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Originally Posted by 9190

How can we evaluate whether the VPC1 in the mid- or end-product cycle, if it's a first product in its class/category/series? And in the meantime the RM3II action of VPC1 already 2 (two) generations behind of Kawai's newer top actions.

That is why I would not pay more than USD 500.- for a new VPC1.

Originally Posted by 9190

And if we will check the product life of MP10/6, then it's 3 years and 2 months. The current MP11/MP7 will have 3 years next month (February_2017). So, it is definitely in the end-product cycle, not mid-product cycle. ...

So sad that my MP7 is EOL already: "one of the last ROMplers"??




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The action in the VPC1 continues to be a top action which many pianists find quite satisfying. Some even prefer it to the slightly more lightweight GF2 action. I got mine for a good price when it was new and I'd pay exactly the same now for sure. (Many others do in fact.) If you are in need of a serious action for a piano controller, there is no better product around at a similar price, and I think this will remain to be the case for quite a while. If Kawai wants to update it, fine, but they are not exactly under pressure in the market, for this rather unique kind of product.


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I based my earlier comment about the MP11 and VPC1 being in mid cycle based on previous recent comments that I read on here from James at Kawai - saying not to expect anything new in these lines for a couple of years.

Agreed that the VPC1 is probably the best piano action controller out there. Yet there are always continuous improvements possible. Update to the newest key lengths. Thunderbolt, etc. Even moving the jacks as suggested by piano man Chuck. The problem with people like me is that if I knew for sure there were no new VPC's coming for a couple of years I'd probably get one by spring. But if it's grey, I don't like buying older tech and I wait, and wait. Although older tech may work really well, support tends to fade, updates become infrequent, and eventually repair and parts become harder to obtain. Plus older tech doesn't take advantage of newer connections such as thunderbolt.

Even those wanting to buy an original VPC1 or MP11 would be well advised to wait for NAMM. If a new model is announced, you can bet on a big price drop on the old to clear them. In this regard NAMM kinda shoots the manufacturers in the foot. People hesitate to buy at this time of year. For example, would you buy an avantgrand knowing that the announcement of a new X model could drop the current model prices by thousands?


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Originally Posted by Ottawa58
Agreed that the VPC1 is probably the best piano action controller out there. Yet there are always continuous improvements possible. Update to the newest key lengths. Thunderbolt...older tech doesn't take advantage of newer connections such as thunderbolt.


May I ask, what are the benefits of Thunderbolt on a MIDI controller such as the VPC1?

Kind regards,
James
x


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Hi James,

Basically the same benefits that it would provide to any electronics - given that you use an apple computer for your virtual piano - as I suspect many do...

- it's faster - so reduced latency as samples and models become more complicated in future
- it provides more power - so it means manufacturers can upgrade to better quality parts and components - for example in computers you can get better DAC components with better performance with a thunderbolt DAC versus a USB.
- not least, it frees up a USB port on your computer - which is a good thing with things like ilok dongles, DACs, headphone amps, etc. using ports



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Hi, Ottawa58.

Thuderbolt is an expensive chipset to add for Kawai on a VPC-1 at this time. The interface is only standard on Macs (only an option on some PCs, or if you are building your own). Also, since no audio travels between the VPC-1 and your Mac, only MIDI data, the benefit is negligible as the bottle neck you would be concerned with when using software pianos and other VSTs is the CPU speed, speed and bandwidth of the storage drive (SSD or spinning drive), speed and bandwidth of the thunderbolt chipset on your Mac (if you are using a thunderbolt audio interface) and quality of the drivers for said audio interface.

Here's a decent article:
http://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/usb-firewire-thunderbolt-which-best-audio

And this one on USB-C:
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2478121,00.asp

Check out the Apogee Element 24
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Element24
"Apogee's Element Thunderbolt driver delivers impressive low-latency round-trip performance (1.41ms @ 32buffer/96khz), along with rock-solid stability. This proprietary driver also draws less CPU power thanks to Apogee's Direct Memory Access (DMA) technology. At Sweetwater, we can confirm that the DMA implementation in the Element series lets you run more plug-ins and monitor through your DAW at low buffer settings."

Or the Focusrite Clarett 2Pre
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Clarett2Pre
Check out this per DAW round trip latency chart
https://us.focusrite.com/clarett-in-depth#roundtrip-latency
With Logic Pro (So I'll assume MainStage is similar if not the same) at 96khz
32 Buffer = 1.67ms
64 Buffer = 2.34ms
128 Buffer = 3.67ms

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It is a good article. Thanks!

The one thing that I don't know is what the extra cost would be to the manufacturer. If it is expensive then I wouldn't go for it because it's only midi as you say, and the main factors are drive speed and cpu speed.












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Thunderbolt 3 looks to provide data transfer with high speed and low jitter of PCIe. I personally would like to see this port and think it would be nifty marketing for Kawai. From a practical standpoint, I think Kawai should periodically monitor the market to be ready in case TB3 or TB4 ever gets traction.

TB3 clearly is not USB2. There are not many TB3 gizmos available yet so that is an important factor to consider. And there are plenty of computers in the world without TB3 ports. The TB technology / marketing is still being sorted out. Not quite sure what happend to all the "legacy" TB1 and TB2 ports and accessories, however. And what happens when TB4 is released?

Looking at the number of Windows Thunderbolt audio interfaces & digital pianos being sold today provides an objective view of related markets.


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Well, one thing Kawai could consider would be having a Thunderbolt (or USB-C type connector) audio interface onboard the next VPC-1. Making it an all in one solution for your Mac. One cable for MIDI and Audio delivering excellent low latency performance...
Perhaps with optional Onkyo amp+speaker system?
http://www.kawai-global.com/news/kawai-onkyo-cs-x1-musikmesse-2016/

Something to think about, James. wink

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Ottawa58 and newer player, thank you for your replies.

I appreciate that there are benefits to using Thunderbolt in high data applications, however I don't believe this applies to a MIDI controller such as the VPC1.

The bandwidth required to send/receive MIDI data is rather small - I doubt it exceeds the maximum transfer speed of the original USB1.x spec, let alone USB2...much less Thunderbolt.

If and when a VPC2 is announced, I expect it will utilise the same traditional MIDI IN/OUT/THRU and 'USB to Host' connectors as the current VPC1, as this combination supports every MIDI device produced within the past 30 years and every computer/tablet produced within the past 20 years. In the event that MIDI connectors or USB ports are discontinued, I expect it will still be possible to connect our latest devices using adaptors.

Kind regards,
James
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Originally Posted by ElmerJFudd
Well, one thing Kawai could consider would be having a Thunderbolt (or USB-C type connector) audio interface onboard the next VPC-1. Making it an all in one solution for your Mac. One cable for MIDI and Audio delivering excellent low latency performance...


Yes, I believe that's a more suitable justification for using Thunderbolt (or USB-C).

However, I also believe that the simplicity of the VPC1 is one of the reasons for its success - customers don't feel like they're paying for features they do not need. Surely most serious virtual piano players already own a good quality low-latency audio interface? As such, is it necessary to include this hardware inside the controller itself? And then, what about the next step of including the full PC hardware too?

Kind regards,
James
x


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Including the full PC hardware with an excellent audio interface would be technically easy and a reasonable thing to do.
One could think of a slot system on the back side, where you could optionally slot in the extra hardware.
Or a VPC-2-pro-deluxe version with everything elegantly included inside.


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I'm convinced. I have stricken my desire to have thunderbolt included on my next purchase smile

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Originally Posted by Kawai James

However, I also believe that the simplicity of the VPC1 is one of the reasons for its success - customers don't feel like they're paying for features they do not need.

Kind regards,
James
x


Definitely reason why I bought this controller but also other pianist I met.

Originally Posted by Ottawa58

The problem with people like me is that if I knew for sure there were no new VPC's coming for a couple of years I'd probably get one by spring. But if it's grey, I don't like buying older tech and I wait, and wait. Although older tech may work really well, support tends to fade, updates become infrequent, and eventually repair and parts become harder to obtain. Plus older tech doesn't take advantage of newer connections such as thunderbolt.


O my god, now is 2017, are you still waiting for a first computer ? he,he, just kidding smile

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Quite an interesting thought process....

"I like the idea of a controller with a really good action, but it would be better with an even better action, an audio interface, and some hardware to play samples! Maybe some extra controls too?"

Surely at that point you'll just get an MP11...right?

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Originally Posted by propianist
I heard that Clavia are going to release a "Virtual Nord Piano Library" software VST engine, for $59 RRP which anyone who doesn't own an expensive red Nord keyboard model can simply install on their PC or Mac, and then freely download ANY or ALL of the current and future Nord Piano Library patches, including dozens of grand pianos, upright pianos, elec pianos and harpsichords, downloadable in native .npno format, which are all available FREE from Nord's Piano Library webpage, and run them as software virtual instruments on their own computer!

This means anyone who owns any normal coloured Yamaha, Roland, Kawai or Casio piano which isn't painted hideous bright red, but has USB / MIDI out can get instant access to some of the nicest current piano samples on the hardware stage piano market, and what's more, they can simultaneously install ALL of Nord's patches onto their PC/Mac hard drive without being dogged by the limited 1GB memory restriction of the red hardware keyboards like the Nord Piano 3 or the Nord Stage EX.



In case anybody failed to see through my heavy sarcasm, this post was, of course, a joke!
My New Year's Resolution to be more humourous! hahaha

Nord are not planning to release any sensible or affordable way to play their free piano samples, other than buying a bright red painted hardware slab keyboard for $2000+ which has lightweight pseudo-synth action plastic keys. So there.

Sorry.

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Originally Posted by Mr Zaxels
Surely at that point you'll just get an MP11...right?


Not if you're gigging, and don't have a personal crew of roadies.


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Originally Posted by dje31
Originally Posted by Mr Zaxels
Surely at that point you'll just get an MP11...right?


Not if you're gigging, and don't have a personal crew of roadies.


But...The vpc1 is only 6lb less than an MP11. If you can't helf one, chances are you can't helf the other.


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Point taken. Cheers.


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Instead of an outdated ROMpler with fixed looped samples,
you could have a VPC-2 midi controller keyboard integrated with an open computer platform and audio interface as one box, from where you could play whatever you can run on there.

That could be for example a fanless MiniITX or Zotac PC or MacMini with a Tascam UR-2x2 integrated into the casing. You could even think of an iPad slot on the top, then you would have a touchscreen.

And probably that could give you even the chance to integrate keyboard scanner directly to the computer inside, in order to reduce (MIDI) latency to a minimum.

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