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#1377066 - 02/18/10 04:13 AM Does a 5k upright offer a lot over a nice upper midrange DP?
Bunneh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 399
Loc: Berlin
Hi all,

I know the acoustic vs. digital debate is a complete minefield, and I'm really not trying to find out which is "better" in some way. But here's my situation:

I currently have a Roland HP-203 with high-end headphones (Senn HD600) and love the sound of it. I've always planned to buy a nice Grand in the next 2-3 years (playing for 1.5 years now) and keep this digital around for nighttime, hideous-sounding technique and fingering practice, scales etc. - Out of respect for my neighbors and significant other.

But my living circumstances have changed, and I won't have room for a Grand for another 4-5 years and I don't think I'll be happy with only the DP in this time, as I really think my teacher's Boston grand has so much more potential.

So I'm thinking of buying a decent but not high-end upright to last me the next 4 years. Something like a Kawai K-6, Haessler 124, Yamaha YUS5, etc. Preferably used, so I don't take too much of a hit when selling it again in a few years. It doesn't really matter if it's closer to 5k or 10k.

... but! I've always heard how much more refined Grands are compared to uprights, and am wondering if the DP doesn't have a nicer sound overall, even if it's digital. Is a "real" but unsatisfying sound compared to the sampled Steinway which I really love in my HP-203 still something one can fall in love with? Does a $5k upright offer enough dynamic range and Grand-like touch to be a serious leap in practice *quality* over a digital which satisfies me?

Opinions please and thanks in advance for reading my wall of text!
_________________________
aim for the moon - if you miss, at least you'll be among the stars.

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#1377078 - 02/18/10 04:36 AM Re: Does a 5k upright offer a lot over a nice upper midrange DP? [Re: Bunneh]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
I wouldn't go for these big acoustic uprights if you are going bigger because it might be better for technique. A K3 or a U1 would be just fine and there is a good used market for these pianos that could allow you to both find a nicely priced used one and sell it again later without a great loss.

You will find yourself drawn to playing your acoustic at times of the day when it is possible and you will find your playing on your teacher's Boston grand improved and going faster.

Finally, if your horizon for buying a grand really has to do with living space rather than economics, you might be surprised how you can fit a grand into a small space and a space not so much larger than an upright, especially an upright not placed directly against a wall. If you have the money, you could consider getting a grand sooner rather than later. For example, a Kawai RX-2: good value for money, nice sound, great action allowing you to articulate to your heart's desire, etc. On the piano forum you can read about the most improbably large grand pianos fit into smallish rooms to the delight of the owner/player.

Life is short. Treat yourself to an acoustic grand piano with a good action. Alternating between it and your Roland will be illuminating and pleasurable. Who knows what the future will bring and where you will be in five years? If you buy the grand now, you can enjoy it for the next five years and no one can take that experience away from you!

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#1377146 - 02/18/10 07:37 AM Re: Does a 5k upright offer a lot over a nice upper midrange DP? [Re: theJourney]
aristharcus Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 12
Loc: Oviedo, Spain
Last Saturday I was testing some DPs at the store before ordering a new Yamaha CLP-370. First I tried a CLP-330 and then, just for comparing, I went directly to test an acoustic Yamaha P-121 (around 6,000 Euros list price in Spain). What a surprise. The P-121 was better but not “a lot” better and in any case NOT 4,000 Euros better. After 20 years since I bought my Clavinova CLP-360 I realized that the evolution of DPs has been enormous.

My point of view is that it’s difficult to justify the price of an upright acoustic piano when compared to the recent developments in high-end digital pianos. If I were in your shoes, I would go directly for the grand. That’s another league.
_________________________
Actual piano: Yamaha CLP-370
------------------------------------------
Currently working on:
Chopin’s Nocturne Op.9 No.2 (final polishing)
Chopin’s Nocturne Op.27 No.1 (about 25% of it)
Chopin’s Waltz Op.69 No.2 (about 15% of it)

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#1377151 - 02/18/10 07:45 AM Re: Does a 5k upright offer a lot over a nice upper midrange DP? [Re: aristharcus]
Bunneh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 399
Loc: Berlin
Thanks for the great answers so far, guys!

I used my lunch break to check the Bechstein House here in Berlin and the uprights didn't really captivate me. The Bechstein Classic 124 was nice, but costs as much as a RX-3, and it didn't really blow me away, especially at €16k new. The A-228 Grand on the other hand... whistle

The problem with space is also somewhat serious, we live in a 2-room apartment and the Grand would have to fit into the 22m² (230 sq.ft.)living room along with a 3-person couch, a 50" plasma AND my digital...

I don't see how that would be possible and even if it were, how that would be fair towards the missus.

Going to check out some more uprights before making any kind of decision, but it's not looking good.
_________________________
aim for the moon - if you miss, at least you'll be among the stars.

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#1377158 - 02/18/10 07:55 AM Re: Does a 5k upright offer a lot over a nice upper midrange DP? [Re: Bunneh]
aristharcus Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 12
Loc: Oviedo, Spain
>>>
The Bechstein Classic 124 was nice, but costs as much as a RX-3, and it didn't really blow me away, especially at €16k new
>>>

Exactly, this is the problem. To really appreciate a quantum leap from a good DP you need to spend some strong money.

With your available space I understand very well your requirements. How about testing a CLP-380, or, at the risk of needing to open a umbrella, what about testing a Yamaha Avantgrand N-3?

Viele Grüsse aus Spanien smile
_________________________
Actual piano: Yamaha CLP-370
------------------------------------------
Currently working on:
Chopin’s Nocturne Op.9 No.2 (final polishing)
Chopin’s Nocturne Op.27 No.1 (about 25% of it)
Chopin’s Waltz Op.69 No.2 (about 15% of it)

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#1377213 - 02/18/10 09:42 AM Re: Does a 5k upright offer a lot over a nice upper midrange DP? [Re: aristharcus]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: aristharcus
>>>what about testing a Yamaha Avantgrand N-3?


If space is an issue and you want the action of a real grand, the upright N2 has the same real grand action as the N3 and the same CFIIIS sampled sound like the N3, but in a small, upright design. It's going to be more than $5K, however. But since it's a digital, maybe you can sell your old digital to add to the fund to shoot for the N2.

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#1377218 - 02/18/10 09:49 AM Re: Does a 5k upright offer a lot over a nice upper midrange DP? [Re: Volusiano]
Bunneh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 399
Loc: Berlin
The N2 is actually an interesting option I hadn't considered, but a) I can't sell it to fund the eventual grand because I need a digital too and it won't hold it's value that well and b) The list price is €11k, which is really a bit too much for what it is... (To me, without having played one)
_________________________
aim for the moon - if you miss, at least you'll be among the stars.

Top
#1377228 - 02/18/10 10:02 AM Re: Does a 5k upright offer a lot over a nice upper midrange DP? [Re: Bunneh]
turandot Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7141
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Bunneh
Hi all,

I know the acoustic vs. digital debate is a complete minefield


What makes you think that? grin

Quote:
I currently have a Roland HP-203 with high-end headphones (Senn HD600) and love the sound of it. I've always planned to buy a nice Grand in the next 2-3 years (playing for 1.5 years now)


I would take it from that statement that your desire for a grand piano is not based on your technique being limited by anything short of that. It's an itch that will be there even if you scratch it momentarily with an uppercrust vertical that has plenty of dynamic response, a big menu of timbres, and more than enough headroom to grow as a player. Factor in also that the sound of an acoustic in your living environment (especially in the case of a vertical) will be an unknown variable until it arrives there whereas the sound of your digital through good phones is dependable wherever it is.

If you were just looking for something on which to accelerate your learning curve as a player I would advise you to get a good used U series Yamaha, K series Kawai, or Euro-made equivalent. Any of those would supply you a very workable two-piano solution to become proficient on both digitals and acoustics. However, from reading your post, my instinct tells me you've got the grand fever and that your situation is not based on practicality. Unless the fever goes away on its own, you'll be trading out until you have one. On every trade-out of a new acoustic you'll lose significant money.
_________________________
Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1377245 - 02/18/10 10:20 AM Re: Does a 5k upright offer a lot over a nice upper midrange DP? [Re: Bunneh]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Originally Posted By: Bunneh
The N2 is actually an interesting option I hadn't considered, but a) I can't sell it to fund the eventual grand because I need a digital too and it won't hold it's value that well and b) The list price is €11k, which is really a bit too much for what it is... (To me, without having played one)


I wouldn't worry about list prices for now and just try both the N3 and N2 out for comparison purposes so you know all your options. Who knows, maybe you'll like the N3 enough to consider it as a long term alternative to an acoustic grand. That way, you won't have to worry about selling anything and losing money when you move to a bigger space. If you buy an acoustic upright for now, you'd still have to sell it later, and I doubt if acoustic uprights hold their values very well either.

Although it's a grand design, the N3 very compact at only 4 feet long (1.2m) that you may be able to fit in your apartment if you sell your current digital (since you wouldn't need it anymore) to reclaim some more space.



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