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#3115577 05/09/21 04:07 PM
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I have a Studiologic SL73 Studio that I haven’t used for a year and testing it recently I realized how much I hate the overly heavy action, so I listed it for a sale but nobody is interested for €250. It might be mine forever which certainly means I’d rather try fixing it before dumping it out.

Do you think it’s possible to lighten the hammers, so it doesn’t feel that heavy? I’m not sure what they were thinking because it’s an otherwise great MIDI controller with so many functions and programmability.

Last edited by CyberGene; 05/09/21 04:08 PM.

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I would think that it is almost impossible, the only alternative would be that you change them completely and in fact that would be expensive.

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When I have time I will open it to have a look and see. I imagine cutting off some part of the metal hammer weight. However from the tiny pictures on the Internet it seems those weights are embedded in plastic, maybe hot-formed, which would indeed make it close to impossible for modification.

Last edited by CyberGene; 05/10/21 10:33 AM.

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Hello @CyberGene,

Bear in mind that I have never seen or touched that make and model of keybed, so what I'm saying is just a thought:

Either you could drill into (or grind/file, as with a Dremel multitool) each hammer to remove material (thus remove weight).

And/or you could add counterweights to the front part of each key.

It all seems a lot of work with a rather questionable return, though.

But as said, I may be gibbering utter nonsense here.

Cheers and careful adjustments,

HZ

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There's a chance that the white and black key hammers are identical except for the weight. If that's the case you could do a test in either C major or A minor with a few octaves without damaging anything if you can take all the hammers out first and then use the black key hammers for some white keys.

[Linked Image]

(Image from: https://www.arturia.com/products/hybrid-synths/keylab-88-mkii-black/overview)

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There have been a few threads here over the years about people either dremeling off key weights, or epoxying fishing weights onto the hammers (quite appropriately, depending on whatever trend of digital actions being "too light" or "too heavy" for the day). It seems like an easy enough (if tedious) task. However, looking at these pictures, if it's entirely encased in plastic, it may just be too much trouble to be worth the effort?


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
However, looking at these pictures, if it's entirely encased in plastic, it may just be too much trouble to be worth the effort?

Yeah, seems like that's the case. This is such a shame. It's a very well-thought controller with 4-zones, over 200 presets where you can program ranges, control changes, joysticks. It even has aftertouch! The whole controller is very compact and lightweight, while at the same time is all metal and solid as a tank. And costed me €330 as new. Only if they haven't made the action so awfully heavy. Since that action is also used for Nords, Dexibells, M-Audio and others, I'm wondering if it's only me finding it heavy or mine is somehow defective. But I remember a Dexibell I tested felt the same way. Maybe I'm too used to the N1X.


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How weight is your keyboard down weight? Cutting the part will make the key light, but at the same time you will ruin the up weight, the key will sluggish to return back position.


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I would think you could glue small weights to the underside of the keys, but it will likely cause them to be slower to return. Most of the digitals I tested had a high upweight (as well as downweight), so you probably have some leeway in there. This was the biggest reason I bought my Yamaha P121. The Kawai ES110 is also light as are the Korg models (some of them very light).

Last edited by Johnny English; 05/11/21 04:31 PM.
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It's what I've done 2 years ago just after having tested (in a shop) and purchased the SL73 studio. I knew the action was not great (having had a kawai mp10 (thin sound and quite good action) and now a Gaveau ((I'm a french guy ;-) so sorry for my broken english)) baby grand in which I've installed a silent system (Feurich premium but made by genio and Co), a huge improvement compared to the kawai digital piano). Practicing the SL73, even as a second keyboard, was tiring because the action was too heavy (true for the TP100 (I measured 92 g for lowering force but also for the SL88 grand TP40) and sluggish (there the SL88 grand is better) but I needed a portable controler (with versatile/light action to play piano, e-piano, organ and synth vsti (as a quite old beginner). So it remains a good choice in my opinion and for my budget (not many 73 keys hammer controlers and a very good ratio quality/spec/price). Then I opened it, and saw that hammers and keys was not dissociated !!! So I cut the plastic part retaining the hammer lever after the escapment for each key... and I glued a calibrated mass under each key in order to get a more responsive and graded action... And voila for a few euros (and about 7 hours of handwork) an action I'am happy with (for the price)... The counterpat : the action is a bit noisier (but no more than my other plastic keybed in the Ultranova (good synth action with aftertouch, anyway)) ... I could have added felt pieces here and there... Pleased to share my first post with all of you...

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^ Wow, that's fantastic, thanks for sharing it! I was gonna give up but it sounds like something that I can do as well. I'm not sure I understood what you mean but I guess when I open it I will have better understanding of the action and may ask you again smile


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Cybergene, do you have access to a belt grinder? That might be the best, "damn the torpedos, full speed ahead" route. Just go right through the plastic and the metal in one go.

And while you're at it, you could grind each such that they're linearly graded. Zoned weighting is for the poors and the plebs smile


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@ Cybergene, off course with pleasure... You'll see immediately what plastic piece needs to be cut to let the hammer escape freely... I can't understand why Studiologic have done thing like this, except perhaps to reduce noise/guarantee a better lifetime (tough I've no problem with it in 2 years since the modification, but I mainly play with my grand piano) or/and to create a worse action than the SL Grand... An other improvement for the SL studio I've heard (but I'm not concerned) would be the micro-adjustment of the third sensor. It 'd enable a faster repetition...

As the grinder way, I'm not sure it's more time efficient cause hammer are made with both metal (inside) and plastic (around). In my solution I've calibrated mass key by key, not by zone, with predetermined assemblies, so it was not the longer part of this handwork. Moreover it's less reversible...

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Philatello, is this the part that holds the hammer:
[Linked Image]

This is a screenshot from a video on YouTube. I haven't yet opened mine. Why do you need to remove that? Does it make the action feel lighter? Because I imagine the purpose is for the hammer to pull the key downwards through the hammer inertia since the sensors are activated by the key pressing against the sensors and not the hammer. If you do no press the key fully, the hammer will continue moving but the key will return and won't activate the sensors?

What kind of weights did you use and how/where did you glue them to the keys? Also, the weight is currently very high indeed, probably 90g. If I have to make it down to 50g as on a real piano action, that means 73 x 40g of counterweights = 3kg of additional weight to the board. But I guess I will be OK with that.


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Yes, I've cut slantwise 3/4 of the extreme part you've sourrounded in order to let the hammer follow its path and return with slightly more momentum, minimizing too the friction (altough Studiologic have added grease between hammer lever and this part of the key).

Consequently due to mass (from 12g (bass) to 25g by different washers assemblies) glued under each key (inside (partially empty) and near to the end of the key) and the lesser friction action is more responsive and lighter (slightly lighter than my baby grand (Renner action) piano (it was the goal) but remains a little bit less responsive than it for the bass). The total additional weight is less than 2 kg.

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Originally Posted by Philatello
... You'll see immediately what plastic piece needs to be cut to let the hammer escape freely... I can't understand why Studiologic have done thing like this, except perhaps to reduce noise/guarantee a better lifetime ...

I thought the key and the hammer were connected with some sort of a joint in all digital hammer actions...
I understand with your mod, when you start pressing the key the action first acts as a light hammer-less synth action, then at one point the key meets the hammer and swings it, and there may be a rebound as it bounces back?

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At least Kawai uses "free flying" hammers even in the actions with plastic keys and then the sensors are touched by the hammer and not the key.

Kawai says:
Quote
Unlike most instruments in its class that generate sounds based on key velocity, the KDP120’s realistic keyboard action design measures the velocity of the weighted hammers that are thrown when playing each key. This preferred method replicates the mechanism of an acoustic grand piano more authentically, and when paired with the accurate triple sensor detection, allows performers to play with a greater range of musical expression.

(From https://www.kawai-global.com/news/kawai-announces-new-kdp120-digital-piano/)

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Originally Posted by clothearednincompo
At least Kawai uses "free flying" hammers even in the actions with plastic keys and then the sensors are touched by the hammer and not the key.

Kawai says:
Quote
Unlike most instruments in its class that generate sounds based on key velocity, the KDP120’s realistic keyboard action design measures the velocity of the weighted hammers that are thrown when playing each key. This preferred method replicates the mechanism of an acoustic grand piano more authentically, and when paired with the accurate triple sensor detection, allows performers to play with a greater range of musical expression.

(From https://www.kawai-global.com/news/kawai-announces-new-kdp120-digital-piano/)

Yes, this is why on most cheap keyboards the key and the hammer are connected, since it's the key pressing the sensors and in order for this to work OK, the hammer inertia should pull the key down even if you release your fingers. It's a stupid idea but I guess it's cheaper and more compact this way. The Fatar TP100LR is very lightweight and compact action. The Studiologic SL73 was €330 brand new smile And it supports multiple zones, aftertouch, programmed controls, three joysticks in a very compact body that weighs in at 11kg.


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Just for info I removed one side panel and made a video of how the action works:



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Originally Posted by Philatello
Consequently due to mass (from 12g (bass) to 25g by different washers assemblies) glued under each key (inside (partially empty) and near to the end of the key) and the lesser friction action is more responsive and lighter (slightly lighter than my baby grand (Renner action) piano (it was the goal) but remains a little bit less responsive than it for the bass). The total additional weight is less than 2 kg.
It's interesting to see a different kind of evidence showing that the process of making an action lighter feeling to play can make the action itself heavier to carry around, consistent with the TP100 feeling heavier to play that the weightier TP40. (Similarly some of the lightest feeling slab actions have been in boards that weighed over 50 lbs, like the Yamaha CP1/CP5 and Roland FP7/FP7F.) Since Fatar's goal here was probably to make the lightest (in travel weight) playable hammer action they could figure out how to make, it wouldn't be surprising that they wouldn't choose an approach that added something approaching 2 kg "unnecessarily" even if people agreed it felt better to play that way (and, in fact, it's possible not everyone would agree anyway).

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