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Roland LX-17 action #2688323
11/09/17 02:56 PM
11/09/17 02:56 PM
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Osho Offline OP
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I was recently taking a look at the Ronald LX-17 action:

[Linked Image]

I noticed that the key pivot length is really short.

I have seen several discussions in this forum on how key pivot length is really critical to give a grand piano action feel - I am surprised that Roland has chosen to use such a really short key pivot length.

I have tried LX-17 in person - and I thought that while the action was decent, I didn't really think it was really fitting a piano worth $7000 MSRP (and ~$5k/$6k street price). It is supposed to have the escapement feature - which I could never feel. I could definitely feel escapement in the Yamaha AvantGrand N2 and N3.

On the other hand, I have seem some people who have LX-17 report how wonderful the action is - including how close to grand piano action it feels. For example, this 'reviewer'.

https://youtu.be/fNoNzlydylU?t=1m51s

What gives? Is key pivot length really not that critical?

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] #2688330
11/09/17 03:05 PM
11/09/17 03:05 PM
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Just curious, why do you think the pivot length is short, and what is that in comparison to?

Don't forget, the pivot on most plastic actions is at the very end of the key, where the hinge sits. Some wooden key actions utilize a "see saw" balance rail as on acoustic pianos, which results in a noticeably longer key length, but the pivot should be measured from the rail.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688333
11/09/17 03:19 PM
11/09/17 03:19 PM
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Apparently it's the same as in PHA4 Premium/Concert:

[Linked Image]

(Image source: http://www.cndzq.com/bbs/thread-366722-1-1.html)

Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688334
11/09/17 03:31 PM
11/09/17 03:31 PM
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EVC2017 Online content
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I wonder if those pieces of wood do make any difference (other than for those thet believe in marketing BS).

Last edited by EVC2017; 11/09/17 03:32 PM.

Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.
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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688335
11/09/17 03:31 PM
11/09/17 03:31 PM
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I think you're confusing the sort of stability pin Roland added to the pha 50 action to the pivot.

The pivot length is certainly no kawai grand feel, but it's long enough I think and a little longer I believe than the gh3/nwx series Yamaha use in most of the CLP series barring the grand touch actions in the 675/685.

The importance of pivot length is partly subjective and depends on the users thumb: finger length ratio and playing style, if you don't, or don't have to play deep into the keys it's not something that matters so much.

With escapement, it depends what you're after, it is an imperfection after all, work on grand piano actions has sought to minimise the notch feel. It's certainly on the subtle end with the pha50 but Roland generally seem more interested in making what they see as a good piano rather than replicating all the warts.

If the need is for practice for an acoustic, particularly less well regulated ones, then pha50 is not ideal but as an overall method of control I think it's pretty decent. It's smooth, fast and responsive, easy to play both soft and loud and decently weighted. Personally as far as digital actions go I slightly prefer grand feel 2 but I'd take pha50 long before the ones in the CLP series (barring grand touch which I've yet to try).

As for the n2/n3, they're basically grand piano actions so, oddly, will feel just like a Yamaha grand! They're not really comparable, the Avantgrand and now novus sit in a different market segment.

Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Gombessa] #2688336
11/09/17 03:40 PM
11/09/17 03:40 PM
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Osho Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Just curious, why do you think the pivot length is short, and what is that in comparison to?


The distance from the end of the key (where fingers typically are) to the point where the key is pivoted is much shorter than, let's say in Kawai digital actions. For example compare it to the picture in this thread.

Osho


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: EVC2017] #2688337
11/09/17 03:42 PM
11/09/17 03:42 PM
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Osho Offline OP
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Originally Posted by EVC2017
I wonder if those pieces of wood do make any difference (other than for those thet believe in marketing BS).


I wonder that too. I think it is pure marketing stunt - so when one presses the keys, the adjacent keys are shown as wooden - giving the same look as what you would normally get in acoustic pianos with full wooden keys.

When I was at the local Roland dealer, the sales guy made a big deal about the little wooden pieces added in the top-end Roland action and asked me "if I can feel the wood when playing LX-17". I clearly could not.

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: Bambers] #2688338
11/09/17 04:01 PM
11/09/17 04:01 PM
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Osho Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Bambers
I think you're confusing the sort of stability pin Roland added to the pha 50 action to the pivot.

The pivot length is certainly no kawai grand feel, but it's long enough I think and a little longer I believe than the gh3/nwx series Yamaha use in most of the CLP series barring the grand touch actions in the 675/685.


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)

[Linked Image]

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).

Originally Posted by Bambers

The importance of pivot length is partly subjective and depends on the users thumb: finger length ratio and playing style, if you don't, or don't have to play deep into the keys it's not something that matters so much.


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.

Originally Posted by Bambers

With escapement, it depends what you're after, it is an imperfection after all, work on grand piano actions has sought to minimise the notch feel. It's certainly on the subtle end with the pha50 but Roland generally seem more interested in making what they see as a good piano rather than replicating all the warts.


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

Originally Posted by Bambers

As for the n2/n3, they're basically grand piano actions so, oddly, will feel just like a Yamaha grand! They're not really comparable, the Avantgrand and now novus sit in a different market segment.


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


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688375
11/09/17 06:30 PM
11/09/17 06:30 PM
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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.


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688381
11/09/17 06:39 PM
11/09/17 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Osho

The distance from the end of the key (where fingers typically are) to the point where the key is pivoted is much shorter than, let's say in Kawai digital actions. For example compare it to the picture in this thread.


Yeah, I created that picture wink But still, I can't see how you can tell from the PHA-50 pictures how long the pivot is? Or how long you think they SHOULD be? IIRC, they're actually quite long for a plastic action, and I think they're longer than the pivots in the RM3 II Grand action. They're probably not the *longest* out there, with the AvantGrands, Grand Feels, Bechstein Hybrids and GrandTouches of the world, but do they need to be, for the sake of nothing else? I think the more important question is how the action plays and feels, and I've never had an issue with Roland's long-pivot (PHA-IV Concert, PHA-50) actions myself.

Originally Posted by Osho
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.


Interesting to mention the NU1. That DP actually uses an incredibly short pivot length, and it feels far shorter than most digitals I've played. When I play the NU1, I can definitely feel a big difference in touchweight required at the back of the keys.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688386
11/09/17 06:59 PM
11/09/17 06:59 PM
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Are we talking about who has the longest pivot, again?

Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688390
11/09/17 07:17 PM
11/09/17 07:17 PM
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Am I wrong or the OP thinks those triangular shaped apendices are the pivot points of the keys? From the figures it is clear to me they push the hammers. The pivot point is at the keys end. And as pointed out above, they have a fairly even weight from the key front to rear.


Kawai ES8, Roland RD2000, Yamaha AG06 mixer, Presonus Eris E5 monitors, Sennheiser HD598SR phones.
Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: EVC2017] #2688397
11/09/17 08:22 PM
11/09/17 08:22 PM
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I'd be surprised if he did think that: then quite often you would actually need to pull the black keys rather than push.

For some reason, I find the perspective of this picture misleading. Maybe because the whole outer part is plastic, so there is no clear end of the exposed part of the closest white key.

Last edited by winnyec; 11/10/17 04:48 AM.
Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688408
11/09/17 09:20 PM
11/09/17 09:20 PM
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Portland, OR, USA
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Osho Offline OP
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Let me try to clear the confusion about my understanding.

I have marked where I think the pivot is in the following picture.

[Linked Image]

Length B is the visible part of the key - I think this length is pretty much the same across most pianos.

My point is that Length A is very short - roughly 1/3rd of length B - it matches more to the picture above where it says "Key tip close to the fulcrum". For a piano with $7k MSRP - I find this rather surprising.

Osho

Last edited by Osho; 11/09/17 09:48 PM.

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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688410
11/09/17 09:27 PM
11/09/17 09:27 PM
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Osho Offline OP
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BTW, this official video confirms (0:47 to 1:00) that the pivot is where it was mentioned in the image above.

Osho


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688417
11/09/17 09:53 PM
11/09/17 09:53 PM
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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_.

Imagine if you'd make the Roland key really long, with that pin really far away, you'd _lose_ more and more downard force as the key gets longer.

On the Kawai GF2, your most powerful depression point is right at the beginning of the key at your end, and the power decreases when you move towards the fallboard. On the Roland action, your most powerful point of depression is right above that pin, and it's somewhat less at the beginning or the end.

This is possibly the reason why the GF2 action can trill faster than the PHA-50 (more power and speed when at the beginning of the key), but the PHA-50 has more control over dynamics (because you're closer to the actual depression point, and is thus easier to control). Try to tap something very softly with holding a 4 inch stick at one end. Then try to tap something very softly using a 40 inch stick. You'll notice the shorter stick is easier to control. (If it's not really clear, just use a 400 inch stick. You'll probably break the thing you're trying to tap.)

So, I see these keyboards as different actions, both very well done, both OK to play high-level piano repertoire, but they both have advantages and disadvantages, just like everything else.

Last edited by Falsch; 11/09/17 09:59 PM.

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: Osho] #2688420
11/09/17 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Osho
Originally Posted by EVC2017
I wonder if those pieces of wood do make any difference (other than for those thet believe in marketing BS).


I wonder that too. I think it is pure marketing stunt - so when one presses the keys, the adjacent keys are shown as wooden - giving the same look as what you would normally get in acoustic pianos with full wooden keys.

When I was at the local Roland dealer, the sales guy made a big deal about the little wooden pieces added in the top-end Roland action and asked me "if I can feel the wood when playing LX-17". I clearly could not.

Osho


I definitely do feel a huge difference between my MP7 with plastic keys and the LX-17 keys with wooden sides. The keys just feel nicer when sliding into the keys and back again. That's all. Wood has the advantage that it feels nicer, but it can warp. A plastic key does not warp. So I think Roland made the correct choice to create a plastic key with wooden feeling.

Kawai as caught quite some flack when they introduced their ABS/Carbon parts on their action, but I think it was genius. Exactly that part of the action is most affected by warping.

I don't care if they make the keys from wood, plastic, or make parts of it from ABS/Carbon, or concrete... as long as it plays nice and doesn't need too much (or any) maintenance.


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: Osho] #2688430
11/09/17 11:22 PM
11/09/17 11:22 PM
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How do you know the end of the wood panel is where the fall board starts? You would think the key "ends" forward of that spot so the wood seems to continue into the interior of the chassis.
Similarity how do you know that is where the black key lines up with the white?

Also, how do you know that image is isometric? At a "normal" FOV rendering, the farther the object gets from the camera the more compressed it appears.

In any case I would compare the pivot to other plastic actions. Are you sure it is really shorter?


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Falsch] #2688466
11/10/17 02:11 AM
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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_.

Imagine if you'd make the Roland key really long, with that pin really far away, you'd _lose_ more and more downard force as the key gets longer.

On the Kawai GF2, your most powerful depression point is right at the beginning of the key at your end, and the power decreases when you move towards the fallboard. On the Roland action, your most powerful point of depression is right above that pin, and it's somewhat less at the beginning or the end.

Both are levers actually, and if the key is rigid it doesn't matter which side of the fulcrum (pivot) the load point is, as far as force multiplication is concerned. The most powerful depression point will be the end of the key in both cases. (It's basically the difference between pliers and nutcrackers.)

If the key is not rigid, then it could matter because some of the effort will go into flexing the key rather than activating the hammer. I wonder if the wood added to PHA-50 is meant to increase the rigidity of the key (or at least to make it more piano-like).


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Re: Roland LX-17 action [Re: Osho] #2688471
11/10/17 02:46 AM
11/10/17 02:46 AM
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@Falsch, where the hammer is connected to the key doesn't affect the distribution of the force needed to depress it with regards to where you press. The key is a lever, and the needed force increases the more you approach the pivot. At the tip of the key it will always be lowest and at the base it will always be highest.
L.E: while I was looking for pictures and measuring pivots Alophaneko already explained this point in detail.

On topic -
As some have already pointed out, the oblique perspective induces a wrong impression. You need a perfect side view, then you can even calculate the pivot length based on the picture and known aproximate length of the visible white part.

For the Roland premium action (PHA4 premium, concert, PHA50) the length of the key is 22cm, which is superior to most actions on the market, except the GF, GF2, the new CLP675/685 action and those in the avangrands (except the NU1 which is really short at around 19-20, don't remember exactly).

The Yamaha GH, GH3x, NW, NWx are around 21.5.
Also, I don't appreciate how yamaha's marketing materials show you a pivot length of almost 30cm for "the clavinova piano" in a sketch on a CLP535 page:
https://www.reidys.com/pr/keyboards-and-digital-pianos/yamaha-clavinova-clp535-black-walnut-17895/
I can't find any picture of the CLP675/685 grandtouch action, but from materials seen a while ago, I expect it to be on par with Kawai's GF length-wise - and only length-wise! It's not receiving the best of reviews.
The RH3 in Kawais is also around 20.5.
The RM3-2 in VPC1, CA17 is 19cm.
The new GF-C is ~21.5cm.
The GF is the longest of which I know the length for certain at ~25cm.
The NU1 is really short, I once saw a model in a shop, but I don't remember the precise number. However, it was around 19-20cm.
The Casio-Bechstein key length isn't as long as people want to believe, at exactly the same 22cm of the Roland PHA top actions.
The avangrands N1, N2, N3 actions are ~23cm, but it's hard to find a good picture. However, there's a very small margin of error.
For the Kawai Novus NV10 it's hard to find a good picture, but the pivot length is ~25.5-26cm.

So, expept hybrids, Kawai GF, Yamaha grantouch, the PHA50 pivot point is on the long side. The grantouch receives quite a few negative reviews because of the weight and feel. That only leaves the Kawai GF action that is longer.
Also, the majority of uprights and some baby grands have shorter pivots than this. I'm quite pleased with the keylength of the PHA actions, to the point where I don't consider it hindering, as with shorter ones.
I wouldn't mind the longer GF keys, but they come with troubles of their own.

As for the feel of the PHA50 with the wood - I think it helps give the keys a little more inertia + the marketing bonus points. Maybe they also vibrate a little more due to the sound, but that may be just an impression due to the bigger sound system of what I've tested.
Speaking of which, just this weekend I went and tested the PHA50 (in an LX7) vs the PHA4 premium (HP504) side by side, because I'm preparing to move and I'm considering selling my HP504 and upgrading to an HP601 or 603, instead of transporting it. I only use it with VSTs, so I don't really care about the sounds.
The difference is really hard to discern, they feel almost identical, maybe with a little more solid and firmer keypress on the PHA50. But in a blind test, connected to the same sound engine I think I'd be really hard-pressed to tell which is which.

Last edited by mcoll; 11/10/17 02:48 AM.
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learning to play with any other music than classical
by Stef London. 03/23/19 05:53 PM
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