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#1404234 - 03/26/10 12:12 PM Life span of a digital piano
Bech Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/10
Posts: 847
Loc: Indiana
I've read that an acoustic piano has a life span of about 50 years and, perhaps, the first 10 years are it's best. Of course you can have them completely restored at great cost.

What is the life span of the average digital piano? What's it's mechanical weak points? I would assume the better digitals can be restored but not sure.

Bech
_________________________
Music. One of man's greatest inventions. And...for me, the piano expresses it best.

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#1404243 - 03/26/10 12:32 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Bech]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

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

What is the life span of the average digital piano? What's it's mechanical weak points? I would assume the better digitals can be restored but not sure.


Digital pianos are more like computers and cell phones.
What is the life span of a computer? It might last 25 years but who'd want a 25 year old computer?

It's the same with a digital piano. There are many 10 year old DPs that no one wants that can't be sold for a third of their new price The "problem" (if it is a problem) is that the technology moves fast and the digital pianos get better every year. So you buy one and use it for five years and it still works fine but you notice the new ones sound so much better and the price is affordable so you replace your perfectly working piano with a new one. The same way you replace your computer or cell phone, not because they break.

Typically you can sell a DP for half the price you paid if you don't keep it for too long. 3 to 5 year old DPs are still sellable. At 10 years they practically have to be given away

I think this is one of the big advantages of digtal -- they are NOT a lifetime investment and keeping up with the advancing state of the art is reasonably affordable. Buy something inexpensive an as your skills improve then you can move up

Digital pianos are a new technology. Pianos are now centuries old while DPs are decades old. Maybe in 100 years digital technology will become mature and the rate of change will decrease.

There is no incentive to refurbish a digital, an older DP that has been re-built to like new specs (if this could even be done) would have very little economic value.



Edited by ChrisA (03/26/10 12:48 PM)

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#1404246 - 03/26/10 12:34 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Bech]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3185
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: Bech
I've read that an acoustic piano has a life span of about 50 years and, perhaps, the first 10 years are it's best. Of course you can have them completely restored at great cost.

What is the life span of the average digital piano? What's it's mechanical weak points? I would assume the better digitals can be restored but not sure.

Bech

The lifespan of a digital piano is basically until the technology changes sufficiently to make it obsolete (5 years?). Other than that, a lot will depend on how you play it. Usually, a DP has many plastic components, particularly in the keys, that are subject to cracking with heavy use and age. Circuit components will also give out, eventually. As for restoration, I doubt it would be worth it for most DPs, particularly once off-the-shelf parts are no longer available. It's a computer, and probably should be regarded as such for the purpose of determining age and repair viability.
_________________________
"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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#1404299 - 03/26/10 01:35 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: voxpops]
AndyT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/09
Posts: 120
Loc: Cambridge, UK
I guess the thing to do is not look or play with new dps. Or stop reading this forum. :o).

I guess if your dp has midi connections, you should be able to upgrade the sound easily enough. Upgrading the feel may be more costly..

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#1404319 - 03/26/10 02:05 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: AndyT]
MarcoM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 246
Originally Posted By: AndyT
I guess if your dp has midi connections, you should be able to upgrade the sound easily enough. Upgrading the feel may be more costly..


the annoying thing is that older DPs especially have on/off pedals, so even if they have MIDI you still can't get the full experience from things like pianoteq that models partial pedaling etc.

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#1404338 - 03/26/10 02:41 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: MarcoM]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

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

the annoying thing is that older DPs especially have on/off pedals, so even if they have MIDI you still can't get the full experience from things like pianoteq that models partial pedaling etc.


You can buy a MIDI pedal controller to replace the simple on/off switch.

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#1404402 - 03/26/10 03:56 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Bech]
MacMacMac Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 4054
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: Bech
I've read that an acoustic piano has a life span of about 50 years and, perhaps, the first 10 years are it's best. Of course you can have them completely restored at great cost.

What is the life span of the average digital piano? What's it's mechanical weak points? I would assume the better digitals can be restored but not sure.
Plenty of people here have talked about their old, old digital pianos ... still working.

The most likely points of failure are probably the keyboard contacts. Plenty of people here have asked for advice on how to do repair on them. (It's probably worth doing on an expensive piano, but not on the low-price models.)

Other than that, expect a long life from a digital.

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#1404476 - 03/26/10 06:11 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: ChrisA]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 791
When comparing DP vs AP, you can bring up a lot of factors, but the most misleading factor that can be used to compare these 2 types is obsolescence.

If obsolescence is in terms of "want", meaning I "want" the newer and better DPs because of quick technology changes, then that's an older DP vs newer DP comparison, it's not a DP vs acoustic comparison anymore. If anything, if one "wants" a DP over an acoustic even though it doesn't sound or feel as good as the acoustic, that means all the other factors have already trumped over the acoustic, hence made the acoustic already "obsolete" in the eye of the DP buyer. So why bother say that the DP will be obsolete faster?

And if the "want" is as in having a simple use model of just playing the piano, neither the DP or acoustic will be obsolete in their life time because this use model will never change. If you're happy with playing piano on your acoustic 50 years later, why wouldn't you be happy with playing piano the same way on your digital 50 years later?

If obsolescence is in terms of depreciation rate when you want to sell, I would have to say you need to factor in maintenance cost for the acoustic, too. For example, if you buy a DP for $10K and it depreciates 50% 5 years later, you're out $5K when you sell. But if you buy a $10K acoustic and it depreciates 25% in 5 years, you're out $2.5K. But add in about $1.5K of maintenance over 5 years (at $300/year) for the acoustic, you're out $4K. So the difference is not that much. And don't forget that maintenance cost for an acoustic is never-ending until the end of life of the acoustic, and is going no-where but up in terms of labor cost. So the longer you own the acoustic, the more the total cost of ownership is.

And note that most high end DPs today, with the exception of the Avant-Grand, are not in the $10K range in the first place. Most are in the $5K range. So because the DP is usually much cheaper than the AP in the first place, higher depreciation still doesn't mean you lose out more money when you want to sell. So even though people know that DPs may depreciate faster, they still tend to pick a DP over an AP because they can usually find a DP (that keeps them happy enough) for a much lower price than an AP anyway.

If you're trying to chose between DP or AP, you're probably already are leaning toward one or the other based on many things. People who are inclined toward DPs tend to care more about things like no maintenance and volume control, while people inclined toward APs tend to care more about sound and feel. So the people inclined toward DPs will probably go with a DP anyway despite the depreciation issue. The people inclined toward APs will probably buy an AP anyway because they can afford the higher price and higher maintenance, and depreciation is probably an academic justification to them, but not a key factor in their choice.

The bottom line to me is that obsolescence is not really a big issue in the DP vs AP debate like some people make it out to be. If a buyer uses it as the swaying vote, he/she really totally misses out on the other much more important points that should be key to their decision.

As for the life span of a digital piano in terms of its reliability for being fully functional, DPs and electronic keyboards have already been around for the last 30 years or so, and I'm sure many of them still work fine. So I wouldn't worry about them having a short life span and breaking down too soon while you own them.

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#1404495 - 03/26/10 06:34 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Volusiano]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Yeah, that's why we all are still watching our 9 inch black and white, rabbit ear television sets in our bedrooms. lol

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#1404502 - 03/26/10 06:40 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: theJourney]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 791
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Yeah, that's why we all are still watching our 9 inch black and white, rabbit ear television sets in our bedrooms. lol

If you want to use this analogy, I'd have the say that your 9 inch B/W rabbit ear TV set is the acoustic, and the 42" HD color LCD TV today is the DP, lol.

How about a few more analogies? Vinyl records vs today's MP3 player? The VHS/Beta VCR vs today's BlueRay DVD player? Yesterday's black & white film camera vs today's 10 megapixels color digital SLR camera? LOL.

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#1404506 - 03/26/10 06:48 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Volusiano]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
I would say a live theatre performance or live concert is the acoustic while the lawrence welk show on the b&w TV is the digital of 20+ years ago. Live is still live now or then and will be live tomorrow. But the technology of the box projecting the pre-recorded images has changed dramatically and will likely continue to evolve.


Edited by theJourney (03/26/10 06:49 PM)

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#1404510 - 03/26/10 07:00 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Volusiano]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3185
Loc: Oregon
I think the analogies mentioned only hold up to a point. The DP is in a different class from other products of technology, in that it is a "wannabe" item. It is trying to be something else, and is currently only part-way towards its goal of being indistinguishable from an AP. Therefore, as an iteration of this paradigm, its lifespan in relation to its goal is very limited: it will be superseded.

However, if one is prepared to overlook the shortcomings of its mimicry and love it for what it is in its own right, its lifespan is, of course, as long as the components hold out. The problem is that most of us find it difficult to overlook its deficiencies when measured against the "real thing". We have been inculcated with the sense of touch and tone of the pinnacles of piano perfection, and we now cannot settle for anything perceptibly less. In some ways it's good: it drives research and keeps the market afloat. We may be reaching the point where, for some people, its good enough, and they can live happily with their Yamahas, Rolands and Kawais for the rest of their days. But there are plenty for whom that point is still a long way off.
_________________________
"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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#1404516 - 03/26/10 07:10 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Volusiano]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
...
And if the "want" is as in having a simple use model of just playing the piano, neither the DP or acoustic will be obsolete in their life time because this use model will never change.


Again referring to the cell phone. If you had a suitcase size cell phone in the 1970's and you were happy with it why are you not using it today? The reason it that you were not really happy in the 70's and would have bought a smaller phone that clips to your ear leaving you hands free but nothing like that was available.

Same with Digital pianos. Today I really wanted a digital piano with better tone, more dynamic range and power than a $100K concert grand, I want it to weight 2 pounds and fold into a small package so I can carry it with me. But I can't buy one. In the mean time I play a P155. But I'll upgrade when I see something closer to what I want and I can afford it.

The flaw in your argument is that no one is every really 100% happy with a piano even on day one. ALL pianos (digital and acoustic) are compromises to price, or size. But with digital piano it is not hard to upgrade so in practice people do.

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#1404520 - 03/26/10 07:18 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: ChrisA]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
The key fault in this reasoning is that acoustic pianos still perform and act like what they are: acoustics. While digital pianos are designed to emulate these acoustic pianos. They do so better with each new iteration, but reveal themselves on one dimension or another as imperfect approximations. As soon as one becomes aware of the " next, greatest illusion " offered by one's current digital, then the old one becomes unsatisfying.

Those who are buying digital pianos because they sound like digital keyboard instruments from anno whatever year they buy them may be an exception in that emulation of an acoustic was not the goal. The Clainet is one example. But, then again, that is not a digital piano strictly speaking.


Edited by theJourney (03/26/10 07:19 PM)

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#1404530 - 03/26/10 07:37 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: theJourney]
Glenn NK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 457
Loc: Victoria BC
Analogies are interesting but can be misleading.

If a ten year old acoustic was any good in the first place, it still is. And will be worth something, even in twenty more years.

The ten year old DP will sound as good as ever, but its monetary value is very low compared to the acoustic. And in twenty more years it will be worthless (actually there will be a disposal fee so it will be less than worthless). wink

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#1404533 - 03/26/10 07:39 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: ChrisA]
Bojan Babic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/09
Posts: 327
Loc: Vojvodina, Serbia
I think that digital pianos are only a pour substitution for real pianos, and that the prices of them are very unfair. Most people engaged in piano business think so, most pianists think so, and I do not understand how anybody can ever compare those two things. It is like comparing a finest silk shirt with the one made of synthetics, like comparing the fresh squeezed orange juice with the one made from different chemicals and colors,real women breast with the silicon one, and many other uncomparable things. The first is real, the second is a copy. It can be good, or bad, but it will always remain what it is> just a copy. Sorry if I have offended the lovers of a copies.
_________________________
Bojan Babic
piano technician and tuner
Sid, Vojvodina, Serbia
_____________________________
bojanbabic@yahoo.com
www.klaviri.blogspot.com

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#1404535 - 03/26/10 07:45 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: theJourney]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3290
Well, one thing about this comparison is that the high-end digitals are coming close to maturity.

For example, I have a Roland rd700gx, the latest model. I have played many hours on its predecessor, the sx, and there is very little difference in how the two actually play and sound. There are tweaks, such as a new keycap feel, and a wheel rather than up and down buttons on the gx, but the two pianos are essentially the same. If someone changed the keycaps of either, and I closed my eyes, I do not think I could tell the difference.

So I think it is difficult to imagine the technology getting radically better to the point that ten years from now we will have as great a leap in improvement as the last 15 or so years has given.

And that is not a problem, because both Rolands play and sound wonderful, quite a bit better than the average entry-level cheap acoustic, and certainly leagues ahead of any worn and/or unmaintaned acoustic of any size or configuration.

But compare those two Roland dps to a digital of ten or fifteen years ago, and the older generation instruments are notably inferior.

So I think that the high-end dp of today (not the cheapies) are like washing machines...the technology of washing clothes was mature decades ago.

All the manufacturers do to "improve" today's washing machines is change the color, add a few tweaks, more cycles, etc, but today's washing machine functions basically the same, and does realistically no greatly better job at washing clothes than a ten year old or twenty year old machine.

(Before anyone flames me, I love and prefer acoustics, as long as they are really good, and impeccably regulated. But clunker and junker and cheapo acoustics, even top tier ones that are unmaintained, and thus play and sound horrible, you can keep them all. Also, I have a dp because it is impractical to move a 700 pound piano to gigs, which is where I use the dp.) Thanks.
_________________________
Music teacher and Blues piano player.

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#1404538 - 03/26/10 07:51 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: voxpops]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 791
Originally Posted By: voxpops
I think the analogies mentioned only hold up to a point. The DP is in a different class from other products of technology, in that it is a "wannabe" item. It is trying to be something else, and is currently only part-way towards its goal of being indistinguishable from an AP. Therefore, as an iteration of this paradigm, its lifespan in relation to its goal is very limited: it will be superseded.

However, if one is prepared to overlook the shortcomings of its mimicry and love it for what it is in its own right, its lifespan is, of course, as long as the components hold out. The problem is that most of us find it difficult to overlook its deficiencies when measured against the "real thing". We have been inculcated with the sense of touch and tone of the pinnacles of piano perfection, and we now cannot settle for anything perceptibly less. In some ways it's good: it drives research and keeps the market afloat. We may be reaching the point where, for some people, its good enough, and they can live happily with their Yamahas, Rolands and Kawais for the rest of their days. But there are plenty for whom that point is still a long way off.

This is where you and I see things differently because I don't see the DP as just a "wannabe" item. The only aspect that is "wannabe" on a DP is the sound. Even the "feel" aspect can be already solved by using the same key action mechanism like the Avant Grand did. And for the sound front, the DP will always improve until it's close enough that people at some point don't see a significant difference to nitpick on anymore.

On the other hand, there are other things that are "unique" on a DP that the acoustic will never be able to deliver, let alone try to emulate to the DP, such as volume control/headphone play, perfect tuning, no maintenance, MIDI playback/recording, better portability, and the ability to morph itself into many other things including more sounds.

So turn the table around and ask yourself whether the acoustic can deliver or even emulate any of that? So how can the DP be just a "wannabe"? My point is that I didn't chose a DP because I had to settle for a DP. I chose a DP because I think it's superior to the acoustic in almost every aspect except sound and feel. Sound and feel is not everything. Practicality can trump sound and feel easily, as proven by the higher sales of DPs compared to acoustics. At least DPs can only get better at sound and feel. But acoustics can NEVER even try to emulate practicality.

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#1404542 - 03/26/10 08:00 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: ChrisA]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 791
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
...
And if the "want" is as in having a simple use model of just playing the piano, neither the DP or acoustic will be obsolete in their life time because this use model will never change.


Again referring to the cell phone. If you had a suitcase size cell phone in the 1970's and you were happy with it why are you not using it today? The reason it that you were not really happy in the 70's and would have bought a smaller phone that clips to your ear leaving you hands free but nothing like that was available.

Same with Digital pianos. Today I really wanted a digital piano with better tone, more dynamic range and power than a $100K concert grand, I want it to weight 2 pounds and fold into a small package so I can carry it with me. But I can't buy one. In the mean time I play a P155. But I'll upgrade when I see something closer to what I want and I can afford it.

The flaw in your argument is that no one is every really 100% happy with a piano even on day one. ALL pianos (digital and acoustic) are compromises to price, or size. But with digital piano it is not hard to upgrade so in practice people do.

Again, the flaw in your argument here is that you're just comparing digital to digital. I'm not here to have a digital to digital debate. My point strictly applies to the digital vs acoustic debate. That's why it's a double standard to keep bringing in a digital vs digital debate into what was a digital vs acoustic debate in the first place.

Even you said so yourself that no one is ever really 100% happy with a piano even from day one, regardless of whether it's a digital or an acoustic. I never disagree with this. But the point implied by what was said earlier about obsolescence regarding digital vs acoustic is that you'll never be happy with a digital because it'll go obsolete too soon. But nothing was said that you'll never be happy with an acoustic as well because it will also go obsolete as well. By not saying the same about the acoustic, the misleading implication is derived that acoustic don't go obsolete, or not as quickly. I'd say acoustic is already obsolete in light of how digitals have been outselling acoustic 2 to 1 if not even more in the last decade.

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#1404552 - 03/26/10 08:13 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Glenn NK]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 791
Originally Posted By: Glenn NK
Analogies are interesting but can be misleading.

If a ten year old acoustic was any good in the first place, it still is. And will be worth something, even in twenty more years.

The ten year old DP will sound as good as ever, but its monetary value is very low compared to the acoustic. And in twenty more years it will be worthless (actually there will be a disposal fee so it will be less than worthless). wink

Show me a thread here on PW where people want to get rid of their DP and can't and may even have to pay a fee to get rid of them like you alluded to.

I can already show you at least 2 or 3 threads very recently on PW in the Piano forum where people want to get rid of their acoustics by giving it away for free or leaving it behind when they move but can't even do so. At least DP won't become a huge paper weight LIABILITY to get rid of like acoustics when they're no longer wanted.

I can also show you several YouTube videos of people brutally destroying their acoustics to death because they're no longer wanted.

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#1404555 - 03/26/10 08:20 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Volusiano]
voxpops Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/20/07
Posts: 3185
Loc: Oregon
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
Originally Posted By: voxpops
I think the analogies mentioned only hold up to a point. The DP is in a different class from other products of technology, in that it is a "wannabe" item. It is trying to be something else, and is currently only part-way towards its goal of being indistinguishable from an AP. Therefore, as an iteration of this paradigm, its lifespan in relation to its goal is very limited: it will be superseded.

However, if one is prepared to overlook the shortcomings of its mimicry and love it for what it is in its own right, its lifespan is, of course, as long as the components hold out. The problem is that most of us find it difficult to overlook its deficiencies when measured against the "real thing". We have been inculcated with the sense of touch and tone of the pinnacles of piano perfection, and we now cannot settle for anything perceptibly less. In some ways it's good: it drives research and keeps the market afloat. We may be reaching the point where, for some people, its good enough, and they can live happily with their Yamahas, Rolands and Kawais for the rest of their days. But there are plenty for whom that point is still a long way off.


This is where you and I see things differently because I don't see the DP as just a "wannabe" item. The only aspect that is "wannabe" on a DP is the sound. Even the "feel" aspect can be already solved by using the same key action mechanism like the Avant Grand did. And on the sound front, the DP will always improve until it's close enough that people at some point don't see a significant difference to nitpick on anymore.

On the other hand, the other things that are "unique" on a DP that the acoustic will never be able to deliver, let alone try to emulate to the DP, are volume control/headphone play, perfect tuning, no maintenance, MIDI playback/recording, better portability, and the ability to morph itself into many other things including more sounds.

So turn the table around and ask yourself if the acoustic can deliver or even emulate any of that? My point is that I didn't chose a DP because I had to settle for a DP. I chose a DP because I think it's superior to the acoustic in most aspects except sound and feel. Sound and feel is not everything. Sometimes practicality trumps sound and feel easily. At least DPs can only get better at sound and feel. But acoustics can NEVER EVER get better at practicality.


Volusiano, you say it's not just "wannabe", and yet you say that a DP like the AvantGrand can use the same key action as an acoustic - if that's not trying to be like an acoustic, I don't know what is!

You also say that "DPs can only get better at sound and feel". That is precisely the point - that's what makes previous generations obsolete.

The OP asked about the lifespan of a digital piano, not an acoustic. I'm not arguing one way or the other about an acoustic, I'm merely stating that a DP has a lifespan limited by the quality of its componentry, and also by its perceived state of emulation. I, too, really appreciate the aspects of DPs that differentiate them from APs (and I haven't owned an AP for decades), but that doesn't stop me changing my digitals every two or three years as the technology advances.
_________________________
"you don't need to have been a rabbit in order to become a veterinarian"

mabraman, 2015

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#1404563 - 03/26/10 08:41 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Volusiano]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

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

Quote:
Again, the flaw in your argument here is that you're just comparing digital to digital. I'm not here to have a digital to digital debate. My point strictly applies to the digital vs acoustic debate.


That debate is two doors down the hall. Here the question is the life span of a digital piano. Yes I know they are having more fun down the hall but we are stuck here.

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#1404565 - 03/26/10 08:45 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: voxpops]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 791
Originally Posted By: voxpops
Volusiano, you say it's not just "wannabe", and yet you say that a DP like the AvantGrand can use the same key action as an acoustic - if that's not trying to be like an acoustic, I don't know what is!

You also say that "DPs can only get better at sound and feel". That is precisely the point - that's what makes previous generations obsolete.

Voxpops, I never said that the DP is NOT a wannabe. I said that the DP is not JUST a wannabe. There's a difference between the two. And the difference is that the DP is not a TOTAL subset of an acoustic as a wannabe. Only a part of it overlaps as wannabe, in the sound and feel department. The other part of DP, its many practicalities, is not a wannabe in a million years. And this part is just as important, if not even more important, than sound and feel, based on how consumers have been voting with their wallets so far.

Originally Posted By: voxpops
The OP asked about the lifespan of a digital piano, not an acoustic. I'm not arguing one way or the other about an acoustic, I'm merely stating that a DP has a lifespan limited by the quality of its componentry, and also by its perceived state of emulation. I, too, really appreciate the aspects of DPs that differentiate them from APs (and I haven't owned an AP for decades), but that doesn't stop me changing my digitals every two or three years as the technology advances.

Originally Posted By: ChrisA

Quote:
Again, the flaw in your argument here is that you're just comparing digital to digital. I'm not here to have a digital to digital debate. My point strictly applies to the digital vs acoustic debate.

That debate is two doors down the hall. Here the question is the life span of a digital piano. Yes I know they are having more fun down the hall but we are stuck here.

No, the debate is right in here this room alright. Read the OP's original question carefully before you enter the room and start debating. The OP prefaced his question in the very beginning of his post by saying that he heard acoustics can last up to 50 years. He even talked about restoration on acoustics and asked whether a DP can be restored, too. This implies that he wants to know the life span of a DP compared to that of an acoustic. So this made it into a DP vs acoustic comparison, not just a DP to DP comparison anymore. So I felt that the implication (whether intentionally or not) that DPs only has a 5 year life span vs the 50 year life span of acoustics is not accurate, and that's the reason I decided to stick my nose into the debate.

Had the OP never prefaced the 50 year life span of an acoustic as the very first sentence to his question, I would not have bothered sticking my nose into the debate.

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#1404602 - 03/26/10 10:02 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Volusiano]
Glenn NK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 457
Loc: Victoria BC
Originally Posted By: Volusiano
Originally Posted By: Glenn NK
Analogies are interesting but can be misleading.

If a ten year old acoustic was any good in the first place, it still is. And will be worth something, even in twenty more years.

The ten year old DP will sound as good as ever, but its monetary value is very low compared to the acoustic. And in twenty more years it will be worthless (actually there will be a disposal fee so it will be less than worthless). wink

Show me a thread here on PW where people want to get rid of their DP and can't and may even have to pay a fee to get rid of them like you alluded to.

I can already show you at least 2 or 3 threads very recently on PW in the Piano forum where people want to get rid of their acoustics by giving it away for free or leaving it behind when they move but can't even do so. At least DP won't become a huge paper weight LIABILITY to get rid of like acoustics when they're no longer wanted.

I can also show you several YouTube videos of people brutally destroying their acoustics to death because they're no longer wanted.


Tell me honestly what your DP will be worth in another twenty years. Or thirty years. It will be worthless.

The Yamaha G2 that I bought in 1975 will still fetch much more that the typical DP sold on the market today. If my math is right, it's now 35 years old.

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#1404605 - 03/26/10 10:05 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Glenn NK]
MacMacMac Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 4054
Loc: North Carolina
I thought this was about life span. That has nothing to do with resale value or obsolescence.

I think it's about "how long until this thing doesn't work properly anymore, and it's too difficult or expensive to repair".

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#1404620 - 03/26/10 10:30 PM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: MacMacMac]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
[quote=MacMacMac

I think it's about "how long until this thing doesn't work properly anymore, and it's too difficult or expensive to repair". [/quote]

If life span is how long the DP will continue to operate before failure then you have to look at what they call a "bath tub curve". This is a graph of probability of fail vs. time. Like a bath tub the graph start very high then falls down to the drain then slowly goes up hill until it hits a the included rear wall.

What this means is that there is a relatively high risk the thing is broken right out of the box. If it works at first it will likely work for a long time until years later the graph hits the rear wall. But we don't know the exact shape of the tub. Even if we did how, to define "life" when 50% of the units will fail or 10% or 90%. I like to use 50%. So a toaster has a 15 year life if after 15 years you'd predict that 50% of them would have failed. But we know some percent are dead in the box and some will last 150 years.

The other way to define life span is you go to the garbage dump and look at how old the items there are. People actually do this. It is a valuable form of market research. They look at cell phones in the trash record the date they were made and if they work or are broken. The average trashed phone is about two years old and still works. Computers are a bit older but most still work

So what's "life span". I think it is the time span from first purchase to disposal, no mater what the reason for disposal, failure or replacement.

With most DPs the life span might be double how long the first owner keeps it because they are resold, not tossed out. Cars are this way to. They might last 20 years but very few people keep them 20 years.

It practical terms what the OP may have wanted to know is "If I buy a DP how long will it be before I need to replace it?" I think the most informative answer is "It you are like most people, about five years, but I'd guess about 15 years before there is a 50% change of failure. After 15 years they are mostly unrepairable"

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#1404680 - 03/27/10 12:28 AM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Glenn NK]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 791
Originally Posted By: Glenn NK
Tell me honestly what your DP will be worth in another twenty years. Or thirty years. It will be worthless.

I can tell you honestly that regardless of what my DP's worth 20 or 30 years from now, it's a safe prediction that the future DP will improve so much in sound and feel 20-30 years from now that the acoustic's superior edge in sound and feel quality will become very insignificant. What's going to remain are the glaring baggages that the acoustic still holds which will becomes very obvious liabilities that nobody will want to have. By then, you can tell me which is worth more than which.

Originally Posted By: Glenn NK
The Yamaha G2 that I bought in 1975 will still fetch much more that the typical DP sold on the market today. If my math is right, it's now 35 years old.

That's only because you've enjoyed resting on past laurels when the acoustic has had very little to no serious competition. But technology has finally caught up and will only get better that serious competition is finally here, and here to stay.

If you want to debate this point, you don't even have to look into the future to see which kind is outselling which kind. Just look at today's sales data. And this trend is not going to stop or reverse itself any time soon. The gap is only going to keep widening until the acoustic is no longer desired due to all its baggage and liabilities.

Sorry to say but past performance in this case is not necessarily any indication of future performance (in terms of holding the market value). Technology has had a way of wrecking many of these things up historically.

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#1404685 - 03/27/10 12:53 AM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Volusiano]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
The old story about acoustic pianos holding value on;y works because the dollar has greatly devalued. If you bought a $10,000 piano in 1960 you paid the price of a house for it, now if you sell it for $5,000 you are seling it for the price of a used car. Heck if you sell it for $10,000 you are still trading a house for a used car.

About the Dp having zero value quickly. Who cares? I paid $1,000 for a P155 if it explodes in 5 years it only cost my $200 a year to own. Same with a notebook computer. I figure that costs me $250 a year to own. They are "consumables". like beer that is gone after you use it. But so what it's not a ton of money and if you can't afford $200 per year buy a Casio for $100 per year.

What's happening today is the digital pianos have all but replaced acoustic uprights. Today you simply can't sell a used upright except the very high end ones. The low end goes for cheap or less on Craigslist

Grands are different, digitals have not really replaced them yet. I think grands will always be popular for public performance of classical music. Like wooden sailboats and horses all are totally not practical but people still like them and they will be around 200 years from now.

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#1404719 - 03/27/10 03:10 AM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: ChrisA]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

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

Wooden sailboats, horses, canvas covered aeroplanes, LPs, grand pianos, stone-built farmhouses, slow food with old friends, depot throwing wines, engaging conversation...

Ain't life wonderful?

Friends don't let friends waste time on 20 year old acoustic emulating digital pianos.

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#1404740 - 03/27/10 04:50 AM Re: Life span of a digital piano [Re: Volusiano]
surething Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 16
Loc: Poland
How about end user adaptation to MP3 sound quality characteristics and accepting it as a sound quality standard? How then about accepting some new MP(x) sound quality standard which will be more accessible, cheaper and just enough? How about user to start believe that music is about WHAT is cheap, accessible, just fine instead of -HOW it sounds? In 20 yrs, we may have a situation, where yesterday (1950-60) educated musician with his ear training would be considered an earth walking Beethoven - sound taste dinosaur, semi-genius, with average person musically deaf (not as a Beethoven) accepting 10 new formats worse acustic-wise than MP3, considering MP3 i d e a l sound benchmark. Who could then care about anything a b o v e current MP3 sound quality when designing a new DP? No one, I'm afraid. I do not believe, in dramatic progress, here. I do believe in users ears adaptation to worse quality. I can foresee, the Sound Wars, in near future. The rest, is a FUD. Copernicus-Gresham law will have upper hand. Cheers. frown
_________________________
HP-302

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