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Hello!

I'm a newbie and so glad to have found this forum. Nice to meet you all!

I'm in the process of buying an upright piano (the first with my own money), and I would greatly appreciate some advice.

About me, my piano goals and my environment:

I learned a few years of (classical) piano as a kid, at a children's program of a conservatory. I didn't get very far--maybe early intermediate? I was last working on Mozart KVK545, Bach 2-part inventions. Then, we moved countries and I never had a piano nor took lessons again.

Fast forward twenty-something years, I would love to go back to having a piano and getting a teacher and regular practicing/playing.

I live in an apartment, with thin walls (I can hear conversations and TV sometimes, though not always). According to my co-op occupancy agreement, I can practice instruments maximum 2 hours a day, before 8pm. Of course I'll follow that, but beyond legalities, I want to be considerate and not subject my nice neighbors to loud daily practicing. Also, I'm in my place for the foreseeable future, not looking to move to a house (so would prefer an upright for space reasons).

The candidate pianos:

1. Schimmel C120 (48"), ca. 2004. This is the piano that made me fall in love with it again. It sounds so beautiful, and it's gorgeous that in itself it is inspiring. I think it sounds the closest to the piano in my childhood. It is the most expensive in the list, though ($11K list price. What do you think?), so I would have to be very sure--and my biggest doubt with this one is whether, at 48", it will be too loud. In fact, I'm pretty sure that it would be too loud; I might have to use the practice pedal a lot. But I wonder if even with the pedal it would be too loud. So, I would have to try a lot of "quietening" advice and hope it works? (rug under and behind the piano, using a piano cover, making acoustic panels, etc. If you have any easy fixes, I'm all ears! I cant' afford to soundproof the whole room.). It feels like a risk, and something too good to be true (could I really have this beautiful thing at home?).

2. Boston UP118E (46.5"), ca. 2004, made in Japan. This one surprised me, sounded and felt (touch-wise) quite good, I had no expectations because I didn't know the brand. At half the price of the Schimmel, it is less risky, and the seller is willing to let me try it. My questions have to do with quality: I read that these Boston uprights, pre-2006, had tuning stability issues and in 2006 they ended up redesigning the tuning pins (?). Do folks in this forum know about this piano, and how bad this is/how serious or costly issue this is, etc.?

3. Alternatively, I could get a Kawai K200, new with ATX4, and pay somewhere in the middle between those two options (what would be reasonable? I'm being quoted over $10,000, which I don't think is right and am willing to negotiate more). To be honest, I really wanted to love the Kawai uprights, as I had heard good things and were at my pricepoint, but somehow I'm not fully convinced by the touch--which feels somewhat plastic-y to me (is this people's experience too?). I feel like it's decent, but it doesn't wow me. But having a hybrid piano at that budget range would be a pretty good practical solution, I think, to my noise worries--and, being new, I wouldn't have to worry about its condition. But, not being in love with the instrument, it makes me wonder whether I need to spend that much money on something I don't love/is just practical.

4. A fourth option is getting a digital piano, of course. I do have ambitions to take 3-4 years at least of serious lessons and getting good enough to play Beethoven Sonatas and Schubert impromptus (hah!), so I think I will have to get an acoustic at some point anyway. But I might add a not-too-expensive digital piano (unless I get a hybrid) so that I can play whenever inspiration strikes (!). So, I'll also take recommendations on what is the least I could spend while still getting a very good action.


Apologies for the novel!! Thank you all for reading, and I look forward to your ideas.
Option 1 (maybe try and offer $2k less?), though that's big money for a used upright that's not a current model from their top series. You can check the build date on Schimmel's site, with the serial number, they're not so hard to find (unlike for the Boston).
Option 2, after confirming the age and hire an independent piano technician to tune it and comment on how the tuning pins feel, prior to purchase. Some of those comments were directed at the cheaper 118S, institutional model, which is made in Indonesia, FWIW.

For both of these pianos, double check that the practice pedal works well (is adjusted correctly, and that the felt is thin and flexible enough that it doesn't brush neighboring notes when you play with it down, since you're likely to want to use it). Both pianos will be almost equally loud to a decibel meter. I had no problem with this arrangement, using a 130cm European piano, by knowing when my neighbors were typically home or at work/out.

Since you don't like the feel of Option 3, I'd not go that route.

Adding an inexpensive digital slab would be a decent plan, if you had space to do it.
Hi SchubertRock, and welcome!
Here are my initial thoughts. First, I would actually think more seriously about a good DP as your ‘main’/‘only’ piano at this juncture. Good DPs are certainly not acoustic pianos, but they are much much better than when you were taking lessons as a kid, and they have a lot of advantages for apartment living. I have a very good friend who is a better pianist than I am; he certainly plays things in the category of Beethoven sonatas. He has a condo and plays a DP. It is just the best option for him at this point in time. As has been said in another thread recently, your preference for touch and tone may also evolve in the next few years, as you re-embark on your piano journey.

The silent piano options (like the Kawai k200-atx4) are also good possibilities for the apartment living situation (Yamaha also has a silent system). The problem with these is that I haven’t seen a ton of ads for used pianos with these factory installed systems, so you are probably looking at the new piano market, which does come at a price premium. You didn’t like the one you played, and if I remember correctly, Yamaha is moving to a new silent system, so there may be limited options for silent Yamahas. You will also take a depreciation hit as soon as the piano enters your home.

If you think that a DP is not for you and the silent options aren’t available or not options that you like, just make sure you have a technician look over the used pianos, and as terminaldegree says, make sure the practice pedal is functional.

This doesn’t have to be the last piano you buy! Get something that makes sense for you now. If you want DP recommendations, it would probably be useful to have a budget. There are lots of DPs at different price points, and the budget can really help narrow what you may want to consider.

Food luck!
Digital pianos can work, but they're not ideal. I used to play one when I was much younger, and worked on challenging pieces by Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, etc. You can certainly practice those pieces, but it never feels like a true performance on a digital piano. I think you need a decent upright to feel you're really doing great and difficult pieces justice.

So. Why not consider getting both? Get an inexpensive but still sufficient, digital piano with a hammer weighted action. Spend no more than say, $1K-ish. And also get an acoustic piano (of your choosing). This is the best of both worlds. You can easily alternate the digital when wanting more practice time, and you can easily stow it if needed, when not in use. I'd recommend something very simple like the type that does not come with a built-in stand. Then get one of those foldable scissors stands and a bench. All of that will be pretty inexpensive.

Just an idea. Otherwise I'd say it's hard to fit your needs. Because those neighbors are a concern. And you don't want to always feel bound by their needs. This goes both ways -- in terms of sacrificing your own comfort for theirs by always playing on a digital, or feeling like you're sacrificing their comfort for yours by always playing on an upright. Who knows, maybe it can work, if you have the money and space.
Thanks very much! Both #1 & 2 are definitely 2004s. Appreciate the extra info and advice about both, they are very sound and I'll keep them in mind for this weekend when I'll be seeing the Schimmel, Boston and K200-atx again.
Yeah. I'll be looking at K200-atx again this weekend along with the others, so I'll try it again and make sure I'm sure I don't love it. I had gone to try with Kawai first because I had heard that K200 vs. b2, K200 was a better value and was a bit mellower (which I like), but you never know until you try it. (Yeah. I don't see any in the preowned market locally).

Re: DPs, I guess 1K would be a good budget range to start with, as chromaticrange says below?

Thank you smile
Thank you. Those are exactly my feelings. Maybe it's nostalgia but I remember the a feeling of working on it with your piano (I could only play much simpler pieces, but when you get a singing line just the way you want, or play dramatic pieces that helped express those adolescing feelings, it felt like a partner). While it's also true that live in an apartment now. The last paragraph is very well put. Trying to find the right balance!
Having the digital piano would definitely be nice, so that you can block out the sounds you occasionally hear around you. This is how I was in high school, when I became more passionate about music. I often had to compete with the TV-watching of my family during the evenings, if I wanted to play on the house acoustic (Baldwin) upright. They were generally encouraging and complimentary of my playing, but I did sometimes have to tune out other distractions. I have memories of sitting down to play the piano, and then hearing them turn up the TV. So for me, the digital piano made it easier for me to focus on practicing, in privacy and solitude (they can't hear me, I can't hear them, kind of thing). The time also seems to pass more quickly when no one is paying attention, somehow.
Go with the best accoustic with the most inspiring touch and tone.DP's may be a good alternative but they usually have the most standardized tone for a student.An accoustic will encourage your "piano journey"
Hope you don't mind me adding this option.
I just played a Mason & Hamlin Artist Upright 131U- $13k brand new
Was very impressed with the touch and the tone for an upright.

I purchased a Steinway 1912 Model A - rebuilt and refurbished.
But I go to the Showroom whenever something new comes in - was there today and tried this piano.
Impressed for an Upright.

Just sayin'

brdwyguy
Originally Posted by SchubertRock
Re: DPs, I guess 1K would be a good budget range to start with, as chromaticrange says below?

At around the $1000 price point, I think you could look at the Roland fp30x (which should be a bit less) and the Roland fp 60x (a little more); Kawai es110/es520, or the Yamaha p125 (the p515 seems to be considerably more, but is another possibility). Different folks prefer different ones, but I think these are reasonable options around $1000.

I’m personally a huge fan of acoustic pianos, and I upgraded to one very quickly after buying a Clavinova. I do agree with many of the sentiments here that there is a lot that I experience with an acoustic piano that is missing with a DP. But I’m also someone who lived in an apartment for many years, without any piano at all, because I didn’t feel that an acoustic piano was feasible in that space. My experience playing a few DPs in the early/mid 2000s left me with a pretty negative perception of them, and I didn’t really think it was worth considering them. Fast forward to 2020, when for a few reasons I decided to look at DPs. I was actually quite pleasantly surprised by them. I think they have improved a lot over that time frame. My biggest piano regret was that I did not consider getting a DP for so long, because I think that it would have added something to my life.

Apartments are also different. I would not have felt comfortable owning/playing an acoustic piano in any of the apartments I lived in, but if you feel this is doable in your apartment, then go for it. But if you think there’s the possibility that you will end up spending much, much more time on the digital and the acoustic will only be played on ‘special occasions,’ then I would consider not getting the acoustic and instead investing in a better DP, since that would be where you’re spending most of your time. Getting a nice acoustic and then feeling like you can never play it is not somewhere I’d want to be.
Yeah. It's different for each apartment, and it's hard to know how it will sound in my space until it is actually here, which is the conundrum! Hence I'm looking for sellers who will let me try it, either having a 'rent to buy' arrangement or a good return policy. (The Boston seller will, I think).

For what it's worth, one of the neighbors across from the hall from me has a son who used to practice piano when I first moved in (he has since grown older and given up, I think). I used to hear it very low in the shared hallway, but I never heard it from inside my own apartment. Though of course, I don't know how it was for the folks directly adjacent, or below or above them. One of the neighbors adjacent to them (and farther away from me) is a violin teacher, but it's a mystery to me as I never hear her...I only learned it from seeing her with the case. But on the other hand I hear people walking or singing from upstairs! So, soundproofing seems to be very weird in our building so it makes me want to try it first hand in the actual space (and really super concentrate on isolating the floor).

Since I didn't love the K200+atx4 (which I will try again anyway this weekend), I thought I would try to construct my own acoustic + digital combo.

But IF acoustic doesn't work out at all (and I hope it will), just as a benchmark, what would you say is the most realistic action digital that simulates an acoustic best/the best digital piano for an intermediate/later intermediate classical player (what I'm working towards) if I went to a higher budget for digital?
In case you consider a DP, please try the touch and tone as many ones as possible in sufficient time before making decision. In my experience, my son and me are possibly at lower-intermediate level (we are not at your level yet for sure) but both of us get boring very soon with most of DPs we tried at the showrooms. There is no Novus lines in our country and we feel more comfortable with an Yamaha Avantgrand but it is still missing something. For that reason we ended with an acoustic one and have some acoustic treatment in our room. Wish you have good and interesting piano hunting:).
Sgisela, does have some good points, no one wants to feel too inhibited to play.Some neighbors are more tolerant of others or the strata is very strict and unfriendly,.yet others not.
A friend of mine gets woken at 2am sometime by someone who decides to play his guitar? 😃 He plays softly, but of course everything is too loud at that time in the morning.
You are far more able to make an upright softer if you wish than a grand .I do not know how good the Kawai's practice pedal is.With some upright pianos the practice pedal will soften the notes unequally and even "jam" the action slightly . Other brands have excellent practice pedals.No jamming or unequal notes. The Schimmel may have a practice that is very affective in a good way.The newer ones do.( not telling you to get a new Schimmel) It would make tone more like a "celeste" and you would still be able to play musically, always excellent for drilling sections of pieces you wish to practice.I mention the Schimmel because you sound as though you do like it.Perhaps you can make an offer?
Other ways are wrapping towels or some other material around the posts at the back of the piano.If you do this correctly it is very affective.Also placing an accoutic board at the back of the piano.You would have to experiment.All the sound comes from there.Even covering the back of the piano with a quilt or blanket is very affective.At some point getting a used digital piano on Craigslist as well is usefull with your accoustic.
I feel like…yeah that’s a good point re: the case of having both but feeling like the acoustic is “off-limits” (that would be a waste and not a good feeling). But it just depends on the situation your neighbors. It might be that you can get them to agree to an hour or two a day or something. More might be unreasonable. Usually there’re some conduct rules in the lease if all else fails.

But if they’re very ornery and particular about the time, it’s nice to have a backup option. I briefly considered getting a piano when I was in an apartment, but ended up moving into a house first. My plan was to run it by the neighbors. Usually people are nice about it, and sometimes they even enjoy listening.

With my current habits, I wouldn’t want to impose on relative strangers, because I play sporadically throughout the day, for hours. If you can make friends with them, they’ll make more allowances of course.
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
I feel like…yeah that’s a good point re: the case of having both but feeling like the acoustic is “off-limits” (that would be a waste and not a good feeling). But it just depends on the situation your neighbors. It might be that you can get them to agree to an hour or two a day or something. More might be unreasonable. Usually there’re some conduct rules in the lease if all else fails.

But if they’re very ornery and particular about the time, it’s nice to have a backup option. I briefly considered getting a piano when I was in an apartment, but ended up moving into a house first. My plan was to run it by the neighbors. Usually people are nice about it, and sometimes they even enjoy listening.

With my current habits, I wouldn’t want to impose on relative strangers, because I play sporadically throughout the day, for hours. If you can make friends with them, they’ll make more allowances of course.
I very much disagree,.it depends on the oneself and your approach to your nieghbours.Always wanting an accoustic yet denying yourself because of anxiety is not good.Personally I would just get the accoustic, invite your nearest neighbors over for a cup of tea ( away from the piano), Ask them thier opinion about practicing at certain times etc.Tell them how you are going to play softly, ask them thier opinion of just covering the soundboard with a quilt.(so that sometimes you can easily play without the practice pedal) or other methods of softening the piano.

From then on its just experiencing and if there is nastiness, resort to asking that person what is the best time to practice.Most of all stay positive about your music....
...if we have never lived, what's the point? From what you say having an accoustic piano sounds quite feasible.
Originally Posted by tre corda
Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
I feel like…yeah that’s a good point re: the case of having both but feeling like the acoustic is “off-limits” (that would be a waste and not a good feeling). But it just depends on the situation your neighbors. It might be that you can get them to agree to an hour or two a day or something. More might be unreasonable. Usually there’re some conduct .
I very much disagree,.it depends on the oneself and your approach to your nieghbours.Always wanting an accoustic yet denying yourself because of anxiety is not good.Personally I would just get the accoustic, invite your nearest neighbors over for a cup of tea ( away from the piano), Ask them thier opinion about practicing at certain times etc.Tell them how you are going to play softly, ask them thier opinion of just covering the soundboard with a quilt.(so that sometimes you can easily play without the practice pedal) or other methods of softening the piano.

From then on its just experiencing and if there is nastiness, resort to asking that person what is the best time to practice.Most of all stay positive about your music....
...if we have never lived, what's the point? From what you say having an accoustic piano sounds quite feasible.

While an acoustic is much better than any digital, it is no good if you can't play it because of constraints.

Neighbours move and the new ones might not be as forgiving as the ones who left

Maybe look for a good digital, not the same but at least you can play whenever you want.
Originally Posted by tre corda
.I do not know how good the Kawai's practice pedal is.With some upright pianos the practice pedal will soften the notes unequally and even "jam" the action slightly.
My K300 volume is remain 40-50% with practice pedal while the sound is a little bit distorted but the notes are still equally.
Oh my. I seem to have caused a controversy. It is definitely a balancing act ("my right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins" comes to mind), and this is my plan.

1. My co-op's written rules (occupancy agreement) say no practising instruments or voice for more than 2 hours a day, or after 8pm. I intend to strictly follow these rules (and actually do a better than them, because I think the rule is very lenient--2 hours a day at audible volume can be very stressful).

2. But, people have had instruments in my co-op, and I have not heard them to the point of being a problem, nor have I observed conflict among neighbors around this issue.

3. So that leads me to think that I can at least experiment. My plan currently is rug pad + 2 inch thick rug, (and the room is almost completely covered in rugs otherwise, as another building rule is 80%+ rug coverage) + I'm looking into caster cups, plus, I'll use the towel method behind the soundboard as well as an extra area rug tucked between the soundboard & the wall + a full-length quilted piano cover around it (so 3 layers on soundboard). And, for daily practice, I would still always use the practice pedal (I hope it is still musical, as @tre corda says! I look forward to trying it out on the Schimmel, Boston and still also the Kawai K200 this weekend). I'll play without the practice pedal when a piece is finished, for a short time at lunch time on days I work remotely and most folks are away at work.

3. I'm mystified as to how sound travels in my building, though. So, I'll be sure to check in with my neighbors to make sure it doesn't bother them and that they know they can call me if it does.

4. If I detect any objection though, I will end the trial and return the acoustic piano (I'm hoping to work out an agreement that allows a trial period, as I mentioned).

5. At that point, I figure I can decide whether I want a digital as a supplement for odd hours (if keeping the acoustic) or an only instrument (if not keeping the acoustic).

Is this unrealistic/unreasonable? (please feel free to let me know! It could be my wishful thinking).
But maybe I have it backwards, and I should start with a mid-range digital as an only instrument at first, then add the acoustic. I just didn't want to invest a lot of money on the digital and save it for the acoustic (which is where my heart is, as you can probably tell), but it could make practical sense to get a mid-range instrument (would you say 2-3K could get me a decent one?) for primary use now and secondary later.
Schubert
Sounds like a great plan! Best wishes that it works out do that you can keep the acoustic,
Thanks, @dogperson! And by the way, what a great byline. I do feel like a Work in Progress, and that sentiment is just so healing. smile
Thanks! I'll keep my eyes peeled in case I come across one.
Originally Posted by VinV
Originally Posted by tre corda
.I do not know how good the Kawai's practice pedal is.With some upright pianos the practice pedal will soften the notes unequally and even "jam" the action slightly.
My K300 volume is remain 40-50% with practice pedal while the sound is a little bit distorted but the notes are still equally.

Thank you, that's good to know!
Originally Posted by SchubertRock
Thanks, @dogperson! And by the way, what a great byline. I do feel like a Work in Progress, and that sentiment is just so healing. smile


Thanks! I am truly a WIP— snd reminding myself that is ok really helps quell my impatient soul 😸
Tre corda does not say all practice pedals are musical.There are "better ones" and there are awfull ones.Not the same as practicing without using it.It is just another compromise which is what you will have if you get an accoustic.Perhaps z digital .......😉 ? Best wishes!
I’d recommend an acoustic (with practice pedal) if you had to pick just one…but an additional digital would be a useful and decent consideration, for not too much more money. Whatever you decide to do will be a good choice! Best of luck to you. smile
Maybe you can buy an acoustic upright that you like and search for a technician who can add a silent system to your piano.
If you can hear conversations and tv, there is a strong probability that your neighbours will hear the piano. Personally it would bother me. I think for a beginner, in the first 2 years, the tone of the piano is not a major criteria. Just being able to play properly a piece, at tempo, with the correct notes and articulation is already a challenge. Any average piano, acoustic or a good digital will work. But i would think a silent system would be mandatory.
I wished I had chosen a 130cm tall one above the 121cm one. my YUS1 is an amazing instrument... but the YUS5 would just be the better one.

and always take an acoustic one. its much better, and also the feeling is better. silent system is amazing.
I think...insofar as it is truly a "digital piano", and seeking to emulate an acoustic piano, especially for the sake of playing Classical repertoire, it will likely always be inferior to the real thing. Often it will have MIDI outputs etc. that allow it other handy abilities (e.g. for recording or composing), but for the simple purpose of practicing and reciting music, a digital piano will never compete well with an acoustic one, assuming their relative quality is about equal. And this is reflected in the price as well. You get what you pay for, overall (but in varying proportions).

If you're calling it a "keyboard", you're then getting over into "synthesizer" territory, which is better for other genres of music. And that's very relevant to consider for a given musician as a whole. Many artists and composers nowadays are very into synths and they can do amazing things on them that a piano could never do and vice versa (naturally).

All that being said, I see a decent-quality digital piano as being suitable for practicing most finger-work, but much less sufficient for working on tone (regarding for instance, canonical piano repertoire). That goes for beginners and intermediate as well as advanced. It's important to develop good musical habits early on, and bad ones are more likely to happen on an instrument that is essentially a simplification of the real thing.

But I could see it being a good backup for certain types of practice, if you're living in a place that isn't total, sound-insulated isolation (and not many have that). Furthermore, with the option of headphones (especially the noise-canceling variety), you can also block out external sounds more easily with a digital. This allows you some precious focus during those times you might feel inspired to practice, but which are entirely out of any synchronized convenience with the schedules of those around you.

For what it's worth, I think the practice pedal is a pretty amazing thing that can offer the best of both worlds, for situations like this one. I like the idea of any musician, regardless of ability, who is serious about playing, to find a middle ground that allows them regular, comfortable access, to the best instrument available, to nourish and develop their musical desires.

I figure the Schimmel or Boston (or some other piano you find you really like) would be a great thing for you. I believe these both have nice "celeste" style practice pedals that will turn you into a dream neighbor during quieter hours. General transparency about your musical intentions, and being on good terms with the neighbors, will make you feel more comfortable about practicing, and will make them happy as well.

However, I think the practice pedal doesn't do enough to really quiet the bass. At least on my upright piano at home, which is a U1, the practice pedal works wonderfully for the upper register, and then all of the sudden it becomes very loud as you get into the bass range. Is this how most are? I don't have much experience with other pianos.

So without a silent system on an acoustic, I think a digital piano is really a nice thing during those late hours or whatever. It would only be an added benefit during times when the acoustic piano just wasn't feasible.
Originally Posted by tre corda
Sgisela, does have some good points, no one wants to feel too inhibited to play.Some neighbors are more tolerant of others or the strata is very strict and unfriendly,.yet others not.
A friend of mine gets woken at 2am sometime by someone who decides to play his guitar? 😃 He plays softly, but of course everything is too loud at that time in the morning.
You are far more able to make an upright softer if you wish than a grand .I do not know how good the Kawai's practice pedal is.With some upright pianos the practice pedal will soften the notes unequally and even "jam" the action slightly . Other brands have excellent practice pedals.No jamming or unequal notes. The Schimmel may have a practice that is very affective in a good way.The newer ones do.( not telling you to get a new Schimmel) It would make tone more like a "celeste"
I have noticed that some newer pianos tend to have much better practice pedals where the all the notes and action sound even.The touch is likewise very good.Terminaldegree mentions his success in practicing with a practice pedal.My older U1 had an awfull practice pedal.( from the 80's) The OP is the only one who can judge whether a Digital would be best for his situation.
Hi all! Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies. I can tell the sincere concern and support in them, and it's awesome to find such a community.

I've done one day of shopping, and here's my progress update.

Last night, I measured the level at which I normally play my current keyboard. It was in the low 40 dbs, or about the level of a normal indoor conversation. My goal is to stick to this level maximum.


I tried the Schimmel. First, I was surprised because the tone was different than I remembered it; I did not hear the bell-like resonant quality that had attracted me so much to it at first. Second, I measured the volume (a tricky thing to do, as it depends how far and where you are in relation to the source of sound, so I tried to be as consistent as possible by measuring it right at the top of the soundboard as I measured it similarly to the speakers of my keyboard) with the practice pedal. It was no good-not much different than without the practice pedal: in the 60-70 db range in normal mp-mf. The felt on the celeste rail can be changed to thicker, but I'm not hopeful that will cause such as drastic reduction while still remaining musical.

So, that option is out--I couldn't use it for daily practice. I'm going to have to look for a piano to play mostly digitally, while having as acoustic a touch as possible.

So, I tried the acoustic hybrid, Kawai K200 with atx4 again, and I was surprised by how my impressions changed! I liked it quite a lot this time. Its tone seemed good, but I was most surprised that the touch seemed fine this time--not plastic-y as I had thought last time. Very interesting. Obviously, it is a good solution, and I received a quote which I think is within a reasonable range. What is equally important, is that I did get genuinely excited about this piano. Which is important to me--I want to get something I can love and that inspires me to play.

I also tried digital pianos while I was at the Kawai dealer. Neither I nor my pianist friend who came along thought they offered a comparable experience to the K200-atx4, with the exception of the NV5s. But at that price point (not too different from the hybrid K200), for me, I prefer the hybrid with at least the acoustic possibility.

Tomorrow, I see the Boston (on which the dealer offered to install a silent system), and will try the K200 again.
Good luck to your journey and I wish you can find right one. About the change in touch and tone of a particular piano in different timings, I also experienced the same with my own piano from time to time. I guess that there are many factors can impact an acoustic piano: humidity, tune … About post manufacturer installation of silent system, my technician seems advise against it, he prefer the one is installed originally inside the factory. However I am not sure he has variety of knowledge on the issue. Hope that the other forum members can share their experiences and knowledge.
Try a Kawai NV5s.
Mine has changed my mind about what I need.
Now I want a real piano because I think that is what I "need", but keep asking myself, "What for?".
Originally Posted by VinV
Good luck to your journey and I wish you can find right one. About the change in touch and tone of a particular piano in different timings, I also experienced the same with my own piano from time to time. I guess that there are many factors can impact an acoustic piano: humidity, tune … About post manufacturer installation of silent system, my technician seems advise against it, he prefer the one is installed originally inside the factory. However I am not sure he has variety of knowledge on the issue. Hope that the other forum members can share their experiences and knowledge.

Thank you, Vin! You're right about the changing tones. It was a particularly humid day on Saturday, but then again, it was a good test. Also, in the end, I decided not to go with the silent system install, as the Boston acoustic was not prepared properly (the celeste rail not intervening low enough), the pedal slipping...and that did not inspire my confidence for such a major surgery.
Originally Posted by CHAS
Try a Kawai NV5s.
Mine has changed my mind about what I need.
Now I want a real piano because I think that is what I "need", but keep asking myself, "What for?".

The NV5s was very tempting indeed! In fact it was the other candidate in my final 2. I think it really has a touch that is indistinguishable from an acoustic and has many benefits, of course.

For me, I decided for the K200-atx4 in the end. But I would have been very happy with the NV5s, there were no bad choices between those two. Enjoy your instrument! (You and me both).
Congrats on the new K200 ATX 😊. Pics please when it is delivered!
So, to provide a final update, I decided for, and am currently arranging delivery, of a Kawai K200-atx4.

I plan to use it silently (=headphones) for daily practice, & with my own bluetooth speakers at a low level (~low 40dbs, about the level of a normal indoor conversation) when I want to do a short runthrough (before 8pm, of course).

I also recruited some friends to do placement & volume tests over the weekend, and we were very pleasantly surprised regarding the shared hallway and outside of the window (which I had been most concerned about, sound traveling from my window to other folks' windows). The external walls were very good, which I knew about, but I was shocked that windows would be completely OK (we had to call my friend to make sure he had played, because we didn't hear at all!). He was playing my current keyboard at an acoustic piano's volume, 70-80db for mp-mf.

Of course, floors, ceilings, and adjacent walls, I don't know about yet and they are likely a completely different story. Yesterday being a nice Sunday, the neighbors I know best were out of the house and I could not get their feedback. But we're confident we found a good placement for it by an internal wall, and we ended up finding material in my closets with which to build a little platform for it: leftover vinyl flooring with foam backing + a large rubber mat + a thick rug pad with rubber backing. On top of that, we'll put a 2" rug that I ordered. And, I also have another 1" area rug, perfectly sized, that will go behind the soundboard. I also am doing research about Acoustimac panels and soundproofing curtains.

Anyway, the plan now is to, with patience and thorough research, work on sound absorption in the room over time so that I can try my piano acoustically in the long term. I am very hopeful now that it will work out, at least with the celeste pedal, and working together with neighbors. I already feel relieved that the co-op management had no problems with it, and are being helpful about the delivery.

But, in any case, I'm happy to have gotten an instrument with an acoustic action that I can use digitally. Either way, it should meet my needs and wants, and it is a lot of fun to play it. smile

I'm kind of proud...it is the biggest gift I've given myself in my adult life so far.

Many thanks to those who contributed thoughts & advice...and now, to find a teacher!
Originally Posted by dogperson
Congrats on the new K200 ATX 😊. Pics please when it is delivered!

Thank you! I'm super thrilled smile
It arrived! Just posted pictures, etc.'

Thank you, everyone, who gave input.
Originally Posted by SchubertRock
It arrived! Just posted pictures, etc.'

Thank you, everyone, who gave input.

Somehow missed this thread, but congrats on your K200 ATX4! I was in a similar situation as you, and bought a a K300 ATX3, which I have been playing for two years now. It is very similar to the K200 but a little larger. That was the best decision ever, haven't regretted it a single day.
Originally Posted by pianogabe
Originally Posted by SchubertRock
It arrived! Just posted pictures, etc.'

Thank you, everyone, who gave input.

Somehow missed this thread, but congrats on your K200 ATX4! I was in a similar situation as you, and bought a a K300 ATX3, which I have been playing for two years now. It is very similar to the K200 but a little larger. That was the best decision ever, haven't regretted it a single day.

Thank you, and it makes me happy to hear of such a good outcome. So glad you are enjoying it! I am just dipping my toes into it now and have stacks of manuals to read, but I might have a question or two as I explore.
Congrats, that is a beautiful piano!

Regarding the Bose speakers, I don't recall the Kawai systems being able to output to Bluetooth audio? You probably don't want that for real-time playing anyways, as the latency inherent in digital wireless is far too great. Many of us even find BLE Bluetooth MIDI too laggy for play.

I *think* BT audio support is limited to audio-in, so you can use the headphones attached to your piano to playback from a separate wireless audio source?
Lovely piano, congratulations!
Originally Posted by SchubertRock
Originally Posted by pianogabe
Originally Posted by SchubertRock
It arrived! Just posted pictures, etc.'

Thank you, everyone, who gave input.

Somehow missed this thread, but congrats on your K200 ATX4! I was in a similar situation as you, and bought a a K300 ATX3, which I have been playing for two years now. It is very similar to the K200 but a little larger. That was the best decision ever, haven't regretted it a single day.

Thank you, and it makes me happy to hear of such a good outcome. So glad you are enjoying it! I am just dipping my toes into it now and have stacks of manuals to read, but I might have a question or two as I explore.


Beautiful piano — and a great inspection crew😸😸. I think either Pisnogabe or LarryK might be able to answer your recording questions

I’ll offer a suggestion re the cat crew: don’t let them see how the hammers hit the strings or they will constantly pressure you to see it again and again 🤣.
Thank you all, for the lovely thoughts.

Gombessa--And I just realized that was a thing, n00b that I am. I have a lot of learning to do. I'm gonna get myself a stereo cable as another user suggested, and try that way.

tre corda--Thank you! Appreciate it.

dogperson--Hahaha omg. I can totally see that, and you sure know cats well (as well as dogs!).
Hey cool piano!

I have cats as well, I can show you if you would like.

I was playing one time and... BOOM! My cat jumped on the keys! Startled me!
Originally Posted by probably blue
Hey cool piano!

I have cats as well, I can show you if you would like.

I was playing one time and... BOOM! My cat jumped on the keys! Startled me!

That happened to me yesterday! My cat Charlie (the black one) did that, on the deepest bass keys, too. Poor timing, though, I gotta teach him when to come in, lol.

Sure I would. Show!
Originally Posted by SchubertRock
Originally Posted by probably blue
Hey cool piano!

I have cats as well, I can show you if you would like.

I was playing one time and... BOOM! My cat jumped on the keys! Startled me!

That happened to me yesterday! My cat Charlie (the black one) did that, on the deepest bass keys, too. Poor timing, though, I gotta teach him when to come in, lol.

Sure I would. Show!


Don’t worry— Charlie will start practicing his piano cues at midnight so he’ll become a better duet partner 😜
Haha he did it again today! Also, they both love the bench. I might have to get another one just so there is enough for everybody.

I'm still wrangling cables, etc. to try the digital recording.

In the meantime, here's a little video of what I tried today--though apologies, I don't have a microphone yet--. Real keys are heavy! (Compared to the little unweighted keyboard I was playing before, that is.) I feel like I'm running with sandbags attached, haha. Little by little, I'll work on my finger fitness and get them more even. (Is the hope.)

Hi Schubert
Thanks for posting your video—- sounds good even without the mic. It really will get easier once you are accustomed to the differed in key weight.

Perhaps thee we cat kids would appreciated a padded keyboard bench.
Thanks, dogperson. Very kind. I'm working on getting a teacher, hopefully they'll help me get back to better form.

I think they would!
Originally Posted by SchubertRock
Thanks, dogperson. Very kind. I'm working on getting a teacher, hopefully they'll help me get back to better form.

I think they would!

I have a vintage piano, so I bought my bossy cat a vintage piano stool so we don’t need to fight or call ‘dibs’ over the bench. 😸
Great job!

My cat always lays on the bench too, I want to play but he is there...

Sometimes he jumps up on the bench and starts licking my arm!

Lays under the piano while I’m playing... sleeps.

He is the perfect pianist cat 🐱

I will send a PM
Dogperson--your cat is very lucky!

Blue--just saw this. Got your PM & replied smile
12 day update:

Incredibly, it has been 12 days since I got it. I thought some of you might like to hear what I think I learned about the acoustic and digital parts of it.

Thank you all to those of you who had sage advice; I'll implement them, I just have been, honestly, spending all my piano time focused on getting used to the touch again and experimenting with the piano's sounds.


I've been practicing mostly in the silent/digital mode, and when I feel more ready, I do a full run in the acoustic with the practice lever on (I love that it has it, it's so quiet too). And, I've recorded a couple of pieces in the normal acoustic (no practice lever) with my phone--no separate microphones.

I noticed two things:

1. My dynamics show up a lot more on the digital side than on the acoustic. I noticed this by recording the same piece, played first in the silent/digital mode, and then in the acoustic.

2. My pedaling also sounds significantly different in the digital mode than on the acoustic. In Kabalevsky's Little Song, I used a little pedal. It sounds fine in the digital, but in the acoustic I didn't upload the recording because it sounds unacceptably excessively pedaled to me. Also, I get a range of dynamics in this digital recording that I don't think I'm capable of showing in the acoustic right now.

It could be the limitations of my phone recording. Also, I did tuck in towels on the soundboard which helped reduce the volume a lot, but it also affected the quality of the sound a bit in the acoustic.

So maybe that affects the dynamics, but the pedaling issue, I'm convinced has to do with the natural resonance of the acoustic instrument. Even though the K200 is a relatively small instrument at 45", it still has quite a lot of resonance that the digital lacks, and it seems to make a lot of difference for pedaling. The acoustic needs a lighter touch.

In other words, for me, the digital side can't totally substitute the acoustic side for practicing. It gives me the touch, but not equivalent dynamics or pedaling response.

And, to be clear, I'm super ecstatic with it and very happy with my choice, which allows me to practice with the touch I want in silence, and gives me all these possibilities to explore. I feel very spoiled by the choices. I'm just observing in case it's useful for anyone considering a similar instrument.
Great job! Sorry for not replying to the message, I will try tomorrow 😊
Originally Posted by SchubertRock
1. My dynamics show up a lot more on the digital side than on the acoustic. I noticed this by recording the same piece, played first in the silent/digital mode, and then in the acoustic.

Nice playing SchubertRock! On the dynamics: in digital/silent mode, the dynamic range is entirely artificial and can be changed. Not sure if you use the ATX4 sound generator or external virtual piano software, but almost always the dynamic range can be changed to be small, large and in between. A lot of software virtual pianos even give you even more control, in which case you can fine tune the complete response curve.

So if you want acoustic and silent modes to match in this regard. Just compare the sound level between the modes by ear and find the correct combination of volume and response setting. The latter is called 'Touch Curve' under 'Settings' on my ATX3 system.

However, by adding sound absorbing material you may have made the dynamic range in acoustic mode perceptually smaller than it normally would be. So perhaps it would be better to keep the range of the silent system similar to that of a 'standard' piano.
blue, no worries at all!

pianogabe, that's an interesting point about the towels. I think I should try with them off, to try to diagnose. Thanks!
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