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The modern crop of digitals . . . #2580637
10/21/16 03:47 PM
10/21/16 03:47 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,171
Northern England.
peterws Offline OP
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Does anyone apart from me think they`re sterile? Straight out o` the box (default, so to speak) they appear to lack character in their latest form.

Now, so much is able to be user changed if your happy about spending time on this. But on most I`ve tried lately, out of the, say, three pianos available from the panel, there might be a semidecent one amongst `em.

Even on Youtube after you`ve suffered the annoying introductory music, out comes the generic sounds. You`d be hard pressed to say which piano was being played.

Now, if you traverse to the Top o` the Range ones, like the LX17, CS11 or NU1 etc, there are some welcome differences soundwise when you play them live at least.

I think most here have been pretty well satisfied with their DPs over the years, as I have and still am. But I`d be apprehensive of changing at the moment because of what I`ve just tried to describe, and also (unrelated) because of the advanced digital technology like apps and Bluetooth (both of which I`ll never use) and those stupid little buttons that are so hard to figure out. Seems like trends are being followed which reduces the choices we have ultimately.

Am I being fair here? Maybe it`s an age thing . . . eek But I`ve said it now. The world can judge . .

Last edited by peterws; 10/21/16 03:50 PM.

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Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580657
10/21/16 04:28 PM
10/21/16 04:28 PM
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ElmerJFudd Offline
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Bored today, Peter?
Lol you're in the 5000 post club. What don't you know about digital pianos by now? smile

Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580658
10/21/16 04:32 PM
10/21/16 04:32 PM
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JoBert Offline
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Originally Posted by peterws
Maybe it`s an age thing . . .

Yeah, probably... wink

Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580668
10/21/16 05:12 PM
10/21/16 05:12 PM
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Chicago, IL USA
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EPW Offline
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man I need to post more hmmmmm moments to get my post count up smile

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Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580670
10/21/16 05:14 PM
10/21/16 05:14 PM
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EPW Offline
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Especially seeing Peter joined slightly later then me and has me killed in post counts.....................




Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: EPW] #2580679
10/21/16 05:26 PM
10/21/16 05:26 PM
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Posts: 7,171
Northern England.
peterws Offline OP
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peterws  Offline OP
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I kinda thought there wasn`t much going on . . . but I agree. 5000 posts are too many. I been round the internet (twice) and it does get a bit boring at times . . .(Yawn) it`s dead over at the ABF too.
Lull before Christmas!

Well, I asked a semidecent question. . . . but it does require some thought. That could be the problem . . . eek

Last edited by peterws; 10/21/16 05:28 PM.

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Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580686
10/21/16 05:53 PM
10/21/16 05:53 PM
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Sand Tiger Offline
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I find piano in general to be sterile, and mechanical. Sure a skilled pianist can coax the instrument into life, but it tends to take a lot of skill for a pianist to move general audiences.

Digitals are more mechnical, more sterile than acoustics, mostly because of two to four not so good speakers, sample libraries, and for the cheapers ones, the looping of samples.

String instruments, wind instruments, any instrument where producing a consistent tone is a big deal, tends to be much more expressive than the mechanical piano. Tone on piano is mostly is about the machine. Sure a person controls dynamics, and staccato, legato, but these pale in comparison to what it takes to play say a flute, trumpet or violin well.

Last edited by Sand Tiger; 10/21/16 06:07 PM.
Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580688
10/21/16 06:17 PM
10/21/16 06:17 PM
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I think part of the problem is that sooner or later, all digital pianos must have their sounds go through speakers. Speaker designs have made some significant gains, but they're still speakers. Zuckermann kits used to make a pianoforte kit. Perhaps you should buy one of those, build it and have some real, genuine acoustic sounds. And if it was a little anemic, you could mic it and put it through a good sound system. I have some speakers I could recommend.....

Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: Sand Tiger] #2580692
10/21/16 06:27 PM
10/21/16 06:27 PM
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ElmerJFudd Offline
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Originally Posted by Sand Tiger
I find piano in general to be sterile, and mechanical. Sure a skilled pianist can coax the instrument into life, but it tends to take a lot of skill for a pianist to move general audiences.

Digitals are more mechnical, more sterile than acoustics, mostly because of two to four not so good speakers, sample libraries, and for the cheapers ones, the looping of samples.

String instruments, wind instruments, any instrument where producing a consistent tone is a big deal, tends to be much more expressive than the mechanical piano. Tone on piano is mostly is about the machine. Sure a person controls dynamics, and staccato, legato, but these pale in comparison to what it takes to play say a flute, trumpet or violin well.


LOL you're talking to the wrong crowd, Sand Tiger! smile
You know the sign on the door says Pianoworld.
The piano is the greatest instrument ever made!
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Last edited by ElmerJFudd; 10/21/16 06:52 PM.
Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: OrgantoPiano] #2580694
10/21/16 06:29 PM
10/21/16 06:29 PM
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ElmerJFudd Offline
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Originally Posted by OrgantoPiano
I think part of the problem is that sooner or later, all digital pianos must have their sounds go through speakers. Speaker designs have made some significant gains, but they're still speakers. Zuckermann kits used to make a pianoforte kit. Perhaps you should buy one of those, build it and have some real, genuine acoustic sounds. And if it was a little anemic, you could mic it and put it through a good sound system. I have some speakers I could recommend.....


Agreed. Sampling and modeling are doing really well at this point. The next step in digital pianos is going to be upping the amp and speaker game. They just need to push air properly to sound better.

Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580709
10/21/16 07:42 PM
10/21/16 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws
Does anyone apart from me think they`re sterile?


I think they're sterile. VSTs seem noticeably better for a fraction of the price.

But: reasons. The practical reason is that a huge sample set would need a long load times, and I'm not sure how many buyers would be happy with that in a self-contained instrument.

The business reason is that if DPs became too good they'd cannibalise sales of APs. I get the impression - possibly wrong, but it's hard to be sure - that many of the piano manufacturers see DPs as a budget entry-level gateway to APs, and their main focus is really the latter.

I don't think speakers are the limiting factor. $200 external monitors perform better than many built-in amp+speaker systems. By the time you get to $1000+ monitors with a sub, you have speakers that beat any DP.

But the speakers are external. For now, the industry assumes that buyers want a self-contained piano-like object with internal speakers instead of strings.

That used to be true, and it's still true for most budget-level home users. But now that more and more people are using a controller with VSTs and studio monitors it's becoming less and less true. I wouldn't be surprised if at some point - maybe 5-10 years - the idea that a serious DP can be sold with excellent external speakers, maybe with a separate soundboard transducer for feel, moves into mainstream products.

Ultimately DPs have the potential to replace APs on the concert stage. That's decades away, but I think eventually we'll see DPs becoming a separate concert instrument with some unique expressive features.


Kawai CA67, Doepfer LMK2+, NI Komplete 11 Ultimate, Amphion One18 monitors, 2 x UAD Octo FX, Ableton Push 2, Maschine Studio, Maschine Jam, and a Nice Desk from Ikea
Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580731
10/21/16 09:38 PM
10/21/16 09:38 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
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TonyB Offline
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Twin Cities
It is true that DPs are sterile. Put two I a room together and you will not get a third. smile But, then, we can say the same about acoustic pianos. smile smile

Tony


Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: TonyB] #2580772
10/22/16 01:51 AM
10/22/16 01:51 AM
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Germany
JoBert Offline
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Originally Posted by TonyB
But, then, we can say the same about acoustic pianos.

Are you sure? Have you ever considered where baby grands come from? Well, you know the birds and the bees, right? . . . 2hearts

Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580799
10/22/16 04:05 AM
10/22/16 04:05 AM
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The Netherlands
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I noticed that the major acoustic brands have very similar characteristics in their flagship concert grands. The differences between the A brands were much bigger, even a few decades ago.
One could spot a Steinway, Yamaha, Bechstein, Kawai and Bosendorfer easily, but their flagship grands are sounding more similar than before. The sample sessions with hardware digitals use new prepaired grand piano's most of the time.
Also the closed miked approach that all hardware digitals use to record their piano ( some vst's have more ambient mike options) result in that "sameness" i also noticed!

Last edited by pianistje; 10/22/16 04:08 AM.
Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580811
10/22/16 05:20 AM
10/22/16 05:20 AM
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Lovely rain this morning, zzzzzzzzzz... smile

Last edited by slobajudge; 10/22/16 05:25 AM.
Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580817
10/22/16 06:13 AM
10/22/16 06:13 AM
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Melbourne, Australia
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ando Offline
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I agree, they are sterile. But Pete, despite you campaigning for years that digital pianos don't need all the quirks of acoustic pianos, that's exactly why they are sterile! So, my approach to getting the sterility level down is to bring back as many of the "acoustic" touches as I can, without them being excessive. I increase damper resonance, string resonance, damper noise, key noise, play around with the EQ, change the reverb (not necessarily more though). The end result is 100% of the time better than what the factory sounds had to offer.

Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580818
10/22/16 06:16 AM
10/22/16 06:16 AM
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Austria, EU
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I think DPs today are not what they could be for a reasonable budget, given the available and affordable technologies. Old romplers are repackaged and offered over and over again.

Exception: modeled digital pianos, but those sill sound a bit sterile too, yes. IMO I's prefer some sterile sound from a physical model, opposed tho sounds created by poor hardware with looped samples featuring a variety of sound artifacts.

Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: ando] #2580829
10/22/16 07:18 AM
10/22/16 07:18 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,171
Northern England.
peterws Offline OP
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Originally Posted by ando
I agree, they are sterile. But Pete, despite you campaigning for years that digital pianos don't need all the quirks of acoustic pianos, that's exactly why they are sterile! So, my approach to getting the sterility level down is to bring back as many of the "acoustic" touches as I can, without them being excessive. I increase damper resonance, string resonance, damper noise, key noise, play around with the EQ, change the reverb (not necessarily more though). The end result is 100% of the time better than what the factory sounds had to offer.


I guess things have changed for me, then. Because I have all my resonances whacked up to full (not soundboard) which enables little reverb. Pianoteq probably contributed to this. The thing is, as you mention, the default setting seems so puerile. Obviously the companies have done their homework, and pitch their product to sell.

Now, if you tweak the resonances on a meticulously sanpled or modelled dp, they sound so artificial, and unless you can do somrthing there, you`re stuck.

Is it any coincidence that top end models do sound and feel better if they`re pitched towards more professional/richer people? Just by having a different set up for default?


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Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2580835
10/22/16 08:16 AM
10/22/16 08:16 AM
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Peter, between this question and your last I'm starting to wonder if you're trying to talk yourself into buying an acoustic.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2578421/Re:_Did_anybody_here_really_wa.html

Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: David Farley] #2580911
10/22/16 02:58 PM
10/22/16 02:58 PM
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peterws Offline OP
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Originally Posted by David Farley
Peter, between this question and your last I'm starting to wonder if you're trying to talk yourself into buying an acoustic.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2578421/Re:_Did_anybody_here_really_wa.html


It`d be the cheaper option by far if I did. There are some well kept oldies around for under £300. Loads near me. A good old fashioned acoustic will surely sound better than a £2k new one.

It`s back to the headphone requirement. Marvellous choices available to anyone not needing this, though. A Kawai baby grand for £7.5K new, with a good full bass ain`t gonna break the bank . . . when compared to the price of your average family car.

But for ease of recording, the digital wins every time. Having said that, there are plenty on the ABF who successfully record acoustics. And then add digital reverb . . . grin

Last edited by peterws; 10/22/16 02:59 PM.

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Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2581005
10/23/16 05:51 AM
10/23/16 05:51 AM
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peterws Offline OP
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Rather interesting (to me) fact about the new Rolands, and my FP50 and similar.
Looking through the spec sheets (as you do) there is NO mention of detuning the piano, either individual note, or a general honkytonk facility. If I got this wrong, please let me know.

Reference to individual note tuning throws up only the stretch tuning variations and will not knock`em out of tune as in the unisons.

Nearest thing is the change of temperament. And some o` them sound truly dreadful for general playing. Could be fun, though . . .

Last edited by peterws; 10/23/16 05:53 AM.

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

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Re: The modern crop of digitals . . . [Re: peterws] #2581039
10/23/16 09:50 AM
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While I agree that certain aspects of APs don't need to be reproduced in DPs (for example, pedal thumps, no dampers on the highest keys, etc.), other ones like string resonance certainly help one believe the DP is closer to an AP sound.

I went to compare two well-known digital instruments a few days ago, using excellent quality headphones, and not tweaking anything, just playing some presets.

Even though I wasn't impressed listening to online demos for DP#1, because of the particularly loud character of the attack part of the sound in comparison to what comes immediately after (when the notes decay and die), this effect was not noticeable as much while playing, maybe because I could connect pretty well with the keyboard and how it triggered the piano sounds. I could also achieve very quick repetition of the same notes without any problem.

In comparison, repetition on the DP#2 keyboard was not as good and I didn't like how the keys connected to the piano sounds, probably because it felt too light and more like a synth action. Also, even though the quality was excellent, there was something artificial or distant about DP#2, because they use only samples instead of also string resonance and other artifacts.

So even though in the 90s I could content myself with my sample-only DP, after buying a baby grand afterwards - which reminded me in clear detail how the real thing is and behaves - a few days ago I concluded that some of those artifacts are needed and that samples are not enough. A DP will never sound like like an AP, but depending what you play vs the DP's particular strengths and weaknesses, it can sometimes fool you into thinking it's almost the real thing. While you play. But maybe not when you listen to your recording later.


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