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We are shopping around for a small-ish grand piano for our living room. I've been getting back into playing, and our son is advancing to the point where he needs a better piano than our current upright piano.

We have a small house with live acoustics. So when someone is practicing the piano it's heard throughout the house. Most of the time that's fine, but when we're doing conference calls, or if anyone is sleeping (late nite or early morning), can't play the piano.
I only recently learned about hybrid pianos such as the Yamaha or Kawai factory systems or the PianoDisc or QRS add-on systems. I think it's a great idea!
But they are not exactly cheap, and I also hesitate to drill holes in a fine instrument.

So I'm wondering about the possibility of a digital piano instead. I already have an Alesis QS8.1 from about 20 years ago. It's fine as a synthesizer. But it's only mediocre as a digital piano. I love the Yamaha AvantGrand series. But if I'm getting a grand piano, the AvantGrand doesn't exactly fit into the budget.
Are there any other decent digital pianos with good action that I can look at?

I've played the Clavinovas at piano dealers, and while they look and sound very nice, I find their actions to be too light -- not much better than my Alesis.
Or would I be better off adding a PianoDisc to whatever piano we end up getting?
Fortunately there's no rush to do anything. We're narrowing down our piano selection, and hopefully getting a grand piano within the next few weeks. And I already have the Alesis in the basement.

Thanks!
Peter


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I think that you will love a digital piano once you have bought it, just because you can play whenever and whatever you feel like. There have been many threads on this forum about which digital piano to buy. I just bought a VPC1, and one of the main reasons for my chosing this controller is that the action is very close to the one on an acoustical piano. I use it together with Pianoteq.


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I have a retrofit PianoDisc silent system and would not buy it again. The piano sound is rather electronic and unnatural, and it is not possible to play the left hand softer than the right because of its primitive internal velocity settings. Nothing a semi-professional pianist would want. I am exclusively using it as a MIDI controller for a VST I am running on my notebook, and that combination is quite fine now (but requires a notebook running all the time when I am playing). Speaking of digital pianos, I found the Casio GP500 very good and not that expensive.

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If you're looking for a non hybrid digital with a good touch, you could also ask on the Digital Piano Forum.

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You can get very much better but even a cheap weighted keyboard such as the Casio CDP350 I first purchased can be fine for an out of hours practice instrument or taking away to play on holidays. It does depend on your expectations but the Casio made surprisingly realistic piano like noises and had a reasonable feeling keyboard and my major criticism would be the short sustain.

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I would consider a silent piano if: 1) you prefer an acoustic action over a digital one, 2) space is an issue. To me both are important, which is why I bought one, and I am very happy with this choice. When piano hunting I found that after market silent system installations are generally inferior. However, recent, factory-installed Yamaha or Kawai systems are very good. These provide you with a top digital system and a high-quality acoustic action.

If 1 and 2 are unimportant to you, I would just buy a separate digital.

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Clavinova had so many different models with different actions, higher price models having key touch that’s closer to acoustic pianos. I have a Yamaha slab digital (p60) with decent touch at a lower price point. If you don’t need a fancy casing of clavinova, there are other options.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If you're looking for a non hybrid digital with a good touch, you could also ask on the Digital Piano Forum.
If/when I decide to go that route I certainly will ask there for specific recommendations. The reason I posted here first was moreso to inquire if I should consider an aftermarket system (PianoDisc or ORS) on an acoustic piano, vs a newer digital piano as a second instrument.

I think I got my answer! :-)
I played a new Kawai grand piano with a PianoDisc system, and also an older Yamaha Disklavier with silent mode. Both were good, but neither was great.
I have a finished basement family room, which is where my current synthesizer resides currently. So if/when I get a better digi piano, it'll go down the basement.

My priority now is the grand piano. And the reason I was asking about this now is to decide whether or not to ask the dealer to install a system when we purchase a piano.
But I think I'm going to pass. Keep the acoustic piano pure.

Thanks!
-- P


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On my recent hunt for grand piano, I found a private listing with after market QRS installed. I personally didn't like the touch and there were other weird sound that totally turned me off. On top of that if I hit the keys forte/fortissimo on silent mode it will still produce string sound- in short I wasn't impressed at all. Just my personal experience. The seller was kind enough and I thought at first his piano could be the one but I was wrong. I ended up buying original factory installed silencer from Yamaha and in my humble opinion this is the best piano with silent feature I've ever played.


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I am a happy user for U1 SH Silent piano. IMO best of both worlds.
My only complaints for a silent (pre-installed) piano is that it is ​much costly than non-silence version.

Not forgetting, there is a usb port for recording. (Cant record the format, only did it once, the sound dont seem too stereo, but could be wrong set up)
Besides, like some igital piano, it can also connect to ipad. A video i did few years back


And if u have ipad / iphone garageband. You can also record it e.g





In addtion, you have install speakers on it. @1.24 to enhance playing experience.



I hope it helps and do explain a little what a silent piano is capable of.

Disclaimer: i have not associated with any piano company

Last edited by Jojovan; 04/14/21 05:02 PM.
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Correcrion: on my para 2, i meant i cant remember the recording format.

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I have a separate digital for this very reason. I haven't owned a piano with a silent system, but if you're looking for a factory installed unit, I suspect that will greatly decrease your choice in acoustic pianos and rule out some very nice deals out there. Turning an acoustic into a digital, and vice versa, involves compromises on both sides. Both may work, but I don't think they work as well as something built from the ground up for that specific purpose.

My vote would be to look into a separate digital. A Yamaha P515 or one from the Kawai ES line would be good places to start. Roland and Casio also make affordable digitals with good actions that mimic an acoustic well enough to practice on.


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@Pianist685: A recent model of retrofit PianoDisc silent system?

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Get a separate digital, but also consider whether you can put it somewhere out of the way. I have a separate digital with a decent wood action, but my daughters tell me that the klickety-klack of the digital action can be as noticeable as the acoustic piano itself, and often less pleasant. I often use the digital on headphones for grinding out scales, fingerings, and things that nobody wants to listen to, but don't assume that the baby or the Zoom call in the next room isn't going to hear your practice on the digital.

Larry.

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Originally Posted by Animisha
I think that you will love a digital piano once you have bought it, just because you can play whenever and whatever you feel like. There have been many threads on this forum about which digital piano to buy. I just bought a VPC1, and one of the main reasons for my chosing this controller is that the action is very close to the one on an acoustical piano. I use it together with Pianoteq.

Could you talk a little more about this? I hear a lot of these synthesia Youtube videos and they use this Pianoteq software and I am always impressed with the sound. Is this generally accepted as one of the ways to get best sound out of a digital piano? I always hated digital pianos like the Yamaha YDP series because when I plug in headphones the sound is just really bad to me. But maybe a controller and software is the way to go. What all do you need? The piano/controller, a computer, and headphones?

Last edited by dusty1920; 04/14/21 06:12 PM.
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If the majority of the time you don’t need a silent mode and want a good acoustic action and sound, buy a separate digital keyboard with stand and a nice acoustic parlor grand. If the majority of the practice time will be silent, check out the latest digitals by Yamaha, Kawai and Korg. Casio has really nice options too. The Digital Forum has good info. I’ve heard great reviews of Yamaha Disklavier and Yamaha or Kawai Transacoustic. I tried a Yamaha GC1 Transacoustic that could be a great fit but not sure if it would work in your budget.


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The biggest problem of putting electronic systems on acoustic pianos is it makes it depreciate even faster then a plain acoustic version because the most advanced electronics age quickly.

If you go digital, buy yourself some great headphones and speakers.


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Due to space restrictions in my house I could never have 2 Piano’s at the same time so I got a Kawai K-200 ATX3 (silent system) and I love it.

One important aspect is that with a silent system (modern one) you get a high end digital piano with a real acoustic action so it will always feel great when you play it. I extremely happy with this solution. I used to own a Yamaha P-515 and it was good but can’t compare to the amazing feeling of playing a real action.

If your looking for a grand piano with silent system I would check out Yamaha’s grands because they have a great innovation in the action that doesn’t change the touch compared to a non silent piano. Other might feel a little different due to a longer distance of the hammers from the string because of the stop rail. I would look at the Yamaha GC1 HS2 and up if I had the budget ☺️

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Someone above mentioned a U1 with silent mode. I did play one in the store and it was excellent. I also played the Kawai Aures k300. Also excellent.
If I were shopping for an upright piano these would be on my short list.

The mute rail definitely seems to work better on upright actions.

But we're looking at getting a grand piano. I cannot afford a new Yamaha or Kawai grand with their factory systems. So I am/was considering an add on.
But as much as I would find this feature useful, the more I think about it the more I'd prefer to keep the piano unmodified.


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Originally Posted by PeterV73
Someone above mentioned a U1 with silent mode. I did play one in the store and it was excellent. I also played the Kawai Aures k300. Also excellent.
If I were shopping for an upright piano these would be on my short list.

The mute rail definitely seems to work better on upright actions.

But we're looking at getting a grand piano. I cannot afford a new Yamaha or Kawai grand with their factory systems. So I am/was considering an add on.
But as much as I would find this feature useful, the more I think about it the more I'd prefer to keep the piano unmodified.

Again I have no idea what your budget is or how much of the time you need silent practice. If it were me, but it’s not, focus on getting a lovely grand first then get a digital slab keyboard with folding keyboard stand and bench. You can get a fairly sophisticated keyboards similar to what professionals use inexpensively and the keyboard with stand can be collapsed and stored under the bed. My Casio was bought in 2009 and works as well as ever. It’s taken most of the depreciation, fits in the back of a small SUV if I wanted to play it somewhere else and weighs only 26 lbs.

Best Wishes on your search!


J & J
Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty
The reason I’m old and wise is because God protected me when I was young and stupid.
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