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Home brew hybrid #2773442
10/17/18 07:42 PM
10/17/18 07:42 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
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Kitsap County, WA
squidbot Offline OP
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I ran across this on r/piano today, a Steinway action removed and hooked up to Pianoteq. https://www.reddit.com/r/piano/comments/9os3pn/i_made_a_hybrid_piano_prototype_from_a_restored/

From the comments it seems like just the optical sensors are working for now, but it looks promising, regardless, just cool to see it actually doing something. The 12k kickstarter he mentions seems a stretch smile

I was going to follow up on the thread where someone here was working on their own action, but couldn't find it.



Currently learning: Beethoven "Easy" Sonata Op 49 No 2, JS Bach WTC Prelude No 2 in C minor
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Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773444
10/17/18 07:58 PM
10/17/18 07:58 PM
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It's great for a home brew, but 12k? Also it's a shame about the over-sell. Plays exactly like a 75k Steinway? How about the cheaper Kawai Novus+pianoteq?

Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773449
10/17/18 08:26 PM
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“Pianoteq bundled.” Would be nice if it came with an on-board computer with Pianoteq installed, but I assume he means an included license/download for the software.

Also, it will be good to know if he will be using brand-new Steinway actions or actions from used Steinways. The prototype is using an action from a “restored” Steinway.

Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: Pete14] #2773451
10/17/18 08:33 PM
10/17/18 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Pete14
Also, it will be good to know if he will be using brand-new Steinway actions or actions from used Steinways. The prototype is using an action from a “restored” Steinway.


He says carbon-fibre action parts, so presumably WNG.

I don't think I'd trust him with my 12k.

Last edited by johnstaf; 10/17/18 08:34 PM.
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Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773457
10/17/18 09:11 PM
10/17/18 09:11 PM
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Milano
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CyberGene here has an extensive thread on his own hybrid. . .

Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: johnstaf] #2773460
10/17/18 09:19 PM
10/17/18 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
I don't think I'd trust him with my 12k.



FWIW, he's not just some random hobbyist. He runs Detroit Pianoworks, and they build new keys/keyboards for concert grands.

Not that 12k is peanuts for a kickstarter wink


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai NV-10, MP11
Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773463
10/17/18 09:47 PM
10/17/18 09:47 PM
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Seattle, WA USA
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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This is Richard Cromwell and he has made keysets for many rebuilders for many years. He is not a fraud.

I have no idea how well what he is offering works, but I wish him well.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773466
10/17/18 10:01 PM
10/17/18 10:01 PM
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Perhaps I used the wrong choice of words. I don't for a minute think he's a fraud, and I apologise if I gave that impression. If his key velocity sensors can compete with the sophistication of Yamaha's and Kawai's key and hammer sensors, I'll be very intrigued. I wish him well too.

Last edited by johnstaf; 10/17/18 10:07 PM.
Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773469
10/17/18 10:29 PM
10/17/18 10:29 PM
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It seems like the longest key length in the model O is 19”. This is still considered a baby grand length action, right?
I’m also curious about the 12K price tag. It seems like this will simply be a controller (no on-board speakers, etc..) so why 12K? How about throwing in a concert grand action, Richard? Maybe an artist bench, too? But seriously, I also hope for this to be a success; perhaps Kawai would follow suit with a re-designed VPC-2 (grand piano action included).

Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: newer player] #2773478
10/17/18 11:27 PM
10/17/18 11:27 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 527
Kitsap County, WA
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Though I can't see many people forking over 12k for this, I don't know that the price is totally insane for an early adopter of a basically handmade one off. Yamaha and Kawai can build things cheaper once they are ready for production, but you have to wonder what the cost to build the prototypes in the first place were.

Originally Posted by newer player
CyberGene here has an extensive thread on his own hybrid. . .


Ah thanks, that's the thread I was trying to find! I remembered reading it, but couldn't figure out the right search terms or who it was that was working on it.



Currently learning: Beethoven "Easy" Sonata Op 49 No 2, JS Bach WTC Prelude No 2 in C minor
Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773536
10/18/18 06:25 AM
10/18/18 06:25 AM
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I just read Richard’s response to johnstaf’s question (link at top of thread) about why we should consider a ‘Richard & Sons’ over a Kawai/Yamaha.
He claims his hybrid is 50% cheaper than Yamaha’s flagship hybrid. As far as I’m concerned the N3X goes for about 14K, so how is 12K 50% of 14K? (I’m bad at math).
He says the Kawai/Yamaha hybrids use approximations of a grand piano action. Other than not using real hammers, how different are their ‘hybrid’ actions from the ‘real’ thing?
The one thing I liked was the mention of a ‘modular approach.’ This is a definite advantage over the all-in-one Novus/AvantGrand.
I hope the price eventually comes down, but still, I’m fascinated by this project.

Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773550
10/18/18 07:30 AM
10/18/18 07:30 AM
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Sofia, Bulgaria
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CyberGene Online content
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I have a competitor laugh Well, mine is also a 100 years old action but the entire project so far costed me about €1300 of which €1100 for the second-hand piano action. On the other hand it's just 85 keys and not Steinway frown


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Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773552
10/18/18 07:36 AM
10/18/18 07:36 AM
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It's a nice idea, and I do hope it works. Clearly he has the right pedigree for the mechanics of the action, and possibly even housing that in an appropriate frame with the right relationship to the soundboard etc.. I can well believe that, although I'd like to know more about the quality of those additional components (it isn't a Steinway O frame and soundboard, presumably, or else $12k is not going to make economic sense for him).

What I would have more reservations about the electronic side of things. Choosing and assembling the right components is one thing, and not easy in itself. The interpretation and processing of the optical sensor data into the correct feel, however, is a whole other ballgame. Yamaha and Kawai have spent a long time refining their high-end actions to give the right response in the right scenario. I think this latter stage is also why other high-end piano manufacturers who attempt to enter the digital market using their own actions (Blüthner, Petrof) end up failing, because they don't understand this extra component.

If this were a proven product with a decent warranty, $12k would be a bargain. As it stands, I think I'll wait.


Broadwood, Yamaha U1; Kawai CA67; Pianoteq Std (D4, K2, Blüthner, Grotrian), Garritan CFX Full, Galaxy Vintage D, The Grandeur, Ravenscroft 275, Ivory II ACD, TrueKeys Italian, AS C7, Production Grand Compact, AK Studio Grand, AK Upright, Waves Grand Rhapsody; Sennheiser HD-600 and HD-650, O2 amp
Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: Pete14] #2773567
10/18/18 08:44 AM
10/18/18 08:44 AM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 14,348
Hamamatsu, Japan
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Originally Posted by Pete14
He says the Kawai/Yamaha hybrids use approximations of a grand piano action. Other than not using real hammers, how different are their ‘hybrid’ actions from the ‘real’ thing?


I’m not sure, to be honest. Perhaps someone can ask which components are missing/approximated in the NV10 action image below?

[Linked Image]

Cheers,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773570
10/18/18 08:55 AM
10/18/18 08:55 AM
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“As it stands, I think I’ll wait”. Or you could go with a “CyberGene TS3”. I hear it uses a real grand piano action.
It only has 85 keys, but then again, who needs more than that? (88 is overkill). smile

Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773572
10/18/18 09:05 AM
10/18/18 09:05 AM
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I can see where he's coming from (from a marketing perspective). Kawai and Yamaha take a grand action, and modify them (minimally) to suit a hybrid use case. Makes perfect sense (who needs felt hammers when they don't strike anything?).

He takes an existing acoustic action and builds the hybrid pieces around it. The really interesting question is whether he makes ANY changes at all to the keys are the action, e.g., installing optical shutters on the shank, which obviates his technical argument.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50 || Kawai NV-10, MP11
Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: Gombessa] #2773576
10/18/18 09:19 AM
10/18/18 09:19 AM
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Reseda, California
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
(who needs felt hammers when they don't strike anything?). .


Indeed -- and leather covered knuckles, back checks, felt bushings, etc, that wear out. The goal should be to reproduce the resistance and control of an acoustic action, not to bring along all its maintenance and regulation issues. It's kinda like putting a bag of manure under the driver's seat to make your car smell like a horse. ;-)



-- J.S.

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Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773581
10/18/18 09:38 AM
10/18/18 09:38 AM
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Sofia, Bulgaria
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CyberGene Online content
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Working on my project I can tell you his project is also an approximation because having no strings with their specific rebound properties, he needs to use a stop-rail (as do I). I was thinking whether I should use a stop-rail on the hammers or on the shanks and I went with one on the shanks. The reason being that in a real grand piano the bass and tenor strings are diagonally crossing the rest of the strings and hence are in two different planes one above the others. Thus in a real grand piano action the bass/tenor hammer holes for the shanks (not sure about the actual term) are in a position that would compensate for having to strike strings sitting in a higher position than the rest. With that in mind, he should use two rails at a different height and that's kind of mechanically difficult. Which is why I have decided to use a single stop-rail for the shanks because the shanks are always parallel to themselves and they follow the same blow distance motion. I suppose that's also the reason why Kawai and Yamaha don't use real hammers but have replaced them with corresponding weights and have stop-rail on the shanks.

In some way, I believe his marketing differentiation to be faulty. His main point is: "Kawai and Yamaha use an approximation. Mine doesn't". No, that's not true. What Yamaha and Kawai changed is to replace hammers with weights but that's OK since there's a shank stop-rail. In his case he will supposedly have a hammer stop-rail but otherwise it will still have to rebound from a non-string surface.


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Currently: Kawai ES7 -> Garritan CFX
Previously: Kawai MP6, Kawai CA63, Roland RD-700SX, Roland FP-5, Yamaha P90, Korg SP-200, Casio CDP-100
Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: squidbot] #2773582
10/18/18 09:38 AM
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He talks about a modular design. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t mind a Mac Mini (upcoming model) mounted inside (user accessible).
I’d also love openings at the top left/right for monitors. The openings should allow for various sizes of popular monitors to “stand” at an angle; where only the upper most part of the monitors is visible (at an angle). The lower most part of the monitors partly sitting inside the openings! It would be similar to the Kawai Novus (2 speakers instead of 4), only the monitors would slightly protrude instead of sitting flush with the top. This design allows for upgrading these components (computer, speakers, etc.) at a fraction of the price of trading an N3X for an N4X. This design would also keep cables/electronics hidden from sight, yet easily accessible.

Re: Home brew hybrid [Re: Kawai James] #2773672
10/18/18 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Originally Posted by Pete14
He says the Kawai/Yamaha hybrids use approximations of a grand piano action. Other than not using real hammers, how different are their ‘hybrid’ actions from the ‘real’ thing?


I’m not sure, to be honest. Perhaps someone can ask which components are missing/approximated in the NV10 action image below?

[Linked Image]

Cheers,
James
x


Instead of measuring just key velocity they do replace the felt hammers with a system that precisely measures hammer velocity, in order to capture the subtleties of a grand piano. grin


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