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Hello ADWyatt,

I'm sorry to read about your recent health challenges, however it's great that you're feeling strong - wishing you all the best with the rest of your recover.

As for pianos, buy the best piano that you can afford.

Kind regards,
James
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‘Can’t buy now; what might the future hold for Kawai’? That is the question!

Yet here we are talkin’ ‘bout cables and such; does Kawai make cables, I ask?


Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for ‘branching out’ (what some call ‘off-topicking’), but we should aim for the stars and not spend our precious time discussing mundane cables.

Please google the mundane, “what cable should I get?” because this place is for the abstract, the intangible, the supernatural, etc; and if we’re going to digress, we might as well make it worth it by aiming for the stars and not for the floor.

The floor is basic, dirty, obvious, and boring; I know because I walk all over it everyday without much thought, but the stars, oh, the stars are mysterious, mischievous, abstract yet also visible to the naked eye, and yes, if you’re imaginative enough you might just catch one, carry it in your pocket, like yours truly, and perhaps even absorb its nature, and by extension become one with the star(s).


“Shoot for the stars and not for the floor!”

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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I've run 50 feet without problems. That's about 15 meters.
Originally Posted by Burkey
You'd be nuts to expect high quality audio from a 10 metre analogue audio cable!
How much did that 50 feet of cable cost? I'm guessing more than a digital cable would cost.

Last edited by Burkey; 07/04/21 08:15 AM.

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Originally Posted by Burkey
USB Audio is a table stakes feature - and it only costs manufacturers a couple of dollars per unit to install so there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever.

Yeah, I wish others who know, Kawai James, etc., would comment on this. USB Audio seems like a must-have / table stakes feature in my book as well, so I'm very keen on this answer.

I'm certain that there are considerable costs associated with implementing it, such as the costs of paying engineers to get it to work flawlessly with their particular software/hardware. And the best implementation, having a knob on the top panel for volume control of the incoming audio, costs as well. Any ideas on what is involved in implementing this and the probable costs?

In this day and age it seems like a must-have feature, esp since Kawai is inclined to be minimalist in the number of voices they provide. Kudos to Yamaha for implementing it, often with the volume knob.

Last edited by Randyman; 07/04/21 12:03 PM.

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Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
If the digital audio goes to an outboard DAC, there is no analog signal leaving the computer. The output of the DAC is analog that flows to an amp over an analog wire. The output of the amp is an analog signal that flows to a speaker. These configurations are still present if the DAC, amp, and speakers are inside the digital piano.
Wrong.

Using an outboard DAC means you have extra analogue cable in between the DAC and the piano.

Using digital USB avoids this extra attenuation and distortion.

And going the other way from the piano to the computer with USB there is no digital to analogue to digital conversion required at all. Whereas using an outboard ADC the piano converts digital to analog use and then the ADC converts that analogue to digital - a ridiculously unecessary process.

Using an outboard DAC takes the piano out of the audio path for the VST sound completely. There will be unnecessary components in the audio path in the piano.

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The longer the analogue cable, the worse the attenuation and distortion - at a logarithmic rate. You'd be nuts to expect high quality audio from a 10 metre analogue audio cable!
I don't use 10 meter analog cables. But if my DP had speakers builtin, I'd still run analog audio to a better amp and speakers that would improve the sound far more than any loss of quality from the wires. The latter is inaudible. The former is not.

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@Sweeklinck: Don't you know that copper wire can degrade audio? All that metal can be jarring to those poor electrons! It's a mess, I tell you! It's a mess! smile

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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by Burkey
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
If the digital audio goes to an outboard DAC, there is no analog signal leaving the computer. The output of the DAC is analog that flows to an amp over an analog wire. The output of the amp is an analog signal that flows to a speaker. These configurations are still present if the DAC, amp, and speakers are inside the digital piano.
Wrong.

Using an outboard DAC means you have extra analogue cable in between the DAC and the piano.

Using digital USB avoids this extra attenuation and distortion.

And going the other way from the piano to the computer with USB there is no digital to analogue to digital conversion required at all. Whereas using an outboard ADC the piano converts digital to analog use and then the ADC converts that analogue to digital - a ridiculously unecessary process.

Using an outboard DAC takes the piano out of the audio path for the VST sound completely. There will be unnecessary components in the audio path in the piano.
Not unless you have external speakers and amplifier(s) - 99% of digital piano owners do not do that, so it's pretty silly to design your piano product with that assumption.

And you didn't even address the audio input (piano to computer recording) side of the equation.

If Roland, Korg, Yamaha, Casio (and Dexibell?) all now have USB Audio even on entry level pianos then why can't Kawai?

Last edited by Burkey; 07/05/21 12:24 AM.

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Not unless you have external speakers and amplifier(s) - 99% of digital piano owners do not do that, so it's pretty silly to design your piano product with that assumption.

And you didn't even address the audio input (piano to computer recording) side of the equation.
Most recording interfaces have both an ADC and DAC builtin and function as an external DAC/soundcard for the computer. My M-Audio 1810 does over Firewire, so I don't have to worry about digital jitter from USB latency degrading sound quality.

I think many more than 1% of digital pianos sold don't even have builtin speakers.

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If you want to use your digital pisno as the sound system for your computer, a digital connection is the best solution, not because of degradation from the analog audio cable, but to bypass unnecessary components in the piano, as noted.

But this model breaks down if you add an additional digital keyboard instrument to your setup.

An unbalanced audio cable is fine for connections up to at least 6 metres as long as you keep the wire away from noise sources like wall rat power supplies. Environmental noise can affect digital connections-- it is analog signals encoding the bits on the wire after all. But it manifests differrntly. Error correcting codes can be used to reduce the error rate, but I've not heard of it being used in pianos.

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Originally Posted by Burkey
You'd be nuts to expect high quality audio from a 10 metre analogue audio cable!

Yet it gets the job done admirably. How many 50' to 100' snakes are there bringing XLR and direct box inputs from the stage to the soundboard at 10,000+ churches in the US every Sunday. However, I'm looking forward to trying out XLR over ethernet when the time comes for a remodel!


Waiting patiently for delivery of my Yamaha CLP-795 / Ordered 6 Sep 2021
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Quote
Not unless you have external speakers and amplifier(s) - 99% of digital piano owners do not do that, so it's pretty silly to design your piano product with that assumption.

And you didn't even address the audio input (piano to computer recording) side of the equation.
Most recording interfaces have both an ADC and DAC builtin and function as an external DAC/soundcard for the computer.

My point was that this introduces both attenuation and distortion in between the piano analogue output and the ADC.

It's ridiculously silly and unnecessary to convert from digital (in the piano) to analogue output then back to digital (ADC).

With USB Audio (and optical/Toslink audio, and coax digital audio) it never needs to convert to analogue ever. Such cables are now only $1 each per metre.

It's a complete waste of money and space/mess and hassle using an external DAC/ADC for 99% of digital piano owners.

Yamaha, Roland, Casio, and Dexibell all agree with me:

USB Audio is the future smile (and the present!)

Last edited by Burkey; 07/06/21 01:58 AM.

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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
If you want to use your digital pisno as the sound system for your computer, a digital connection is the best solution...

As I mentioned, there are two other much more common use cases:
1. Playing a VST/synthesizer through your piano headphones or speakers.
2. Recording your piano audio (direct to WAV file on your computer).


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You do understand that playing the VST through your piano is what using the piano for your computer sound system actually is, right? You are just using the piano as an outboard DAC and amplified speakers for the computer. That just happens to be multiplexed on the same USB wire as you are using to send midi yo the computer.

The other use cases you mentioned don't require that functionality.

I don't think it adds only $2 to the cost of the piano. It requires USB hosting, not just USB as a client sending data. It is a useless feature for me (I have more than one instrument). It is a cost savings for me not to pay for an amp and speakers in my DP without even quantifying the cost of adding USB hosting.

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This is the perfect internet argument - correct technicalities that are 100% irrelevant.

1) Piano -> Internal DAC -> Balanced (XLR/TRS) -> External IF ADC -> Software (presumably DAW) -> External IF DAC -> Balanced (XLR/TRS) -> Speakers/Headphones
2) Piano -> Internal DAC -> Balanced (XLR/TRS) -> External IF ADC/DAC internal routing -> Balanced (XLR/TRS) -> Speakers/Headphones
3) Piano -> USB audio -> External IF DAC -> Speakers/Headphones.

Yes, the bottom one has fewer conversions compared to the top. But if you double blind it and can identify which is which I'll eat my hat. You'll only notice if some part of that chain is badly malfunctioning.

If you're routing out your audio to the piano speakers it really doesn't matter how many other components are in the way, you're going to have awful audio.

The argument for USB audio on DPs is convenience. And it's a strong one. You don't need to bring audio quality into it.

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Quote
My point was that this introduces both attenuation and distortion in between the piano analogue output and the ADC.
I don't have an ADC in the audio path of amplifying output of my computer, whether or not it is playing a VST. Computer Firewire interface is connected to an M-Audio Firewire 1810 from which I run short balanced connections to monitors. I can guarantee that the amp and speakers in most slab portable and many furniture-embedded DPs generate more distortion than this entire audio path. Short unbalanced cables from the Firewire 1810 to the monitors also would contribute immeasurably to distortion or attenuation.

But having the DAC inside the piano does not eliminate the need for an analog wire from the internal DAC to the internal amp. It probably is shorter, but it also likely is a thinner, lower bandwidth wire. But that is ok because in neither case is the wire connecting the DAC output to the amp input a limiting factor for sound quality.

As an example, the P-515 draws electrical energy from the wall at the rate of 15W per spec-- the entire piano. The idea that the builtin audio amps are spec'd at (15W and 5W) x 2 is hogwash. Amps are not 100% efficient and the whole piano draws 15W of power from the wall. At that power rating, these are amps are going to be roughly similar to what is built-in to a commodity television, and not exactly what you want to pay to build lots of connectivity infrastructure around if audio quality is your concern. The benefit is convenience, not audio quality.

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