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#1326836 - 12/16/09 05:01 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: snazzyplayer]
WannaB Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/27/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Hungary
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
I don't think James comes here to promote his product

I think he does. Check his name.

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Kawai Superb Stage Piano and Controller

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#1326840 - 12/16/09 05:05 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: WannaB]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: WannaB
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
I don't think James comes here to promote his product

I think he does. Check his name.


That's true, WannaB.

Well, perhaps James can explain why he is here, and why his user name is such.

I can imagine if you're working for a company, it's hard to be unbiased.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1326843 - 12/16/09 05:10 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: turandot]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: turandot
To say that what's available is "so far from state-of-the-art that it's criminal" means that someone is hiding something somewhere that could earn him money, fame, or both.

The technical hurdles involved in making a real sounding, recording quality DP are not that great, and the final cost could easily be around that of a mid-level DP. Why KAWAI doesn't offer this product right now is what I would like KAWAI James to comment on - I seriously don't understand the conspicuous absence of this entire product category.

turandot, I'll save you the trouble of replying - [insert text saying if I'm so smart why don't I just build it myself].
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THE RD-700NX Thread!
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#1326899 - 12/16/09 06:13 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: dewster]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7174
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: dewster


turandot, I'll save you the trouble of replying - [insert text saying if I'm so smart why don't I just build it myself].


Nah, that's not important. You're too busy here. You can get to that later. grin

I think compression of the sound is a huge issue affecting the dynamic and the tonal range. It's just that your way of bringing attention to it is a little extreme. When someone starts writing about dancing on other people's graves, he often winds up dancing on his own dungheap while adding to it at the same time.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
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#1326952 - 12/16/09 07:17 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: Vincent L.]
Glenn NK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 457
Loc: Victoria BC
Originally Posted By: Vincent L.
If I may - I would like to get back to the original question "Anyone else try to settle down with a DP and not been able to make it work?"

I have tried but failed.


I settled down with a DP, but I realized that to make it work, I would have to give up on anything that used samples. DPs are romplers (samples burned to rom). Connecting discrete samples recorded with limited velocity layers to achieve a smooth interactive sound is essentially impossible (but they keep trying).

To quote a user from another forum, "The problem with samples is that's all you've got - a snapshot of a particular element at one point in time. There's no interaction between any two disparate elements."

Physmod produces an extremely playable sound and although the sound is not quite up to a nine foot grand, it's quite passable, it's better than any DP I've ever tried. With physmod, I strongly suspect that within a year or so, we'll have a very convincing sound.

A quick search of my posts will reveal what I use (if anyone is interested).

Glenn

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#1327056 - 12/16/09 09:59 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: Glenn NK]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9070
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
LS35A, please allow me to apologise in advance for the off-topic nature of the post that I am about to write. However, there are a number of points that I would like to address.

Originally Posted By: dewster
KAWAI James, you are johnny-on-the-spot when someone has a minor issue with a KAWAI foot pedal or whatever, offering to help them with quality issues or feedback to the factory and such.


Thank you. This is perhaps the main reason for my participating in this forum - to answer questions about KAWAI digital piano instrument, and to assist KAWAI customers with any issues that they may be experiencing.

Originally Posted By: dewster
But what about critical sound quality issues with KAWAI DPs? Sample looping and stretching are not necessary any more, so why does KAWAI continue to use these outdated compression methods, even on your top-of-the-line models?


Since the ES6 was launched last August, all new KAWAI digital pianos (with the exception of the EP3 - essentially a reduced specification version of the ES6) feature 88-key piano sampling as standard. Therefore, the process of 'pitch shifting', 'spreading', or 'stretching' piano samples is no longer necessary. Incidentally, I believe this is also true of most Roland digital pianos.

Originally Posted By: dewster
Doesn't it bother KAWAI that customers spend lots of money on your products, but then have to turn to third party software running on a PC when they want an acceptable sound, relegating their DP to mere controller status?


I believe the majority of digital piano customers - regardless of brand - are perfectly satisfied with the sound produced by their instruments. However, I accept that the number of players using Pianoteq, Ivory, Garritan, and other software piano packages is growing, and therefore fully expect to see more products aimed at these users in the future.

May I ask if you are familiar with the DP1, KAWAI's premium digital grand piano instrument launched a few years ago. It utilises PC-based hardware (running a custom Linux kernel), and offers unstretched, non-lopping piano samples, a button-less touch panel interface, and 5.1 speaker S/PDIF output. It delivers exactly the kind of technical innovation that you are requesting. This instrument commands a premium price-tag, certainly, however its very existence suggests that my engineering colleagues are somewhat more knowledgeable of emerging technologies than you are prepared to acknowledge.

Originally Posted By: dewster
I suspect he doesn't have any real authority (not his fault, who does in a modern corporation?) and is afraid he might reveal some proprietary information and catch hell for it.


You're absolutely right. However, divulging confidential information can also have wider implications (see below).

Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
The fella I buy some of my vintage synths from is a Yamaha clinician way up there in Canada. He tells me that he had to sign an NDA, which stands for Non Disclosure Agreement.

No doubt Kawai James is held by the same or similar agreement.


Correct. In addition, because KAWAI (Japan) is a listed company, there is the possibility - however remote - that my contributions to this forum may influence the price of the company's stocks and shares. In an effort to combat insider trading, all Japanese listed companies are expected to enforce strict rules upon their employees.

Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
I don't think James comes here to promote his product or to be taking guff from someone that's not happy with digitals as they are..I think he's just like the rest of us and has a passion for, and an interest in, digital pianos in general.


You're spot-on Snazzy! I have a genuine interest in digital pianos/keyboards (I grew up around them) and count myself very fortunate to work within this terrific industry. Participating in the forum allows me to enjoy communicating with others who share my passion for making music. Yet, it also offers an opportunity to learn about the broadening needs of digital piano consumers, and to improve the materials that I am responsible for creating.

Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
Well, perhaps James can explain why he is here, and why his user name is such.


I believe this was covered in a previous post here. However, in summary, the reason for highlighting KAWAI in my username and signature is to ensure that other forum members are aware that I am employed by the company. This is one of the PianoWorld forum rules.

Quote:
I can imagine if you're working for a company, it's hard to be unbiased.


There is an element of truth in this, certainly. KAWAI will always hold a special place in my heart, however you will note that I currently do not own nor play a KAWAI instrument (although I expect this will change next year...). Regardless, I do strive to maintain a degree of objectivity in my forum posts, often recommending non-KAWAI models to prospective buyers or assisting customers of Yamaha or Roland instruments with technical queries.

Okay, well I believe this covers everything. If anyone has any further queries or comments, I would encourage them to send me a private message directly.

Kind regards,
James
x
_________________________
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1327176 - 12/17/09 01:15 AM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: Kawai James]
Glenn NK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 457
Loc: Victoria BC
James:

You may be interested in this:

http://www.georgekolasis.com/best-pianos.html

Although it deals with acoustic pianos, it's interesting to note this technician's rating of the world's great pianos. Not surprising, he puts Fazioli at the top, but his comments on the Shigeru Kawai make me wonder if he wouldn't rate the Kawai second - high praise indeed.

A surprising omission is the NY Steinway (although he gives his reasons).

Clicking on the Kawai link is very interesting reading.

Glenn

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#1327203 - 12/17/09 02:15 AM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: dewster]
LS35A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 139
Loc: Hayden, ID
Originally Posted By: dewster

Anyway, do you have a set of good headphones? Speakers are notoriously bad at sound reproduction, and 99% of those built-in to DPs are an abomination in my ears. I recommend AKG K-271 (sealed) or AKG K-240 (semi-open). They won't get you around the scandalously obvious compression artifacting in what passes for even a very good DP sample set these days, but they can vastly improve the listening experience.


I do have a pair of very good headphones, Denon D5000. I listened to them tonight on my DP. Result? Horrendous sound. I noticed the same thing when I bought external monitors and hooked them up to my keyboard....it sounded worse. Plastic and unnatural and nothing like a piano. I'm afraid better speakers (including headphones) just allow me to hear exactly how bad a medium-priced DP sounds.

Everything was fine for about nine or ten months. Until I started taking lessons and heard a real piano every week.

I'm afraid 'better' DP's, CA93, HP307, etc, will just be a temporary fix and after ten months of hearing one I would 'acclimate' to it's sound and then it would sound nothing like a piano to me.

I'd like to be wrong about that. I'd like to think a 'high-end' DP is a practical alternative to having a four hundred pound beast in my living room. But I'm getting more skeptical all the time.

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#1327222 - 12/17/09 03:19 AM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: LS35A]
Glenn NK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 457
Loc: Victoria BC
Originally Posted By: LS35A
I'd like to think a 'high-end' DP is a practical alternative to having a four hundred pound beast in my living room. But I'm getting more skeptical all the time.


A high end DP still utilizes prerecorded samples.

I'll repeat what I said above:

To quote a user from another forum, "The problem with samples is that's all you've got - a snapshot of a particular element at one point in time. There's no interaction between any two disparate elements."

A sample is just a part of the entire sound, not the whole sound. Hence it's not connected to other sample sounds. Only computer trickery can make them sound somewhat connected, but they really aren't.

When I listen to demos on sample sites I hear anomalies in the sound, or discontinuities. Standard DPs have done a better job at interconnecting the sounds, but the quality of the sounds is not good because really good samples would require a horrendous amount of storage space.

Roland has raised the bar with the V-Piano, and my personal take is that in time, the others will follow, or be left behind. Putting a fake soundboard with speakers with a shape that attempts to look like a grand (but is even shorter and more ridiculous looking than a baby grand) isn't going to save their bacon I think.

James stated that "the majority of digital piano customers - regardless of brand - are perfectly satisfied with the sound produced by their instruments." I was for too many years - convenience kept winning over the acoustic - but in the end I gave up on the sample concept.

I would have given up sooner if there had been a workable alternative - I tried the physmod program two years ago, but my DP was still as good - then a year ago I discovered that physmod had improved enough to win. In October of this year, another version came out. "Mr. Roland, I apologize for not using your sounds, but you do make a nice action."

James also said, "I accept that the number of players using Pianoteq, Ivory, Garritan, and other software piano packages is growing, and therefore fully expect to see more products aimed at these users in the future." DP users are slowly recognizing reality, and the software products are getting better faster than are the standard DPs (when price is inevitably factored in).

Glenn


Edited by Glenn NK (12/17/09 03:29 AM)

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#1327288 - 12/17/09 08:11 AM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: Glenn NK]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: Glenn NK


Putting a fake soundboard with speakers with a shape that attempts to look like a grand (but is even shorter and more ridiculous looking than a baby grand) isn't going to save their bacon I think.



If you're referring to the Avant Grand, their bacon is doing remarkably well....sizzling actually.

My buddy Zeke has sold two since I bought mine, and apparently elsewhere, the instrument is selling far beyond expectations. It is an esthetically beautiful, and richly rewarding instrument to look at and to play.

The V-Piano seems to be very slow coming out of the gate.

Friend Zeke liked the Roland when he saw it at it's unveiling, as did a lot of dealers, but very few are willing to take in such a niche product and end up getting stuck with it. Roland has approached him and may put one on the floor at their risk.

It doesn't have the look that people want in a very pricey piano; it looks just like another Roland digital...and, it doesn't feel any different than Roland's top end digitals...in fact, it doesn't sound a whole lot better either. The mids are very plasticky.

Probably it will end up as a studio instrument, and maybe it will be purchased (or given to and endorsed by) some high profile performers, but it is hardly something someone will use in a band that doesn't have roadies. It's too heavy and bulky for one person to move and set up.

The home market is where the money is; pros are the intended market for V-Piano, but, most pros are using VSTs, which are much cheaper.

I guess time will tell if it will be a success, and I hope for Roland's sake it is. They've discontinued several high profile products, including their mid and high end arrangers, and it seems they might have put all their feed in the V-Pig V-Piano. wink

Let's hope it doesn't turn out to be a pig in a poke.

Snazzy

_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1327350 - 12/17/09 09:57 AM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: snazzyplayer]
LS35A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 139
Loc: Hayden, ID
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer


The V-Piano seems to be very slow coming out of the gate.

Friend Zeke liked the Roland when he saw it at it's unveiling, as did a lot of dealers, but very few are willing to take in such a niche product and end up getting stuck with it. Roland has approached him and may put one on the floor at their risk.

It doesn't have the look that people want in a very pricey piano; it looks just like another Roland digital...and, it doesn't feel any different than Roland's top end digitals...in fact, it doesn't sound a whole lot better either. The mids are very plasticky.

Let's hope it doesn't turn out to be a pig in a poke.


Six grand IS JUST WAY TOO MUCH MONEY FOR WHAT IT IS.

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#1327382 - 12/17/09 10:38 AM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: Kawai James]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
KAWAI James, thank you very much for finally answering some of my questions.

Originally Posted By: KAWAI James
Since the ES6 was launched last August, all new KAWAI digital pianos (with the exception of the EP3 - essentially a reduced specification version of the ES6) feature 88-key piano sampling as standard. Therefore, the process of 'pitch shifting', 'spreading', or 'stretching' piano samples is no longer necessary. Incidentally, I believe this is also true of most Roland digital pianos.

Thank you also for that technical information regarding your DP product line (more than I was able to get out of Yamaha). Absent information like this, I find it very difficult to buy any DP, as comparison shopping must then involve me ferreting it out myself on a demo in some noisy Sam Ash. I can easily detect looping, and stretching is usually audible, but the number of sample layers is generally impossible to determine - fortunately manufacturers often supply it as it is a positive selling point.

Originally Posted By: KAWAI James
May I ask if you are familiar with the DP1, KAWAI's premium digital grand piano instrument launched a few years ago. It utilises PC-based hardware (running a custom Linux kernel), and offers unstretched, non-lopping piano samples, a button-less touch panel interface, and 5.1 speaker S/PDIF output. It delivers exactly the kind of technical innovation that you are requesting. This instrument commands a premium price-tag, certainly, however its very existence suggests that my engineering colleagues are somewhat more knowledgeable of emerging technologies than you are prepared to acknowledge.

No, but I'll check into it. I'm mainly interested in a portable stage piano with these features. If it were hugely mutable and programmable like Pianoteq I'd pay quite a bit more. For a sampled piano like the DP1 it would either have to have a really great sample that I love, or downloadable samples.

Originally Posted By: KAWAI James
Correct. In addition, because KAWAI (Japan) is a listed company, there is the possibility - however remote - that my contributions to this forum may influence the price of the company's stocks and shares. In an effort to combat insider trading, all Japanese listed companies are expected to enforce strict rules upon their employees.

This is why I am SOOOOO glad I don't work for a large corporation anymore. Too much secrecy BS. Too much mismanagement. Also, I basically signed my intellectual life away with the employment agreement, they claimed ownership on everything I thought during my employment of that could possibly make money. That, and they owned my code - it was that which finally drove me out. Private contractors retained much more personal control over their intellectual output. If I ever go back to industry it will be privately.

Right now I'm a 24/7 layabout (I bet you can't tell).
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1327387 - 12/17/09 10:43 AM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: dewster]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: dewster



I'm mainly interested in a portable stage piano with these features. If it were hugely mutable and programmable like Pianoteq I'd pay quite a bit more. For a sampled piano like the DP1 it would either have to have a really great sample that I love, or downloadable samples.



Have you considered the Roland V-Piano?

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1327388 - 12/17/09 10:44 AM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: snazzyplayer]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: Glenn NK
Putting a fake soundboard with speakers with a shape that attempts to look like a grand (but is even shorter and more ridiculous looking than a baby grand) isn't going to save their bacon I think.


Ha ha! That's exactly how the AG strikes me too. You left out the 438 lbs (!) though.

My apologies to Snazzy.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1327400 - 12/17/09 10:57 AM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: LS35A]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: LS35A
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
The V-Piano seems to be very slow coming out of the gate.


Six grand IS JUST WAY TOO MUCH MONEY FOR WHAT IT IS.


I totally agree. And it weighs too much. And it's too much of a one-trick-pony. And it needs more work, I don't want to be one of those early adopters left holding the bag.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1327402 - 12/17/09 11:01 AM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: LS35A]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: LS35A
I do have a pair of very good headphones, Denon D5000. I listened to them tonight on my DP. Result? Horrendous sound. I noticed the same thing when I bought external monitors and hooked them up to my keyboard....it sounded worse. Plastic and unnatural and nothing like a piano. I'm afraid better speakers (including headphones) just allow me to hear exactly how bad a medium-priced DP sounds.


Well, at least you tried. The bass end of our P-120 sounds better through cans, but in the high end you can hear a metallic buzzing, kind of like a paperclip on the strings. It's worse with the sustain pedal down, it seems to be some kind of attempt at implementing fake sympathetic (some would say simply pathetic) resonance by way of reverb.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1327409 - 12/17/09 11:12 AM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: dewster]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: dewster



My apologies to Snazzy.


No apologies necessary, son, all these silly criticisms simple vanish every time I sit down to play my beautiful Avant Grand.

It truly touches my soul.

So, Eric, do you actually intend to get another digital?

My guess is, not very much out there would be good enough for you. Thing is, there are those who get to sit down and enjoy the very best of what is being made today, while you can only spout criticisms and lame excuses why you don't (or won't) buy another digital. I'm glad I'm firmly ensconced in the first camp.

The other camp seems to employ macho posturing by insecure men who seem to believe buying anything less than an acoustic piano is practically child abuse.

Perhaps you have stated the obvious in a previous post when you asked if you were bitter. Doesn't seem that way to me...it's more like you might have a chip on your shoulder.

I certainly hope not, because they say a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up. wink

Get yourself something, son; if you can't afford the best, at least stick with what you have, get yourself a good teacher, and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of the digital piano.

The clock's ticking, and you aren't getting any younger by the sound of it. wink

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1327526 - 12/17/09 02:20 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: snazzyplayer]
OldFingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/06
Posts: 545
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
No apologies necessary, son, all these silly criticisms simple vanish every time I sit down to play my beautiful Avant Grand.


Snazzy, I come at this from a different perspective as I own a 6' acoustic grand, an RX-3. It was too loud for my room and everything had to be damped down to the point of making the bass "tubby" and causing a noticeable loss in dynamic range. In addition there are a few notes in the 5th octave that bothered me from day one, and now, after owning this thing for three years, the 5th octave is so bright that it is annoying, even though it has been voiced several times. I am always amused when DP-owners lust after an acoustic grand as the "beast" can be so uncontrollable. In some ways I prefer the purity of my headphone/Ivory/MP8ii, but I'd like something more, so I'm considering the Avant Grand.

I don't understand why it is so, but DPs suffer from a lack of dynamic range. How would you characterize the AG in this respect, say compared to other DPs or even to an acoustic grand?

Also, since the AG has MIDI-out and Audio-in, what do think would happen if you used a software piano with the AG keyboard and AG speaker system? I guess I'm asking if the speaker system is stand-alone or is it's design somehow coupled to the Yamaha samples that are being played?

I apologize if this is too far OT, but this thread, while wandering here and there, has touched on some interesting issues wrt to state-of-the-art DPs.
_________________________
Aspiring Retirement Home Lounge Pianist

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#1327533 - 12/17/09 02:30 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: snazzyplayer]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3042
Loc: Oregon
I read this thread with interest. Here's my take on it.

I would love a really high quality acoustic piano, but I am bound by the usual constraints (money and space, mainly). Also my record with keeping goldfish as a child is not good - I would come home to a slimy green bowl and a floating corpse. Acoustic pianos need quite a lot of love and attention if they are not to end up like Gyro's.

There is one other impediment that holds me back. I know that if I bought my 10' grand, I would have to face the reality of my limits as a pianist - or really take up the challenge. I have frequently kidded myself that if I were only to buy the latest wonder-digital the shortcomings I hear when I sit down to play would be eradicated. I have a Nord Electro 2; I know that the electric pianos and organs are better on the Electro 3, and so I frustrate myself trying to work out how to come up with the $2k needed to satisfy my musical hunger. And yet, when I see accomplished players on YouTube putting the Electro 2 through its paces I wonder why I can't make mine sound like that. I also have a Roland RD-300SX. Its main piano sound is very good, but the action is synthetic and must surely be holding me back. Maybe I should buy a V-piano. And so it goes on. Even when a fine and affordable modeled piano comes along from Kawai or Yamaha, I expect that I'll be watching and waiting for the next improvement instead of spending the time fully enjoying the instrument in front of me, and working on my technique.

In that sense, maybe Gyro's right: all you need is a cheap digital to work on for 95% of the time. However, there's the other side of this coin. The feedback you get from your instrument is important in motivating you to want to play better. And while sampled instruments have got better and better (and despite my laziness I've really enjoyed having access to them), in the sample versus physical modeling debate I would fall definitely into the latter camp. The slight departure from "realism" is, IMHO, more than made up for by the more organic response. I love playing GEM instruments for that reason. But they are not perfect - innovative products rarely are. It takes time for problems to be ironed out. Those who cite Pianoteq as the proof that the DP manufacturers are failing in their duty are maybe forgetting that it is only in the last year or so that the product has matured to a level which generates near universal approval. Also, such modeled software requires quite a lot of computing grunt to avoid latency and other issues.

And what about that dirty word, profit? For manufacturers to give us what we want, they have to be able to make money. If they've brought out a line of sampled instruments, I expect they have to sell that technology for a number of years to pay for the development costs, and to fund on-going R&D. Will the V-piano make money? By itself, I doubt it, but as the first in the line of Roland's modeled pianos it will probably spawn a number of very interesting offshoots. Impatience is our modern disease, but in time I think we'll have some remarkable instruments to choose from. In the meantime, where's that old book of Czerny exercises?
_________________________
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#1327575 - 12/17/09 03:16 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: OldFingers]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: OldFingers


I'm considering the Avant Grand.

I don't understand why it is so, but DPs suffer from a lack of dynamic range. How would you characterize the AG in this respect, say compared to other DPs or even to an acoustic grand?

Also, since the AG has MIDI-out and Audio-in, what do think would happen if you used a software piano with the AG keyboard and AG speaker system? I guess I'm asking if the speaker system is stand-alone or is it's design somehow coupled to the Yamaha samples that are being played?



I can't say the Avant Grand suffers from a lack of dynamic range, but I can tell you that playing it is uncannily like playing an acoustic piano. I've been playing piano since I was a youngster.

Of course, all this is personal opinion and very subjective, and you would do best to go and spend some time playing one. They are a fair amount of money, but again, in my opinion, the instrument was worth it.

I can't say what it would be like to play/control a software piano, because I don't use VST's at all. I'm mostly an "instrument has to be self-contained" sort of fellow, and only use the MIDI on my P-85's to control my arranger keyboards.

If you played another keyboard (controller) through the Avant Grand (with MIDI), you would not get the tactile feedback as the sound is linked to the latter's key action.

Same with headphones....no feedback, just a great piano action.

I love the transposer and I'm thinking of MIDI'ing one of my modules for that classic "piano and strings" sound.

I'm happier than a flea on a fat dog, and see no need of ever having to deal with acoustic pianos again...they are too much maintenance for a lazy fellow like me, and I can't stand the sound of them slowly going out of tune. I gave my Steinway B to my friend Zeke for his studio, and as far as I'm concerned, it can stay there; I don't miss it. The Avant Grand is far more enjoyable to play.

It sure is nice to have a forum devoted to us lovers of digital pianos, although there seems to be a few here that still seem to think an acoustic is better.

I just mostly ignore them; they should be on the other part of the forum that deals with acoustics, not here among us digital piano aficionados. I think they're a little jealous, myself. wink

Before I forget, the Avant Grand has 256 notes of polyphony, and a 500 watt speaker system that brings out every nuance of the sound.

I don't regret buying it for one second. Plus, it looks absolutely stunning.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1327603 - 12/17/09 03:56 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: Glenn NK]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: Glenn NK
A sample is just a part of the entire sound, not the whole sound. Hence it's not connected to other sample sounds. Only computer trickery can make them sound somewhat connected, but they really aren't.

I'm going to pick a nit here and say that a sample IS the whole sound, and that is both good and bad.

It's good in that the sample IS the sound of the whole piano playing that note at that velocity. You get the whole enchilada: the hammer hitting the strings, the strings slowly beating against each other, the soundboard, the case, etc. It's bad however when you play more than one sample, such as when another key is played, or when two velocity layers of the same note are interpolated, because then you are combining the sound of the whole piano two or more times, which can lead to severe phasing issues. Phase issues with pedal-down (un-dampered) samples must be even more problematic, as the sympathetic resonance of all the strings must be accommodated.

And that's just mono sampling. Stereo sampling is even more of a nightmare as the stereo image is highly dependent on phase.

I'm not sure how engineers are even able to do this well. Indeed, some do it very well and others not so well, so there must be something of an art to it. To minimize variation I imagine they place the piano in a tightly controlled climate and do the sampling as quickly as possible. They might also use some kind of phase correcting software in post-processing. I'm almost positive they use some form of aggressive noise reduction in post-processing, otherwise the noise floor would rise unacceptably when many samples are played back at once.

Originally Posted By: Glenn NK
When I listen to demos on sample sites I hear anomalies in the sound, or discontinuities. Standard DPs have done a better job at interconnecting the sounds, but the quality of the sounds is not good because really good samples would require a horrendous amount of storage space.

I think the samples themselves in DPs are generally OK to good - it's stretching and looping that kill them. The discontinuities you mention might be due to too few velocity layers, or a bandwidth (CPU or hard drive) bottleneck taxing the playback hardware / software. There are often many tweaks you can do to sample playback software to minimize or eliminate these discontinuities, though sometimes the sample set is just poorly made.

A few years ago I had the EastWest Bosendorfer sample that utilized the NI Compact player. I picked it as my first sampled piano because people were giving it rave reviews. I tweaked it until I was blue but could never get it anywhere near acceptable. Most of it was due to the noise floor of poor sample set, and the abrupt transition between velocity layers. On one note/velocity sample you can clearly hear the sound of something dropping on the floor in the studio! Talk about no QC...

My VintAudio C7 close-miked sample playing on NI Contact is night and day compared to it. Once it is setup correctly I really can't tell I'm not listening to the real thing, no obvious artifacting, glitching, switching, dynamics issues, or anything. There is a sample of it at Purgatory Creek (I'm not sure how carefully it was made, though).

Originally Posted By: Glenn NK
James stated that "the majority of digital piano customers - regardless of brand - are perfectly satisfied with the sound produced by their instruments." I was for too many years - convenience kept winning over the acoustic - but in the end I gave up on the sample concept

Piano is actually one of the few musical instruments that can be completely sampled acceptably and believably. This is due to there being only a few dimensions of freedom when playing it - the selection of the note to play, the velocity of note played, the time after that the key is released, and whether or not the sustain pedal is pressed (and perhaps how far, for 1/2 pedal effects). It just cries out to be sampled.

All that said, I also vastly prefer the physical modeling approach, but could easily live with a good sample on a good sample playback device.
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#1327620 - 12/17/09 04:19 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: voxpops]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: voxpops
I love playing GEM instruments for that reason. But they are not perfect - innovative products rarely are. It takes time for problems to be ironed out.

Wasn't it their modeled sympathetic resonance that got everyone excited at the time? To me that is a huge part of the piano experience.

Originally Posted By: voxpops
Those who cite Pianoteq as the proof that the DP manufacturers are failing in their duty are maybe forgetting that it is only in the last year or so that the product has matured to a level which generates near universal approval.

Version 3.5 is great, but I was pretty happy with version 2.

Originally Posted By: voxpops
Also, such modeled software requires quite a lot of computing grunt to avoid latency and other issues.

It's been my experience that Pianoteq is a fairly moderate computational load on my not-so-new PC. Samplers on the other hand routinely bring it to it's knees.

Originally Posted By: voxpops
Impatience is our modern disease, but in time I think we'll have some remarkable instruments to choose from.

I haven't done detailed head-to-head comparisons yet, but I was quite shocked to discover very little difference between the very latest Yamaha P-155 and my old out-of-production P-120, despite the passage of two DP generations and 9 years time. Impatience doesn't begin to describe what I'm feeling.
_________________________
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#1327630 - 12/17/09 04:42 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: OldFingers]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: OldFingers

Snazzy, I come at this from a different perspective as I own a 6' acoustic grand, an RX-3.


Just like to add, OldFingers (I like your user name)...the hybrid approach was taken pretty earnestly even at the beginning design stages of the Avant Grand.

It's the first Yamaha digital project on which the acoustic piano division of the company had equal input.

OldFingers, you really have to try this piano out to see/hear what I'm at a loss of words to describe.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1327683 - 12/17/09 05:52 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: snazzyplayer]
OldFingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/06
Posts: 545
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
Just like to add, OldFingers (I like your user name)...the hybrid approach was taken pretty earnestly even at the beginning design stages of the Avant Grand.

It's the first Yamaha digital project on which the acoustic piano division of the company had equal input.

OldFingers, you really have to try this piano out to see/hear what I'm at a loss of words to describe.

Snazzy



Sad to say my UserName is quite descriptive of the state of my fingers, but they're not yet arthritic so I have to enjoy playing while I can.

I seriously considered making my RX-3 into a hybrid piano with a MIDI strip and Ivory, but didn't have the courage to address the speaker issue. That's one of the nice things about the AG, they made a complete hybrid piano/speaker system.

I have been in contact with my local Yamaha dealer who had one for me to try, but I was afraid to give it a go as I can be quite an impulsive buyer, and I have this monster RX-3 to get rid of. Also, I wanted to get as much feedback as I could from the PF so that I would know what to look out for. So far, the major negative, aside from price, seems to be that the keyboard resonances are unrealistic.

Also, it bothers me a little that there is no provision for upgrading the software should better samples or better models come along. That's where I agree dewster, as it would seem that for $15K one could easily have put a computer in the thing, and then we could do everything, even room equalization. But there is some comfort in knowing that a software piano could be coupled to the AG, albeit without the keyboard resonance, which might not be a bad thing.

But snazzy rest assured, testing the AG is at the top of my list of New Year's resolutions.

Bob
_________________________
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#1327698 - 12/17/09 06:12 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: snazzyplayer]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7174
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer


It sure is nice to have a forum devoted to us lovers of digital pianos, although there seems to be a few here that still seem to think an acoustic is better.

I just mostly ignore them; they should be on the other part of the forum that deals with acoustics, not here among us digital piano aficionados. I think they're a little jealous, myself. wink


Hey, Snazzy. Don't forget the handful of us here who keep both on hand and want no part of any [which-is-better?] comparison.

I enjoyed reading the posts on this thread today from voxpops, OldFingers, dewster, and snazzy. Informative and well-mannered too. grin

I can see a little of me in all of you. I'm a self-contained guy like snazzy. I bought a software piano (Ivory Italian) to see what all the fuss was about, but I don't use it much now because of the lengthy set-up and reliance on two many pathways for my klutzy nature to be comfortable with.

Last year there was a thread here asking dp people what they would like to see coming out at NAMM. My wish was for a dp with a few software pianos on tap, perhaps some of the better existing ones licensed by Roland since Roland is not chained to any acoustic master. What we got from NAMM was the V. Like voxpops, I thought about it, but I really don't need or want that level of sound manipulation and I don't like what's missing either in a product that costs 5-6k.

Like Oldfingers I pay the room and board for an acoustic, and like dewster and Oldfingers I don't like the compression of dynamic range in dp sound. Perhaps I notice it more because I have an acoustic around. I do put up with the limited dynamic range though and don't really get frustrated because my own piano use is for composition and arranging, and not for trying to play some predetermined repertoire at the highest level I can.

On the weak points of digitals that haven't changed that much in the past five years or so, I wonder if the dash for polyphony has gotten in the way of things in the same way the mad dash for megapixels has hampered a smooth curve in the product development of digital cameras.

My own needs are:

a daily dose of being inside the music that can only be provided by my headphones (attached to a keyboard grin )

instant hassle-free recording and playback to evaluate all the structural and expressive elements that I'm trying to work out

availability of a few basic instrument simulations (no need for ultra-realism though)

an alternative tone and touch for when I'm bored

Since the first three will never be part of any acoustic that is really acoustic, I have to put up with whatever I can get from a dp that I can afford (and that ain't so much $wise) because unlike Snazzy I'm not ready to put all my eggs in one basket. I usually have 2 or 3 dps at home and turn digitals and acoustics over more often than most players.

The third -- the boredom -- sets in really early with me no matter how impressive the credentials of my 'best' owned piano are. I think part of the problem is that I am usually working on one thing and one thing only for several months (which is why my family members are keen on my headphones too grin)

Over the years I've owned some really nice acoustics, but still have become jaded and had more fun when I could take a break on someone else's acoustic even if it would probably be judged by most to be inferior to my own. I guess since the music is the same in my case, changing the tone of the instrument or the whole instrument keeps things fresh. I do enjoy the more wide-open playing experience of the acoustic, but the percentage of time spent on my acoustic has been decreasing the last few years as the capabilities of digitals become more and more attractive.

Thanks for letting me bore you. Your posts got me thinking about these things.

_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1327716 - 12/17/09 06:37 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: snazzyplayer]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: snazzyplayer
...the hybrid approach was taken pretty earnestly even at the beginning design stages of the Avant Grand.

It's the first Yamaha digital project on which the acoustic piano division of the company had equal input.


Ah, so that's where the 438 lb specification came from! ;-)
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THE RD-700NX Thread!
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#1327733 - 12/17/09 07:00 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: dewster]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: dewster

Ah, so that's where the 438 lb specification came from! ;-)


It's like my 425 lb Hammond B-3.

There's just something about all that mass and wood and tactile feedback that makes you feel connected with the soul of the instrument.

I don't blame you if you're envious...I'm even jealous of me. wink

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1327735 - 12/17/09 07:04 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: dewster]
LS35A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 139
Loc: Hayden, ID
Original poster here. I BOUGHT A PIANO today. I found a really nice store the 'Piano gallery'. They had lots of pianos, grands, uprights, DP's. They had lots of Roland DP's which were nice, but not as nice as a real piano, or the YAMAHA N2 which they HAD ON DISPLAY!! It was fabulous. Felt like a real piano. Sounded like a real piano. If I were rich and lived in a condo somewhere that's what I'd want.

But it was ten grand, which is, frankly, insane. Because the just over four grand Yamaha P560 upright sounded MORE LIKE A PIANO and played MORE LIKE A PIANO. Six grand buys a lot of tunings and moving.

So I bought the M560, in Cherry, Queen Anne style.

More details later, but for now, short version is I'm thrilled to death. Can't wait to get my Yamaha P560!!!!

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#1327741 - 12/17/09 07:10 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: LS35A]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: LS35A
Original poster here. I BOUGHT A PIANO today.

Congratulations!!!
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THE RD-700NX Thread!
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#1327744 - 12/17/09 07:16 PM Re: I'm starting to look at acoustic uprights [Re: LS35A]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: LS35A



But it was ten grand, which is, frankly, insane. Because the just over four grand Yamaha P560 upright sounded MORE LIKE A PIANO and played MORE LIKE A PIANO. Six grand buys a lot of tunings and moving.



Yes, I am insane. Insanely happy. crazy

One of the many neat things about the Avant Grand is the being able to record right from the outputs...no mics, no baffles, no hassle.

And, it's not the cost of the maintenance on an acoustic that bothers me...it's the maintenance. frown

Congratulations on your new piano...it's nice to get exactly what you want/need isn't it?

I know that feeling too. wink

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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