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Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
#3039860 10/27/20 10:04 AM
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Hey everyone, good morning to you. I open this thread to discuss with some people with experience about one topic that is making my decision a little bit hard.
I'm a newcome in the forum and english is not my native language, so if some part of my examination could result unclear, if you'll point that out I'll try to explain it in a better way.

Let's get to the point: I was looking for a portable digital piano to practice at home. I played piano when I was younger, than i drop it and now I started again. Latest I played an upright by Kurzweil and an acoustic grand by Kawai. So this are my "references". I wanted two things above all: a great action and a pleasing sound through the internal speakers.

I started out with the entry levels: KAWAI ES110, YAMAHA P-125 and ROLAND FP-30. Eventually the decision went to the latter.
The experience with the PHA-4 was pretty good for the price. I found the heavyness pretty fair, but the key action was a bit clumsy and felt somehow not so responsive. Anyway the audio reproduction was the real problem, because I discovered in that moment that I would never been able to like a DP with downward facing speakers. The sound was muffled, undefined. In a word: unpleasant. So I returned my instument.

At this point, I started to look at the upper tier to combine my needs of good speakers (and good sound of course) with good actions. After a good amount of research I ended up after many adventures purchasing a KAWAI ES-920.
I found this instrument to be an obvious and somehow brutal step up in comparison with the FP-30. That had to be expected. But unfortunately after some use I discovered that the onboard speakers weren't adeguate and also the action presented some problems, showing sings of wear just after few hours. I don't know if i get a faulty unit or not.
Anywat, I then decided to consider and TRY in person all the actions available in this price range (under 2000$/€). This are my conclusions and I hope you will express your opinions as well about this topic.

RH3
Tested on a KAWAI ES920
The action, made all with plastic, is praised all over the world for its realism. Reading some feedbacks, this is also the most prone to wear. And I saw this in person. Few hours of playing and some keys were already with uneven feeling (less force expressed by the key to return in position) and clumbersome noises on some keys. The action itself isn't so loud, so you notice this differences even more.
Overall the feeling under my finger was after all pretty good. The tactile ivory and ebony textures felt pleasant. The touch a bit on the light side, maybe a little "springy" but not in such a way as to invalidate the playing experience. The keybed result pretty easy to play, but I wouldn't call it super fast as far as it goes for "repetition", but as ease to play and depress the keys. The dynamic expression is pretty good.

NWX
Tested on a YAMAHA P-515
The action is made with wood coated in plastic. This was perhaps the most controversial action off the whole bunch. This action is the most precise, most solid and maybe most "fast" of the three. When I say "fast", i mean this is an action that puts the keys back in positions in a blink of an eye. Unfortunately this comes at a cost: the infamous initial weight of the keys, that somebody measured at over 90g (!) when I've read everywhere that a good grand piano would seat between 50 and 60g. It's pretty obvious the amount of force you have to put to make a key in motion. Then, all of a sudden, the force requested decreases considerably. This particularly behaviour in my opionion limits the ease to play pp, because once you broke the static weight of the key, the power you put on your fingers is soon too much.
This action is the noisest of the three. The action is not very noisy when a key is depressed, but it is when the key returns in his initial position (even if the rebound is almost non existant compared for instance to the RH3). Another really annoying thing is that the plastic of the keys is very very noisy. It's noisy if you touch it with a nail but also when your fingertip hits a little harder the key. This is something I cannot get over, also because the plastic and finish of the RH3 and PHA-50 doesn't produce at all this "chaff" "chaff" when hit.
Many players also stated that this action is fatiguing over time if you play for long periods. I can quote the famous Stu from Merriam Music, an experienced and talented player that also said this.
So, concluding my initial statement, this action is fast IF you can put a constant amount of force while playing.

PHA-50
Tested on a ROLAND FP-90
Action made with hybrid technique, plastic body with inserts of wood. The feeling in my opinion sits a bit between the upper two actions. It reminds a bit the RH3 but it's a little heavier, and as the RH3 feels a bit "springy". It is a solid keybed, it's very quiet while used. It feels precise and solid. Not very bouncy. The dynamic expression achievable in this instrument seemed the best of the three. Playing PP was very easy.
The only thing is the amount of force required to depress a key and keep it down seems to be almost even.
i have to say none of this three action came really close to the acoustic grand KAWAI I played, since there the experience is obviously more authentic, the force needed isn't too much, you feel the hammer, ecc. The NWX maybe comes close but goes far away with that insane and inexplicable static weight... In my opinion a NWX action with the static weight of the PHA-50 would be a perfect balance. But I don't know if this is only me.

Anyway, personal conclusions. The speaker sistem of both the P-515 and the FP-90 is in my opionion superior to the ES-920. The two have separate tweeters and woofers, so this maybe is the secret. Also the body in my opinion is crucial in terms of vibrations and unpleasant resonances. Metal vs Plastic makes a sensitive difference IMO.
I though that the PHA-50 had the better balance of the two worlds (RH3 and NWX). Then I heard a pianist sayng that PHA-50 is fatiguing in long runs and the doubts came up again. Stu from Merriam Music defined the PHA-50 "pure butter", so who knows who's right?

What are your thoughts about this topic?
Do you agree with me or you have other feelings?
It'll be very interesting to ear you.
After returning my ES920, I'm now waiting for a restock of the FP-90.

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Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
dp7 #3039865 10/27/20 10:09 AM
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The speaker system on the FP90 is still too low-powered IMO to fully benefit the modelled piano sounds, and I would be going for either powered monitors for the room/studio, or a tower/or other PA system for performance. That's the issue with Roland modeled piano, but also, the Roland has a pretty cheap internal headphone amp, so I'd be getting an external amp to test the instrument with using headphones.

If you prefer the sound of the ES920 and the actions are equivalent, I'd opt for something like the Focal Alpha 50's bare minimum to boost the on-board amplification.

Bear in mind what these systems are designed for: small rooms, dorms etc, for practice purpose only. As most practice using headphones, the amplification is somewhat an optional extra --- useful but not a dominating concern. If it were, manufacturers would make more of an effort!


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7SE; Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000
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Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
Doug M. #3039885 10/27/20 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug M.
The speaker system on the FP90 is still too low-powered IMO to fully benefit the modelled piano sounds, and I would be going for either powered monitors for the room/studio, or a tower/or other PA system for performance. That's the issue with Roland modeled piano, but also, the Roland has a pretty cheap internal headphone amp, so I'd be getting an external amp to test the instrument with using headphones.

If you prefer the sound of the ES920 and the actions are equivalent, I'd opt for something like the Focal Alpha 50's bare minimum to boost the on-board amplification.

Bear in mind what these systems are designed for: small rooms, dorms etc, for practice purpose only. As most practice using headphones, the amplification is somewhat an optional extra --- useful but not a dominating concern. If it were, manufacturers would make more of an effort!
Hi Doug and thank you for your reply.
Unfortunately where I'll be spending the majority of the time, I really don't have space to add monitors or PA (I couldn't afford them anyways if that matters as at right now...)...
That's why I'm forced to rely on the internal speakers... The Kawai had plenty of power for my needs, and also sounded really good, the problem was the definition of the sound ruined by the body vibrations... Roland offers 20watts more, separate tweeters and woofers in a solid metal body. I boosted up the bass slider in the store to stress them and I heard no distortions at all. The sound was good, I think will be adeguate for my home practice...

Now I'm a bit concerned if one of the two actions (NWX/PHA50) could result fatiguing...
That's why it'll be interesting to hear some thoughts about that!

Didn't knew about the headphone amp issue with the FP-90. Interesting, thank you for pointing it out!

Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
dp7 #3039899 10/27/20 11:13 AM
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I should say I agree with most of your findings.
Firstly I must say that the RHIII in the CN29/39 was nicer than in the ES8, less bouncy on return. So that I don't disappoint Kawai James. Who still hasn't provided any meaningful explanation. The ES8 in the store has likely been there for months or years but didn't seem degraded, though the difference might have been due to "breaking-in" as the CNs were fresh at the time. The ES8 speakers sounded okay for a slab to me, but the CN29 sounded better, and the CN39 (dual speakers) again better and the top CAs even better.
Today I'd likely pick the ES920 because of less weight, regardless of the bounciness and probably more plasticky feel (I haven't seen it in person yet).

> (P515) It's pretty obvious the amount of force you have to put to make a key in motion. Then, all of a sudden, the force requested decreases considerably. This particularly behaviour in my opionion limits the ease to play pp, because once you broke the static weight of the key, the power you put on your fingers is soon too much.

This wink Though, a couple of lower-end Yamaha AUs I've played are also like that. But my AU isn't, so I don't like it.
I think general heaviness isn't just the initial/maximum force. With Rolands, one must push heavier lower down. Physics: A = int F(s) ds wink

> The speaker sistem of both the P-515 and the FP-90 is in my opionion superior to the ES-920.

The FP90 speaker system may be superior by specs, but it doesn't sound good to me. Muddy midtones. It is okay on my Sennheiser headphones, but not on some other headphones I've got. Generally I prefer the Kawai sound.

Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
dp7 #3039944 10/27/20 01:11 PM
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Hmm. Your English is better than mine and loads better than that o' the Yanks here!
Concerning the 515 which i have, I too, did the rounds before buying it. I really really wanted a light action because of my dodgy thumbs, but having previously the nuanced delights of Yamaha's GHS, my thumbs didn't thank me.
I tried the ES110 and liked it a lot. A superbly light usable action (no need for me to be too fussy, I'm not that good) I'd considered the reliability aspects and walked away.
Experience with Roland's latest and greatest (LX708), also Casio's GP510 impressed me but slightly. I'd never pay such money for so little in return.
The 515 struck me as different. I liked it best, the dynamics on the CLP645 were good, but the sound was very clear, unlike any piano I'd ever heard. But the action was night and day from that of the CLP635 next to it.
I therefore bought the 515 basically untried. You cannot get an objective view of these in a shop setting, so I took a chance.
Truth is I liked the shiny bits on it.
I've never had problems with it over the last 12 months (I leave it switched on all the time) and it'll stay for a long time, until something better looking turns up.

Hope my missus doesn't see this last bit . . . .

Last edited by peterws; 10/27/20 01:12 PM.

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Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
peterws #3040013 10/27/20 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws
Your English is better than mine and loads better than that o' the Yanks here!
hehehe

Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
dp7 #3040025 10/27/20 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dp7
Originally Posted by Doug M.
The speaker system on the FP90 is still too low-powered IMO to fully benefit the modelled piano sounds, and I would be going for either powered monitors for the room/studio, or a tower/or other PA system for performance. That's the issue with Roland modeled piano, but also, the Roland has a pretty cheap internal headphone amp, so I'd be getting an external amp to test the instrument with using headphones.

If you prefer the sound of the ES920 and the actions are equivalent, I'd opt for something like the Focal Alpha 50's bare minimum to boost the on-board amplification.

Bear in mind what these systems are designed for: small rooms, dorms etc, for practice purpose only. As most practice using headphones, the amplification is somewhat an optional extra --- useful but not a dominating concern. If it were, manufacturers would make more of an effort!
Hi Doug and thank you for your reply.
Unfortunately where I'll be spending the majority of the time, I really don't have space to add monitors or PA (I couldn't afford them anyways if that matters as at right now...)...
That's why I'm forced to rely on the internal speakers... The Kawai had plenty of power for my needs, and also sounded really good, the problem was the definition of the sound ruined by the body vibrations... Roland offers 20watts more, separate tweeters and woofers in a solid metal body. I boosted up the bass slider in the store to stress them and I heard no distortions at all. The sound was good, I think will be adeguate for my home practice...

Now I'm a bit concerned if one of the two actions (NWX/PHA50) could result fatiguing...
That's why it'll be interesting to hear some thoughts about that!

Didn't knew about the headphone amp issue with the FP-90. Interesting, thank you for pointing it out!

Not sure if it works for you but if I were in your shoes I'd buy MP11SE and use headphones until I save enough money to buy monitor speakers.


Kawai MP7SE, Yamaha MOTF XF6, Yamaha WX5, Yamaha Pacifica 112v
Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
dp7 #3040274 10/28/20 11:00 AM
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When I compared the FP90, ES8 and P-515 about 2 years ago, I had similar impressions. I finally bought the P-515, but I wasn't satisfied with the onboard speaker sound (the mids too discolored and somehow squeezed) so later I connected iLoud Micromonitors, which I really like. (as opposed to Doug M. ...)

My NWX keyboard in the P 515 has a down weight of 85g in the middle octaves. (Determined with coins) Presumably for reasons of weight, Yamaha decided not to install the original NWX version with counterweights in a slab, as it is in the CLP 585. Before the latest GrandTouch versions were released recently, many believed this weighted NWX to be Yamaha's best folded keyboard action - where the down weight is said to be around 65g. (That would be an estimated 20g counterweight per key, which would increase the total weight by approx. 1.8 kg and because the P515 already weighs 22kg, it was probably dispensed with ...)

At that time I was able to play the CLP585 with the counterweighted NWX nereby the P515 and there I hardly felt anything of the P515 actions "crusty top", so to speak, and I also noticed that the control in playing pp was easier. I would have preferred the weighted keyboard. But unfortunately, according to information from Yamaha, it is not possible to install the weighted NWX in the P-515 later by replacing, or to retrofit the counterweights there.

Nevertheless, it is also possible to get used to the somewhat heavier unweighted keyboard and thus to play pp in a controlled manner. In a way, the small hurdle may even be an advantage for practicing, because if you can control the pp on the P515, it should be easier to this on a real acoustic.

Admittedly, I have also toyed with the idea of ​​whether one could somehow attach counterweights under the keys using a do-it-yourself method, but I don't know whether it would be that easy (space, adhesive, stability, etc ... hints welcome). The repetition should not suffer from an increased down weight, because the up weight on P515 is over 60g. (You can also simulate the lighter touch feel by placing coins weighing around 15-20 g on the keys of the P-515 as a test.) Anyway, as long as my P515 is still under warranty, I'll definitely leave it untouched.

Regards,
Mathias

Last edited by Kammerklang; 10/28/20 11:05 AM.
Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
Kammerklang #3040288 10/28/20 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Kammerklang
... the up weight on P515 is over 60g....

sorry, that is too high, it is more around 50g I guess

M.

Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
dp7 #3040411 10/28/20 04:57 PM
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“ Presumably for reasons of weight, Yamaha decided not to install the original NWX version with counterweights in a slab, as it is in the CLP 585.”. Only the x85 have counterweights. I think Yamaha just want you to buy the more expensive CLP if you want counterweights.


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Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
Abdol #3040434 10/28/20 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by _sem_
I should say I agree with most of your findings.
Firstly I must say that the RHIII in the CN29/39 was nicer than in the ES8, less bouncy on return. So that I don't disappoint Kawai James. Who still hasn't provided any meaningful explanation. The ES8 in the store has likely been there for months or years but didn't seem degraded, though the difference might have been due to "breaking-in" as the CNs were fresh at the time. The ES8 speakers sounded okay for a slab to me, but the CN29 sounded better, and the CN39 (dual speakers) again better and the top CAs even better.
Today I'd likely pick the ES920 because of less weight, regardless of the bounciness and probably more plasticky feel (I haven't seen it in person yet).

> (P515) It's pretty obvious the amount of force you have to put to make a key in motion. Then, all of a sudden, the force requested decreases considerably. This particularly behaviour in my opionion limits the ease to play pp, because once you broke the static weight of the key, the power you put on your fingers is soon too much.

This wink Though, a couple of lower-end Yamaha AUs I've played are also like that. But my AU isn't, so I don't like it.
I think general heaviness isn't just the initial/maximum force. With Rolands, one must push heavier lower down. Physics: A = int F(s) ds wink

> The speaker sistem of both the P-515 and the FP-90 is in my opionion superior to the ES-920.

The FP90 speaker system may be superior by specs, but it doesn't sound good to me. Muddy midtones. It is okay on my Sennheiser headphones, but not on some other headphones I've got. Generally I prefer the Kawai sound.
Hey Sem, thank you for taking time to add your thoughts. I think the ES-920 is equipped with the refined version of RH3 you're talking about. I discovered that KAWAI labels its action the same way even if there are some subtle changes or improvements. I tried in person the ES8 and the ES-920 (they both utilise RH3 action) and I think the latter is equipped with the same action of CN29/39, the rebound seems a little bit more restrained. I can count 2 "tutum" to put again the keys back in position in the ES-920, whilst the ES8 makes three rebounds. The problems I had with my ES920 were related to body (or speakers) vibrations (similar to turbulences...) and the action that presented signs of wear after a very little playing. Maybe if I find the way I'll post a video of what the action presented in my unit. A second ES920 I've tried in a store presented the same "audio" issue.
Forgive my ignorance, what do you mean when you say "Yamaha AU"?

Talking about Roland actions, do you think they could result fatiguing overtime? You refer to what I was saying in the OP when I said that the amount of force required to depress the key is equal from the top to the bottom of the keybed? As I said, the NWX action feels good but that initial weight is a serious problem in my opinion...
Roland and Yamaha took a total different approach, but none of them achieved the true feeling of an acoustin IMO.

Bear in mind that the FP-90, thanks to the modelling sound presents an extreme amount of personalization for every single note and the sound in general. Many people said that you can put out of the instrument a real good sound. In the store, the sound signature wasn't bad at all. The expressivity that one could put was really surprising. Maybe also the 100 levels of sensitivity for the keys comes in handy in this regard.

Anyway I love too the sound produced by KAWAI. It's simply beautiful. I wished I could have the chance to keep my ES920 but I'm too worried about receiving another faulty unit. I want a durable slab for my practice. The price tag is pretty high to not forgive some major weakness.




Originally Posted by peterws
Hmm. Your English is better than mine and loads better than that o' the Yanks here!
Concerning the 515 which i have, I too, did the rounds before buying it. I really really wanted a light action because of my dodgy thumbs, but having previously the nuanced delights of Yamaha's GHS, my thumbs didn't thank me.
I tried the ES110 and liked it a lot. A superbly light usable action (no need for me to be too fussy, I'm not that good) I'd considered the reliability aspects and walked away.
Experience with Roland's latest and greatest (LX708), also Casio's GP510 impressed me but slightly. I'd never pay such money for so little in return.
The 515 struck me as different. I liked it best, the dynamics on the CLP645 were good, but the sound was very clear, unlike any piano I'd ever heard. But the action was night and day from that of the CLP635 next to it.
I therefore bought the 515 basically untried. You cannot get an objective view of these in a shop setting, so I took a chance.
Truth is I liked the shiny bits on it.
I've never had problems with it over the last 12 months (I leave it switched on all the time) and it'll stay for a long time, until something better looking turns up.

Hope my missus doesn't see this last bit . . . .
I am grateful to be at least understandable! XD
I'm happy to ear you found your perfect partner for music. I hope the new YAMAHA flagship model of P series will reduce the initial weight of the keys. Also as I was saying, the plastic coat of the NWX seems really poor quality, when I played it the noise of my fingers hitting the keys was so noticeable ... As if the keys were almost hollow. They have wood inside, so must ultimately be the choice of the plastic. A real pity.
The NWX by the way felt a little mechanical but in return it was incredibly solid, precise, a true sharp action.

The LX708 mounts the Hybrid Grand Action, am I right? It should be a refined PHA-50 with longer keys and pivot points. I can imagine this can produce an even better feeling, but they're out of budget also for me. Would have been interesting to ear your opinion on the FP-90 action but I assume you didn't had the chance to go out and try it.




Originally Posted by Abdol
Originally Posted by dp7
Originally Posted by Doug M.
The speaker system on the FP90 is still too low-powered IMO to fully benefit the modelled piano sounds, and I would be going for either powered monitors for the room/studio, or a tower/or other PA system for performance. That's the issue with Roland modeled piano, but also, the Roland has a pretty cheap internal headphone amp, so I'd be getting an external amp to test the instrument with using headphones.

If you prefer the sound of the ES920 and the actions are equivalent, I'd opt for something like the Focal Alpha 50's bare minimum to boost the on-board amplification.

Bear in mind what these systems are designed for: small rooms, dorms etc, for practice purpose only. As most practice using headphones, the amplification is somewhat an optional extra --- useful but not a dominating concern. If it were, manufacturers would make more of an effort!
Hi Doug and thank you for your reply.
Unfortunately where I'll be spending the majority of the time, I really don't have space to add monitors or PA (I couldn't afford them anyways if that matters as at right now...)...
That's why I'm forced to rely on the internal speakers... The Kawai had plenty of power for my needs, and also sounded really good, the problem was the definition of the sound ruined by the body vibrations... Roland offers 20watts more, separate tweeters and woofers in a solid metal body. I boosted up the bass slider in the store to stress them and I heard no distortions at all. The sound was good, I think will be adeguate for my home practice...

Now I'm a bit concerned if one of the two actions (NWX/PHA50) could result fatiguing...
That's why it'll be interesting to hear some thoughts about that!

Didn't knew about the headphone amp issue with the FP-90. Interesting, thank you for pointing it out!

Not sure if it works for you but if I were in your shoes I'd buy MP11SE and use headphones until I save enough money to buy monitor speakers.
The lack of space is the best friend of my lack of money! :P

Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
dp7 #3040441 10/28/20 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Kammerklang
When I compared the FP90, ES8 and P-515 about 2 years ago, I had similar impressions. I finally bought the P-515, but I wasn't satisfied with the onboard speaker sound (the mids too discolored and somehow squeezed) so later I connected iLoud Micromonitors, which I really like. (as opposed to Doug M. ...)

My NWX keyboard in the P 515 has a down weight of 85g in the middle octaves. (Determined with coins) Presumably for reasons of weight, Yamaha decided not to install the original NWX version with counterweights in a slab, as it is in the CLP 585. Before the latest GrandTouch versions were released recently, many believed this weighted NWX to be Yamaha's best folded keyboard action - where the down weight is said to be around 65g. (That would be an estimated 20g counterweight per key, which would increase the total weight by approx. 1.8 kg and because the P515 already weighs 22kg, it was probably dispensed with ...)

At that time I was able to play the CLP585 with the counterweighted NWX nereby the P515 and there I hardly felt anything of the P515 actions "crusty top", so to speak, and I also noticed that the control in playing pp was easier. I would have preferred the weighted keyboard. But unfortunately, according to information from Yamaha, it is not possible to install the weighted NWX in the P-515 later by replacing, or to retrofit the counterweights there.

Nevertheless, it is also possible to get used to the somewhat heavier unweighted keyboard and thus to play pp in a controlled manner. In a way, the small hurdle may even be an advantage for practicing, because if you can control the pp on the P515, it should be easier to this on a real acoustic.

Admittedly, I have also toyed with the idea of ​​whether one could somehow attach counterweights under the keys using a do-it-yourself method, but I don't know whether it would be that easy (space, adhesive, stability, etc ... hints welcome). The repetition should not suffer from an increased down weight, because the up weight on P515 is over 60g. (You can also simulate the lighter touch feel by placing coins weighing around 15-20 g on the keys of the P-515 as a test.) Anyway, as long as my P515 is still under warranty, I'll definitely leave it untouched.

Regards,
Mathias
This is a truly interesting point of view, Mathias. I think the introduction of counterweights (KAWAI was able to put them in their RH3, but they're saving weight with the lack of wood inside the keys!) could really solve the issue with the static weight of the NWX.
Your thoughts about trying to improve the action by yourself are a testament to the passion that drives who plays an instrument with true love, my friend! I hope YAMAHA engineers will come up this issue by themselves! XD

By the way, I think 85g are way too much. The acoustic grand by KAWAI I'm playing sometimes to practice it's a lot lighter... I'm sure about this.

"Nevertheless, it is also possible to get used to the somewhat heavier unweighted keyboard and thus to play pp in a controlled manner. In a way, the small hurdle may even be an advantage for practicing, because if you can control the pp on the P515, it should be easier to this on a real acoustic."

I tried to convince myself about this, but it's a hard bet with all this money to put on the table... I want to practice without troubles emptying my mind from D1...
It would be interesting to hear the feedbacks also from somebody that has a PHA-50 action in his digital piano. Roland seems the black swan of the three companies. Yet Roland (with its beloved DP2000 for instance) seems a good selling company!

Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
dp7 #3040497 10/29/20 12:59 AM
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I own a black swan grin RD 2000.
I have no problem with this, because the RD 2000 is a feature beast,when using VSTs.

I can confirm all your impressions about the three keybed actions.

Especially :

‚In my opinion a NWX action with the static weight of the PHA-50 would be a perfect balance.´

In my opinion the key action of the CLP 745 has made this step forward.

I played the P 515 for an hour and feld the muscles in my forearms,
with PHA-50 i can play 3 hours / day with no problems.

As Abdol said , why not choosing the MP11SE ?
If weight is no problem for you.

Last edited by klausi6; 10/29/20 01:00 AM.

RD 2000, VSL Synchron Bösendorfer, PT Bechstein–Blüthner-Steinway D+B, Modern U, Garritan CFX Lite, AK. Studio Grand

Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
dp7 #3040500 10/29/20 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dp7
Talking about Roland actions, do you think they could result fatiguing overtime? You refer to what I was saying in the OP when I said that the amount of force required to depress the key is equal from the top to the bottom of the keybed?

Bear in mind that the FP-90, thanks to the modelling sound presents an extreme amount of personalization for every single note and the sound in general. Many people said that you can put out of the instrument a real good sound. In the store, the sound signature wasn't bad at all. The expressivity that one could put was really surprising. Maybe also the 100 levels of sensitivity for the keys comes in handy in this regard.

I have FP-90, and it can be fatiguing, if you set sensitivity to 70 and play for 5 hours / day with little breaks in between (as I did some time during the pandemic, over the weekends). I initially set touch sensitivity to 70, then reduced to 65, it was still a little fatiguing, then to 60, and recently to 55.
Also, I adjusted the volume, so I can play very quietly, but at the same time do not need to press too hard to produce ff.
Now I practice 2-4h per day, I am ok during this time, and overall I am happy with this piano.
But I could think differently if I was a professional who needed to practice on it 6-7 hours per day every day.

I think it could be due to the escapement mechanism - it resists when you press a key down, feeling a bit springy.


Roland HP-507RW | Yamaha U1 | Roland FP-90
Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
dp7 #3040521 10/29/20 03:49 AM
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Tnx for the comments on the Kawai RHIII actions wink

> Forgive my ignorance, what do you mean when you say "Yamaha AU"?

Yamaha acoustic uprights. I mean, there are substantial differences even within Yamaha brand. I liked a U1 quite a lot, an the N1X seemed similar. The Bs were quite different, and in a way similar to P/CLP actions. Not sure how action regulation may affect this.

> Talking about Roland actions, do you think they could result fatiguing overtime? You refer to what I was saying in the OP when I said that the amount of force required to depress the key is equal from the top to the bottom of the keybed? As I said, the NWX action feels good but that initial weight is a serious problem in my opinion...

I don't find PHA50 fatiguing, though I wouldn't say it is light, my AU is heavier. But I don't play for hours... I'm not sure if the P515 is that much heavier overall, but the initial force bothered me. For a fair verdict one should measure the force dynamically and integrate.
I'm not sure if counterweights are the best way of fixing this, may increase the mass, some say the counterweighted top-end CLP6x5s are even worse. I've read a suggestion to reduce this force by tilting the P515. I think the difference between the Roland and Yamaha way is in certain angles in the mechanics. I guess Yamaha could "tune" this by modifying the local geometry of the pin guide that couples the key and the hammer (I'm curious if they've done this in the CLP745). But they may prefer convincing people to buy AvantGrands wink

Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
personne #3040547 10/29/20 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by personne
Originally Posted by dp7
Talking about Roland actions, do you think they could result fatiguing overtime? You refer to what I was saying in the OP when I said that the amount of force required to depress the key is equal from the top to the bottom of the keybed?

Bear in mind that the FP-90, thanks to the modelling sound presents an extreme amount of personalization for every single note and the sound in general. Many people said that you can put out of the instrument a real good sound. In the store, the sound signature wasn't bad at all. The expressivity that one could put was really surprising. Maybe also the 100 levels of sensitivity for the keys comes in handy in this regard.

I have FP-90, and it can be fatiguing, if you set sensitivity to 70 and play for 5 hours / day with little breaks in between (as I did some time during the pandemic, over the weekends). I initially set touch sensitivity to 70, then reduced to 65, it was still a little fatiguing, then to 60, and recently to 55.
Also, I adjusted the volume, so I can play very quietly, but at the same time do not need to press too hard to produce ff.
Now I practice 2-4h per day, I am ok during this time, and overall I am happy with this piano.
But I could think differently if I was a professional who needed to practice on it 6-7 hours per day every day.

I think it could be due to the escapement mechanism - it resists when you press a key down, feeling a bit springy.

If you play for 5 h straight on any action that you do not normally do this on, then you are likely to suffer fatigue in your forearms. Some of that could be wrong posture impacting on technique leading to suboptimal biomechanics. However, IMO, one would be best working up your practice time slowly so that you can maintain good technique and posture throughout the session, thus limiting strain.

It's like the weightlifter who goes from doing static pull ups on a straight bar to doing curved bar pull ups: the biomechanics change and the muscular coordination being slightly different leads to fatigue and technique errors as the reps get high.


Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7SE; Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand
Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
Doug M. #3040589 10/29/20 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by klausi6
I own a black swan grin RD 2000.
I have no problem with this, because the RD 2000 is a feature beast,when using VSTs.

I can confirm all your impressions about the three keybed actions.

Especially :

‚In my opinion a NWX action with the static weight of the PHA-50 would be a perfect balance.´

In my opinion the key action of the CLP 745 has made this step forward.

I played the P 515 for an hour and feld the muscles in my forearms,
with PHA-50 i can play 3 hours / day with no problems.

As Abdol said , why not choosing the MP11SE ?
If weight is no problem for you.
I was waiting for somebody like you, Klausi! XD And it's a relief earing from many of you real users that my thoughts about this three good actions were pretty accurate.

I hope to find my sweet spot with the FP-90. I'll probably receive it at the end of the next week. The next days of waiting without anything to play on will be really hard for me. It's also good to say that either ROLAND and YAMAHA will be likely update their respective line ups I thing in the next couple of years, so one can always keep his radars on to see if they pull a rabbit out of the hat. These three brands tend to mantain their reselling value pretty well. wink

PS: I know very well the MP11SE. James from Pianoforever loves this DP. Unfortunately my problems are always the same: there are almost 500$/€ dancing between this and the others, and I must rely on internal speakers due to the lack of $$$ and space!





Originally Posted by personne
Originally Posted by dp7
Talking about Roland actions, do you think they could result fatiguing overtime? You refer to what I was saying in the OP when I said that the amount of force required to depress the key is equal from the top to the bottom of the keybed?

Bear in mind that the FP-90, thanks to the modelling sound presents an extreme amount of personalization for every single note and the sound in general. Many people said that you can put out of the instrument a real good sound. In the store, the sound signature wasn't bad at all. The expressivity that one could put was really surprising. Maybe also the 100 levels of sensitivity for the keys comes in handy in this regard.

I have FP-90, and it can be fatiguing, if you set sensitivity to 70 and play for 5 hours / day with little breaks in between (as I did some time during the pandemic, over the weekends). I initially set touch sensitivity to 70, then reduced to 65, it was still a little fatiguing, then to 60, and recently to 55.
Also, I adjusted the volume, so I can play very quietly, but at the same time do not need to press too hard to produce ff.
Now I practice 2-4h per day, I am ok during this time, and overall I am happy with this piano.
But I could think differently if I was a professional who needed to practice on it 6-7 hours per day every day.

I think it could be due to the escapement mechanism - it resists when you press a key down, feeling a bit springy.
Hey Personne, thank you for participating in the debate!
I'll be probably use the DP just like you. On a daily base for few hours. Practicing at home on my own.
I think that, just like you said, volume+sensitivity levels combo can make a huge difference in the perception of an action. Of course up to a certain point.
I found the dynamic expression on the FP-90 pretty stunning but I've only tried it for less than an our.
Thank you SO much for your helpful infos!





Originally Posted by _sem_
Tnx for the comments on the Kawai RHIII actions wink

> Forgive my ignorance, what do you mean when you say "Yamaha AU"?

Yamaha acoustic uprights. I mean, there are substantial differences even within Yamaha brand. I liked a U1 quite a lot, an the N1X seemed similar. The Bs were quite different, and in a way similar to P/CLP actions. Not sure how action regulation may affect this.

> Talking about Roland actions, do you think they could result fatiguing overtime? You refer to what I was saying in the OP when I said that the amount of force required to depress the key is equal from the top to the bottom of the keybed? As I said, the NWX action feels good but that initial weight is a serious problem in my opinion...

I don't find PHA50 fatiguing, though I wouldn't say it is light, my AU is heavier. But I don't play for hours... I'm not sure if the P515 is that much heavier overall, but the initial force bothered me. For a fair verdict one should measure the force dynamically and integrate.
I'm not sure if counterweights are the best way of fixing this, may increase the mass, some say the counterweighted top-end CLP6x5s are even worse. I've read a suggestion to reduce this force by tilting the P515. I think the difference between the Roland and Yamaha way is in certain angles in the mechanics. I guess Yamaha could "tune" this by modifying the local geometry of the pin guide that couples the key and the hammer (I'm curious if they've done this in the CLP745). But they may prefer convincing people to buy AvantGrands wink
Haha you're damn right. Of course there's no point for manufacturers to put the best of the best in these "entry level" models. With time, by the way, many premium technologies will be available in the lower end of their instruments, like it had always be.

I realised what AU stood for short after asking you, but thanks anyway! :P

Ok. You guys reassured me about the PHA-50 action. I hope I'll be served for some years. Then time will show us what these premium manufacturers will achieve in this price range category.





Originally Posted by Doug M.
Originally Posted by personne
Originally Posted by dp7
Talking about Roland actions, do you think they could result fatiguing overtime? You refer to what I was saying in the OP when I said that the amount of force required to depress the key is equal from the top to the bottom of the keybed?

Bear in mind that the FP-90, thanks to the modelling sound presents an extreme amount of personalization for every single note and the sound in general. Many people said that you can put out of the instrument a real good sound. In the store, the sound signature wasn't bad at all. The expressivity that one could put was really surprising. Maybe also the 100 levels of sensitivity for the keys comes in handy in this regard.

I have FP-90, and it can be fatiguing, if you set sensitivity to 70 and play for 5 hours / day with little breaks in between (as I did some time during the pandemic, over the weekends). I initially set touch sensitivity to 70, then reduced to 65, it was still a little fatiguing, then to 60, and recently to 55.
Also, I adjusted the volume, so I can play very quietly, but at the same time do not need to press too hard to produce ff.
Now I practice 2-4h per day, I am ok during this time, and overall I am happy with this piano.
But I could think differently if I was a professional who needed to practice on it 6-7 hours per day every day.

I think it could be due to the escapement mechanism - it resists when you press a key down, feeling a bit springy.

If you play for 5 h straight on any action that you do not normally do this on, then you are likely to suffer fatigue in your forearms. Some of that could be wrong posture impacting on technique leading to suboptimal biomechanics. However, IMO, one would be best working up your practice time slowly so that you can maintain good technique and posture throughout the session, thus limiting strain.

It's like the weightlifter who goes from doing static pull ups on a straight bar to doing curved bar pull ups: the biomechanics change and the muscular coordination being slightly different leads to fatigue and technique errors as the reps get high.
Another really helpful post, even with the metaphore you used.

Last edited by dp7; 10/29/20 09:10 AM.
Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
Doug M. #3040593 10/29/20 09:17 AM
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Do not think it is my posture - I had a good teacher as a child who trained me the right posture and hand position. I have more than 15 years of playing with some break in between, returning to piano 6 years ago.
But that is right, I played for longer hours during pandemic as I had more time due to skipping long commute, and having little else to do outside work hours smile


Roland HP-507RW | Yamaha U1 | Roland FP-90
Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
dp7 #3040612 10/29/20 10:01 AM
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MP11SE is not significantly larger than other DPs unless your space is extremely tight!

I highly suggest thinking twice about it. Wait a couple of months save the 500, then use headphones for a while and save more, and then buy speakers. I personally use speakers once a monthish. Especially if I'm sequencing a song, practicing, etc.

If transportation (weight) wasn't an issue for me, I would have bought MP11SE in the first place. Just saying. You can also consider MP7SE if you like Kawai sound and RHIII but it also needs speakers. It is a much better gear compared to ES8.

The only issue with stage pianos at home is cable management.


Kawai MP7SE, Yamaha MOTF XF6, Yamaha WX5, Yamaha Pacifica 112v
Re: Some thoughts on sub 2000€/$ digital piano actions
personne #3040669 10/29/20 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by personne
Do not think it is my posture - I had a good teacher as a child who trained me the right posture and hand position. I have more than 15 years of playing with some break in between, returning to piano 6 years ago.
But that is right, I played for longer hours during pandemic as I had more time due to skipping long commute, and having little else to do outside work hours smile

I'm happy to accept it's likely that when you are in good condition both mentally and physically at the beginning of your practice session, your posture is fine due to your training. However, after many hours of practice (that you're not used to doing perhaps on that particular digital action), the fatigue in your forearms might abrogate your normal kinesthetic sense of posture and your body posture might begin to alter in a subconscious attempt to deal with the pain. This is not my theory, but mentioned in the book: What Every Pianist Needs to Know about the Body---Thomas Mark.

That's what I meant by posture issues. To use the metaphor again: if you are weightlifting in a fatigued state but try to continue to do e.g., press-ups or pull-ups, one tends to contort one's body as the muscles judder in an attempt to do that last rep. As a result, posture can go to pot.

Whilst piano is not that fatiguing compared to doing weights, small amounts of pain or fatigue (muscle burn) might be enough to alter your posture without you realizing it. Then as you continue to practice with that strain, due to the resulting poorer posture, more damage accumulates to the forearms---a positive feedback of:

Fatigue-->Posture abrogation-->Continued practice-->Worse Fatigue-->Worse posture-->etc.

Last edited by Doug M.; 10/29/20 12:36 PM.

Instruments: Current - Kawai MP7SE; Past - Kawai MP7, Yamaha PSR7000
Software: Sibelius 7; Neuratron Photoscore Pro 8
Stand: K&M 18953 Table-style Stage Piano Stand

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