's "Vintage D":

. . . . http://www.galaxy-instruments.com/vintage-d.html

or several from Native Instruments, including "Alicias' Keys":

http://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/keys/alicias-keys/

Basically, pick a piano, and record each note at various volume levels. Then play them back.

2. "Modelled pianos" or "virtual pianos" -- the leading program seems to be Pianoteq, here:

. . http://www.pianoteq.com/

A "modelled piano" uses a (hugely complicated) mathematical model of the physics of a piano. So it's capable of a wide variety of "piano" sounds, including sounds that more-or-less duplicate Steinways, Bluthners, and so on. [Roland uses this technique, more-or-less, in its "SuperNatural" pianos.]

The advantage of the "sampled piano" technique is that the sound of each note _really did_ come from a Steinway (or some other famous piano), and it hasn't been mangled too much. You also get some freedom in modifying the sound, if you want to.

The advantage of the "modelled piano" technique is that (a) there are some "features" of acoustic pianos (like "string resonance") that are very hard to capture with "sampled piano" software. But they can be captured in the physical model. And you can _really_ play with the sound -- specify harder hammers, or de-tune the individual strings of a note, and so on.

The disadvantage of "modelled piano" technique is that some people simply _hate_ the final sound! That's something you'll have to find out for yourself. [There's a free demo version of Pianoteq that you could try.]

There's been lots of discussion of this topic, on this forum. The software pianos have been steadily improving -- more samples, more sophisticated models, and so on.

Have fun deciding - -

. Charles

PS -- I suspect that the eventual replacement for my PX-350 (if it ever happens), is going to be Pianoteq or a Roland. I am impressed by the lushness of their sounds.


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq
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