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Originally Posted by SouthPark
There is no need at all to work towards acoustic action. The reason is because the 'best' acoustic actions in my opinion isn't the 'best action'.
Nice said. Especially the first sentence. Although, the best action I personally did experience was that of the Yamaha NU1X. ;-)

Another nice thing is that you can’t make a hard separation in your experience, between action and sound.


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Originally Posted by deafital
Nice said. Especially the first sentence. Although, the best action I personally did experience was that of the Yamaha NU1X. ;-)

Another nice thing is that you can’t make a hard separation in your experience, between action and sound.

+100

Also noticed that your upcoming one is the NU1X. Excellent in that you found that you personally really liked a particular action in an instrument that you encountered. That's going to be so nice! Fantastic sound, plus an action you like - very nice combination indeed.

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Originally Posted by deafital
Originally Posted by SouthPark
There is no need at all to work towards acoustic action. The reason is because the 'best' acoustic actions in my opinion isn't the 'best action'.
Nice said. Especially the first sentence. Although, the best action I personally did experience was that of the Yamaha NU1X. ;-)

Another nice thing is that you can’t make a hard separation in your experience, between action and sound.

I also agree that there in principle is no need to work towards an acoustic action. Unless you want/need to play on an acoustic regularly, in which case it is nice if the actions and pedals aren't wildly different. The fact that digital actions can be emancipated from inherent acoustic design requirements can offer opportunities for improvement/innovation.

Having said that, in practice I generally still like a reasonable acoustic action a lot better than a top digital action. I don't think there is a fundamental reason as to why this has to be so, but it is for me. I switched from a Kawai GFC digital action to a silent piano just for the action.

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Completely agree that in theory there does not have to be a reason why an acoustic action is "better", providing it is fast enough to cater for any style and any level of control.

Where things are complicated is down to the fact that learning on a digital and then having to play an acoustic can be very jarring and tricky. That plus the current discrepancy in sound and 'connection' to the instrument is why in certain circumstances there really is no substitute for an acoustic.

That is why I say that at the moment, digital/hybrid and acoustic aren't like-for-like and simply interchangeable (though that of course is the future aim with manufacturers of digitals, as the market matures and technology improves).

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Originally Posted by DeckardWill
That is why I say that at the moment, digital/hybrid and acoustic aren't like-for-like and simply interchangeable (though that of course is the future aim with manufacturers of digitals, as the market matures and technology improves).

I beg to differ with the sentence between parentheses. I think manufacturers of digitals are not really working towards fully realistic imitation of acoustics. They just want to offer a portfolio of more or less affordable DPs that are good enough for most players. IMO DPs will never replace acoustic pianos. They are just different instruments. I read somewhere in this thread that classical musicians will gradually switch to DPs. I think that's a hilarious view which is simply untrue and I dare anyone to show me a professional classical pianist playing a concerto on a DP.

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Originally Posted by SouthPark
There is no need at all to work towards acoustic action. The reason is because the 'best' acoustic actions in my opinion isn't the 'best action'.

Originally Posted by DeckardWill
I also agree that there in principle is no need to work towards an acoustic action.

Originally Posted by DeckardWill
Completely agree that in theory there does not have to be a reason why an acoustic action is "better", providing it is fast enough to cater for any style and any level of control.

I find this sentiment, in the context of a hybrid piano thread, odd smile

It's an entirely valid opinion to think that digital actions don't need to be like acoustics, and also that one does not subjectively consider an acoustic action "the best/ideal thing." That's all fine.

But the entire point of a hybrid piano in the sense of the AvantGrand and Novus, is exactly to replicate an acoustic action as much as possible, in as close to commercially viable a way as "no holds barred" gets you. These makers have imported entire acoustic actions into 300lb instruments, modified them to use non-contact optical sensors to immaculately preserve the touch, and implemented moving action components not even connected to electronic sensors, solely to feel more real. Yamaha even has solenoids to rumble the keyboard and multi-channel recording and output that is not on any other DP in their range, all in the effort of as perfectly replicating an acoustic piano as possible.

So while one might take the view that a DP is a "separate instrument" from an acoustic, and need not even attempt to have a similar feeling action....I'm betting cash money that this isn't at all the design intent OR the core market of the hybrid. In fact, anyone interested in a hybrid is probably very specifically looking for the best possible simulation of an acoustic they can get (and they're willing to pay as much more or for it than a budget upright or grand will cost them).

Originally Posted by Ostinato
I think manufacturers of digitals are not really working towards fully realistic imitation of acoustics. They just want to offer a portfolio of more or less affordable DPs that are good enough for most players.

I think both statements can be true. A P-45 isn't a fully realistic imitation of an acoustic, and I'm sure Yamaha has targeting it at people who think it's good enough, particularly for $500. But they will presumably continue to improve the action and sound over time, so long as it fits in their product tiering strategy. But when it comes to the AvantGrands and Novuses, it's hard to argue that they are NOT seeking a "fully realistic imitation of acoustics" as much as technologically and commercially possible (which again, brings in the "good enough" element).


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Some manufacturers, in an effort to be closer to an acoustic action, at least in marketing terms, include features in their digital actions that are detrimental to playability. The infamous 'let-off simulation' notch in some kawai digitals is an example. Multiple people of this forum opened up their DP and just removed that mechanism (a friction notch) in order to make their piano better playable.

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Originally Posted by pianogabe
features in their digital actions that are detrimental to playability. The infamous 'let-off simulation' notch in some kawai digitals is an example. Multiple people of this forum opened up their DP and just removed that mechanism (a friction notch) in order to make their piano better playable.

100% agree, I considered doing this myself, buy the ca99, cut out the bumper, but I decided against it because I was worried that kawai's transfer function had some sort of compensation timing for the letoffs, so that if removed, the way it calculates note on and off may be offset.

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So, in the context of a CA99 or regular DP, I understand there's some criticism of how the letoff simulation isn't great. And some makers (Casio, Nord) go to specific pains to exclude that feature from their actions.

Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
100% agree, I considered doing this myself, buy the ca99, cut out the bumper, but I decided against it because I was worried that kawai's transfer function had some sort of compensation timing for the letoffs, so that if removed, the way it calculates note on and off may be offset.

If the CA99's GF3 action is anything like the WM88 keyboard in the MP11, that should be an easy, reversible mod. The rubber "escapement" fingers just pop right out of the hammer rail frame. And IIRC, that's the only part of the action that's actually greased.


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
I find this sentiment, in the context of a hybrid piano thread, odd smile

Very good post (your entire one that is) gombessa.

When I back to the thread title - it has 'real thing'. I didn't add earlier in my post(s) that the OP is really assuming the 'acoustic' piano as being the 'real thing' - while all the keyboard instruments that we have - digital, acoustic, or a mixture - are all the 'real thing' - real musical instruments.

The most advanced (technological - material, build, mechanisms, sound-wise etc) from each group are outstanding. All are magnificent creations of people - or hard work from everybody that contributed in the development and evolution of pianos. At the digital piano end (without the hammer works etc) --- the technology has reached the stage of producing input systems with impressive performance/behaviour, that meet or even surpass expectations of piano players at all levels.

Just in case, once again - acoustic pianos, hybrid pianos, and digital pianos - are the real thing. But to answer the answer of say 'how close is a hybrid to an acoustic piano - such as physically', the answer is --- relatively very far. Although, at least --- the key mechanism behaviour of hybrid is the same as at least particular sorts of acoustic piano. And if somebody - for their reason - is after that particular key behaviour/feel, then it's ultra close - in that area.

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Originally Posted by SouthPark
When I back to the thread title - it has 'real thing'. I didn't add earlier in my post(s) that the OP is really assuming the 'acoustic' piano as being the 'real thing' - while all the keyboard instruments that we have - digital, acoustic, or a mixture - are all the 'real thing' - real musical instruments.

Typo -- 'go back to'

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Originally Posted by SouthPark
But to answer the answer of say 'how close is a hybrid to an acoustic piano - such as physically', the answer is --- relatively very far. Although, at least --- the key mechanism behaviour of hybrid is the same as at least particular sorts of acoustic piano. And if somebody - for their reason - is after that particular key behaviour/feel, then it's ultra close - in that area.

'question'.

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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by SouthPark
There is no need at all to work towards acoustic action. The reason is because the 'best' acoustic actions in my opinion isn't the 'best action'.

Originally Posted by DeckardWill
I also agree that there in principle is no need to work towards an acoustic action.

Originally Posted by DeckardWill
Completely agree that in theory there does not have to be a reason why an acoustic action is "better", providing it is fast enough to cater for any style and any level of control.

I find this sentiment, in the context of a hybrid piano thread, odd smile

Heeeey, my friend, quoting me in context is important! grin

The emphasis is on 'in principle'. Of course in the real world acoustic pianos have been around in some capacity for hundreds of years, pianos dominate the music space and naturally therefore their acoustic action is what digitals attempt to replicate.

I simply meant that 'in principle' one does not need, in total isolation and without any consideration of the above, to be labelled as 'better'. The action feel is determined by the mechanical characteristics of the time, not because someone decided this is how every piano must feel.

100% - we bought a hybrid because we need an acoustic action. My son's teacher demands it, nothing less.

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Originally Posted by DeckardWill
I simply meant that 'in principle' one does not need, in total isolation and without any consideration of the above, to be labelled as 'better'. The action feel is determined by the mechanical characteristics of the time, not because someone decided this is how every piano must feel.

Yep, if we are talking about achieving "an ideal piano action not constrained by engineering limitations" then the world is your oyster, just throw Cristofori out the window and have at it. You can probably save a lot of money not replicating the complex historical bits needed for hammer and string interaction.

For Yamaha and Kawai building hybrid actions however, i'd assume their gold standard isn't some Platonic ideal of a piano, but rather their own physical samples of the acoustics they produce and are trying to emulate, including all of the mechanical characteristics they might otherwise want to eliminate/minimize.

The issue (as I see it) is it's easy to fall down the path of arbitrary line drawing. There are a lot of threads here where someone just proclaims "graded hammers aren't important, they're just a necessity of the time and the ideal piano WILL have identical weighting for all keys." Or "the ideal piano WILL NOT have any noticeable letoff." But also that "the ideal piano will have 50g downweight for middle C." Really? Who says? I just have a hard time believing anyone to be the arbiter of truth and decider of what is desirable and is merely tolerated.

If someone wants to create their own action with new features for a new instrument class, go for it. But what I like about hybrids is that their mission is expressly versimilitude, to replicate an acoustic piano action as closely as possible, warts and all!


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by DeckardWill
I simply meant that 'in principle' one does not need, in total isolation and without any consideration of the above, to be labelled as 'better'. The action feel is determined by the mechanical characteristics of the time, not because someone decided this is how every piano must feel.

Yep, if we are talking about achieving "an ideal piano action not constrained by engineering limitations" then the world is your oyster, just throw Cristofori out the window and have at it. You can probably save a lot of money not replicating the complex historical bits needed for hammer and string interaction.

For Yamaha and Kawai building hybrid actions however, i'd assume their gold standard isn't some Platonic ideal of a piano, but rather their own physical samples of the acoustics they produce and are trying to emulate, including all of the mechanical characteristics they might otherwise want to eliminate/minimize.

The issue (as I see it) is it's easy to fall down the path of arbitrary line drawing. There are a lot of threads here where someone just proclaims "graded hammers aren't important, they're just a necessity of the time and the ideal piano WILL have identical weighting for all keys." Or "the ideal piano WILL NOT have any noticeable letoff." But also that "the ideal piano will have 50g downweight for middle C." Really? Who says? I just have a hard time believing anyone to be the arbiter of truth and decider of what is desirable and is merely tolerated.

If someone wants to create their own action with new features for a new instrument class, go for it. But what I like about hybrids is that their mission is expressly versimilitude, to replicate an acoustic piano action as closely as possible, warts and all!

Of course - there's some satisfaction in feeling like you are playing a mechanical instrument even setting aside any serious necessity.

For James, he was learning on the P515 then getting lessons once a week on a grand with a completely different feel. The P515 action was so light and different in comparison, every lesson it was utterly jarring having to suddenly adapt. He and his teacher found that really frustrating.

As a workaround he set the key sensitivity to "very hard" but all that did was get him used to hitting the keys harder and losing sensitivity.

A hybrid (partially) resolves this problem for us. Although now we still have the matter of one being an upright action vs. a grand.

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Originally Posted by DeckardWill
For James, he was learning on the P515 then getting lessons once a week on a grand with a completely different feel. The P515 action was so light and different in comparison, every lesson it was utterly jarring having to suddenly adapt. He and his teacher found that really frustrating.

As a workaround he set the key sensitivity to "very hard" but all that did was get him used to hitting the keys harder and losing sensitivity.

A hybrid (partially) resolves this problem for us. Although now we still have the matter of one being an upright action vs. a grand.

I hear you there. That sounds like a case where the P-515 just wasn't close enough to a real acoustic action to learn the proper feel/dynamics your teacher was aiming for. With the hybrid, you close the gap and enter the normal range of "all acoustics feel different to some degree." There may still be wide gulf in feel between an upright and a concert grand, or your teacher's piano and your son's hybrid, but regardless of what that gulf is, it is in that range of "if you play piano, you have to deal with it. Everyone who has played piano throughout history has to deal with the same thing."

That's exactly what I think the hybrid gets you. Not necessary "the perfect" or "best" action, but one that is undoubtedly real enough where the difference between it and any other acoustic piano is within the norm you have you expect as a pianist.


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Originally Posted by Gombessa
That's exactly what I think the hybrid gets you. Not necessary "the perfect" or "best" action, but one that is undoubtedly real enough where the difference between it and any other acoustic piano is within the norm you have you expect as a pianist.

Yep, exactly this - agree totally.

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Originally Posted by pianogabe
Having said that, in practice I generally still like a reasonable acoustic action a lot better than a top digital action. I don't think there is a fundamental reason as to why this has to be so, but it is for me. I switched from a Kawai GFC digital action to a silent piano just for the action.

That's the best situation. As long as the piano player (experienced or even unexperienced) is satisfied with the key mechanism action/behaviour/feel, then that is indeed the best thing (including the sound). In recent threads, I asked somebody (or people) if they heard of Lara6683. That natural talent is making her digital piano really shine. She has it all under easy and comfortable control. Excellent sounds too. She is also very experienced with acoustic pianos. We all know that versatility and flexibility and adaptability is nice. But indeed --- the best situation is that the piano player is satisfied. And we know that in the world, that not everybody has the same privileges - and that is ok too. If lucky enough to have a working piano (digital or acoustic) of any sort - then there's something we know here ----- having something is better than nothing.

The original topic does indeed have the words 'the real thing'. And we do know that the OP is referring to 'acoustic pianos'. While all instruments we have are actually 'the real thing' (real deal), we can assume that the OP is really after the key mechanism behaviour of an acoustic piano of some sort. In that case, the hybrid piano action really does have the key mechanism behaviour of an acoustic piano of some sort.

Also noting that the best quality/designed acoustic piano actions are good -- but also have to keep in mind what sort of effort is needed to not only get the behaviour to be good (and the sound as well) ----- and to maintain it to be that good over time (the maintenance/service side of things). Although, also noting that digital pianos and hybrids can develop their own issues as well. That's expected with relatively complex/complicated 'machines' (like digital pianos and acoustic pianos).

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Originally Posted by SouthPark
And we know that in the world, that not everybody has the same privileges - and that is ok too. If lucky enough to have a working piano (digital or acoustic) of any sort - then there's something we know here ----- having something is better than nothing.

In the above - I'm not referring to Lara6683, who is very successful. I'm referring to people that actually don't have the same privileges as others.

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I entirely agree with you SouthPark. There is no need for an acoustic to be able to create fantastic music. And DPs have indeed opened up the world of piano for less privileged people, although for a large part of the world still unreachable unfortunately. They even open up the world of piano for financially more privileged people, as many people would not buy an acoustic as a beginner because the investment is too large if you aren´t sure yet if this is going to work out. I wouldn't even have bought my current acoustic as an intermediate player if it wasn't also digital (because of neighbors).

I bought my acoustic just for the action because I had developed medical issues (osteoarthritis) on my digital Kawai CA-58, which exerted too large forces and was too uneven for my midlife-aged beginner fingers. I almost stopped playing definitively until I found out that a comparatively light acoustic action (Kawai K200/K300 series) did not cause problems for me (other people have reported this as well and long threads here on PW have speculated as to why this generally might be the case). It was a bit of a gamble buying a new K300 (with silent option) because I wasn´t sure if inflammation would indeed would stay, but it did. I wasn't specifically looking for the ´acoustic´ sound and could have opted for the digital NV-5 (which I think has the same action as the K300), but the price difference wasn't that big, and I figured it would be nice to have the option of acoustic sound.

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