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Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP?

Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 07:10 AM

This may seem crazy because I just welcomed a beautiful, near new Steinway B acoustic into my home, but I also want to upgrade my digital practice setup. Even though I of course am on cloud nine when playing the B, the reality is that I have to coexist with my family who need to sleep sometimes or use the parlor, so I will still need the DP to put in what I feel I need for adequate practice time. It's also easier to record from a digital for self evaluation purposes.
My current DP setup is a Yamaha Arius (YDP-162) feeding a MIDI output to a computer running Pianoteq. I am quite satisfied with Pianoteq after spending the time to set it up correctly, but I feel a better keyboard would be in order. I don't need a full-on synth or a standalone piano, just a good keyboard with the full complement of MIDI outputs, such as after touch etc. My question is, what would do you think is the most authentic feeling MIDI keyboard out there when it comes to the action?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 07:16 AM

Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
This may seem crazy because I just welcomed a beautiful, near new Steinway B acoustic into my home, but I also want to upgrade my digital practice setup. Even though I of course am on cloud nine when playing the B, the reality is that I have to coexist with my family who need to sleep sometimes or use the parlor, so I will still need the DP to put in what I feel I need for adequate practice time. It's also easier to record from a digital for self evaluation purposes.
My current DP setup is a Yamaha Arius (YDP-162) feeding a MIDI output to a computer running Pianoteq. I am quite satisfied with Pianoteq after spending the time to set it up correctly, but I feel a better keyboard would be in order. I don't need a full-on synth or a standalone piano, just a good keyboard with the full complement of MIDI outputs, such as after touch etc. My question is, what would do you think is the most authentic feeling MIDI keyboard out there when it comes to the action?

Define "MIDI keyboard" please. Are you talking about a "MIDI Controller" which is a keyboard that only generates MIDI output and has no sound generator and speakers? If so, the best is currently the Kawai VPC1, which has a rather heavy action.

If you mean by "MIDI keyboard" any keyboard that generates MIDI output whether or not it has a sound generator or speakers, then it is probably the hybrids: the Yamaha Avantgrand N1X, N2, or N3X, or the Kawai Novus NV10. There are people who use these hybrids as just a MIDI keyboard and then generate the sound on a PC running a VST, like Pianoteq. I think this latter is what you actually mean since your example of a YDP-162 is not a "MIDI Controller."
Posted By: Cheshire Chris

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 07:24 AM

I really like the keyboard action of my Yamaha P-515. I have no trouble at all moving between it and my teacher's Steinway grand.
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 07:38 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
This may seem crazy because I just welcomed a beautiful, near new Steinway B acoustic into my home, but I also want to upgrade my digital practice setup. Even though I of course am on cloud nine when playing the B, the reality is that I have to coexist with my family who need to sleep sometimes or use the parlor, so I will still need the DP to put in what I feel I need for adequate practice time. It's also easier to record from a digital for self evaluation purposes.
My current DP setup is a Yamaha Arius (YDP-162) feeding a MIDI output to a computer running Pianoteq. I am quite satisfied with Pianoteq after spending the time to set it up correctly, but I feel a better keyboard would be in order. I don't need a full-on synth or a standalone piano, just a good keyboard with the full complement of MIDI outputs, such as after touch etc. My question is, what would do you think is the most authentic feeling MIDI keyboard out there when it comes to the action?

Define "MIDI keyboard" please. Are you talking about a "MIDI Controller" which is a keyboard that only generates MIDI output and has no sound generator and speakers? If so, the best is currently the Kawai VPC1, which has a rather heavy action.

If you mean by "MIDI keyboard" any keyboard that generates MIDI output whether or not it has a sound generator or speakers, then it is probably the hybrids: the Yamaha Avantgrand N1X, N2, or N3X, or the Kawai Novus NV10. There are people who use these hybrids as just a MIDI keyboard and then generate the sound on a PC running a VST, like Pianoteq. I think this latter is what you actually mean since your example of a YDP-162 is not a "MIDI Controller."


I guess I wasn't clear enough, sorry about that. Yes to a keyboard that is just a controller, with everything else being done by external computer, speakers etc. At the moment my YDP-162 is indeed just used in that sense, as a controller. Thanks for the recommendation on the Kawai.
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 07:38 AM

Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
I really like the keyboard action of my Yamaha P-515. I have no trouble at all moving between it and my teacher's Steinway grand.


Thanks for the reply!
Posted By: RyanThePianist

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 07:46 AM

Just purchased a Yamaha P-515 today. It was about $1800 with all the stands, pedals, and such. The action is called NWX and it felt great at the store. Not too heavy and not too light. I personally like heavier keys in digitals. I also played a Yamaha CP-88 today, which had a NW-GH action, and I was impressed. This goes for $2500+. I own a Yamaha G3 and have played on various Steinways, so the Yamaha CP-88 in my experience is something you should try along with the Yamaha P-515. I'm sure there are other brands to look at too such as Kawai, Roland, etc.
Posted By: Cheshire Chris

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 07:51 AM

Perhaps worth noting that the P-515 has the same keyboard as the Clavinova CLP-645, which you may find easier to try out in a store. In my part of the world far more piano stores stock the Clavinova than the P-515.

Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 07:55 AM

If you are willing to accept something like the P-515 as a MIDI keyboard even though it has a sound generator, then something to also consider is the Kawai MP11SE which has a sound generator but no speakers. It has a noticeably lighter keyboard action than the Kawai VPC1, and also the action feels more authentic to me.
Posted By: clothearednincompo

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 09:11 AM

Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
[...] a good keyboard with the full complement of MIDI outputs, such as after touch etc.


Your Yamaha Arius has no after touch.

I don't think Pianoteq supports after touch in any way. (And I can't think what that way would even be.)

So is after touch really a requirement?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 09:32 AM

Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
I don't think Pianoteq supports after touch in any way. (And I can't think what that way would even be.)

Where did you get this information? Pianoteq's website says it supports polyphonic aftertouch which is especially necessary for clavichords.
Posted By: clothearednincompo

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 10:10 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Where did you get this information?


Off the top of my head. laugh

Alright, it's used for clavihords then. Makes sense, actually.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 10:19 AM

Acoiustic pianos have no aftertouch ... not in the sense of the word as it's used in electronic instruments. Anyway, digital pianos generally don't support aftertouch. (Does yours?)

In the world of acoustic pianos the term aftertouch means something entirely different.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 10:24 AM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
digital pianos generally don't support aftertouch. (Does yours?)

You are probably right. But I believe one that does support aftertouch is the Yamaha Avantgrand - at least I've seen mention of this on this forum for the N1X.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 10:36 AM

There are techno-keyboards that support aftertouch. But those have no pretense of emulating acoustic pianos.
Indeed, the aftertouch is a means to control VIs that support aftertouch ... such as purely synthetic instruments, or electronic versions of instruments that need an element of control beyond note-on/note-off, like a violin.
Posted By: Doug M.

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 10:43 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
digital pianos generally don't support aftertouch. (Does yours?)

You are probably right. But I believe one that does support aftertouch is the Yamaha Avantgrand - at least I've seen mention of this on this forum for the N1X.


Is that aftertouch for the pianos though, or for some other sample?
Many of the samples that evolved out of AWM use aftertouch.
Posted By: JoBert

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 11:34 AM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
digital pianos generally don't support aftertouch. (Does yours?)

You are probably right. But I believe one that does support aftertouch is the Yamaha Avantgrand - at least I've seen mention of this on this forum for the N1X.

No, this is a misunderstanding. The AvantGrands don't have aftertouch either - not as this term is used for electronic keyboards (Wikipedia: "Aftertouch, or pressure sensitivity - the amount of pressure on a key, once already held down").

What the AvantGrands do is, that they re-purpose the aftertouch MIDI message (since it is not used for it's original purpose of pressure sensing) to send information about the key release. But this is a proprietary solution and has nothing to do with actual aftertouch.
Posted By: CyberGene

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 11:42 AM

JoBert beat me to it.
Posted By: Bobby Simons

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 12:21 PM

Originally Posted by RyanThePianist
Just purchased a Yamaha P-515 today. It was about $1800 with all the stands, pedals, and such...

Great minds think alike - so did I.

Although I was unable to play one first, I have played the action in other instruments. It was down to choosing between this and the Kawai ES8, which I did get to play and really liked. (Honestly I would have been be happy with either.) I guess I am generally a Yamaha action guy, I still play my 35 yr. old KX88 controller every day, and will probably continue to do so.
Anyway, the furniture stand is backordered until late June but I negotiated a nice stand to hold me over that I can keep. I briefly considered the white version bundle, which is in stock, but my wife didn't like the look. Since she gave me no grief about buying another keyboard (with 8 or 9 already set up in the basement), I acquiesced. Happy wife, happy life.

According to UPS tracking, it may be here (Long Island) by tomorrow (Friday)! That seems improbable - but I am stoked.
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 12:42 PM

Originally Posted by JoBert
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
digital pianos generally don't support aftertouch. (Does yours?)

You are probably right. But I believe one that does support aftertouch is the Yamaha Avantgrand - at least I've seen mention of this on this forum for the N1X.

No, this is a misunderstanding. The AvantGrands don't have aftertouch either - not as this term is used for electronic keyboards (Wikipedia: "Aftertouch, or pressure sensitivity - the amount of pressure on a key, once already held down").

What the AvantGrands do is, that they re-purpose the aftertouch MIDI message (since it is not used for it's original purpose of pressure sensing) to send information about the key release. But this is a proprietary solution and has nothing to do with actual aftertouch.

So then I guess the question is: which aftertouch did the OP want? My mind immediately went to the definition of pressure after the key has been pressed, used mainly in synth-type sounds since the OP was talking about a MIDI controller.

But I'm also confused by the OP's request for something to practice piano on after hours, but then requesting a controller only. Most controllers do not have piano actions, but synth actions to accommodate non-piano sounds.

I own a controller that has no sounds and it has a synth action - the Nektar Impact LX88, but for silent practice on piano, I use the Kawai MP11. The MP11 works great as a controller, but since it is a piano action, it's not the best to play string sounds or organ. If you're looking for a piano-only controller (with no pitch bend or mod wheel) then the Kawai VPC1 is perfect for that.
Posted By: Bobby Simons

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 01:07 PM

Your LX88 may be semi-weighted, but there are plenty of 88 key controllers with piano actions. . . the Kawai VPC-1, Studiologic SL88 Grand, Studiologic SL88 Stage, NI Komplete Kontrol S88, Arturia KeyLab 88, Akai MPK Road 88, the very affordable M-Audio Hammer 88, etc., etc.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 01:23 PM

Remember that any piano with let off simulation emulates an entirely unrelated aftertouch, which is the last part of the key travel in a grand piano, when the hammer is in free flight. Of course the AvantGrands and the NV-10 have this type of aftertouch. As aftertouch on a grand is the part of key travel that can't in any way control the sound, it's the complete opposite of synth aftertouch. I wonder which use of the term would be more familiar to the majority of AG and NV-10 players.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 01:38 PM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
Remember that any piano with let off simulation emulates an entirely unrelated aftertouch, which is the last part of the key travel in a grand piano, when the hammer is in free flight. Of course the AvantGrands and the NV-10 have this type of aftertouch. As aftertouch on a grand is the part of key travel that can't in any way control the sound, it's the complete opposite of synth aftertouch. I wonder which use of the term would be more familiar to the majority of AG and NV-10 players.

I wonder what form of aftertouch is Pianoteq using? Furthermore, if the AvantGrands have re-purposed the MIDI aftertouch messages, I wonder what Pianoteq and any other VSTs that interpret this message, do with this? Or has Yamaha re-purposed it in a way that it would normally be ignored by software VSTs?
Posted By: Gombessa

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 03:19 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Furthermore, if the AvantGrands have re-purposed the MIDI aftertouch messages, I wonder what Pianoteq and any other VSTs that interpret this message, do with this? Or has Yamaha re-purposed it in a way that it would normally be ignored by software VSTs?


That's a good question to ask on a PT forum. But here, what were left with is 3 distinct definitions for the same term:

Synth pressure/MIDI aftertouch, grand piano aftertouch, and AvantGrand aftertouch. Couldn't get more convoluted if you tried!
Posted By: JoBert

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 03:55 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Remember that any piano with let off simulation emulates an entirely unrelated aftertouch, which is the last part of the key travel in a grand piano, when the hammer is in free flight. Of course the AvantGrands and the NV-10 have this type of aftertouch. As aftertouch on a grand is the part of key travel that can't in any way control the sound, it's the complete opposite of synth aftertouch. I wonder which use of the term would be more familiar to the majority of AG and NV-10 players.

I wonder what form of aftertouch is Pianoteq using? Furthermore, if the AvantGrands have re-purposed the MIDI aftertouch messages, I wonder what Pianoteq and any other VSTs that interpret this message, do with this? Or has Yamaha re-purposed it in a way that it would normally be ignored by software VSTs?

If Pianoteq is using aftertouch, then it must be the pressure-sensing type. The acoustic piano type aftertouch has no bearing on the sound. It isn't even a value that the player can affect in any way. It is simply a constant that is always the same, no matter what the pianist does: For the given key, with the given regulation, the acoustic type aftertouch is always the same. It is simply the name for a certain distance measurement: The key dip distance between the letoff point and the fully depressed key. Probably 1-2mm or so.
The pressure-sensing type however does make sense for Pianoteq to use. Not for the piano voices, but for the clavichord, because an acoustic clavichord is pressure sensitive too.
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 06:23 PM

Originally Posted by Bobby Simons
Your LX88 may be semi-weighted, but there are plenty of 88 key controllers with piano actions. . . the Kawai VPC-1, Studiologic SL88 Grand, Studiologic SL88 Stage, NI Komplete Kontrol S88, Arturia KeyLab 88, Akai MPK Road 88, the very affordable M-Audio Hammer 88, etc., etc.

Ya, but if I Want to play strings, I don't want a piano action. That's my point. The right tool for the job, and I'm still not clear on what the OP is asking for.
Posted By: arc7urus

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 09:50 PM

Originally Posted by JoBert
If Pianoteq is using aftertouch, then it must be the pressure-sensing type. The acoustic piano type aftertouch has no bearing on the sound. It isn't even a value that the player can affect in any way. (...)
The pressure-sensing type however does make sense for Pianoteq to use. Not for the piano voices, but for the clavichord, because an acoustic clavichord is pressure sensitive too.


Pianoteq is using the aftertouch messages in MIDI files at least for two different purposes (1) to simulate pressure-sensitive instruments and (2) to support Yamaha's MIDI XP format. The former is "true" aftertouch/channel pressure sensing as defined in the MIDI 1 specification and is used on the clavichords in the Kivir instrument collection. The latter is Yamaha's proprietary use of aftertouch since it was not adopted by the MIDI MMA - actually, Yamaha's e-seq format preceded the MIDI specification and was one of its foundations. Pianoteq and some MIDI players support the XP format a it has been around for almost 20 years since the Disklavier Pro was introduced.
Posted By: Jt2nd

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/25/19 10:50 PM

Why bother about aftertouch on a digital keyboard? The aftertouch ican be felt on a real piano when the hammer shank is released to travel the few mms before the hammer strikes. If the release mechanism --- Needs---- lubricating with some graphite or teflon powder you can feel a sluggish resistance .That needs to be minimised for smooth playing. It`s there but it`s not particularly desirable . Technicians will tell you the release of the hammer shank will prevent the shank from breaking . For some reason the aftertouch has become part of pianists "Technique " where it should be left to the technician to keep the action smooth . If players have a hazy notion of what aftertouch is they might not ask for a technician to call and sort it out . Digital salesmen may use the phrase to pretend they are selling something special .which does not exist .
Heavy key pressure is subjective but technicians measure the down key movement with a metal weight ..Anyone can look up how much weight should press the keys down .You can make a direct comparison between digitals and real pianos .Use a pile of 5 pence pieces .
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/26/19 02:25 AM

Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
[...] a good keyboard with the full complement of MIDI outputs, such as after touch etc.


Your Yamaha Arius has no after touch.

I don't think Pianoteq supports after touch in any way. (And I can't think what that way would even be.)

So is after touch really a requirement?

Pianoteq does support it. My current DP doesn't though.
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/26/19 02:35 AM

Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by JoBert
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by MacMacMac
digital pianos generally don't support aftertouch. (Does yours?)

You are probably right. But I believe one that does support aftertouch is the Yamaha Avantgrand - at least I've seen mention of this on this forum for the N1X.

No, this is a misunderstanding. The AvantGrands don't have aftertouch either - not as this term is used for electronic keyboards (Wikipedia: "Aftertouch, or pressure sensitivity - the amount of pressure on a key, once already held down").

What the AvantGrands do is, that they re-purpose the aftertouch MIDI message (since it is not used for it's original purpose of pressure sensing) to send information about the key release. But this is a proprietary solution and has nothing to do with actual aftertouch.

So then I guess the question is: which aftertouch did the OP want? My mind immediately went to the definition of pressure after the key has been pressed, used mainly in synth-type sounds since the OP was talking about a MIDI controller.

But I'm also confused by the OP's request for something to practice piano on after hours, but then requesting a controller only. Most controllers do not have piano actions, but synth actions to accommodate non-piano sounds.

I own a controller that has no sounds and it has a synth action - the Nektar Impact LX88, but for silent practice on piano, I use the Kawai MP11. The MP11 works great as a controller, but since it is a piano action, it's not the best to play string sounds or organ. If you're looking for a piano-only controller (with no pitch bend or mod wheel) then the Kawai VPC1 is perfect for that.

The after touch is not a really big deal. I just figured it would good to have since Pianoteq supports it. As for wanting just the controller, that is because I don't want to spend money duplicating what Pianoteq does already. I'd rather the money I spend go into a quality action that can compliment my acoustic. As mentioned just above, there are indeed a number of controllers with serious actions. My dilemma is of course which one. smile
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/26/19 03:44 AM

Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
As mentioned just above, there are indeed a number of controllers with serious actions. My dilemma is of course which one. smile

However, if you are only allowing pure controllers without sound generator or speakers, there are probably only 3 that would be most authentic:
  • Kawai VPC1
  • Ravenworks VPC1 (even more authentic because it is professionally regulated, but 3x as expensive)
  • Lachnit MK23 (another professionally regulated MIDI controller)


If you will allow a sound generator to be in the product, then you can add a few others including the Kawai MP11SE.
Posted By: JohnSprung

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/26/19 03:10 PM

Originally Posted by Jt2nd
Why bother about aftertouch on a digital keyboard? The aftertouch ican be felt on a real piano when the hammer shank is released to travel the few mms before the hammer strikes. If the release mechanism --- Needs---- lubricating with some graphite or teflon powder you can feel a sluggish resistance .That needs to be minimised for smooth playing. It`s there but it`s not particularly desirable . .


Indeed -- it's like throwing a bag of manure under the driver's seat to make your car smell like a horse. ;-)
Posted By: Jt2nd

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/26/19 07:10 PM

I just realised I was wrong about aftertouch .Even when the action is working smoothly it is still easy to feel the contact through the key and if a player is playing softly and quietly there is an instant in time when the pianist plays the note precisely when it`s needed .Not a moment sooner or later .That is very important to a fine musician . It comes under expression .So in the case of digitals it makes absolute sense to mimic that moment when the note can be finely controlled .
Apologies for my ignorance from yesterday .
There is an interesting invention fitted to Petrof pianos where the lead weights in the keys have been replaced with two pairs of magnets.This gives an adjustable touch weight that can be at the standard weight or much lighter .The benefit is , the inertial mass of the lead weights is removed without any bad effect on the playing.The key almost seem to stick to the fingers as the keys return so quickly . Younger players with weaker fingers can also play in comfort with the lighter adjustment . .Digitals may catch up with that when patent laws allow it .
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 12:54 AM

Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts on this. I'm leaning towards the Kawai VPC-1, although the Ravenworks was mentioned as being a little better yet. If this were to be my only piano, I might go for that one, but since I have the S &S B, I can always go to that for that last bit of perfection. I'm just looking for something closer to "real" for silent practice than my YDP-162 is, while keeping the wife happy right after spending a wad on the B. Happy wife, happy life. The Kawai seems like it might be in that sweet spot as far as bang for the buck. Wish I could try them out, but living in the boonies as we do, that's not an option. No music stores here with that kind of stuff.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 03:14 AM

I would buy a Kawai MP11SE instead of the VPC1, as it has a better action.
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 05:24 AM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
I would buy a Kawai MP11SE instead of the VPC1, as it has a better action.

Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out more. All I really want is the controller, but if the action is better, I'd consider it even though I don't need the other stuff on there.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 06:50 AM

Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
I'm leaning towards the Kawai VPC-1, although the Ravenworks was mentioned as being a little better yet.

The Ravenworks is better because he starts with the Kawai and then professional regulates it. Each Ravenworks has 40 hours of labor (regulation) put into it. I believe there are some Youtube videos of it.

(BTW, not saying you should get this - it's 3x more. Personally, I would consider a low-end hybrid before this, but I don't have a requirement for a strict "MIDI controller" without sound generation.)
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 07:50 AM

Who owns (or has tried) this Ravenized VPC keyboard?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 08:13 AM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Who owns (or has tried) this Ravenized VPC keyboard?

vmishka over on the Pianist Corner forum tried it a few years ago at a music exhibition and said at that time that it was impressively good. I haven't asked him to compare with the MP11SE though. I contacted the owner Ravenworks (who is a piano technician and creator of the Ravenscroft Grand) about 6 months ago and it was clear there was no way to try it myself without going to Colorado, so I lost interest. I can afford a hybrid instead, and don't have a requirement to not have a sound generator/speakers, so I will just go hybrid instead since I can try that anywhere.

PianoManChuck did a review of the Ravenworks VPC1 a few NAMMs back.

I would only see going to the trouble of going to Colorado to try it out (as for such an odd duck, trying is definitely needed) if one were seeking out a portable slab-like form factor with the most realistic action. That isn't my use-case.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 08:21 AM

Rephrase: Who HERE has tried the Ravenworks VPC ?
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 08:30 AM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Rephrase: Who HERE has tried the Ravenworks VPC ?

PianoManChuck is here. He isn't in this particular thread though. He could be PM'ed to come visit this thread and comment I suppose.

EDIT: PianoManChuck has been participating in the Dexibell thread so I just responded to him there and asked if he would visit this thread and compare the Ravenworks VPC1 to the MP11SE.
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 08:59 AM

Again, thanks to all of you for your very useful input. Having a sound generator and speakers wouldn't necessarily be a deal killer for me, but nothing is free , so I'd rather just pay for what I need than duplicating functionality I already have. If the only way to have a good action though is to buy it bundled with the sound generator and speakers, then so be it, but I was hoping that's not the case. It sounds like one of the Kawais controllers might just be the ticket, at least good enough for my purposes. I will keep an eye on here for PianoManChuck. Thanks Tyrone.
Posted By: aphexdisklavier

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 09:31 AM

You just have to try it for yourself. You can write a lot about key actions (light/hard etc), if you try it for yourself then it's a completely different thing. Yesterday I wrote about my experiences in the Kawai VPC2 wish list. Often it is a very clear thing when you sit down in front of the piano. In the forum it is very difficult to judge something for yourself by the opinions of others. Everyone has different expectations, abilities, skills and habits. In my case the MP11se was a big disapointment.

Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 09:39 AM

Originally Posted by aphexdisklavier
You just have to try it yourself. You can write a lot about key actions (light/hard etc), if you try it yourself then it's a completely different thing. Yesterday I wrote about my experiences in the Kawai VPC2 wish list. Often it is a very clear thing when you sit down in front of the piano. In the forum it is very difficult to judge something by the opinions of others for yourself. Everyone has different expectations, abilities, skills and habits. In my case the MP11se was a big disapointment.

And this underscores how personal preferences can be. I know you are an advanced pianist, but my piano teacher owned both as well as an acoustical grand, and among those DPs expressed a preference for the MP11SE. I too tried both and preferred the MP11SE, however, I am not very experienced at piano so would hope no one decides on the basis of my personal experience.

Yes, so I think it is important the OP try out the different pianos. It's harder though with the VPC1 in particular as often the only practical way is to bring a VST on a tablet with some cables, since rarely will a piano store have it set up and operating in the store.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 11:19 AM

My current favourite is the action in the Roland FP-90 -I haven't tried the more recent update of the action. It's the way the action responds that impresses me most. I find moving between it and a grand is fairly seamless. It would be nice if the bass keys were a tad heavier, but then the upward push would feel unrealistic.
Posted By: JoBert

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 11:35 AM

Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
If the only way to have a good action though is to buy it bundled with the sound generator and speakers, then so be it, but I was hoping that's not the case.

FYI, the MP11SE does not have speakers either.
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 12:17 PM

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by aphexdisklavier
You just have to try it yourself. You can write a lot about key actions (light/hard etc), if you try it yourself then it's a completely different thing. Yesterday I wrote about my experiences in the Kawai VPC2 wish list. Often it is a very clear thing when you sit down in front of the piano. In the forum it is very difficult to judge something by the opinions of others for yourself. Everyone has different expectations, abilities, skills and habits. In my case the MP11se was a big disapointment.

And this underscores how personal preferences can be. I know you are an advanced pianist, but my piano teacher owned both as well as an acoustical grand, and among those DPs expressed a preference for the MP11SE. I too tried both and preferred the MP11SE, however, I am not very experienced at piano so would hope no one decides on the basis of my personal experience.

Yes, so I think it is important the OP try out the different pianos. It's harder though with the VPC1 in particular as often the only practical way is to bring a VST on a tablet with some cables, since rarely will a piano store have it set up and operating in the store.


Trying before buying is unfortunately rather difficult, as I live on an island where there are no music stores that carry this kind of equipment. But I agree, it is a quite subjective, so I'll probably have to fly up to Honolulu to try any of these. With $300 round trip air-fare, hotel for a night and a rental car, it's probably going to add nearly a grand to the price, but it's worth it. You guys have given me some good tips on some to look at. It would be nice if the ones I look at had everything plugged in, but even if they don't, I can at least rule out what I don't want - a thick, crudely heavy action. (The old, Fender Rhodes electric piano action was an example of horrible.)
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 12:18 PM

Originally Posted by JoBert
Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
If the only way to have a good action though is to buy it bundled with the sound generator and speakers, then so be it, but I was hoping that's not the case.

FYI, the MP11SE does not have speakers either.

Good.
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 12:22 PM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
My current favourite is the action in the Roland FP-90 -I haven't tried the more recent update of the action. It's the way the action responds that impresses me most. I find moving between it and a grand is fairly seamless. It would be nice if the bass keys were a tad heavier, but then the upward push would feel unrealistic.

I have a friend in France who is a professional pianist and she very much likes the action on her Roland Fantom X8. Not sure how similar that is to the FB-90, but thanks for the tip.
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 01:44 PM

Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy

Trying before buying is unfortunately rather difficult, as I live on an island where there are no music stores that carry this kind of equipment. But I agree, it is a quite subjective, so I'll probably have to fly up to Honolulu to try any of these. With $300 round trip air-fare, hotel for a night and a rental car, it's probably going to add nearly a grand to the price, but it's worth it. You guys have given me some good tips on some to look at. It would be nice if the ones I look at had everything plugged in, but even if they don't, I can at least rule out what I don't want - a thick, crudely heavy action. (The old, Fender Rhodes electric piano action was an example of horrible.)

Perhaps a better option is to buy what you think would work best, and buy from someone who has an excellent satisfaction guarantee, so if you don't like it you can return within 30 days for your money back or something. I think most of the bigger online companies will do this, however, you may have some expense for shipping from Hawaii.

My recommendation is if you prefer a heavier action (and perhaps think about how your Steinway is), then the VPC1 may be a better fit. You will notice the weight mostly toward the tops of the keys when playing higher up toward the fallboard. If you prefer a moderate action (but not "light"), then the MP11se is a better fit.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 02:06 PM

Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
It would be nice if the ones I look at had everything plugged in, but even if they don't, I can at least rule out what I don't want - a thick, crudely heavy action. (The old, Fender Rhodes electric piano action was an example of horrible.)

I've seen the VPC1 in a store about 5 months ago and it was not plugged in. Although I could have plugged it in, in the store (what store wouldn't if you are a real buyer?), I didn't have a VST with me so it would be pointless. The MP11SE I did plug-in and I used headphones that I had brought with me for the purpose. BTW, don't trust the store to already have decent headphones for you to use. In my experience, they have the cheapest $5-10 headphones around.

I tried out both, the VPC1 without power but the MP11SE with power and my headphones, and found the VPC1 action much heavier. Since I didn't power up the VPC1, it was not, strictly speaking, an apple-to-apple comparison, but it was enough of one for me to tell that if buying a slab piano, I would just take the MP11SE myself over the VPC1 based only on considerations of the action. BTW, I'm not talking about the authenticity of the action. I tested some grand piano actions, also around 5 months ago, and I found a few that had even a heavier action than the VPC1. So the VPC1 is possibly authentic but heavy (given my level of experience, I am not the best person to judge "authenticity" though).

However, since you are talking about making a $1000 trip to test pianos, I might suggest to you that if you have an iOS device, that you can for a few more dollars acquire a VST:



If you have an appropriate cable and the headphones mentioned above, you would be able to test anything they have electricity to power up including the VPC1. If you aren't on iOS but rely on the Android ecosystem, then there are also Android alternatives.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 02:16 PM

@TS: It seems you gave the VPC some attention ... more than I did.
When I tapped the keys it made no sound ... demonstrating (as expected) that the shop did not have it hooked up.
So I gave it no further notice and I moved on.

How do you sell a MUSICAL INSTRUMENT that produces NO MUSIC? Stooopid.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 02:29 PM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@TS: It seems you gave the VPC some attention ... more than I did.
When I tapped the keys it made no sound ... demonstrating (as expected) that the shop did not have it hooked up.
So I gave it no further notice and I moved on.

How do you sell a MUSICAL INSTRUMENT that produces NO MUSIC? Stooopid.

Yes, it is stupid. I just tried it enough next to the MP11SE that the store had and I actually tested with headphones to know there wasn't anything about the feel (action) that I liked better than the MP11SE. I suppose that if I had liked the feel of the keys better than the MP11SE which was able to produce sound for me with headphones, then I might have considered returning with the Ravenscroft 275 VST on my iPad, but as it was, I haven't given the VPC1 a second thought. It now is categorized in my head as "heavy action" and I'm not looking for a workout every time I approach the piano.
Posted By: MacMacMac

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 02:31 PM

You should update your profile. It says you have an FP30.
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 02:35 PM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
You should update your profile. It says you have an FP30.

I will when I finally pull the trigger on a hybrid. It's been a few weeks away now for the last 3 months. But one of these days, I'm going to surprise you all by finally pulling the trigger! Haha.... Analysis paralysis, partly is to blame, but to take a page from your book, it's also because one of the possibilities is the N1X which has taken its sweet time to get to my local Yamaha piano store, and I've decided that unlike a few here in this forum, there will be "no buying without first trying."
Posted By: toddy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 03:26 PM

Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
I have a friend in France who is a professional pianist and she very much likes the action on her Roland Fantom X8.


Interesting. The original Roland PHA, presumably. But does she use it for piano work or more for arranging/ synthesiser playing?
Posted By: Bobby Simons

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 03:36 PM

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
@TS: It seems you gave the VPC some attention ... more than I did.
When I tapped the keys it made no sound ... demonstrating (as expected) that the shop did not have it hooked up.
So I gave it no further notice and I moved on.

How do you sell a MUSICAL INSTRUMENT that produces NO MUSIC? Stooopid.


I am always so envious when watching that dude Tony and the many Bonner demo youtubes. The sales floor looks like heaven!
Posted By: aphexdisklavier

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/27/19 03:38 PM

Yes the VPC1 has no more a "heavy" action as the MP11 has a really light one. But no one talks about the differencies in the speed of the key coming back. The swing is just very slow on the MP11. Much slower than on the VPC. Thats why it felt so differently to me...
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/28/19 06:44 AM

Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy

Trying before buying is unfortunately rather difficult, as I live on an island where there are no music stores that carry this kind of equipment. But I agree, it is a quite subjective, so I'll probably have to fly up to Honolulu to try any of these. With $300 round trip air-fare, hotel for a night and a rental car, it's probably going to add nearly a grand to the price, but it's worth it. You guys have given me some good tips on some to look at. It would be nice if the ones I look at had everything plugged in, but even if they don't, I can at least rule out what I don't want - a thick, crudely heavy action. (The old, Fender Rhodes electric piano action was an example of horrible.)

Perhaps a better option is to buy what you think would work best, and buy from someone who has an excellent satisfaction guarantee, so if you don't like it you can return within 30 days for your money back or something. I think most of the bigger online companies will do this, however, you may have some expense for shipping from Hawaii.

My recommendation is if you prefer a heavier action (and perhaps think about how your Steinway is), then the VPC1 may be a better fit. You will notice the weight mostly toward the tops of the keys when playing higher up toward the fallboard. If you prefer a moderate action (but not "light"), then the MP11se is a better fit.


Aloha Morodiene and thanks for your input. I'm shooting for something as close as possible to my Steinway B, which to me anyway, seems to have a weighting about right down the middle for acoustics, not particularly heavy, but not as light either as some me I've played. If you don't mind, could tell if you think the VPC1 is about like your 'average', acoustic keyboard weight? Or heavier? Lighter? Same with the MP11se. From what you said, it sounds like the MP11se might be right there in the middle, which would be perfect. Thanks again to you and others here for all the good info.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/28/19 08:52 AM

Originally Posted by Morodiene

My recommendation is if you prefer a heavier action (and perhaps think about how your Steinway is), then the VPC1 may be a better fit. You will notice the weight mostly toward the tops of the keys when playing higher up toward the fallboard. If you prefer a moderate action (but not "light"), then the MP11se is a better fit.


The issue of being heavier (with shallower travel) towards the fallboard is separate from the heaviness of the action. The MP11SE is closer to the Steinway B in this regard, as the variation in leverage over the playable area is smaller.
Posted By: aphexdisklavier

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/28/19 10:23 AM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by Morodiene

My recommendation is if you prefer a heavier action (and perhaps think about how your Steinway is), then the VPC1 may be a better fit. You will notice the weight mostly toward the tops of the keys when playing higher up toward the fallboard. If you prefer a moderate action (but not "light"), then the MP11se is a better fit.


The issue of being heavier (with shallower travel) towards the fallboard is separate from the heaviness of the action. The MP11SE is closer to the Steinway B in this regard, as the variation in leverage over the playable area is smaller.

No, no you cant compare either of the 3 actions .... they are very different in many ways. Words can´t describe it. You have to make your own experience really. Would you believe someone who says "this car´s action is closer to a Ferrari"? Check it out for yourself, thats all I can say in that forum. Maybe (in a sellers room) you find a complete different action better (some of the Rolands are pretty good too).....
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/30/19 09:30 AM

Thanks again to everyone for your input. As it happens, a ham radio buddy I know on the other side of the island has an MP11SE and was kind enough to let me give his a spin. Obviously having never tried the other suggestions here, I'm in no position to compare it to those but, it was good enough that it will serve as a fine substitute for my Steinway when I have to run silent and that is what I was after. Nothing will be exactly the same, but this will certainly be close enough to do the job. So, this evening I pulled the trigger on an MP11SE. I was even able to get the "free" shipping down to only $135. I guess I'll now have the option of the MP11's built in voices or use it as just a controller. I didn't really want to duplicate the functionality I already have with the Pianoteq, but that's okay.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 04/30/19 05:08 PM

Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
... I guess I'll now have the option of the MP11's built in voices or use it as just a controller. I didn't really want to duplicate the functionality I already have with the Pianoteq, but that's okay.


I think after you have had the MP11SE for a bit, you will find that you use VSTs less frequently …. if at all.

I still try VSTs now and then (usually after reading some forum member's enthusiasm for one) but quickly return to native sound of MP11SE.
Posted By: BigIslandGuy

Re: Most 'authentic' weighted action in a DP? - 05/11/19 02:33 AM

I've had the MPSE11 that I finally settled on for a week now and just thought I'd report back. Bottom line: I'm very happy with it. I'm glad I didn't go for anything with a lighter action. This action continues to feel very reasonably close to the action of my B, but any lighter would be not what I needed. It'not exactly the same as the B of course, but certainly good enough to do the job. The built in SK EX sound is very nice, although I still prefer the S&S B simulation from the Pianoteq VST. I've worked with that quite a bit to get it as close as possible to my real B. However, as I play more, I may find Kawai's native sound grows on me. In any event, I'm quite happy with the MP11SE and want to say thanks to all who took their time to share their thoughts with me here. Mahalo nui loa!
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