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any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
#2860580 06/19/19 06:32 PM
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Hello, I'm looking for a digital piano or MIDI controller with a feel as close to a real piano as possible.

Note that I check the following things for realism:

(1) how the key responds to a gentle press. must be responsive and clean, not overly heavy or muddy resistance

(2) how the key responds to an impulse of various strengths. must be easily controllable and reliable

(3) how it feels to hold the key down. must not be overly heavy

(4) how it feels to release the key. must be clear and clean movement with no muddy resistance

I just tested some keyboards at Guitar Center, and the Yamaha Montage 8 was the only one that was any good, but it's pricey and you're paying for the sound engine, which I don't need. All I need is MIDI out.

Are there any digital pianos with mechanisms exactly like a piano, internally?


Music composition student, California State Northridge (in the LA valley area).
I need piano for practical reasons, to help me compose and teach composition.
Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
Mike Mey #2860584 06/19/19 06:47 PM
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I was following you until you named the Yamaha Montage 8 as most realistic compared with a piano. Well, it can't be since it doesn't have fully weighted, hammer action keys. Nope. If you want a midi controller that really is realistic as compared with a real acoustical piano, you'll want the Kawai VPC1. It is well-known as the most realistic MIDI controller available. (Again, when the standard is the keyboard action of a real acoustical piano.)

That said, if you are interested in playing pop/rock/contemporary, you really might not need such a realistic controller, and a Yamaha Montage 8 might be fine for you.


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Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
Mike Mey #2860585 06/19/19 06:53 PM
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But doesn’t the MP11SE have an improved action compared to the VPC1. Though the ability to adjust the sensitivity of every key in the VPC1 does intrigue me.

Having the ability to do that on the MP11se would be great.

Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
KevinM #2860586 06/19/19 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
But doesn’t the MP11SE have an improved action compared to the VPC1. Though the ability to adjust the sensitivity of every key in the VPC1 does intrigue me.

Having the ability to do that on the MP11se would be great.

I only mentioned VPC1 because it seems that a MIDI controller is preferred and MP11SE isn't a MIDI controller.


[Linked Image]
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
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
Tyrone Slothrop #2860587 06/19/19 07:00 PM
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The Montage 8 was the best among the limited selection at the Guitar Center. I'm not saying it was any good.Also note that my requirements as listed are actually met partway by the Montage 8, so my conclusion is that a complete hammer action is not necessary to meet them.

However I'm sure the VPC1 is better. Thanks for the idea.

Mike


Music composition student, California State Northridge (in the LA valley area).
I need piano for practical reasons, to help me compose and teach composition.
Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
Mike Mey #2860618 06/19/19 08:43 PM
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"Are there any digital pianos with mechanisms exactly like a piano, internally?"

Yes, the Avantgrand series from Yamaha. Also, there's the NU1 which is an upright piano action.

A 'digital piano' unless it has a real piano action will always be, close, but no cigar.

https://europe.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/pianos/avantgrand/index.html


website | mp3 files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
Tyrone Slothrop #2860638 06/19/19 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I was following you until you named the Yamaha Montage 8 as most realistic compared with a piano. Well, it can't be since it doesn't have fully weighted, hammer action keys. Nope.

Yes it does.

Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
anotherscott #2860646 06/19/19 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by anotherscott
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I was following you until you named the Yamaha Montage 8 as most realistic compared with a piano. Well, it can't be since it doesn't have fully weighted, hammer action keys. Nope.

Yes it does.

Oops! I was looking at the Yamaha Montage 6 which only has semi-weighted keys. Interesting that the 8 has fully-weighted but the 6 doesn't.


[Linked Image]
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
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
Mike Mey #2860661 06/20/19 12:02 AM
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What's your goal? Play at home, gig, something else?

The VPC1 is widely acknowledged as the best pure MIDI weighted controller. I've played it a few times, and came away a bit uninspired. I can see its role though. But not my jam.

I've had an AvantGrand N3 in my home since it first came out years ago, and -- yup -- it's a real-deal Yamaha grand action. OK, maybe it's an entry-level grand action, but still ... big fun! I think they did a great job with the product. I sit down and play, and I am immediately convinced I'm playing a decent acoustic grand. Mission accomplished. I can't speak to the other models.

I cross-compare it with my insane Bosie 200 and my less-insane Nord Piano 4. My particular N3 action is on the stiff and firm side (I keep hoping it will soften up but it never happens) but it works for me as I'm now looking for a workout when I play it. Play it for a few weeks, and everything else is pure butter 'cause your hands are super strong. They're in different houses, so ...

Part of the "feel" will include vibrations and resonances from the harp and soundboard. You won't get that with most DPs. The N3 has a feature where it artificially vibrates keys. Sounds hokey, but it's great. I love it.

When performing live, I go Nord and bring great amplification. Very happy with this approach, as opposed to soft pianos on a laptop. I tried it, just lacked the immediacy I felt I needed. And I just can't connect with all the other digital APs out there -- too processed, I want raw sound that I can shape.

Check out the new Nord "White Grand", It's a Steinway Model B sampled to near perfection. Amazing. I think it's their best AP sample yet. And there's the new Nord Grand just around the corner with the Kawai action. Looks super-interesting.

Best of luck!


Life is too short to be playing bad music.

Practice: Bosie 200, Yam N3
Live: Nord Piano 4, Stage 3 Compact
Amps: QSC K.2s, RCF TT08-s, FA 12-ac, CPS SSv3
Support: STAY stands, X-Air mixers, Vent II, etc
Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
Mike Mey #2860679 06/20/19 01:24 AM
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The CASIO Celviano GP-300 has a very accurate grand piano mechanism and keys similar to C.Bechstein grands.

As Dave Horne mentioned, Yamaha has their AvantGrand series (NU1X and N1X etc). Key surfaces might be too fake/slippery/plasticy for some.

Kawai have their Novus NV10.

If those three are slightly outside your budget or you prefer portability over quality, then I'd recommend trying the Kawai MP11SE (or CA78) that was mentioned by KevinM above. Whilst the action is not as real, the key surface feel is perfect.


Piano is one of the top human inventions of the past 300 years - help evangelize the magic!
Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
Mike Mey #2860683 06/20/19 01:39 AM
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The other new one is the Nord Grand - it uses the actual Kawai keys and mechanism found in the Kawai MP11SE / CA78.

But can I ask why it needs to feel close to the feel of a real piano?

Real pianos have design limitations - a lot of these physical limitations restrict quality rather than increase quality (of both feel and sound output).

Some of these limitations include:
Aliquot string resonance
Graded key weights (they're only heavier in the bottom because the hammers have to be heavier to strike the base strings)
Pedal sounds

The strength of a digital piano is that it doesn't need to be limited by the physical limitations of acoustic pianos.


Piano is one of the top human inventions of the past 300 years - help evangelize the magic!
Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
Burkie #2860693 06/20/19 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Burkie
The other new one is the Nord Grand - it uses the actual Kawai keys and mechanism found in the Kawai MP11SE / CA78.


The Nord Grand uses a customised version of Kawai's "Responsive Hammer" keyboard action, so the touch will feel similar (although not the same) as a Kawai ES8.

The Kawai MP11SE and CA series instruments are the next step-up in terms of keyboard action realism.

Then, at the very top is the Novus NV10, which features Kawai's Millennium III grand piano keyboard action.

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: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
Burkie #2860696 06/20/19 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Burkie
The CASIO Celviano GP-300 has a very accurate grand piano mechanism and keys similar to C.Bechstein grands.


Great as it may be, the Casio hybrid action is quite different from a real grand action. Only the NV10 and AvantGrand come close to a real grand action.


Oh, and Welcome!

Last edited by johnstaf; 06/20/19 02:36 AM.
Re: any digital pianos with real piano mechanism
Tyrone Slothrop #2860753 06/20/19 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Oops! I was looking at the Yamaha Montage 6 which only has semi-weighted keys. Interesting that the 8 has fully-weighted but the 6 doesn't.

That's how it is with pretty much every board available in 61 and 88 key versions. Hammers on the 88 (presumably on the basis that people who want 88 keys are likely more piano-oriented), not on the 61 (for less piano-focussed buyers, the lack of hammer action helps make the 61 even lighter and cheaper, and actually provides an action that is often better for non-piano sounds, like organ). The only exception I can think of is Korg Kronos, where they actually make two different 88 key versions available, the standard model with hammer action and the LS action without.


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