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Are we still comparing acoustic with digital pianos?! I thought we had stopped already... Can someone summarize what has been concluded as of late? Are we stopping or are we not?


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Are we still comparing acoustic with digital pianos?! I thought we had stopped already... Can someone summarize what has been concluded as of late? Are we stopping or are we not?

A quick summary: Some have decided to stop, others have decided to start, some are undecided, and some have decided to focus on other things



... and FYI I haven't read the thread, but I'm basing my summary on every other thread that I've ever read wink


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Are we still comparing acoustic with digital pianos?! I thought we had stopped already... Can someone summarize what has been concluded as of late? Are we stopping or are we not?

No! We have diversified as is our wont. The Ken might step in, depending on the direction of such diversity . . .


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Can someone summarize what has been concluded as of late?

That things depend very much on what you want. A complex interaction between player level, repertoire, auditory preference, budget, joint health, and ear wax levels will, statistically, correspond to a most suitable choice, which can range from digital sound to acoustic sound on one axis, and acoustic action and digital action on the other. I draw attention to the fact (no one has dared to mention this yet) that an acoustic sound with digital action does not belong to the possibilities yet. I have seen people in the acoustic forum wondering about this though. Perhaps you can hook up a VPC-1 to a Steinway Spirio to achieve this.

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I thought we were comparing pianists and keyboard players now.

Maybe that was a few weeks ago...

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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Sand and Chopin traveled with the piano. The issue was petty bureaucrats of the time wanting to extract exorbitant import duties. This is described in Sand's "A Winter in Mallorca". It has been a while since I read her travelogue, but I believe they did take possession of the piano a bit earlier than 3-4 weeks before they departed. The Mallorcan aurhorities also wanted Sand and Chopin to pay exorbitant export duties to take the piano back to France, so they sold it to a local resident.

The Pleyel pianino was only completed in December and Chopin left to Majorca in mid-November. The Pleyel finally arrived in Majorca during January and was then impounded by customs who demanded import duties, further delaying the process. Chopin left in mid-February and the Pleyel remained in Majorca due to demand of export duties. This is the instrument that can be seen today in the small Majorca museum. For the majority of his time in Majorca, Chopin used a Juan Bauza upright locally made in Palma, Majorca. Chopin was able to use the Pleyel pianino for ~3 weeks at most. Chopin’s biographies refer to these events, as well as the letters written by Chopin to Pleyel during his stay. Paul Kildea's book "Chopin’s Piano" is just about the fascinating story of this Bauza piano, which years later, managed to end up with Wanda Landowska...

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I see no reason to stop the comparison. Why not compare digital pianos with acoustics ... always?
After all, people compare acoustic pianos with acoustic pianos all the time ... over in the Piano Forum, as well as in life.
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Are we still comparing acoustic with digital pianos?! ... Are we stopping or are we not?

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I see no reason to stop the comparison. Why not compare digital pianos with acoustics ... always?
After all, people compare acoustic pianos with acoustic pianos all the time ... over in the Piano Forum, as well as in life.
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Are we still comparing acoustic with digital pianos?! ... Are we stopping or are we not?

Well, because it's time to do so. Please see the title.


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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I see no reason to stop the comparison. Why not compare digital pianos with acoustics ... always?
After all, people compare acoustic pianos with acoustic pianos all the time ... over in the Piano Forum, as well as in life.
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Are we still comparing acoustic with digital pianos?! ... Are we stopping or are we not?

Well, because it's time to do so. Please see the title.
That will not happen until the digital piano is recognized as a musical instrument on its own instead of being the digital twin of the acoustic piano. This silly discussion does not happen for example between acoustic and electric guitars. On top of this, the diverse community of DP users has contradictory requirements: some want a replica of the acoustic instrument that enables them to seamlessly move back and forth between an acoustic and the DP; others (likely the overwhelming majority) will never regularly play an acoustic piano and just want a digital keyboard that enables them to enjoy the experience of playing music. DP manufacturers only make matters worse by either developing low-quality "entry-level" DPs or "high-end" DPs that try (not that hard) to imitate the acoustic piano with all of its particularities and shortcomings, leading to this endless discussion. For this to end, either there is a major paradigm shift in sound synthesis and sound reproduction, or DP users start to understand that a DP does not need to be a replica of an acoustic piano to be an excellent instrument on its own.

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Originally Posted by ikkiyikki
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
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The first truly modern pianos rolled out of Steinway's factories in the 1870's afaik.
It depends on whether you define a modern piano as having an iron plate or as having an overstrung iron plate.

Chickering had pianos with iron plates well before Steinway, the first of which was about 1840 and was a square grand. The Chickering 33B was introduced in the 1860's and was an 8'4" concert grand of traditional grand shape with a straight strung iron plate. Liszt owned one, which is now in the Liszt museum, along with a large Bosendorfer he also owned. These were his preferred pianos at that phase of his life, but he used an upright piano during an extended stay in Florence:

https://www.cobbecollection.co.uk/collection/36-liszts-italian-upright-piano/

I realize this is controversial to the point of being argumentative. To me overstringing was the last significant innovation, which came in 1859 from Steinway, but small refinements in (I think) the geometry of the plate, rim construction and action continued for another decade or so which then ended up being widely adopted by other brands. This last point I think is critical because other improvements that weren't widely co-opted by other manufacturers became more or less irrelevant.

Here is, coincidentally, an 1859 Erard which would have been considered the state of the art then and which I think most would agree is a step or two behind what one would consider a fully modern piano.


My original point though was that the modern piano continued to evolve, and post-WW2 pianos have a different tonal rendition than pre-1925 pianos. The early I believe pianos have evolved to fill larger halls and cut through larger orchestras over the years. Computerpro's NV10 may have been sufficient to prepare a movement of Brahms' Concerto #2 for a performance with orchestra, but we shouldn't assume it sounded like it would have when Brahms was alive. I doubt that computerpro would have liked Brahms's piano any more than s/he likes a modern upright.

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This discussion reminds me of the Tampere city council trying to decide whether or not to build a tram/street car/trolley:

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That will not happen until the digital piano is recognized as a musical instrument on its own instead of being the digital twin of the acoustic piano. This silly discussion does not happen for example between acoustic and electric guitars.
How old is your digital piano? Must be 40 years old or more if the difference in sound compared to an acoustic piano rivals the difference between an acoustic and electric guitar.

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Originally Posted by OU812
Digital and real Piano's. Everything else depends on electronics (pickups, tone controls, amplification, etc)

I think a lot depends on the quality of one's monitor speakers and room acoustics.
More than what most people realise.


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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
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That will not happen until the digital piano is recognized as a musical instrument on its own instead of being the digital twin of the acoustic piano. This silly discussion does not happen for example between acoustic and electric guitars.
How old is your digital piano? Must be 40 years old or more if the difference in sound compared to an acoustic piano rivals the difference between an acoustic and electric guitar.
The purpose of an electric guitar is not to somehow imitate the sound, properties and design of an acoustic guitar. In contrast, DPs try to replicate the sound and properties of an acoustic piano, including the intrinsic properties of the acoustic instrument that derive from its design and physical constraints and which are not needed at all by the digital version. If this reasoning applied to an electric guitar, then they would feature thicker necks and strings just for the sake of imitating their acoustic sibling. DPs will remain in this never ending discussion because technological limitations, especially those related to sound reproduction, make it impossible to achieve the goal of replicating an acoustic piano. The only party that benefits are the manufacturers that are able to get away with microscopic incremental advances and DPs designed for obsolescence.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
The notes at the bottom are NOT stretched-tuned to make them resonate better. It's because of defects in our hearing. See "Railsback curve".
Originally Posted by uuu
The notes at the bottom end are "stretch tuned". Why? So the strings resonate better - it's a defect in the way a string behaves - but the digital has no strings, so it can resonate just fine without.

No...It's because of inharmonicity.
If you all played acoustic pianos, and tuned them yourselves, then you would know.


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The purpose of an electric guitar is not to somehow imitate the sound, properties and design of an acoustic guitar. In contrast, DPs try to replicate the sound and properties of an acoustic piano,
Yes, you are just elaborating on my point, which is that DPs try to emulate an acoustic piano, so it mskrs sense to compare the two but the analogy with electric guitars is faulty because it is not trying to emulate an acoustic guitar, but to tryibg to be a different instrument.

Part of the point of a digital piano is for practice sessions to translate to an acoustic piano. It is the goal to try to enulste the acoustic piano as clisely as possible to achieve that objective. How well that objective is achieved can only be discussed by comparing digital and acoustic pianos.

The Roland C-30 digital harpsichord and Nord C2 and C2D organs have similar objectives. The Nord organs try to emulate a Hanmond B3 and Eurioean tracker pipe organ as well as a couple of transistor organs as closely as possible.

People will always compare the emulated instrument to the emulator. I don't see how it could be any other way.

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but which piano are they trying to emulate? There are all kinds and they all sound different and feel different. Music composed for piano will therefore also sound different on different acoustic pianos.

So why can’t digital pianos just be another entry in the spectrum of ‘pianos’?

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It can be, if you want it to be.
Originally Posted by mrklaw
So why can’t digital pianos just be another entry in the spectrum of ‘pianos’?
Or not. Choose what you wish.

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Originally Posted by mrklaw
but which piano are they trying to emulate? There are all kinds and they all sound different and feel different. Music composed for piano will therefore also sound different on different acoustic pianos.

Agreed. When was the last time you heard someone say it is time to stop comparing Yamaha and Steinway pianos because they are different instruments?

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Originally Posted by acdp
That will not happen until the digital piano is recognized as a musical instrument on its own instead of being the digital twin of the acoustic piano. This silly discussion does not happen for example between acoustic and electric guitars.
If you make analogies to guitars, then do them right:
acoustic piano = acoustic guitar
electric piano = electric guitar with valve amp
digital piano = electric guitar with digital modeling amp, able to simulate both electric as acoustic guitar sound

tbh: nobody questions an E-piano is a different instrument as an acoustic one. But a digital can be both, so it is NOT a different instrument.


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