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#2320129 - 08/26/14 09:29 AM Touch like a grand  
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 5
andwi Offline
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andwi  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2011
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Holmsund, UmeƄ, Sweden
While these "which x is the best ..." questions are sort of pointless I have one myself. Which digital has a touch most similar to a grand?

I don't care about any built in sound; it's possible to hook up a pc with some super good sampled piano or pianoteq for sound (or whatever one prefers). So a pure MIDI keyboard could qualify. Any built in sound doesn't hurt, of course.

I realize that:
- there is no objective way to measure such things
- different grand pianos have different touch
- some people prefer a digital with a touch quite different from a grand
- perhaps it's not possible to separate touch and tone. (I might enjoy the touch of a grand because of the sound it makes.)

Of course, some digitals use a grand action and thus have exactly the same touch. However, these tend to be quite bulky, and I am interested in finding out if anyone has managed to build a compact digital action that has the touch of a grand.
I live in a place with quite poor selection of instruments to try out, and besides I am not much of a pianist myself. But so far I have not come across any digital that makes me feel like I am touching a grand.



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#2320159 - 08/26/14 10:25 AM Re: Touch like a grand [Re: andwi]  
Joined: Jun 2014
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Alexander Borro Offline
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Alexander Borro  Offline
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Some more knowledgeable will be along no doubt, but I as a matter of interest I was reading some reviews last night, and in the sort of price range the KAWAI MP11 is highly touted in lots of places.

Something I may look to when I upgrade in years time, if it hasn't been superseded by then. There seem to be some compelling arguments in this article


to say why it is as good as it is for the action it provides.

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#2320164 - 08/26/14 10:36 AM Re: Touch like a grand [Re: andwi]  
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 76
pmh Offline
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pmh  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2014
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South Coast UK
The only digital pianos I have found to mimic the feel of a real grand piano are the Yamaha Avantgrand N2 and N3. Every other DP I've tried does not produce a similar feel. That is not to say that other DP's have rubbish touch because they don't. I particularly like the Kawai grand feel. But the truth is you have to give up the idea of an authentic grand key feel (unless you can afford the AG's) and go for the DP touch you most enjoy playing.


Paul H

Last edited by pmh; 08/26/14 10:38 AM. Reason: Clarity

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#2320166 - 08/26/14 10:43 AM Re: Touch like a grand [Re: andwi]  
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Digitalguy Offline
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Digitalguy  Offline
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Same thing, in a blind test none of the digitals I have tried would make me believe it's an acoustic. However, I don't really care about this, as long as the action is solid enough and allows me to control precisely the dynamic range, and "inspires" me.

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#2320167 - 08/26/14 10:44 AM Re: Touch like a grand [Re: andwi]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Well, you can't have everything. If you want it to feel "like a grand piano", then it has to be bulkier to accommodate the action required for that. The more compact, the less it will feel like a grand. So how important is it that it be compact? That in itself will be the most limiting factor to your search.

Check out the dimensions of the DPs that have the most realistic actions to see how that would fit in your space. In general, a stage piano would take up less space than a console type.

Another limitation, of course, is your budget. How much are you willing to spend? You can get a Kawai VPC1 for around $1850 USD. That feels VERY close to a grand piano, and it's a bare-bones instrument with no sounds, so perfect for working with software pianos. Same with the MP11, which is about $2800 USD and does contain on-board sounds and other features. The MP11 is slightly nicer with the long pivot point, but both feel like a grand piano.

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#2320190 - 08/26/14 11:36 AM Re: Touch like a grand [Re: andwi]  
Joined: Feb 2010
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anotherscott Online content
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anotherscott  Online Content
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Originally Posted by andwi
I realize that:
- there is no objective way to measure such things
- different grand pianos have different touch
- some people prefer a digital with a touch quite different from a grand
- perhaps it's not possible to separate touch and tone. (I might enjoy the touch of a grand because of the sound it makes.)

Yes, and it's good that you realize the limitations of your question.

I didn't think the Kawai MP10 felt much like a real grand... until I happened to play a Kawai baby grand at a gig, and noticed that it reminded me of the MP10! Whether that's a good thing is a matter of opinion, as both actions felt heavy for my taste. So I guess what I want to add here is, it may be better to get an action you enjoy, rather than one that is closer to a grand, if that grand happens to be one that you don't particularly like! (This is not an indictment of Kawai by any means... I like some other Kawais, and other people certainly like the ones that I don't, too.)

Also, on a real grand, you can feel the vibrations in your fingers as you play. That doesn't happen on a digital unless it has speakers in it (preferably ones that can go pretty loud). So depending on what piece of the grand piano experience you are focussed on, you might come up with a different answer to your question. Without the vibrations, even a high quality action can feel slightly "dead" compared to playing a real piano. So you may want to look for something with speakers that also has line inputs so that you can run your computer-based sound source back into the piano's speakers. Since it sounds like you want something somewhat portable (not a console), I'd check out the Kawai ES7 and Roland FP80 and see if you like the feel of those.

#2320278 - 08/26/14 03:28 PM Re: Touch like a grand [Re: andwi]  
Joined: Jul 2012
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peterws Offline
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peterws  Offline
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Northern England.
Do you really really want the touch of a grand? There should be better out there in these enlightened times imo. Maybe there is, but we can't see the wood for the plastic. . .

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#2320395 - 08/26/14 09:18 PM Re: Touch like a grand [Re: andwi]  
Joined: May 2014
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William Schryver Offline
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William Schryver  Offline
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Joined: May 2014
Posts: 16
First of all, I would say this: In my estimation, there is no such thing as a digital piano that has what I would characterize as anything truly approximating the action of a high quality acoustic grand piano ... or even a high quality upright piano, for that matter. And although I can foresee a day when digital piano manufacturers might evolve their keyboards to the point where they more closely approximate "real" pianos ... they're still a long way from that point as of 2014.

At any rate, I have had my MP11 since last April. The action/touch/feel is, in my opinion, better -- overall -- than that of any other digital piano I have played. I use the implied qualifier "overall" for the reason that there are some shortcomings to the MP11, in my opinion.

That said, the MP11 keyboard is very likely as close as they've progressed to date.

What are its shortcomings? Most of all, in my judgment, the piano sounds are not very pleasing. If I had it to do all over again, I would buy the VPC-1, and then use 3rd party virtual piano software to find a sound I really like.

Secondly (and this is just a specific example that comes to mind) it is much more difficult (for me, at least) to do trills on the MP11 as compared to a real piano. It just doesn't have the sense of mass and the "spring" of a keyboard that has the reverse motion of a falling hammer and mechanism working with you.

My difficulty with trills on the MP11 notwithstanding, its keyboard is still quite responsive when executing fast passages, like the left-hand 16th notes in the 3rd movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. (I prefer the "Light" touch setting for that piece, as well as for anything else that requires a high degree of precision or delicacy; but I prefer the "Normal" setting whenever possible, because it produces a much thicker, richer tone.)

I'm also wondering if some of the perceived shortcomings with the MP11 keyboard are more related to the onboard piano presets than to inherent weaknesses of the keyboard itself, and it will be interesting to see, once I hook up some high-quality virtual piano software to the MP11, if I find that my perspective on the keyboard gets substantially altered.

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