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#1382496 - 02/25/10 07:26 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: theJourney]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: theJourney
The comment about not valuing personal relationships was a direct quote from you.

Anyone with half a brain reading my post would understand that I meant I don't care to develop a relationship with a tuner (when I said "anyone") within that context of such a business transaction. Only someone with ill intents would want to twist my words and turn it into "Americans are not valuing personal relationships".

Originally Posted By: theJourney
Simply because you dispute the facts does not make a post "anti-American".

Like I said, I'm not interested in lowering myself to debate with you your points about what's fact and what's fiction on non-piano related matters. So I'm not even disputing or confirming or agreeing with any of those non-piano things you said. It's all irrelevant whether any of those things are facts or lies or whatnots. What's relevant is the way they were put together and the connotation that they implied. You can hide behind all your "facts" for all I care, but I can sure tell an anti-American post when I see one, because it looks like it, sounds like it, and smells like it.

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#1382508 - 02/25/10 08:00 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: Volusiano]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Again, don't put words in my mouth. I specifically attributed the quote to you, personally. I did not say that all Americans are not valuing personal relationships, although it is true that social bonds are decreasing at a rapid rate, which often results in people preferring, as you have stated, to go the "no relationship" route. Check out the excellent book, http://www.bowlingalone.com/ , for more facts on this well documented trend.

A valued, personal relationship with a tuner is part and parcel of the total ownership and playing experience of an acoustic piano for the vast majority of owners of acoustic pianos. If, as you said,
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
I'll take just a lousy manual for a DP any day over a relationship with a tuner...I don't care to develop a relationship with anyone.
then the investment, bother and expense of an acoustic piano is probably not for you. Which we already knew.

Those that want the complete acoustic piano experience, including being able to produce sounds that today are impossible on a digital piano, and, including inviting a tuner into their homes several times a year, will weigh the unique benefits of an acoustic instrument higher than the associated costs. What people value is to a large degree culturally determined.

Those that want the best of both worlds will probably have an acoustic piano but may also want a hybrid silent capability or a secondary instrument on which to practice silently or play around with. This thread is aimed at those people who are trying to make a choice for an (in some or many cases secondary) instrument, choosing from the top of the line cabinet offerings from Roland (HP-307), Yahama (CLP-380), Kawai (CA-93) and for comparison purposes for those with lots of money, the exciting new Yamaha AvandGrant(N2) with grand piano action.



Edited by theJourney (02/25/10 08:03 AM)

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#1382553 - 02/25/10 09:47 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: jbx]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned

Great contribution to the thread! Very helpful observations.




Originally Posted By: jbx
I am new to this forum, but today I tried the Kawai CA63 and Roland HP-307. Some time ago, I also tried the Yamaha CLP-380, but had no time today to try it. At that time I already found out I liked the Roland better than the Kawai, so I did not try it again today.

Did you mean the Yamaha here? I am a bit confused what pianos you were actually comparing side by side at the same place and time each audition session.
Originally Posted By: jbx

Unfortunately, I did not find a store yet (close enough to me) that had the CA93, but since the only real difference between the CA63 and CA93 is the speaker system and let-off simulation, I think my comparison of the CA63 and HP-307 is relevant for this topic. I looked especially at the action, and a bit at the sound, mostly with headphones (that is why I think it is acceptable that I compare the CA63 instead of the CA93). Here I put some of my findings/thoughts/opinions, hopefully useful to somebody.

Action:
  • Dynamic range: by this I do not mean the dynamic range of the output sound, because I suppose that can be controlled by a parameter in the software, but I am talking about the range of the physical velocity of the hammers that can be detected by the sensors. Velocities that are in reality higher, are all reported as the maximum velocity. One of the bigger problems of a DP in my opinion is that the maximum velocity is reached pretty easy by most DPs. For an acoustic piano, there is no such limit (until something breaks of course). I would like to measure this (I am a physicist), but was only able to compare qualitatively. My impression is that the Roland is the best one in this aspect: on the Roland, you need most physical force to reach the maximum velocity. I think this is good because it leaves more room for expressiveness.

I wonder if this can be modified by any setting on either instrument? Kawai James?
Originally Posted By: jbx
  • Velocity control: I do not know how to call this, but I mention this, because I was a bit disappointed in the Kawai on this aspect. I found it harder to control the velocity with the Kawai. Some notes sounded louder than I intended, others too soft. Especially, the middle range in velocities was hard to control in my opinion. I tried all standard touch levels from light to heavy and also tried to use a custom curve, but I was not satisfied. Maybe after some more trials with custom curves this could be improved. I do not know if this is a hardware or software problem with the Kawai, or maybe it is a problem with me... or I should get used to it better. However, I do not have this problem with most acoustic piano's I think.
  • Touch: the new Kawai has the heaviest touch, also clearly heavier then the previous series of Kawai. I like this, but maybe this is because I am used to an acoustic with heavy touch. The Roland and Kawai do not differ much, I think the Roland is a bit heavier.

  • So, do you see the heaviness as
    1) Roland
    2) Kawai
    3) Yamaha ?
    Originally Posted By: jbx
  • Key weight: I feel that something is not realistic about the key weight of the Roland and Yamaha's, but is realistic in the Kawai. I think it is the actual weight of the keys themselves (not the hammers). I noticed it most clearly by lightly 'tapping' the keys, with loose fingers. When a loose finger hits the key, the energy is transferred to the hammer, and the finger is almost stopped because of the collision with the key. At the moment the hammer is set in (fast) motion and the finger falls more slowly on the key, it is very noticeable in my opinion that the key itself is very light (Roland and Yamaha). It feels a bit bouncy and plasticy in this situation. The Kawai is superior in this aspect: I think the keys themselves are much heavier, which feels much more realistic. However, in normal play (except maybe for staccato) I did not notice this problem much when playing the Roland and Yamaha. I think because of the proper weight of the hammers, the keys appear to have a proper weight.
  • Summarizing: the Kawai feels more realistic and has a heavier touch (which I liked). The Roland has a better dynamic range and the velocities are easier to control.

    Sound:
    I think the Roland is clearly superior here. In my opinion the sound is more realistic and sounds more alive, although I cannot tell exactly why. One thing I noticed is that in the Roland sound you hear more realistic beats when multiple notes are hold for a longer time.

    Difference HP-307 and HP-305: slightly offtopic, but something I took a few minutes for and might interest some people: in my opinion the action of the PHAIII is only slightly better than the PHAII. I expected the difference to be bigger. The quality of the speaker system however was bigger than I expected. The speaker system of the HP-305 produced uneven results (some ranges too loud or sounding different), probably because of unwanted resonant frequencies.

    This morning I was pretty sure I would not be able to make a decision (again) and would lean towards the Kawai. But, to my surprise, I was able to make a clear decision for myself: I take the HP-307! The reason is that I liked the sound much better, and the keyboard gave me a feeling of better control (easier to control the velocities). Also, but less important to me, it has more options to fine tune the sound and better and more sounds. The only downside of the Roland in comparison to the Kawai is the slightly less realistic action, but the action of the Roland is satisfactory for me. However, if you are only interested in the most realistic action, then my advice is to go for the Kawai, and maybe use a software piano to be able to adjust the touch curve better and have better sounds.

    Edit: about the Yamaha: I think it is not a fair competition, because it is from one generation earlier. I am curious about what their next generation will bring...


    It is true that the product life cycles are not running synchronously, but we can only compare what is on the market. Last year, the Yamaha's were newly introduced models, and this year the Roland and Kawai. And, so it will continue.

    I am interested, assuming you will often use headphones and if you did not see too much difference between the PHAII keybed of the HP-305 and the PHAIII keybed of the HP-307, what made you want to spend the extra money on the HP-307? Here there is more than a 500 euro difference in price while both offer the Super Realistic Piano sound.

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    #1382558 - 02/25/10 09:57 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: theJourney]
    turandot Offline
    7000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 01/27/07
    Posts: 7139
    Loc: torrance, CA
    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    This thread is aimed at those people who are trying to make a choice for an (in some or many cases secondary) instrument, choosing from the top of the line cabinet offerings from Roland (HP-307), Yahama (CLP-380), Kawai (CA-93) and for comparison purposes for those with lots of money, the exciting new Yamaha AvandGrant(N2) with grand piano action.


    Journey,

    C'mon. You didn't arrive here yesterday on the back of the turnip truck. You ought to know by now that it's virtually impossible to aim at a specific segment of the membership in terms of eliciting responses, especially when you bait your net with colorful cultural invective. grin

    How long have you been sitting on the fence now about a replacement for that freebie Suzuki? Two years, three years?
    What's that all about anyway? Are you a conspiracy theorist?
    Are you more interested in shortcomings than what's actually good in a product? Are your playing skills too advanced for the current level of digital technology? Or are you continually thinking that the real breakthrough is just around the corner and you don't want to cast your lot too early?
    _________________________
    Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
    The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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    #1382564 - 02/25/10 10:07 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: turandot]
    theJourney Offline
    3000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 02/22/07
    Posts: 3946
    Loc: Banned
    Originally Posted By: turandot
    Or are you continually thinking that the real breakthrough is just around the corner and you don't want to cast your lot too early?


    That would be about it.

    I am sure glad that I didn't buy one last year.
    And, I am even more glad I didn't buy one two years ago.

    I am actually quite pleased to see that things seem to be moving again in the industry: improved actions, excursions into modeling, etc. I am very much looking forward to trying out Yamaha's CP line. If competition heats up between Yamaha, Roland, Kawai and Casio perhaps they will be forced to increase the consumer value of their offerings rather than following Yamaha's trick of milking us for every last cent they can for as long as they can on dumbed down products.

    Certainly I must be very close to pulling the trigger...certainly within the next three years.... ha

    I am thinking an instrument with the build quality of a CLP-380 or N2, with speakers optional, with the sound engine of a next or third generation VPiano with Pianoteq option and with a Kawai RM4 keybed...for under 2000 euros.

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    #1382575 - 02/25/10 10:18 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: turandot]
    Kawai James Online   content
    8000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 09/06/07
    Posts: 8858
    Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    I wonder if this can be modified by any setting on either instrument? Kawai James?


    Well, selecting a heavier touch curve setting (or creating your own user touch curve) would perhaps achieve a similar result - e.g. increasing the amount of force required to reach the maximum volume.

    Originally Posted By: turandot
    Or are you continually thinking that the real breakthrough is just around the corner and you don't want to cast your lot too early?


    I reckon theJourney is just waiting to see if Williams announce any new models at Frankfurt next month. wink

    Cheers,
    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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    #1382578 - 02/25/10 10:19 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: Kawai James]
    theJourney Offline
    3000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 02/22/07
    Posts: 3946
    Loc: Banned
    Originally Posted By: KAWAI James


    I reckon theJourney is just waiting to see if Williams announce any new models at Frankfurt next month. wink

    Cheers,
    James
    x


    Ouch.
    That
    really
    hurt
    .

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    #1382631 - 02/25/10 11:35 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: theJourney]
    mucci Offline
    1000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 01/29/10
    Posts: 1070
    Loc: Munich, Germany
    ...this one looks very nice indeed! ;-)

    _________________________
    <~ don't test forever - play and enjoy! ~>

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    #1382656 - 02/25/10 12:08 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: mucci]
    voxpops Offline
    3000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 03/20/07
    Posts: 3021
    Loc: Oregon
    Originally Posted By: kawaian
    ...this one looks very nice indeed! ;-)



    Hey, at least it's got a mod wheel.

    Maybe you can route it to gunshot sounds for Bach renditions grin
    _________________________
    Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
    http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

    https://soundcloud.com/richards-recordings/sets/strange-charm-waiting-for-the/s-ppGuy

    "can hardly wait to hear what voxpox has to say..."
    [HisKidd, May 2014]

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    #1382713 - 02/25/10 01:16 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: toyboy]
    ChrisA Offline
    3000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 12/28/08
    Posts: 3841
    Loc: Redondo Beach, California

    Quote:
    Two points please. Those of us blessed (or cursed) with sensitive and accurate hearing can't deal with a digital reproduction of acoustic sound no matter how "accurate" it is because focussing on accuracy misses part of what making music is about: human beings sitting at human made things that are based on natural things such as air, vibrations, etc.


    This comment, I think speaks to the current poor state of the art of DPs. As long as they just playing digital samples of another instrument they will, no matter how good they become remain imitations.

    Notice how no one ever says a Fender Rhodes or a CP80 is a poor imitation of a acoustic grand piano.

    I think the digital piano industry needs to get away from imitation and move on into the 21st century and get back to what piano builders have been doing for 300 years, making pianos that are BETTER than what had been built before.

    What would happen if acoustic piano makers had all tried to copy Cristofori's Fortepiano. Today we'd have nothing but poor imitations of a 300 year old design.

    Digital piano makers need to get off their collective butts and do what piano building have done for 300 years, make better pianos and not try to built imitations

    Notice that this HAS started to happen. It might take another 30 or 50 years.

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    #1382727 - 02/25/10 01:36 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: ChrisA]
    voxpops Offline
    3000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 03/20/07
    Posts: 3021
    Loc: Oregon
    Originally Posted By: ChrisA

    Quote:
    Two points please. Those of us blessed (or cursed) with sensitive and accurate hearing can't deal with a digital reproduction of acoustic sound no matter how "accurate" it is because focussing on accuracy misses part of what making music is about: human beings sitting at human made things that are based on natural things such as air, vibrations, etc.


    This comment, I think speaks to the current poor state of the art of DPs. As long as they just playing digital samples of another instrument they will, no matter how good they become remain imitations.

    Notice how no one ever says a Fender Rhodes or a CP80 is a poor imitation of a acoustic grand piano.

    I think the digital piano industry needs to get away from imitation and move on into the 21st century and get back to what piano builders have been doing for 300 years, making pianos that are BETTER than what had been built before.

    What would happen if acoustic piano makers had all tried to copy Cristofori's Fortepiano. Today we'd have nothing but poor imitations of a 300 year old design.

    Digital piano makers need to get off their collective butts and do what piano building have done for 300 years, make better pianos and not try to built imitations

    Notice that this HAS started to happen. It might take another 30 or 50 years.


    I agree. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone were to come up with a new "piano", digital or otherwise, that has it's own unique and beautiful tone to define OUR era? It's interesting that both the Rhodes and Wurlitzer were designed to solve problems pertaining mainly to the educational market and space/price considerations, and were not in themselves attempts to accurately recreate the piano sound. Perhaps it requires someone to approach the problem from a different perspective.

    That said, there is sense in providing DP facsimiles of existing "real" instruments that are too heavy/cumbersome/limited. The market size for DPs endorses that.
    _________________________
    Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
    http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

    https://soundcloud.com/richards-recordings/sets/strange-charm-waiting-for-the/s-ppGuy

    "can hardly wait to hear what voxpox has to say..."
    [HisKidd, May 2014]

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    #1382843 - 02/25/10 04:39 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: voxpops]
    mucci Offline
    1000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 01/29/10
    Posts: 1070
    Loc: Munich, Germany
    Originally Posted By: voxpops

    I agree. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone were to come up with a new "piano", digital or otherwise, that has it's own unique and beautiful tone to define OUR era?


    Actually I don't see the point. What you would like to have is already there: It's called Synthesizer... You have hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of new and exciting sounds to play with, there is lots of music out there that makes excessive use of those sounds, and you can even create your own sounds in a very creative way! It's just not what everyone wants.

    And actually my DP is not just an imitation of an AP, it has several unique selling points, to talk in marketing language: I can play it in the night, it has different piano sounds, I can add effects and ambience, I can somehow adjust the sound, and I have some additional sounds like EPs, harpsichord, guitar, organs etc. that are fun to play with. And I can record my music as a midi file and edit it on a computer, or print out music sheets. And I don't need to tune it. And...and...and...


    Edited by kawaian (02/25/10 04:42 PM)
    _________________________
    <~ don't test forever - play and enjoy! ~>

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    #1382845 - 02/25/10 04:40 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: ChrisA]
    mucci Offline
    1000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 01/29/10
    Posts: 1070
    Loc: Munich, Germany
    Originally Posted By: ChrisA

    Digital piano makers need to get off their collective butts and do what piano building have done for 300 years, make better pianos and not try to built imitations


    Whatever they can sell they will build. If there is any demand for such a thing, someone will "invent" it.
    _________________________
    <~ don't test forever - play and enjoy! ~>

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    #1382862 - 02/25/10 05:04 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: mucci]
    voxpops Offline
    3000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 03/20/07
    Posts: 3021
    Loc: Oregon
    Originally Posted By: kawaian
    Originally Posted By: voxpops

    I agree. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone were to come up with a new "piano", digital or otherwise, that has it's own unique and beautiful tone to define OUR era?


    Actually I don't see the point. What you would like to have is already there: It's called Synthesizer... You have hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of new and exciting sounds to play with, there is lots of music out there that makes excessive use of those sounds, and you can even create your own sounds in a very creative way! It's just not what everyone wants.

    And actually my DP is not just an imitation of an AP, it has several unique selling points, to talk in marketing language: I can play it in the night, it has different piano sounds, I can add effects and ambience, I can somehow adjust the sound, and I have some additional sounds like EPs, harpsichord, guitar, organs etc. that are fun to play with. And I can record my music as a midi file and edit it on a computer, or print out music sheets. And I don't need to tune it. And...and...and...


    I think the point is that instruments like the Rhodes, Wurli, Clavinet, Pianet were remarkable inventions created to overcome the limitations imposed by conventional piano design. They were not pianos and they were certainly not synthesizers, but they became iconic becasue of the character of the sound. I think DPs are wonderful for all the reasons you mention and am very happy to have access to them. But why say it has to be either a DP or a synthesizer? Electro-mechanical instruments were a fascinating development of the mid twentieth century; sampling/synthesis has been the hallmark of the last three decades; why not something new, now?
    _________________________
    Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
    http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

    https://soundcloud.com/richards-recordings/sets/strange-charm-waiting-for-the/s-ppGuy

    "can hardly wait to hear what voxpox has to say..."
    [HisKidd, May 2014]

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    #1382871 - 02/25/10 05:17 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: voxpops]
    Melodialworks Music Offline
    1000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 07/19/05
    Posts: 1309
    Loc: Canada
    Originally Posted By: voxpops


    Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone were to come up with a new "piano", digital or otherwise, that has it's own unique and beautiful tone to define OUR era?



    I think that is what Roland was attempting with the Vanguard sounds from V-Piano.
    _________________________
    Melodialworks Music
    Yamaha C3X
    Yamaha CP300 + Omnisphere
    Yamaha NU1 + Production Grand

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    #1382896 - 02/25/10 05:44 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: voxpops]
    mucci Offline
    1000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 01/29/10
    Posts: 1070
    Loc: Munich, Germany
    Originally Posted By: voxpops
    sampling/synthesis has been the hallmark of the last three decades; why not something new, now?


    There are many ways a syntheziser can operate and create their sounds, one of them is also physical modeling. So again, what's the point, it's all artificial/algorithmic creation of sound, you can immediately create your own very new sound with lots of variations and expressiveness. Many of the syntheziser sounds are now legendary because of their uniqueness. Everything is there, the boundary is just your imagination (and of course your ability to build algorithms / program sounds).


    Edited by kawaian (02/25/10 05:45 PM)
    _________________________
    <~ don't test forever - play and enjoy! ~>

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    #1382904 - 02/25/10 06:00 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: mucci]
    voxpops Offline
    3000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 03/20/07
    Posts: 3021
    Loc: Oregon
    Originally Posted By: kawaian

    Everything is there, the boundary is just your imagination (and of course your ability to build algorithms / program sounds).


    Yes, that's where things start to fall apart for me confused

    But it's not just the sound - it's the totality of the instrument as an expressive whole.
    _________________________
    Occasional author and inveterate ivory tickler:
    http://www.amazon.com/author/richardspanswick

    https://soundcloud.com/richards-recordings/sets/strange-charm-waiting-for-the/s-ppGuy

    "can hardly wait to hear what voxpox has to say..."
    [HisKidd, May 2014]

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    #1383810 - 02/27/10 02:47 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: voxpops]
    theJourney Offline
    3000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 02/22/07
    Posts: 3946
    Loc: Banned
    Well, there have been a number of other innovations, such as the Ondes Martenot from 1928 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy9UBjrUjwo , Roland's guitar shaped wearable keyboards http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4050620085533970495# and various instruments with knobs, tabs, levers, etc. One could argue that in the dance scene "composers" are writing and performing mostly by using just computer software and perhaps a couple of MIDI input devices.

    Given that our joints move our limbs in arcs rather than straight lines, I have always wondered about the possibility of an ergonomic keyboard coming about such as the arched ones one can by for a PC.

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    #1383875 - 02/27/10 08:24 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: theJourney]
    jbx Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 02/20/10
    Posts: 11
    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    Great contribution to the thread! Very helpful observations.




    Originally Posted By: jbx
    I am new to this forum, but today I tried the Kawai CA63 and Roland HP-307. Some time ago, I also tried the Yamaha CLP-380, but had no time today to try it. At that time I already found out I liked the Roland better than the Kawai, so I did not try it again today.


    Did you mean the Yamaha here? I am a bit confused what pianos you were actually comparing side by side at the same place and time each audition session.

    Yes, I meant the Yamaha indeed! First time I compared Yamaha to Roland at a store with no Kawais. Second session I compared Kawai and Roland, this store did not have Yamaha CLP.
    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    Originally Posted By: jbx

    Unfortunately, I did not find a store yet (close enough to me) that had the CA93, but since the only real difference between the CA63 and CA93 is the speaker system and let-off simulation, I think my comparison of the CA63 and HP-307 is relevant for this topic. I looked especially at the action, and a bit at the sound, mostly with headphones (that is why I think it is acceptable that I compare the CA63 instead of the CA93). Here I put some of my findings/thoughts/opinions, hopefully useful to somebody.

    Action:
    • Dynamic range: by this I do not mean the dynamic range of the output sound, because I suppose that can be controlled by a parameter in the software, but I am talking about the range of the physical velocity of the hammers that can be detected by the sensors. Velocities that are in reality higher, are all reported as the maximum velocity. One of the bigger problems of a DP in my opinion is that the maximum velocity is reached pretty easy by most DPs. For an acoustic piano, there is no such limit (until something breaks of course). I would like to measure this (I am a physicist), but was only able to compare qualitatively. My impression is that the Roland is the best one in this aspect: on the Roland, you need most physical force to reach the maximum velocity. I think this is good because it leaves more room for expressiveness.

    I wonder if this can be modified by any setting on either instrument? Kawai James?

    You can adjust the curves, but I am not sure if the maximum force needed for the highest velocity can be adjusted, I think most DP's only adjust the shape of the curve. But anyway, I tried both on the most heavy curve, and my impression still was that on the Roland you need more physical force to reach the highest velocity.
    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    Originally Posted By: jbx
  • Velocity control: I do not know how to call this, but I mention this, because I was a bit disappointed in the Kawai on this aspect. I found it harder to control the velocity with the Kawai. Some notes sounded louder than I intended, others too soft. Especially, the middle range in velocities was hard to control in my opinion. I tried all standard touch levels from light to heavy and also tried to use a custom curve, but I was not satisfied. Maybe after some more trials with custom curves this could be improved. I do not know if this is a hardware or software problem with the Kawai, or maybe it is a problem with me... or I should get used to it better. However, I do not have this problem with most acoustic piano's I think.
  • Touch: the new Kawai has the heaviest touch, also clearly heavier then the previous series of Kawai. I like this, but maybe this is because I am used to an acoustic with heavy touch. The Roland and Kawai do not differ much, I think the Roland is a bit heavier.

  • So, do you see the heaviness as
    1) Roland
    2) Kawai
    3) Yamaha ?

    No, I think
    1) Kawai
    2) Roland
    3) Yamaha
    That is, for the new Kawai CA63/93. The CA51/71/91 are lighter then the Roland I think.
    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    Originally Posted By: jbx
  • Key weight: I feel that something is not realistic about the key weight of the Roland and Yamaha's, but is realistic in the Kawai. I think it is the actual weight of the keys themselves (not the hammers). I noticed it most clearly by lightly 'tapping' the keys, with loose fingers. When a loose finger hits the key, the energy is transferred to the hammer, and the finger is almost stopped because of the collision with the key. At the moment the hammer is set in (fast) motion and the finger falls more slowly on the key, it is very noticeable in my opinion that the key itself is very light (Roland and Yamaha). It feels a bit bouncy and plasticy in this situation. The Kawai is superior in this aspect: I think the keys themselves are much heavier, which feels much more realistic. However, in normal play (except maybe for staccato) I did not notice this problem much when playing the Roland and Yamaha. I think because of the proper weight of the hammers, the keys appear to have a proper weight.
  • Summarizing: the Kawai feels more realistic and has a heavier touch (which I liked). The Roland has a better dynamic range and the velocities are easier to control.

    Sound:
    I think the Roland is clearly superior here. In my opinion the sound is more realistic and sounds more alive, although I cannot tell exactly why. One thing I noticed is that in the Roland sound you hear more realistic beats when multiple notes are hold for a longer time.

    Difference HP-307 and HP-305: slightly offtopic, but something I took a few minutes for and might interest some people: in my opinion the action of the PHAIII is only slightly better than the PHAII. I expected the difference to be bigger. The quality of the speaker system however was bigger than I expected. The speaker system of the HP-305 produced uneven results (some ranges too loud or sounding different), probably because of unwanted resonant frequencies.

    This morning I was pretty sure I would not be able to make a decision (again) and would lean towards the Kawai. But, to my surprise, I was able to make a clear decision for myself: I take the HP-307! The reason is that I liked the sound much better, and the keyboard gave me a feeling of better control (easier to control the velocities). Also, but less important to me, it has more options to fine tune the sound and better and more sounds. The only downside of the Roland in comparison to the Kawai is the slightly less realistic action, but the action of the Roland is satisfactory for me. However, if you are only interested in the most realistic action, then my advice is to go for the Kawai, and maybe use a software piano to be able to adjust the touch curve better and have better sounds.

    Edit: about the Yamaha: I think it is not a fair competition, because it is from one generation earlier. I am curious about what their next generation will bring...



    It is true that the product life cycles are not running synchronously, but we can only compare what is on the market. Last year, the Yamaha's were newly introduced models, and this year the Roland and Kawai. And, so it will continue.

    I am interested, assuming you will often use headphones and if you did not see too much difference between the PHAII keybed of the HP-305 and the PHAIII keybed of the HP-307, what made you want to spend the extra money on the HP-307? Here there is more than a 500 euro difference in price while both offer the Super Realistic Piano sound.


    Indeed, I had really big doubts about this choice. I chose for the 307 because:
    1. The PHAIII keybed is really a bit better than PHAII, I only found the difference smaller then expected, but it still is significant.
    2. The speakers and amplifier of the 307 are much better. I think I will be playing maybe 75% with headphones, but the other 25% is also important!
    3. The 307 has more settings that can be changed, which I like a lot, like the lid open/close (which is very realistically) and especially the equalizer.
    4. I think the 307 will have a better value to sell second hand after some years since it is the top model with better keybed.

    A few more remarks after playing a bit with my new HP-307: generally, I am very happy with it, especially with the sound generator and the keyboard action. Build quality looks also good. The only downside is that the speaker system is not superb. Of course I understand a really high end amplifier and speaker system would be too expensive. I noticed some resonance around 100Hz, but luckily I was able to correct it quite satisfactorily with the built-in equalizer. I also made the bass tones a bit software because I think they are a bit too loud on default.

    In my opinion, each manufacturer has its strong and weak points:

    Kawai: strong: keyboard action, weak: sound generation
    Roland: strong: sound generation weak: speaker system
    Yamaha: strong: speaker system, neutral: sound generation and keyboard action.


    Edited by jbx (02/27/10 08:25 AM)

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    #1383892 - 02/27/10 09:10 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: jbx]
    Kawai James Online   content
    8000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 09/06/07
    Posts: 8858
    Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
    Interesting post jbx, congratulations on the purchase of your new DP!

    Quote:
    In my opinion, each manufacturer has its strong and weak points:

    Kawai: strong: keyboard action, weak: sound generation
    Roland: strong: sound generation weak: speaker system
    Yamaha: strong: speaker system, neutral: sound generation and keyboard action.


    Therefore, if we were to assume that money is not an option, perhaps the best combination would be to MIDI the CA93 (keyboard) to the HP-307 (sound generator), then connect the output from the Roland to the CLP-380's line-in (speaker system).

    Cheers,
    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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    #1383921 - 02/27/10 10:35 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: jbx]
    theJourney Offline
    3000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 02/22/07
    Posts: 3946
    Loc: Banned
    Originally Posted By: jbx
    Kawai: strong: keyboard action, weak: sound generation
    Roland: strong: sound generation weak: speaker system
    Yamaha: strong: speaker system, neutral: sound generation and keyboard action.


    I wonder how the HP-307 would sound with some studio monitors added to the equation? 350 euros will be a pair of pretty decent monitors such as a pair of KRK Rokit R2s, bringing the total cost still 1500 euros less than the Yamaha CLP-380...

    If one is going to add something to the equation, then it seems more straightforward to just add a couple of speakers rather than having to hook up a PC with software to the Kawai.

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    #1383934 - 02/27/10 11:07 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: theJourney]
    mucci Offline
    1000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 01/29/10
    Posts: 1070
    Loc: Munich, Germany
    Originally Posted By: theJourney

    If one is going to add something to the equation, then it seems more straightforward to just add a couple of speakers rather than having to hook up a PC with software to the Kawai.


    Why is it a given that the sound generation of KAWAI is weak in any way? That's depending on the personal preference: I think it's very good sounding.
    _________________________
    <~ don't test forever - play and enjoy! ~>

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    #1384044 - 02/27/10 02:11 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: sullivang]
    hpeterh Offline
    500 Post Club Member

    Registered: 01/26/10
    Posts: 824
    Loc: Germany
    Originally Posted By: sullivang
    Originally Posted By: ChrisA

    Here is a question for a physicist: Do you think a keyboard action could be described by a small set of parameters?


    FWIW, here's some info on the piano action: http://www.ofai.at/cgi-bin/get-tr?paper=oefai-tr-2005-01.pdf but I don't think it answers your question. (stumbled on this when searching for repetition rate specifications)


    Here is something similar: http://www.speech.kth.se/music/5_lectures/askenflt/askenflt.html

    I stumbled upon this when searching for "fastest repetion rate piano" ;-)

    BTW, there is a very important paqram that can be measured easily: The Keystroke strengt for velocity 127.

    At the abovementioned artikle they say that for a real akustik piano keyvelocity rarely exceeds 1m/s.

    I have measured this for my Kawai CP136 piano and found 1.7m/s for velocity 126.

    How to measure this? Use a soft and stable cardboard, put it onto a key and let a hammer fall onto it. Measure the falling distance and calculate the velocity. I found 150mm.

    Ok, at a piano store they will probably prohibit you from doing this. So you must use your hands. Hand and arm in typical player position weight 750g, that is much more than the mass inertia of the key.
    Let them fall down totally relaxed. This should give values that can be compared.

    I find that falling distance is much more illustrative than velocity, so the falling distance should be used instead.

    For ff it should be between 1m/s repective 50mm falling distance and 2m/s respective 300mm falling distance.

    Peter
    _________________________
    1929 Galaxy Bl├╝thner Baby Grand
    acer aspire m3300 AMD Phenom II X6


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    #1384075 - 02/27/10 03:15 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: theJourney]
    dewster Offline
    4000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 12/07/09
    Posts: 4336
    Loc: Northern NJ
    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Well, there have been a number of other innovations, such as the Ondes Martenot from 1928 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy9UBjrUjwo

    Just a mono conventional keyboard with filters and crazy speaker effects, but it can have a continuous controller.

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Roland's guitar shaped wearable keyboards http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4050620085533970495#

    Just a conventional keyboard in a strange case with some other stuff attached.

    Originally Posted By: theJourney
    Given that our joints move our limbs in arcs rather than straight lines, I have always wondered about the possibility of an ergonomic keyboard coming about such as the arched ones one can by for a PC.

    We can't have new controllers - there is an unholy combination of at least three things preventing it:

    1) Backward compatibility to a large pre-existing user base - conventional keyboards are a known quantity, anyone that can play piano can do something on it. New controllers suffer from chicken/egg syndrome. So almost every controller looks, and can be played, like a piano or a guitar.

    2) Corporate culture isn't interested in employing unmanageable "rock star" engineers or designers who truly think outside their tiny, constrained little box. So they hire mediocre employees who will do anything to get the scratch to put their kids thru college and fund vacations, and do it in a generally lackluster manner. I've heard numerous managers say they prefer a bog-average employee that gets along to a difficult genius. Managers don't like it when people make them look like the generally unimaginative people they tend to be.

    3) MIDI bandwidth - to allow expressive input, one really needs some events happening at an audio sample rate of 40kHz or better. The MIDI BAUD rate is 1/32 of 1MHz, or 31.25kHz. The shortest message over this interface is two bytes, which translates into a <2kHz message rate. MIDI was a revolution when it came along, but IMO it's been holding controllers back for at least the last decade. And I'm not talking keyboard controllers here, it works fine for that generally. I'm talking guitar controllers and the like where playing must be somehow translated to MIDI, at which point lags are introduced, nuance is discarded, and all the life is wrung out of it.
    _________________________
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    #1384118 - 02/27/10 04:29 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: dewster]
    mucci Offline
    1000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 01/29/10
    Posts: 1070
    Loc: Munich, Germany
    Originally Posted By: dewster

    3) MIDI bandwidth


    That sounds interesting. Do you know why noone introduced a MIDI2 Specification, just like USB2, with backward compatibility?
    Or is there still no real need for a bigger bandwidth? On the other side, those controllers could be easily equipped with just USB and then connected to a PC. Most of the current keyboards have a USB connection anyway.
    _________________________
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    #1384131 - 02/27/10 04:54 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: mucci]
    dewster Offline
    4000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 12/07/09
    Posts: 4336
    Loc: Northern NJ
    Originally Posted By: kawaian
    Do you know why noone introduced a MIDI2 Specification, just like USB2, with backward compatibility?
    Or is there still no real need for a bigger bandwidth?

    MIDI was a boon to manufacturers and users, but these days I think manufacturers see it as an element that tends to commoditize their goods, which they are rightly averse to I suppose as commoditization exposes them to even more intense market forces, which drives down profits.

    We could really use a bidirectional audio / control stream that will play nice between manufacturers, but they don't seem interested in anything other than their own proprietary (and therefore useless, yet at the same time expensive to include in an instrument) implementations, such as Yamaha's mLAN. Maybe they think it will all shake out like the HD DVD wars, where the single company left standing & holding the patents wins. Meanwhile absolutely nothing happens.

    Everyone says markets will give us everything if we just let them - that if we want it bad enough someone will build it. I see markets, at least in this industry, as holding back innovation and lowering efficiency. PC solutions are absolutely murdering them, but they remain stuck in a deep rut, falling behind as they stand still. So people are left to their own devices, cobbling keyboards, PC hardware, piano software, and monitors together on their own.
    _________________________
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    #1387280 - 03/03/10 01:17 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: ChrisA]
    toyboy Offline
    Full Member

    Registered: 09/11/08
    Posts: 320
    Loc: Vermont
    Originally Posted By: ChrisA


    I think the digital piano industry needs to get away from imitation and move on into the 21st century and get back to what piano builders have been doing for 300 years, making pianos that are BETTER than what had been built before.

    (SNIP)

    Digital piano makers need to get off their collective butts and do what piano building have done for 300 years, make better pianos and not try to built imitations

    Notice that this HAS started to happen. It might take another 30 or 50 years.


    I can agree with this totally. I"m not at all sure what it would look like but it would be interesting, for instance, if a company like Steinway (or whomever) joined forces with a company like Yamaha (or whomever). Maybe a Prius of the piano world is what everyone would be happy(er) with.
    _________________________
    "Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."
    Gertrude Stein

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    #1387307 - 03/03/10 01:37 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: toyboy]
    dewster Offline
    4000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 12/07/09
    Posts: 4336
    Loc: Northern NJ
    Originally Posted By: toyboy
    I can agree with this totally. I"m not at all sure what it would look like but it would be interesting, for instance, if a company like Steinway (or whomever) joined forces with a company like Yamaha (or whomever). Maybe a Prius of the piano world is what everyone would be happy(er) with.

    The problem is, once a market is dominated by a few large manufacturers all real innovation grinds to a halt. You get a few new features here and there, but never anything revolutionary.

    Individuals or small groups drive all the real innovation happening these days.
    _________________________
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    THE RD-700NX Thread!
    DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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    #1387321 - 03/03/10 01:49 PM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: hpeterh]
    ChrisA Offline
    3000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 12/28/08
    Posts: 3841
    Loc: Redondo Beach, California
    Originally Posted By: hpeterh

    For ff it should be between 1m/s repective 50mm falling distance and 2m/s respective 300mm falling distance.

    Peter


    I think your either you calculation or your description of it is wrong.

    I think you are calulating the velocity of the object that strikes the piano key and not the velocity of the key. The two would be the same only if the key had zero mass and zero friction

    To know the key velocity you will have to measure it. I think you can measure it with a video camera. Place a vertical ruller with a millimetre scale near the key and shoot video of the key and ruler.

    I'm guessing they you calculation of a 1.7m/s hammer speed is about right for a 1.0m/s key velocity.

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    #1387854 - 03/04/10 06:42 AM Re: The "Official" Top of Line Digital Piano Playoff Thread [Re: ChrisA]
    sullivang Online   blank
    2000 Post Club Member

    Registered: 07/05/09
    Posts: 2187
    Loc: Sydney, Australia
    You might also be able to measure the velocity of the key roughly by recording it, and measuring the time delay between the instant your finger contacts the key, to the "clunk" of the key bottoming out. I've used this technique to produce very repeatable total key-contact to sound-from-speaker latency measurements.
    For key velocity measurement, it would be best to turn the sound of the piano off. (which I realise is impossible on an acoustic!) This method won't work if some part of the action makes a sound before the key bottoms out, though. (unless you can recognise the sound and make allowances for it)

    A mobile phone with a voice recording function works fine.

    Using the video method, you might have to have a few goes at it in order to get two frames of the key moving, I think. smile
    (60Hz video = 17ms inter-frame interval, and on my Kawai MP9000 I meausure about a 20ms time delay from key contact to key bottoming out, for a forte hit - ASSUMING that the clunk coincides with the key bottoming out) Actually, the video camera will probably need to be very sensitive (high ISO/fast shutter speed), otherwise I suspect the result will be too blurred to allow a measurement at all.

    EDIT: I've just done a calculation: playing a forte note (just one "F", I think - not "FFF" - definitely not 127 with the MP9000 on "normal" response), it's 0.6m/s. Key travel is about 12mm. I'm pretty sure the clunk on this digital piano coincides closely with the key bottoming out.

    Greg.


    Edited by sullivang (03/04/10 07:19 AM)

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