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#1295859 - 10/29/09 07:00 AM Digital piano - intermediate/advanced
RalleStar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/06
Posts: 31
Hello everyone,

I've recently started looking through the jungle that is digital pianos, and quickly realized that I won't find my way through it alone!

I've played piano for quite a few years, and am playing pieces such as the "easier" of the Chopin etudes, Beethoves sonatas, Rachmaninoff preludes, some Ravel pieces, etc.

Now, I currently own a Roland F-100, and I don't feel like the instrument is capable of varying tone, sound and color to the effect that I would like it - so I'm looking for a new digital.

As far as the price is concerned, not too much above 3000$. The absolutely most important features are quality of touch, quality of sound, and pedal qualities also. Other features, such as midi, lots of songs in the keyboard, instrument sounds etc, are unimportant. In short, the intrument that is simply closest to the feel of a real piano. Thanks for your time and help!

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#1295899 - 10/29/09 08:53 AM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: RalleStar]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
If I were in your position I would postpone the purchase decision as long as possible.
It might be a better time to buy an acoustic right now than a digital.
My feeling is that we are at another point of discontinuity in the underlying technology and consumer value proposition for digital pianos and that unless you must buy now or do not mind your investment becoming very quickly obsolete, that it makes more sense just to keep your wallet closed.

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#1296003 - 10/29/09 11:48 AM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: theJourney]
UpNorth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 68
Originally Posted By: theJourney
If I were in your position I would postpone the purchase decision as long as possible.
It might be a better time to buy an acoustic right now than a digital.
My feeling is that we are at another point of discontinuity in the underlying technology and consumer value proposition for digital pianos and that unless you must buy now or do not mind your investment becoming very quickly obsolete, that it makes more sense just to keep your wallet closed.


Honestly - I'd like to hear your specific rationale behind your assessment about this "point of discontinuity", and how you see this changing/evolving. Thanks!

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#1296018 - 10/29/09 12:16 PM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: theJourney]
munkeegutz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/08
Posts: 63
Loc: Orlando, FL
Originally Posted By: theJourney
If I were in your position I would postpone the purchase decision as long as possible.
It might be a better time to buy an acoustic right now than a digital.
My feeling is that we are at another point of discontinuity in the underlying technology and consumer value proposition for digital pianos and that unless you must buy now or do not mind your investment becoming very quickly obsolete, that it makes more sense just to keep your wallet closed.


theJourney, could you please elaborate on this statement? I'm still looking at buying a digital piano in the next few months, but if theres an excellent reason to hold off for spring or so, then I might do it. When can we expect the newer technology (I'm assuming your speaking of modeling pianos) to emerge, and will it effect the $1000ish price range (which is what im looking at)

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#1296024 - 10/29/09 12:27 PM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: munkeegutz]
ebo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 3
RalleStar,

I'd encourage you to look at the thread on "Yamaha CLP 340 or Kawai CN42 or CA51". There is good discussion there of all the DPs in the price range you are looking (including also the Roland HP207).

the Journey,

Technology is always improving (TV's, computers, etc.). Are DPs any different? There are several DPs on the market now that I would say sound and feel wonderful. If RalleStar or someone else is looking for the perfect acoustic feel and sound, then buy an acoustic piano. I don't think I'd recommend waiting a year or more for a marginal increase in the authenticity of the acoustic sound and feel of a DP.

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#1296029 - 10/29/09 12:33 PM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: ebo]
PreparedPipa Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/09
Posts: 127
Loc: MA, USA
rallestar - just curious: why not an acoustic?

i own a roland MP-70 (it has been discontinued) and it's not bad at varying touch/tones and its sound samples are from a steinway grand. but touch is a funny thing. i can always feel plastic from wood.

looking at the list of pieces you are playing, i really think you would benefit from an acoustic - even for a cheaper or used one.

i do understand why sometimes acoustic isn't an option though. i got the roland DP because i was living in an apartment.
_________________________
Lily L. - Certified Music Teacher, CT....
Sauter Master Class 130
Roland MP-70

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#1296030 - 10/29/09 12:35 PM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: RalleStar]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: RalleStar
...
Now, I currently own a Roland F-100, and I don't feel like the instrument is capable of varying tone, sound and color to the effect that I would like it - so I'm looking for a new digital...


If one of your criteria is "quality of sound" then maybe you need MIDI. Currently and I think in the future the very best piano sounds are in computer software. Also the software gets updated and will improve over time where the sound in the DP will never get any better then the day you bought it.

The computer does add complexity and cables to the setup but it allows you to buy a keyboard with only a good keybed, not one that does everything well. If you like the keys on the Roland but just want better sound then all you need is the computer and software.



Edited by ChrisA (10/29/09 12:36 PM)

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#1296211 - 10/29/09 05:55 PM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: ChrisA]
Milk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/09
Posts: 39
ChrisA I'm wondering what you mean with that statement.

Can you play the piano and the sound gets "mixed" in the computer and then send to your speakers making it seem the sound comes from the digital piano?

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#1296255 - 10/29/09 07:14 PM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: Milk]
MarkL Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 728
Loc: Chicago Suburban
Originally Posted By: Milk

Can you play the piano and the sound gets "mixed" in the computer and then send to your speakers making it seem the sound comes from the digital piano?


He means that the DP can send commands to your computer and software on the computer can turn those commands into piano sounds, which then get sent to some kind of speaker system, which might be your home stereo. It all happens in near real time, so it sounds just like the piano is actually making the sounds. If you search for "software piano" you'll find a lot of discussion threads. Google these names to look at piano software: pianoteq, truepianos, synthogy ivory, and garritan.
_________________________
Yamaha P90

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#1296284 - 10/29/09 07:52 PM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: MarkL]
Milk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/09
Posts: 39
Thats sweet! Gonna look into it.

edit: Found some info, but not entirely sure what things change.

Do 128/64 polyphones and graded hammer effects etc still matter if I use this plugin and connect the piano to the pc + install the software etc?



Edited by Milk (10/29/09 08:08 PM)

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#1296321 - 10/29/09 09:05 PM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: Milk]
MarkL Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 728
Loc: Chicago Suburban
Originally Posted By: Milk

Do 128/64 polyphones and graded hammer effects etc still matter if I use this plugin and connect the piano to the pc + install the software etc?


As humbling as it is, everything you do as a piano player can be reduced to when you strike which keys, how hard you strike them, and when you release them (ignoring the effects of pedals). So those are the only things sent to the software. The accuracy of characterizing the key strike is determined by how many sensors there are for each key. Average DPs just have 2, better ones have 3, I think some have 4.

The touch of the piano (graded hammer effect) has no direct effect on the sound. The fact that it facilitates your playing better will likely cause the sound to improve.
_________________________
Yamaha P90

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#1296420 - 10/30/09 01:59 AM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: Milk]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Milk
ChrisA I'm wondering what you mean with that statement.

Can you play the piano and the sound gets "mixed" in the computer and then send to your speakers making it seem the sound comes from the digital piano?


Basically, Yes.

There is a MIDI OUT jack on almost all keyboards. What goes out that jack is not sound but data describing each key press and how much force was used and the pedal position and so forth. This data is sent to your computer. The computer has a sample library and applies your performance data to the library and converts this to sound in digital form. The sound data is send to a USB audio interface and then to monitor speakers.

But this is also EXACTLY what happens inside a digital piano. There is a computer and a sample library inside every DP. But an external notebook computer can be much more powerful, have a larger sample library and do a better job and it is easier to update the software.


Quote:
Do 128/64 polyphones and graded hammer effects etc still matter if I use this plugin and connect the piano to the pc + install the software etc?


128/64 polyphones - that is a function of the sound generator not the physical keyboard. If the sound is generated in computer software then the sound generation on the keyboard is disabled and the polyphony does not matter.

Hammer effect is a characteristic of the physical design of the keys it is the "feel"

+++++++

Here is the way to think of it: A digital piano like the Yamaha P155 has three parts all built into one box (1) a keybed made of keys and switches and (2) a tone generator that turns contact closures on the switches into sound and (3) and amplifier and speaker system.

When you use a computer you are replacing items (2) and (3)

The make a kind of keybaord called a midi controller that has only (1) and lacks any abilty to make noise on it's own. It is just a slab with 88 keys and a MIDI OUT jack. Prices are just under $400


Edited by ChrisA (10/30/09 02:14 AM)

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#1296460 - 10/30/09 05:56 AM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: RalleStar]
kalai1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 39
Loc: Big Island of Hawaii
Hi Rallestar, I only have experience with 2 DP's, Yamaha P-80 and P-90, I like the P-80 much better than the 90, the sound is great, the weighted keys are great and for a used DP it is about $500 -$800 and is a great piano for the price, aloha.

Chris

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#1296470 - 10/30/09 06:40 AM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: ChrisA]
Milk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/09
Posts: 39
Thanks for explaining!

I have 1 question though...why would anyone buy a 3000 euro DP when he can buy a 1000 euro dp + 400 euro of software and achieve the same/better effect?
Same with keyboard, if the computer can do all those effects, why bother paying alot of money for a keyboard which main "strength" is its effects/voices?

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#1297421 - 10/31/09 08:17 PM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: Milk]
MarkL Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 728
Loc: Chicago Suburban
Originally Posted By: Milk
Thanks for explaining!

I have 1 question though...why would anyone buy a 3000 euro DP when he can buy a 1000 euro dp + 400 euro of software and achieve the same/better effect?
Same with keyboard, if the computer can do all those effects, why bother paying alot of money for a keyboard which main "strength" is its effects/voices?


Some people don't like to fiddle with computers, some people don't want cables running all over the floor, some people don't have a speaker/stereo system to run the sound through, some people didn't really research it when they bought the 3000 euro DP, some people wanted a fancy piece of furniture..... who knows.

Once you try a few software pianos through a decent set of speakers, you won't look back.
_________________________
Yamaha P90

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#1297438 - 10/31/09 08:52 PM Re: Digital piano - intermediate/advanced [Re: MarkL]
KeVan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 60
^
So wouldn't that basically make a model like YPG635, "useless"? Since their only pros are the large amount of voices.

Also, what about something like the P140 vs P155, the extra polyphony upgrade would be pretty useless then.

And I guess the worse part about all of this is that piano software can be "found" on the internet free of charge. Oh, the cruelty.


Edited by KeVan (10/31/09 08:53 PM)

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