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Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: EssBrace] #2748120
06/29/18 05:28 PM
06/29/18 05:28 PM
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Cheshire, United Kingdom
Doug M. Offline
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Originally Posted by EssBrace
Originally Posted by Doug M.


I originally tested the PHAIII action on the RD300NX and RD700NX. I felt the actions were a tad heavy and I did feel squidginess at the bottom of the action---quite sure of that. Again later I tested a V-piano down in Bristol. Didn't notice the same squidiness in that.


Yes you make some good points Doug.

But this touches upon another point I made about accuracy. RD300NX and RD700NX have different actions. RD700NX had PHA-III, yes (as does V-Piano). RD300NX had Ivory Feel-G, described by many as a bit sluggish. That action is not related to PHA-III in any way. You seem to base some of your statements on fundamentally untrue beliefs/assumptions. But you make some very valid points also, I don't want you to think I'm having a go!


Apologies: the RD300NX and 700NX were racked one below the other. I only played the RD700NX and the POS sign only showed for the RD700NX. Since then, I always forget they have different actions.


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
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Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: Doug M.] #2748125
06/29/18 05:48 PM
06/29/18 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug M.

Apologies: the RD300NX and 700NX were racked one below the other.


I find it very hard to make a judgement on actions when you have stage piano on a rack at various heights trying them out. The least that is needed is a stool at the near height one is used to. The amount of upper body weight involved, leaning in, angle of arms with respect to the keyboard makes a difference in perception IMO. higher up is lighter, too low makes for a heavier feel. IMO of course. In a nutshell , sit properly .. then judge.

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 06/29/18 05:48 PM.

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Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: Gombessa] #2748127
06/29/18 06:04 PM
06/29/18 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by Doug M.
How do I like the NWX action?

Digital Actions (not including real piano actions):
1) Grand Feel II
2) Grand Feel 1
3) RM3 Grand II
4) PHA50
5) RH3
6) GrandTouch
7) RH2
8) PHAIV professional
9) NWX
10) PHAIII

I never remember what many of these are without brand and model references. But one thing I'll mention is that I don't think you can always lump all of a type together. My ranking of RH3 would be much higher playing on an SV1 than on a Kronos.

One of my favorite actions was whatever was on the Yamaha CP1 and CP5. I don't think that's on your list. I also liked the older Roland FP7 and FP7F better than the current RD800 and RD2000.


I think Doug means Kawai's Responsive Hammer III (the ES8/MP7II action), and not Korg's? But he should of course speak for himself.

The CP1 and CP5 NW-Stage action that you mention is an interesting one, particularly in that it wasn't graded (but apparently it had a software-graded velocity curve to compensate).


Yes, sorry, I mean the Kawai RHIII action.

Those rankings: I should clarify. They are ranking of actions with respect to how close I feel they are compared to a 'perfect' acoustic piano action (number 1 means closest to perfection, not perfection). Also, 'perfect' in quotations meaning a quality of acoustic grand piano that we'd most likely buy today as opposed to in the past.

In other words, the list doesn't represent how much I enjoyed playing a digital piano action or digital keyboard action.

If I'm being honest, I enjoyed playing the PHAIII on the V-piano very much---not because of the action, but the package.
I also really enjoyed playing the Nord Stage 3 and thought the action was a good compromise, but not close to a perfect piano action.
In that respect, I also enjoyed playing the Korg SV-1 and Korg Kronos; however, with respect to being close to a piano action, they don't make the list unless I extend it to 20 actions.

Action discussion...

If an instrument is selling as an acoustic piano training tool, then the more perfect the closeness to a piano action the better, regardless of whether one likes to play it or not. For instance, a heavy action isn't necessarily a poor action; however, if the black keys are much harder to press than the ratio between white and black keys on an acoustic grand, then the use of the tool for a training instrument declines. If the NWX action's only deviation from a perfect piano action was excessive down-weight, that wouldn't be the end of the world. I'd just have to train my forearm muscles carefully before doing something difficult.

Currently though, I have noticed the trend that Kawai and Roland actions have been getting lighter, such that, if you place a 55g weight on a key, it will depress the piano key. The PHAIV was lighter than the PHAIII and the PHA50 is lighter again: about the same in weighting as the Grand Feel 1(although other characteristics make the GF1 action superior). I would follow suit if I ran Yamaha R&D, so the student would have a closer weighting to an acoustic grand. Now I realise that not all acoustic grands are as light as this, but I think a down-weight of 55g is heavy enough.

Mentioning that the RHIII action on the ES8 was too bouncy (ref. Kougeru in another thread)---presumably referring to how quickly the action returns from bottoming out after you lift your finger---is again probably a positive thing if you wish to play more like an acoustic; however, I can appreciate that ones perception of an action comes from what you're comfortable with, not necessarily what is closest to a 'perfect' acoustic piano action. When you take style of playing into account---being used to or happy with the action because it allows you facility to play what you want, how you like from a technical perspective---one could argue that the best action is your favoured one (assuming you've tried them all). After all, there is no reason to arbitrarily label the average professional acoustic piano action as ideal just because it's what's used in piano competitions.

In general though, I'd myself prefer to play a digital piano on a good facsimile of an acoustic piano action, and play an organ on a good waterfall action: that way, I'm used to playing on instruments I'm most likely to play if performing at a venue. Hence my evaluation of the actions in the list above.

Last edited by Doug M.; 06/29/18 06:10 PM.

Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
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Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: Gombessa] #2748129
06/29/18 06:06 PM
06/29/18 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by toddy

Yes. The action on the CP5 was really lovely. It was ungraded - but so what: grading the weights across the keyboard just because it's necessary to the mechanics of an acoustic strikes me as utterly pointless. In any case, the effect is slight on DPs so it frankly doesn't bother me whether it's implemented or not: it's just a marketing proposition.


Well, I guess you could argue that weighted keys are only necessary due to the mechanics of an acoustic piano as well (hmm, that makes me wonder, does a harpsichord have weighted keys)? The same with keys that actually have to move in order to trigger a sound.

If we're going to discount any action feature that only amounts to a "necessary evil" on an archaic acoustic piano, should we be talking about Rolis instead, or completely non-mechanical, touch/pressure sensitive keys?

IMO, the whole point of a "digital piano" is to emulate to the best of its ability, real acoustic pianos. Warts and all. Mechanical necessities and all. Regardless of whether piano makers consider these details desirable. Once you do something else, you're on the road to creating a different instrument action that's not strictly a piano (and there's nothing wrong with that, it's just a question of where you draw the line).


Exactly right. And in my case, I think I draw the line to include a responsive action weighted at about 50g but to exclude (or downplay) features such as scaled weighting and let off notch. After all, piano makers themselves reputedly try to minimise these artifacts, and it's doubtful whether they improve ones playing in any significant way.


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Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: Alexander Borro] #2748130
06/29/18 06:14 PM
06/29/18 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
Originally Posted by Doug M.

Apologies: the RD300NX and 700NX were racked one below the other.


I find it very hard to make a judgement on actions when you have stage piano on a rack at various heights trying them out. The least that is needed is a stool at the near height one is used to. The amount of upper body weight involved, leaning in, angle of arms with respect to the keyboard makes a difference in perception IMO. higher up is lighter, too low makes for a heavier feel. IMO of course. In a nutshell , sit properly .. then judge.


Yes, i agree!

it wasn't an ideal test and I wasn't able to spend long enough that day to make it worth me asking him to bring it out.

Last edited by Doug M.; 06/29/18 06:15 PM.

Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7; Past - Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: AlexBltn] #2748152
06/29/18 08:19 PM
06/29/18 08:19 PM
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Really interesting instrument, especially with the wooden action. Immediately made it onto my short list.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7605
Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: AlexBltn] #2748168
06/29/18 10:09 PM
06/29/18 10:09 PM
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Mountain Brook, AL, USA
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yes joe, lets get the thread back on track!

a few more yamaha p515 demo vids....






.... Jeff ▫️ Yamaha P515 ▫️ Roll Tide
Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: Gombessa] #2748186
06/30/18 01:21 AM
06/30/18 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Well, I guess you could argue that weighted keys are only necessary due to the mechanics of an acoustic piano as well

No, because the weightedness actually adds to the control and expressiveness. Gradedness does not, so it's a different argument.

Originally Posted by Gombessa
The same with keys that actually have to move in order to trigger a sound.

If we're going to discount any action feature that only amounts to a "necessary evil" on an archaic acoustic piano, should we be talking about Rolis instead, or completely non-mechanical, touch/pressure sensitive keys?

And that's a good example. That kind of action impedes your ability to play it as a piano. Lack of gradedness does not.

Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: AlexBltn] #2748224
06/30/18 06:59 AM
06/30/18 06:59 AM
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I don't find the graded hammers useful either.

Indeed, if they were graded in the opposite fashion that would be (or might be) better. I'm right-handed, so my right hand is strong than my left. I might benefit from more weight on the right and less on the left. (Or maybe not?)

That's quite the opposite of any piano. I doubt any piano maker would consider making such an instrument.

In the end, I don't really care. There are many other important characteristics that contribute more to the quality of the piano.

Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: AlexBltn] #2748227
06/30/18 07:36 AM
06/30/18 07:36 AM
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The XG soundset in this can be completely useless for some and a hidden gem for others.

It's useless, if you can't use it as it needs an iOS or Android device, or something connected via USB or legacy MIDI. (Could be a computer with a DAW or an old and cheap mini keyboard like Yamaha CBX-K1.)

If you are able to use them, then it's a quite versatile and a very tweakable sound set and not just a collection on unmodifiable presets. Demos of old Yamaha MU and QY modules on YouTube, SynthMania or elsewhere probably give an idea of the quality as they are probably the same or better on the P-515. (I'm assuming it's some old and cheap XG chip that put into it.)

Maybe mostly useful for electronic music, but e.g. XG electric guitars can sound quite good. Many presets may sound a bit cheesy alone, but may be usable in a mix.

Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: MacMacMac] #2748236
06/30/18 08:16 AM
06/30/18 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott

No, because the weightedness actually adds to the control and expressiveness. Gradedness does not, so it's a different argument.

[quote=MacMacMac]
Indeed, if they were graded in the opposite fashion that would be (or might be) better. I'm right-handed, so my right hand is strong than my left. I might benefit from more weight on the right and less on the left. (Or maybe not?)


Huh, to me, this statement suggest that a graded action *is* useful in terms of replicating the feel and expressiveness of an acoustic piano. wink

I think I'm just in the camp of preferring greater accuracy in simulating a real piano action, rather than drawing an arguably arbitrary line on what not to simulate. Clearly there are features that are more critical than others, but they all contribute to why I greatly prefer the action on the hybrid to that in the p105 or cp50--it just feels lot more like a real piano, and to me that's important in a DP.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: AlexBltn] #2748250
06/30/18 09:06 AM
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a few more vids on the p515...





.... Jeff ▫️ Yamaha P515 ▫️ Roll Tide
Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: toddy] #2748253
06/30/18 09:17 AM
06/30/18 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by toddy
[

Exactly right. And in my case, I think I draw the line to include a responsive action weighted at about 50g but to exclude (or downplay) features such as scaled weighting and let off notch. After all, piano makers themselves reputedly try to minimise these artifacts, and it's doubtful whether they improve ones playing in any significant way.


The fact that piano makers try to minimise it doesn't mean they'd like to get rid of it altogether. Too much of a bump is dreadful for anything above very soft playing, but when it's just right, it can be great for fast pianissimo playing. Playing above the escapement, or on the so-called "second keyboard" is great for Ravel . On a well regulated piano, the escapement shouldn't really be noticeable when playing most music, and it should never be a hindrance.

As far as realism goes, I find the Roland PHA 50 the most convincing. I also really like Kawai's actions. I would imagine I could live with the P-515, but I haven't played the current Yamaha actions.

Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: Gombessa] #2748257
06/30/18 09:27 AM
06/30/18 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
I think I'm just in the camp of preferring greater accuracy in simulating a real piano action, rather than drawing an arguably arbitrary line on what not to simulate. Clearly there are features that are more critical than others, but they all contribute to why I greatly prefer the action on the hybrid to that in the p105 or cp50--it just feels lot more like a real piano, and to me that's important in a DP.

I understand the appeal of authenticity in reproducing the experience as completely as possible, even if something doesn't actually facilitate better playing. Though IMO, most (not all) graded DP designs are so inauthentic in their gradedness that almost all they are is a word on a spec sheet to make someone think they're getting something more authentic. On a real acoustic piano, each of the 88 keys is slightly different in weight. Some graded designs have as few as 3 regions, i.e. the bottom 29 keys or so are one weight, the top 29 are another, and the 30 in the middle are another. These is so far from a simulation of 88 different weights that, even for the purpose of authenticity alone, I don't see the point.

I also think it's possible that gradedness in a DP may sometimes actually makes a DP less authentic. In some DPs, I seem to remember that the added weight in the low keys may have made them feel more sluggish in the return than the top keys. But I could be misremembering. Has anyone had that experience?

Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: AlexBltn] #2748258
06/30/18 09:27 AM
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This P515 sounds nice, at least on demos. I was never a big fan of Yamaha, always preffered Roland's SN (not the fully modeled though), but I think I'm getting older. Each time I audition some top Yamaha I find myself liking it more and more. Actually I'm considering buying CP4 or CP5, which I had a chance to play for the first time today. The keybed was especially nice. Light and fast. S6 sample very nice, quite dark and sweeeet Rhodes. The overall build quality and the looks - outstanding. Do you think it's still a goid buy for around 1500$?

Going back to the topic: P515 is not revolution. It's good that it came out, but its more like next generation VW Golf, not fancy Tesla.


Korg Grandstage 88 | Kawai ES8 | Pianoteq 6 | Behringer UMC202HD | Takstar PRO82
Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: clothearednincompo] #2748274
06/30/18 10:25 AM
06/30/18 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
The XG soundset in this can be completely useless for some and a hidden gem for others.

It's useless, if you can't use it as it needs an iOS or Android device, or something connected via USB or legacy MIDI.


I hope to use it for supplemental orchestral instruments while playing the piano, i.e., along with a MIDI backing track, having switched off the piano tracks. Even a simple piece like Bach's BWV 114 (playing the harpsichord) sounds great with a backing orchestra on my DGX-660, and a Mozart piano concerto (playing the CFX or Bosendorfer on the P-515) should be simply wonderful.

I hope that usage as described above does not need an iPad, and that such an external device is needed only if one wants to access an XG instrument as the main voice.

Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: AlexBltn] #2748280
06/30/18 10:51 AM
06/30/18 10:51 AM
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Ah, yes. MIDI file playback could be an option too. Probably it's possible from a USB drive.

And I meant to write earlier "...or something else connected via USB or legacy MIDI". And of course there's Bluetooth MIDI too according to the specifications.

Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: anotherscott] #2748288
06/30/18 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott

I understand the appeal of authenticity in reproducing the experience as completely as possible, even if something doesn't actually facilitate better playing. Though IMO, most (not all) graded DP designs are so inauthentic in their gradedness that almost all they are is a word on a spec sheet to make someone think they're getting something more authentic. On a real acoustic piano, each of the 88 keys is slightly different in weight. Some graded designs have as few as 3 regions, i.e. the bottom 29 keys or so are one weight, the top 29 are another, and the 30 in the middle are another.


This I can get on board with. For example, the MP11, which is widely regarded as one of the most authentic slab DPs, has only four zones. Now what you're talking about is precision. Maybe (and of course) it could be better. It could be more realistic. It could be per-key-graded, as it is on the CLP-575, 585, 675, 685, the Avant Grands and the Novus NV10 But to me, a more precise implementation is a far cry from the call to not bother replicating it at all because it is not a feature desireable in a platonic ideal of an acoustic piano in the first place.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: AlexBltn] #2748291
06/30/18 11:38 AM
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Our questions could be answered quite simply and quickly if Yamaha had a representative like Kawai James on this forum.

Yamaha, I know that you are following this thread with interest, so please seriously consider my suggestion. If you cannot spare someone all the time, or do not want to take on any perceived risk from doing so, perhaps do so for the period between the announcement of a significant new product and its delivery to stores -- and maybe for a month after that. Not for a small upgrade (such as the DGX-650 to 660) but for a major one like this. You would build goodwill, get product feedback and even enhance future customer satisfaction by reducing surprises after purchase.

My opinion of Kawai as a company has increased immeasurably due to Kawai James' presence on this forum. He offers supplemental information on Kawai products, directs users to the most appropriate Kawai product for their needs, discreetly points out a Kawai product when a competing one from another manufacturer is being discussed (or even one from a competitor if that is the right thing to do) -- all done deftly and with class. It reflects well on Kawai that it employs such a person and encourages him to represent the company in this way.

Re: Yamaha P-515 portable digital piano [Re: AlexBltn] #2748321
06/30/18 01:13 PM
06/30/18 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug M.
Originally Posted by anotherscott
This might finally be the long awaited CP-300 replacement. It would be nice to see a Yamaha slab wth beefy speakers that weighs less than 70 lbs.

No, the CP300 has a C at the start which makes all the difference.

Good point, that it lacks what I believe is the distinguishing factor of CP models vs P models... no Controller functions (no pitch or modulation wheels, and presumably no way to program in other MIDI functions as you can on the C models). So it would not be a replacement. Though some people have used the CP300 not for any of its controller functions, but simply because they wanted a "portable" model that sounded/felt good and had a substantial speaker system. So maybe this will satisfy some of that market more than the P255 does. I think the FP90 has probably been the alternative of choice lately.

Originally Posted by Doug M.
Yamaha really should take a leaf out of Roland's book and make one best effort digital action then put it in almost everything over £1000, that way they'd save on tooling and manufacturing duplication..

Don't they currently offer Ivory Feel G, PHA IV, PHA 50 in boards in that price range? (Plus PHA III Ivory in the V-Piano, which I think is still available, but kind of a carryover.) At any rate, I wouldn't assume that all actions have the same manufacturing cost, and that could be a facto as well. They also can have different impacts on the travel weights of the boards, and the size of their chassis overall.

Originally Posted by Doug M.
I'm not sure you can class Yamaha as a much larger company {than Roland}

Looking at some financial info online, Yamaha revenue seems to be somewhere in the range of 5 to 10 times more than Roland's. Yamaha is also financially healthier, Roland has had problems in recent years.

Originally Posted by Doug M.
Point is, evolution, not revolution.

That's kind of the way of the world. You can apply resources and talent to improving an existing design. Revolution tends to come unexpectedly, from unpredictable places.

Originally Posted by Doug M.
I don't think more than 200 sounds on a portable is necessary. The user interface on these portables isn't as easy to navigate (sometimes you scroll through sounds with arrows, other times, knobs). Wouldn't want to scroll through 100 string sounds for instance---that would be tedious.

The number of sounds needed varies on the application. You can make the argument that you need more to choose from on a portable, because you don't typically have the luxury of getting anything else you might need out of your computer. You're right that patch navigation can be an issue... some gigging boards handle it well, some don't.

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