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Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) #2813401
02/11/19 06:10 AM
02/11/19 06:10 AM
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danielp11 Offline OP
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Hello,

I was really thinking about replacing my beloved Kawai CS11 with the Novus NV10 (I am also suffering from GAS syndrome). Here are some arguments why I am not switching to the Novus NV10 yet (albeit GAS).
I tried the Novus NV10 and the CA98 in store for about two hours total.


Here are the main advantages of the CS11 versus the NV10, besides price (in my opinion):

- Real (upright) piano cabinet not some something funny looking cabinet witch nobody would recognize as an acoustic piano.

- Soundboard (for the vibrations).

- More silent action.

- With the cover over the display the cs11 really looks like a piano while the NV10 still has the dark gray glowing display all the time.

- Adjustable line out volume (with an extra knob).

- Note off velocity values in midi (not only 64 as in the Novus NV10)

- No buzzing or hissing (see also the long NV10 thread)

- No software crashes during USB recording (see NV10 thread)

- Viewing and editing of stored favorite registrations (features I use very often and both are not possible on the NV10)

- Possibility to store the piano configuration to USB.

- Alter the pitch: My teacher on her Steinway uses for example 442 Hertz for A instead of 440, because she is doing chamber music quite often and the violin players like the higher pitch. One can´t alter the pitch in pianist mode on the NV10. When I play with 440 Hz at home on the CS11 and then with 442 Hz on the piano of my teacher I have sometimes difficulties adapting (maybe I have perfect pitch?). Therefore I altered the pitch on the CS11.

- Software update takes seconds instead of hours.

- No mechanical issues with the pedals (see also the long NV10 thread)

- Less space needed

- Display on the CS11 is so bright, that there seems a danger that the backlight LEDs blow after some time, especially if you don´t switch off the piano. (see Novus NV10 thread). Keep in mind, that the monochrome display of the CS11 is much less bright and that for the same brightness you need three times the amount of light with a color display due to the color filters.

- No breaking or loosening hammers (see Novus NV10 thread)


Here are some neutral points:

- In my opinion, the sound is very similar between pianist and sound mode if you crank up the resonance settings in sound mode. Here is a comparison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhY3w-_xEps (Thanks JoBert!). I also found them pretty much the same when trying this out in store (with cranked up resonance settings in sound mode)

- The “boominess” in sound mode for the lower registers can be reduced by reducing the volume of the lower keys and adding a little bit of brightness to them.

- I also own an acoustic Kawai grand (GX2) with then Millenium III action, which I play during weekends (I work in a different city during weekdays). For me at least the GF II action is as good as the millennium III action (besides being quieter). No problems adapting at all. Same expressivity. I am medium skilled player, (some Chopin nocturnes, Debussy claire de lune, simpler Scriabin and Rachmaninov preludes…)


The only negative point for the CS11 compared to the Novus NV10 (for me) is the weight change for the keys if you press the damper pedal. But this is also not a big difference on the acoustic Kawai GX2.

I really love KAWAI digital an acoustic pianos, but I think Kawai brought the new Pianos (CA98, CA87, NV10) out in a hurry without really putting enough effort into refinement of the new products. So for me they are a step back compared to the CS11.

What are your opinions?

Daniel

Last edited by danielp11; 02/11/19 06:18 AM.

KAWAI CS11 (sold KAWAI CA 97), KAWAI GX2 acoustic grand piano (sold SCHIMMEL acoustic upright)
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Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: danielp11] #2813404
02/11/19 06:26 AM
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danielp11 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by danielp11

- Display on the CS11 is so bright, that there seems a danger that the backlight LEDs blow after some time, especially if you don´t switch off the piano. (see Novus NV10 thread). Keep in mind, that the monochrome display of the CS11 is much less bright and that for the same brightness you need three times the amount of light with a color display due to the color filters.



Sorry I meant "display of the Novus NV10 is so bright" instead of "Display on the CS11 is so bright"

The editing time expired.

Daniel


KAWAI CS11 (sold KAWAI CA 97), KAWAI GX2 acoustic grand piano (sold SCHIMMEL acoustic upright)
Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: danielp11] #2813405
02/11/19 06:34 AM
02/11/19 06:34 AM
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Hamamatsu, Japan
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Originally Posted by danielp11
What are your opinions?


What would be your main motivation for upgrading from the CS11 to an NV10?
Did you experience any issues with the NV10 when play-testing it in the store?

Kind regards,
James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 & occasional rare groove player.

"I agree that the User Manual is very good." - arc7urus, March 2019
Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: Kawai James] #2813407
02/11/19 06:57 AM
02/11/19 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Kawai James
Originally Posted by danielp11
What are your opinions?


What would be your main motivation for upgrading from the CS11 to an NV10?
Did you experience any issues with the NV10 when play-testing it in the store?

Kind regards,
James
x


Hello James, thank you very much for your answer.

The main reason for me to test the NV10 were the advertised better sounds and resonances, This was really the case with standard settings, but when one cranked up the resonances in sound mode they were pretty much the same (at least for me). Also the little boominess in the lower registers went away in pianist mode, but with individual key adjustemts to volume and brightness I could adjust for this on the CS11 also.

I visited the store only one week after the Novus NV10 came out, so I did not look for the "problems" in the NV10 thread. But what I immidiatelly realized whas the very bright display (where I was already then worried about the durability of the back lightning) the missing line out volume knob and the huge problem (at least for me) not to be able to view, alter and restore favorite settings (as I do very often on my CS11). Also the missing cover on the display really annoyed me (that should be included in such an expensive instrument). The display does not really switch of, it goes black. Because the backlight is still on, its more of a glowing gray than black.

Kind regards
Daniel








Last edited by danielp11; 02/11/19 07:04 AM.

KAWAI CS11 (sold KAWAI CA 97), KAWAI GX2 acoustic grand piano (sold SCHIMMEL acoustic upright)
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Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: danielp11] #2813453
02/11/19 09:38 AM
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@danielp11: if you already own an acoustic piano and also a CS11, then the value proposition of the NV10 is rather low, especially given its price point. The (huge) advantage of the NV10 over the CAx8 and the CS11/CAx7 digital pianos is the action. The new SK-EX sounds are indeed an improvement over the HI-XL but not enough to warrant an upgrade from the previous generation, imo. Most importantly, the current CAx8 and the NV10 lack a number of core features that were available to previous generation of CA/CS digital pianos. It is also possible to use the Kawai apps to control the previous generation DPs but not the new ones which goes against common sense. I also do not regard the touchscreen and the GUI as an improvement due to their underlying issues. These could be resolved via updates, but I guess these are only going to be made available to the next DP generation...

Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: danielp11] #2813454
02/11/19 09:38 AM
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@danielp11: if you already own an acoustic piano and also a CS11, then the value proposition of the NV10 is rather low, especially given its price point. The (huge) advantage of the NV10 over the CAx8 and the CS11/CAx7 digital pianos is the action. The new SK-EX sounds are indeed an improvement over the HI-XL but not enough to warrant an upgrade from the previous generation, imo. Most importantly, the current CAx8 and the NV10 lack a number of core features that were available to previous generation of CA/CS digital pianos. It is also possible to use the Kawai apps to control the previous generation DPs but not the new ones which goes against common sense. I also do not regard the touchscreen and the GUI as an improvement due to their underlying issues. These could be resolved via updates, but I guess these are only going to be made available to the next DP generation...

Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: danielp11] #2813463
02/11/19 09:51 AM
02/11/19 09:51 AM
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If you are looking for validation that you should not give in to your GAS, then I'm willing to give it. smile

All of the items you listed aside, there's really only two things it boils down to, for me: Foremost the action, and also important but not as much, the sound engine.

If for you personally (meaning "you" as in OP, but also as in the general "you"), the action of the CS11 feels just as good as the NV10's action, and you think that the HI-XL sound engine (with cranked up resonances) sounds just as good as the SK-EX Rendering engine, then there is indeed no good reason at all to upgrade. You should really stick with the CS11 then.

Personally, I disagree on both points. I think the action is much better than the GFII and the new sound engine is also noticeably better (and whenever I have reason to switch into Sound Mode [i.e. the HI-XL engine], which I do very rarely these days, it reinforces my opinion on this).
But both of these things are of course very much personal preferences. For me, the difference was indeed substantial enough to switch. Even now that I know of the problems that you listed (not all of which have affected me), I totally think that the switch was worth it. But then again, I switched from the CA97, not the CS11. I don't know if I could have persuaded myself to make the switch if I had already had the CS11. (Knowing what I know now, I feel I would have missed out if I hadn't, but I don't know if I would have felt that way back then.)

BTW, your premise is not presented totally fair. Instead of "Why I don't switch from CS11 to NV10", it should have been "Why I don't switch from CS11+GX2 to NV10+GX2". wink There aren't many who are faced with the decision if they should upgrade from a CS11 (or comparable) to the NV10 (or comparable), who also own a fine acoustic grand. That changes the whole situation, imo. I too probably wouldn't upgrade, if I were you. I probably wouldn't have upgraded from my CA97 either, if I also had a GX2.

Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: danielp11] #2813470
02/11/19 10:07 AM
02/11/19 10:07 AM
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I think the only valid argument is the feel of the action, when comparing high end DPs.

In my experience, if you go deep enough into the DP-piano-sounds rabbit-hole, you'll will eventually end up with pianoteq or another sound source on your computer. None of the built-in sounds can compete, if you really, truly care about it. Also, no speaker system in any DP can compete with what you can build with separate parts.

This makes any DP just a glorified midi controller, what you are buying is the action.

You have to make up your mind if ease-of-use (not having to deal with laptops) and looks (a nice looking piece of furniture) is more important than the quality/tweak-ability of the sound.

Last edited by aph123; 02/11/19 10:09 AM.
Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: danielp11] #2813471
02/11/19 10:07 AM
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Sounds like you've done your homework, that's a pretty exhaustive list. Just a few thoughts:

- Real (upright) piano cabinet not some something funny looking cabinet witch nobody would recognize as an acoustic piano.

The NV10 looks like a real grand piano that has been chopped off at the curve. against the wall it looks like a grand clipping through from the other room. I kinda dig it, but yeah it's funny.

- More silent action.
Definitely. GF is unmatched in action noise.

- With the cover over the display the cs11 really looks like a piano while the NV10 still has the dark gray glowing display all the time.
Agreed. A non-point after you get used to it though, and you can always cover the display with some black cloth.


- Adjustable line out volume (with an extra knob).
Some say you shouldn't be able to adjust line level output...

- Note off velocity values in midi (not only 64 as in the Novus NV10)
True, a substantive regression of the NV10 due to the action.

- Viewing and editing of stored favorite registrations (features I use very often and both are not possible on the NV10)
- Possibility to store the piano configuration to USB.

I really wish we had these on the NV10, too!


- Alter the pitch
Can you switch to sound mode when you need altered pitch? Do you need it so often that this becomes a big issue? You could assign a Favorite a 442 and tap that whenever you need it.

- Software update takes seconds instead of hours.
This only applies if the GUI is updated. The last 2-3 updates for the NV10 take about 10 seconds to flash.

- No mechanical issues with the pedals (see also the long NV10 thread)
Hybrid action means acoustic-like regulation may be required at some point. I don't think you mentioned in your "nv10 cons" list but the action may need eventual regulation too.

- Display on the NV10 is so bright, that there seems a danger that the backlight LEDs blow after some time
- No breaking or loosening hammers (see Novus NV10 thread)
These are both one-off reports here. And there's no indication that the backlight was to blame for the dead display at all (though a totally dead display is worse, of course!). So unless the CS11 has a perfect customer track record of zero reported issues to Kawai, I'd consider removing these from your list of cons. Else, ya gotta dig through the internet and list in the "CS11 cons" every issue ever uncovered with that DP, the GF2 action, and the HI-XL engine.

- In my opinion, the sound is very similar between pianist and sound mode if you crank up the resonance settings in sound mode.

The sampling is similar, but no matter what resonance setting you use on sound mode, you can instantly tell pianist mode from sound mode with a single staccato key or chord strike. The character of pianist mode resonance is SO different from sound mode. There's a complex and dtnamic bell-like ringing, whereas sound mode just seems to play a few sympathetic tones at low volume.

- I also own an acoustic Kawai grand (GX2) with then Millenium III action, which I play during weekends (I work in a different city during weekdays). For me at least the GF II action is as good as the millennium III action (besides being quieter). No problems adapting at all. Same expressivity. I am medium skilled player, (some Chopin nocturnes, Debussy claire de lune, simpler Scriabin and Rachmaninov preludes…)

GF2 is awesome, no question about it.

I guess if you don't need the action upgrade, there's really no point in spending extra money on a hybrid. I would LOVE to own a GX2, even part-time smile if I had that, and didn't need an identical action for 100% consistent play (for what? Performances to the public maybe?), then it would be extremely hard for me to justify the purchase of a hybrid, personally.



Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: danielp11] #2813475
02/11/19 10:15 AM
02/11/19 10:15 AM
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You guys are making me nervous. I tried an NV10 a few months and fell in love with it.
A wild-child running around the showroom was a distraction, so the circumstances of the audition were less than perfect. But I really liked what I was able to see, feel, and hear.

I figured that I'll buy one after I retire and move north in two years' time.

But now I'm reading (above) about a number of shortcomings in the Novus.
Shall I keep close tabs on this model, hoping for updates that fix things, or looking for an NV11 follow-on model?

Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: aph123] #2813478
02/11/19 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by aph123
I think the only valid argument is the feel of the action, when comparing high end DPs.
In my experience, if you go deep enough into the DP-piano-sounds rabbit-hole, you'll will eventually end up with pianoteq or another sound source on your computer. None of the built-in sounds can compete, if you really, truly care about it.

Computers lost their lead and can't compete with the latest advanced sound engines in leading Yamaha, Kawai and Roland instruments (discussed in this thread, not the low end gear).

Quote
Also, no speaker system in any DP can compete with what you can build with separate parts. This makes any DP just a glorified midi controller, what you are buying is the action.

The connection between the action and the built-in sound system is what makes a digital piano a proper musical instrument and not just a controller. A MIDI controller is completely useless, if it fails at connecting to the tone generator and the result doesn't behave at all like a piano.

Quote
You have to make up your mind if ease-of-use (not having to deal with laptops) and looks (a nice looking piece of furniture) is more important than the quality/tweak-ability of the sound.

The overall package is important: Good looks, good sound (out of the box), ease to use - all factors which improve your daily practice. While "tweak-ability of the sound" is absolutely irrelevant for a pianist. The sound of a piano is "tweaked" using the keys and the pedals.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: JoeT] #2813487
02/11/19 10:45 AM
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This is puzzling ...
Originally Posted by JoeT
Computers lost their lead and can't compete with the latest advanced sound engines in leading Yamaha, Kawai and Roland instruments (discussed in this thread, not the low end gear).
You mean my 16 GB Ivory library is outclassed by the ROMs inside the latest digital pianos?
How about those 100+ or 200+ GB libraries? Are the piano better than those?

Size isn't everything, but it is something. It matters a lot.

Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: JoeT] #2813491
02/11/19 10:49 AM
02/11/19 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeT
Quote
Also, no speaker system in any DP can compete with what you can build with separate parts. This makes any DP just a glorified midi controller, what you are buying is the action.

The connection between the action and the built-in sound system is what makes a digital piano a proper musical instrument and not just a controller. A MIDI controller is completely useless, if it fails at connecting to the tone generator and the result doesn't behave at all like a piano.

This statement sounds borderline mystical to me. I don't know what it means technically/scientifically. Can you tell me what it means to you in practical ways and give an example of one configuration scenario where it is failing for you?


across the stone, deathless piano performances

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Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: danielp11] #2813497
02/11/19 11:00 AM
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And ... I'm not sure what connection exists between the action and the built-in sound system.

Surely not a physical connection ... unless you're thinking about the TRS or similar?
That only leaves the tone generator that sits "in between" the action and the sound system.

So ... to reiterate Tyrone: I don't know what it means.

Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: MacMacMac] #2813498
02/11/19 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
You mean my 16 GB Ivory library is outclassed by the ROMs inside the latest digital pianos?

My 50 GB Ivory 2 Steinway library is outclassed as well. And it doesn't help that the Steinway grand they chose to sample wasn't a very good instrument. Playing it feels like triggering sample layers, pedal interaction and resonance modeling is extremely basic. It simply doesn't come together in live playing.

Quote
How about those 100+ or 200+ GB libraries? Are the piano better than those?
Size isn't everything, but it is something. It matters a lot.

That's the thing. The binaural CFX built into my Yamaha is a convincing grand piano, regardless of sample size. Put down the pedal, hit a few keys and you hear everything vibrating. It's far beyond Pianoteq's artificial resonance modeling and on top of that the samples sound absolutely great and natural. No 200 GB library can beat that.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: JoeT] #2813502
02/11/19 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeT
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
You mean my 16 GB Ivory library is outclassed by the ROMs inside the latest digital pianos?

My 50 GB Ivory 2 Steinway library is outclassed as well. And it doesn't help that the Steinway grand they chose to sample wasn't a very good instrument. Playing it feels like triggering sample layers, pedal interaction and resonance modeling is extremely basic. It simply doesn't come together in live playing.

Quote
How about those 100+ or 200+ GB libraries? Are the piano better than those?
Size isn't everything, but it is something. It matters a lot.

That's the thing. The binaural CFX built into my Yamaha is a convincing grand piano, regardless of sample size. Put down the pedal, hit a few keys and you hear everything vibrating. It's far beyond Pianoteq's artificial resonance modeling and on top of that the samples sound absolutely great and natural. No 200 GB library can beat that.


I couldn't possibly disagree anymore with that statement.

That yamaha of yours have a couple of megs of ROM and a 10-year-old DSP in it. It has absolutely nothing on modern PC hardware and software.

Also for 'connection' I think you are talking about latencies which can be measured and are no worse on a controller + computer setup.

Last edited by aph123; 02/11/19 11:11 AM.
Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: aph123] #2813504
02/11/19 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by aph123
Also for 'connection' I think you are talking about latencies which can be measured and are no worse on a controller + computer setup.

This is my suspicion as well, but I wanted to hear what JoeT identifies the issue as, in case there is a real issue he is drawing attention to.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: danielp11] #2813506
02/11/19 11:29 AM
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Okay, I did that upgrade from a $8500 CS11 to a $9,750 NV10 (Plus 9.75% sales tax on the cost less trade in). So, including the trade-in, I paid another $6300. Maybe it was just GAS. But it got me closer to a GX2 that I can’t have. I did really like the CS11, but I played Kawai and other grands. If I had a GX or a GL 30, I wouldn’t have traded either. In fact I would likely still have a CN35. (YMMV)


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Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: aph123] #2813507
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Posts: 1,748
Europe
Originally Posted by aph123
That yamaha of yours have a couple of megs or ROM and a 10-year-old DSP in it. It has absolutely nothing on modern PC hardware and software.

I have both and can directly compare my experiences. In fact through the magic of USB I can play VSTs through my digital piano (both speakers and headphones) to completely even the playing field (in fact I deliberately chose the P-515 to have this option).

And Yamaha's CFX wins every time:

The samples sound so much better than Ivory2's Steinway sampling, 50 GB 22 layers or not.
The virtual resonance modeling sounds much better and more natural than Pianoteq's.
The response to (half-)pedaling is from an entirely different world, compared to the poor implementations in VSTs (except Pianoteq).
And the best of it: It's completely free of latency.

But that was to be expected, after those "couple of megs or ROM and a 10-year-old DSP" became history. You can't beat experienced synthesizer engineers with an brute force "hundreds of GBs of samples" approach.


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
Re: Switching from Kawai CS11 to Kawai Novus NV10 (not yet) [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2813508
02/11/19 11:38 AM
02/11/19 11:38 AM
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 1,748
Europe
JoeT Offline
1000 Post Club Member
JoeT  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 1,748
Europe
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I don't know what it means technically/scientifically. Can you tell me what it means to you in practical ways and give an example of one configuration scenario where it is failing for you?

It's from a musicians PoV. A musical instrument is something you physically influence in various ways and create music physically (vibrating air). A good instruments helps you doing that, while a bad one fights you.

A MIDI controller is not a musical instrument, a bunch of monitor speakers/headphones isn't either and a VST isn't one as well. But you you can build your custom instrument from these components and if you're good at this task, you might get satisfying results. If you're not, you go to forums and start discussing "tweaking" or start investing thousands into more components (hardware and software) until you found the holy grail.

If you're just a musician, you look at a complete package, were competent people already did the hard work for you, so you can start making music right away. You hit the keys and it creates vibrating air. And that whole package is a digital piano, not a "glorified MIDI controller".


Yamaha P-515 | Kawai ES100 | Steinberg UR22 | Sony MDR-7506
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