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JoeT Offline OP
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I made some weight measurements on the NWX action of my P-515:

Before middle C starts moving down, I have to put about 95 grams of weight on the edge of the key. It immediately goes fully down, passing by the escapement notch.
The key starts moving up again after removing 10-15 g at about 80-85 g, sticking at the escapement notch.
The key returns fully up after removing another 25-30 g leaving 55 g on it.

(Measurements were made using coins, resulting in about about 5 g accuracy).

Questions:

Is that what defines a "heavy action"?
Is a large downweight/upweight difference good gaining strength?
Is the pretty large initial resistance a good feature?


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No expert but my 02.

Generally static touch weight measurement are done so that the key just about starts moving. That should be about 50 - 55 grams for most normal acoustic actions. 60 gr would be heavy, under 50 gr very light.

See the discussion here:

https://youtu.be/AKJa14YqNoM

Upweights in digitals are higher than acoustics as far as I am aware. I think this has been discussed several times, but the NWX has higher static touch weight than acoustics by perhaps 10 or more grams, by that I mean just enough to get the key moving to overcome static friction.

I think contrary to other NWX users, it has never felt as heavy to me as people say because the dynamic weight is actually quite okay,, it is hard to compare to GF2 because there the initial static touch weight is pretty much not noticeable, but under dynamic weight it is quite heavy.

Static touch weights don't tell the whole story IMO as to what the feel is and how heavy it feels. Also the escapement notch feel in NWX is pretty much negligible compared to acoustics, though the static weight is high.

Last edited by Alexander Borro; 02/08/19 08:10 PM.

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JoeT Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
I think this has been discussed several times, but the NWX has higher static touch weight than acoustics by perhaps 10 or more grams, by that I mean just enough to get the key moving to overcome static friction.

The static friction is pretty high in the middle and bass register that's how I get the 95 g total weight figure for middle C to get it moving.

Quote
I think contrary to other NWX users, it has never felt as heavy to me as people say because the dynamic weight is actually quite okay,, it is hard to compare to GF2 because there the initial static touch weight is pretty much not noticeable, but under dynamic weight it is quite heavy.

Yeah, I noticed that playing the GF2 in a showroom.

The AHA-IV-F of my ES100 has no noticeable difference between static and dynamic weight and is quite light.

Quote
Also the escapement notch feel in NWX is pretty much negligible compared to acoustics,

I can tell it's there, but at some keys the initial friction is so large, that the key passes right by it, once it overcame the initial friction. That's what confuses me.

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though the static weight is high.

But it is too high?


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Originally Posted by JoeT
[quote=Alexander Borro]

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though the static weight is high.

But it is too high?

If judging by acoustic standards I would say yes, but is it really a problem in practical terms ? I suppose it is up to the individual to decide, as long as you don't get injured is the main thing and you can express what you want at whatever level is one at. I am not a believer in playing overly heavy actions for the sake of it with the aim to build strength by the way, contrary to many teachers. There again I am just hobbyist just self taught, but I am glad some the things that were said in that video, so don't take my word for it !


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JoeT Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
Quote
Quote
though the static weight is high.

But it is too high?

If judging by acoustic standards I would say yes, but is it really a problem in practical terms ? I suppose it is up to the individual to decide, as long as you don't get injured is the main thing and you can express what you want at whatever level is one at.

My technique/strength is already good enough to not get injured by heavy keys. Four years ago I got pinky fatigue/pain even when playing the relatively light-weight AHA4 on the ES100 for too long. Now fortissimo octaves on NWX bass keys are not problem.

The issue is about the difference between high static and the lower dynamic weight. My main question is if it's actually good for one's touch. Improving it? Ruining it?


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I don't know, perhaps the teacher forum or adult beginner forum would be a better place to ask. My feeling is I doubt it, but like you I have wondered. Touch wood, so far I have never hurt myself self teaching but then I don't have the time or luxury to practice hours like some and have regular lessons with a teacher unfortunately.


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I' sorry to say this, as you already own the instrument, but I think 95 grams is way too much.
I owned two different Yamaha stage pianos over the years, and both had around 90-95 grams of downweight on the bass (I measured it).

The most obvious consequence is that such a high touchweight\low dynamic weight (and quite low inertia to boot) makes it difficult (read unnatural) to control the keys and to play pp and p - I say this by experience and also I figured that by the time you apply enough force to move the key you are already in mf territory, so to speak.
Also, at 55 g upweight it becomes fatiguing to keep the keys down when required during playing (a problem, to a varying degree, with almost all DP keyboards) - an acoustic piano action is almost weightless once you reach the bottom and hold the key down and the hand can more easily relax and be kept supple.
It is possible, IMO, that your technique, touch, expression, finger independence, posture will be influenced to some degree, not in a positive way.
I see that you already own a Kawai ES 100 - why not use just that?

I don't want to sound cynical, but I have to conclude that this high and non-standard touchweight is an advantage for Yamaha only, that will have to deal with less stuck keys, grease drying problems etc.


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JoeT Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Erard
The most obvious consequence is that such a high touchweight\low dynamic weight (and quite low inertia to boot) makes it difficult (read unnatural) to control the keys and to play pp and p - I say this by experience and also I figured that by the time you apply enough force to move the key you are already in mf territory, so to speak.

Makes sense. Especially near the pivot the static weight gets pretty high, making these keys louder, when they finally come down, than those played further out.

Quote
Also, at 55 g upweight it becomes fatiguing to keep the keys down when required during playing (a problem, to a varying degree, with almost all DP keyboards) - an acoustic piano action is almost weightless once you reach the bottom and hold the key down and the hand can more easily relax and be kept supple.

On acoustics you can lighten the action by lifting the dampers and downweights/upweights are measured with all dampers lifted.

Quote
It is possible, IMO, that your technique, touch, expression, finger independence, posture will be influenced to some degree, not in a positive way.

The long term prospects are fact the main question. Some people complain about these actions causing fatigue and pain, though I see none of those effects (yet). Seems playing almost five years on a good hammer action wasn't for nothing.

Quote
I see that you already own a Kawai ES 100 - why not use just that?

Its action is near its end of life. The tone on the P-515 is much richer and the dynamic range is much larger, despite the "difficult" action. And its speakers are in an entirely different universe.

I can't afford AvantGrand/Novus or even the category below it, so I have to roll with slab pianos. Still can discuss the pros and cons though. wink

Quote
I don't want to sound cynical, but I have to conclude that this high and non-standard touchweight is an advantage for Yamaha only, that will have to deal with less stuck keys, grease drying problems etc.

I think this is one of the reasons, why Yamaha's instruments don't seem to DOA that often.


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I tried with euros. It took me 92 g approx to depress middle C. I noticed that the P-515 action has an initial resistance and that resistance can be won when you reach 92 grams but if you help a smaller amount of coins down it stays down even with 50 or so grams.

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With multiple people confirming the heaviness of this action ... I'd shy away from it.
The commonly accepted downweight for a grand is around 50 g, perhaps a bit more. But 90+ g is unacceptable.
What's up with that, Yamaha?

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JoeT Offline OP
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
With multiple people confirming the heaviness of this action ... I'd shy away from it.

You definitely need to test those in a showroom beforehand. I did and decided to go for it. Yes, I did like the GF2 as well, but I didn't like its price. wink

I didn't measure that actual weight in store obviously and having stuff at home for weeks is a different game. That's why I made this thread to discuss my experience.


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Originally Posted by JoeT

On acoustics you can lighten the action by lifting the dampers and downweights/upweights are measured with all dampers lifted.


This should be emphasised. Touch weights are measured with the damper pedal pressed on acoustics. They are significantly heavier than the often quoted optimum of 50g otherwise.

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From what i recall the grand touch felt like a heavier version of NWX in a way, the 675 felt heavy and somewhat uncomfortable to me, but the counter weighted action in the 685 felt nicer.

Regarding the ability to play pp or soft dynamics, there was a pro pianist here that bought a 685 and presented a few demos on it, he got excellent soft dynamics out of it in the Chopin he played, and swore by it as a practice instrument alongside his acoustics over GF2, so it is possible and I guess a matter of preference for some.


EssBrace, good point ! I often tend to forget that, how are you enjoying the action now after owning it a while. IIRC didn't you get a 645, and what happened to the CS11 ?


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Originally Posted by Alexander Borro
EssBrace, good point ! I often tend to forget that, how are you enjoying the action now after owning it a while. IIRC didn't you get a 645, and what happened to the CS11 ?


Hi!

I really like it. The CS11 was sold just before I moved house (I've built a house and it has been quite an adventure). I'd moved it to another room in the old house and it didn't sound anywhere near as good as when it was placed in the bay window of a 1930s house (soundboard facing the window). It was quite remarkable there - very authoritative sound without being boomy or oppressive. But to prevent issues with it getting damaged in the move I sold it.

I wanted a grand for the new house but, as you might imagine, we've run out of money! So I got this CLP 645 as a stop-gap, knowing it is a fairly safe bet to trade in a Clavinova when the time comes, and I've got to say I'm very impressed. I like the two principle piano sounds very much. You can't play them back-to-back as it were because they are so very different your ear gets conditioned by one and the other then sounds 'wrong'. But both the CFX and Bosendorfer sounds really are nice and it pleases me that they are so different.

The action on the CLP 645 is maybe a bit heavier than average but I really don't ever feel like it's outside of what feels normal. I certainly have no issue with control. I think it's quite satisfying to play it in many ways.

In most objective ways the Kawai action is superior but I've learned (quite late in the day given how many pianos I've owned!) that I need an action with a really positive stop at the bottom of the key stroke. My only criticism of the Kawai wooden actions is that they are mushy and indistinct feeling when the keys bottom out. The only fault with them happens to be a deal-breaker for me. I wouldn't want to go back to that squidgy feeling. Other than that one aspect the Kawais are a tactile revelation compared to other DP actions. But they're just not for me, I know that now.

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Originally Posted by EssBrace
So I got this CLP 645 as a stop-gap, knowing it is a fairly safe bet to trade in a Clavinova when the time comes, and I've got to say I'm very impressed. I like the two principle piano sounds very much. You can't play them back-to-back as it were because they are so very different your ear gets conditioned by one and the other then sounds 'wrong'. But both the CFX and Bosendorfer sounds really are nice and it pleases me that they are so different.

I concur, the tones are far superior to anything I have in the VST department (the most renowned modeled software as well as 50 GB of samples). Also playing them through the ES100 action (via the magic of MIDI) immediately exposes the limitations of the AHA-IV-F - especially in the accuracy of reproducing consistent velocity data and when going pianissimo.


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Joe, if that's true then it's a first. (First mid-range digital piano to sound better than a VST.)
Maybe I need to go find a Yamaha shop nearby and give the new Clavs a try.

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Joe, if that's true then it's a first. (First mid-range digital piano to sound better than a VST.)
Maybe I need to go find a Yamaha shop nearby and give the new Clavs a try.

Especially the binaural CFX sample is astounding. It's like sitting there with that concert grand. (The Bösendorfer gets some fake binaural processing instead, which needs to be disabled in the settings, to get to the true sample, when using headphones. Then it sounds really good as well, though very different from the CFX.)

While I might have slight difficulties adjusting to the action, I have nothing complain about for the tones. no artificialness like Roland, enough velocity layers: the rich virtually modeled string, damper and cabinet resonances, the long sustain, rich polyphony, repetition with and without releasing the key fully, noticeable difference between fast and slow key release, half-pedaling, re-pedaling, late pedaling, re-catching dampers from the pedal with the keys. It all works great.

My VSTs feel pretty outdated in comparison, even when played through the P-515. While they easily beat the stretched AWM sample in my NP-31 (similar to P-35/P-45 etc.) and could keep up with the older single-layer sample in my ES100, they are no match for the CFX/Bösendorfer in the P-515. Investing thousand dollars into newer than 2014 samples might help, but when I read about various pedaling and other playability issues, they still seem to have a long way to go.


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Originally Posted by JoeT

Especially the binaural CFX sample is astounding. It's like sitting there with that concert grand. (The Bösendorfer gets some fake binaural processing instead, which needs to be disabled in the settings, to get to the true sample, when using headphones. Then it sounds really good as well, though very different from the CFX.)


According to the Yamaha spec page:

https://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/pianos/p_series/p-515/specs.html#product-tabs

The CFX is the only one with binaural sampling..?

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Originally Posted by jamiecw

According to the Yamaha spec page: The CFX is the only one with binaural sampling..?

This is true. All other samples just get some "headphones filter", which I prefer to disable (through the same binaural option in the sound settings, which enables the great binaural CFX sample).


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Originally Posted by JoeT

My VSTs feel pretty outdated in comparison, even when played through the P-515.


I can agree with this, especially when it comes to realistic resonances. While I haven't tried the modeled VSTs much, my Garritan CFX had an extremely limited resonance effect compared to the 88-key-modeled resonance engine in the Kawai's SK-EX Rendering. The raw tone is still superior in the VST (as it should be for 50+gb of samples vs 512mb) but itI don't find the built-in piano tone lacking for everyday play, I just prefer the VST.


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