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Which acoustic do you mean?
#2222169 01/28/14 10:05 PM
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When discussing digital pianos, I often see people express a desire for keys that are "more like an acoustic." Having played acoustic pianos for about 40 years now, I wonder what they mean by that statement.

I like the feel of most six-foot Yamaha and Kawai acoustics, for example. I never have cared much for the way a Steinway feels, and I've played some uprights that were downright atrocious.

On the other hand, I love the way my Korg SP-300 feels. It's been around for a few years, but something about it just feels right to me. I sure don't want it to feel more like an acoustic if that acoustic is a 1970 Kohler-Campbell.

I'm new here, so I thought it might be fun to see what "more like an acoustic" means to some of you.

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Re: Which acoustic do you mean?
David B Murray #2222193 01/28/14 10:41 PM
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I for one can't understand what all the whining is about. I grew up in the 1970's and my first "electric" piano was a Roland EP-20. No weighted action, no dynamics - not even close to a "real" piano. The only thing that resembled a real piano on that keyboard was the fact that it had black and white keys! smile

Sure, I get it - not everyone can afford, or has room for, a nice acoustic piano and digital is the next best thing. But trust me, you should be glad things are as good as they are these days. I have a Yamaha P95 and love it. Is it the best you can get? No. But it suffices for what I need. I also still have my Yamaha Studio Upright that I purchased when I was 14. No, it's not a grand, but I can't haul it around to gigs either.

For those of you who are laughing at me thinking this is a "10 mile walk through the snow, up hill both ways" story, I hear ya! I'm just trying to point out how blessed we are with the technology available today verses what I grew up with. We have it pretty darn good.

Re: Which acoustic do you mean?
BaR #2222267 01/29/14 02:12 AM
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My upright was pretty good. A British straight strunger, few extraneous noises (resonances) apart from a squeaky loud pedal which collapsed periodically and never really got fixed . . .never went out of tune (you couldn`t tell even after the tuner had done his stuff.

The action was heaps better than that of my music teachers.


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: Which acoustic do you mean?
David B Murray #2222295 01/29/14 04:04 AM
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Sure every 'real' piano is different. But there some aspects that most 'real' pianos have in common. The feeling of how the stings are stuck by the hammers when played and the complexity of the sound that emerges from the strings, corpus, and room. No matter how good or bad the piano might be.
When a DP is being compared to a piano, it is not one specific piano. It is "the perfect piano" and a subjective comparison to the real thing. It is that what we believe and reminds us of a real piano.
Also I am surprised how bad many real pianos play and sound. At work we have a Steinway and a Bechstein. When I play those I'm amazed by all the 'impurities', the clicking and clacking, the squeaking of the pedals, the byproducts of certain keys. But that's the way real pianos behave. That's the difference - they are real. If a DP would have such 'impurities' no one would buy it. smile People would think those are mistakes.
Then when I play my DP (FP-80), it is very sterile. The dynamics are bigger, the keys are (too?) perfectly balanced. It is almost over done. It's a certain fake realism.
But I love it.


Cheers,
Lenny

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FP-80, synths, guitars, mics, MBP, interfaces, Voicelive 2, ableton, Pianoteq, nubert a-200
Re: Which acoustic do you mean?
Cmin #2222301 01/29/14 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Cmin
Also I am surprised how bad many real pianos play and sound. At work we have a Steinway and a Bechstein. When I play those I'm amazed by all the 'impurities', the clicking and clacking, the squeaking of the pedals, the byproducts of certain keys. But that's the way real pianos behave. That's the difference - they are real.


Stop it! You are making me feel that the clicky key on my new CA95 is a godsend. :-)

Which till now has not been fixed. But, thank you! Reading this does make me feel much better. smile

Re: Which acoustic do you mean?
BaR #2222321 01/29/14 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by BaR
I for one can't understand what all the whining is about. I grew up in the 1970's and my first "electric" piano was a Roland EP-20. No weighted action, no dynamics - not even close to a "real" piano. The only thing that resembled a real piano on that keyboard was the fact that it had black and white keys! smile

Sure, I get it - not everyone can afford, or has room for, a nice acoustic piano and digital is the next best thing. But trust me, you should be glad things are as good as they are these days. I have a Yamaha P95 and love it. Is it the best you can get? No. But it suffices for what I need. I also still have my Yamaha Studio Upright that I purchased when I was 14. No, it's not a grand, but I can't haul it around to gigs either.

For those of you who are laughing at me thinking this is a "10 mile walk through the snow, up hill both ways" story, I hear ya! I'm just trying to point out how blessed we are with the technology available today verses what I grew up with. We have it pretty darn good.


Yes to all the above!

I also played piano as a child and young man. Usually it was on the questionable but serviceable family upright, but also a Bluthner grand (at church) when I wanted to do serious practice - or express myself better. Later on, I had some lessons from a wonderful teacher - Dennis Rattle - and his piano was a Beckstein which, he joked, cost more than his house had done.

I loved the Bluthner - the solid but yielding & responsive feel - the Beckstein also had these characteristics but was far more demanding in that it showed up your every error of expression very plainly. It was also heavier than the Bluthner.

I played various kinds of keyboard when I was in bands, years ago. Those days, virtually all keyboards felt awful - extremely light and spongy. But Roland and Yamaha were a bit better than Korg (Juno 60/ DX7/ Poly 6).

Then came the digital piano industry and very gradually, these manufacturers along with Kawai & Kurtzweil and a couple of others have designed their own piano keyboard substitutes, using hammers and quite elaborate mechanisms.

In general, I'd say these DP keyboards feel better - more solid & responsive - than most uprights. I go back to uprights occasionally and they feel toy-like compared with my DP which feels more like a grand piano action.

If the worst thing we can say about DP keyboards is that they are 'too easy' and 'too perfect', then I think we've arrived at a destination with DP keyboards - they're really very effective and actually feel good to play.

Of course there will always be difficulty adapting from one piano to another - that has always been the case, regardless of whether AP or DP.

I think most of the DP keyboards in common use are very good. I found the Roland PHAII / III series to be more agreeable than the equivalents from Yamaha & Kawai that I was able to try. It seemed more reminiscent of the Bluthner. But that's obviously personal taste. The only disadvantage is that the noise (when the key hits the bottom) bothers the neighbours sometimes, unfortunately. But apart from that, it's great!


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Re: Which acoustic do you mean?
toddy #2222331 01/29/14 06:13 AM
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I've played all sorts of acoustics over the years - starting on a small Yamaha vertical, then bigger uprights, then - whatever I could get my hands on. That is, until I bought my DP in 2010, after which I no longer needed to scrounge around to practise on whatever banger I could get access to.

So, since then, I've been playing mostly on well-tuned, well-regulated grands when I'm not playing my DP. Some old and rebuilt, but most are new. But I've learnt during my wilderness years to adapt quickly to all sorts of actions, and I actually quite enjoy playing unfamiliar pianos and seeing (and hearing) what I can do with them. They're like new toys wink. Only, these days, most of the toys, er, pianos I play are actually new, not clapped-out old bangers.

Whereas with DPs, once you've played one, they're all the same if they're the same model, or use the same action. The PHA-III action on my V-Piano feels practically identical to that on a Grotrian-Steinweg at a showroom downtown, so I feel most at home playing on that 7-foot grand grin.

But that showroom also has several Shigeru Kawai grands, which feel slightly vague and mushy in comparison - and a Fazioli concert grand which feels even better than the Grotrian. So, I play on that piano most.


"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."

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