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I am helping my mother, who is getting older and has to move to an apartment, to buy a piano that is better compatible with neighbors (now she has a Schimmel grand). She will be able to play acoustically but not in the evening. Hence it is essential to have a very good silent system and at the same time have a nice acoustic.

We visited a lot of stores and played pianos, received trade-in offers. The best option now seems to be a Kawai K500 with ATX3 silent system. We have tried one with just the ATX3 silent system, but this piano is also available with the Aures system, i.e. with transducers for playing digital sounds over its soundboard.

The Aures system seems nice. It is only 500 euro extra.

Here is my question: it is nice, but not essential for her use case. Are there known or predictable downsides to this system? For example I can imagine that having 4 transducers mounted on the soundboard might affect the soundboard resonance negatively when playing just acoustically. Or perhaps the soundboard may over time get worn-out more because it is made to vibrate in a different way than in normal acoustic operation. I am just making this up, but perhaps someone has more insight into this.

Advice very welcome!


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Given the situation, I would simply choose from existing inventory at whatever dealer(s) have these pianos on their floor. Pick the piano you like best-- if it has the added technology, great. If not, that's fine, too!


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The Aures feature will allow her to play the built in sounds with or without headphones. She can play with the volume turned down and maybe not bother her neighbors. But, I'm going to go out on a limb here. Did you try the Novus NV10? If she is leaving such a nice grand she may rather have the grand action over the strings?



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Originally Posted by TomLC
But, I'm going to go out on a limb here. Did you try the Novus NV10? If she is leaving such a nice grand she may rather have the grand action over the strings?


Yes, the Novus was initially the one we selected. It is a pain that she has to leave the Schimmel grand because it is fantastic. But this is how it is. The advantage of the Novus is the action, as you say, but the advantage of the K500 is that the sound is produced acoustically (when playing over headphones it is identical). The difference in action is clear, but she doesn't mind it too much. The K500 has a nice action for an upright, and she is approaching 80 and hands are not as good as they were (her statement, not mine).

To be honest I am not sure we are making the right choice, but I also wouldn't be sure if she took the Novus confused. If in the end it doesn't work out, I'll take the K500 and buy a Novus that she can play.


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Personally I would take a look at the Yamahas SH2 silent systems, because of the binaural specific sound for the headphone. And try to find a small grand with SH2. Because she won't be able to play an upright like a grand.


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pianogabe,
in response to your original question, I'd recommend,
to buy a pure accoustic upright piano, which means less complications servicing it, and the integrated eletronic systems tend to be outdated sooner than later,
and complement it, with a a *properly regulated* digitial piano or keyboard (e.g. Lachnit, Ravensworks) with Pianoteq as a sound source for silent practice.
HTH

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Originally Posted by lophiomys
pianogabe,
in response to your original question, I'd recommend,
to buy a pure accoustic upright piano, which means less complications servicing it, and the integrated eletronic systems tend to be outdated sooner than later,
and complement it, with a a *properly regulated* digitial piano or keyboard (e.g. Lachnit, Ravensworks) with Pianoteq as a sound source for silent practice.
HTH


If this is for an elderly mother I suspect a simple all in one keyboard will b a lot ,or suitable than messing around with Pianoteq and associated technology. Likewise, although I personally prefer pure acoustics, the silent system may be a better option here than having even a simple separate keyboard to deal with.

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This thread interests me a lot... I apologize if I'm hijacking it and would be happy to start a new thread.

I grew up very seriously playing piano,. But only ever owned a Yamaha U1 and would only practice on grands at my teachers home.

I would love a grand (for both the action and sustenudo pedal), but I live in an apt. My children are starting to take an interest, but apt living means disturbing my neighbors when practicing... So I'm in the same boat as your grand mother...

Have you considered a YUS5 TA2 or SH2? It lacks the grand action, but the sound is beautiful and it has a sustenudo pedal which is required/helpful in some repertoire. I'm leaning toward the transacoustic since that way I can hear my daughter practice at low volume and correct her, etc. I'm concerned about the longevity of the transacoustic system and also if it impacts the acoustic aspects too. I may move out into a house in a few years so I want a nice acoustic that I can take with me (also possible I'll stay put for many years) Unlikely, that I'll ever upgrade this purchase unless my daughter becomes a concert pianist.

Unfortunately, I don't have room for a digital and upright or a grand.

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If you like kawai, the k800 I think has a sustenudo pedal if that is important to her. I understand they are more expensive, but perhaps worth the added investment...

I also initially considered a U1 TA2, but then got carried away after trying a YUS5.

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Originally Posted by pianogabe
Originally Posted by TomLC
But, I'm going to go out on a limb here. Did you try the Novus NV10? If she is leaving such a nice grand she may rather have the grand action over the strings?


Yes, the Novus was initially the one we selected. It is a pain that she has to leave the Schimmel grand because it is fantastic. But this is how it is. The advantage of the Novus is the action, as you say, but the advantage of the K500 is that the sound is produced acoustically (when playing over headphones it is identical). The difference in action is clear, but she doesn't mind it too much.


Pianogabe, perhaps you should listen to the K500 with headphones. The ATX3 digital piano.sound has Kawai’s latest samples of a SKEX concert grand (among others). It will not sound at all like the K500 upright acoustic sound. The Novus will sound identical to the ATX3 system with or without headphones. The Novus has all three pedals.

Last edited by TomLC; 02/11/20 09:59 AM. Reason: Pedals


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Oh, and she will be able to “play it like a grand”.



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+1 for the Aures or Transacoustic. I think in this case being able to play without headphones on but quietly using the inbuilt sounds seems like a winning move. That way she'll be able to hear things like the phone or the neighbours knocking at the door (hopefully not to complain about the noise) which is harder to do with headphones on.

If money no object than Transacoustic Grands exist and I suspect Aures Grands will do in the not so distant future.

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Thanks everyone very much for all your advice! Some of you mention the possibility of practicing at low volume, that is something that we may not have considered sufficiently. I myself like it better to practice at normal volume with headphones than at low volume without them, but perhaps my mother would not agree.

@TomLC: my wording was unfortunate; I indeed meant that the Novus and ATX3 have the same sound. It is important that the default 'silent' sound is good, because I do not think my mother will bother to deal with the menu/bells&whistles, but perhaps I am wrong. Almost all digital sounds I have heard on other silent pianos are not nearly as good IMO as Kawai's, except Yamaha of course.

We liked the acoustic sound of the Kawai better than the Yamaha U1/silent we tried (its also has a different size but Yamaha's in my country are considerably more expensive than Kawai's and we are comparing within price category). Other nice options mentioned by you will cost considerably more.

@lophiomys: this is my worry as well, that the electronics get outdated, or worse: break. Ideally you would be able to replace it with the then current latest and greatest silent system. But Kawai's system ATX3 system seems *very* integrated.

I will check how important a sustenudo pedal is to her.


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