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I watched some videos with russian piano tuners and read a couple of articles on the subject "acoustic and digital piano sound", and these guys say the same Lachnit website says. Just to remind:
"Any kind of digital stepping is at some point a limitation, dulls the senses faster and quickly leads to boredom.

Yes, this might be true: Not even 127 steps can be deliberately played individually. Also it is impossible to consciously distinguish one step out of the 127. But that is not what it is about. The audible steps are limited to 127, so eventually the musician will catch the same step involuntarily. Even though they come in various combinations, the acoustic colours of the individual notes repeat themselves. With our MK22 to "fill" (or to activate) all the MIDI steps from 1 to 127 takes on an average one minute. For example, playing in mezzo forte with medium strike will activate ± 10 MIDI steps. Within these 20 steps the user will involuntarily reach the same MIDI value many times and consequently produce the same exact sound as before.

In contrast, it is impossible to reproduce the same exact sound on any acoustic instrument, where each new sound is the unique result of interacting "analogue" processes
".

I tried to analyze my personal experience. I've had soviet baby-grand in my apartment for about 6 or 7 months. And looks like it's true that it was easier to make oneself practice on it for 2-3 hours, with pretty much enthusiasm and inspiration. I can hardly remember such an eagerness with digitals. And year, I know that feeling when you look at your DP and a thought of playing on it makes you bored. Don't remember such to happen with acoustic. But was it because of nature of the sound or just because of the feeling like "Oh yeah, I am playing real grand and it's mine!"?:)) Not sure.

So, what do you think, friends? Is all this true or just hype, stuff made up by "acoustic apologists":? And if it's true, what can help? Huge sample libraries? Modelled sound (should have more variety, I guess)?

Last edited by PianoStartsAt33; 11/24/21 02:09 PM.

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it depends on the pivot length

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Remember when PCs had 16 colors, then 256 then 1000's and now 16 million? No human can pick any difference between 2 side by side but when looking at a rendition of the Mona Lisa we all can tell which photo has the best color palette.
I think its the same for music. You cant differentiate a 1/128 difference but perhaps you can "hear it" in a song.

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I don't think its a problem at all, this boring suggestion, when you're learning a piece and need to do lots of quite repetitive practice, explore phrasing and dynamics. However, if you want to polish for a performance then there is a difference in what can be achieved between an acoustic and a digital. I hardly ever polish for a performance these days but move on, so much more to learn and a digital ticks most boxes.

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The sampled sound will bore you pretty soon - you have less variability how the piano will sound, determined by the algorithm, rather than random variations on an acoustic piano. This repetitiveness leads to boredom.
Modelled sound by contrast provides more variability, so less boredom, but now not everyone likes the modelled sound.


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I never get bore of the sound of my Kawai acoustic or the sound of my digital piano and vst. I get bore of the piece I'm playing but I choose another one to learn.

Last edited by Serge88; 11/24/21 07:39 PM.


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It’s always about the pivot length.😀

While midi is limited to 127 sort of

Im guessing internally keyboards are not.

Since you have all kinds of pianos and various instruments on keyboards, I’m thinking you might get bored only playing a single piano sound on an acoustic.


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Originally Posted by personne
The sampled sound will bore you pretty soon - you have less variability how the piano will sound, determined by the algorithm, rather than random variations on an acoustic piano. This repetitiveness leads to boredom.
Modelled sound by contrast provides more variability, so less boredom, but now not everyone likes the modelled sound.

Sound is sound. If there was a discernable difference, then the manufacturers have failed us badly. I had a Yamaha clavinova at the turn of the century which sounded magic. But i wanted a change.
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No, it is not true. Because I can still play any piece on my VPC1+Pianoteq more expressively and more beautifully than I do now - and this will be the case until I die. And as long as there is room for improvement, I won't be bored.

(Well. As Serge says, of course a piece can bore me. But not playing the piano.)


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I agree with you, acoustic and digital sound are really different things, and I doubt that digital sound will ever sound the same as acoustic. The problem isn't even 127 steps.
On acoustics, you can play one note with the same strength, but it will be two different sounds, especially with a pedal.
Recently played on real Steinway D and will soon I make a comparison on this forum between real Steinway and Yamaha N1X with VST.
But for the home, using good digital piano is a must have for any pianist.


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Originally Posted by PianoStartsAt33
I tried to analyze my personal experience. I've had soviet baby-grand in my apartment for about 6 or 7 months. And looks like it's true that it was easier to make oneself practice on it for 2-3 hours, with pretty much enthusiasm and inspiration. I can hardly remember such an eagerness with digitals. And year, I know that feeling when you look at your DP and a thought of playing on it makes you bored. Don't remember such to happen with acoustic. But was it because of nature of the sound or just because of the feeling like "Oh yeah, I am playing real grand and it's mine!"?:)) Not sure.

So, what do you think, friends? Is all this true or just hype, stuff made up by "acoustic apologists":? And if it's true, what can help? Huge sample libraries? Modelled sound (should have more variety, I guess)?

It has nothing to do with "digital" vs. "real / analog"; it has to do with your own beliefs and perceptions. Allow me to demonstrate.

First example: When I started photography in 2003, I started with the EOS 10D, which was one of the first mid- to high-end affordable digital SLR's. Back then, the discussion "digital" vs. "analog" was a hot debate. People who went digital extolled the virtues of the new format, while the analog crowd deemed it to be "wrong", and "not real."

As we were in the early stages of digital photography (it was only available for real, practical use for about 5-6 years), analog pictures could be better with regard to both resolution and color; and if you had a dark room and was proficient with it, you could do more than you could with the software of the time, or you could do it easier.

However... as I never used an analog SLR, digital photography never felt "unreal" to me. Even more so, if I would have had to start with analog, I wouldn't even have started! The advantages of analog are just too huge, and nowadays, nothing but the most huge super-large film camera's use digital technology. Nobody but the most stalwart holdouts believe that analog will forever be better than digital.

For me, using digital camera's was never an issue because I didn't believe analog would "forever be better."

Second example: ebooks. I've been reading paper since I could read, but in 2007 I tried an ereader for the first time, because I saw massive advantages. I sold it half a year later, because I couldn't buy the ebooks I wanted. The market was too small, and the ereader itself ahd some hardware quirks... but I still saw the advantages. In 2011 a full touch-screen ereader appeared. I bought it, and and then noticed a few things:

- Calibre, the open source ebook manager, had greatly matured.
- The ebook boom of 2010-2011 had made everything I wanted, might have wanted, possibly could have wanted and things I never heard of available for either purchase, or free download (public domain)
- The ereader itself had massively matured in usablility.

I switched back to the ereader. I bought over 1000 ebooks between 2011 and 2013, replacing my entire paper library with digital. (Note that I removed DRM after buying the books so I could convert them to different ereader formats if needed. PS: this is not illegal in the Netherlands, but may be in other countries.) Now I have over 1500 ebooks and I read exclusively digital EXCEPT for illustrated books, which I still prefer on paper.

The advantages are:
- built-in lighting in current e-readers
- Resizable fonts
- Different font types to suit my needs
- Can change the layout of a book if I prefer
- Dark mode (black background, white text)
- Extremely much smaller than even a paperback, even if you have an 8 inch ereader; let alone if you compare it to a hardcover.

I never had an issue with switching to digital reading because I never believed paper books were "forever better."

My girlfriend exclusively reads on paper, and even reads translations from English into Dutch, on paper... she habitually pays FIVE times as much for a paper book in Dutch than I do for the same book in English, in digital format (we read the same genres; it's even one of the reasons why we're together and how we got to know each other).

She uses arguments such as:
- I want to be able to smell the book
- I want to touch the pages and flip them through my fingers
- I want to look at the cover art
- I like to have a bookcase / shelf, etc....

She can't bring herself to read digital because she believes paper will forever be better.

Third example, but I'm sure you get the gist... when I switched from playing (digital) Hammond to playing piano, I bought a Kawai MP7. For me, the Hi-XL engine was already more than good enough. I switched to the LX-17, not because I wanted a better sound engine (it was completely different, but good enough), but a somewhat better touch, and I wanted an upright style piano with speakers that would be smaller than the MP7 with external monitors.

The LX-17 was an almost perfect piano for me: great sound system, good touch (was never limited by it), and the piano sound was more than adequate enough for me (compared it to real uprights in the store). Still, I switched to the Kawai NV-10 in the end, because I wanted some additional things:

- Connect a computer (Pianoteq) to run a harpsichord and historic piano models (the LX-17 could do this, but very cumbersome)
- I wanted to store favorites, apart from just registrations
- I just liked the Kawai piano sound better; that is the reason why I went for the MP7, instead of the similar Roland RD-800 (I think that was the RD competitor at the time.)

The CA-98 would have been more than enough, but I bought the NV-10 because it has a grand piano keyboard... and because I could afford it.

I never had an issue playing digital piano's because I never played an analog one; the digitals were good enough in 2014 for me, and they became better since then. If the NV-10 would have had a better GUI / favorite management, it would have been the perfect piano. An analog piano would not have given me the capabilities I have now. I wouldn't even have been able to get a grand piano keyboard in my instrument because I don't have room for a grand. Also, I can't tune/change the sound on a grand if something bothers me; I can on the NV-10. There are so many advantages to having a digital piano that I don't even know if I ever _WANT_ an acoustic. (The only issue I have with digital instruments is that they won't last 100 years. If the NV-10 breaks after more than 10 years from now, I may not be able to get it fixed. With an acoustic piano, that is not a problem.)

I never had an issue playing digital piano's because I never believed acoustics would be "forever better."

The only reason why you can't sit behind a digital piano and practice for 3 hours and get bored is not because the digital piano sound is boring, but because you believe you MUST HAVE an acoustic piano to be NOT bored.

The problem is you, not the digital piano; assuming you have a digital piano that can actually hold a candle to an acoustic. Don't expect this from a €1000 (or maybe even a €2000) instrument.


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Originally Posted by Falsch
I never had an issue playing digital piano's because I never believed acoustics would be "forever better."

The only reason why you can't sit behind a digital piano and practice for 3 hours and get bored is not because the digital piano sound is boring, but because you believe you MUST HAVE an acoustic piano to be NOT bored.

The problem is you, not the digital piano; assuming you have a digital piano that can actually hold a candle to an acoustic. Don't expect this from a €1000 (or maybe even a €2000) instrument.

You're reasoning works for you in your limited knowledge only. If you would ever play on acoustic, you would never want those digitals, which always sound good and so on. Hi-end ones like NV10 are a different story, but sound is already there and is not created by the movement of your hand, force of your fingers and so on. Ca79 sounds little dead vs CA99, Roland LX sound alive like (so also thin) due to modeling technology.

They may not be boring, but there are still dozens of years to come until we will get anything close to real thing.

And, yes, problem is digital piano, not the player.

And there are good and bad pianos (too far to expensive for what they offer) on the acoustic market.

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Originally Posted by maucycy
You're reasoning works for you in your limited knowledge only. If you would ever play on acoustic, you would never want those digitals, which always sound good and so on.

Says who?

People have been complaining that the NV-10 doesn't deliver "real" grand volumes. You know what? I'm glad it doesn't. As an organ player, I'm used to being able to play very quietly, and even smaller uprights are already too loud for me. Can you deliver me an acoustic that doesn't go over ~80 dB (85 dB max) when playing FFF? Probably not. Because of that point only, I wouldn't want an acoustic piano, ever.

It is all in one's perception. "Stu" from "Merriam Piano" on Youtube complains about this: that the NV-10 feels "heavy" if you don't set the volume to at least 8 out of 10, preferably even higher. He is comparing the NV-10 to the acoustic grands he's used to, and wants them to be the same.

I'm not making this comparison, and so I _don't want them to be the same.

When I hit a key, generating midi value 5 out of 127, I expect a tiny sound; I don't expect the piano to half-way blow my head off, which is _exactly_ what the NV-10 does when I set it to 8 out of 10 or higher. I actually had problems playing the piano, because I kept playing softer and softer, finally hitting the point where the piano didn't even produce sound anymore... and when it did, it was already too loud for me.

So I have no problems running my NV-10 at 5 out of 10. For me, an acoustic piano feels broken with the volume stuck at 11.

For _me_, the digital piano is the default and the acoustic has to live up to _THAT_, not the other way around.

Actually, there are some things on digital piano's I like much better than on any acoustic; On my LX-17, and especially on the MP7, I got used to a completely smooth sustain pedal that was midi 0 when fully off, and started working as soon as I pressed it. It also had a throw of something like 5-6 cm. The NV-10 has some slack before the pedal engages, and it has a much smaller half-pedal region (less than 1cm). It doesn't even simulate a real grand... it _is_ a real grand damper pedal.... but I would exchange it for the MP7 6cm smooth-throw pedal any time.

Quote
Hi-end ones like NV10 are a different story, but sound is already there and is not created by the movement of your hand, force of your fingers and so on. Ca79 sounds little dead vs CA99, Roland LX sound alive like (so also thin) due to modeling technology.

They may not be boring, but there are still dozens of years to come until we will get anything close to real thing.

That is the entire problem: the digital piano is already the real thing; it's only different. Just as ebooks and digital photographs are a real thing; they're only different from the analog counterparts.

But I guess it's human nature to want that which came before, because it's always better... even if "better" only means "different".


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Originally Posted by Falsch
the digital piano is already the real thing; it's only different. Just as ebooks and digital photographs are a real thing; they're only different from the analog counterparts.

Yes! thumb


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Originally Posted by Falsch
[quote=PianoStartsAt33]

Now I have over 1500 ebooks and I read exclusively digital EXCEPT for illustrated books, which I still prefer on paper.


You reminded me of Schopenhauer. He had 1025 books in his personal library, and he warned at the same time that excessive reading is harmful smile


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Originally Posted by PianoStartsAt33
So, what do you think, friends? Is all this true or just hype, stuff made up by "acoustic apologists":? And if it's true, what can help? Huge sample libraries? Modelled sound (should have more variety, I guess)?

I love improvisation/impromptu. I put my headphones on and play, and make sure that I'm not irritating anyone's ears. It never tires me.


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Originally Posted by jackopiano
it depends on the pivot length

grin

On a serious note, I agree with the OP.

I have a yamaha u3 (you don't say) and a vpc-1 with multiple top notch virtual piano's. Even while I think these virtual piano's are impressive, if I keep playing just one one them for too long, it gets boring. This just doesn't happen with the u3, that just doesn't get boring.

That said, I think having multiple great virtual piano's is the solution. Right now, i'd say my preference in how I enjoy everything would be this:

Good (size) grand piano > Multiple great virtual piano's > Yamaha U3 > 1 great virtual piano.

(I don't have a grand piano, but I have played several.)

So yes, I do think having multiple top class virtual piano's beats having a yamaha u3, but only one of them does not.

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Originally Posted by Falsch
I never had an issue playing digital piano's because I never played an analog one

Originally Posted by Falsch
For _me_, the digital piano is the default and the acoustic has to live up to _THAT_, not the other way around.

[...]

That is the entire problem: the digital piano is already the real thing; it's only different. Just as ebooks and digital photographs are a real thing; they're only different from the analog counterparts.

But I guess it's human nature to want that which came before, because it's always better... even if "better" only means "different".

I don't post frequently here in these forums, but I could not watch this discussion without putting my 2 cents in it. And having been watching these forums for some time, I know the problem "acoustic vs electronic", or "analog vs digital", or "real vs virtual" is recurrent here.

I think, honestly, that the kind of argument put forward by Falsch is circular, self-referential and relativistic. So, according to him, digitals are possibly better than acoustics because he never played an acoustic and is perfectly satisfied with a digital. It is not even possible to begin trying to answer this kind of argument, because it means simply "I am satisfied with what I have/am/eat/play/consume/... and please don't you dare disagree with me". Typical of 21st century...

Now, concerning the issue of "real vs virtual", I think this question is interesting, altohugh we can miss the point with it, and here Falsch says something intelligent: Digital technologies are as real as analog ones. But to compare different types and uses of these technologies and medias can lead to serious errors.

For example, ebooks read on a screen and physical books made of paper are both real and serve the same purpose, that is: conveying information to the reader by means of words printed on a page, be it made of paper and ink or pixels on a screen. I love printed books, but I have a Kindle and I love it too. But when I see a book on Amazon that costs the same in both Kindle and physical versions, I generally prefer buying the physical one, for a variety of reasons; maybe because I sense that the physical one is more real, because I can borrow it to friends, etc. But both have the ability to let me read and learn, each one with their own pratical advantages and disadvantages.

And then, photography. Digital pictures are as real as analog ones; but both are representations of reality. So they are real in one sense, and both are also unreal in another sense. And as is the case with books, both types of pictures allow me the same basic experience of seeing a image that was taken from a specific circumstance of the real world, and probably subject to some manipulation. And both can be printed in different sizes, deppending on resolution, film quality, etc. Now, we can compare photography with painting, which is a completely different experience. Paitings, like photography, can represent things of the physical world, but only indirectly, and often they are expressions of things and ideas that are not in the physical world, but were, to say, in the mind of the painter. And the textures and smells of paintings can be an integral part of the aesthetic experience of seeing (and sensing) them. So, when I see a digital picture of the Mona Lisa, what I am seeing is not the real thing, but a visual representation of it!

Now, pianos. Some people in these forums usually argue that digital pianos don't have necessarily the mission of imitating an acoustic one. They are able to create a new experience, unavailable in acoustic pianos or other acoustic instruments. Well, electronic instruments can do that, and there is a lot of instruments that do exactly that! Synthesizers, for one example. They don't try to imitate another thing, they simply try to be unique. Well, a lot of digital synthesizers try to emulate analog ones, but it doesn't need to be so. In this sense, I think Flasch is right in saying that humans tend to have a bias favorable to things that came before. And there is nothing wrong with wanting something that came before, and digital technology sometimes can make this experience accessible to people who don't have the means (money) to experience the "real" thing (that is, the thing that came before). In this case, digital technology is "representing" another thing, the "real" one. There are electronic pianos that don't try to imitate acoustic ones, like this bunch of EP sounds which are used by a lot of people!

But, a "digital piano" IS, in general, an attempt to _imitate_ an acoustic piano, and to convey the experience of a "real" thing (the acoustic) in a "virtual" (digital) recreation. Ask the digital piano manufacturers. And, at the same time, they can give some advantages inherent to digital or electronic technologies, like volume control, variety of sounds, metronome, using headphones, the ability to tweak the piano sound itself, etc etc. And you can be fully satisfied with the experience conveyed by the digital piano. It is not primarily a matter of "better" and "worse", like "acoustic pianos are better because they are the real thing", or "digital pianos are better because I am satisfied with them and like their extra functions". First of all, they are different, and considered as _digital pianos_, they are representations of another thing, the real thing, an acoustic piano. And evaluated in this light, they can be better or worse representations/imitations of the "real" thing. But pay attention to the sense in which I use the term "real": not that digital pianos are not real, and can not give real experiences, but they are representations, imitations, in a crucial level, of another thing.

Now, I'd like to say something about my own experience. In spite of all my limitations of access to the newest technologies (for example, I don't have the money to buy a Kawai NV-10[S] and would have to travel to try one), I am an enthusiast of digital technology. I love trying and reading about digital pianos and virtual ones. But I have a small baby grand, a Yamaha GB1K, and I played on some very incredibly concert grands in the past, even played Liszt's first concerto with an orchestra in the best hall of my country, where I played on an exceptional Steinway D (that was when I still wanted to be a concert performer). So, I mean, I know what a good piano is. But I love playing for hours on my baby grand! No digital piano can give you the same experience. Maybe in the future digital pianos will give you all the vibrations (sounds don't come only to the ears) and all the multidimensionality an acoustic gives you. But not yet. And even when that day comes, these "perfect" digital pianos will still be imitations. And, again, the fact that they're imitations don't make them "worse".

It is like the differente between listening to a very good recording of a competent pianist, and sitting in a concert hall watching the same competent pianist playing. Thank God that we can listen to exceptional musicians playing from our CDs, computers and smartphones! But these recordings are only representations of the experience of being in front of a pianist with a good piano in an acoustically prepared space. (Obviously I'm not talking about popular music recordings in general, that have their own aesthetic propositions and merits.)


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Originally Posted by josmat
Maybe in the future digital pianos will give you all the vibrations (sounds don't come only to the ears) and all the multidimensionality an acoustic gives you.


Hmm... You know, I feel like the solution may be hidden here. I remember all the fights between me and my neighbours in the dormitory in my student years. I am huge heavy metal fan, and you might kill me mates, but no one will convince me that loud listening to metal in headphones is equal to that on big loud speakers. heck no! So and my neighbours couldn't persuade me to put on headphones:) But I did it on my own will sometimes - cause I don't really like making people suffer:)
And I remind these moments now, when you sit behind your DP and feel a sort of a need, kinda urgent, to play with speakers sound, no matter it worse than in headphones. Looks like that's it - we just need those vibrations coming thru our bodies etc.!


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I think digital piano's could definitely do with some more Innovation.

For example, vsl's older piano libary, the vienna imperial, has a different sample for everytime you hit the same note twice with the sustain pedal pressed. You get a bit more of that twangy sound. (Because the hammer hits a string that's already vibrating). It's not perfect, the effect is maybe even a bit exaggerated compared to real acoustics, but I think things like that really make for a more natural, acoustic feeling playing experience.

It's just, the masses don't ask for things like that.

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