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Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 #2679292 10/02/17 02:33 PM
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Markarian Offline OP
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I just want to drop a quick followup to a switch I had done earlier, where I traded out my Kawai MP11 for a Viscount Physis H1. After keeping the former in storage for the better part of a year after tentatively offering it to a friend, I've decided to reverse my decision. I went to the Physis because I was frankly bored with the sampled sounds of the Kawai, but since it doesn't leave my studio I realized that the superior action of the MP11 would be foolish to give up, especially in light of the fact my Nord sits atop it and I have access to Pianoteq should I want modeling (which is much newer than Viscount's engine). For the price I paid the H1 is a fine digital piano, and I would definitely recommend it. Its sounds are superb and beat the onboard sounds I've heard on most ROMplers. But the fact of the matter is that the action is merely OK and the sounds, while impressive, started to get a bit stale and brittle. In short, it's an excellent $2000 digital, but it sure as heck ain't better than the Kawai by most measures. My friend will be grateful for the Physis, since she has no instrument at all, and I will retain the Kawai as a good forever-controller for the foreseeable future.


2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Nord Stage 3 Compact | Moog Sub 37 | Behringer DeepMind 12 | Sequential Circuits Prophet 6 | Korg Prologue
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Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Markarian] #2679301 10/02/17 03:16 PM
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Thanks for the update. I have to say I was a bit surprised to hear of your initial switch to the Physis, but like you I found that the MP11's onboard sound is probably the weakest link in a package centered on a superlative piano action. I've also moved to almost exclusively using the MP11 to drive a VST, and IMO it's a such a great-sounding combo that I have to admit feeling a bit of personal vindication hearing that you're leaning back towards the MP11 for the same purpose.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Markarian] #2679303 10/02/17 03:22 PM
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Thanks, this is such an invaluable feedback because Physis is so rare, it's only you and EssBrace who owned it. And welcome back smile

P.S. Or maybe I've mistaken you with another member who was (still is?) banned and who bought a Physis piano?

Last edited by CyberGene; 10/02/17 03:26 PM.

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Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Markarian] #2679306 10/02/17 03:32 PM
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I had one. Liked it but, just like a sampled piano, a kind of fatigue sets in. Perhaps it takes a bit longer with modelled stuff but it happens nonetheless. And for sound they just haven't quite got it yet. Now I've had experience of PianoTeq I'd say it has the resonances and behaviours better nailed down than the other modelled options that I've owned (Roland and Physis). Physis is a very interesting product though.

pv88 also has a Physis. He was banned and personally I don't think that ban should have been permanent but his appeals fell on deaf ears. He still plays his Physis more than anything else he's got.


C. Bechstein Model B | Roland RD-1000
Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Markarian] #2679336 10/02/17 05:22 PM
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I've been really quiet for a while, not as active on here as I used to be, I'm afraid.

Yeah I do like the Physis quite a bit, but I also worry the support and future proofing just won't be there. Couple that with the fact that Viscount's US presence seems to be nonexistent and they want an unspecified amount of money for their PC software started to make me feel uneasy. Their software interface on the Physis is a bit quirky and hard to figure out. You can load new samples on there somehow, but only their own. I feel like for a modeling instrument that's been out for five years, they should have made a lot more tweaks and added a lot more sounds. I couldn't imagine paying their asking price of $4000+ and then going to a store and hearing a new ROMpler DP that's half the price sounding just as good.

Also here's a hot take: Fatar cannot make a competitive keyboard action to save their lives, maybe with the possible exception of their waterfall keys on the Nords, etc. Like, I don't understand how they could make such a ho-hum action on what's supposed to be a premier instrument. It's not bad, but its certainly not GOOD. It falls far short of Korg's aging, escapement-less RH3 action and can't hold a candle to Roland or Kawai's action. Casio's newer actions kick the crap out of the TP40-GW. In short, I think they rest on their laurels being the only company that will sell keybeds to the manufacturers who don't make them, like Nord, Kurzweil, et al.

I feel like if Kawai stopped sampling their frankly uninspiring grands (maybe the better Shigeru sounds in the CA97 would be more to my liking?) and focused on some sort of user sample engine like Nord I think they would have a killer app. But nothing about Kawai's pianos ever seemed to be aimed at either the studio or the stage, which is a damned shame because the technology is there, but the will to really get some pro features seems to be lacking. Again, this isn't a deal killer for me, but it does make me think the MP11 is really only useful as a [very expensive, unbelievably heavy] master controller for the studio.


2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Nord Stage 3 Compact | Moog Sub 37 | Behringer DeepMind 12 | Sequential Circuits Prophet 6 | Korg Prologue
Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: EssBrace] #2679372 10/02/17 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
I had one. Liked it but, just like a sampled piano, a kind of fatigue sets in. Perhaps it takes a bit longer with modelled stuff but it happens nonetheless. And for sound they just haven't quite got it yet. Now I've had experience of PianoTeq I'd say it has the resonances and behaviours better nailed down than the other modelled options that I've owned (Roland and Physis). Physis is a very interesting product though.


PianoTeq definitely has the behaviors down in my experience, but what was the problem with your Roland's behavior (or Physis, for that matter)? Anything concrete enough that you could articulate it easily?

Originally Posted by EssBrace
pv88 also has a Physis. He was banned and personally I don't think that ban should have been permanent but his appeals fell on deaf ears. He still plays his Physis more than anything else he's got.


Whaaaaaaa....? I really did miss a lot while I was gone. Do you know if he ended up trading down to a cheaper model as he indicated he was going to do?

Last edited by gvfarns; 10/02/17 07:49 PM.
Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: gvfarns] #2679502 10/03/17 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by gvfarns
Originally Posted by EssBrace
I had one. Liked it but, just like a sampled piano, a kind of fatigue sets in. Perhaps it takes a bit longer with modelled stuff but it happens nonetheless. And for sound they just haven't quite got it yet. Now I've had experience of PianoTeq I'd say it has the resonances and behaviours better nailed down than the other modelled options that I've owned (Roland and Physis). Physis is a very interesting product though.


PianoTeq definitely has the behaviors down in my experience, but what was the problem with your Roland's behavior (or Physis, for that matter)? Anything concrete enough that you could articulate it easily?

Originally Posted by EssBrace
pv88 also has a Physis. He was banned and personally I don't think that ban should have been permanent but his appeals fell on deaf ears. He still plays his Physis more than anything else he's got.


Whaaaaaaa....? I really did miss a lot while I was gone. Do you know if he ended up trading down to a cheaper model as he indicated he was going to do?


The Roland scores on sustain; it's epic compared to almost every other DP. Very pleasing. I'm taking about the latest supernatural fully modelled sound engine as featured in the FP-90 BTW. The resonances however are not right in my view. The best way to describe it is to say that whilst there's all sorts you can do with the various resonances I think the principle string resonance is at the wrong frequency. It builds up behind and on top of the main note(s) and can be overwhelming. The pitch of the resonances just doesn't sound realistic to me. That isn't a deal-breaker for me though with the Roland. It was just the basic underlying piano tone that's wrong. As per usual with Roland all the presets are pretty much tonally the same piano (boring!) and the tone is a strange combination of being generic and too safe but also lacking enough sonic detail of the sort you get with samples and some other modelling. The dynamic response of the Roland is excellent though; it's very playable.

Physis is a very characterful thing. Loads of very different pianos. The Italian Grand on it is believable. Again, playability is excellent and the resonances are better than Roland in my view; more controlled and more realistic. Surprisingly for a modelled piano I think it lacks a little bit of sustain. The issue with Physis is that all the models have some odd ringing artefacts that can occasionally sound extremely 'wrong'. They can't be dialled out either.

PianoTeq, purely in terms of the resonances, is a good way better than both in my opinion, especially the genuine sense that there is a great big soundboard, rim and plate and that high frequency 'reverby' effect is so well done. Really outstanding. When I say reverby I just can't think of a better word. You wouldn't confuse it with reverb, it just sounds to my ears entirely like the structure of a real grand piano resonating in sympathy with whatever the player is doing; it's very impressive! The underlying pianos tones still need work in my opinion. There's still a realism deficit but they are getting there. There's a lot to like.

As far as pv88 goes he has his V-Piano, Yamaha CLP-990 and a CLP-585. He also has a cheaper Kawai (possibly EP3, can't remember exactly), and a Physis H1. It's mainly the Physis and CLP-585 he plays the most, in particular the Physis. He's quite happy with what he's got for the time being. The ban on him should be lifted in my view.


C. Bechstein Model B | Roland RD-1000
Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Markarian] #2679522 10/03/17 05:16 PM
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I don't think anyone should be banned indefinitely on an Internet forum, regardless of his "crime". What he did was wrong but come on, it's been a year or so, so let him back?

BTW, I was once banned from this forum because I pasted an ASCII art of a middle finger which I thought would be just funny and silly because it was in the humorous context of people posting animated gifs or whatever it was, there was not argument between anybody, however I was banned without anyone ever giving me warning, explanation or the possibility to even say anything, let alone apologize and I was certainly sorry after I understood I have offended people frown Thanks Kawai James who found out and appealed for me, he's such a nice guy!

Last edited by CyberGene; 10/03/17 05:38 PM.

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Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: CyberGene] #2679535 10/03/17 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I don't think anyone should be banned indefinitely on an Internet forum, regardless of his "crime". What he did was wrong but come on, it's been a year or so, so let him back?

BTW, I was once banned from this forum because I pasted an ASCII art of a middle finger which I thought would be just funny and silly because it was in the humorous context of people posting animated gifs or whatever it was, there was not argument between anybody, however I was banned without anyone ever giving me warning, explanation or the possibility to even say anything, let alone apologize and I was certainly sorry after I understood I have offended people frown Thanks Kawai James who found out and appealed for me, he's such a nice guy!


Kawai James is awesome and I love this place but it's so prudish. I'm 34 and have been on the internet for over 25 years and when I'm in an online forum I'm used to everyone swearing like a wounded trucker. I can't even post the H word without it getting auto censored.

Last edited by Markarian; 10/03/17 06:03 PM.

2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Nord Stage 3 Compact | Moog Sub 37 | Behringer DeepMind 12 | Sequential Circuits Prophet 6 | Korg Prologue
Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Markarian] #2679584 10/03/17 09:58 PM
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Markarian, thank you very for sharing your thoughts about the Physis H1 vs the MP11.

I still remember watching your cool unboxing video (shot with those Google Glasses!) a few years ago...good time! wink

For what its worth, I would *personally* love to see a Kawai DP that supported loading the excellent Nord piano library sounds natively (instead of connect two instruments via MIDI). However, that's perhaps unlikely to ever happen...so MIDI remains the best option. I've said this hundreds of times on this forum, but I still have an MP8II controlling my Nord Electro 3...it's a fantastic combination! wink

Originally Posted by CyberGene
Thanks Kawai James who found out and appealed for me...


Regretted it ever since! :p

Originally Posted by Markarian
I can't even post the H word without it getting auto censored.


Ha*ry? <--- EDIT: Oh, man...they got that one too!

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: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Markarian] #2679604 10/04/17 01:31 AM
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Say that again and I’ll purchase a Yamaha! laugh


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Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: CyberGene] #2679627 10/04/17 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Say that again and I’ll purchase a Yamaha! laugh


[Linked Image]

How will you carry your Kawai on a Yamaha---no boot space!


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
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Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Doug M.] #2679632 10/04/17 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug M.
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Say that again and I’ll purchase a Yamaha! laugh


How will you carry your Kawai on a Yamaha---no boot space!

Easy:
[Linked Image]

Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Markarian] #2679633 10/04/17 07:47 AM
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They still use the tuning fork logo even on bikes and boats though smile


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Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: ando] #2679637 10/04/17 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by Doug M.
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Say that again and I’ll purchase a Yamaha! laugh


How will you carry your Kawai on a Yamaha---no boot space!

Easy:
[Linked Image]


Perfect for those Island gigs!


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Kawai James] #2679708 10/04/17 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Markarian, thank you very for sharing your thoughts about the Physis H1 vs the MP11.

I still remember watching your cool unboxing video (shot with those Google Glasses!) a few years ago...good time! wink


I really dug those unboxing vids too.

Markarian, one thing that really struck me about your Physis unboxing was your initial impression of the Fatar action. I recall you were a lot more generous about the feel of the action. I wonder what's changed? Did the glow just wear off after the honeymoon period, or did something change after a few months of use?

Regarding the MP11 simply becoming an expensive, heavy controller, I feel that's the fate of any DP that gets used to drive a VST. Could be an AvantGrand relegated to that role too. While the MP11 is heavy for a slab, if you don't move it around much in your studio, you might as well compare its weight to a furniture-style DP, those get even heavier smile


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Gombessa] #2679887 10/05/17 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa

Originally Posted by Kawai James
Markarian, thank you very for sharing your thoughts about the Physis H1 vs the MP11.

I still remember watching your cool unboxing video (shot with those Google Glasses!) a few years ago...good time! wink


I really dug those unboxing vids too.

Markarian, one thing that really struck me about your Physis unboxing was your initial impression of the Fatar action. I recall you were a lot more generous about the feel of the action. I wonder what's changed? Did the glow just wear off after the honeymoon period, or did something change after a few months of use?


I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Kawai's sampled pianos, at least on the MP11 are serviceable, but pretty bland and uninspiring. Granted, I readjusted my monitors and am getting a way better sound now, so there was that too. The Physis looked and sounded sexy in the videos and it wowed me to begin with. But after a while, doing a near side-by-side feel test and also playing my friend's newer Casio Privia I realized that Fatar was a lost cause in terms of decent hammer action. They just can't bring themselves to do it, no matter how hard they don't try. Played the Nord Stage 2 EX yesterday and had the same experience. I think the Fatar actions are popular because they're the only game in town if you want a keybed and don't make your own in house, and they're lightweight so good for gigging (probably why Clavia still uses them). Since the piano never leaves the studio, I thought it would be really dumb to continue this experiment and felt a lingering, looming regret over the prospect of getting rid of the MP11. The action is really just extraordinary. Kawai needs to release a VPC2 with GF2 action and at least the same MIDI controls and wheels as the MP11 and they will be the ultimate in controllers.

Truth be told, I don't have a lot of call for a digital piano in my workflow. For my primary instrument, I've obviously got the B and when I go play with my band, I need something that won't burst a kidney when I lift it, so I have a Nord Stage 3 Compact (as of today!) and before that a little Nord Electro 5.

Long story short, if I didn't have a computer handy for VSTs and I had to have a single digital instrument in a small space the H1 is a VERY strong contender. But it just doesn't make sense for me.


2012 NY Steinway Model B | Kawai MP11 | Nord Stage 3 Compact | Moog Sub 37 | Behringer DeepMind 12 | Sequential Circuits Prophet 6 | Korg Prologue
Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Markarian] #2679967 10/05/17 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Markarian
I need something that won't burst a kidney when I lift it, so I have a Nord Stage 3 Compact (as of today!) and before that a little Nord Electro 5.


Wow, congrats! wink


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
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"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Markarian] #2681551 10/12/17 12:53 PM
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I have to tell you that I am VERY surprised that I seem to be in the minority here - I think that the Kawai EX sound is just as good, if not better, than the popular VPs.

I have owned the Kawai flagship digital grand - the CP205 and then CP207 - and the concert grand piano sound on each was beautiful.

And even when I watch PianoManChuck's YouTube videos regarding the MP11 - and comparing the sound to Pianoteq, Ravenscroft, Garritan, etc. - I find that the MP11 is every bit as good - if not better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoEBnCEYmlA


Looking to purchase: Kawai MP(12), or Kawai VPC(2), or something Yamaha...
Current: Yamaha Synthesizer
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Re: Reconsidering: Viscount Physis H1 vs Kawai MP11 [Re: Pologuy] #2681553 10/12/17 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Pologuy
I have to tell you that I am VERY surprised that I seem to be in the minority here - I think that the Kawai EX sound is just as good, if not better, than the popular VPs.


Wow, that's a pretty small minority too. Vanishingly so. The newer Kawai sound (SK-EX) is vastly better than the old EX sample. That's a dead horse they keep on flogging for some unfathomable reason (I've just realised, YOU are the reason; you and Piano Man Chuck, who always plays it and it never fails to offend my ears when he does).

Tastes differ obviously!


C. Bechstein Model B | Roland RD-1000
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