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Transitioning to digital piano? My dilemma
#2590881 11/29/16 06:16 AM
Joined: Nov 2016
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Arthell Offline OP
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I'm 28 years old today and was very active playing classical up until I was 20, including smaller performances. Then I moved abroad and didn't touch a piano for 8 years.

Today I can barely play but I am serious in my wish to resume and start practicing 2-4 hours/day. I live in an apartment however and come back from work at 6pm. Therefore, I think I need to get a digital piano.

I've always been against digital pianos but I understand that for the right money, they can be very similar to acoustic ones. And after going to the shop and trying out Yamaha's Clavinova series, I am almost convinced that I will buy either the CLP-535 or CLP-545.

They are however quite pricey and I want to make sure I'm buying the right thing. I aim to, on occasion, perform on acoustic pianos or grand pianos. Therefore I don't want to learn the wrong habits, in terms of feel/touch, sound, etc, as I don't want to get a shock each time I sit down to perform on a real one.

Can any of you experienced people give me your take on transitioning? Is volume adjustability (as compared to "fixed" volume on mechanical pianos) a case for concern? Lightness of keys etc?

Re: Transitioning to digital piano? My dilemma
Arthell #2590893 11/29/16 07:16 AM
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I'd suggest you ask about specific models, options in the digital piano section of the forum:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/forums/6/1/Digital_Pianos_-_Synths_&a.html

As for transitioning, it can take some getting used to. I'm mostly familiar with the Yamaha models myself and own a couple (as well as an acoustic grand piano). Although most will initially focus on the realism (or lack of) of the sound, the feel of the keyboard is what really requires getting used to. The best thing is to try many models. You will find that they range from the unusually light touch (most inexpensive models) to fairly acoustic-like, although you won't get the escapement feel unless you're buying a fairly expensive model that features an actual mechanical action.

The volume control is a bit of a mix of curse and blessing. Of course an acoustic doesn't have one, and this kind of points out that a digital doesn't have the dynamic range of a real piano. You usually end up discovering that a specific setting will make you feel like it's most natural to you, in terms of how loud it sounds for how hard you press. You will only use any other settings for the convenience of practising something at low volume, or turning it up because you would have needed amplification if you had an acoustic.



What do snowflakes and Chickerings have in common? There are no two exactly alike!
Re: Transitioning to digital piano? My dilemma
Arthell #2590917 11/29/16 10:05 AM
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I had a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-380 in 2009 and traded up to an AvantGrand N2 because the action on the CLP-380 did not allow realistic soft playing. The Clavinova keys took too much force to initiate movement, so once they started moving, they moved too fast -- hard to control. The AvantGrand action is great.

I'd recommend using Pianoteq for sound and getting a good MIDI controller. So, for a keyboard, I'd go with either the Kawai MP11 (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MP11) or the Roland RD-800 (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/RD800). I would use headphones to save money. I use the Bose QC15s, which are not audiophile headphones, but they do a great job of cutting out household noise.

Okay, so that seems like a lot of gear. Why go to the trouble to add Pianoteq? Because Pianoteq PLAYS like a great piano. It has a huge dynamic range, with very sensitive gradations of color (timbre), making it far more expressive than any other digital I've played, including the Rolands (and the Rolands are among the most expressive DPs out there).

But doesn't your Yamaha AvantGrand sound better than Pianoteq? After all, it's the top of the line DP! Answer: No. Install the free Pianoteq demo on a laptop and take it and some headphones to a Yamaha dealer and try it for yourself. And try to ignore the Yamaha marketing (this instrument samples a CFX, a CFS-III, an S6, a Bosendorfer). It is incredibly effective. It worked on me. You WANT that marketing material to be true. It's an intoxicating idea that you can get your hands on four world class instruments for $5,000. But you can't. You can, however, get your hands on a wonderful practice instrument (MIDI controller + Pianoteq) for less than $2,000 if you shop smart.


Steinway B
Yamaha AvantGrand N2
Roland RD-700NX
Re: Transitioning to digital piano? My dilemma
Arthell #2590957 11/29/16 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Arthell
I aim to, on occasion, perform on acoustic pianos or grand pianos. Therefore I don't want to learn the wrong habits, in terms of feel/touch, sound, etc, as I don't want to get a shock each time I sit down to perform on a real one.


No matter what you practice on, acoustic or digital, if you spend all your time on one instrument, going to any other will be a shock. The only solution to this problem is to get some practice time on a variety of instruments, so you can learn to adapt. Try restaurants, hotels, bars, schools, churches, etc.

That being said, I spend most of my time on a digital with headphones, to spare my wife the boring part of practice. I have an acoustic concert grand, too, which I go to when things are getting close to presentable, and when my wife is out.

As to your original question, go to Guitar Center and Sam Ash, figure on a couple hours each, and play everything they have. In particular try the "stage" pianos aka "slab" pianos. They have the great advantage that you can stand them on end in a closet when you need them out of the way. If you play gigs, you can take a slab with you if it's better than what the venue has.



-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
Re: Transitioning to digital piano? My dilemma
Arthell #2590970 11/29/16 01:24 PM
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Why not an acoustic? I live in a small appartment yet have an 6' grand. But it depend on housing regulations and the time you want to play and how/what you play. For me, 2 hours in the evening works fine.


[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
Re: Transitioning to digital piano? My dilemma
Arthell #2591094 11/29/16 10:06 PM
Joined: Jan 2014
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Originally Posted by Arthell
I'm 28 years old today and was very active playing classical up until I was 20, including smaller performances. Then I moved abroad and didn't touch a piano for 8 years.

Today I can barely play but I am serious in my wish to resume and start practicing 2-4 hours/day. I live in an apartment however and come back from work at 6pm. Therefore, I think I need to get a digital piano.

I've always been against digital pianos but I understand that for the right money, they can be very similar to acoustic ones. And after going to the shop and trying out Yamaha's Clavinova series, I am almost convinced that I will buy either the CLP-535 or CLP-545.

They are however quite pricey and I want to make sure I'm buying the right thing. I aim to, on occasion, perform on acoustic pianos or grand pianos. Therefore I don't want to learn the wrong habits, in terms of feel/touch, sound, etc, as I don't want to get a shock each time I sit down to perform on a real one.

Can any of you experienced people give me your take on transitioning? Is volume adjustability (as compared to "fixed" volume on mechanical pianos) a case for concern? Lightness of keys etc?


This can be a problem. I go back and forth between digital and acoustic quite frequently. It kept messing me up until I got digitals that were very acoustic-like in their keybed feel. Not surprisingly, the acoustic piano manufacturers have an advantage here, e.g. Yamaha and Kawai for example. My Yamaha CP5 had an action almost identical to my Yamaha grand.

Other factors (sound, volume, pedaling) less of a problem. Drastically different keybed feel, big challenge.

I'd suggest you go over to the digital section of this board and ask for opinions for "slab" pianos (aka stage pianos) that feel like their acoustic counterparts.


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

Practice: Bosie 200, Yam N3
Live: Nord Piano 4, Stage 3 Compact
Amps: QSC K.2s, RCF TT08-s, FA 12-ac, CPS SSv3
Support: STAY stands, X-Air mixers, Vent II, etc

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