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For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
#2550882 06/20/16 06:57 PM
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I'm lucky enough to finally have acquired a brand-new acoustic upright, in addition to the Kawai VPC-1 which I've owned for about a year now. Previous acoustics that I've owned have all been, let's say, beaten down and far from decent. That's one reason I was focused on digitals for the past few years, after I got back into playing piano. But this new acoustic is an entirely new experience for me that I'm enjoying very much so far.

The "drawback" though, is this has resulted me beginning to ignore my VPC-1 unless I'm recording something (which is not very often). Don't get me wrong because this is NOT meant as a knock against digitals all of a sudden, because I LOVE the VPC-1 too.

So, my main question is - How do you divide your time between your digital and your acoustic? Do you perhaps practice on one and "play/perform" on the other? Or do you base it on something else (other than using voices on the digital that no acoustic is capable of)?

Also, after getting used to the feel of the acoustic, I find that the velocity curves that I set on the VPC-1 with my VSTs are now a bit disappointing. (I had no useful "standard" to measure them against until now.) Do you try to set your velocity curves to mimic the feel of your acoustic?

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!

Thanks.


Bert
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Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2550895 06/20/16 07:44 PM
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Hello Bert,

First, congrats on your new upright!

If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where you can play your acoustic piano at any time of day without disturbing your loved one or neighbours, I don't believe you should worry too much about 'neglecting' the VPC1.

It's important to note that the VPC1 keyboard action is developed to recreate the touch of a grand piano, which will inevitably feel a little different to that of your upright acoustic. However, there can also be a broad range of differences between acoustic pianos, so I don't believe this should be a concern either - adapting to the touch of different instruments is all part of being a good pianist.

Regarding the touch curves, it's not uncommon for players to refine these curves as their piano playing becomes more nuanced. What may have felt 'right' when you initially tweaked the curves after purchasing the VPC1 a year ago, may no match your improved dexterity today. Moreover, owning a good quality acoustic should also have a positive effect on your ability to control volume, which will again influence your playing style when returning to the VPC1.

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James
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Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2550907 06/20/16 08:58 PM
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For sure, a digital will not have dynamic range and that all important "presence" of an acoustic. At home I play on the acoustic, and I use the digital for portability. If I am practising something at home that I'll be performing on the digital later, then I'll practise it on the digital at home too.


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Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2550911 06/20/16 09:21 PM
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I am lucky enough to own and or have regular access to through work all variety of digital and acoustic pianos. I do find the acoustics generally easier on my muscles and tendons as well as on my ears. You really need an excellent digital piano (in action, sound engine, and amp/speakers) to sound and play as well as a properly maintained good quality acoustic piano.

With that said, I agree. If I want to sit down and play, I choose the acoustic. If I need to work in the digital realm (recording, arranging, composing, etc.) I obviously use the MIDI capable digital piano. If I need different timbres of course I use the digital, and if I need to practice silently in headphones I use the digital.

Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2550913 06/20/16 09:35 PM
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I have a baby grand and a CP4. They sit keyboard-to-keyboard in my living room, trying to stare each other down. The grand was acquired after the CP4 through serendipity and needed some work. Now that the grand is back in good shape I mostly only go to the CP4 with headphones, either the built-in samples or Pianoteq.

I would probably have been happy forever in my little digital world if the grand hadn't come along. I would probably play the grand all the time if I didn't have neighbors.

Last edited by David Farley; 06/20/16 09:38 PM. Reason: I'm too clever
Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2550916 06/20/16 10:01 PM
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I own a Kawai MP11 and a Yamaha acoustic grand. I use and appreciate them both quite a bit. They sit together keyboard to keyboard in my living room and I use the same piano bench for both, I simply have to only swing my legs to the other side to go from one to the other smile

I use the MP11 almost exclusively with headphones. Connecting it to my hi-fi means moving it, the stand and the bench to the family room which I rarely do - only for performing/demoing the MP11 to visitors and guests.

I tend to play on the acoustic grand during the day (loud) when few or no people are in the house. Otherwise I use the MP11 at night and often on w-e. Also, since it is now summer and the windows are regularly open, I will use the MP11 during the day quite often as well since I know the acoustic grand sound carries quite far outside and I am super conscious that people passing by can then hear me causing me some background stress due to any eventual judgement they may pass to themselves (a bit silly I know), despite the fact that I tend to ride the soft pedal and restrain the touch of my playing under such circumstances. (bad habit) In the winter, this is much less of an issue.

I also find it important to play both keyboards since they do feel a little different and it forces me to adapt or consolidate technique, thus somewhat preparing one for playing other pianos elsewhere.

Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2550924 06/20/16 10:16 PM
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I would love to play an acoustic all day every day. And if I'm ever in a living situation where I'm the only person within a block, and where budget and space are not a concern I will definitely get one and do just that.

Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
AndrewJCW #2550930 06/20/16 10:52 PM
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To save on the wear and tear on my Steinway hammers, which are now sounding optimum at 10 years old, I'm doing more of the drill like practicing - transposing jazz lines and chord voicing to all 12 keys , around the circle of 4ths, chromatically and in minor and major third intervals- on my CP5 which I moved into our office, next to our home iMac (only) computer.

In my studio I do spend time practicing my vocals with the CP4 and Neumann KMS-105 with headphones. It puts my voice under the microscope more. And basically I hate the sound of acoustic piano miced, with headphones.

Ideally I'd like to have the AvantGrand N2 in the office or living room but I'm hesitant to shell out the 10K. or whatever that can be had for, on a digital piano. I've considered used but only if I can find something in LA to play before purchase. Just not comfortable on an out of state used purchase not being able to play it first hand.

However after a few weeks of using the CP5 more in the high repetition drill area, I don't feel I'm getting the same *quality* practice, as well as internalizing the shapes and harmonies of the chords and lines as thoroughly as I do on an acoustic. I can't put it into words *why*…but I'm just not. I think it's because the focus and concentration just isn't the same

I think (?) the Avantgrand would be better in this area, after spending some extended time on all the models recently but even with those , there's still a question mark with regard to real quality of practice.

Last edited by Dave Ferris; 06/21/16 12:02 AM. Reason: added thoughts

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Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
Dave Ferris #2550972 06/21/16 03:38 AM
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I guess I'm the only guy who doesn't feel this way about acoustics. From my earliest days, everybody else's pianos sounded crap. The worst was the vicars Bechstein. Clashy, brashy, full of extraneous uncalled for noises we now endearingly call resonances.
Managed to pick up a couple of decent ones along life's dusty road, one of which was a softly spoken Broadwood 7 footer with a primitive action. Not surprisingly, it was built in 1856. . .and the small Yamaha's and Kawais in the local shop sound OK.
But really, my little Roland has all the resonances and nuances I can handle at my age, I really don't want no more!

Having said that, I been looking at some Eavestaffe Mini pianos, of which thousands remain in this sceptred isle. Universally reviled by pianists and tuners alike, they resemble my home made piano cabinet which isn't surprising since the stool is an Eavestaff too.
This would be a worthwhile challenge to me, firstly to tune the thing to an acceptable level, then to get it to stay that way, and finally to electronically wring a decent sound out of it!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Eavestaff-P...rt-Deco-Local-Pick-up-Only-/262190755277

Last edited by peterws; 06/21/16 05:28 AM.

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Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2550978 06/21/16 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by newbert

Also, after getting used to the feel of the acoustic, I find that the velocity curves that I set on the VPC-1 with my VSTs are now a bit disappointing. (I had no useful "standard" to measure them against until now.) Do you try to set your velocity curves to mimic the feel of your acoustic?

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!

Thanks.

I would have thought, yes, definitely try and mimic the AP if the AP itself is pleasing and responsive. I've usually had an AP wherever I'm living. At the moment I've space to myself but the AP is indifferent, unpleasurable so I avoid it. Previously, in the company of a better AP, I was sharing the sonic space so preferred the DP+headphone option.

Can you pin down the disappointment? Is it definitely a velocity curve issue or could it be the broader soundstage of the AP that you prefer? Is the AP brighter? For a while now I've felt that good monitoring - or as good as we can get - is the key to all this.

Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
peterws #2550979 06/21/16 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by peterws

Having said that, I been looking at some Eavestaffe Mini pianos, of which thousands remain in this sceptred isle. Universally reviled by pianists and tuners alike, they resemble my home made piano cabinet which isn't surprising since the stool is an Eavestaffe too.
This would be a worthwhile challenge to me, firstly to tune the thing to an acceptable level, then to get it to stay that way, and finally to electronically wring a decent sound out of it!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Eavestaff-P...rt-Deco-Local-Pick-up-Only-/262190755277

You've just transported me back in time. 1949, my first piano lesson and a brand new Eavestaff minipiano is brought into the house. 12 years later there was an 'A' that defied tuning, it constantly slipped. Square peg in a round hole? Be wary, unless these things are easily repairable. Maybe ask in the tuners' forum?

Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
dire tonic #2550987 06/21/16 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by dire tonic
Originally Posted by peterws

Having said that, I been looking at some Eavestaffe Mini pianos, of which thousands remain in this sceptred isle. Universally reviled by pianists and tuners alike, they resemble my home made piano cabinet which isn't surprising since the stool is an Eavestaffe too.
This would be a worthwhile challenge to me, firstly to tune the thing to an acceptable level, then to get it to stay that way, and finally to electronically wring a decent sound out of it!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Eavestaff-P...rt-Deco-Local-Pick-up-Only-/262190755277

You've just transported me back in time. 1949, my first piano lesson and a brand new Eavestaff minipiano is brought into the house. 12 years later there was an 'A' that defied tuning, it constantly slipped. Square peg in a round hole? Be wary, unless these things are easily repairable. Maybe ask in the tuners' forum?


There's not a tuner in the land who wouldn't baulk at the mention of the name! Apparently there was A Particular Model of that piano which was ok. . But I reckon a bit of superglue should suffice . .


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Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2551058 06/21/16 11:58 AM
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I play the acoustic when it's just me or if the Mrs. wants to hear me play, otherwise it's the Privia and headphones. Having a digital means I can play late at night or when my wife is on the phone for business (quite often). Also very nice for the rare occasions when I play out.

Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2551079 06/21/16 12:32 PM
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My wife is also a musician so we are quite used to the other practicing. Sometimes practice together if we got the same gig or can help the other. But on the other hand, I wish my wife was on the phone for business more often, maybe then we could afford the Bosendorfer or Steinway we've been dreaming of - or pay the mortgage off more likely... Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Whew, ok. That hurt a bit.

Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
ElmerJFudd #2551082 06/21/16 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
My wife is also a musician so we are quite used to the other practicing. Sometimes practice together if we got the same gig or can help the other. But on the other hand, I wish my wife was on the phone for business more often, maybe then we could afford the Bosendorfer or Steinway we've been dreaming of - or pay the mortgage off more likely... Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Whew, ok. That hurt a bit.


If she sees this post, I suspect it's going to hurt quite a bit more! laugh


Bert
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Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
dire tonic #2551087 06/21/16 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by dire tonic
Originally Posted by newbert

Also, after getting used to the feel of the acoustic, I find that the velocity curves that I set on the VPC-1 with my VSTs are now a bit disappointing. (I had no useful "standard" to measure them against until now.) Do you try to set your velocity curves to mimic the feel of your acoustic?

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!

Thanks.

I would have thought, yes, definitely try and mimic the AP if the AP itself is pleasing and responsive. I've usually had an AP wherever I'm living. At the moment I've space to myself but the AP is indifferent, unpleasurable so I avoid it. Previously, in the company of a better AP, I was sharing the sonic space so preferred the DP+headphone option.

Can you pin down the disappointment? Is it definitely a velocity curve issue or could it be the broader soundstage of the AP that you prefer? Is the AP brighter? For a while now I've felt that good monitoring - or as good as we can get - is the key to all this.


It's difficult to pin down - and I wouldn't necessarily call it disappointment (with the digital). Like you expressed, my previous AP's were all "indifferent and unpleasurable", while this one (an Essex EUP123) definitely is not in that category. Yes, the AP's tone is quite bright (which I like), but that's not it either, since I can play with VST's to make the sound output practically match. (Remember, the VPC1 doesn't generate its own sounds, so that is moot hardware-wise.)

I guess that it comes down to "tactile feedback" which the AP provides but the VPC1 (in spite of its excellent action) doesn't quite achieve. By that, I mean that I can feel the strings resonating thru my fingertips, which adds quite a bit to the whole experience. Also, with regard to the relative actions, I can distinctly feel the AP's keys increased resistance (I don't know the technical term) just before bottoming out (about 75% down), which I feel allows me (even with my limited ability) more control. The VPC1's action also has this feature, but the feeling is not nearly as distinct, to me at least.

If there is a way to increase that "distinctness" on the VPC1, I'm all ears.

Like I said earlier, I have NO REGRETS with purchasing the VPC1 last year. None at all. But finally getting a "pleasurable" AP is already changing my playing habits. I live alone in a standalone house, so disturbing others really isn't an issue. When I was just (re-)starting out, I was self-conscious when playing my lousy acoustic ----- I half-expected all the neighborhood dogs to start howling at my piano struggles. blush But now, with the new AP combined with the improvement with my playing, I'm much less self-conscious about it.

Maybe that's my solution -- Use the VPC-1 (with headphones) when playing exercises/drills (which is very rare because I hate it) and when revising an arrangement and/or learning a new piece. And use the AP to play pieces that I know well enough to not be embarrassed playing them.


Bert
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Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2551099 06/21/16 02:28 PM
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All of my practicing is on my grand piano. But when I am just playing for pleasure, I probably split my time about 50-50 between the grand and my digital keyboards. I actually find adjusting to my digital piano easier than adjusting to the grand piano at my teacher's studio. Seems like it is a good thing to move around among different keyboards, but of course it depends upon what your goals are. For me it is just a hobby and I enjoy hearing the same piece played on different instruments.


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Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2551101 06/21/16 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by newbert
Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
My wife is also a musician so we are quite used to the other practicing. Sometimes practice together if we got the same gig or can help the other. But on the other hand, I wish my wife was on the phone for business more often, maybe then we could afford the Bosendorfer or Steinway we've been dreaming of - or pay the mortgage off more likely... Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Whew, ok. That hurt a bit.


If she sees this post, I suspect it's going to hurt quite a bit more! laugh


Quite right, Bert! laugh

Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2551132 06/21/16 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by newbert
So, my main question is - How do you divide your time between your digital and your acoustic? Do you perhaps practice on one and "play/perform" on the other? Or do you base it on something else (other than using voices on the digital that no acoustic is capable of)?


Days, a moderate amount of time (respecting my neighbors): The acoustic.

Nights, additional time during the day, and when traveling: The digital.

Ideally I would use an acoustic all the time, except when I want to play a Rhodes etc. (I can relate to Dave's argument though that some practicing on a digital may save the wear and tear on the acoustic piano.)


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Re: For Those Who Own Both a Digital and an Acoustic.......
newbert #2551137 06/21/16 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by newbert

Also, with regard to the relative actions, I can distinctly feel the AP's keys increased resistance (I don't know the technical term) just before bottoming out (about 75% down), which I feel allows me (even with my limited ability) more control.


An upright should not have any extra resistance near the bottom of the keystroke. But if you are using the practice pedal, you're probably feeling the cloth between the hammers and strings.

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