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YDP-161 New Life
#2871851 07/23/19 11:04 AM
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I'm debating between an array of acoustic (baby grand or upright) and non-acoustic (Novus NV10) piano choices to replace my current Yamaha YDP-161 digital piano. However what occurred to me last night was perhaps breathing new life into the current YDP-161 via:

1) Midi to computer with some high end VST samples and some new external speakers. I have a spare laptop that could always sit on the YDP-161 so it could work nicely. What do you think? Is the sensitivity of the controller good enough to drive the higher end VST samples? What speakers would be good to purchase if I went this route?

2) Firmware updates or inside guts replacement -- I'm guessing after a few google searches that this isn't possible. But I'm a bit surprised. Do manufacturers just depend on someone purchasing a new digital piano each time versus any type of in-place upgrade (either software or hardware replacement)? That seems quite expensive to do as technology improves.

Thanks for the input, I'm new here so apologize if I'm somehow breaking protocol.

Last edited by chipsneeze; 07/23/19 11:06 AM.
Re: YDP-161 New Life
chipsneeze #2871855 07/23/19 11:17 AM
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Here's my opinion:

Changing the sound sampling might be a good idea as would getting new speakers. But I can't give you any tech information about that.

I just did a search on the Yamaha site and I didn't see any firmware updates for that model.

I checked out the Arius 3 years ago when I was looking for a digital piano. It probably was a later model than yours but I hated the key action. If you are OK with that, keep the piano. I certainly wouldn't try replacing the guts it would probably cost you a lot more than it would to buy a new piano and it would be a pain in the rear anyhow.

Re: YDP-161 New Life
chipsneeze #2871861 07/23/19 11:43 AM
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One thing more. Cabinet-style digital pianos are not designed to be updated. They are supposed to function as a piece of furniture like a traditional acoustic piano.

If you are interested in swapping out components periodically, you probably want to go the stage piano route. But as far as I know, the stage piano keyboards themselves cannot be modified but must be replaced to be upgraded, other than firmware and sound sampling.

Re: YDP-161 New Life
chipsneeze #2871862 07/23/19 11:53 AM
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There are no updates on this piano. That's true of most pianos, other than some of the high-priced recent models.
Originally Posted by chipsneeze
I'm debating between an array of acoustic (baby grand or upright) and non-acoustic (Novus NV10) piano choices to replace my current Yamaha YDP-161 digital piano. However what occurred to me last night was perhaps breathing new life into the current YDP-161 via:

1) Midi to computer with some high end VST samples and some new external speakers. I have a spare laptop that could always sit on the YDP-161 so it could work nicely. What do you think? Is the sensitivity of the controller good enough to drive the higher end VST samples? What speakers would be good to purchase if I went this route?

2) Firmware updates or inside guts replacement -- I'm guessing after a few google searches that this isn't possible. But I'm a bit surprised. Do manufacturers just depend on someone purchasing a new digital piano each time versus any type of in-place upgrade (either software or hardware replacement)? That seems quite expensive to do as technology improves.
An PC with VST software can provide much better sound than you get from the YDP161 ... or from nearly any other digital piano. But as mimi wondered ... do you like the keyboard action of the YDP161.

I ask because you were considering the Kawai NV10. That one has a true grand piano action, better than any of the lesser pianos from Yamaha or Kawai.
If you're serious about spending that much money, then it's puzzling why you would even consider keeping the lowly YDP161.

Re: YDP-161 New Life
chipsneeze #2872049 07/23/19 08:27 PM
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Hello chipsneeze, welcome to the forum.

Originally Posted by chipsneeze
1) Midi to computer with some high end VST samples and some new external speakers. I have a spare laptop that could always sit on the YDP-161 so it could work nicely. What do you think? Is the sensitivity of the controller good enough to drive the higher end VST samples?


Yes, the sound produced by a VI will likely be far superior to the built-in sounds on your YDP-161. Some developers offer trial versions for testing. If you have haven't done so already, I recommend giving Pianoteq a try. The trial version has some notes disabled, but other than this, the software is fully function and therefore perfectly good for testing. Some players really enjoy playing Pianoteq, others do not appreciate the tonal quality. However, there is no doubting that it is a very well developed piece of software that improves with each version.

Originally Posted by chipsneeze
2) Firmware updates or inside guts replacement -- I'm guessing after a few google searches that this isn't possible. But I'm a bit surprised.


Most digital piano manufacturers offer firmware updates for their products that fix bugs and occasionally add new features. However, changing the built-in sounds is rare, while no manufacturers (to my knowledge) offer customers the ability to upgrade pieces of technology with new/updated hardware.

I hope this helps.

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: YDP-161 New Life
MacMacMac #2872068 07/23/19 09:28 PM
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Thanks for the responses. My budget is within a reasonable range ($5k-$15k) so yes that does leave a lot of choices re: used acoustic or high end digital. But since I've only been playing the YDP161 for the last 10 years I do actually enjoy the action (perhaps because I'm so adjusted to it?). I just tried a CA78 Kawai digital piano today (not the Novus as they were sold out) and found the action rather mushy and almost too easy to play by comparison. (though sometimes that is fun with the speed I can play a piece)

I did enjoy (quite a bit) playing the brand new Kawai grand pianos (was eyeballing the 5'5" GL30 model they had as something to seek out used) and didn't seem to need any adjustment to play the grand piano, but then again my childhood piano teacher (I took age 7-13) had a Steinway grand piano so I suppose that was burned into my brain. (loved today using the sustain pedal on the grand for the first time in decades at the piano store - the responsiveness from the grand quickly told me to pick up my foot rather than hold it too long like I often do on uprights and digital pianos)

I'm still interested after reading the forum link about the professional pianist who dumped his grand for a high end digital and used the VST samples on top of that - I think the main thing missing would be some guidance on what kind of speakers to purchase so that the VSTs shine to see if I like it enough to consider holding off on a Novus/N1X or Yamaha C2/Kawai GL30.


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