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Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2992326 06/17/20 08:16 AM
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Given your circumstances I think a good digital was the wise choice. Nothing precludes you from buying an acoustic in a few years time.

You'll have gained more experience and hopefully be in a better position to evaluate just what it is you want out of a piano too in terms of touch/sound. You can also take your time, which is important in finding the right piano, be it used or new.

Regarding upright vs grand, I think the mechanism being talked about is the "double escapement" which allows grands to play with an increased repetition over most uprights (a few more expensive models I believe have it too). The exact note repetition per second seems hard to find, the best I turned up last time I looked into it was generally 7 vs 14 notes/s. Although more modern actions claim to increase repetition rate slightly.

The count/s is unlikely to be be an issue for the vast majority of pianists with exceptions for those into playing certain advanced repertoire. Although you don't need to be maxing out the repetition count to take advantage of the mechanism. iirc on a grand this will ease playing ppp too?


Ex-member. As there's no delete account option, feel free to quote my posts but there will be no response.
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Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2992356 06/17/20 09:59 AM
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It's funny how those discussions of digital vs. acoustic remind me of all those fake meat products for vegans. Instead of being "just like the real thing" why can't it be "its own thing"?

Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2992360 06/17/20 10:24 AM
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I just thought I would add my 2 cents but please excuse me if I repeat things that have already been said (I don't have much time to go through all of it).

Half a year ago I bought Yamaha CLP 625 which is the lowest model of the series I believe. I chose Yamaha for the sound (I grew up playing/fooling around with an old upright Petrof which has a very different sound and I've always wanted the Yamaha sound). As for the mechanics, when I play it I feel just like playing a real (acoustic) piano. I couldn't tell the difference. (Of course, it is probably a matter of mastery as well.)

I only feel a little bothered by the fact that I KNOW it is "only" a digital. From time to time I suspect that maybe I can't produce a certain sound because it is not an acoustic, but I consciously know it is not the case. I mean the psychological effect of the fact that my sound comes out of speakers instead of real physical strings, is what I find a little annoing. I do see it as a surrogate. For this reason I hope someday I will be able to have an actual acoustic - just to dismiss the sneaky doubt. (But I have to buy a house before.)

However, I can't stress enough how comfortable it is to:
1) play a piano that gets never out of tune (lets face it, there are so many things you should do regularly... and you just don't do it. The same happens with having your piano tuned.)
2) you can play WHENEVER and WHATEVER you want and noone is going to complain

I should maybe mention (given that the author of the thread was considering the Clavinova series) that very shortly after I bought my CLP 625 I started having different issues (sticky keys, noisy pedal, strange noise at the beginning of a recording, not being able to play staccato in high notes) but I think if I have it serviced they should be able to fix all of it. I was just a little disillusioned ... However, I still adore the sound.

I think it really comes down to where you live and how much you care about people getting annoyed...

Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2992373 06/17/20 11:24 AM
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There was one forum poster in the digital section who spent upwards of $50,000 to enhance his digital piano so it sounded like the real thing. He bought high powered amps, processors, and massive speakers. He convinced himself that he had perfectly replicated the acoustic grand experience that when I pointed out that I don't think he did, I think he got so upset that I think he stopped posting. So, I try to be very diplomatic when it comes to these discussions and realized that this is a sensitive topic. But my thoughts on the matter were, if you have the money, space, and the walls to accept such a set-up there is no reason not to just invest in a $50,000 acoustic grand piano. If the argument is what about the tunings and silent playing I would just have to shake my head in disbelief.

I still believe for most the purchase of a quality acoustic piano is a smarter choice than a high end digital of the same price. One of my piano teachers told me in the past to always buy the best acoustic piano I could afford because typically you get a better resale if you were trying to sell later. This turned out true for me because I was able to sell my Kawai RX-2 for only $2000 less than what I bought it for 13 years ago. Try that with $12K plus digital.

When you are looking at the lower end digital in the sub say $3000 range, I could see where they are good buys and somewhat disposable items when they have reached their useful lifespan. But it is those hybrids with real actions built in - while I can see their appeal, I just don't think they make good economic sense. With so many moving wooden parts there will be a need to bring in a piano tech to eventually regulate or fix something in those digital pianos and all that money you would have saved on tunings will be spent paying off long technician visits paying someone to figure out how to open and put back together those things. Look how many people have technical issues with their digital pianos and it's wrong to assume that these instruments are bullet-proof. The high end digital hybrids are relatively new to the market and who really knows how much work they will need in the future. Also, the thought of just one power surge knocking out the motherboard would irk me on a 12K plus digital instrument. But again if the situation only allows for a digital piano then having one is better than having nothing to play. I just wouldn't overspend on such an item.

Acoustic pianos have been around for hundreds of years and the art and know of how to maintain and fix them is down to a science. Every part of the acoustic piano can be replaced and pianos are designed for upkeep and maintenance. Unlike electronic instruments, find acoustical instruments don't take a nose dive in their resale value the minute the leave the showroom and they are built to last lifetime.

Having said that as it has been said a few times before, I also think having access to both is the ideal just be careful not to overspend.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Preludio: Bach/Rachmaninoff E Major Sonata for Violin
Chopin: G Minor Ballade


Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
Eliskas #2992375 06/17/20 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Eliskas
I just thought I would add my 2 cents but please excuse me if I repeat things that have already been said (I don't have much time to go through all of it).

Half a year ago I bought Yamaha CLP 625 which is the lowest model of the series I believe. I chose Yamaha for the sound (I grew up playing/fooling around with an old upright Petrof which has a very different sound and I've always wanted the Yamaha sound). As for the mechanics, when I play it I feel just like playing a real (acoustic) piano. I couldn't tell the difference. (Of course, it is probably a matter of mastery as well.)

I only feel a little bothered by the fact that I KNOW it is "only" a digital. From time to time I suspect that maybe I can't produce a certain sound because it is not an acoustic, but I consciously know it is not the case. I mean the psychological effect of the fact that my sound comes out of speakers instead of real physical strings, is what I find a little annoing. I do see it as a surrogate. For this reason I hope someday I will be able to have an actual acoustic - just to dismiss the sneaky doubt. (But I have to buy a house before.)

However, I can't stress enough how comfortable it is to:
1) play a piano that gets never out of tune (lets face it, there are so many things you should do regularly... and you just don't do it. The same happens with having your piano tuned.)
2) you can play WHENEVER and WHATEVER you want and noone is going to complain

I should maybe mention (given that the author of the thread was considering the Clavinova series) that very shortly after I bought my CLP 625 I started having different issues (sticky keys, noisy pedal, strange noise at the beginning of a recording, not being able to play staccato in high notes) but I think if I have it serviced they should be able to fix all of it. I was just a little disillusioned ... However, I still adore the sound.

I think it really comes down to where you live and how much you care about people getting annoyed...
Good points.

Enjoy the digital now while you have it and look forward to a new house and a new piano in the future. That's what I did. I never dreamed I would own a nice home let alone a fine piano. But I worked hard and now I have those things. It will happen for you too. Just keep enjoying playing music with whatever instrument you own presently. Isn't it nice to know there will always be other options in the future?


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Preludio: Bach/Rachmaninoff E Major Sonata for Violin
Chopin: G Minor Ballade


Shigeru Kawai SK2
Kawai VPC-1
Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2992384 06/17/20 12:02 PM
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Jethro's advice is excellent, especially his point about the risk of overspending on a digital piano. The inexpensive digitals are a great value, but you should seriously consider an acoustic when spending thousands of dollars on a piano.

Unless you absolutely need to practice silently using headphones, when there is no alternative to a digital instrument.
_____________________________________

You may want to read this long thread on my purchase of an acoustic grand after many multi-hour tests of digital pianos.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...stic-couldn-t-decide-so.html#Post2845043

As you can see from that thread, I kept my Yamaha digital even after buying the Kawai grand, as each has its advantages.

The complexity of sound from the acoustic is far superior, and control of dynamics through the keys and pedals much easier.

Nevertheless, the digital has its place, with its ability to: play a variety of instruments, switch the lead tracks off on a MIDI recording to play the lead tracks oneself with the orchestral accompaniment, and record performances.

In the year during which I've had both instruments, I have played the acoustic grand 95% of the time and the digital piano just 5%. But I love having both.
_____________________________________

Following Jethro's example, I will sign off thus:

Working on: Mozart: Adagio in B minor, K 540

Pianos: Kawai GM-10, Yamaha DGX-660

Note that both his acoustic and digital pianos are much higher-end instruments than mine, but the principle holds!

Last edited by Lotus1; 06/17/20 12:05 PM.
Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2992429 06/17/20 02:48 PM
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Today there is the graded hammer action & weighed keys in digital pianos that are very close to an acoustic. DPs from Yamaha, Kawai, Roland & Korg have similar action to an acoustic. And some models have rough plastic keys like you are playing on the old ivories.

I live in a building for many years and practice music without headphones even late at night. My playing didn't bother the people around. There are pianos you can lock a foot pedal to make the sound quieter for practice. I know people who got into the Suzuki or Yamaha music program got acoustic pianos which was recommended by their teachers. 1 family has an upright in the son's tiny bedroom in an apartment. The living room is much bigger and more suitable for a piano. They probably don't like to showcase the son's piano playing to visitors so the bedroom door is usually closed.

A few years ago I met a retired man who got hold of an old upright from a friend who moved to another city. Living in a small apartment isn't an issue. The neighbors seem to enjoy his music. The piano is still in good condition although it hasn't been tuned for a while. He tried a few hybrid pianos. The action is as good as you can get to an acoustic piano but the sound is still a bit off.

I know people who live in a house with a baby grand. Personally I prefer a high-end upright. While most upright are similar with a box of strings at the back, I've seen 2 that are unlike the rest including a Boston upright with a 6-star rating from the European Manufacturers Assoc. from a Steinway showroom and a vintage Steinway upright ("Victory") piano that was used in the S. Pacific during the War (1940s) but in very good condition. Otherwise, a good DP would be fine for practice.

Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
Jethro #2992431 06/17/20 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Jethro
Look how many people have technical issues with their digital pianos and it's wrong to assume that these instruments are bullet-proof. The high end digital hybrids are relatively new to the market and who really knows how much work they will need in the future. Also, the thought of just one power surge knocking out the motherboard would irk me on a 12K plus digital instrument.

On the subject of Power Surges, Earth is way overdue for a massive Corona Mass Ejection event. Most people's houses will be of 0-shielding value, Many surface electronics will fry. We are more vulnerable than ever before, because our modern electronics use extremely tiny voltages.

Wiki:

A coronal mass ejection (CME) is a significant release of plasma and accompanying magnetic field from the solar corona. They often follow solar flares and are normally present during a solar prominence eruption. The plasma is released into the solar wind, and can be observed in coronagraph imagery.

Last edited by jeffcat; 06/17/20 03:03 PM.
Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
Jethro #2992441 06/17/20 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Jethro
There was one forum poster in the digital section who spent upwards of $50,000 to enhance his digital piano so it sounded like the real thing. He bought high powered amps, processors, and massive speakers. He convinced himself that he had perfectly replicated the acoustic grand experience that when I pointed out that I don't think he did, I think he got so upset that I think he stopped posting. So, I try to be very diplomatic when it comes to these discussions and realized that this is a sensitive topic.

It certainly is a sensitive topic. But in the world of high end fidelity, 50k is really common. There are speakers who cost more than that and i have listened to set ups that costs several times that amount. And yet, even if the dynamic is close to a real concert, no electronic system is harmonically comparable to real instruments, no matter what the price is. But of course the difference can be appreciated subjectively and some people may be perfectly happy with it.

Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
jeffcat #2992545 06/18/20 01:51 AM
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Quote
. . . Many surface electronics will fry. . . .

I think that running a DP from a UPS (un-interruptable power supply, which uses line power to charge batteries, and gets power for the DP from the batteries) should overcome the effects of a CME. They're not terribly expensive.

There was a CME -- maybe 30 years ago -- that took down the Quebec and Northern Ontario power grid. But home electronics didn't suffer much, if any, damage. See here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_1989_geomagnetic_storm


. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
Charles Cohen #2992554 06/18/20 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
There was a CME -- maybe 30 years ago -- that took down the Quebec and Northern Ontario power grid. But home electronics didn't suffer much, if any, damage. See here:

Those are just baby CMEs. The big boy's coming. -Assuming covid19 doesn't kill us all first.

Last edited by jeffcat; 06/18/20 02:52 AM.
Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
Jethro #2992629 06/18/20 09:49 AM
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I would like to add that even neighbors who don't complain might feel annoyed. I feel annoyed when my neighbor's dog barks and I've never told her. I know people are annoyed about my children's screaming. They don't tell you directly but it strains the atmosphere. I mean, once we did have a neighbor who actually played the piano and I liked it, but we heard it only in the kitchen and not the bedrooms, it wasn't loud at all (good walls) and she played very very well. No scales and any such things. I wonder if she actually had a DP....


Originally Posted by Jethro
Originally Posted by Eliskas
I just thought I would add my 2 cents but please excuse me if I repeat things that have already been said (I don't have much time to go through all of it).

Half a year ago I bought Yamaha CLP 625 which is the lowest model of the series I believe. I chose Yamaha for the sound (I grew up playing/fooling around with an old upright Petrof which has a very different sound and I've always wanted the Yamaha sound). As for the mechanics, when I play it I feel just like playing a real (acoustic) piano. I couldn't tell the difference. (Of course, it is probably a matter of mastery as well.)

I only feel a little bothered by the fact that I KNOW it is "only" a digital. From time to time I suspect that maybe I can't produce a certain sound because it is not an acoustic, but I consciously know it is not the case. I mean the psychological effect of the fact that my sound comes out of speakers instead of real physical strings, is what I find a little annoing. I do see it as a surrogate. For this reason I hope someday I will be able to have an actual acoustic - just to dismiss the sneaky doubt. (But I have to buy a house before.)

However, I can't stress enough how comfortable it is to:
1) play a piano that gets never out of tune (lets face it, there are so many things you should do regularly... and you just don't do it. The same happens with having your piano tuned.)
2) you can play WHENEVER and WHATEVER you want and noone is going to complain

I should maybe mention (given that the author of the thread was considering the Clavinova series) that very shortly after I bought my CLP 625 I started having different issues (sticky keys, noisy pedal, strange noise at the beginning of a recording, not being able to play staccato in high notes) but I think if I have it serviced they should be able to fix all of it. I was just a little disillusioned ... However, I still adore the sound.

I think it really comes down to where you live and how much you care about people getting annoyed...
Good points.

Enjoy the digital now while you have it and look forward to a new house and a new piano in the future. That's what I did. I never dreamed I would own a nice home let alone a fine piano. But I worked hard and now I have those things. It will happen for you too. Just keep enjoying playing music with whatever instrument you own presently. Isn't it nice to know there will always be other options in the future?

Thank you. I totally agree. I used to think that getting back to playing was possible in maybe 20 years, when the kids would be grown up and I would have money to buy it, but then once I checked and found out that decent digitals had become quite affordable and I bought it for myself. So in a way I already made a dream come true. I practice while my children sleep in the other room so an acoustic actually wouldn't serve me better. I like how sometimes things that seem impossible become quite reachable.

Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2992660 06/18/20 11:39 AM
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I is an interesting question this, and one which I had with myself quite a bit before deciding to shell out some money.

In the end I bought myself a baby grand, which was delivered just before lockdown started, to go alongside my digital (Kawai CA67). Except for my piano lesson, my wife gets annoyed if I play my acoustic grand, so normally I play and practice on my digital with headphones and the acoustic when she is not in the house. Before my grand arrived, the only acoustic I got to play was an upright at my daughters house.

I'll make the following points

* before my grand arrived I thought my CA67 was a good keyboard, replicated the action well. I have always disliked its speakers, but liked the sound through headphones. I was happy with it
* after my grand arrived and I had a few times playing it to get use to it, it is harder to play that the digital. and suddenly the action on the digital felt very bland against the feel of the grand. I made the comment (on here I think - I submitted a piece to the Beethoven recital) that the grand felt like riding a thoroughbred compared to the digital. It has made me less happy about the CA67.
* although my grand has settled in and has gone out of tune as a result, there is still more subtlety in the sound that I can create that I can't create on the digital - its as though the digital is too clinical. I have relearnt Chopin Nocture Op 9 No2 during the lockdown and although i learnt and perfected it mostly on the digital, I can still get more expression from it playing the acoustic.
* I can still effectively practice on the digital to perfect a piece, so its still a great way to practice. I doesn't need one or two short sessions on the acoustic to get the feel of it on their, but then it works.
* Although the GFII action in the Kawai has always been considered the best (before the hybrids emerged), there is a distinct difference between it and the escapement feel on both acoustic pianos I have played.
* I am still glad that I kept my digital

Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2992978 06/19/20 12:16 PM
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Robert Estrin trying to play Chopin "expressively" on a Casio PX-S1000/3000. Besides a reasonable price, being portable and having a great key action, is the sound sufficient for those who played on an acoustic for years?


Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2993015 06/19/20 01:23 PM
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It's hard to judge sound based on a video because it's the sound coming out of my computer speakers not that from the piano speakers. That said from what I can hear I think the sound is fine for a digital piano but it's definitely not as rich as an acoustic. The synthetic quality of the digital sound is very audible. I personally don't like Casios much. The best sound I had in a digital was from a Kawai. Roland does a good job too but IMO is not as good. But that is my personal opinion and you can't argue with tastes.

Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2993183 06/19/20 08:53 PM
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Thank you all for your comments. Today I went to a showroom and played around with some pianos. Not surprisingly, the acoustic ones (even the uprights) resonated with me better than the digital ones. However, given my living circumstances I decided to go with a digital. I am particularly considering Yamaha CLP 635 and Yamaha CLP 645. Any advice on this?

The sounds of the two pianos did not feel that different to my ears. But I like the action on the 645 slightly better. Overall, the differences did not seem too large to me. So at this point, I am leaning towards the 635 because it is $800 cheaper. Nevertheless, I wanted to ask those of you who have experience with either of these two models. What has been your experience and what would you recommend? I heard once that piano teachers tend to recommend the 645 model. I don't know why that is. Is it because the action better prepares you for when you eventually buy an acoustic? Or is there a bigger different in the sounds that I somehow missed today?

Thanks all!

Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2993374 06/20/20 11:49 AM
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The CLP-645 has Yamaha's better NWX action vs the CLP-635's GH3X, so I'm not surprised that you liked it better.

However, unless you are set on a console-style piano, a significantly better value is Yamaha's P-515 slab-style piano. It can be purchased with a stand and three pedals, and looks nice and finished when set up thus. The P-515 has the same action as the CLP-645 plus a complete set of XG voices at half the price.

For more information on the Yamaha P-515, search in the Piano World digital pianos sub-forum.

qi_, in my opinion, the price bracket that includes the Yamaha P-515, Roland FP90 and Kawai ES8 offers the best value in a digital piano for someone at your level. They are not beginner's instruments and yet stay clear of the "overspending on a digital" risk discussed above.

Last edited by Lotus1; 06/20/20 11:50 AM.
Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2993494 06/20/20 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by qi_
Thank you all for your comments. Today I went to a showroom and played around with some pianos. Not surprisingly, the acoustic ones (even the uprights) resonated with me better than the digital ones. However, given my living circumstances I decided to go with a digital. I am particularly considering Yamaha CLP 635 and Yamaha CLP 645. Any advice on this?

The sounds of the two pianos did not feel that different to my ears. But I like the action on the 645 slightly better. Overall, the differences did not seem too large to me. So at this point, I am leaning towards the 635 because it is $800 cheaper. Nevertheless, I wanted to ask those of you who have experience with either of these two models. What has been your experience and what would you recommend? I heard once that piano teachers tend to recommend the 645 model. I don't know why that is. Is it because the action better prepares you for when you eventually buy an acoustic? Or is there a bigger different in the sounds that I somehow missed today?

Thanks all!


While I know you're looking at these two Yamahas. Did you look at Nord Grand yet?

I highly recommend Nord Grand. I have owned acoustic upright and a few Nords. I actually prefer digital over acoustic, so I think you're making a great choice. For me, I enjoy having an array of sounds, White Grand, Digital, 80s, Electric, and so on. It's fun to sometimes just use the other instrument sound libraries too. The Nord Grand also has a great wood stand option and monitors. Not to mentions a Kawaii keybed. You can often find demo versions of the Nord grand at places like Sweetwater Music and Kraft Music. Keep in mind no matter what you buy most places like Sweetwater and Kraft can offer you discount when you call a rep.

Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2993545 06/20/20 08:46 PM
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For learning piano, a Kawai MP11SE is hands down superior to a Nord Grand. And a Kawai MP7SE will be at least as good as a Nord Grand for that purpose, but much cheaper. There is just no reason for a beginning student to pay for a Nord Grand-- it would be paying for a number of features not relevant to learning the piano, and the changes Nord had Kawai make to the action may have detracted from its translation to an acoustic piano in the interest of supporting the range of sounds on a stage piano.

But an acoustic upright in good condition is a better option for learning piano.


Login name is a tribute to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck.
Re: Buy a digital piano or an upright acoustic?
qi_ #2993671 06/21/20 08:06 AM
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I began a couple years ago with a digital piano, a humble Yamaha DGX660, which has the same GHS keybed than the more common P125 and P45. On mid February, just weeks before the COVID-19 epidemic forced a lockdown in my country, I bought a Yamaha U3H upright. During these two years, I have played plenty of different digital pianos, and also some other uprights (I have yet to play a grand, but as it wouldn't fit on my current home setup, it is better not to get tempted by it grin)

My experience so far is that the sound landscape you get from an acoustic, even an upright, has no parallel in the digital world. I have also plenty of piano VSTs, from Pianoteq to UVI, passing by NI, Arturia and such. It is a good approximation but still not the same. I have also a weighted MIDI controller to play the VSTs, but besides the touch, the sound is just not so rich.

Also, properly playing a digital piano does not mean you will able to immediately control the dynamics on an acoustic, which is quite a lot more difficult (bass tends to eat treble shocked )

So I would go for an upright, as sooner or later you will end there. Other option is to have both, as I do now, but if only one, my decision would be that.

Of course, YMMV and just IMHO.

Stay safe!


Yamaha U3H
Kawai VPC1
plus some other DPs, keyboards and VSTs
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