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#2507478 - 02/05/16 07:48 AM Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards...  
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 74
sonicblasphemy Offline
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sonicblasphemy  Offline
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Posts: 74
Hi guys,

Please take some of your precious time and share any experience towards this, describing upon your perception.

Concerning the feel, I would simply choose between heavy/hard/slow/tiring vs. light/soft/fast/smooth/pleasant and also mention the perceived control sensation/dynamics triggering internal or external sounds.

As I can imagine, the physical NOISE issue may not be so interesting to most of you, but let's also give it a try. Any recordings provided (comparisons between 2 or more, made in the same conditions/same gear/same level) would greatly improve our research.

The actions discussed must be current/contemporary (in production) and we should also take into consideration the instruments they're mounted in. I'll try making a list of some popular models of general interest:

KAWAI - GF (MP11*), RM3II (VPC-1*), RHII (MP7*), AHA IV-F (ES100)

YAMAHA - NW-GH (CP4 STAGE*), GH (CP40 STAGE, P-255), GHS (MOXF8, DGX-650, P-115/45), BH (MONTAGE8, MOTIF XF8, S90/70 XS)

Roland - PHA-4 Concert (RD-800), PHA-4 Standard (FP-30), Ivory Feel-S (FP-80), Ivory Feel-G (FA-08, JUNO-DS88, RD-300NX, FP-50, RD-64)

CASIO - Privia series action II (PX-5S/560M/360M/350* etc.)

KORG - RH3 (KRONOS-88/73, SV-1 88/73), NH (KROME-88, KROSS-88, B1, SP-280/170), FATAR TP/100LR (HAVIAN 30)

Studiologic - FATAR TP/40WOOD (Numa Concert*, SL88 GRAND*), FATAR TP/100LR (Numa Stage*, SL88 STUDIO*, Acuna 88/73)

KURZWEIL - FATAR TP/40L (Forte/Forte 7, PC3A8/K8/LE8), FATAR TP/100LR (Forte SE, Artis/Artis SE, SP4-8)

Nord (assumption) - FATAR TP/40GH (Stage 2 EX 88, Piano 2 HA88), FATAR TP/100LR (Stage 2 EX HP76, Electro 5 HP, Piano 2 HP)

* Marked models have 3 sensors per key.

Thanks!

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#2507485 - 02/05/16 08:21 AM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: sonicblasphemy]  
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Marko in Boston Offline
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Marko in Boston  Offline
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Boston, Massachusetts
Fer De Armas - this is your dream post!


KAWAI ES7 | ROLAND RD-800 | YAMAHA CP4 | YAMAHA STAGEPAS 400i | PRESONUS R65 & T10 | SHURE SRH1540 | SENNHEISER HD650 | K&M OMEGA
#2507496 - 02/05/16 08:45 AM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: Marko in Boston]  
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sonicblasphemy Offline
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sonicblasphemy  Offline
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Hey Marko, thanks for reading my post!

As I saw, you play on some top-notch SP's - RD-800 and CP4. Could you please describe them to us, having in mind the attributes of interest? If you can relate to GH/GHS/BH, Ivory Feel-S/G, Privia's, RH3/NH (KORG's), TP40L/TP100LR (KURZWEIL's) which I know (more or less), it would be even greater...

Thank you!

#2507522 - 02/05/16 10:05 AM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: sonicblasphemy]  
Joined: Jul 2012
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peterws Offline
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Northern England.
I believe my DGX630 sounded on the recording. Mightve been part of the sampling, but it sounded like the thud of the keys mixed in with the rest of the stuff, which I liked. Not present on the 650 model, or the Roland FP50 (Ivory feel G). Shall check some recordings Ive done.

Just checked. I have one which was a recording of the sound and also the sound picked up by the phone camera . . .which includes key noise . . . guess that doesn`t count!

Last edited by peterws; 02/05/16 11:20 AM.

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#2507659 - 02/05/16 04:55 PM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: sonicblasphemy]  
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Fer De Armas Offline
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Fer De Armas  Offline
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Hi sonicblasphemy, Roland PHA4/PHA3 or Ivory feel S variant, has three sensors per key too... IMHO, i prefer Kawai wooden and plastic actions because they feel much better under my fingers than others, and they are regarded as being most silent action available in the market today. The Roland PHA4/PHA3 would be a second choice for me, but these key actions are noisier than Kawai actions, and have a much bouncy feeling for my taste. Of course, this is my opinion, so you must try for yourself all these key actions, and then make your choice because tastes normally differ. Regards...!

#2507766 - 02/06/16 12:27 AM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: Fer De Armas]  
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sonicblasphemy Offline
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sonicblasphemy  Offline
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Originally Posted by Fer De Armas
Hi sonicblasphemy, Roland PHA4/PHA3 or Ivory feel S variant, has three sensors per key too...


I didn't know that. Why isn't this public? They should also advertise on this matter, like other manufacturers do...

Cheers!

#2507830 - 02/06/16 07:31 AM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: sonicblasphemy]  
Joined: Feb 2012
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fizikisto Offline
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fizikisto  Offline
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Hernando, MS
Sonicblasphemy,
I believe Fer de Armas is correct. The PHA4 actions have 3 sensors per key, as well as a mechanical let-off simulation. It can handle fast repeated notes as quickly as I can throw them at it. I think the action feels remarkably authentic. the action is much more quiet than my nord, comparable to a yamaha P250 that I used to own. But where the RD800 action really shines is how well it connects to the sound engine. It's really nice to play.

As for my Nord's action, everyone but me seems to hate it. So many reviews are like "The sounds are so amazing but OMG the action!" The thing is, I really didn't like the action out of the box. It felt, weird. I don't really remember what I thought was off about it, but it I didn't like it so much when I got it home. The thing is though, after playing it for a few days I found the action really grew on me, a lot. Like the roland it connects really well to the sound engine. It's a lighter action (which I prefer). If the people who report hating the nord action had it to play with for a week or two, I often wonder if they would grow into it as I did. The other thing about the action is that on the Nord stage it's really perfectly suited to the board. The NS2/NS2EX are multipurpose boards with synths and organs as well as the piano. I do not like playing organ on my RD800 because its action is so very piano-like (and the organ sounds are probably among the roland's weaker patches -- though that's a personal opinion, others may vary). With the organ patches engaged the Nord shifts the trigger point of the keys and the action feels much more appropriate for organs. So the action is a compromise. If you went for a best in class authentic feeling piano action, it would kinda suck for playing organs. Rather than trying to be the best at piano, Nord seems to aim the action to being "really good for piano and really good for organs too." In my opinion, they largely succeeded at that.


Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800
#2508119 - 02/07/16 02:48 AM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: fizikisto]  
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sonicblasphemy Offline
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sonicblasphemy  Offline
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Posts: 74
Thanks, fizi...

Have you (or anyone) ever tried an HP version of Nord? As I know they employ this newer/lighter (probably cheaper) action called TP/100LR vs. the usual TP/40GH found in all 88 versions. The hammers in this action move in the opposite direction and the whole structure is very different, involving shorter keys (closer hinge position) and much plastic, thus being so light (but not less stiff/heavy for our fingers).

As I tested on KURZWEIL Forte vs. Artis (side by side), TP/100LR is quieter but the keys bounce back some how and they feel a little sluggish, compared to TP/40L...

Anyhow, I heard about many keyboards based upon this action and it's worst iteration seem to be Arturia Keylab 88, acused of being noisy/clunky, among other hardware issues on this controller.

As a positive example, I would like to mention the KORG HAVIAN which is a lot quieter than the Artis. The first obvious reason for this might be the smaller plastic hosing...

By the way, another plastic housing keyboard, a very popular one in fact, with a good feeling and expressive action (CASIO PX5S) makes a lot of "rattling" noise, very close (in level, not nature) to the huge blackboard spaceship Forte.

So, to conclude, I can only hope that the Nord Stage 2 EX HP76 is a little better in this regard, as being a compromise (action-wise) anyway. IMO, the best compromise action for the Nords (size compatible) would be the KORG's RH3, which probably can't compete against some good KAWAI, Roland or YAMAHA actions but make for a good, decently silent and reliable all-rounder...

sb

Last edited by sonicblasphemy; 02/07/16 06:33 AM.
#2508147 - 02/07/16 08:24 AM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: sonicblasphemy]  
Joined: Feb 2012
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fizikisto Offline
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fizikisto  Offline
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Posts: 1,635
Hernando, MS
Sonic Blasphemy,
I have not tried the other Nord Actions. I've actually been thinking of selling my Nord Stage 2 and buying a Nord Stage 2 EX semi-weighted version. I love the organs on the nord so the more organ like action has some appeal. Selling the NS2 would probably give me more than enough money to buy the EX without any out of pocket expense (might even make a bit of profit on the exchange). I need to midi up my current nord to my roland and see how the nord piano engine connects to the RD800's keys. Or I might just save up for a Nord stage 3 whenever it comes out.

P.S. I think there are two horrible things about the nord stage 2 keyboard. the first is how noisy it is. It's SO loud. THUMP THUMP CLUNK. The metal chassis just resonates with every keystroke. If the put 50 cents of rubber dam to damp out the downstroke and 15 cents of felt to damp the noise on the return stroke it would be so much more pleasant to play. Kind of annoys me that on such a premium priced keyboard they don't do that. The other problem is that (at least on mine) aftertouch is pretty much unusable. It requires so much weight to activate aftertouch it literally hurts my hands to use it.


Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800
#2508431 - 02/08/16 11:04 AM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: fizikisto]  
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sonicblasphemy Offline
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sonicblasphemy  Offline
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Posts: 74
Originally Posted by fizikisto
Sonic Blasphemy,
Selling the NS2 would probably give me more than enough money to buy the EX without any out of pocket expense (might even make a bit of profit on the exchange).


In my experience, when you sell SH you usually lose more. You might even put some extra cash to buy a new NS2 EX Compact, as the price difference isn't so high between KB versions...

Originally Posted by fizikisto
I need to midi up my current nord to my roland and see how the nord piano engine connects to the RD800's keys.


You didn't do that already? smile Please keep me updated on that...

Originally Posted by fizikisto
I think there are two horrible things about the nord stage 2 keyboard. the first is how noisy it is. It's SO loud. THUMP THUMP CLUNK. The metal chassis just resonates with every keystroke. If the put 50 cents of rubber dam to damp out the downstroke and 15 cents of felt to damp the noise on the return stroke it would be so much more pleasant to play. Kind of annoys me that on such a premium priced keyboard they don't do that. The other problem is that (at least on mine) aftertouch is pretty much unusable. It requires so much weight to activate aftertouch it literally hurts my hands to use it.


I HEAR YOU! I aforementioned this "chassis resonance issue" on another forum, referring to Forte's huge blackboard housing and my opinion seemed irrelevant to some... Where were you? smile

IT'S A SHAME THAT TOP MANUFACTURERS LIKE FATAR, KURZWEIL, NORD AND CASIO ARE SIMPLY NEGLECTING THIS PHYSICAL NOISE ISSUE! THESE ARE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, NOT TRACTORS! I KNOW THEY ARE INTENDED TO ON-STAGE USE, MOSTLY, BUT THIS IS TOO MUCH!

Another aspect of this is the quality of the keybed. The cheap KORG NH (found in KROSS or KROME) for example has a very quiet hammer mechanism but the keys themselves produce a lousy clicking noise. Not all the keys are doing this, at least when the board it's new but... I also found this on the corresponding cheap version of YAMAHA - the GHS (found in MOXF), but in much smaller amount...

PS: As an extra, I would mention that a lot of cheap light or semi-weighted keybeds are also very noisy...

Last edited by sonicblasphemy; 02/08/16 12:29 PM.
#2509437 - 02/11/16 10:57 AM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: sonicblasphemy]  
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sonicblasphemy Offline
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#2515214 - 02/26/16 07:02 PM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: sonicblasphemy]  
Joined: Jul 2015
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Fer De Armas Offline
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Fer De Armas  Offline
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Posts: 595
Hi, if you are looking for a solid, rugged, reliable, realistic and quieter key action, IMHO in first place try Kawai ES7, for a close second look Roland RD800 and in third place a Yamaha CP4. Regards.

#2515215 - 02/26/16 07:08 PM Re: Hammer action feel and NOISE in portable keyboards... [Re: sonicblasphemy]  
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 595
Fer De Armas Offline
500 Post Club Member
Fer De Armas  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 595
Hi, if you are looking for a solid, rugged, reliable, realistic and quieter key action, IMHO in first place try Kawai ES7, for a close second look Roland RD800 and in third place a Yamaha CP4. Regards.


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