Question: When or how often do you play a real acoustic piano... and a good one at that? Comparison to your home rig?
I am fortunate to play a real acoustic grand every day - 7' Mason & Hamlin BB. Comparing it to my digital piano rig - sound wise there is no comparison as you noticed. Action wise, I actually prefer the action of NV10 over Mason & Hamlin BB. NV10's action is lighter, smoother and has a longer pivot.
I came away with the following:
1 - The Estonia boomed!!! Wow what a big dynamic sound. Holy cow. You would think I would have to tame my touch on it... but NO! I started banging away.. I loved that big loud huge wall of sound. Yeeehaaa!!!!
2 - The Estonia had some tonal qualities I did not like... the higher frequency overtones in all registers sounded ... um ... metallic. If keyboard samples had this characteristic, we would say it had a tinky fake sound.
I had played Estonia a few times at the local dealer. They are wonderful piano with great sound. Excellent build quality as well. Great bass - but I was not a big fan of their mid range and highs - tonal quality wise.
3 - My efforts to make my Roland RD-2000 sound big with external amplifiers and four speakers is definitely the right thing to do. This is a worthy pursuit to get a big sound.... if you don't pursue quality play back, you are missing a huge emotional boost. Cheap small speakers suck and now are more sucky that I got religion again from that Estonia.
+1. Definitely a worthy pursuit to get a big sound - makes the piano playing experience that much better.
4 - The RD-2000 and VI Labs Ravenscroft piano I have have really good sounds... technically. In some regards... when you put your analytical ears... sound better than that real Estonia. This is really goofy and makes no sense. But... nothing was more fun to play than that big Estonia..... I want one!!!
Definitely VSTs may sound tonal quality wise better than some digital pianos as most VSTs are capturing Top Tier 1 9' concert grands that are very well maintained. So, in a recording, a VST may sound better than a recording of a grand piano. But, in person experience - as you mentioned - it's a whole different experience.
5 - Odd the Estonia's action felt very foreign to me... I didn't like it... but maybe I have been re-programmed (poisoned?) for these Rolands I have owned for 20 years.
Sounds like the action could use some regulation/maintenance. Many grand pianos in private homes have actions that are not the best or well-maintained.
My rig... note the really nice B&W 805S speakers above and the big woofy ADS speakers below... it cranks... and I can feel it... I love feeling the sound... but nothing like that Estonia... not even close.
Wow - that's one really nice rig!!