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#2079660 - 05/09/13 04:56 AM Kawai VPC1  
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I'm thinking seriously about buying the Kawai VPC1, but I haven't had the chance to try it.

I tried:
- Kawai MP-6: the action was too hard.
- Kawai CA65: ok
- Roland FP-80: ok

My question is, how does the action of VPC1 feel compared to these keyboards?

Another thing that concerns me is the latency. In the Kawai website it's written:
"It is true that digital pianos offer a very low latency playing experience (i.e. there are no perceived delays when pressing the keys), providing an excellent sense of 'connection' for the player. However, with the correct hardware and software configuration, the VPC1 and virtual piano software can also achieve a minimal latency, resulting in a keyboard-sound 'connection' that rivals the very best digital pianos"

So, is it really the same than in a DP? Or it's really close but not the same??


Alba
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#2079670 - 05/09/13 05:40 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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Latency ;

- if you have a recent MacBook Pro - preferably with enough RAM and SSD / Flash drive, latency shouldn't be an issue. I can set Pianoteq to a buffer size of 64 samples (1.3ms output latency) on my Retina and it works without problems. I DO sometimes wonder if the latency of the whole system is meant here, or only the buffer size of the pianoteq engine. Assuming the first , the delay should be inaudible, even at 128ms.

- If you use an old machine or one with a problematic configuration (hardware / drivers mismatch etc), latency may be an issue.

As far as the VPC1 is concerned ; are you in a hurry ? It seems to be sold out for a while...(ahum)

As far as touch is concerned, the VPC1 offers IMHO the best in the list you showed. MP6 has aged indeed and has a slower keybed, The FP80 is fine, but noisier. CA-65 is also good, but of course not a stage model and more expensive. VPC1 + software seems to be a good deal , if (!) you have a decent computer setup.

#2079674 - 05/09/13 05:50 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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The VPC1 is a fantastic board. Of your list, only the CA65 has a better action (by a little). The possibility of using different touch curves, and of editing them (so far only under Windows) for the VPC1 is a big plus.

I've coupled the VPC1 with my little red one (a Nord Electro) and latency is not a problem at all, so MIDI is definitely not a bottleneck. However, a computer setup MAY be - depending also on your expectations of an immediate connection with a software sound generator. I admit I've not yet sorted these kinds of problems with my somewhat oldish MacBook Pro, but then again I'm not the type of person wanting to spend hours to get a computer setup right. But I am enjoing my red&black combo a lot...


Shigeru Kawai SK-2, etc.
#2079677 - 05/09/13 05:57 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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Apparently, you have no experience using VSTs / piano software.

If that is true, I would suggest that you try running something like Pianoteq (free demo) with your present DP just to get a sense of how it works before you LEAP into something like that VPC1, which has no onboard sounds of its own.

If you like that sound, at least you will have one known sound you can purchase and use with the VPC1 when you receive it.

If you do not like that sound, then you might try one of the other piano software products. You may have to purchase it.

In any event, I would not suggest you purchase the VPC1 until you have settled on at least one piano software product that you like.

I, personally, would be (and am) reluctant to purchase a machine with no onboard sounds. I am just not that enthralled with software piano sounds to go ... ALL IN ... on that idea. That is just me, of course. Others love them and have no issues with that at all.

I would just exercise some caution here.





Don

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur
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#2079690 - 05/09/13 06:32 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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Originally Posted by Alba


I tried:
- Kawai MP-6: the action was too hard.
- Kawai CA65: ok
- Roland FP-80: ok

My question is, how does the action of VPC1 feel compared to these keyboards?


The VPC1 action will feel similar to the CA65, although not exactly the same.
The MP10 will also offer a similar touch feeling. If you are able to find the CA15, this will provide an identical touch as it uses the same 'RM3 Grand II' keyboard action as the VPC1.

Regarding latency, as the Q&A on the website explains, this depends largely on your computer hardware. A reasonably modern Mac or PC should run most software instruments with relatively low latency, with faster processors, ram, and harddrives all helping. An audio interface will typically offer lower latency (and higher sound quality) than built-in audio.

As others have suggested, it may be worthwhile to download the Pianoteq software and try it in 'trial' mode with your current digital piano. If using a Windows machine and built-in audio, be sure to also download the 'ASIO4ALL' sound driver for improved latency.

There are many online resources that discuss software instruments and latency in considerable detail. The purpose of the latency section on the Q&A on the VPC site is largely to reassure visitors that the VPC1 does not contribute to latency.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#2079871 - 05/09/13 01:44 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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Good advice here.

You should figure out the VST side of things first and see if it will suit your needs before considering getting just a controller.



Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D
#2079874 - 05/09/13 01:51 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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JFP is correct, I've scoured the uk music stores trying to buy a VPC1 nobody' s got any and they are not sure when they will..seems like they sold out very quickly.

James have you any idea when the next batch will arrive in the UK?



Kawai VPC1 | Imperfect Samples Walnut Steinway Concert Grand | Galaxy Vintage D | Pianoteq |
#2079901 - 05/09/13 02:41 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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Thank you for all your answers! I think I'm going to buy it (when the next batch arrives!) if I can get sure about the latency issue.
I'm using piano software already because my actual piano is a controller also (ESI K.ON).

I'm upgrading to another keyboard because of the bad action & lack of connection I have with my actual one.

As I've never owned a digital piano (only this ESI) I'm not sure if all my bad feeling comes from the action or from the latency too. (That's why my first question!)

I've got:
TruePianos
Pianoteq 4 TRIAL
Galaxy Vintage D (Kontakt 5)

All of them configured with ASIO driver:
- Sample rate 44100 Hz
- Audio buffer size: 64 samples

In pianoteq it appears a latency of 1,5ms but in Kontakt 5 I can see:
Processing 1,5 ms | Output 5,1 ms | Overall 6,6 ms

With this configuration and a latency of 6,6 ms is it worth to get the VPC1?


Alba
#2079916 - 05/09/13 03:24 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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Product manager of the Numa Concert (hardware stage piano) boasts about a total latency of about 4 to 4.5 ms, so presumably that is a good overall value. My guess is, if you can get near a total latency of 4 ~ 5 you're on the save side and as it seems on par with hardware.

Side-note: somewhere I also read that Roland SN piano's can have increased latency when you're pounding the keys and pedaling a lot. Don't know if that is true but it indicates that even hardware can have alternating latency when the processing load increases. Again ; don't know if that is the case with modern hardware. In the 80's and 90's MIDI was a key cause for latency problems. Even internally the note-on information was processed as MIDI @ MIDI speeds which is slow when many notes are played rapidly - to say the least...

With up-to-date hardware , be it computer or keyboard gear, I wouldn't worry too much about latency...

#2079937 - 05/09/13 04:19 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Eggman]  
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Originally Posted by Eggman
JFP is correct, I've scoured the uk music stores trying to buy a VPC1 nobody' s got any and they are not sure when they will..seems like they sold out very quickly.


I know , I know....:-(

Otherwise I could have tested all latency settings by now. It's not supposed to be...

#2080222 - 05/10/13 07:50 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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I believe the general advice from previous threads is that latency of 10ms (or less) is usually unnoticeable, so 6.6ms sounds quite good.


Playing since April 2010.
Kawai MP10
#2080227 - 05/10/13 08:03 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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Thomann indicates estimated availability on May 31st, three weeks from now.


-- Zbynek N.

Learning to play the piano since 06/2013 on a Kawai CA-95.

Music is what feelings sound like. ~ Author Unknown
#2080231 - 05/10/13 08:28 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Deffie]  
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Originally Posted by Deffie
I believe the general advice from previous threads is that latency of 10ms (or less) is usually unnoticeable, so 6.6ms sounds quite good.


I see 5.3 INPUT latency and 7.3 OUTPUT latency with my Pianoteq and I do not notice any delay.

I also blend the Pianoteq sound with my DP sound through a mixer and do not detect any echo effect, which would be true if there was noticeable latency.

So, I agree ... 6.6 should be fine.


Don

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur
#2080233 - 05/10/13 08:36 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Clayman]  
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Originally Posted by Clayman
Thomann indicates estimated availability on May 31st, three weeks from now.


I hope you're right, but I'm afraid not. Thomann and music store have a history of changing and shifting dates and all responses I got so far was end of August. Perhaps early August with a bit of luck. Nevertheless the big stores could be firs in line and get an earlier batch that's currently on its way. Only Kawai knows...

#2080258 - 05/10/13 09:20 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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JFP, who told you end of August?

Thomann and other retailers should receive additional stock later this month. However, back-order will obviously be filled first, potentially reducing the number of units available for 'new' customers.

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#2080275 - 05/10/13 09:53 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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Hi,

Originally Posted by Alba

In pianoteq it appears a latency of 1,5ms but in Kontakt 5 I can see:
Processing 1,5 ms | Output 5,1 ms | Overall 6,6 ms

With this configuration and a latency of 6,6 ms is it worth to get the VPC1?


A lot has been said in these forums about latency. First of all, is hard to determine the overall latency as usually the numbers we see are just a part ot the actual latency. There is latency in the ASIO driver, latency while processing audio, latency in the time that take sound waves to propagate from the speakers to your ear, latency in the DACs in the soundcard, and so on...

Even the digital pianos built-in sounds have some latency (very low indeed). Even acoustic pianos have latency (see discussion here: http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/showthread.php/37769-Acoustic-piano-latency).

IMHO, if you only want to play and are not worried with recording issues, the best way to determine if latency is acceptable is just playing: if you are able to perceive latency, that's bad... if you cannot perceive latency then you cannot go better than that.

But for answering your question, the latencies that are you posting are very good... in my setup I cannot perceive even higher latencies.

One trick: if you increase the sample rate, then the latencies will decrease. For instance, going from 48Khz to 96Khz will decrease latency. The downside is that if you hear cracks you will have to increase the buffer size (increasing the latency).

Regards,
Kurt.-

Last edited by kurtie; 05/10/13 09:55 AM.
#2080285 - 05/10/13 10:21 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Kawai James]  
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
JFP, who told you end of August?

Thomann and other retailers should receive additional stock later this month. However, back-order will obviously be filled first, potentially reducing the number of units available for 'new' customers.

Kind regards,
James
x


"Nevertheless the big stores could be first in line and get an earlier batch that's currently on its way. " (earlier quote)

August is for recent orders , like mine, confirmed by both dealer and Kawai. Pitty. Note: Over here ; perhaps not for all countries...

#2080350 - 05/10/13 12:40 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: kurtie]  
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Originally Posted by kurtie
First of all, is hard to determine the overall latency as usually the numbers we see are just a part ot the actual latency. There is latency in the ASIO driver, latency while processing audio, latency in the time that take sound waves to propagate from the speakers to your ear, latency in the DACs in the soundcard, and so on...


More generally, the latency reported by the various software pianos are not calculated the same way, so they are not necessarily comparable and the number you get is not necessarily the same as the time it takes for sound to hit your ear after the key strike (which is what matters). They may or may not include several of the components of latency you mentioned.

Quote
IMHO, if you only want to play and are not worried with recording issues, the best way to determine if latency is acceptable is just playing: if you are able to perceive latency, that's bad... if you cannot perceive latency then you cannot go better than that.


I agree. As a general benchmark, I can't discern any latency at all when my buffer is set such that Galaxy reports less than the low teens. If I can't discern it, it doesn't matter. When things get closer to 20ms, latency can be rather frustrating.

Of course, if you really want to be frustrated with latency, you need to play a large pipe organ.

#2080358 - 05/10/13 12:56 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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I have one on order from sweetwater. The current eta is end of May but the date has been pushed forward a couple of times now so I will believe it when I see it.


Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D
#2080360 - 05/10/13 01:04 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Vid]  
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Originally Posted by Vid
I have one on order from sweetwater.


A Large Pipe Organ ?


Don

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur
#2080364 - 05/10/13 01:20 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: dmd]  
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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by Vid
I have one on order from sweetwater.

A Large Pipe Organ ?

Well, the church building around it is obviously finished already.

#2080367 - 05/10/13 01:26 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: dmd]  
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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by Vid
I have one on order from sweetwater.


A Large Pipe Organ ?


Shipping costs are going to be insane!


Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D
#2080385 - 05/10/13 02:24 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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@ Vid:

On the serious side ...

I will be interested in your view on improvement in SOUND with Pianoteq and/or Vintage D when you switch to VPC1.

I am still not convinced that the "Magic" velocity curve feature is significant in producing better (as in more pleasing) sound.

I hope you can shed some light on that.

Last edited by dmd; 05/10/13 02:25 PM.

Don

Current: ES8, ProFX8 Mixer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio device, SennHeiser HD598 Phones, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, JBL LSR305 Powered Monitors, Pianoteq 5,TruePiano,Ravenscroft275,TrueKeys American,Galaxy Vintage D,Ivory II,Alicia's Keys,CFX Concert Grand, The Grandeur
#2080449 - 05/10/13 04:33 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: dmd]  
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Originally Posted by dmd
@ Vid:

On the serious side ...

I will be interested in your view on improvement in SOUND with Pianoteq and/or Vintage D when you switch to VPC1.

I am still not convinced that the "Magic" velocity curve feature is significant in producing better (as in more pleasing) sound.

I hope you can shed some light on that.


Well, I'm not expecting the "sound" to improve (the software is going to be the same). What I wanted is a better action/feel of the keyboard for more expresivity, I hope this will lead to a more pleasing "global sound". Anyway, I'll post how I feel about the new keyboard, when I get it... (it seems that I'll have to wait)

Originally Posted by Kawai James

Thomann and other retailers should receive additional stock later this month. However, back-order will obviously be filled first, potentially reducing the number of units available for 'new' customers.


Now that I was decided with the keyboard... there aren't! >.< I wanted to buy it in a local store (in Barcelona). Do you know when is it going to be available there, Kawai James?


Alba
#2080453 - 05/10/13 04:52 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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I expect the same. I'm hoping the keyboard will afford a lot more subtle control and "feel" more like the real thing.

As for sound its true that the sound generation is not going to change but I wonder how much difference the pedal is going to make. The other upgrade for me will be from an on/off switch sustain pedal to a graded sustain pedal. I assume I will have more subtle control over the resulting sound with the graded one. I'm also expecting the 3 light sensor to make faster passages easier to achieve.

Maybe I'll try a before and after recording to document the difference.


Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D
#2080906 - 05/11/13 02:41 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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The sound of my teachers (acoustic) piano is different when she plays compared to when I play it. It's all down to technique, skill, training - touch. So maybe the VPC touch curves will help.

#2253233 - 03/27/14 06:21 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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I've been using a Kawai VPC1 for about a week now, and I can tell you its just an amazing piece of equipment! I actually, just put together a review of it here:

http://youtu.be/rq93A6D1gps

I'll be using this to control the new Ravenscroft virtual piano from VI Labs.

I'm fascinated with the actual Ravenscroft 275 acoustic piano, as well as coming pretty close to mimmicking that action on the VPC1 (more on that later).

#2253252 - 03/27/14 06:59 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: PianoManChuck]  
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Thank you from a further different piano man Charlie, also the happy owner of a Great kawai dp, and ravenscroft (the sw, of course). smile
Super review.

Last edited by minstrelman; 03/27/14 07:12 PM.
#2253263 - 03/27/14 07:19 PM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: Alba]  
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Nicely done Chuck, thanks for posting.

It's good that you commented on how well the Nord pianos play from the VPC1's action too. I'm using a similar setup at home (Kawai MP8II & Nord Elcetro).

Cheers,
James
x


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#2253363 - 03/28/14 12:52 AM Re: Kawai VPC1 [Re: PianoManChuck]  
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Originally Posted by PianoManChuck
I've been using a Kawai VPC1 for about a week now, and I can tell you its just an amazing piece of equipment! ...


Nice review.
Right now I have a bunch of sheet music spread all over the top of my VPC. Set whatever I'm playing in front of me. Haven't decided yet if I like using the music holder more. Or just laying the music down. Have a little lift at the back with a little shelf there. Can get a little more angle on the sheet music. Am really liking this setup. Very ergo dynamic.

I have talked about customizing the curves for more touch. Nice I can do that for now in pianoteq. Found I really don't think I want that. Just wanting to pick up the touch better, physiologically. It's there in the piano. I think the key to this for me is exact height of my seat versus the keys. The setup for my arm position for feel.

I like the 'heavier' keys. I've heard it said that us less experienced players can more easily get dynamics/expression out of such keys than light keys. Like it being easier for me.

I do presume the midi generator and setup are as good as one can get. I've played lesser.

I am finding contrary to the complaint of having to go through turning on a software piano. I leave mine on all the time. With my Mac, even in sleep mode it will play. Can walk up to it anytime and play.


Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon
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