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Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign] #2509698
02/12/16 07:19 AM
02/12/16 07:19 AM
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propianist Offline
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Euphoria - If you actually read what I wrote, I wasn't suggesting putting knobs or "DJ stuff" ??? onto a hypothetical new VPC2 model, but rather keeping the same totally clean uncluttered design. Don't know where you get that idea.
I personally think even the red power LED on top panel totally spoils the look.

And adding an external controller to supplement the lack of pitch / mod wheels was exactly what I suggested with the Roland A01, or even much cheaper options exist, such as Icon iKey for about £29.

Saying "Don't make 97 keys" and "This is piano" in the same post seems like a contradiction too, because Bosendorfer make world class pianos with 97, or 92 or 88 keys, and yes, Stuart and Son make concert grand pianos with 97 and 102 keys, BUT crucially Bosendorfer are far, far, far more famous and very, very popular among today's commercial software virtual pianos, whereas most people haven't even heard of Stuart & Son from Australia, and I don't think there's any commercial sample library featuring a 102 note Stuart piano???, but there are literally dozens and dozens of commercial 97 key Bosendorfer software libraries.
Consider the Kawai VPC1 model uniquely exists for software virtual pianos - that's its mission statement, it's model name = "Virtual Piano Controller", it's target design, it's raison d'etre, of which 97 key Bosendorfers are clearly a large percentage of what's out there! but yet it doesn't properly cater for them due to 88 key limitation. 88 keys would be perfectly understandable on a Kawai digital piano CA or MP series whose obvious mission statement is aiming to recreate a real Kawai EX or Shigeru playing experience, because Kawai want to sample and promote their own instruments, they're obviously not going to sell you Steinway or Bosendorfer samples inside their DPs, and everybody knows all Kawai pianos only have 88 keys, so that's correct and what you'd expect for those DP instruments, but the direct association with an 88 key Kawai acoustic is eliminated by the VPC series which aims differently - to recreate best playing experience for Steinway and Bosendorfer samples from the best possible MIDI controller action they can construct. So for this, they should make a keyboard suitable for recreating an 88 note Steinway or a 97 note Bosendorfer (which both use Renner action by the way) with enough keys to do the job, rather than sticking to the 88 key formula of their Kawai acoustic and DP divisions. Because this is what VPC model will ultimately used for, not for "Kawai piano" simulation - Steinway and Bosendorfer are probably 99% of the samples people want to use. There aren't very many commercial libraries with Kawai samples. I actually do own AcousticSamples Kawai EX by Lance Herring, actually, which is a rare example. It sounds okay, a bit bright and strident, but it doesn't have sympathetic string resonance, so I can't take it seriously as an option.

"This is piano"
Actually, it's NOT a piano, it's just a MIDI controller.

Sorry if I'm ranting a bit... I'm even going to challenge my own arguement...
The only valid argument AGAINST 97 keys and their extra benefit as MIDI CC# is that maybe Bosendorfer doesn't intend you to actually play those keys, they're just there to resonate in sympathy adding depth and richness, that's why the keys are coloured black??? They can be played, perhaps for string tuning purposes, and they have bothered to build keys, dampers and action for each of them, but maybe they're part of the instrument's sound, without being considered as musical notes you can play, a bit like the duplex scale or the resonance of the soundboard.
My evidence for this conclusion is from Bosendorfer themselves when they made the Bosendorfer CEUS Master stage piano MIDI controller /digital piano keyboard which has a full Renner concert grand action in a portable(!) case, and uses Vienna Imperial sample library. It came out in 2008 and costs about £20,000+ if I remember. Even that, from Bosendorfer themselves, only has 88 keys!!! which strikes me as weird, why didn't they give it 97 keys? It's not a budget restriction obviously on a cost-no-object model, but probably because they didn't intend the ultra low notes to be played, and they don't need tuning on a sample library, and sympathetic string resonance DSP will allow them to resonate in sympathy with the playable 88 keys, so they're heard in the colour of the sound without being physically present on their MIDI controller keyboard.

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Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign] #2515973
02/29/16 02:12 PM
02/29/16 02:12 PM
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A VPC2 with wheels would be nice, but wouldn't be a deal breaker for me personally (especially if a good add-on is possible as someone mentioned earlier). However a 1/4" EXP jack (or two) on the back would be very appreciated for midi expression pedals.

If a VPC2 like this came out, with GF2 or better, I would buy it without hesitation.


~Nathan

Composer-Pianist
https://www.NathanShirley.com
Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign] #2549849
06/16/16 08:47 AM
06/16/16 08:47 AM
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Excuse me resurrecting this thread again but...

I'm using a VPC1 (with Pianoteq) and loving it but I've wondered about a VPC2 too.

I think the VPC1's action is great - very expressive - best I've found on any DP etc.

I certainly don't want pitch/modulation wheels or any other bells and whistles but my wish is for a more portable version - less bulky and above all less heavy.

That and how about facilities for fitting a PC - like an Intel NUC for example - and some sort of integrated screen? I'd love to be able to take my VPC1/Pianoteq combo out on the road but as things stand it's just too much hassle.

You could even imagine the VPC2 chassis as being part keyboard and part PC case - with all of the flexibility (for mounting different form-factors etc) we're accustomed to in the latter - allowing people to build it up to their own spec. With that plus the huge range of software available you'd have a really flexible and powerful combo - possibly the first easily portable PC-based DP setup?

Just the thought gets my juices flowing.

I.

Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign] #2549863
06/16/16 09:55 AM
06/16/16 09:55 AM
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I prefer, for now, the somehow heavier RM3 II over the GF action. I feel a bit better control for the polyphony playing (e.g. Beethoven op 27/2 1m, op13 2m) and the higher physical resistance is a good exercise/preparation for playing (often heavier) acoustic uprights.

Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: Schuberto] #2549952
06/16/16 06:48 PM
06/16/16 06:48 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
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The VPC1 is at £850 right now . . .if anybody`s interested. Didn`t know they were so affordable.


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

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Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: peterws] #2549958
06/16/16 07:31 PM
06/16/16 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws
The VPC1 is at £850 right now . . .if anybody`s interested. Didn`t know they were so affordable.


Looks like a great price. Where did you see that?

Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: IanL] #2549986
06/16/16 09:34 PM
06/16/16 09:34 PM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Offline
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Originally Posted by IanL
That and how about facilities for fitting a PC - like an Intel NUC for example - and some sort of integrated screen? I'd love to be able to take my VPC1/Pianoteq combo out on the road but as things stand it's just too much hassle.

You could even imagine the VPC2 chassis as being part keyboard and part PC case - with all of the flexibility (for mounting different form-factors etc) we're accustomed to in the latter - allowing people to build it up to their own spec. With that plus the huge range of software available you'd have a really flexible and powerful combo - possibly the first easily portable PC-based DP setup?



Hello Ian, welcome to the forum, and thank you for your interesting suggestions.

To be honest, I'm a little surprised the VPC1 hasn't been 'modded' in this way by a member of the community already. We already have the Ravensworks Design modified VPC1 with adjusted keyboard action and customised cabinet. With a little design work and some cutting, it should be possible to mount a NUC motherboard (or similarly pocket-sized PC) inside the VPC1 for an all-in-one system.

By the way, in case you did not see it already, there is a parallel 'VPC2 Wish List' thread with lots of interesting discussions at:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2548159/

Thanks again!

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: Kawai James] #2550132
06/17/16 02:16 PM
06/17/16 02:16 PM
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Hi James,

Thanks for getting back.

I did see the other thread, thanks, but only after posting on this one. One step behind as usual.

Yeah, I'm sure that it would be possible to mod the VPC1 in the way you suggest but for me the other issues, the bulk and weight, would need addressing too - not so straightforward - would require something a little radical - but an interesting challenge and if I had time I'd be tempted to roll up my sleeves.

I used to lug a Yamaha CP5 around to gigs and grumbled repeatedly (to the nice attentive people at Yamaha UK) about the sheer weight of the bloody thing and how sooner or later it would put me in hospital and that at the very least they should supply a complimentary surgical support with each one. And then they brought out the CP4, as if just to shut me up.

I understand that these state-of-the-art piano actions unavoidably bring a certain weight penalty with them, the laws of physics being what they are and all that. And I really am impressed with the VPC1 action - it's a real pleasure - so I don't mean to carp. But I just couldn't face lugging the thing around with me. Just imagine it in a flight case. Pass me that truss would you.

The other problem is the screen. You have to wonder whether there isn't some brilliant idea about how to provide a proper screen on a DP that's just waiting for someone to discover it. Maybe it could be integrated into a fold-out music stand or something? I realise that however it's done it's likely to be costly but if it were done well just think what a mockery it would make of the horrible pixelated little peek-holes we're all having to make do with at present.

Cheers, Ian.

Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: IanL] #2550603
06/19/16 08:31 PM
06/19/16 08:31 PM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Offline
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Hello Ian,

Originally Posted by IanL
I understand that these state-of-the-art piano actions unavoidably bring a certain weight penalty with them, the laws of physics being what they are and all that.[/quote

Yes, wood and metal are heavy.

[quote=IanL]The other problem is the screen. You have to wonder whether there isn't some brilliant idea about how to provide a proper screen on a DP that's just waiting for someone to discover it. Maybe it could be integrated into a fold-out music stand or something? I realise that however it's done it's likely to be costly but if it were done well just think what a mockery it would make of the horrible pixelated little peek-holes we're all having to make do with at present.


If I were to build a NUC into the VPC1, I would also enable some kind of VNC setup to allow the Windows desktop to be viewed and controlled wirelessly from a tablet or phone.

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign] #2550627
06/19/16 10:42 PM
06/19/16 10:42 PM
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Punta Alta, Buenos Aires, Arge...
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A big tablet could do the job. I can't remember where, but once I saw an orchestra playing with screens instead of traditional paper scores, I believe they were using 15" tablets or something like that.


Pianoteq / Kawai CL 35 & MP11 / Old 1920's Upright Zimmerman
Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: Kawai James] #2550712
06/20/16 08:02 AM
06/20/16 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James

If I were to build a NUC into the VPC1, I would also enable some kind of VNC setup to allow the Windows desktop to be viewed and controlled wirelessly from a tablet or phone.


Well, yeah, possible of course. But I suspect too fiddly and error-prone for a duffer like me. An integrated screen and proper qwerty keyboard - none of this touch-screen nonsense - would be so much better.

I see the 'VPC-Stage' as having a radically different design ethos to the current model. Rather than being something for the Edwardian drawing room - all coy and covered up - it will instead celebrate its rude mechanical nature with a transparent top - perhaps even an LED or two inside - so you can see the action strutting its stuff and the CPU sweating away over all those hot clock cycles - almost a tinge of steam punk.

Sorry, am I getting carried away?

I.

Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: IanL] #2550877
06/20/16 07:30 PM
06/20/16 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by IanL
Sorry, am I getting carried away?


I believe the built-in QWERTY keyboard and LED lighting may be surplus to requirements for most players, but there's no harm in brainstorming.

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: Kawai James] #2551007
06/21/16 08:26 AM
06/21/16 08:26 AM
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Doug M. Offline
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Originally Posted by IanL
Sorry, am I getting carried away?


I believe the built-in QWERTY keyboard and LED lighting may be surplus to requirements for most players, but there's no harm in brainstorming.

Cheers,
James
x


Oh, damn, then I guess an optional Kawai A5 note pad with sharpened pencil is too much to hope for ;-).

Seriously though: a while back, I saw a TV report from a tech show showing a computer projected onto any flat surface (kitchen table, desk etc) which you could type and control as if it was a touch screen. That would be cool i.e., for a projector to caste a PC screen onto the surface of the VPC2 from an inbuilt PC unit. That would be even more impressive than the Physis H1 user interface! Might even work on a curved surface...

E.g., the I-desk

Could even go the whole hog and build a: projection mapped piano

Last edited by Doug M.; 06/21/16 08:34 AM.

Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: propianist] #2551013
06/21/16 09:13 AM
06/21/16 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by propianist

Sorry if I'm ranting a bit... I'm even going to challenge my own arguement...
The only valid argument AGAINST 97 keys and their extra benefit as MIDI CC# is that maybe Bosendorfer doesn't intend you to actually play those keys, they're just there to resonate in sympathy adding depth and richness, that's why the keys are coloured black??? They can be played, perhaps for string tuning purposes, and they have bothered to build keys, dampers and action for each of them, but maybe they're part of the instrument's sound, without being considered as musical notes you can play, a bit like the duplex scale or the resonance of the soundboard.


Exactly. I saw Valentina play the those low keys in her Totentanz performance but usually they aren't played. A controller with those extra keys would add nothing. What you really want is piano software that adds these keys and includes them in string resonance.

Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: Doug M.] #2551169
06/21/16 08:44 PM
06/21/16 08:44 PM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
Kawai James Offline
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Originally Posted by Doug M.
Seriously though: a while back, I saw a TV report from a tech show showing a computer projected onto any flat surface (kitchen table, desk etc) which you could type and control as if it was a touch screen. That would be cool i.e., for a projector to caste a PC screen onto the surface of the VPC2 from an inbuilt PC unit.


Yes, that would be quite interesting. But where would be mount the projector in order for an interface to be projected onto the top surface?

Originally Posted by Doug M.
That would be even more impressive than the Physis H1 user interface!


...or even the DP1 user interface? wink

[Linked Image]

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: Kawai James] #2551997
06/25/16 12:47 PM
06/25/16 12:47 PM
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Guys,

Why have PCs still got over 90% of the market share compared to Apple? Er... well... I don't know really but I'd like to think it is because the model was an open one - giving people the opportunity to mould the basic components into their own thing.

Now why not apply the same design philosophy to DPs? Make a basic chassis containing the 'keybed' + some interface electronics and add a whole range of mounting options so that people can build it up their own way? Step forward the 'VPC-Custom'! It's the first barebones DP.

PC enthusiasts have gone to extreme lengths to tailor their systems to their personality, including cooling the CPU with liquid nitrogen. How cool would a liquid nitrogen-cooled DP be? (a. Very) And no need for a separate dry ice machine.

Seriously though, why not? Pianists, particularly the digital variety, are at least as mad as PC enthusiasts. I think they'd go for it. I know I would. It's all very well having these wonderfully capable sideboards tucked away in convenient alcoves of your house but when are we going to get the opportunity to get this exciting gear out on the road and wow the masses with our algorithms?

I.

Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign] #2551999
06/25/16 12:59 PM
06/25/16 12:59 PM
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You want something like the Yamaha S90 ES which has 3 slots for extension cards. wink

The only thing it lacks could be the openness of the card interface. You won't find - let's say - a Pianoteq or an Ivory PLG card.


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: Schuberto] #2552043
06/25/16 05:51 PM
06/25/16 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Schuberto
I prefer, for now, the somehow heavier RM3 II over the GF action. I feel a bit better control for the polyphony playing (e.g. Beethoven op 27/2 1m, op13 2m) and the higher physical resistance is a good exercise/preparation for playing (often heavier) acoustic uprights.


That's exactly how I feel about it!

Re: Thoughts on the Kawai VPC1, RM3 II and Grand Feel action [Re: DeskDesign] #2552221
06/26/16 02:54 PM
06/26/16 02:54 PM
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I haven't played the GF action but I suspect I'd agree.

For me the thing that most marks out one action/instrument over another is the ease and extent to which I can control the relative volume of each of a group of notes struck together with one hand - for example bringing out the top note in a chord in the RH. Maybe this is the same thing that Schuberto is referring to with 'better control for the polyphony playing'.

In general my experience has been that heavier actions make this easier. I have thought a little about the physics and physiology of why this should be but won't bore you with all that just now. And there must also be other factors, other than just the simple weight behind each key. I think it's quite (as in 'very') complex.

I certainly find the VPC1 very good in this respect which is mainly why I like it I think. It's interesting how if you take all of the touch sensitivity out of the instrument (in the software) you're left with this utterly lifeless and unplayable shed. It's called an organ.

Cheers, Ian.

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