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#2390317 02/24/15 11:42 AM
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Hi everybody
I'm an hard acoustic piano sound, feeling and aesthetics fan so having an electric piano was never part of my interest, nevertheless there were circumstances that made my buy the MP11.
I have a 100 year old Steinway K and it is lovely even with all the wear and tear it has. Practicing a few hours a day on it has become a torture for the family and had been requested several times to do something to fix it.
I'm playing with a trio and we'll be gigging. My ideal situation is that every place we go to play there were an acoustic piano, but that's not happening nowadays, so that's another reason to have a device to replace it.
After reviewing available options and without trying it I bought an MP11. The other option was a VPC1, but I preferred the longer keys to reduce the force difference between the tip and end of the keys. That's something that annoys me a lot on the keyboards I tried.

I got the MP11 yesterday and I'm not that impressed. Going to the details:
Keyboard feeling is not the feeling of an acoustic piano. While the keys have the equivalent weight of the acoustic you do not feel the inertial force of lifting the hammer, how that force changes with speed, again due to inertia, and the hammer bumping down on the key when you just play with the key without strinking the strings. It is just a keyboard with the correct balanced weight per key.
Sound is Fake. There are several aspects to make it fake. I'm using good headphones for now, and when you play you do not feel you are playing in front of a piano, you feel you are part of the audience of a CD recorded version of a piano with the microphone placed 10ft away from it. In terms of sound the lack of realism it is noted when playing few notes, the more notes you play the more you can hide it. To make a comparison it is like hearing the bass to treble break on a badly designed acoustic piano. It is always there. You can forget sometimes when playing but if you become aware of what you are doing you'll notice immediately.

So, again, I'd rather have an acoustically isolated practicing room with an acoustic piano, and actual pianos everywhere we go to play. That's not happening, so the closest we have to a piano today is this device.

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Thank you for sharing.

I am enjoying the action of my MP11; I think it is phenomenal.


Kawai MP11 : JBL LSR305 : Focusrite 2i4 : Pianoteq / Garritan CFX

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. -Willy Wonka


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I agree with scorpio. I for now, of course, prefer to play on my Petrof because the sound and feel is that much better. But as far as digitals go, I think the MP11 is the best you can ask for at this point. I've played some of the contenders and for a stage piano, the action on the MP11 is really good.

May I recommend that you use the MP11 at home for some, but not all, of your practice time. And when you do play the MP11, do not expect it to feel or sound like your Steinway.

You can, by the way, do a lot of adjusting of the sound via the Virtual Technician, and I highly recommend that you do this. You can also look into piano VST software. You will get the best sound using software. The downside, of course, is gigging with that might be a bit cumbersome and I'm not sure that audiences would notice that much of a difference in a trio. Perhaps if it were solo classical piano, then it would be worth it. You'll have to decide.


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Originally Posted by krikorik
...without trying it I bought an MP11....I got the MP11 yesterday and I'm not that impressed.


Oh dear. Entirely avoidable of course if you'd taken the trouble to play test the MP11 prior to purchase.

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Originally Posted by krikorik

After reviewing available options and without trying it I bought an MP11. The other option was a VPC1, but I preferred the longer keys to reduce the force difference between the tip and end of the keys. That's something that annoys me a lot on the keyboards I tried.


Off topic: I wonder why there is not a cheap plastic action with long keys. I also hate short keys, particularly black ones, (some Rolands I've tried are perhaps almost acceptable in this aspect).


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Hi Krikorik,
Welcome to the brave new world of digital pianos. They indeed have a long way to go before they can really match their acoustic models (in terms of piano sound and feel).
But as you say, they can do certain things that acoustics can't easily do, such as silent practicing or being easily transported from one place to another.
Good luck with your trio!


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krikorik, thank you for sharing your comments.

Even if the MP11 playing experience does not compare to that of your vintage Steinway upright, I believe it is the most realistic package currently available in a stage piano.

As Morodiene recommends, you may wish to experiment with the Virtual Technician and other parameters to adjust the sound to be more to your liking. When playing with headphones, the 'Stereo Width' parameter may be particularly useful.

Kind regards,
James
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I agree with scorpio. I for now, of course, prefer to play on my Petrof because the sound and feel is that much better. But as far as digitals go, I think the MP11 is the best you can ask for at this point. I've played some of the contenders and for a stage piano, the action on the MP11 is really good.

May I recommend that you use the MP11 at home for some, but not all, of your practice time. And when you do play the MP11, do not expect it to feel or sound like your Steinway.

You can, by the way, do a lot of adjusting of the sound via the Virtual Technician, and I highly recommend that you do this. You can also look into piano VST software. You will get the best sound using software. The downside, of course, is gigging with that might be a bit cumbersome and I'm not sure that audiences would notice that much of a difference in a trio. Perhaps if it were solo classical piano, then it would be worth it. You'll have to decide.


+1 What Morodiene said above.

Another lifelong acoustic player here, who recently purchased an MP11 for many of the same reasons as you. Over the last 2-3 years, I did shop around and tried several DPs: Yamaha CP-1, CP-5, CP-4; Roland FP7-F, RD700GX, RD700NX, RD800; Kawai ES7, MP10, CA65/95 (for the GF action); a few Casios (do not remember the model numbers), and probably a few others. Many of them I found to be quite good, but in all honesty none of these can be expected to entirely replace an acoustic grand in my opinion, but the MP11 is possibly the closest (in my subjective view, of course).

Touch: compared to my grand, the MP11 GF touch is a little lighter and key travel upon being depressed is slightly larger (more "sink"). In this regard, the MP10 RM III action is a little heavier and feels somewhat closer to my grand, and from this perspective would perhaps have been my no. 1 choice for action. However it does lack the third sensor, which does make a difference in rapidly repeated notes. I find, however, that setting the touch parameter to HEAVY or HEAVY+ on the MP11 does go a long way towards "fooling" the player.

A minor comment is that I still find that, when playing rapidly ascending arpeggios (and I really do mean rapidly) over several octaves, say by fingering 1235-1235-1235 for example, where the 5 and 1 (thumb) are repeating the same note each in turn prior to resuming the ascend, it can be a little hard to obtain that second note (thumb) to sound - it is certainly possible but you have to work at it, more so than what I am used to on acoustic pianos. (or maybe its just the player!!!) In any case, this is a fairly minor quibble in the scheme of things.

Sound: I'll start off by saying that I did find a difference between UPHI (MP10) and HI-XL (MP11). Its not like night and day, but to my ears at least the MP11 did sound somewhat more natural and slightly more convincing (another point for the MP11 over the MP10 for me). This being said, I agree with several others that the out-of-the-box sounds are fine, but not necessarily great. As Morodiene points out (and other regular posters on this board), the Virtual Technician parameters can really help in this regard and it is definitely worthwhile to spend time familiarizing yourself with this tool. I ended up modifying the Jazz Grand 1 sound to my tastes (still a work in progress), but it is already my go-to sound for most of my playing. Again, is it like my acoustic? No! But it is reasonably close through my headphones that I find it quite enjoyable. But everyone's ears are different, of course.

Wrap-up: I have played on several acoustics over the years- some rare "gems", many good, some bad and some real ugly! (lucky violinists, they get to ALWAYS play on their own instrument!!!!) My DP, while not at the top of course, certainly falls somewhere in the upper layers. In my humble opinion, if I may say so it is also the mark of a good pianist to be able to adapt to his instrument in order to bring out what it can do within the bounds of its limitations (easier said than done - I know!). I do ensure that I practice on both my acoustic and my DP in this frame of mind. So do give yourself a little bit of time with your MP11, you may find that your initial impressions will change, and hopefully for the better.

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Cmon, this is Phoenix, not NYC. On my defense I can say I went to Guitar center to no avail, read every single post and article on the device and watched all 'PianoChuckMan' videos

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Originally Posted by krikorik
and watched all 'PianoChuckMan' videos

That's where you went wrong


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That's funny. Actually it was PianoChuckMan that made me move towards the MP11 vs the VPC1 when he did a demo with a Shure58 mic showing the difference of the weight required for the keys front and back. I know how much I dislike that difference. I can imagine he may get some benefits for advertisement, but he takes the time to show some things in an objective way. Just take away all the praises he make and look for what he shows.

As many here, I'd preferred a GF action on a VPC2 wit a flat top case.

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Thanks all for your advice. I have tried the device with external speakers and the experience is improved over the headphones. I'll take some time to setup everything, tweak the sounds, adjust to the keyboard (which I also agree seems to have a larger key dip than most pianos) and see how it goes.

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Originally Posted by lolatu
Originally Posted by krikorik
and watched all 'PianoChuckMan' videos

That's where you went wrong


Exactly what's wrong with PianoManChuck's YT videos? I agree with krikorik that he takes the time to show some things in an objective way. He is also a huge talent and extremely knowledgeable regarding DPs and VSTs. I will assume you are just being sarcastic.

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Originally Posted by Marko in Boston
Originally Posted by lolatu
Originally Posted by krikorik
and watched all 'PianoChuckMan' videos

That's where you went wrong


Exactly what's wrong with PianoManChuck's YT videos? I agree with krikorik that he takes the time to show some things in an objective way. He is also a huge talent and extremely knowledgeable regarding DPs and VSTs. I will assume you are just being sarcastic.


+1 I picked up, quite a few useful snippets of info from his videos. I like his enthusiasm for the videos he makes, he strikes me as a sort of I look the glass half full type of guy rather than half empty, but if something is better in one instrument over another he will have no qualms about saying so, so it is not as if it is all praises when it comes to reviewing something.

In fact it was he who brought the VPC1 to my attention the first time. When I learned about his channel I had already purchased a digital in the form of my Casio which I am perfectly happy with, however had I known about the software route and the VPC1 at the time there is a good chance I may well have bought it had I come across his videos at the time, at least, I would have wanted to try it and put it on my short list. In the UK at least it is not far away in price from the PX-850, AP-450 these days, so it would/should have been a serious contender for me to have had a look at.

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 02/25/15 04:58 PM.

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FWIW, I agree with those "defending" PianoChuck...

He provides a great service to those considering those particular models he showcases and he offers what seems to be his genuine ,heartfelt opinion.

Whether you agree or disagree with his conclusions, he's sharing his perspective in a candid fact-based way.

Of course if you don't care to consider his input, please feel free to spend your time watching piano-playing cats on YouTube when you go keyboard shopping.

My US$0.02 - OneWatt

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Originally Posted by lolatu
Originally Posted by krikorik
and watched all 'PianoChuckMan' videos

That's where you went wrong


I thought what u mean wrong is because he wrote 'PianoChuckMan' rather than 'PianoManChuck"....

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+3 on the defense of PMC. His reviews are considered and balanced, he spends the time informing us of industry events, and actively encourages participation in piano related activities. I also agree with the positive comments above, all of which articulate his many contributions.

Plus he is just an all round good egg.


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Did you not learn about the Yamaha Silent (acoustic) piano or the others mentioned here:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_piano

Ian

Last edited by Beemer; 02/26/15 02:38 PM.

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I used to have a piano with a 'sordina' felt. It was not fun playing with it activated by the middle pedal. In this case it seems the hammers will not touch the strings. It can solve the problem of practicing at home, and it still does not solve gigging to places that want to have live music but don't have an instrument to play on

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Originally Posted by krikorik
As many here, I'd preferred a GF action on a VPC2 wit a flat top case.
The same here, but I'd preferred GF2 action on a VPC2 which I'm waiting for. And of course, flat top case, I don't like curved top surface on VPC1 with chassis based on the existing design of the MP10, which was also curved (to accommodate the rear portion of the keyboard action). Hope VPC2 will be based on MP11's chassis.

I see analogy here:
MP10 = RM3 action first revision.
VPC1 = RM3 action second revision with triple sensor.

MP11 = Grand Feel action first revision.
VPC2 = Grand Feel action second revision.
That's what I expect.

By the way I was disappointed that KAWAI cut the set of sounds in MP11. MP8II had 256 sounds. As a classical musician I would really missed in MP11 sounds of big church organ, for me it is big drawback. Most digital pianos have these organ sounds. In the same time I absolutely don't care about other organs, I don't remember how they call them (Jazz, Hammond etc).

And I like PianoManChuck's videos. They are interesting and helpful to me.


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