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Apologies for the length of this post. I'm...meticulous. I'm a pianist of 16 years. Passionate hobbyist, not a technician, my opinions are just based on my experiences.


After much waiting, the supply of Studiologic Numa X Piano GT pianos have begun to arrive in the USA after months of backordering! I received notification from Zzounds a couple of days ago that it was ready for shipping after ordering about a month ago. I received it two days later. The following review is pretty much of the action solely. I won't go into depth about the sounds, but my main purpose is to use this as a MIDI controller in conjunction with VSTs, primarily Pianoteq.


First impression of the TP-400W: WOW! I love the feel of the keytops and action as a whole! Definitely a step up from the TP-40W I played on the Numa Nero and the SL88 Grand.

Keytops: The naturals are probably some of the best I've ever seen and played in a digital piano. I've played a lot of the current offerings. Not a plastic-y feel, much more in line with an ivory, without the saturated texturing and grooving that seems to be employed by some of the other manufacturers such as the Yamaha GHS action and Casio's actions for the PX-S1100/3100. I would say the key tops on this are much more in line with the PHA-50 I played on a Roland RD-2000 or perhaps the Celviano Hybrid Grand I played a while back. I will do my best to describe but the facade of the natural keytops is definitely not thick/plastic-y. The sharps/black keys however are good, but can best be described as a slightly more smooth version of the Grand Feel from the Kawai MP11. One of the things I disliked about the sharps on the MP11 was how grippy/slightly rubbery the black keys felt to me, compared to the usually more polished/smooth action I'm used to playing from the acoustic grands I've owned. The sharps on the X GT still have a bit of grip, but not as much as the Kawai MP11, again, some points to the new kid on the block.

Action: This is always going to be tough to describe and is best felt to be understood. The action alarmingly good considering it's significantly less costly and obviously much lighter than most grand piano action assemblies, let alone the other specs/needs of an acoustic grand.

Key-down: When pressing on the naturals, this feels amazing, and the escapement feel is pretty spot-on. I am able to do fast repetitions very easily and even the softest of key lowering isn't spongy at its completion. It's a soft landing, but rests as expected. Moving inward towards the back pivot points of on the natural keys has some resistance, but not nearly as much as expected for such a compact rendering of an action. I will say that currently, the black keys do feel a slight bit heavier or at least require the slightest bit more effort to put into motion; most likely due to the shortened pivot point. However, this is a brand new keyboard, so I will play the action a bit more to "wake up" the black keys. I will follow up after quite a few more hours of playing to see if the black keys have grown on me a little more. If they lighten up just a little more, I would boost my rating of this action a bit more.

Key-up: Not forced/springy or returning too fast/too hard. The resulting resting inertia to bring the keys to its normal resting state is just right. When coupled with the escapement feel of the down press, the entire key strike feels very natural. Again, repetitions are excellent thanks to these combined effects; very realistic.

Overall response/evenness: Fast and very nimble melodic lines are pretty easily achieved. The minor section of Mozart's K.331 Rondo Alla Turca following the first octave/rolled chord section is my default test of this. The keys have enough grip to easily handle full-scale arpeggios. Lots of give for fortissimo and subtlety for pianissimo.


I won't comment on the sounds beyond the fact that they're just okay. Some aspects are tweakable to make the sounds more palatable for my taste (lots of velocity shaping and EQ adjusting), but I'm mainly using this as a controller for my VSTs.

That being said. If Studiologic had released this action as an SL88 Grand 2 midi controller, I think I would likely have sprung for that instead and been extremely satisfied.


Quick comparisons to established Wood/Simulated wood actions I have played:


Kawai MP11: Keys feel more natural on the X GT, especially the sharps. I would say there is a bit more realism in the overall levering of the keys on the MP11, but it isn't significant. The X GT's performance despite its lighter/more-compact presence make this an upgrade. Internal sounds were never really the reason I purchased the Kawai MP11, but they were okay. The MP11SE's sounds are likely better and seem to be from what I've seen, but for someone who is using the MP11 as a controller, I would highly consider checking this out.

Yamaha P515/CP88: The X GT is nowhere near as heavy for down weight for the P515 and CP88. I felt very fatigued fairly quickly playing the Yamaha GHS. Some people love this action and that's great, but it's not my cup of tea.

Yamaha N2/N3 or GranTouch: I would say that these actions from Yamaha are indeed superior to the X GT, but that shouldn't be surprising given their complex recreation of a real grand piano action, even if it's that of a smaller grand. The X GT wins for portability though. You don't even need to hire a mover for this one.

SL88 Grand/Numa Nero:
Perhaps I've only encountered bad examples, but I found the TP-40W to be too heavy and not as responsive. While workable, I think the keytops and presentation are great, I would say the TP-400W is a much improved version that feels more balanced overall.

Baldwin SD-10 (1969): No longer in my possession (still mourning) but this SD-10 had ivories that were in mint condition. The naturals on the X GT are very reminiscent of the actual ivories I recall, but with more grip on the X GT. My fingers slid a lot on the natural ivories, they don't on these.


Other keyboards I would like to try to compare to, dependent on actually finding examples near me (Detroit, MI): Kawai VPC1, Kawai Novus, any Kawai keyboard with the Grand Feel III.


Final Grade: 8/10, dependent on black key response with time and the on-board piano sounds being "meh".

Studiologic, if you can hear me, release this action in the form of a midi controller. People will love it!


-Russ

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Originally Posted by russmagi
Apologies for the length of this post. I'm...meticulous. I'm a pianist of 16 years. Passionate hobbyist, not a technician, my opinions are just based on my experiences.


After much waiting, the supply of Studiologic Numa X Piano GT pianos have begun to arrive in the USA after months of backordering! I received notification from Zzounds a couple of days ago that it was ready for shipping after ordering about a month ago. I received it two days later. The following review is pretty much of the action solely. I won't go into depth about the sounds, but my main purpose is to use this as a MIDI controller in conjunction with VSTs, primarily Pianoteq.


First impression of the TP-400W: WOW! I love the feel of the keytops and action as a whole! Definitely a step up from the TP-40W I played on the Numa Nero and the SL88 Grand.

Keytops: The naturals are probably some of the best I've ever seen and played in a digital piano. I've played a lot of the current offerings. Not a plastic-y feel, much more in line with an ivory, without the saturated texturing and grooving that seems to be employed by some of the other manufacturers such as the Yamaha GHS action and Casio's actions for the PX-S1100/3100. I would say the key tops on this are much more in line with the PHA-50 I played on a Roland RD-2000 or perhaps the Celviano Hybrid Grand I played a while back. I will do my best to describe but the facade of the natural keytops is definitely not thick/plastic-y. The sharps/black keys however are good, but can best be described as a slightly more smooth version of the Grand Feel from the Kawai MP11. One of the things I disliked about the sharps on the MP11 was how grippy/slightly rubbery the black keys felt to me, compared to the usually more polished/smooth action I'm used to playing from the acoustic grands I've owned. The sharps on the X GT still have a bit of grip, but not as much as the Kawai MP11, again, some points to the new kid on the block.

Action: This is always going to be tough to describe and is best felt to be understood. The action alarmingly good considering it's significantly less costly and obviously much lighter than most grand piano action assemblies, let alone the other specs/needs of an acoustic grand.

Key-down: When pressing on the naturals, this feels amazing, and the escapement feel is pretty spot-on. I am able to do fast repetitions very easily and even the softest of key lowering isn't spongy at its completion. It's a soft landing, but rests as expected. Moving inward towards the back pivot points of on the natural keys has some resistance, but not nearly as much as expected for such a compact rendering of an action. I will say that currently, the black keys do feel a slight bit heavier or at least require the slightest bit more effort to put into motion; most likely due to the shortened pivot point. However, this is a brand new keyboard, so I will play the action a bit more to "wake up" the black keys. I will follow up after quite a few more hours of playing to see if the black keys have grown on me a little more. If they lighten up just a little more, I would boost my rating of this action a bit more.

Key-up: Not forced/springy or returning too fast/too hard. The resulting resting inertia to bring the keys to its normal resting state is just right. When coupled with the escapement feel of the down press, the entire key strike feels very natural. Again, repetitions are excellent thanks to these combined effects; very realistic.

Overall response/evenness: Fast and very nimble melodic lines are pretty easily achieved. The minor section of Mozart's K.331 Rondo Alla Turca following the first octave/rolled chord section is my default test of this. The keys have enough grip to easily handle full-scale arpeggios. Lots of give for fortissimo and subtlety for pianissimo.


I won't comment on the sounds beyond the fact that they're just okay. Some aspects are tweakable to make the sounds more palatable for my taste (lots of velocity shaping and EQ adjusting), but I'm mainly using this as a controller for my VSTs.

That being said. If Studiologic had released this action as an SL88 Grand 2 midi controller, I think I would likely have sprung for that instead and been extremely satisfied.


Quick comparisons to established Wood/Simulated wood actions I have played:


Kawai MP11: Keys feel more natural on the X GT, especially the sharps. I would say there is a bit more realism in the overall levering of the keys on the MP11, but it isn't significant. The X GT's performance despite its lighter/more-compact presence make this an upgrade. Internal sounds were never really the reason I purchased the Kawai MP11, but they were okay. The MP11SE's sounds are likely better and seem to be from what I've seen, but for someone who is using the MP11 as a controller, I would highly consider checking this out.

Yamaha P515/CP88: The X GT is nowhere near as heavy for down weight for the P515 and CP88. I felt very fatigued fairly quickly playing the Yamaha GHS. Some people love this action and that's great, but it's not my cup of tea.

Yamaha N2/N3 or GranTouch: I would say that these actions from Yamaha are indeed superior to the X GT, but that shouldn't be surprising given their complex recreation of a real grand piano action, even if it's that of a smaller grand. The X GT wins for portability though. You don't even need to hire a mover for this one.

SL88 Grand/Numa Nero:
Perhaps I've only encountered bad examples, but I found the TP-40W to be too heavy and not as responsive. While workable, I think the keytops and presentation are great, I would say the TP-400W is a much improved version that feels more balanced overall.

Baldwin SD-10 (1969): No longer in my possession (still mourning) but this SD-10 had ivories that were in mint condition. The naturals on the X GT are very reminiscent of the actual ivories I recall, but with more grip on the X GT. My fingers slid a lot on the natural ivories, they don't on these.


Other keyboards I would like to try to compare to, dependent on actually finding examples near me (Detroit, MI): Kawai VPC1, Kawai Novus, any Kawai keyboard with the Grand Feel III.


Final Grade: 8/10, dependent on black key response with time and the on-board piano sounds being "meh".

Studiologic, if you can hear me, release this action in the form of a midi controller. People will love it!


-Russ

Thank you so much for this! I appreciate the length =]

These are definitely the most detailed impressions of the TP-400W, I've seen, despite it being around on the Dexibells for some time now, and especially regarding comparisons to other digital and acoustic actions. It says a lot that you seem to prefer the action to the MP11's so far.

It's good to know the TP-400W doesn't feel as heavy as the TP-40W (or the NWX, for that matter), which had been one of my concerns. Dexibell told oneforum userthat the H10 varies "from 90 grams in the lower keys to 75 grams in the upper keys" but I suppose there's more to key feel than initial downweight. Or it's possible Dexibell tunes its action differently, I guess. Still, good to know this one's an improvement over the TP-40W, which has almost universally been described as heavy.

A few questions, if you don't mind...

How does it fare with velocity levels? Does it seem like you're able to reasonably achieve the full 1-127 without any gaps? I'm particularly curious about the pianissimo range, especially in comparison to the mp11. I noticed on my SE that I can only reliably get velocities from 0-30 if I stop my fingers before the escapement notch. I don't know whether that's authentic behavior since the only acoustic I regularly have access to is my teachers. I guess I could test that next week =]


Seems like Studiologic could indeed really be onto something if they release an SL88 Grand 2.

In this video by dexibell, the action actually looks like a decent length

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Thanks for the review: I am also interested in checking it when (and if) they release it as a pure controller.

There was a previous review in another thread, and the poster also liked the action more than the PW40 (but less than VPC1...) but mentioned that below-escapement playing is unreliable and that trills at the bottom of the keys with only partial release is not doable.

post #3184787

Do you also experience the same key behaviour?

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Originally Posted by vagfilm
Thanks for the review: I am also interested in checking it when (and if) they release it as a pure controller.

There was a previous review in another thread, and the poster also liked the action more than the PW40 (but less than VPC1...) but mentioned that below-escapement playing is unreliable and that trills at the bottom of the keys with only partial release is not doable.

post #3184787

Do you also experience the same key behaviour?

Interesting that op299 in that thread also gave the action a nod over the Grand Feel action. They mention:

Quote
"The escapement sensation is nice, but the sensors are placed in the same wrong way, which makes it a bit weird: is push the key down silently to just when escapement starts, and then accelerate though it, you get no sound. On a real grand you get a sound of course, since the escapement tells you you are still in contact with the hammer."

FWIW, this is also how my mp11se behaves to an extent, although from the above description that behavior might be a bit worse on the GT. If I push a key down just enough to start to feel the escapement, no matter how hard I accelerate from there, no sound is triggered (or velocity 1 is always triggered in VSTs). That said, if I push down from just a tiny bit little higher -- literally a millimeter or two -- then it behaves as expected. So in practice for fast repetitions its shouldn't be too much of an issue. Just the sensation is a little off from an acoustic in this regard, perhaps more noticeable in pianissimo playing.

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Originally Posted by napilopez
How does it fare with velocity levels? Does it seem like you're able to reasonably achieve the full 1-127 without any gaps? I'm particularly curious about the pianissimo range, especially in comparison to the mp11. I noticed on my SE that I can only reliably get velocities from 0-30 if I stop my fingers before the escapement notch. I don't know whether that's authentic behavior since the only acoustic I regularly have access to is my teachers. I guess I could test that next week =]

]

I am still playing around with velocity curves at the moment for my VSTs but I'm able to actually get 1-127. Piano/Pianissimo is obtainable but I'm still getting used to the feel. As far as getting piano and pianissimo, it's very possible with the on-board sounds, but I've adjusted the velocity settings on the unit itself in order to make that happen. I can check in later to see where this goes as far as more universal applications such as Pianoteq and such. So far, an existing velocity curve from someone shared for a Numa Nero seems to be doing fairly well.



Originally Posted by vagfilm
Thanks for the review: I am also interested in checking it when (and if) they release it as a pure controller.

There was a previous review in another thread, and the poster also liked the action more than the PW40 (but less than VPC1...) but mentioned that below-escapement playing is unreliable and that trills at the bottom of the keys with only partial release is not doable.

post #3184787

Do you also experience the same key behaviour?

Actually, I'm not experiencing this issue at all! I can do trills without full release just fine. Not sure I could even speculate a guess of what caused this experience beyond some sort of improvement or update since this reviewer tried it.

I'll shoot Studiologic a message on their social media to suggest the controller-only option featuring this action. That being said, I do love some of the on-board sounds. Even the pianos (after a lot of tweaking) sound fine for practicing independently of VST emulation.

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Originally Posted by russmagi
I'm able to actually get 1-127. Piano/Pianissimo is obtainable but I'm still getting used to the feel

First off, many thanks for the extensive review, very revealing indeed. If I read correct you mentioned keys on the XGT feel more natural than on the MP11? Just to confirm.

Also, my intention is to get this slab as a MIDI controller mainly, I've tried many other options and the problem was that while I could get PPP using the internal tone engines, I couldn't get accurate MIDI below 15-20 (except on the Rolands that seem to use a good MIDI interface; there I could play low MIDI values effortlessly), sort of what @napilopez experiences with her MP11 and me myself with my CA97

My question is, can you "accurately" move among the lower MIDI values on the XGT? (without touching velocity curves on PTQ or the board itself)


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Originally Posted by overthinker
I couldn't get accurate MIDI below 15-20

My question is, can you "accurately" move among the lower MIDI values on the XGT?

I think that not having midi values below 15-20 or 115-120 is in fact a correct engineering decision. If the lowest velocity of an out-of-factory keyboard would trigger 2, what would happen when that same touch would occur after less lubrication or with a speck of dust? Negative values?

The correct approach is to check what is your range of ACTUAL midi output, and map that range into ppp through fff in your VSTs

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Originally Posted by vagfilm
Originally Posted by overthinker
I couldn't get accurate MIDI below 15-20

My question is, can you "accurately" move among the lower MIDI values on the XGT?


The correct approach is to check what is your range of ACTUAL midi output, and map that range into ppp through fff in your VSTs

That's exactly what I'm trying to avoid.

You may want several touch curves for the internal sounds, then you need that "margin" to adjust MIDI values and not get those "negative results", but when it comes to sending MIDI out users want a full range plain (as much as possible) signal, fine adjustments can be made through the touch curve in the VST but that's it - fine adjustments -

IMHO it makes no sense to have those lower and upper margins of say 20 MIDI values so you can choose the velocity curve, because MIDI is intended for external use of the keyboard.

Anyway, that's a bit off topic so let's stick to the point and get the users feedback so we all can compare with our own experiences and make a "right" decision.

Peace out


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Hi Overthinker: I did not mention (or did I?) a velocity curve, but a simple map of min-max range. Instead of having a linear mao of 0-127, set it as linear 15-120. Then you have the full tone range mapped into the full velocity range. When the fake let-off plastic pieces wear off, you will start getting lower velocities and then you need to map it from 10-120, for example. If the keyboard lacks that buffer on the extremes, it may look better engineered, but that comes at the expense of less flexibility. My 2 cents...

Back on topic: I am now seriously intrigued by the TP400W. Thanks for all the reviews and comments.

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Originally Posted by vagfilm
Originally Posted by overthinker
I couldn't get accurate MIDI below 15-20

My question is, can you "accurately" move among the lower MIDI values on the XGT?

I think that not having midi values below 15-20 or 115-120 is in fact a correct engineering decision. If the lowest velocity of an out-of-factory keyboard would trigger 2, what would happen when that same touch would occur after less lubrication or with a speck of dust? Negative values?

The correct approach is to check what is your range of ACTUAL midi output, and map that range into ppp through fff in your VSTs

I disagree and I think engineering efforts should go into preventing those things from becoming an issue. I've had my Casio PX-560 since 2018, and I'm still able to reliably trigger everything between 1-30 while also being able to achieve 127 -- using everything from the light to heavy velocity settings. And that's in dusty nyc with 3 pets, and I never covered the keys or otherwise took special care to maintain the instrument besides occasional vacuuming.

While I know even with a reduced effective dynamic range you should still be able to get a lot of expressiveness from, say, 90 'usable' velocity levels, I do think at some point it does have some perceptible impact for certain pieces. Many pieces spend much of their time within a limited dynamic regions. Playing the Prelude in E Minor, for example, my left hand tends to hover in the 10-30 region for the significant majority of the piece on the Casio, so that in effect means that the reliability of those 20 velocity levels will to some degree dictate the quality of the performance. (The Casio sends high res midi but only Pianoteq uses that afaik).

I've seen some people say their instruments only have a useful range of like 30-100, which in practice means you'd only have On an instrument with reduced dynamic range, I might only have 12 or so useful gradations for my left hand in that piece, and I think by then you're starting to limit expression to at least some degree.

Don't get me wrong though, I don't mean to make all that out to be a bigger deal than it is, especially as an intermediate player. But I certainly see no reason not to maximize potential dynamic range resolution in designing an instrument.

Also, to be clear, I did mention in another thread that I can actually achieve all 127 velocity levels on my MP11SE. It's just difficult to achieve the lowest ones while going below the escapement (and I'm not sure how accurate that is to a grand piano). I think for now I mostly just need to get used to the keys and refine my VST curves.

EDIT: Sorry for the continued off-topicness, although I do think it is a little relevant!

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napilopez, 1-30 midi doesn't mean anything, the velocity those output values correspond to is at the determined minimum detection threshold. 1 piano can detect 0.2m/s and output 30, another piano can output 10. getting hung up on what the maker chose to set their output values to is not useful. at the end of the day no matter what the midi values are, you have to play with the curve in the vst, some might work better out of the box, but it doesn't mean your casio can detect a lower velocity threshold just because it outputs midi 1-30. it is not more precise.

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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
napilopez, 1-30 midi doesn't mean anything, the velocity those output values correspond to is at the determined minimum detection threshold. 1 piano can detect 0.2m/s and output 30, another piano can output 10. getting hung up on what the maker chose to set their output values to is not useful. at the end of the day no matter what the midi values are, you have to play with the curve in the vst, some might work better out of the box, but it doesn't mean your casio can detect a lower velocity threshold just because it outputs midi 1-30. it is not more precise.

I'm not talking about minimum velocities though, and I'm well aware of what you mean -- I'm saying I believe the Casio has better dynamic range resolution than the mp11se within it's lowest velocities. I have the two pianos here, so direct comparison is easy.

On the subject of minimum velocities, I do think the Casio can detect minimum velocities slightly better as well. This is not my concern though, as acoustic pianos vary in the minimum velocity required to make a sound as well. I just care about how resolving the piano is within the lowest velocities that'll produce a sound.

And again, I don't think it makes that much of a difference in practice because the better mechanics of the mp11se are obviously worth it for the better control. I'm selling the Casio, and ultimately most pieces already feel much easier for me because of the longer pivot on the mp11se. But that particular detail was a detectable difference nonetheless.

It's also why I'm curious about the TP-400W, as I though I might be willing to compromise some of the authenticity to a grand piano for dynamic range resolution (and aftertouch given I want to control non-piano sounds on occasion).

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By the way, I don't mean to sound like I'm hating on the mp11se. I'm really happy with my purchase, and if it's good enough for professionals, it's good enough for me. It's more that I think my PX-560 was better as a midi controller than I have it credit for, and that I'm curious was the TP-400W is like since there's nowhere to test one =]

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Originally Posted by napilopez
I'm not talking about minimum velocities though, and I'm well aware of what you mean -- I'm saying I believe the Casio has better dynamic range resolution than the mp11se within it's lowest velocities. I have the two pianos here, so direct comparison is easy.

well we don't really know without testing it, kawai might have a higher detection range or even a higher scan rate, yet output a smaller range of midi values, but with a more precise correlation. or perhaps their curve is just adapted better to their keybed.

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Originally Posted by KawaFanboi
Originally Posted by napilopez
I'm not talking about minimum velocities though, and I'm well aware of what you mean -- I'm saying I believe the Casio has better dynamic range resolution than the mp11se within it's lowest velocities. I have the two pianos here, so direct comparison is easy.

well we don't really know without testing it, kawai might have a higher detection range or even a higher scan rate, yet output a smaller range of midi values, but with a more precise correlation. or perhaps their curve is just adapted better to their keybed.

Of course, but for a midi controller the output is all that really matters =]

Anyway, back on topic... the GT seems to be in stock at B&H if anyone is looking to make a purchase! It's tempting...

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This is looking very interesting… has anyone been able to compare to the pha50?

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Originally Posted by JacksonTree
This is looking very interesting… has anyone been able to compare to the pha50?

This, and PHA4. smile

I'd also like to know how the bottom feels when playing hard. Overall the PHA50 has a luxurious feel. PHA4 not as well cushioned at bottom, but certainly better than my worn out RD700NX. Def wanna know how TP400 cushioning compares. (I'mma keep an eye out for brick & mortar stock to try myself.)

And +5 on TP400--and PHA50--in pure MIDI controller format.

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Also, it’s not clear what it has in terms of pedals/available stands that I could find

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The Numa X Piano GT comes with a triple pedal unit, the SLP3D. There are no official stands that I'm aware of. It also doesn't have an official music rest, which is rather annoying, but it seems to have a rail to mount one in the future.

Last edited by napilopez; 05/26/22 12:05 PM.
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 208
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Posts: 208
Originally Posted by napilopez
There are no official stands that I'm aware of. It also doesn't have an official music rest
Originally Posted by JacksonTree
Also, it’s not clear what it has in terms of pedals/available stands that I could find

I'm not too sure but I think I've read somewhere that it admits same accessories like in the SL88 series as it's got the same magnetic rail right at the back where you can hook in different rests.

I've found the computer plate and the music stand here:

https://www.thomann.de/es/studiolog...be5CPxS7Ow8_6EnQNTwnOC0RnXBoC4ocQAvD_BwE

https://www.thomann.de/es/studiolog...nSk1v4LeclFqATssDK1BCHccEOhoCoxgQAvD_BwE

Last edited by overthinker; 05/27/22 07:22 AM.

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