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Joined: Jan 2018
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Basically just the question in the title of the thread.

I've been trying to get my Casio PX-560 and my various VSTs to feel more like the yamaha grand I practice on during my lessons, but given that's the only acoustic piano I regularly have access to, I realized that might not make much sense it seems acoustic pianos probably vary a large amount too. So for those of you who regularly play on various acoustic pianos, would you say acoustics vary as much as digital pianos?

Part of the problem of having so much control over parameters on a digital piano is that it's easy to fall into into the temptation of adjusting velocity settings rather than adjusting dynamics with my technique, but it can be hard to know what is a good setting to start from.

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Acoustics will vary far more than digitals due to design and age/condition but I dare say any modern acoustic would be eminently playable depending in the main, upon the player..
Tell me if I'm being whimsical or a little capricious . .


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Originally Posted by peterws
Acoustics will vary far more than digitals due to design and age/condition but I dare say any modern acoustic would be eminently playable depending in the main, upon the player..
Tell me if I'm being whimsical or a little capricious . .

That makes total sense =] I've occasionally read about people preferring some digital actions to say, old clunky uprights, but honestly I partly asked for my own peace of mind!

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+1

I'm always curious about people who ask about which digital is the best approximation to a real piano keybed. It's like asking which flavour of tea taste most like tea.

I guess the difference between digital keybeds though is more attributed to the design which is intended to most closely mimic one particular piano experience the manufacturer has in mind. It also depends on to what level you are comparing similarities.
A weighted action of whatever design is going to feel more like a real piano than a synth action. I have several weighted actions, all are different in their own way. None of them feel much like my acoustic (or any other in my opinion), but they are all pleasant to play piano on in their own way.

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Originally Posted by Deltajockey
+1

I'm always curious about people who ask about which digital is the best approximation to a real piano keybed. It's like asking which flavour of tea taste most like tea.

I guess the difference between digital keybeds though is more attributed to the design which is intended to most closely mimic one particular piano experience the manufacturer has in mind. It also depends on to what level you are comparing similarities.
A weighted action of whatever design is going to feel more like a real piano than a synth action. I have several weighted actions, all are different in their own way. None of them feel much like my acoustic (or any other in my opinion), but they are all pleasant to play piano on in their own way.

Yeah, I suppose the main thing is that people talk much more about pivot length which will cause greater variation throughout the key with digital actions whereas in acoustics it seems to be more about the overall weighting, travel, and responsiveness of the keys.

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I find that indeed acoustic piano actions vary widely and seemingly more than digital piano actions. As an owner of a Yamaha P515, I can tell you that it plays and sounds much better than many old acoustics I have played. But it is also true that there are many acoustic pianos which are far superior to any digital piano. I like deltajockey's comparison to Tea. Very much on-point.

I would try starting from a basic piano sound, without a lot of effects added in. For example, I find that my P515 seems more like a grand when I shut off the loudness control (IAC), and the added reverb effects as well. Because I switch to an old acoustic grand, I try to practice on the P515 using the lightest touch control - this forces me to pay special added attention to playing PP and PPP. Then when I switch to the acoustic grand (which in my case has an extremely light action) it is not too hard for me to "adjust" to that keyboard. Just like playing one acoustic and moving to another one, there is a slight period of adjustment needed in your touch. Some need more, some need less. But that is something that you should learn to do anyway, even if you never play on a digital.

Regards

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Originally Posted by danno858
I find that indeed acoustic piano actions vary widely and seemingly more than digital piano actions. As an owner of a Yamaha P515, I can tell you that it plays and sounds much better than many old acoustics I have played. But it is also true that there are many acoustic pianos which are far superior to any digital piano. I like deltajockey's comparison to Tea. Very much on-point.

I would try starting from a basic piano sound, without a lot of effects added in. For example, I find that my P515 seems more like a grand when I shut off the loudness control (IAC), and the added reverb effects as well. Because I switch to an old acoustic grand, I try to practice on the P515 using the lightest touch control - this forces me to pay special added attention to playing PP and PPP. Then when I switch to the acoustic grand (which in my case has an extremely light action) it is not too hard for me to "adjust" to that keyboard. Just like playing one acoustic and moving to another one, there is a slight period of adjustment needed in your touch. Some need more, some need less. But that is something that you should learn to do anyway, even if you never play on a digital.

Regards

I appreciate the insight. In another thread recently we were discussing also the effect of volume on perceived touch with a digital piano. At low volumes, for instance, the 'heavy setting' on my Px-560 seems too heavy. But at high, more grand-like volumes it seems just right. Just gotta find that right balance. I finally started making my way through a little-known piece called Moonlight sonata and am paying especially close attention to dynamics in the first movement. It's easy enough if I just mechanically play through the piece, but the magic to me is in the dynamics.

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What an excellent and informative thread.
It’s a decision I a struggling with at the moment.
I’m a 76 yr old fossil who bought a Roland RP401R about 4 years ago for my 7 yr old step- daughter to take lessons.
I started learning along with her lessons. Got the bug and bought my own keyboard. I wanted accompaniment (I used to play guitar in a dance band aeons ago) so I bought Korg PA4X.

It’s a beautiful contraption but I find myself preferring to play on mr daughter’s Roland. I hate the soggy key action on the Korg and I hate sitting like a robot holding one chord while the machine plays accompaniment. I made a mistake buying it.

My daughter has moved to Norway so now I’m trying to research a new piano for myself. Yamaha P125, Korg D1, Privia PS-X 1100, Roland FP30, and Kawai ES110. I’m 2 hours away from a city where I can try any of these but my internet browsing shortlists the above.

A strong attraction to the Korg D1 because everyone remarks on its Japanese made keyboard - but I would have to buy external speakers.
Second choice is Yamaha P135. Followed by bid jump in price to Roland, Kawai or Privia.

Do any forummers have experience with any of these?

Many thanks
Johnmak

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Hello,

@Johnmak, In my own search for a digital piano last year, I examined all on your shortlist. I have written more extensively about my experiences before, so here I'll give it in a nutshell:

Yamaha P125: Dated piano overall, piano sound nice enough, action not recommended/poorly constructed.

Korg D1: Great build quality, piano sound nothing to write home about, action well built but difficult to control nuances/dynamics. I almost bought it but failed it on the nuance control.

Casios in this price range: I'd just forget about those.

Roland FP30X: A very neat offer alltogether. However, keep in mind that the action is good, yet on the heavier side. The Roland piano sound is quite particular, listen carefully to examples to see if you'd like it.

Kawai ES110: good control, nice enough piano sound, plays lighter which may be an advantage to you. Includes (as the only one on this list) a very decent sustain pedal.

Should you land on the ES110, and you could spend somewhat more money, I'd suggest considering the ES520 and ES920 as well, using slightly better actions and improving sound quality and other features as you move up the ladder. Perhaps I should mention the MP7SE (no internal speakers) by Kawai here as well.

To honor the topic of this thread, which sure is interesting:
-> Even this little list shows how different digital actions (and their implementations) are, they sure can make or break successful/enjoyable playing.
-> And yes, from the acoustic pianos that I have played, their qualities (including of course age/condition/level of maintenance), nuance control, weight, and playability vary wildly indeed.

Cheers and happy actions,

HZ

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Great comments! However, I would disagree with one point. The Casio Px-770 and 870’s (Scaled Hammer Actions) are excellent. Many reviewers speak highly of them. I personally love them. They feel very close to many acoustics I’ve tried. I would place the scaled hammer action above Roland’s Ph4. The PH-4 is slow like wading through mud and heavy. Not terrible, but not good. IMO.
On the otherhand.
, I am not fond of Casio’s overall attitude and how they handled the controversy over the new shorter keys in the Px-1100.

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Hello,

@MarlaJackspiano, Thank you for pointing this out. So far I am mainly aware of 'slab' form digital pianos, less so of the 'console' variants. So if the two console Casios you mention have significantly different/better actions than the slab Casios, that is quite interesting and they do fall outside my remark of earlier today.

Cheers and happy playing,

HZ

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Originally Posted by HZPiano
Hello,

@MarlaJackspiano, Thank you for pointing this out. So far I am mainly aware of 'slab' form digital pianos, less so of the 'console' variants. So if the two console Casios you mention have significantly different/better actions than the slab Casios, that is quite interesting and they do fall outside my remark of earlier today.

Cheers and happy playing,

HZ


Ahhh! Yes. You were speaking mainly of slabs. Yes. I fully agree with you. If only slabs are under consideration, I wouldn’t even consider Casio right now. The Privia-Px560 is ok, but it’s blue and has been out so long it is due for an upgrade.

Cheers and happy playing to you, too!

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I believe the px870 and px560 have the same keyboards. Correct me if I am wrong.

And acoustic pianos have different feels so you might have to warm up for a few minutes to get used to a new piano

I’ve played some miserable acoustic pianos in my days. Out of tune dead keys etc.


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Originally Posted by HZPiano
Yamaha P125: Dated piano overall, piano sound nice enough, action not recommended/poorly constructed.

As a Yamaha user myself, the P125 is not the greatest keyboard in the world. Yamaha has been using GHS (Grand Hammer Standard) action for a while and the action is basically the same between the P125 and the previous model P115. I find that the key response is reasonable but not consistent. I can hit the same keys at different loudness levels and when I hit the keys too hard I get a harsh staccato-like sound (like a hammer hitting a nail). Happens occasionally when I play chords very loud. Don't know why.

Once came across a Korg SV2 in a music store. It's a keyboard with your basic weighted keys that are light. The selling point is the retro design with all sorts of buttons & knobs on top like the early synthesizers from the 1960s. The sound is average but you want to own one for the unique look.

When it comes to Casio PX-S3100 & PX-S1100, James Pavel Shawcross posted videos on them and claim there is a weight issue with the black keys a few grams lighter than the white keys. This would make playing chords with black & white keys together more challenging to get all the notes at the same volume.


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Originally Posted by Purdy
I believe the px870 and px560 have the same keyboards. Correct me if I am wrong.

And acoustic pianos have different feels so you might have to warm up for a few minutes to get used to a new piano

I’ve played some miserable acoustic pianos in my days. Out of tune dead keys etc.

Indeed, the PX-560, 870, and 770 all use the Scaled Hammer Action II, as well as share the same piano sound engine I believe. Touch should be essentially identical. The same goes for the PX-160 and PX-360 by the way.

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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
When it comes to Casio PX-S3100 & PX-S1100, James Pavel Shawcross posted videos on them and claim there is a weight issue with the black keys a few grams lighter than the white keys. This would make playing chords with black & white keys together more challenging to get all the notes at the same volume.
Been playing my Px-S3000 for over a year now, and I play mostly chords. Playing at different volume levels white vs black has not been an issue, at least for me. I notice sometime if I hit a singular bass note too hard, I get high volume, but I think that is my technique, not the keyboard.


Casio PX-S3000
Nope, no issues with it at all.
Took lessons from 1960 to 1969, stopped at age 16.
Started again in July 2020 at age 67. Lots more fun now!
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Well….obviously there not going to mention James by name. Legal is trying to avoid any lawsuits. But one thing came from his video. I bought myself a set of piano key weights!

Going to test them out on all of my keyboards. Thanks James!


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