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#1370209 - 02/10/10 01:23 PM Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing?
Jamesdude Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/10/10
Posts: 19
I got really enthusiastic about piano in the last year and have done all of my practice on a weighted keyboard. Recently I started to wonder whether or not I'm equipping myself properly to be able to control the sound of a Grand.

I haven't played any grands at all in the last year, does anyone know if this would have an effect on my playing or if the technique will transfer across without any problems?

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#1370218 - 02/10/10 01:40 PM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Jamesdude]
BB Player Online   content


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2571
Loc: Not in Texas
If you have a good keyboard with weighted keys your technique will transfer without difficulty. There will be a brief period of adaptation but probably about the same as transferring from one piano to another or an upright to a grand.

I have a Kawai MP8 and an M&H BB and regularly move between the two.
_________________________
Greg

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#1370220 - 02/10/10 01:43 PM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: BB Player]
Jamesdude Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/10/10
Posts: 19
Thanks that's reassuring to know. I often get the feeling that my pieces lack the 'grandeur' I want them to have and am always unsure whether it's the keyboard or my playing.

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#1370228 - 02/10/10 01:51 PM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Jamesdude]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Jamesdude
I got really enthusiastic about piano in the last year and have done all of my practice on a weighted keyboard. Recently I started to wonder whether or not I'm equipping myself properly to be able to control the sound of a Grand.

I haven't played any grands at all in the last year, does anyone know if this would have an effect on my playing or if the technique will transfer across without any problems?


Every acoustic piano is different. Not just every make of piano but every piano.

So there is always some adjustment you have to learn to make. I've noticed that the better pianists can make the adjustment very quickly, in minutes or less. Those not so skilled are more dependent on perfect piano actions. So what I'm saying is that the transition is not seamless but this is not specific to digital pianos.

I'm a beginner too. I played for some number of months on an unweigted Roland Synth keyboard and finally moved to a weighted key DP at the end of last summer.

I remember the first time I tried to play the Kawai grand at school. My fingers moved but no sound, zero. So I figured out I really had to hit the keys a lot harder than I was used to. Just the opposite on a well-used upright I couldn't play anything put loud. It went from nothing to loud enough to be heard with a door shut well down the hallway with not much between.

So with my limited experience. I think the DP is just "too easy" and to good of an action to prepare you for the real world of older not so well maintained acoustic pianos.

The people who play on these older pianos learn to adapt and play very well on them.

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#1370786 - 02/11/10 08:32 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: ChrisA]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
It's very true that every acoustic piano is different.

Sometimes when people start talking about how DPs are unable to reproduce the touch of an acoustic piano, it leaves me wondering whether they're referring to an upright or grand; or a Pearl River or a Bosendorfer.

If you put a Yamaha CLP330 (which in portable version is P155) that comes with GH3 hammer action versus a Chinese or Korean piano, I would go for a Yamaha DP anytime.

The acoustic piano makers, and to a large extent, piano technicians are singing to the tune of acoustic pianos just to protect their trade.

As for Grand pianos, I'm not sure if the higher ends DPs have so far managed to come with the 'after touch' of a Grand, a touch that separates Grand from Uprights.

And when one listens to a CD recording of an acoustic piano versus a DP piano, how many of them can tell the difference ?




Edited by Cashley (02/11/10 08:36 AM)

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#1370801 - 02/11/10 09:30 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Cashley]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: Cashley
As for Grand pianos, I'm not sure if the higher ends DPs have so far managed to come with the 'after touch' of a Grand, a touch that separates Grand from Uprights.


I think the only way for DPs to have 100% the realism of the grand keyboard action is to actually put a real grand action in. In this respect, the Avant-Grand N2 and N3 has this real grand action.

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#1370808 - 02/11/10 09:43 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Volusiano]
Bart Kinlein Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 715
Loc: Maryland
I don't know about the really high-end software running on computers and using midi-interface with a keyboard, but a striking difference between my DP and acoustic (see below) is the fullness of the sound when a note or chord is played with the sustain pedal depressed. With the acoustic one hears lots of sympathetic resonances from the other free-to-vibrate strings. I don't get that at all with my DP.

There are many other differences as well, but basically I practice many hours on the DP using headphones (my wife is either practicing or asleep). I think the work transfers very well to the acoustic.


Edited by Bart Kinlein (02/11/10 09:45 AM)
_________________________
Steinway 1905 model A, rebuild started 2008, completed 2012
Yahama CVP-401
Will somone get my wife off the Steinway so I can play it!

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#1370815 - 02/11/10 09:50 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Volusiano]
trolls99 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/07
Posts: 110
Loc: Germany
I own a HP203 and am very happy with it. In my opinion, the keyboard and the sound are both fine and compare well to acoustic pianos. The major difference to me is the dynamics: playing loud or quiet is not the same as on a good acoustic. However, the newer DPs may do this better, and this is where the physical modelling (Pianoteq, GEM,Yamaha CP1, Roland V-piano) show their strength. Thus for learning purposes, one may wish to combine one's DP with Pianoteq.


Edited by trolls99 (02/11/10 09:51 AM)

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#1370816 - 02/11/10 09:53 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Bart Kinlein]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: Bart Kinlein
I don't know about the really high-end software running on computers and using midi-interface with a keyboard, but a striking difference between my DP and acoustic (see below) is the fullness of the sound when a note or chord is played with the sustain pedal depressed. With the acoustic one hears lots of sympathetic resonances from the other free-to-vibrate strings. I don't get that at all with my DP.


I wonder if there's a setting to turn on the sympathetic resonance that maybe you don't have set to on.

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#1371361 - 02/11/10 11:50 PM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Volusiano]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
Originally Posted By: Volusiano

I think the only way for DPs to have 100% the realism of the grand keyboard action is to actually put a real grand action in. In this respect, the Avant-Grand N2 and N3 has this real grand action.


Are you sure they have 'real' grand action ? Kind to offer a pic of Avant-Grand's real grand action ?

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#1371401 - 02/12/10 12:29 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Cashley]
Supernick5000 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/10
Posts: 30
Loc: Cleveland, OH
As someone who has a had a similar dilemma in the past, there is a noticeable difference from playing a real instrument vs programmed keys and pedals. But as the technology gets better it does a better job at simulating it but practice on a real piano is required to get good at it. The other posters are correct in that the touch is different from one piano to another but I would say that all pianos are closer in touch to one another than any digital to real piano. There is no getting around the fact that you'll have to practice on a real piano from time to time and hopefully frequently in order to be able to properly the hone your expressiveness on the instrument. Of course depending on the type of music you play strongly affects the need for said expressiveness. If classical, New Age and even some Pop and R&B expression can be very important in delivering the music effectively. I would recommend playing a real acoustic piano whenever possible to get used to how it feels, plays and responds.
_________________________
Steinway K-52

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#1371411 - 02/12/10 12:40 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Cashley]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Cashley
Originally Posted By: Volusiano

I think the only way for DPs to have 100% the realism of the grand keyboard action is to actually put a real grand action in. In this respect, the Avant-Grand N2 and N3 has this real grand action.


Are you sure they have 'real' grand action ? Kind to offer a pic of Avant-Grand's real grand action ?


Take a look here:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1311681/1.html

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#1371468 - 02/12/10 01:56 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: theJourney]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
^^^ Thanks, theJourney. You read my mind. That'd be the thread I'd post up. In fact, it's the only detailed picture I could find, other than the tiny picture on the www.avant-grand.com website below



In the big picture of the N2 (posted again below from the thread by Alden for reference), you can see the row of hammer shanks, the white hammer head with the cylindrical metal weights to simulate the hammer heads' weights. You can also see the backcheck with the yellow and red material. You can also see the hammer shank rest post and rest cushion part of the wippen. You can't see the rest of the action very clearly because they're hidden underneath the hammer shanks, but rest assured that they're there.

On the little N3 picture above, you can see what appears to be the shank stoppers above the hammer shanks that you can't see on the N2 picture because the top part was removed. In a real piano, the hammer heads strike the strings. But in the AG, the hammer shanks strike the shank stoppers as a substitute for the action of the hammer head striking the string because there are no strings. As such, you don't see or need any of the dampening mechanism either.

I think the AG uses laser for their non-contact key sensors because if I peek a little bit into the keys from the outside, I can see what appears to be red laser beams on the inside just beyond the keys. So the non-contact laser sensors should put no pressure or has any effect on the keys' action, but should be very accurate at registering the timing and sensitivities of the touches on the keyboard.

It's also interesting to mention that the N2 is the only upright piano design ever that has a real grand action available. You won't find any acoustic upright piano that can boast having a grand keyboard action.


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#1371491 - 02/12/10 03:07 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Supernick5000]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
Originally Posted By: Supernick5000
but I would say that all pianos are closer in touch to one another than any digital to real piano.


It really depends on the range of pianos that are put on comparison. The positive nuance associated with acoustic pianos must not be applied cart blanche to 'all' acoustic pianos.

If I were put a Yamaha YDP in between a Yamaha (or Kawai) and China made acoustic, blindfold you in the process I'm sure you will prefer the touch of a Yamaha YDP over a China made acoustic.

Quote:

There is no getting around the fact that you'll have to practice on a real piano from time to time and hopefully frequently in order to be able to properly the hone your expressiveness on the instrument.


Again, it really depends on individual pianos. The action mechanism in grand is different from an upright, and just this alone you can be sure that the touch will be different.

Sometimes we get too caught up with the term 'acoustic' that we forget there are poor acoustic pianos that will derail your expressiveness.

There is no magic involved in the touch of an acoustic. The touch can be adjusted by manually by twisting the front rail pin, balance pin, capstan screw, jack spring etc. It's estimation more than anything else.




Edited by Cashley (02/12/10 04:14 AM)

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#1371495 - 02/12/10 03:11 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Volusiano]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
Thank you for posting the pics of AG.

The only problem is we couldn't get a 'cross-section' view of the individual action mechanism. It may have the appearance of a grand action, but it's the function of individual components within the action that determines if it's really a grand action.

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#1371507 - 02/12/10 03:49 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Cashley]
mucci Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/29/10
Posts: 1070
Loc: Munich, Germany
Just to get a more complete picture here, I would like to contribute the new RM3 action of KAWAI CA-63 and CA-93 which is more in the price range of many of us. Unfortunately I haven't tried the N2, but KAWAI seems to be quite close to a real grand action. See picture below for a comparison of real acoustic grand action and RM3. I really like the action of my CA-63!



Here's a link to the original (bigger) illustration from KAWAI homepage:

RM3 action




Edited by kawaian (02/12/10 03:50 AM)
_________________________
<~ don't test forever - play and enjoy! ~>

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#1371519 - 02/12/10 04:52 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Cashley]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Cashley
Thank you for posting the pics of AG.

The only problem is we couldn't get a 'cross-section' view of the individual action mechanism. It may have the appearance of a grand action, but it's the function of individual components within the action that determines if it's really a grand action.


It is essentially based on the same action in a Yamaha C3 Silent instrument which also uses a similar technique to stop the hammer. There is no doubt that it is a real action from a real piano company.

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#1371520 - 02/12/10 04:54 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: mucci]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: kawaian
Just to get a more complete picture here, I would like to contribute the new RM3 action of KAWAI CA-63 and CA-93 which is more in the price range of many of us. Unfortunately I haven't tried the N2, but KAWAI seems to be quite close to a real grand action. See picture below for a comparison of real acoustic grand action and RM3. I really like the action of my CA-63!



Here's a link to the original (bigger) illustration from KAWAI homepage:

RM3 action




I can't wait to try this new action!

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#1371525 - 02/12/10 05:20 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: theJourney]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
When you combine the Avant Grand N3's authentic grand piano action with the tactile feedback provided,

you have the best replication of the experience of playing an acoustic grand piano (minus the tuning issues) that you will find anywhere.

Imagine said piano with the CP-1's piano engine....another level again!


Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1371540 - 02/12/10 06:14 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: snazzyplayer]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
The problem with the Avant Grand is that you could buy a Yamaha Baby Grand (or a pretty good upright) and a very good DP as well for the same money (and probably have some change left)!



Edited by John_B (02/12/10 06:26 AM)

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#1371541 - 02/12/10 06:14 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: snazzyplayer]
mucci Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/29/10
Posts: 1070
Loc: Munich, Germany
Just to be curious: Can't you buy both of them and then use N2 as a master keyboard only (ouch!) and feed the sound from the CP-1 into N2 using Line-In? Or is there more within N2 that can't be reproduced by just inputting an external sound source?

Would be an expensive solution anyway...
_________________________
<~ don't test forever - play and enjoy! ~>

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#1371545 - 02/12/10 06:40 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: John_B]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: John_B
The problem with the Avant Grand is that you could buy a Yamaha Baby Grand (or a pretty good upright) and a very good DP as well for the same money (and probably have some change left)!


Really??? I just looked up the Fine book and the cheapest Yamaha 5'3" grand (GC1M) is around $20K SMP, while the AG N3 is around $15.7K SMP. A good DP is probably easily around $3K and up street price. So how does the math work out for you? $23K (GC1M + good DP) vs $15.7K (N3)?

Now the N2 isn't in the current version of the Fine book that I can see, but we know it's $15K list so it'd be $11,775 SMP if you use the same SMP/MSRP ratio from the N3. Now the math is looking even better with an N2...

And these SMPs are on the high side. The street prices should be a bit less, even.

I wouldn't even compare the N2 upright to an acoustic upright because I think the N2 is superior to acoustic uprights in 2 very important ways. First of all, it has a real grand action keyboard. No acoustic upright can ever claim this. Secondly, although its design is in the upright form, its sampled sound is identical to the N3, which is sampled off of the Yamaha CFIIIS concert grand. I'll take a very good sampled concert grand sound over an acoustic upright sound any day of the week.

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#1371549 - 02/12/10 06:47 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: mucci]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: kawaian
Just to be curious: Can't you buy both of them and then use N2 as a master keyboard only (ouch!) and feed the sound from the CP-1 into N2 using Line-In? Or is there more within N2 that can't be reproduced by just inputting an external sound source?

Would be an expensive solution anyway...


I would just wait until Yamaha replaces (or combines) the sampled sound engine from the Avant-Grand with the CP1 sound engine, and keep everything else the same (grand action, TRS, sound setup), like Snazzy implied, in a future version of the AG. That would be way cool. Buying both a current CP1 and N2 for the feel and the sound engine is kinda klunky and non-ideal.

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#1371727 - 02/12/10 12:07 PM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Bart Kinlein]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Bart Kinlein
I don't know about the really high-end software running on computers and using midi-interface with a keyboard, but a striking difference between my DP and acoustic (see below) is the fullness of the sound when a note or chord is played with the sustain pedal depressed. With the acoustic one hears lots of sympathetic resonances


I think the newer Yamaha DPs such as the P155 have sympathetic resonances Although we can argue about how realistic it sounds. On the P155 the featue can be enabled or disabled and the effect's relative volume can be adjusted along a 1 to 20 scale. You don't need "really high end" software

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#1371739 - 02/12/10 12:23 PM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: ChrisA]
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
I think the newer Yamaha DPs such as the P155 have sympathetic resonances Although we can argue about how realistic it sounds.

i don't think P155 has sympathetic resonance/string resonance. it has key-off sampling and damper resonance only.

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#1371782 - 02/12/10 01:05 PM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Volusiano]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
Really??? I just looked up the Fine book and the cheapest Yamaha 5'3" grand (GC1M) is around $20K SMP, while the AG N3 is around $15.7K SMP. A good DP is probably easily around $3K and up street price. So how does the math work out for you? $23K (GC1M + good DP) vs $15.7K (N3)?


In the UK you can get a Yamaha GB1K for £7,000 and, say, a Kawai CA63 for £2,100, totalling £9,100. These are advertised prices so one can probably whittle them down a bit. I can't find any prices for the N2/N3 advertised online but I have heard of £12,500 quoted to someone who enquired about an N2).

Originally Posted By: Volusiano
Secondly, although its design is in the upright form, its sampled sound is identical to the N3, which is sampled off of the Yamaha CFIIIS concert grand. I'll take a very good sampled concert grand sound over an acoustic upright sound any day of the week.


Just because the samples come from a Yamaha CFIIIS doesn't mean that, when reproduced by the N2/N3 sound system, the AG sounds anything like the original source, or any 'real' instrument come to that, since the piano is one of the most difficult instruments to faithfully reproduce in an audio system (people spend tens of thousands trying to do so).

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#1371801 - 02/12/10 01:22 PM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: BB Player]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: BB Player
If you have a good keyboard with weighted keys your technique will transfer without difficulty. There will be a brief period of adaptation but probably about the same as transferring from one piano to another or an upright to a grand.


This post makes the most sense of all.

Right on the money. thumb

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1371861 - 02/12/10 02:28 PM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: John_B]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: John_B
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
Really??? I just looked up the Fine book and the cheapest Yamaha 5'3" grand (GC1M) is around $20K SMP, while the AG N3 is around $15.7K SMP. A good DP is probably easily around $3K and up street price. So how does the math work out for you? $23K (GC1M + good DP) vs $15.7K (N3)?


In the UK you can get a Yamaha GB1K for £7,000 and, say, a Kawai CA63 for £2,100, totalling £9,100. These are advertised prices so one can probably whittle them down a bit. I can't find any prices for the N2/N3 advertised online but I have heard of £12,500 quoted to someone who enquired about an N2).


I guess pricing in the UK maybe different. But it should still be relevant to use SMP pricing on the Larry Fine book for comparison purpose in this discussion so that everything is apple to apple comparison, and you don't mix actual quoted price vs street price vs SMP, etc. The Yamaha GB1K is between $12.6K to $15K SMP in the Fine book. I don't see the Kawai CA-63 listed on the Fine book, but the CA51 is listed there for around $3K. So you add $12.6K to $3K and you get $15.6K, right around the price of an N3. An N2 at $11.8K SMP is still cheaper than the GB1K and the Kawai CA51 combined.

I would still much rather have the N3 than the GB1K and a $3K DP combined because I don't want to pay $300/year to have the GB1K tuned, which can add up to another $3K in 10 years. And I get to use the same 100% real grand action 100% of the time, and not have to keep adjusting back and forth between the feel of a GB1K and that of a DP action.

Originally Posted By: John_B
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
Secondly, although its design is in the upright form, its sampled sound is identical to the N3, which is sampled off of the Yamaha CFIIIS concert grand. I'll take a very good sampled concert grand sound over an acoustic upright sound any day of the week.


Just because the samples come from a Yamaha CFIIIS doesn't mean that, when reproduced by the N2/N3 sound system, the AG sounds anything like the original source, or any 'real' instrument come to that, since the piano is one of the most difficult instruments to faithfully reproduce in an audio system (people spend tens of thousands trying to do so).


Well, I'm not comparing how the N3/N2 sounds against its source, the CFIIIS, although I think Yamaha did a very good job at trying to reproduce the source in this case. I'm just saying that I'll take a very good sample grand sound over an acoustic upright sound any time, because acoustic upright sound is generally very limiting, especially in the bass notes.

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#1374345 - 02/15/10 02:50 AM Re: Learning classical music on a keyboard - What am I missing? [Re: Volusiano]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
Originally Posted By: kawaian
Just to be curious: Can't you buy both of them and then use N2 as a master keyboard only (ouch!) and feed the sound from the CP-1 into N2 using Line-In? Or is there more within N2 that can't be reproduced by just inputting an external sound source?

Would be an expensive solution anyway...


I would just wait until Yamaha replaces (or combines) the sampled sound engine from the Avant-Grand with the CP1 sound engine, and keep everything else the same (grand action, TRS, sound setup), like Snazzy implied, in a future version of the AG. That would be way cool. Buying both a current CP1 and N2 for the feel and the sound engine is kinda klunky and non-ideal.


In general, it is good advice to " just wait " and not buy the first iteration of a given product, whether the VPiano the Avant Grand or whatever. I do hope, however, that many people do buy them in order to encourage the manufacturers to continue to innovate and come up with new and improved products. The next few years promise to continue to be very interesting ones. I plan on buying something this year, but probably not to keep it for more than two or three years. Let's hope that Yamaha, Roland, Kawai and Casio all commit to this business and compete the helloutof each other.

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Chord changes to 'Sixty Years On'
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08/20/14 06:43 PM
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08/20/14 04:59 PM
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