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Joined: Apr 2019
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op299 Offline OP
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Hi,

This is some impressions of SL88 Grand, and comparison with VPC-1.

Though I enjoyed VPC-1, I found it too heavy, and too taxing for my fingers. Had old inflammation creeping up. One problem I experienced is that VPC-1 does not release the weight that much after striking the key.

Overall, the feel of VPC-1 is better. It is slightly heavier to play, but also more friction, which enables you to modulate the attack on the way down into the key. On the SL88G it a bit more on/off feel. More initial resistance, then less. Still easy too play soft.

SL88G is good from the standpoint of not taxing the fingers. Without being light, SL88G feels a bit more like a real grand in the sense that it actually releases the weight quite a bit. It is easy to rest on the key after striking it with almost no weight. On the VPC-1 I felt it needed some amount of continuous pressure. If you want, you can also use a bit moe of a "throwing" technique fingerwise, i.e just throwing the fingers a the keys in fast passages. On the VPC-1, I found that you needed to guide the weight, and preferably have some connection to armweight throughout the down movement.

SL88G also feels faster. The return is faster. It is easier to play fast passages it seems to me.

One problem with the SL88G is that the weight grading is a bit too much (as far as I experience it). The difference between C3 and C5 is pretty large, which I don't experience as much in normal grands. In the midrange you usually don't think too much about the difference, its more on the extremes. The weight of the keys also feel slightly more uneven than the VPC-1 (as experienced when playing without sound).

Now to the main problem with SL88G:

I found it a bit hard to connect to the sound. After playing a bit it seems to me that the midi signal is not triggered at the right place. On Ivory Studio Grand, no matter how slow you push down the key it triggers a sound for some reason (not so in pianoteq). What you notice when you push down very slowly is that this signal is triggered in like the first 1/3 of the down movement. This makes the sound come out a bit wrong with regard to the acceleration of the key. Preferably, the action would be triggered at the last 1/3. The SL88G has no simulated escapement. On the VPC-1 the escapement was very well done I felt, and you could push the key down 2/3 without getting a sound, and the accelerate on the last bit through the escapement to get a sound, just as on a grand.

A side effect of this is that you have to raise the key quite a bit to repeat on the SL88G, up to the top 1/3 almost. Repetition is still pretty fast though, since the action rebounds so fast.

So far I am a bit torn. For my purposes the action on the one hand is great - substantial feel, but still easy on the fingers. Still, it is hard to connect to the sound, since you don't really get the sense that the acceleration of the key corresponds to the sound.

This might sound like a latency issue, but as I said, the midi signal is sent a bit too early I think. I have tried pretty low latency (4ms), and raising the latency of course makes the sound come a bit later, but feels weird in itself, and doesn't remove the sensation.

Still a very good keyboard, with certain advantages over VPC-1 (apart form all the controller functionality), but not the same sensation of connecting to the sound.

Last edited by op299; 10/22/21 05:21 AM.
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> A side effect of this is that you have to raise the key quite a bit to repeat on the SL88G, up to the top 1/3 almost.

I recall someone being unhappy with SL88 sensor positions to the point of modding sensor positions (sensor board relative to keys).

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Originally Posted by op299
On Ivory Studio Grand, no matter how slow you push down the key it triggers a sound for some reason (not so in pianoteq).
This is a matter of how the software developer has chosen to respond to a MIDI velocity of 1. It is up to the programmer to decide whether that minimum velocity should or should not produce a sound.

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I just read the post. As a previous owner of the SL88Grand and now VPC1, I have to say that your impressions are spot on! But for me, I feel that the VPC1 is more faithful in reproducing a grand piano touch and feel.

Also, the SL88Grand have narrower black keys compared to VPC1 IMO, and that impacts me on how I practice passages relating to leeps across different registers of the keyboard.

I'm glad I now own a VPC1, and it's now my trusted practice instrument.

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I also think the VPC1 is closer to the real deal. But nothing is perfect!

David, I am so glad you keep enjoying the VPC1. I was one of the supporters of it when you were looking for a new controller, and if it is fine for you, for sure it is a great one thumb


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Yeah, if it would work for me, I would much prefer a VPC-1

With regard to Ivory, I understand its just a choice in the software. Just made it easy to hear when any midi signal was sent.

To further exemplify the weird behaviour of SL88, if you press a key silently in pianoteq just a 1/5 (maybe even less) and then accelerate it as much as you can, you nothing. This is very far from any acoustic behaves. And is an important part of feel/technique.

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Originally Posted by EB5AGV
I also think the VPC1 is closer to the real deal. But nothing is perfect!

David, I am so glad you keep enjoying the VPC1. I was one of the supporters of it when you were looking for a new controller, and if it is fine for you, for sure it is a great one thumb

Yes, Jose. And I think this is the best midi controller out there that I can find at the moment, unless Kawai makes a midi controller version of NV10S. If that happens, I'll gladly migrate. smile

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Originally Posted by op299
Still, it is hard to connect to the sound, since you don't really get the sense that the acceleration of the key corresponds to the sound.

This might sound like a latency issue, but as I said, the midi signal is sent a bit too early I think. I have tried pretty low latency (4ms), and raising the latency of course makes the sound come a bit later, but feels weird in itself, and doesn't remove the sensation.

Still a very good keyboard, with certain advantages over VPC-1 (apart form all the controller functionality), but not the same sensation of connecting to the sound.

Try a different velocity curve build in the SL88. The default curve doesn't get any higher than 89 - 92.


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Pianoteq 7 Pro | Garritan CFX Full | Vienna Imperial | Keyscape Full | Ravenscroft 275 - Modern U - Model D - AG | Minigrand

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