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#662369 - 02/02/09 04:08 PM Roland touch sensitivity  
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andy-mu Offline
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Hi,

Have been looking at the Roland HP series pianos. They get great reviews. One thing I was looking to get info about to be sure I was interpreting the information, was the above topic. Touch sensitivity. 201 has 3 levels, 203 has 5 levels and 207 has 100 levels. The last seems to have way way more levels of sensitivity. Regards the bottom 2 since they are in my price bracket and this is an introductory instrument for my daughter to learn on, are these sufficient levels of sensitivity? How well will they reproduce ppp compared to the 100 level instrument? Naturally at some point of learning we need to reproduce these very subtle tones and will the 2 lower prices options be capable of accurately and consistently reproducing these gentle touches?

TIA

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#662370 - 02/02/09 04:37 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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Gyro Offline
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Some extra features are apparently for
marketing reasons only. Here you're
concerned that 3 or 5 isn't enough because
another instrument has 100. My current
piano apparently has 3 touch settings, light,
med., and heavy. I tried tweaking these
on my previous digital, and I couldn't see
any difference and so I've always just used
the default grand piano, which has everything
set on medium, which is about as good as
it gets on a digital; that's why it is the
default. I cannot imagine what 100 touch
settings would be like, and in any case,
the default grand piano is going to be
the best configuration on any digital piano.

This thing about playing a "good ppp"
has become almost like a cult thing in
the piano world (ppp fanatics apparently
believe that how you play your ppp's is
the measure of your playing, and that the
finest ppp playing is completely inaudible)
and there are well-heeled
amateurs who will buy a new grand piano
because it enables them to play a "better
ppp" in a new piece they're working on.
This is a sure sign of a player who
can't a lick, in my opinion. In my view, ppp is
essentially inaudible and so even trying
to play it as written is very questionable.
You should never play an inaudible ppp,
in my view, because what's the point of
playing if no one can hear you?

#662371 - 02/02/09 05:01 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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stringless Offline
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Gyro.. no offense, but.. please... *sigh*

The 3, 5 and 100 levels are not what the original poster thinks they mean. Those numbers are not an indication of how many "shades" of sound you get.

"touch sensivity" in Roland-speak is actually changing the "weight" of the keyboard, or rather, how the player percieves the "weight."

The 201 has 3 levels (heavy, medium, light + fixed), the 203 has 5 levels, the 207 has 100 levels.

My reccomendation? Leave it at default. changing it doesn't change the actual weight. That simply can't be done in a digital, and to do it in a real piano involves pretty thorough surgery on the action.

Any digipiano with a half-decent hammered (weighted) action should serve you and yours well. For quite a while. Years.

But yes, do look at rolands... they're quite nice. I have one. =o)


o.O

A hammered piano, minus the strings. Brilliant!
#662372 - 02/02/09 05:05 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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andy-mu Offline
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I take your comments on board. One other thing I've been noticing about the comparisons between the 2 lower models is that the graded hammer on the 201 appears not to be that good, almost non existent in fact, where the 203 is better. Does anyone else have any experience of this. I'm at the add to basket stage and dont want to make the wrong choice. 203 has CD capability which could help with lessons since cds are provided. Although by the same token I have a cd player in the house. Just a gimmick perhaps

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#662373 - 02/02/09 05:08 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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jeffkretz Offline
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Here is my (admittedly incomplete) understanding of DP sampling.

When you are striking a key, the computer determines how hard/soft/slowly/quickly you are hitting that key, and uses that to determine how to play the note.

It is not adequate to simply adjust the volume of the sound -- an acoustic piano plays the same note with a different timbre depending on how the key is played.

To accomodate this, piano sounds are sampled at different levels, to get these different qualities of notes.

I believe the 207's 100 levels of sensivity adjust how the keys react to your pressing. You could change the sensitivity so that a light keypress is interpreted as a hard one.

It doesn't mean that there are 100 levels of sampled notes.

Does this help?

JK

#662374 - 02/02/09 05:12 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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stringless Offline
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back up the truck a sec:

You say "add to basket.."

this means you're not in the US. In the US you can't get these online.

Be VERY CAREFUL with the HP201 in regions outside the US. Some versions of the 201 have the old PHA action, not the PHAII. ALl the 201 in the States have PHAII, but that's *not* the case in Europe. Caveat emptor, and I suggest you read the Roland site -- carefully.

I would very much suggest you see a dealer.


o.O

A hammered piano, minus the strings. Brilliant!
#662375 - 02/02/09 05:13 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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andy-mu Offline
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This helps very much. I had seen something to that effect and didn't know if my understanding was correct. You have corrected me, and I am better educated as a result. Many thanks

#662376 - 02/02/09 05:18 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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babama Offline
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Netherlands
I have the HP-201 and overall I'm really happy with it.
The default touch setting is all I use. Light or heavy setting is pretty much useless. Light makes it too hard to play soft, heavy makes it too hard to play loud. Lol.

For example, if you'd play Rachmaninov Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 on heavy setting, it would be easier to produce the ppp chords of the first part, but nearly impossible to play the fff third section (you'd seriously need body builder's arms).

In my experience it is the keyboard mechanism itself (the feel of the keys, the way they are pressed and bounce back) that is ultimately limiting compared to 'the real thing'.

#662377 - 02/02/09 05:27 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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Gyro Offline
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Almost all 88-key digital pianos today
are going to be fully-weighted hammer-
actions (fwha digital pianos have been
available since the 1980's). And
certainly all console-style digitals
are going to be fwha. Both the 201 and
203 are fully-weighted hammer-action
digitals, although they might not always be
described explicity like that, since
fwha is more or less the norm these days.
A fwha is essentially a grand piano-like
action, modeled after a top-of-the-line
concert grand piano. Even digitals in
the $500 price range have this. So the
201 is surely going to have a grand
piano-like action.

#662378 - 02/02/09 05:34 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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bitWrangler Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by babama:
I have the HP-201 and overall I'm really happy with it.
The default touch setting is all I use. Light or heavy setting is pretty much useless. Light makes it too hard to play soft, heavy makes it too hard to play loud. Lol.

For example, if you'd play Rachmaninov Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 on heavy setting, it would be easier to produce the ppp chords of the first part, but nearly impossible to play the fff third section (you'd seriously need body builder's arms).

In my experience it is the keyboard mechanism itself (the feel of the keys, the way they are pressed and bounce back) that is ultimately limiting compared to 'the real thing'.
Actually there is one reason why you might want to adjust the "touch sensitivity". If you have both an acoustic and a digital, go to both and determine the amount of effort it takes to get both to press a key but get no sound. On both of our Yamaha digitals at default touch setting, you have to press significantly softer than on our acoustic (i.e. the digitals are more "sensitive") even though our acoustic is generally considered to have a "light" action. Now this is one very small sample size obviously and may not be true for other combination's of digitals and acoustics but is quite noticeably true for ours.

So depending on your wants and needs, if you desire to have your digital be a bit closer to a particular acoustic, you may want to tweak the sensitivity to more closely match (or then again, you might want the difference to train on both).

#662379 - 02/02/09 06:00 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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andy-mu Offline
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To be honest the 203's looking like the boy for me. In terms of colour since there's nowhere I can see the matt black does anyone know how good or bad this looks compared to the dark rosewood? I know it's a bit off topic but since I think I've got those answers I'm just looking to add the icing to the cake.

#662380 - 02/02/09 06:13 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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andy-mu Offline
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Also thanks to stringless for his comments regards the PHA keyboard. The site advertising the 201 had a PHA keyboard. The old type as he mentioned. The 203 however has the newer PHA II. Good advice. Respect for that post

#662381 - 02/02/09 06:16 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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hmhcho Offline
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You really shouldn't make a final decision based on paper specs or the opinions expressed in this forum. You should really go out and try these DP's to make sure a particular one is right for YOU.

#662382 - 02/02/09 06:27 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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andy-mu Offline
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Unfortunately I dont play. What I could benefit from this would be limited. I want a decent piano for my children to learn on. Not being a pianist means I wouldn't really reap much benefit from trying different types. I have seen reviews from some experienced players comparing to acoustics, and I really only could take their honest opinion on that from their experience, which is way above me. I just couldn't make that type of comparison. Naturally I want a DP to resemble the feel and touch of an acoustic since I think that's what all DP's are trying to achieve and which best allows for easing the ability to play between the two types without any major issues of a technical nature.

#662383 - 02/02/09 06:45 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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stringless Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by andy-mu:
To be honest the 203's looking like the boy for me. In terms of colour since there's nowhere I can see the matt black does anyone know how good or bad this looks compared to the dark rosewood? I know it's a bit off topic but since I think I've got those answers I'm just looking to add the icing to the cake.
Get as much piano as you can comfortably afford.

Anyway -- Satin Black -- looks pretty good. I *wish* they made the 201 in that (I have a 201 in the only color you can get it in the US, mahogany.)

If they did, mine would've been black. Fortunately the mahogany is dark enough that it still works in its room, even with its black furnishings.

I really like the satin black. I saw it on an RG-1 micro-grand. Elegant is the word.


o.O

A hammered piano, minus the strings. Brilliant!
#662384 - 02/02/09 06:54 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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andy-mu Offline
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The 203's probably stretching my budget to the limit, but I appreciate the benefits it has that could be useful for it's purpose. In terms of it's technical offerings I'm willing to stretch since I dont plan to upgrade it too quickly and want the best option for future child development. I want to try and make the right choice at the outset.

#662385 - 02/02/09 07:00 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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Gyro Offline
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The difference between the action on a
201 and a 203, or even a 207, is not going
to be much. I tried the 207, and the
action was very good, but not all that different
from the run-of-the-mill type of digital
piano weighted action. 10 yrs. ago
Roland digital piano actions were good.
Even in the 1980's the weighted actions
were not much different from the best
of today. This is similar to the situation
with the action on a $7000 acoustic
upright piano and that on a $100,000
concert grand. The grand's is better but
not by a universe.

This is marketing. The fact that one
piano has 3 settings while another has
5 and another 100, causes concern that
if you get the one with "only" 3, your playing
is going to be ruined. And by putting
a "II" after "PHA," because that indicates the
later version, this enables them to charge
more for just about the same thing.
For crissakes, there were already
weighted-key digital pianos in the 1980's
that played grand piano-like.

I would get the 201 if cost is a factor.
When you go from something like the 201
to the 203 to the 207, what you get is
not necessarily in a straight-line relationship
to the rise in price. Sometimes manufacturers will
put something on the least expensive model
that even the most expensive model doesn't have,
in order to attract buyers to it and
not have everyone just bypassing it for
the more expensive models. So, often
the least expensive model is very
good. In any case, you could buy
a used digital from the 1980's, for less
than $100, and still have a grand piano-like
instrument.

#662386 - 02/02/09 07:29 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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bitWrangler Offline
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andy, gyro has some valid points (don't fret the number of settings, the price/value ratio is not necessarily linear as you move up the models).

I would disagree with some of his others, primarily the notion that a 1980's digital will yield you the same "grand piano-like" instrument. However, along a somewhat similar vein, you might consider going with a lower end instrument (e.g. Casio PX series) until you know your kids are actually going to "stick with it". Depending on how fast they advance, this can be anywhere from six months to a few years. Then when both you and your kids have a lot more knowledge under your belts, you can then make a more informed decision about what's best to move on to (higher end digital, acoustic, etc). For us, we were ready to move up to an acoustic far faster than we would have imagined when we first started out (luckily we already had a, at the time, mid level digital). So had we spent a large part of our budget on a digital, we'd be looking at either another relatively big ticket purchase (all the while taking the large depreciation hit for the digital) or "forcing" the kids to not be able advance to an instrument that better matched their skills.

Just another perspective to consider.

#662387 - 02/02/09 08:55 PM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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Kawai James Offline
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Yes, I am inclined to agree with bitWrangler on this point. While I think it is admirable that you wish to buy the best instrument that you can afford for your children to learn on, I would suggest purchasing a slightly lower priced instrument (the Casio PX have already been mentioned above) to begin with.

For an absolute beginner, such a product will provide an excellent starting piano for a number of years, by which time your children will - one hopes - be ready to progress to a higher specification instrument or possibly even an acoustic.

Well, good luck with your purchase - may I wish your children many years of musical enjoyment!

James
x


Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.
#662388 - 02/03/09 01:22 AM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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Quote
The 3, 5 and 100 levels are not what the original poster thinks they mean. Those numbers are not an indication of how many "shades" of sound you get.

"touch sensivity" in Roland-speak is actually changing the "weight" of the keyboard, or rather, how the player percieves the "weight."
Stringless, what is the term that refers to the total number of velocities a given board will recognize?

Even on entry level equipment I don't realize any thresholds, where gradually increasing or decreasing key velocity can result in a discrete volume change (like you would if Roland's 4 levels of "touch sensitivity" actually meant only 4 levels of volume were available per key). Maybe just between the absolute softest possible & barely below that where it produces no sound at all. But other than it's pretty seamless, although they obviously don't have infinite levels. Maybe they all have enough by now so that we (I) can't tell a difference.

#662389 - 02/03/09 06:40 AM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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^ the only term I've heard is "dynamic range" -- the distance between no sound and all the sound.

Or in video, the distance from all-black to all-white.

As for how many steps from nothing to everything in a digipiano, I've read (here, actually) everything from 100 "shades" to 255 "shades." It seems no one knows, and the makers don't seem to release that particular number.

I agree with your thought -- from nothing to everything seems to be natural, seamless.


o.O

A hammered piano, minus the strings. Brilliant!
#662390 - 02/03/09 10:24 AM Re: Roland touch sensitivity  
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I did get a chance to go in and look at a couple of pianos today. They had an HP201, 203 and 204. I know the 204 is literally very very similar to the 203. As mentioned I am not a pianist but on testing the feel and touch of them even I can tell the difference with the touch of the 201 and the 203. This will be the escapement no doubt. As such the 203 to me feels right. That almost feeling of hitting the hammer in a virtual sense. As such it appears to feel more realistic. The 201 has the weighted keys but feels as if something is missing. I know its a virtual representation of the mechanics of an acoustic, but did feel mechanical and natural.

Obviously the credit crunch is hitting hard since the dealer was prepared to offer me the 204 for £1500, which the cheapest I'd seen a 203 for on the net was from Thomann for £1448. Their 204 was shown as £1629.


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