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Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
personne #3033913 10/09/20 05:05 PM
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I don't mean to be entirely pessimistic about the possibility. I do think there are viable "upgrade" strategies of sorts.

We've seen it with Yamaha adding an audio interface to the CLP-6XX and NU1X, and with Dexibell's AquaVivo OS doing the same and more. In reality, I think both have been the intended end state of the product from the beginning, and just didn't ship in time for initial release.

Dexibell can continue to add various features to their OS since it seems very much to be a GP computing foundation.

And there are promised upgrades like the CP-88, that add new features and sounds on a regular basis (I think this includes the Nord library as well).

I think it's very hard to expect a "true" upgrade path to span generations (buy one DP, have it be current and competitive 5-10 years in the future via upgrades). But if you want a DP that has a dedicated support path and commitments to release new sounds and minor fixes/additions for x years, it seems like there are some options out there.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
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Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
personne #3033919 10/09/20 05:36 PM
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While marketing ensures us that DP are almost indistinguishable from acoustics for at least a decade, it's hard to deny that DPs do get better and closer to APs. And there are diminishing returns: the closer we get, the harder it gets to make progress. We already have samples of astonishing quality in modern VSTs. We already have binaural samples. We already have technology to combine sampling with modeling. DP are already tailoring generic samples to match the particular speaker setup/cabinet of a particular digital piano. We already have hybrid actions and very realistic non-hybrid actions, soundboards and so on. There isn't a single area where MUCH is left to improve. I feel like all the necessary parts of a "perfect digital piano" already exist, nobody just combined them all in a single instrument. And to be fair this hypothetical "perfect instrument" would cost more that N3X obviously, I don't think there is big enough market for it. Price is a major limiting factor as well, it triggers me as well when I see how slowly DPs follow the progress in computer hardware, memory and processing power become so much cheaper, software became blazingly fast, touchscreens of the cheapest noname Chinese smartphones would easily beat touchscreens of the most expensive DPs, but all these things have little to do with the sound/action. And things that have a lot to do with sound like speakers, actions, cabinets, etc. either don't tend to become cheaper and easier to make, or in case of software are limited by R&D, not by hardware.

Last edited by Nifrigel; 10/09/20 05:38 PM.
Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
personne #3033930 10/09/20 06:36 PM
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They absolutely CAN do this. But they don't want to, they'd rather sell you a new one.

Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
Nifrigel #3033938 10/09/20 07:00 PM
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Not so fast. The pianos sound good through headphones. But through speakers they're not even close to being a convincing replacement for an acoustic piano.
Originally Posted by Nifrigel
There isn't a single area where MUCH is left to improve.

Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
personne #3033944 10/09/20 07:32 PM
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Yes, if you have a midi controller, VST or midi module, and separate sound system, each of the three major components (action, piano engine, audio system) may be upgraded independently of each other.

Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
Nifrigel #3033953 10/09/20 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Nifrigel
While marketing ensures us that DP are almost indistinguishable from acoustics for at least a decade, it's hard to deny that DPs do get better and closer to APs. And there are diminishing returns: the closer we get, the harder it gets to make progress. We already have samples of astonishing quality in modern VSTs. We already have binaural samples. We already have technology to combine sampling with modeling. DP are already tailoring generic samples to match the particular speaker setup/cabinet of a particular digital piano. We already have hybrid actions and very realistic non-hybrid actions, soundboards and so on. There isn't a single area where MUCH is left to improve. I feel like all the necessary parts of a "perfect digital piano" already exist, nobody just combined them all in a single instrument. And to be fair this hypothetical "perfect instrument" would cost more that N3X obviously, I don't think there is big enough market for it. Price is a major limiting factor as well, it triggers me as well when I see how slowly DPs follow the progress in computer hardware, memory and processing power become so much cheaper, software became blazingly fast, touchscreens of the cheapest noname Chinese smartphones would easily beat touchscreens of the most expensive DPs, but all these things have little to do with the sound/action. And things that have a lot to do with sound like speakers, actions, cabinets, etc. either don't tend to become cheaper and easier to make, or in case of software are limited by R&D, not by hardware.

If DPs are already this good, why do you want to upgrade? Just buy your favorite and live with it "forever" (until it breaks).

Me, I think I may be too picky. Let me concentrate just on sound to keep it simple: none of the DPs I tried or listened to recordings of had a sound barely comparable with the worst acoustic piano that I ever tried. In other words, the worst spinet (if in tune) that I played, to me sounded better than the best DP (or virtual piano software) I have ever heard.

Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
personne #3033987 10/10/20 12:43 AM
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Oh man! I've played some bad acoustics years ago. Couldn't hear them unamplified and when you did, it was unpleasant. best one I played had no back, no front, and nowhere to place your music, beer or ciggie.
We had it rough in those days . . . . portable organs took care of all that. And then you could send the bass player packing too.


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
MacMacMac #3033991 10/10/20 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Not so fast. The pianos sound good through headphones. But through speakers they're not even close to being a convincing replacement for an acoustic piano.
As a matter of fact, neither are they through headphones.


Yamaha AvantGrand N1X
Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
peterws #3034019 10/10/20 03:15 AM
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OK, so they sounded bad. But you're listed as a Crematorium Organist.
So there couldn't have been many complaints from clients, eh? smile
Originally Posted by peterws
Oh man! I've played some bad acoustics years ago. Couldn't hear them unamplified and when you did, it was unpleasant. best one I played had no back, no front, and nowhere to place your music, beer or ciggie.
We had it rough in those days . . . . portable organs took care of all that. And then you could send the bass player packing too.

Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
magicpiano #3034026 10/10/20 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by magicpiano
[quote=OscarRamsey]

Do you mean the so called "MIDI Expanders"? They still exist. For example, if you like how Dexibell DP sound, you can buy a Dexibell MIDI expander and connect it to any MIDI keyboard:

The nice thing of that Dexibell Sound Module is that it's upgradable. You can upload new piano sounds on it and they are free to download for Dexibell customers.

Now that is exactly what I was on about - seems it has their top end processor/sound built-in.

I'd be keen to demo that (once employment returns). 👍


Learning to play. Consciously incompetent, which apparently is a good starting point. smirk
Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
Gombessa #3034050 10/10/20 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Making something upgradable always seems like a good idea, and very intuitive. Until reality hits...
I love the promise of upgradability, but the cynic in me sees it as quite the siren's call.

Spot on, Gombessa. As a gamer I am caught in the spiral of video cards upgrades. As much as I like Nvidia (I made much money with their stock), I have found that if you buy their latest top of the line when it comes out, you can keep it about two years max, upgrade once for another two years donating your old card to a kid, and at the next update the CPU gets overloaded, so you have to rebuild your PC every 4 years.

Another fallacy is the "will do all tasks" combinations. A piece of equipment that is supposed to be multi-tasks is usually second rate at doing anything. This is why I hate silent pianos, etc... If you need to humour the neighbours at night, buy a separate digital. My motto is one dedicated piece of hardware for each task, and the best you can afford.



Steinway "A". Roland LX 706. Viscount Sonus 45 hybrid organ with 165 real pipes. Harpsichord by Marc Fontaine.
Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
personne #3034056 10/10/20 07:55 AM
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In 2019, Dell sold some upgradable laptops (Alienware 51m) that topped out around $5,000. In 2020, Dell announced there would be no updated CPU or GPU modules. I can't believe that Dell expected this PR disaster. I would like to think that Intel and nVidia made some late pinout changes that Dell did not anticipate and could not adapt to. The Alienware business manager was also leaving at that time to nVidia, so Alienware was a ship without a captain.

We had the opportunity to demo plenty of "up-gradable" electronics as my dad worked for big tech firms. I'm struggling to think of proprietary gadgets that really were up-gradable after a year or so. Some laptop accessories were swappable but seemed to have minor changes every generation as a form of improvement, or planned obsolescence (think docks, batteries, HDD modules, power bricks, etc).

That expensive TomTom GPS (for our monster truck) with "lifetime" maps was recently obsoleted. c2018, TomTom redefined "lifetime" to that date management "felt" a hardware was obsolete, lol. Morons running that company into the ground.

Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
personne #3034069 10/10/20 08:36 AM
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@np: Are you really now in Denmark?

Also ... I'm skeptical about upgradability. Especially for tech devices.

Worst case is "ready", as in 3D-ready and digital-ready TVs. These debuted before 3D and before digital ... and were obsolete by the time 3D and digital were available.

Pianos just don't upgrade.
If you want to improve your piano, use virtual instruments. You can replace those at will.
All else is fixed in cement.

Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
personne #3034083 10/10/20 09:26 AM
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AFAIK, more than the piano engine itself, the thing with Dexibell is that you can choose how to fill the 1.5GB internal storage memory. You can put in hundreds of cheap synth sounds or just put in a few good quality piano sounds (you can download them for free from the Dexibell site... There are german pianos, italian pianos, american pianos, japanese pianos, etc.) + some strings or whatever combination. You can use soundfonts too.
Of course if in the future they make a piano library that doesn't fit anymore in the memory of the old sound module (i.e.: much longer samples, many more velocity layers, etc.), you are f***ed (unless they do a "lite" version compatible with the older modules). But it's logic that an upgradable electronic device cannot be upgraded forever. Anyway I like the more flexible approach of Dexibell. What I don't like is their DPs chassis design. They are all horrible looking, IMHO... Like some "newage" furniture from the 1960.

Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
personne #3034095 10/10/20 10:22 AM
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In my mind there are 3 components to a DP, The input(Keyboard), Sound Generation, and the output (speakers)

Of those 3 components 2 are already externally upgradable. Using MIDI you can change to whatever VST you prefer then in a few years you can change to another VST if you prefer. You can also create your own speaker system and generate the output you want. There again you can upgrade a few years down the road. As to the keyboard, That I don't see being upgradable just due to the physical nature of it. The upgrade model for DP's follows the same model that PC's due, it's third party vendors that provide the upgrade path. The difference is that you can put the upgrades to a PC into the case for a DP it would be external. I agree with others who have speculated that providing upgradable components from the manufacture would be a non starter for them for the reasons mentioned in other posts.

BTW the more creative can get a piano shell case, VPC1, small form factor computer to run VST's and speakers and make their own upgradable DP. Much like building your own gaming rig.


Yamaha NU1X, Sennheiser HD 599 headphones, dabling with PianoTeq
Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
personne #3034104 10/10/20 10:52 AM
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Like this?

[Linked Image]

Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
U3piano #3034119 10/10/20 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Like this?

Haha! There is something aesthetic lacking here, but IMO you can't beat that functionality. Large-format touchscreen to show music (and the same PC can run VSTs). Needs some design help, though.

Originally Posted by U3piano
... demonstrations where people walk with signs like "save the tree's, upgradable dp's!" I think it would be one of the more useful causes people tend to demonstrate for these days!/

U3, this has got to be one of the funniest things I've read in a long while!!! laugh


Previous owner of a Yahama P-120 - now has new life with a student
New owner of a Kawai CA79 (and love it!)
Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
MacMacMac #3034171 10/10/20 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac

Like this?

[Linked Image]
Yes, looks good, I approve smile

With cabinets following speaker standards like Dolby DP surround sound 2.0, 4.0, 4.1, 6.0, 6.1 etc, first number for a number of speakers, and .1 used to indicate some kind of a soundboard.

You can always upgrade your piano using some external hardware, the main problem with this it is a less convenient setup, and additional VST or hardware not being household names like Yamaha / Kawai / Roland.

I also feel that specialized chips, like one used in DPs, are usually doing their job better than a general purpose GPUs - example is you can use Roku / Fire stick for 50$ to decode 4k, but GPU couldn't do this up until 7th generation Intel, and only can do this now due to special hardware being built in, AFAIK.


Roland HP-507RW | Yamaha U1 | Roland FP-90
Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
U3piano #3034246 10/10/20 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by U3piano
I just painted a picture in my head of demonstrations where people walk with signs like
"save the tree's, upgradable dp's!"
Me too!

Re: Making premium digital pianos upgradable
personne #3034253 10/10/20 06:02 PM
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There's a better way. Recycling! Turn that piano into fine quality garden mulch.

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