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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688497
11/10/17 06:34 AM
11/10/17 06:34 AM
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Portland, OR, USA
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Osho Offline OP
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I found a perfect side view of PHA-50 in this video at 30s. I added this to the excellent picture Gombessa had created comparing Kawai actions.

[Linked Image]

Basically, the pivot length is comparable to Grand Feel Compact, found in CA-48, which sells at Thomann for $1839 right now.

LX-17 is competing against CA-98 in the price range - which is Grand Feel II in the picture below.

I can't find out any such information about CLP-685 - or else it would be interesting to compare as well.

Osho


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: mcoll] #2688498
11/10/17 06:48 AM
11/10/17 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Osho

I don't think I am confusing it with the stability pin. I am talking about the distance between the Fulcrum to the end of the key (Key tip). For example, this is Yamaha Clavinova (taken from CLP-685 specs)

<image snipped>

You could see that Key tip to fulcrum distance in LX-17 is significantly shorter than Clavinova (and also Kawai Grand Feel actions - some of which are even longer than Clavinova).



Ok, apologies, turns out you were getting confused by where the back of the key was instead. smile The white surface typically extends back so that you don't see bare wood or similar when the key is depressed. If eyeballing from nekkid actions, a better indication is the back of the raised part of the the black keys, the fallboard will typically be placed a mm or two back from this. Re the clavinovas, the much longer grandtouch action is only found in the clp 685 and 675, the rest of the 6x5s and the whole 5x5 series have actions that are a little shorter than roland's pha50. Also I'm not sure I'd trust that picture, grandtouch is certainly long but yamaha's marketing is often the 'worst' of the three big names, so until someone dismantles it and posts the photos, I'm considering it as having white keys longer than the grandfeels and unknown on the blacks.

Quote

I have seen several strong opinions here in forums that the key pivot length is critical etc. etc. I wonder how subjective it really is.


I think it depends on who's marketing it wink. I say that as someone who really dislikes playing on short pivots, but I know others don't even notice. Much comes down to playing style and hand geometry. I find that if I have to play on a very short pivot action such as yamaha GHS (found on P115 etc) my arpeggios in black note heavy keys become very uneven. To fish out a well known example, the middle part of claire de lune, left hand Db2, Ab2, Db3, F3. If I play that on something like GHS without having had time to adapt, the Ab2 will be late, and once I'm used to it and get the playing even. If I then go back to a (opinion) not dreadful action, the Ab2 will be early as I'll have gotten used to pressing that down with what had been the much higher required force.

Quote

I am after getting to feel when the key is pressed down enough - that helps for fast repeats or for soft playing.


I've always considered that to be marketing rubbish for digitals, you never see that written on marketing for acoustics! If the escapement can be felt in normal play I'd consider the piano in need of some TLC/maintenance. Where I've found escapement to be important is having to work around it. A consistent issue I had learning as a child was that the majority of my practice was done on an upright (where while the escapement of course exists, the geometry of the jack/hammer butt means it is rarely perceptible and certainly nowhere near how it is in a grand) while my tutor had a couple of grands and my exams usually were on grands as well. The tricky bit was soft playing, becasue I was not used to the escapement it could 'catch' a soft keypress entirely and result in non sounding notes. I'd personally consider escapement to be a hindrance to soft playing, not a help. Hence my point that it's good for practising for an acoustic. If the aim is to make a good keyboard it is rather undesirable, it's one of those things, like the difference in weight between bass and treble that acoustic piano makers have actually sought to eliminate over the decades that is then taken and touted as a good thing™ in a digital!

Quote
That's a fair point - but N1/NU1 street price is in the same range as LX-17. And, I am hoping that NV10's street price will be within $1k range of LX-17. If that's the case, the really short pivot key length on LX-17 seems fairly disadvantageous for LX-17.

Osho


Hmm, well the NU1(x), as mcoll, points out, is horribly short, on my own personal scale that action actually goes down the bottom with GHS in the 'junk' category. The N1, in the UK, retails for £6000, the LX17 for £4,400, the clp685 for £3,600 (for the polished), and the NU1X for £4,000. The N1 is really a step above pricewise and it's also not an 'X' so worth noting that the tone generation in it is pretty ancient by digital piano standards, I suspect the speaker system on the LX17 is at least equal and may well be superior as it is rather decent. As someone who is fussy on pivots, I do find that PHA50 is 'long enough', I really don't have a problem adapting to playing on that or any other roland action of the same length. All in all I find it a pretty nice action, I'd consider it superior to the GH3/NWX series from yamaha which seem to have this odd initial high resistance followed by the key just 'going' which makes controlling dynamics annoying.

Originally Posted by mcoll

<pivot lengths>


Probably worth noting that on all the non folded actions, the black keys are offset by ~2cm which does actually make a fairly reasonable difference, i find it's the blacks I really struggle with on e.g. GHS

Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Falsch] #2688500
11/10/17 06:50 AM
11/10/17 06:50 AM
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Portland, OR, USA
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Osho Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Falsch
This is a different sort of action.

In a grand piano, as you press the key down at your side, the other side goes up. It acts as a lever, and the longer it is, the more power you have to raise the hammer _by lifting it from below_.

This action presses downward onto the end of the hammer with that pin you see in the middle in the photo's in the post by clothearednincompo. So it's exactly the other way around: the closer you are to that pin when pressing the key, the more power you can exert to raise the hammer by _pressing down on it's rear end_.

In either of these designs (whether the hammer is after the pivot point or below the key - the fact remains the same that the longer the key pivot length is, the easier it is to play deeper into the key (i.e. closer to the fall board). Roland's own explanation of digital piano key actions mentions this:

Quote
The total length of a key is also important. When we say total, we mean including the bit you can’t see. The longer the total length, the further back you can have the pivot point which makes it easier to play and gives more expression when playing the white keys right up in between the black notes. This will be essential as you get more advanced.


Same point repeated by Roland in this video at 2:00.

Now, there are several other aspects of key actions that are important as well - e.g. how weighted they are etc. But, on key pivot length front (which is fairly critical IMHO) - Roland is falling behind the comparable top-end DP from Kawai. It is hard to say anything about Yamaha as one cannot find similar images of their latest CLP-675 or CLP-685 actions.

Osho


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Bambers] #2688502
11/10/17 07:01 AM
11/10/17 07:01 AM
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Osho Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Bambers
Originally Posted by Osho

I don't think I am confusing it with the stability pin. I am talking about the distance between the Fulcrum to the end of the key (Key tip). For example, this is Yamaha Clavinova (taken from CLP-685 specs)

<image snipped>

You could see that Key tip to fulcrum distance in LX-17 is significantly shorter than Clavinova (and also Kawai Grand Feel actions - some of which are even longer than Clavinova).



Ok, apologies, turns out you were getting confused by where the back of the key was instead. smile The white surface typically extends back so that you don't see bare wood or similar when the key is depressed. If eyeballing from nekkid actions, a better indication is the back of the raised part of the the black keys, the fallboard will typically be placed a mm or two back from this. Re the clavinovas, the much longer grandtouch action is only found in the clp 685 and 675, the rest of the 6x5s and the whole 5x5 series have actions that are a little shorter than roland's pha50. Also I'm not sure I'd trust that picture, grandtouch is certainly long but yamaha's marketing is often the 'worst' of the three big names, so until someone dismantles it and posts the photos, I'm considering it as having white keys longer than the grandfeels and unknown on the blacks.


The picture I posted above comparing PHA-50's side view to Kawai actions clears all the confusion I believe.


Originally Posted by Bambers

Quote

I have seen several strong opinions here in forums that the key pivot length is critical etc. etc. I wonder how subjective it really is.


I think it depends on who's marketing it wink. I say that as someone who really dislikes playing on short pivots, but I know others don't even notice. Much comes down to playing style and hand geometry. I find that if I have to play on a very short pivot action such as yamaha GHS (found on P115 etc) my arpeggios in black note heavy keys become very uneven. To fish out a well known example, the middle part of claire de lune, left hand Db2, Ab2, Db3, F3. If I play that on something like GHS without having had time to adapt, the Ab2 will be late, and once I'm used to it and get the playing even. If I then go back to a (opinion) not dreadful action, the Ab2 will be early as I'll have gotten used to pressing that down with what had been the much higher required force.


That's an interesting observation. For me personally, the short key pivot length is trouble-some when playing on white keys in between the black keys - for example F# minor chord - with F#, A and C# notes - the finger pressing down A is in between G# and Bb - and pretty close to the fall board. The shorter the key pivot length is, the harder it is for me to control how loud/soft I play such fingerings.

Osho


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Kawai Novus NV10 + Embertone Walker D Full/Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6

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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688504
11/10/17 07:09 AM
11/10/17 07:09 AM
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So we obviously need different pianos with different actions and different sounds for different people!


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688505
11/10/17 07:18 AM
11/10/17 07:18 AM
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Portugal
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Ahh Colin Miles just beat me to it. I was going to suggest that a solution to Osho's problems could be to avoid buying an LX17, and perhaps get a Kawai CA ** instead, since they are better in terms of pivot to end distance.


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688509
11/10/17 08:20 AM
11/10/17 08:20 AM
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@Bambers, thank you for adding that piece of information. It is indeed relevant that the blacks are offset on a number of keys. I thought about mentioning it, but I forgot during the time spent estimating different pivot lengths smile

@osho - if you want to make the comparison, you would be more right to compare the CA48 to the HP601, which has Roland's top action at 1660$ and also a better sound engine. To get the GF2 you have to step up to the CA67 / 78, which is 2800$

Yes, all in all, maybe the GF2 is slightly superior, but it comes with it's own problems and I'm actively trying to decide if I should go for a CA67 for a midi-controller or a HP601. I'll open a topic on the subject one of these days. But as far as I'm concerned, Roland is offering its top action at a lower price point and I can only see it as a good thing.

Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688513
11/10/17 09:46 AM
11/10/17 09:46 AM
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Thx mcoll for such a detailed and data-filled response BTW. It's great to have this info in one place (even if some of it is an estimate).

And your impressions of the pha-50 versus the pha-4 concert was exactly the same as mine. When the fp-90 and hp series came out I recall a lot of people who hasn't even laid hands on it yet simply declare that it is the second best dp action (going so far as to slot it just under the GF2 and above the GF, based completely on...idk?) I was really curious to try it and see how it has changed. When I finally got a chance to do so with an LX-7 and later an RD-2000, the most surprising thing was how indistinguishable it was from a new pha-iv concert. I mean really, both agree great actions, but they aren't very different from each other at all (which I would imagine is exactly what Roland wanted). Even an Ivory feel-G feels so much more unmistakeably like a PHA-50 than any other manufacturers' actions do, there is a "Roland dna" as there is with Yamaha, Kawai, etc.


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: mcoll] #2688515
11/10/17 09:49 AM
11/10/17 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Osho
...while the action was decent, I didn't really think it was really fitting a piano worth $7000 MSRP (and ~$5k/$6k street price)....


Originally Posted by Osho
...Basically, the pivot length is comparable to Grand Feel Compact, found in CA-48, which sells at Thomann for $1839 right now.

LX-17 is competing against CA-98 in the price range -...


You can get the same action as the LX17 (PHA-50) for $1600 in the HP601. So that price compares well with the Kawai Ca48.

Originally Posted by mcoll
...Roland is offering its top action at a lower price point and I can only see it as a good thing...


That's one (positive) way of looking at it. The other way is, that with Roland, the only upgrade you get when moving from ther low-tier $1600 piano to the top end $7000 piano is speakers and cabinet design. So you could say that while Kawai and Yamaha develop a top-end action for their top pianos, Roland shoves in their mid-tier action and focus on a shiny cabinet with lots of speakers in it.


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: lolatu] #2688528
11/10/17 10:51 AM
11/10/17 10:51 AM
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I'm with lolatu on this:
Originally Posted by lolatu
I would encourage OP to get some actual measurements before making claims about X being shorter than Y. For a start, the Roland key length from the end to the white keys to the fulcrum is 220 mm.
Lots of talk ... but, aside from his Roland/220mm, I see no numbers.

EDIT: I see a post here with a picture showing the RM3 Grand II action. It has a 7" (178 mm) pivot length. Much shorter than lolatu's Roland at 220 mm.

Also, I think this statement by Falsch is false.
Sentence one is true. Sentence two is not.
Originally Posted by Falsch
This action presses downward onto the end of the hammer with that pin you see in the middle in the photo's in the post by clothearednincompo.
... the closer you are to that pin when pressing the key, the more power you can exert to raise the hammer by _pressing down on it's rear end_.

As for the marketing hype ... I looked at that Kawai video. At 1:38 we hear about their "multi-channel acoustic projection system". smile
I like their pianos, but their hype/BS is over-the-top.

Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688611
11/10/17 04:02 PM
11/10/17 04:02 PM
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I was happy to do the math, Gombessa. I checked the facts in the past, but many values I have forgotten and I was curious to settle the matter of the length :P

@alphonsus Another way to look at it, is that Roland provides a great action at a good price, while Yamaha holds back a decent action for the top of the range models, for marketing reasons. And even that action isn't as good as the PHA50, but this is of course, subjective. The only one I haven't played is the recent Grandtouch or whatever they call it, but reviews say that the touch is a little too grand, as in seriously overweighted even by the heaviest of grands standards. The NWX and their other actions are inferior from my subjective perspective. I feel they don't respond as well and are not as realistic. Others may feel differently, of course.

And Kawai does offer a slightly superior action, but only for models competing with the 605/lx7 and upwards. That is until recently, when they introduced the GFC, which I'm curious to try. However, they appear to have their problems as well, the wooden action having more variability in production quality and being in need of more maintenance / servicing. Or at least that's the picture I see on the forums, which is a worrying one, considering the practical lack of dealerships and services in Eastern Europe. I wouldn't want to pack and ship back a 70kg faulty CA67/78 or to ship it for repairing under warranty. There's no service or authorized technician for at least 500km,if not 1000.

So when I add it all up, I'm inclined to get another Roland, even though a CA67 for a furniture-style controller is tempting.

Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688633
11/10/17 05:31 PM
11/10/17 05:31 PM
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I’m confused about the objective of this thread...
Is the OP question this: “Is key pivot length really not that critical?” ?
It seems he had already made his idea “there are several other aspects of key actions that are important as well - e.g. how weighted they are etc. But, on key pivot length front (which is fairly critical IMHO) ...”. It feels quite contradictory to me, or the key pivot length is critical or there are several other aspects that are important.
My opinion is that you have to compare the whole thing together the way you would use it (sounds or vst included). Comparison of one single point like pivot could be done only with all the other aspects equal.
Last point: the Roland marketing strategy to put their best action not only on a few top models could be confusing, but don’t made pha50 less worthy although it could be perceived in this way by some customers...

Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688638
11/10/17 05:50 PM
11/10/17 05:50 PM
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Osho Offline OP
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For some reason, the image I had posted previously comparing PHA-50 action to Kawai actions got deleted. So, I re-uploaded it again.

[Linked Image]

Originally Posted by alphonsus

Originally Posted by mcoll
...Roland is offering its top action at a lower price point and I can only see it as a good thing...


That's one (positive) way of looking at it. The other way is, that with Roland, the only upgrade you get when moving from ther low-tier $1600 piano to the top end $7000 piano is speakers and cabinet design. So you could say that while Kawai and Yamaha develop a top-end action for their top pianos, Roland shoves in their mid-tier action and focus on a shiny cabinet with lots of speakers in it.

Exactly - Roland seems to have standardized on a mid-tier action across a range of prouducts.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I'm with lolatu on this:
Originally Posted by lolatu
I would encourage OP to get some actual measurements before making claims about X being shorter than Y. For a start, the Roland key length from the end to the white keys to the fulcrum is 220 mm.
Lots of talk ... but, aside from his Roland/220mm, I see no numbers.

EDIT: I see a post here with a picture showing the RM3 Grand II action. It has a 7" (178 mm) pivot length. Much shorter than lolatu's Roland at 220 mm.

Numbers are hard to get at as manufacturers do not advertise it. But, the image shown above is a pretty solid quantitative data on relative pivot lengths of Kawai and PHA-50 actions.

Originally Posted by PianoVibe
I’m confused about the objective of this thread...
Is the OP question this: “Is key pivot length really not that critical?” ?
It seems he had already made his idea “there are several other aspects of key actions that are important as well - e.g. how weighted they are etc. But, on key pivot length front (which is fairly critical IMHO) ...”. It feels quite contradictory to me, or the key pivot length is critical or there are several other aspects that are important.

Yes, I have a particular opinion about the importance of key pivot length. However, I am interested in other opinions on this matter. The objective of this thread is to seek these opinions. More specifically, I have a chance to buy LX-17 at a really good price - and I started considering to purchase it as a second piano - but as I researched into it more, I got surprised by what I consider 'below the class' key action. Hence, I started this thread to seek others' opinions on PHA-50 action.

Originally Posted by mcoll
I was happy to do the math, Gombessa. I checked the facts in the past, but many values I have forgotten and I was curious to settle the matter of the length :P


That was quite interesting data - thanks for sharing!

Osho


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688641
11/10/17 06:02 PM
11/10/17 06:02 PM
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Osho, assuming the photo scale is correct, that Roland action is actually longer than the rm3 ii and also the new GF Compact (specifically for the white keys, where it matters most). It's not a "short pivot action" at all though, I guess your point is that you wish it was even longer (which is fine).


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Gombessa] #2688643
11/10/17 06:06 PM
11/10/17 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Osho, assuming the photo scale is correct, that Roland action is actually longer than the rm3 ii and also the new GF Compact (specifically for the white keys, where it matters most). It's not a "short pivot action" at all though, I guess your point is that you wish it was even longer (which is fine).


Yes, the photo scale is correct. I wish it was comparable to GFII. I really like LX-17's speaker system though but the action is giving me a pause.

Osho


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688645
11/10/17 06:14 PM
11/10/17 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Osho

Exactly - Roland seems to have standardized on a mid-tier action


Originally Posted by Osho

I got surprised by what I consider 'below the class' key action.


Based on what you classify pha50 as mid-tier? Pivot length only or something else? What are the parameters that set an action as top-tier? There is a minimum pivot length? Should keys be made of full wood? Which type of wood and how old and dryed out?
I’m just stressing the concept, don’t want to offende anyone, but we always end in talking about pivot length because is one of the few things measurable from a picture. But there are so many other things... quality of materials (some woods are worst than plastic), building quality, precision, felts, sensors....
We could not judge only with pivot length and full wood keys, sorry.

Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: PianoVibe] #2688653
11/10/17 06:57 PM
11/10/17 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoVibe
Originally Posted by Osho

Exactly - Roland seems to have standardized on a mid-tier action


Originally Posted by Osho

I got surprised by what I consider 'below the class' key action.


Based on what you classify pha50 as mid-tier? Pivot length only or something else? What are the parameters that set an action as top-tier? There is a minimum pivot length? Should keys be made of full wood? Which type of wood and how old and dryed out?
I’m just stressing the concept, don’t want to offende anyone, but we always end in talking about pivot length because is one of the few things measurable from a picture. But there are so many other things... quality of materials (some woods are worst than plastic), building quality, precision, felts, sensors....
We could not judge only with pivot length and full wood keys, sorry.


Based on how it felt when I tried it out in person - even before I looked into how the action actually looks. After being underwhelmed in person, I started looking into this a bit more online to see how exactly PHA-50 looks etc.

I don't mean to offend anyone - I am just sharing my personal opinion/preference - and I respect others' opinions and preferences on this matter as well.

Let me stress that I just want to learn more about these actions - rather than portray one as good vs. bad. In Kawai and Roland's case, we are actually lucky to have this level of information. I can't find any such information for Yamaha CLP-675 or CLP-685.

Osho

Last edited by Osho; 11/10/17 06:58 PM.

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Kawai Novus NV10 + Embertone Walker D Full/Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6

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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688721
11/11/17 03:21 AM
11/11/17 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Osho
In Kawai and Roland's case, we are actually lucky to have this level of information.

This level of information = pivot lenght ? I don’t feel lucky to know about it, it’s not enough to me to make reasonable comparison between brands. Are there other information that I’m missing and that we are talking about here? Thanks [/quote]

Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688731
11/11/17 05:21 AM
11/11/17 05:21 AM
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@correction of my post with regard to the levers: thanks for sorting that out. I'll have a look into this, as I've probably got something somewhere.

@actions: is the 'new' GrandTouch action in the CLP-685 the same action as the one in the old GranTouch piano's that were the predecessors of the current Avantgrands? I don't know when those piano's first came out, but I've found posts on the internet asking about them since at least 2002. So Yamaha is using a 15 year old action in a new piano. Way to go.... it might have a very long pivot, but the action itself gets bad reviews.

@PHA-50 vs. GF2: The GF2 probably has a longer pivot. As I said in Epee's thread (about acoustics vs. digitals with regard to teaching), the GF2 allows me to trill faster than the PHA-50, but when trilling at the same speed, the PHA-50 allows me to go softer.

@pivot lengths and action construction: in the end, I don't even care, as long as the action can keep up with what I'm trying to do, and it doesn't wreck good technique. Both the PHA-50 and GF2 accomplish that, so to me, they're just different, instead of one being better than the other.

@LX-17: if someone rejects an LX-17 on the basis for not having the longest pivot point in the non-hybrid world or not having a completely wooden action, that would be very foolish. There's more to a piano than having a full wooden action and a very long pivot. When the action is good enough (good feeling, and a pivot length that's 'long enough'), then you quickly hit a point of diminishing returns.


Roland LX-17 PE == At GF's condo: Kawai MP7 == Currently in storage: Focal Alpha 80, Pianoteq with Kremsegg I, II and Ruckers II addons.
Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Falsch] #2688738
11/11/17 05:58 AM
11/11/17 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Falsch
@actions: is the 'new' GrandTouch action in the CLP-685 the same action as the one in the old GranTouch piano's that were the predecessors of the current Avantgrands? I don't know when those piano's first came out, but I've found posts on the internet asking about them since at least 2002. So Yamaha is using a 15 year old action in a new piano. Way to go.... it might have a very long pivot, but the action itself gets bad reviews.


Totally different. The GranTouch pianos were the AvantGrand predecessor and the action is almost identical to the AG. The new 'GrandTouch' action in the Clavinova 675 and 685 is an entirely different thing.


Roland RD-1000 | Yamaha CLP 645 | Broadwood Barless 7' 6"
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