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What sweetwater should've done is just measure the weight at 2mm, 5mm, 8mm, full depth.

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Instead of arguing whether double stack or single stack weights makes a difference, can someone test that theory on their own dp's middle C?


Hard at work while waiting for my dream DP....
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which theory?

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Originally Posted by EinLudov
What sweetwater should've done is just measure the weight at 2mm, 5mm, 8mm, full depth.
I might disagree. What if two pianos had the exact same such numbers, but one required much greater force to produce a sustained tone? I believe that that piano would feel much "heavier" than the other.

After all, the original poster noted a significant difference on his acoustic grand, between weight required to hit full depth, and weight required to produce a sustained tone. So shouldn't we always compare apples to apples?

Last edited by PlsDontShootMe; 05/23/21 08:40 PM.
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The whole "sustained tone" part of the test on digitals is off. If you hit it with enough force to pass the sensor that triggers a Note On event, it cannot trigger a Note Off event unless it bounces back above that point. So you're really commenting on the "bounciness" of your effort to increase weight as gently as you could, not on the amount of weight neded.

Even worse, the tester said he tested for enough weight to produce a sound, but by design, some pianos produce a sound at velocity 1, and others do not (instead only releasing "virtual dampers" that provide resonances on other notes, to emulate something you can actually do on a piano, if you ever cared to). That doesn't mean the latters' actions are heavier, but they would appear to be so from this test, simply because its minimum MIDI Note On velocity is deigned to be soundless.

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Originally Posted by EinLudov
which theory?

The theory of relativity!

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Originally Posted by anotherscott
The whole "sustained tone" part of the test on digitals is off. If you hit it with enough force to pass the sensor that triggers a Note On event, it cannot trigger a Note Off event unless it bounces back above that point. So you're really commenting on the "bounciness" of your effort to increase weight as gently as you could, not on the amount of weight neded.

Even worse, the tester said he tested for enough weight to produce a sound, but by design, some pianos produce a sound at velocity 1, and others do not (instead only releasing "virtual dampers" that provide resonances on other notes, to emulate something you can actually do on a piano, if you ever cared to). That doesn't mean the latters' actions are heavier, but they would appear to be so from this test, simply because its minimum MIDI Note On velocity is deigned to be soundless.

Ontop of Scott's complaints, the sensor also has a debounce and/or capacitance reading. This also messes with the measurement as it can change over time.

The silicone dome cap over the sensor also hardens or softens depending on temperature/ humidity/ wear/tear, This will also change over time.

All of this together, makes what Sweetwater did completely useless. They should consult us at piano world before making such dumb articles.

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Originally Posted by PlsDontShootMe
This is an interesting topic. As I, like many guys, am simply trying to understand relative key "heaviness" between different pianos

Measuring a peak force ("weight") is not enough. The force is not constant, it has a curve. One'd have to integrate the force along the key path to get the "heaviness".
Yamaha P/CLP tend to have a high peak force at the top, but then go quite soft very soon. Kawai and Roland (and also N1X and U1) tend to start soft at the top, then go heavier lower down. I think the distribution matters even more than the "heaviness".

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Thanks for all the great replies. As with acoustic pianos (I tried out about 100 before falling in love with "Fraulein Bechstein") the only way to know what a digital will feel like is to play it. But I won't need to play 100 different ones, first because in my case, sound is irrelevant, and second, because all this has narrowed down the choices for me.

At least to begin with it's going to be the Yamaha 515 and the Roland 60 or 90

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Maybe a Studiologic Numa Concert is one option, but I don't have any personal opinion and in general people don't seem to be that excited about Fatar actions. But it has one the better Fatar actions.

https://www.studiologic-music.com/products/numa_concert/

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Thanks Scott, EinLudov, and sem for the explanations. It might still be a little harsh to call that video “stupid,” as it at least attempted to provide a relative measurement between keyboards.

In the interests of fun science, could anyone come up with any type of test that could objectively measure and compare piano “heaviness” then? I refuse to believe such quantification is as unmeasurable as the weight of a fairy’s wings. smile

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Originally Posted by PlsDontShootMe
Thanks Scott, EinLudov, and sem for the explanations. It might still be a little harsh to call that video “stupid,” as it at least attempted to provide a relative measurement between keyboards.

In the interests of fun science, could anyone come up with any type of test that could objectively measure and compare piano “heaviness” then? I refuse to believe such quantification is as unmeasurable as the weight of a fairy’s wings. smile

Sure it can be done, and likely is done internally by piano makers. But I'm not aware of any relevant published reviews. Problem is, even if measurements were available, I'm not sure how meaningful the data would be to the general public. I mean, look at loudspeakers and headphones reviews, you may get freq plots and impulse responses, but in the end you have to listen to them to tell how you like them.

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Originally Posted by EinLudov
Ontop of Scott's complaints, the sensor also has a debounce and/or capacitance reading. This also messes with the measurement as it can change over time.

The silicone dome cap over the sensor also hardens or softens depending on temperature/ humidity/ wear/tear, This will also change over time.

All of this together, makes what Sweetwater did completely useless. They should consult us at piano world before making such dumb articles.
On second thought, while the above may certainly be true, it doesn’t change the usefulness of measurements at any given point in time.

Nobody would refuse to measure and compare automobile horsepower ratings, just because piston rings and valve seals might wear out over time.

Come to think of it, that’s actually a pretty good analogy. Automobile horsepower also acts over a curve, with different peaks at different rpms, and yet this measurement is still a very useful comparison between different models.

I still say it must be possible and useful to measure keyboard “heaviness.”

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Originally Posted by _sem_
Sure it can be done, and likely is done internally by piano makers. But I'm not aware of any relevant published reviews. Problem is, even if measurements were available, I'm not sure how meaningful the data would be to the general public. I mean, look at loudspeakers and headphones reviews, you may get freq plots and impulse responses, but in the end you have to listen to them to tell how you like them.

True, but look at how many people here crave the basic information, of which keyboard is really heavy and which is really light? Especially with the shortage of demo models in today’s market, there ought to be a wealth of objective comparison data available online for people’s research.

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Do you need an objective test?
Originally Posted by PlsDontShootMe
Could anyone come up with any type of test that could objectively measure and compare piano “heaviness” then? I refuse to believe such quantification is as unmeasurable as the weight of a fairy’s wings. smile
I don't. I only need a subjective test. I carry out such a test by placing my fingers on the keys and giving the piano a try. The test result might be "like" or "dislike". I need nothing more than that. Do you?

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Do you need an objective test? I don't. I only need a subjective test. I carry out such a test by placing my fingers on the keys and giving the piano a try. The test result might be "like" or "dislike". I need nothing more than that. Do you?
Agreed that that works well. Yet here we are on a piano forum, in a thread started by someone looking to narrow his search to pianos that have a similar weight to his main piano. If there were objective measurements widely available, his search would be easier than “placing his fingers on the keys” of every digital piano ever sold.

I’m just saying I’m seeing a trend here in terms of a demand for this type of readily available information. If someone could accurately measure and present this information in a way most people could agree with, there would be a market for reading this data.

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In fact acoustic actions and digital pianos actions are so different mechanically that comparing downweights tells you absolutely nothing, you have to try it, there is no other way. End of topic.

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I understand this topic has ended, “end of topic”, but if I may be allowed one observation post-closure:

Are we still saying that a ‘real’ grand action is inherently better than a ‘fake’ digital piano action even when the former was not designed to trigger samples via rubber/optical sensors, but rather to set a wooden hammer into motion and subsequently pounding the heck out of a string?

I think this topic warrants more in-depth study!

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Digital actions don't have to propel real hammers and lift real dampers so yeah, they should be better, but they aren't because they are designed to be cheap not good, even the expensive ones.

Last edited by ambrozy; 05/24/21 06:58 PM.
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Originally Posted by ambrozy
Digital actions don't have to propel real hammers and lift real dampers so yeah, they should be better, but they aren't because they are designed to be cheap not good, even the expensive ones.
Poor argument—the major manufacturers are constantly trying to improve their actions to capture greater market share, to the point of throwing almost an entire acoustical action into their latest digitals to try to make them more “authentic.”

I don’t think being “cheap” is the problem.

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