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Digital pianos - Can they get better ? #2467475 10/07/15 02:47 PM
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Edb123 Offline OP
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Roland gave us the V piano in 2009 and now the new LX/HP series this year

Yamaha gave us the Avantgrand series also from 2009

Kawai have their CA CS series of digitals

Casio have now made a digital hybrid

Can the digital piano get any better than it is now or are we seeing the best it can possibly be ?

Are some of those mentioned above now replicating an acoustic piano as much as it is physically/technologically possible to do so ?



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Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2467487 10/07/15 03:22 PM
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Its hard to distinguish the current top of the line DP and software instruments from the real deal..

I think the next step will be virtuall pianos that actually play and sound bettter then the real deal..

Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2467488 10/07/15 03:23 PM
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There is room for improvement. If the overall market were larger, you'd probably see even more R&D and faster development. R&D costs are offset by sales.

That said, it's a great time to be shopping digitals. Entry level customers get more than ever for their money as well.


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Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2467516 10/07/15 04:25 PM
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Right now, compared to The Real Deal, until a Blind Test of a Steinway or Shigeru or Yamaha or Bosendorfer is played alongside the DigitalVunderPinano and no one regardless of talent can hear a difference? Still a ways to go. That said, I do believe each mfgr has a Forte. My Kawai CA95 is mechanically very close but not quite there in sound. Even the CA97 sounds different than any Kawai Grand. There is too much variance in tone between notes. I do not sense that in their acoustic Grands.

But, I do believe we are at the 95 percentile and any gains will not be quantum but small incremental steps. And I agree, what one spends today for a digital pinano, and what receives, is a real value.


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Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2467529 10/07/15 04:41 PM
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I think there's a lot of room for improvement.

For example the Avant Grand has a problem where if you press the sustain pedal, the volume increases.

Other things that are important to me that may or may not be possible to replicate include una corda shifting the keys. This can be very important if you're used to playing a fast paced piece that uses the una corda in the middle, you need to be used to the movement of the keyboard.

Another big thing is damper weight. It feels noticeably different sometimes moving between my N1 and a real grand when the pedal is down which causes inconsistency in volume and expression moving back and forth.


Yamaha C3, Yamaha Avant Grand N1 (sold), Steingraeber 170 (family's)
Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2467530 10/07/15 04:44 PM
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A long way to go I think.

Key actions on the top, most expensive models are as good as an acoustic grand ... because those actions are the same as on a grand. But unless you're ready to spend $8K or more, you're stuck with a compromise.

Worse, the sound is not at all comparable to a grand. Speakers cannot do what strings and soundboards can.

I'll gladly suffer the shortcomings of the action. But sonically there's nothing like a proper piano.

Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2467531 10/07/15 04:48 PM
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I'll say that pianos can't get much better when I have a keyboard that I can set to sound and feel like all of my favorite concert and parlor grands by Yamaha, Kawai, Boesendoerfer, Bechstein, and Steinway. And the funky upright I originally learned on. And its built-in sound system can fill the room from bass to treble, and when I'm done playing I can fold it up into a suitcase and roll it away after me, and check it in the overhead bin on a plane.

And the finish can be set to ebony, walnut, cherry, or scratched-up-jazz-dive. Oh, and it has a built in holographic candelabra!


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Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Bachus] #2467622 10/07/15 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Bachus
I think the next step will be virtuall pianos that actually play and sound bettter then the real deal..

Make it so.


Casio PX-5S
Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2467626 10/07/15 11:03 PM
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In 50 years, you will get computer implants to make your brain think you are playing the piano in a virtual reality world. There will be no need for any actual hardware.

Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2467660 10/08/15 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Edb123
Can the digital piano get any better than it is now or are we seeing the best it can possibly be?


I think it is very easy to see that the answer is: they can get a lot better still.

For example, you could combine the best of the DPs you mention into one :-)

The action from the Casio GP (apparently a real Bechstein grand piano action without hammers etc.) with the full modeled sound engine from the Roland HP/LX with the configurability from the V-Piano with the soundboard technology from Kawai...

And then I think:
- there will still be improvements possible in modeled sound engines. For sure some things will get even better with more processing power and cheaper memory.
- there will still be improvements in sound. If Casio and Bechstein can join forces, maybe Kawai and Bose can, as well? Or pick your favorite sound company, I am not an expert there.


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2467668 10/08/15 02:30 AM
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Of course, Kawai and Bösendorfer won't join forces because Kawai makes acoustic pianos already and Bösendorfer is owned by Yamaha ;-)

Blüthner already makes a range of digital pianos, but they're not (in my opinion) in the same class as Roland, Kawai and Yamaha. They are just in the same or higher price range.

Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: MossySF] #2467673 10/08/15 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by MossySF
In 50 years, you will get computer implants to make your brain think you are playing the piano in a virtual reality world. There will be no need for any actual hardware.


And people will still think vinyl sounds better.

Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2467681 10/08/15 03:03 AM
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The 3-string piano model in the v-piano is pretty cool and fun to play. That's what I find interesting about modeling you can create pianos that are rare, don't exist or might be impossible to build. That particular road of tech might get very interesting.

But Im still hoping somebody figures out better acoustic technology. It interesting that we don't have a surge in digital guitars, violins or drums, the preference is still acoustic or electric.


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Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: MossySF] #2467684 10/08/15 03:20 AM
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Originally Posted by MossySF
In 50 years, you will get computer implants to make your brain think you are playing the piano in a virtual reality world. There will be no need for any actual hardware.


One would call this "dreaming". . .


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

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Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: AndrewJCW] #2467747 10/08/15 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJCW
Originally Posted by MossySF
In 50 years, you will get computer implants to make your brain think you are playing the piano in a virtual reality world. There will be no need for any actual hardware.


And people will still think vinyl sounds better.


Bullseye!


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Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2467822 10/08/15 10:57 AM
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A variable action would be nice. Change a setting and you get a real harpsichord action. Change another, clavichord, another organ, etc.

Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: bnolsen] #2467850 10/08/15 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bnolsen
A variable action would be nice. Change a setting and you get a real harpsichord action. Change another, clavichord, another organ, etc.


I had that thought at times, that would be nice. smile

Do away with the whole complex hammer mechanism, instead have a key based system where the key is supported underneath by variable piston that is (electro)magnetically controlled, with magnetism we have at our disposal to program anything over the key stoke and define how it should resists motion.

In theory it should able to replicate the resistance of a piano or whatever, make it light heavy etc. The complexities would than not be in the mechanism, but more about calibrating it, developing a system with suitable algorithms to get the desired result to imitate a specific action.

An idea of the future may be laugh


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Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2468022 10/08/15 10:56 PM
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I doubt a digital piano will ever equal an acoustic instrument such as a highly regulated, voiced and tuned top end piano. For a place like my fantasy living room, something like an old but well rebuilt (probably more like remanufactured) 7' grand such as Mason & Hamlin or Baldwin, or even a Steinway if and only if it had a decent soundboard in it replacing the old dead one, would be a joy.

Thing of it is, how many of us actually have that high end piano available to us? Not me, at least not right now. My actual living room is only one tiny section of about 320 square feet of total living space. I have a Roland Fantom X8 and it's takes up more than it's fair share of space in the RV.

Many times, the choices are not that high end piano. It's the old Betsy Ross spinet that is more of a rattle/twang that rivals the little spring on the baseboard that acts as a doorstop on gradma's back door we used to play with when we were bored for the entire bottom octave. Or it's the used Chang Wang special that won't stay in tune long enough for the piano tuner to get out the door and sounds like all the hammers have thumb tacks on them (we looked, they don't) and only have that because it was the only thing in the used section of the sales floor that we could afford the payments on.

Or maybe you even have a "grand" that happens to be a 4'10" Kimball wonder that plays like something that should say "Shroder's Toy" on it and makes you wish you were listening to the Betsy Ross spinet.

In those kinds of situations, a decent digital piano ain't all bad. The tone is consistent. It's always in tune. There are usually different settings that can be tweaked. It takes up less space. It doesn't require piano movers.

As a person who did quite a lot of piano tuning and rebuilding over the past three decades, the above may be considered blasphemy. But despite it's flaws, the ol' Roland is what works for me right now. Maybe someday I can do better. But for now... it's a DP.

Just sayin'.


Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Edb123] #2468089 10/09/15 05:57 AM
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Or to put it in a nutshell: the advantages of an acoustic piano only begin to cut in at a high level - several thousand dollars. And the conditions needed for it: space, maintenance budget, detached house so as not to upset neighbours etc etc. Few people have these conditions or funds.

Whereas, for as little as about €500, a reasonable Casio piano with fairly good grand piano simulation of keys and sound can be had. For under two thousand, a good Kawai, Roland or Yamaha. In the past, most people would have had to make do with the nightmare instruments described by Bellyman above - and he knows!


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Re: Digital pianos - Can they get better ? [Re: Bellyman] #2468136 10/09/15 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Bellyman
I doubt a digital piano will ever equal an acoustic instrument such as a highly regulated, voiced and tuned top end piano. For a place like my fantasy living room, something like an old but well rebuilt (probably more like remanufactured) 7' grand such as Mason & Hamlin or Baldwin, or even a Steinway if and only if it had a decent soundboard in it replacing the old dead one, would be a joy.

Thing of it is, how many of us actually have that high end piano available to us? Not me, at least not right now. My actual living room is only one tiny section of about 320 square feet of total living space. I have a Roland Fantom X8 and it's takes up more than it's fair share of space in the RV.

Many times, the choices are not that high end piano. It's the old Betsy Ross spinet that is more of a rattle/twang that rivals the little spring on the baseboard that acts as a doorstop on gradma's back door we used to play with when we were bored for the entire bottom octave. Or it's the used Chang Wang special that won't stay in tune long enough for the piano tuner to get out the door and sounds like all the hammers have thumb tacks on them (we looked, they don't) and only have that because it was the only thing in the used section of the sales floor that we could afford the payments on.

Or maybe you even have a "grand" that happens to be a 4'10" Kimball wonder that plays like something that should say "Shroder's Toy" on it and makes you wish you were listening to the Betsy Ross spinet.

In those kinds of situations, a decent digital piano ain't all bad. The tone is consistent. It's always in tune. There are usually different settings that can be tweaked. It takes up less space. It doesn't require piano movers.

As a person who did quite a lot of piano tuning and rebuilding over the past three decades, the above may be considered blasphemy. But despite it's flaws, the ol' Roland is what works for me right now. Maybe someday I can do better. But for now... it's a DP.

Just sayin'.




To me, this is the most accurate consideration I have yet read in these forums when comparing a DP purchase to an acoustic. It isn't so much a question of an acoustic being always better than a DP, but more the reality of what acoustic can you realistically own compared to what DP you can realistically own in a real life situation. Most people really can't afford the best acoustic grand piano (nor have the space it would require to sound good), and then to have it maintained so it fully retains and delivers all it should be capable of, nor the space in which to do so.

Somebody else in this thread mentioned that the V-Piano can recreate various pianos that don't even exist. As fun as that can be, as I mentioned in another thread, I have discovered a truly practical advantage my V-Grand (which has the same tweak-ability that the V-Piano has) provides.

When the piano movers delivered my V-Grand, they discussed with me where to put it. Apparently, that is a very real concern with an acoustic grand because placement in a room greatly affects the sound. I have read in other forums of grand piano owners having to do some things to treat their piano room, or move the piano to even a slightly different location in the room to resolve oddities in the sound the piano produces due to room reflections or whatever. The piano movers suggested putting my V-Grand in a corner, but in my living room, the V-Grand takes up half the room and it is impractical to put it in a corner because it would block access to shelves or drawers. So it sits in the middle of the space it occupies.

I have rarely had the opportunity to play it using its sound system, and have mostly used headphones because I live in a condo and could only play when I got home from work. Now that I am retired, I can play during the day and am able to use its sound system (240 watts multi-channel amplifier, multiple speakers).

I found that just one note would ring more than the others, but did not hear this with headphones, so I knew it wasn't the piano's flaw. The problem is that once your ear catches something like that, you always hear it and can't ignore it. I also found that I could adjust parameters of all keys, a user-specified range of keys, or even just one key on the V-Grand on a per-parameter basis. This is all very easy to do without connecting a computer. I was able to do a very minor tweak of one parameter on just that one key and the problem was solved without having to move the piano around, put up cloth on any wall to alter the reflections, or any of that sort of thing one might have to do with such a problem on an acoustic piano.

I don't know how many other DPs provide that level of tweak-ability, but it sure came in handy in my situation. Over time, I will continue to tweak here and there to improve the sound in this particular space if I hear the need to do so.

Tony


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