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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: toddy] #2791973
12/16/18 01:10 PM
12/16/18 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by toddy

The thing is, a piano keyboard might be ONLY a controller (like the VPC1) or any number of similarly priced DPs which work just as well (though without built in velocity curves). When you say 'grand feel' do you mean Grand Feel as in Kawai, or any good hammer action by Yamaha, Roland, Casio etc.?


I think @pold is referring to Kawai's Grand Feel. At least that is what I'm referring to.

Originally Posted by toddy

Two things were not clear to me: Why would any action other than 'grand feel' become 'obsolete in 1 year'? And on the other hand, Why would a controller keyboard be any more future proof than any other DP. (Some people expect about 5 years trouble free out of a DP although personally I don't agree - anything less than 20 years problem free usage from a DP would be a bit of a disappointment).


I don't think actions especially good ones such as Kawai's GFI/II/C or even the older but still very decent RM3 Grand II will become obsolete anytime soon, especially if Kawai continues to support them. But tone generation seems to change quite a bit every 3-5 years. This is why in my mind future proofing a digital piano entails purchasing one with a good action and downloadable sounds, or a piano controller only with a good action used with VSTs running on a PC.

Or even better DP manufacturers ought to offer a digital piano that integrates a highend keybed with powerful PC/PC Motherboard with upgradable RAM and storage!. Imagine a DP running Windows! and has Ethernet and HDMI out! This would be the best of both worlds. Though stability and startup time could take a hit.



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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: halherta] #2792006
12/16/18 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by halherta
I don't think actions especially good ones such as Kawai's GFI/II/C or even the older but still very decent RM3 Grand II will become obsolete anytime soon, especially if Kawai continues to support them. But tone generation seems to change quite a bit every 3-5 years. This is why in my mind future proofing a digital piano entails purchasing one with a good action and downloadable sounds, or a piano controller only with a good action used with VSTs running on a PC.

Or even better DP manufacturers ought to offer a digital piano that integrates a highend keybed with powerful PC/PC Motherboard with upgradable RAM and storage!. Imagine a DP running Windows! and has Ethernet and HDMI out! This would be the best of both worlds. Though stability and startup time could take a hit.


I agree with your first paragraph. A good action is the most important thing in a DP because, technically, it won't become obsolete within a few years (or ever) whereas sound production technology evolves quite quickly. And if the build quality is good - as I know Yamaha and Roland to be at least - then it shouldn't wear out either for at least 25 years - hopefully many more.

As far as using programmable operating systems in a DP - Korg and Nord already do, to an extent. But the option of discrete components - computer, interface, controller, audio system - is ideal as far as I'm concerned. And DP makers prefer the software to age along with the hardware and cabinet for obvious reasons.


Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792023
12/16/18 03:11 PM
12/16/18 03:11 PM
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This might be so ...
Originally Posted by halherta
The VPC1 piano controller concept is very likely going to gain a much larger foothold in the years to come. It's niche is already expanding ...
... but I see no evidence nor any data to support this. The VPC is a slow seller. It occupies a tiny fraction of the digital piano market. What do you foresee that might change that?

And this is speculation (or a wish list?) with no discernable support:
Originally Posted by halherta
I predict the VPC2 will probably get a flat top, optical 3-pedal and either a GF-C action without a price hike or a GF I/II action with a price hike.
I want these things too. But I'm not holding my breath.


I think we need to be more clear on what it means to be "obsolete" ...
Originally Posted by toddy
A good action is the most important thing in a DP because it won't become obsolete within a few years ...
Won't there be new actions in a few years? Will they be better? If so would the old action be considered obsolete?

As for sound becoming obsolete ...
Originally Posted by toddy
... sound production technology evolves quite quickly.
Actually the sound production evolves VERY slowly. frown I'm not expecting things to be much better in 2028 than they are here in 2018.

On the other hand ... if sound technology is to be considered obsolete when newer, better ones come along ... then if we compare any new digital piano to the sound from a decent virtual instrument ... the digital piano is already obsolete while still wrapped in its original packaging!

Finally ... when is a piano "worn out"?
Originally Posted by toddy
... if the build quality is good ... then it shouldn't wear out either for at least 25 years.
Mine is ten years old. It needed repairs four times. It needed lubrication three times. And the feel is not as good as when new. I think of it as nearing the "worn out" stage.

Luckily there have been no electrical failures. I say lucky because replacement of unique parts might eventually become difficult. So ... will this piano last yet another fiften years? I don't expect so.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2792028
12/16/18 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I think we need to be more clear on what it means to be "obsolete" ...

Obsolete means so much worse than the current technology as to be considered almost useless. Not the case with hammer action keyboards. Even the ancient KX88 (1985?] is considered a viable - even preferable - option to some of today's DP keyboards.
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
As for sound becoming obsolete ...
Originally Posted by toddy
... sound production technology evolves quite quickly.
Actually the sound production evolves VERY slowly. frown I'm not expecting things to be much better in 2028 than they are here in 2018.

But a darn sight quicker than keyboards - that's my point.
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
... when is a piano "worn out"?
Originally Posted by toddy
... if the build quality is good ... then it shouldn't wear out either for at least 25 years.
Mine is ten years old. It needed repairs four times. It needed lubrication three times. And the feel is not as good as when new. I think of it as nearing the "worn out" stage.

Sounds like bad luck. The only Clavinova I know is also 10 years old and lower in the series than yours (it's a CLP220) , and it still plays as well as when it was new. It's had constant though not very heavy use.


Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: toddy] #2792038
12/16/18 03:53 PM
12/16/18 03:53 PM
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I feel the opposite ... that the actions have progressed nicely (witness the actions on the high-end CA and CS series), whilst the sound is going almost nowhere.
Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Sound production evolves VERY slowly. frown I'm not expecting things to be much better in 2028 than they are here in 2018.
But a darn sight quicker than keyboards - that's my point.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: toddy] #2792051
12/16/18 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by pold

The controller is the way to go, it's nice to have things separate, if the computer breaks you replace it, if the key contact board fails you replace it, if the speakers fail you replace them, but the nice action is future proof, just like an acoustic piano, it will last forever. Also I think that anything less than a grand feel action will become obsolete in 1 year.


The thing is, a piano keyboard might be ONLY a controller (like the VPC1) or any number of similarly priced DPs which work just as well (though without built in velocity curves). When you say 'grand feel' do you mean Grand Feel as in Kawai, or any good hammer action by Yamaha, Roland, Casio etc.?

Two things were not clear to me: Why would any action other than 'grand feel' become 'obsolete in 1 year'? And on the other hand, Why would a controller keyboard be any more future proof than any other DP. (Some people expect about 5 years trouble free out of a DP although personally I don't agree - anything less than 20 years problem free usage from a DP would be a bit of a disappointment).


I am talking about what I expect from the near future. Lets's face it, the action once it gets at the Kawai Grand Feel level (or any other good actions that i am not familiar with, the RM3 it's future proof in a way because it's not that bad at all), it cannot get any better, so I expect all the customers to buy only that kind of action, and all the manufactureres will have to adapt or sink. Once you have a good midi controller, the thing you might replace are the software or the pc, but the action itself I see it as a future-proof instrument, the thing you need to replace maybe can be the rubber strips or the contact board. So that's why I want to see what will succeed the VPC1 in the near future, from Kawai etc, and from Fatar as well, maybe they will adapt too.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2792054
12/16/18 04:40 PM
12/16/18 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I feel the opposite ... that the actions have progressed nicely (witness the actions on the high-end CA and CS series), whilst the sound is going almost nowhere.
Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Sound production evolves VERY slowly. frown I'm not expecting things to be much better in 2028 than they are here in 2018.
But a darn sight quicker than keyboards - that's my point.

Mmm - maybe I overemphasized the difference smile but as far as we and others on this site are concerned, it's innovation and improvement in VSTs that counts.

But even on DPs, Roland did good things with SN and SN modelling (though I prefer the earlier version in that case, frankly) and haven't Kawai and Yamaha considerably upper their game with the latest generation. I really liked Kawai SK-EX in one of the clips posted on here - beautiful sound.

Last edited by toddy; 12/16/18 04:41 PM.

Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: pold] #2792057
12/16/18 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pold

Once you have a good midi controller, the thing you might replace are the software or the pc, but the action itself I see it as a future-proof instrument, the thing you need to replace maybe can be the rubber strips or the contact board. So that's why I want to see what will succeed the VPC1 in the near future, from Kawai


Agreed. That's the way I thought when I got my DP - that's why I got a DP with PHA II - best I had come across at the time, apart from PHA III, which was way out of my price range. But I think your point applies to ordinary DPs just as much as to controller only keyboards like the Fatar or VPC1.


Roland HP 302 / Samson Graphite 49 / Akai EWI

Reaper / Native Instruments K9 ult / ESQL MOR2 Symph Orchestra & Choirs / Lucato & Parravicini , trumpets & saxes / Garritan CFX lite / Production Voices C7 & Steinway D compact

Focusrite Saffire 24 / W7, i7 4770, 16GB / MXL V67g / Yamaha HS7s / HD598
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2792080
12/16/18 05:49 PM
12/16/18 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I feel the opposite ... that the actions have progressed nicely (witness the actions on the high-end CA and CS series), whilst the sound is going almost nowhere.
Originally Posted by toddy
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Sound production evolves VERY slowly. frown I'm not expecting things to be much better in 2028 than they are here in 2018.
But a darn sight quicker than keyboards - that's my point.

I agree with that. The actions have progressed nicely. I don’t think they will get considerably better - particularly the ones found in NV10 and Avantgrand. They could definitely come down in price for sure - and hope that the market will move them in that direction. Especially if Roland Hybrid Grand comes to slab pianos such as FP-30/FP-90 - that would be a great improvement in DP actions availability at those price points.

Re: samples/sound - they haven’t progressed as much as one might hope. But, there is some hope that they will get better as VSTs get better.

Re: sound reproduction, headphone sound is really great. But, I have very little hope that the speaker sound will get much better. Even the top range (NV10/AvantGrand N1/N2 etc.) have a very unsatisfying speaker sound. The only ‘acceptable’ speaker sound I have heard in DPs is Yamaha AvantGrand N3X.

Osho


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

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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2792091
12/16/18 06:02 PM
12/16/18 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
This might be so ...
Originally Posted by halherta
The VPC1 piano controller concept is very likely going to gain a much larger foothold in the years to come. It's niche is already expanding ...
... but I see no evidence nor any data to support this. The VPC is a slow seller. It occupies a tiny fraction of the digital piano market. What do you foresee that might change that?


I might not have statistics to back this claim up (not sure if you do) but one can look at the trends. New VSTs are popping up everyday now. Soon it will become evident to manufacturers that putting one or two nice fixed piano samples on their DPs simply won't cut it. Customers will start demanding the ability to install their own piano sounds. I wouldn't be surprised if in the future DPs will have built-in app stores where the customer can purchase and download a variety of piano samples. Until then the VPC makes a lot of sense and offers a high degree of bang for buck for those interested in having a really nice action to use with their VSTs without breaking the bank.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac

And this is speculation (or a wish list?) with no discernable support:
Originally Posted by halherta
I predict the VPC2 will probably get a flat top, optical 3-pedal and either a GF-C action without a price hike or a GF I/II action with a price hike.
I want these things too. But I'm not holding my breath.


Yes this is speculation and a wishlist. No I do not have discernable support to back it up. I don't have to. I did use the word 'predict' implying that I don't know for sure. It's just a mere educated guess. I haven't added anything here that hasn't been mentioned before in other comments in this thread.



Yamaha P-125, Pianoteq 6, Ravenscroft 275 VST, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792100
12/16/18 06:23 PM
12/16/18 06:23 PM
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“Customers will start demanding the ability to install their own piano sounds. I wouldn't be surprised if in the future DPs will have built-in app stores where the customer can purchase and download a variety of piano samples.”

We are near with Nord Piano where there is a free online piano library from which we can download what we want. However, nothing to help concurrent piano bank providers. (Specification standard, anti-piracy measures).


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: halherta] #2792112
12/16/18 07:00 PM
12/16/18 07:00 PM
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We can always hope ...
Originally Posted by halherta
I wouldn't be surprised if in the future DPs will have built-in app stores where the customer can purchase and download a variety of piano samples.

Yes, the VPC is well-suited, though I wish it had a better action ...
Originally Posted by halherta
Until then the VPC makes a lot of sense and offers a high degree of bang for buck for those interested in having a really nice action to use with their VSTs without breaking the bank.
I wonder what Kawai does to help market the VPC. The stores show it with no attached computer. No sound!

How many people would buy a car that you could not first test drive?

Get with it, Kawai!

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: MacMacMac] #2792144
12/16/18 08:03 PM
12/16/18 08:03 PM
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Hello Mac,

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I wonder what Kawai does to help market the VPC. The stores show it with no attached computer. No sound!


The VPC1 is largely sold online, where margins are razor thin. For this reason, there is less incentive for smaller, independent Kawai dealers to show the product in their store.

However, for those that do... even without a computer attached and no sound produced, simply touching the VPC1 keyboard should be enough for most customers considering a MIDI controller to realise that it offers the most realistic action available for the price.

Also, as you correctly note:

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
1. The VPC fits into a very narrow market space.
2. It has no competition.


Anyone interested in virtual piano software will very quickly find out about the VPC1 via social media and forums such as this one.

So in a sense, this thread is also contributing to Kawai's VPC marketing efforts - thank you for your help! wink

Kind regards,
James
x


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Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792240
12/17/18 04:51 AM
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IMO, it is the price of the VPC1 in relation
- to the neglected regulation of the action (cf. "Ravensworks") and
- the use of mechanic graphite eletric rubber dome contacts instead of optical sensors,
that prevents me from purchasing the VPC1.
E.g in Austria (EU) the MIDI-controller-only VPC1 (not in stock) is currently just EUR 200- less than the full featured P-515.
I do not believe, that the profit margins are "razor thin". After all the VPC1 is assempled in an extra low-wage country.

And I think that the sound generation will develop dramaticly in the near future:
a) because technology is available and cheap in 2018: you could use lots of cheap memory and powerful processing for Multi-GB samples, or
b) imagine an evolution of Pianoteq usind the processing power of a FPGA instead of a Rasperry Pi, as it is capable of today already.
If the big OEMs wont perform, it will be a form of OSS project (e.g. Zynthian.org) which will deliver the progress to the the market.

asaof...

Kind Regards,
Lo PHi

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: lophiomys] #2792252
12/17/18 07:15 AM
12/17/18 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by lophiomys
IMO, it is the price of the VPC1 in relation
- to the neglected regulation of the action (cf. "Ravensworks") and
- the use of mechanic graphite eletric rubber dome contacts instead of optical sensors,
that prevents me from purchasing the VPC1.
E.g in Austria (EU) the MIDI-controller-only VPC1 (not in stock) is currently just EUR 200- less than the full featured P-515.
I do not believe, that the profit margins are "razor thin". After all the VPC1 is assempled in an extra low-wage country.


Where i live the P-515 goes for $1899 CAD whereas the VPC1 is more expensive at around $2199 CAD. That's 300 CAD more (225 USD) for the VPC1. Still I think that the RM3 Grand II action is better than NWX but cannot comment on durability.

Can you comment more on this neglected regulation of the action and the lack of optical sensors? Are there better piano controllers out there that utilize optical sensors within the price range of the VPC1? Does the P515 utilize optical sensors and possess better action regulation than the VPC1? Just trying to understand.

I believe the Ravenworks piano controller costs more than double of what the VPC1 would cost. So perhaps the comparison here is somewhat unfair.

As for profit margins being "razor thin", I have no way of confirming or denying it, but most digital pianos, including high end ones are all assembled in low-wage countries. Unfortunately it is a necessity in today's market where everybody else is doing it. I personally am not a big fan of outsourcing/offshoring but that's another topic for another forum.

Also on that topic, Last summer I decided to purchase a Korg G1 air. One of the Korg's selling points was the fact that it was "Made in Japan" unlike those other manufacturers that manufacture there DPs in low wage countries. I ended up returning the brand new G1 air after a couple of days due to problems with the keys. So just because a DP is manufactured in a high-wage country does not automatically translate to better build quality/durability.

Originally Posted by lophiomys

And I think that the sound generation will develop dramaticly in the near future:
a) because technology is available and cheap in 2018: you could use lots of cheap memory and powerful processing for Multi-GB samples, or
b) imagine an evolution of Pianoteq usind the processing power of a FPGA instead of a Rasperry Pi, as it is capable of today already.
If the big OEMs wont perform, it will be a form of OSS project (e.g. Zynthian.org) which will deliver the progress to the the market.

asaof...

Kind Regards,
Lo PHi



I generally agree with this. And thanks for pointing out the Zynthian project. I'm a big open source fan and have used JACK and Linux Sampler to play .sf2/.sfz/.gig sound fonts through my DP in the past. It works surprisingly well when setup properly.I had to compile Linux Sampler from source to make it work though, quite the barrier for non-techies. This Zynthian project takes all of the complexity out of the setup so it seems to be a better way to go. Though I couldn't help but wonder if better performance can be achieved by using a NUC instead of a Raspberry Pi 3 with a tiny 1GB of RAM.

There also doesn't seem to be many high fidelity sound fonts available for free or commercially in the .sfz/.sf2/.gig formats. Probably due to piracy concerns. I'd like to see more soundfonts available in these formats in the future.

Last edited by halherta; 12/17/18 07:19 AM.


Yamaha P-125, Pianoteq 6, Ravenscroft 275 VST, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792256
12/17/18 07:31 AM
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lophiomys: I think you're dreaming! smile

Nearly all pianos have the rubber contacts, save for a very few high-end models. The optical sensors and the associated supporting elements are expensive to build and maintain because of the complexity.

Yes, the rubber domes are prone to wear. I've replaced five of them on my piano. But I can't afford a piano with the optical version. I cannot imagine a sub-$2000 VPC using optical sensors.

To your points (a) and (b) ...
a. Yes, technology is cheap. But product development and product distribution are not.
b. Yes, I can imagine an evolution of Pianoteq. But what has that to do with the VPC? This is a controller. If you put Pianoteq inside then it becomes yet another digital piano. And it's no longer a VPC.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792322
12/17/18 11:33 AM
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Posts: 227
I am curious to know if, in theory, could you replace a rubber contacts with optical sensors?

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: Omalikular] #2792334
12/17/18 12:07 PM
12/17/18 12:07 PM
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That would require a complete redesign. So the simple answer is no.

Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: pold] #2792335
12/17/18 12:08 PM
12/17/18 12:08 PM
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Ontario, Canada
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Originally Posted by pold
I am curious to know if, in theory, could you replace a rubber contacts with optical sensors?


I'm curious now as well. Anyone know what kind of optical sensor is being used here? I have an Electrical Engineering background and know my way around electronics. Perhaps I'll buy two VPC1s. One to tinker with and the other to play on!



Yamaha P-125, Pianoteq 6, Ravenscroft 275 VST, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4
Re: Kawai VPC1 or wait? [Re: halherta] #2792365
12/17/18 01:18 PM
12/17/18 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by halherta
I'm curious now as well. Anyone know what kind of optical sensor is being used here? I have an Electrical Engineering background and know my way around electronics. Perhaps I'll buy two VPC1s. One to tinker with and the other to play on!


Digital pianos typically use rubber contact sensors. There are a few super-interesting threads here discussing optical sensors so do a search here. Most recently, see CyberGene's thread recommissioning of an old gran action with optical sensors; that is a good place to start.

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