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#1578866 - 12/17/10 04:37 PM Real pianos are dying? :(
bluefoxicy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/17/10
Posts: 19
I'm looking at buying a Kawai CE200 digital piano. This piano is awesome, costs $1700, has a real grand piano escapement hooked up to a synthesizer that digitally models the 9 foot Kawai EX Concert Grand ($180,000), etc. It's like "almost" having an EX, but it doesn't have the presence (we're talking about 9 feet of string plus cabinet resonance versus a few inch wide speaker and a smaller cabinet) and only "almost" has the feel.

You can get a $27000 Kawai stage grand digital piano, 10 speakers... that has some presence. That might outclass a more expensive 6' grand, or an expensive Kawai K-9 upright ($15000)... probably is a better buy than the K-9.

I'd like a Kawai K-9. It's $15,000. A Kawai K-2 costs $3500 and I'm not sure if it's actually better than the CE200. Think about that. Plus there's a $3500 Kawai digital piano probably that's better than the CE200 and probably better than the K-2.

It's getting to the point where acoustic pianos are just a bad deal. I'm not happy with this. I want an acoustic piano; but the premium paid for it isn't "inching out the last bit of quality" anymore. It's a different instrument, and I love playing a real acoustic; but while a digital piano will never be a real acoustic, I'm not sure that the price gap still justifies buying an acoustic anymore.

This is sad.

Why is this happening? Can't you make a good piano for less money?

On a less-sad note, I would spend the $60,000 on a 7 foot grand over a "better" CP209 for half as much, because I would rather be sitting in front of a real grand piano and the 7 foot RX-6 is excellent. If I have that kind of money to throw around, I'm getting a real piano.

One day I may buy a $3500 K-2 or such for exactly that reason, even though CA-63 is probably "better" in terms of feel (GRAND piano action) and maybe even sound. I want a real piano.

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#1578873 - 12/17/10 04:44 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
AlphaTerminus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 549
Loc: Iowa, USA
Digital pianos are getting better. I played only digitals for 10 years. That being said, since having my acoustic grand for 3 months, I play it about 3 hours a day and play the digital about an hour per month when I absolutely have to be quiet.

It's just not the same experience, even with all of the sampled and software pianos and high-end monitor speakers.

Any decent digital is better than a poorly maintained acoustic, but if you want to feel the music in your bones and be lifted to a different plane, you need a good acoustic.

(When I had the $5000 Samick grand for 2 weeks, however, but the end I grew so disgusted with it I preferred my $3500 digital setup over it.)
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#1578916 - 12/17/10 05:50 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
mikeheel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 386
Loc: NC
Digital pianos - especially "hybrids" - are getting to be pretty nice. The hybrids come closest to having their own "voice." Even with the good pure digitals, there are notes you can tell are just not real when playing or listening to them live. But hybrids have the resonance thing going for them in addition to their always perfectly pitched notes, so they can sound pretty good. We recently played some very nice hybrids. I still have a slight preference for the sound of a decent acoustic. There is still a resonance that even the hybrids just cannot replicate yet.

Fortunately, cheaper acoustic pianos are also getting much better.

In the end, there are lots more choices at lower price points. Upshot - pianos are less exclusive now than ever before. While this may be lamented by some, it is, IMO, a very good thing.
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#1578921 - 12/17/10 06:01 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
Digital pianos are also getting good at imitating the sound of any other instruments too. Are violins and clarinets now obsolete due to high quality sampling?

There will always be Bud light drinkers and Guinness drinkers. The Bud light drinkers think some of us are crazy for what we pay for a good micro-brew. To some "a beer is a beer". Good for them! Why pay more if you can't tell the difference? For others, the quality doesn't compare.

Then there is the whole experience: Do you want to be connected to tradition and art, or the mass produced disposable culture.

Owning a good piano is a bit like being married. They drive you crazy sometimes, but they add a richness to your life that can't be imitated by an artificial construct that appears to fulfill the same role. Life is too short to put up with imitation pianos!


Edited by rysowers (12/17/10 06:02 PM)
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#1578924 - 12/17/10 06:14 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
leemax Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 501
Loc: pacific nw, usa
I agree that there's no substitute for a real piano, BUT digitals have a place. I have a Decker and Son upright which is about 80 years old. It still sounds really nice, but has some loose hammers, some dried glue joints that click, etc. I had a chance to get a Celviano 620 for about half the normal price because it had a couple of blems. I've had it for 3 days and I've gotta say it's quite nice. Much better than any digital I've played before, and I can practice whenever I want and not bother anyone else. Inexpensive acoustic pianos don't sound or play as nice as the Celviano, in my opinion. All that said, there still is no substitue for a good acoustic piano. We'll see if the Celviano is still working in 2091!
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#1578935 - 12/17/10 06:29 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Digital pianos are also getting good at imitating the sound of any other instruments too. Are violins and clarinets now obsolete due to high quality sampling?

The big difference between a hybrid piano and a ... piano, 230 tunable stings on a cast iron frame under tons of pressure; other than that there's not much difference. wink

I spent thousands of hours on acoustic pianos. I owned two acoustic pianos. I stuffed towels in both pianos to quiet them down and spent shi*loads of money having them tuned. For practice purposes and even some performance venues, I'll gladly take a hybrid piano - less expense and less time with an out of tune piano.

If you owned a fleet of cruise liners what would you buy for your fleet? I know what I'd look at. The concert stage will always have concert grands, but for the rest of the market, there will be less and less acoustic grands and more and more hybrids. By the way, don't shoot me, I'm the piano player just the messenger. smile
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#1578948 - 12/17/10 06:53 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: Dave Horne]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1530
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne


The big difference between a hybrid piano and a ... piano, 230 tunable stings on a cast iron frame under tons of pressure; other than that there's not much difference. wink






For me this difference is what makes Hybrids like the Avantgrand SO different from the 'real' thing. They feel like a real acoustic (because of the real action) but to my ears they SOUND nothing like the real thing. All the wonderful and tactile vibrations that come from those strings on a cast iron frame are missing from the experience of playing a hybrid. To me playing a hybrid piano like the Avantgrand (which is the only one I've tried at length) is like using a high tech driving simulator. The interior of the car is there, with a real gas pedal and brakes and steering wheel and the image in front of your face LOOKS like the road in front of you, but when it comes down to it, you're not actually driving. If you open the driver's side window you don't feel the wind on your face.

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#1578954 - 12/17/10 06:59 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: AJF]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: AJF
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne


The big difference between a hybrid piano and a ... piano, 230 tunable stings on a cast iron frame under tons of pressure; other than that there's not much difference. wink






For me this difference is what makes Hybrids like the Avantgrand SO different from the 'real' thing. They feel like a real acoustic (because of the real action) but to my ears they SOUND nothing like the real thing. All the wonderful and tactile vibrations that come from those strings on a cast iron frame are missing from the experience of playing a hybrid. To me playing a hybrid piano like the Avantgrand (which is the only one I've tried at length) is like using a high tech driving simulator. The interior of the car is there, with a real gas pedal and brakes and steering wheel and the image in front of your face LOOKS like the road in front of you, but when it comes down to it, you're not actually driving. If you open the driver's side window you don't feel the wind on your face.


I'd like to hear the wind in your face, if you know what I mean. I see so many quiet profiles. smile

I practice mostly with headphones just to keep things quiet since I have tinnitus. When I owned acoustic pianos I always had to have them stuffed with towels and\or carpet squares (on the upright) to quiet them down.

I'm guessing my standards are lower than yours. I can live with a hybrid for practicing purposes.
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#1578956 - 12/17/10 07:05 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: Dave Horne]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1530
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
Originally Posted By: AJF
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne


The big difference between a hybrid piano and a ... piano, 230 tunable stings on a cast iron frame under tons of pressure; other than that there's not much difference. wink






For me this difference is what makes Hybrids like the Avantgrand SO different from the 'real' thing. They feel like a real acoustic (because of the real action) but to my ears they SOUND nothing like the real thing. All the wonderful and tactile vibrations that come from those strings on a cast iron frame are missing from the experience of playing a hybrid. To me playing a hybrid piano like the Avantgrand (which is the only one I've tried at length) is like using a high tech driving simulator. The interior of the car is there, with a real gas pedal and brakes and steering wheel and the image in front of your face LOOKS like the road in front of you, but when it comes down to it, you're not actually driving. If you open the driver's side window you don't feel the wind on your face.


I'd like to hear the wind in your face, if you know what I mean. I see so many quiet profiles. smile

I practice mostly with headphones just to keep things quiet since I have tinnitus. When I owned acoustic pianos I always had to have them stuffed with towels and\or carpet squares (on the upright) to quiet them down.

I'm guessing my standards are lower than yours. I can live with a hybrid for practicing purposes.


If you click on the cd baby link below my posts there are a number of 'windy' samples to check out. Heck, if you like them you can even buy the album smile

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#1578970 - 12/17/10 07:29 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Nice playing! Very nice playing!
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#1579009 - 12/17/10 08:45 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: AJF]
Dave Ferris Offline
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Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1675
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
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#1579052 - 12/17/10 09:59 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
Bachsky Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 276
Loc: McFarland, WI 53558
Digital is artificial ... acoustic is real ... end of story.
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#1579096 - 12/17/10 11:36 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: Dave Horne]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne

I practice mostly with headphones just to keep things quiet since I have tinnitus. When I owned acoustic pianos I always had to have them stuffed with towels and\or carpet squares (on the upright) to quiet them down.


That kinda explains your preference but I've always wondered why you make such an argument in somewhat strong terms to imply that the ideal situation is for most people to prefer the digital option. Its exactly as AJF said and I've said it before too. The action might be EXACTLY the same as a concert grand, I don't care. Music making is all about sound production. That cast iron frame and those messy strings that you talk about are important to me in how they contribute to creating those vibrations in the air and how these vibrations change with difference in physicality of the pianist playing the instrument (or interpretation differences which are central to music making). If you read Georgy Sandor's book on piano playing, you will realize that physicality is central to the art of piano playing. You probably know it already as you've mentioned it in the context of avoiding injury but avoiding injury is not the only goal of paying careful attention to the physical aspects of playing the piano.

You probably don't even hear some of the high frequencies due to your tinnitus which makes it difficult for you to appreciate the difference in the sound produced by an acoustic piano as compared to your avantgrand. Is that a possibility? wink
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#1579152 - 12/18/10 01:33 AM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: Dave Ferris]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Dave Ferris
I think for certain people in certain situations , something like the AG is a good fit. For "others" and you know who you are cool , the higher quality Acoustic is irreplaceable for practice, writing, performance and overall musical inspiration.


Dave,

I'm not cool at all and I never wear shades unless the glare from the sun is painful. Most days I know who I am, but there are other days........

Despite these limitations, I would respectfully dispute your reference to writing unless you are writing for your own performance of material on an unaccompanied acoustic grand. Otherwise, I would say based on my own experience and simple practicality that a digital has advantages that override aesthetic considerations. Those range from storage of material, simulation of many instrumental sounds, layering of tracks of those simulated instruments for which you might be writing, and the elimination of much of the messy and time-consuming business of hand notation. Again though, it you are working out an arrangement for your own solo performance purposes, say a jazz standard, and you will perform it on an acoustic, I can certainly see your point.

IMO, the areas that digital pianos most need to work on in the area of sound production are the elimination of artifacts in the samples, lifeless metallic sound at velocities above forte, and the dead zone at the upper end of the treble. In terms of sound reproduction, onboard speakers are a glaring weakness except in a few pianos that use a well-placed array of cheap speakers to improve on the sound available from using only two of the same in the usual positions. I have two digitals at home right now with onboard speakers. Playing back a track through the speakers on either one makes me wince.

QUESTION

A few of you have spoken about hybrids here. What is the current meaning of hybrid piano? It used to be something like a silent U1. Is it now just a generic name for Yamaha Avant? Are you all using the term hybrid in the same way? I'm just curious.

GENERAL COMMENT

The last 'demise of the acoustic' thread orgy went on for many pages. IT was the usual pitched battle scenario with pros and cons tossed back and forth on hayforks, but two fairly neutral comments stuck in my mind.

1) It doesn't have to be an either/or.

2) The application will determine the choice of tool.





Edited by turandot (12/18/10 03:12 PM)

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#1579175 - 12/18/10 02:25 AM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: turandot]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1675
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
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#1579186 - 12/18/10 02:54 AM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
I too am bothered by this term "Hybrid Piano". There is nothing hybrid about the AvantGrand- it is a sample playback system. Just because they throw a grand action into a digital piano doesn't make it a hybrid in my opinion. A hybrid car has both a gas and an electric motor.

I agree with turandot: the term makes sense when applied to pianos that are acoustic AND digital. Applying it to a digital piano like the AvantGrand is buggy. I played the AvantGrand for while in a store and then switched to a 20 year old mid-quality grand. Unless I had space constraints, I'd take the grand (which was about 1/4 the cost of the AvantGrand).

For working professional musicians I can see that working with digitals has advantages. But for the average owner/hobbiest who is looking for the most quality experience for the precious little time they may have to enjoy their piano, an acoustic is clearly the best choice.

As our lives become increasingly dominated by technology, an instrument like the piano gives us an intimate connection with the past. Its a wonderful thing to imagine that we are Chopin while playing a nocturne by candlelight on a misty winter's night. I can't imagine doing that on a digital piano, even if it's a $20,000 one. The experience of moving levers of wood and felt (materials that were literally alive!) and activating an incredibly complex network of strings, meticulously tuned by ear and filling the air with wondrous sounds, is an incomparable experience.

If you're happy walking on your treadmill, plugged into your IPod watching a nature show on your HD TV, then good for you! Some of us would still rather take a walk in the woods.



Edited by rysowers (12/18/10 02:55 AM)
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#1579196 - 12/18/10 03:27 AM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: turandot]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1675
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
smile
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2005 NY Steinway D, Nord Piano 2

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#1579233 - 12/18/10 05:26 AM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
As I've said many times, for me the action of the piano comes first with the sound a very close second.

I like the idea of acoustic pianos, I just don't like the fact that they are so loud. Even when I didn't have tinnitus, I would stuff towels in the sound board and tack carpet tiles to the frame to quiet it down. If you don't have your own studio you have to live in a free standing house or have good neighbors.

And then there's the tuning - there's nothing better than a freshly tuned piano though unfortunately when you practice for hours on end day after day that freshly tuned quality soon evaporates. I had the luxury of having my C3 tuned up to six times a year, but if I had to pay out of pocket for those tunings, forget about it.

A piano that is ever so slightly out of tune is a distraction to me. We'll continue to have these discussions but there will be fewer acoustic pianos made and there will be fewer companies that make them.

Do you think there was a similar discussion when the fortepiano was first introduced? Were there players who steadfastly defended their harpsichord or did they embrace that new technology and see the benefits? smile


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#1579290 - 12/18/10 08:06 AM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
oddly, i used to play in a church with an older Everett, an institutional (kind of) yamaha upright. The church was large and they put a single quality mike hanging on the backside of the piano and carefully adjusted the volume. it actually sounded fantastic. (it was awful to play tho).

i have great admiration for that avantgrande that i test drove last week. it was really really cool... nothing like my beloved piano.

my two cents
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#1579303 - 12/18/10 08:34 AM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
terrell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/10
Posts: 71
Loc: Georgia,USA
I am not a fan of technology until I need it.I still have a rotary dial telephone , but I had to buy one of those "book-learnin'" push dial so I could get through to a person to tell them how much I hate it .
Technology is here to stay. I know of two elementary schools that have piano labs that use digital "things". There would not be enough money to buy acoustic pianos or pay to have them kept in tune.The future of acoustic pianos depends on the education of the youth.When I go to an orchestra concert, I look out over a sea of grey hair.This is not because one can't afford a ticket and hair dye.It is because there are fewer and fewer young people there.There was a time when anyone that wanted to be "middle class" had a piano in the parlor.Now it's a tv. What a waste that technology is!!!
I'm sure there will always be acoustic pianos , we still have harpsichords and pipe organs only not as many.I think this is the future for acoustic pianos. I only know I will always have an acoustic piano, don"t know how long this will be . One of my students told me she is going to live a hundred and twenty years. I told her I'll bring her a cake.

terrell

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#1579318 - 12/18/10 08:59 AM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
terrell

It is a little ironic that an anti technology post appears....on the internet.

The digital v acoustic debate is misguided really. They are both just tools. They do a similar job and produce a slightly different product with a slightly different experience for those involved.

The DP has many advantages. Many serious pianists and composers have both. For compositional and rehearsal work a DP can be extremely useful. For example, I am presently working with a small youth orchestra. I am rehearsing the first and second violins at my home. I am playing violin too. I can play maybe 10 or 15 bars at a time on the DP, which records them automatically. Then I can play them back repeatedly very easily. I can vary the pitch and tempo and volume if I wish.

If I am composing (in my amateurish way), I can jot down ideas on the digital - and it records them. Sure, I could use recording gear on my S&S D, but the DP is just so easy. It is not as good as the acoustic in many, many ways. And in others it is better.

They exist happily side by side, and for many, starting with a DP is their step on the road to owning and acoustic.

Adrian
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#1579352 - 12/18/10 10:26 AM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
terrell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/10
Posts: 71
Loc: Georgia,USA
Dear Adrian,
We really do agree. Both have their place. I love the internet.To be able to comunicate with someone in England and reply the same hour is wonderful , so is a beautiful hand written letter .As I said,'I,m not a fan 'till I need it'. It could be that digital will save acoustic by , as you said by being the first step on the road to music appreciation. I do hope so.
Terrell

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#1579366 - 12/18/10 11:05 AM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 438
Loc: Southwest
I much prefer playing my acoustic overall because I enjoy the sound more and the action. It does require tuning twice a year because it's young, but the sound and feel of playing it for lessons, practice and enjoyment make the money spent on purchase and maintenance well worth it.

I also recently purchased a stage DP for silent practice when members of the family want to watch TV, nap, or do something else besides listen to me play. The Grand Piano settings sound good, but I certainly wouldn't mistake it for a Steinway. The action is pretty good, but not the same as a real grand piano. It does offer 250 different tones, does record, I can add an amp and it does take earphones. It doesn't replace my acoustic but I don't have to torture my family with repeated practice of scales, chords and the difficult parts of my repertoire. I can even take it over to my friend's house and jam.

I started playing DPs because both of my piano classes use them. I found that if most of my practice is on my acoustic, then I can play better on the DP in class.

Electric guitars still haven't replaced acoustic guitars, although it seems they certainly outsell them. Both types of guitars are bought and sold and loved for different reasons and different venues.

I'm thrilled at the improvements in DPs, hybrids, and lower-cost acoustics. I did play an AvantGrande and was absolutely amazed. If I lived in an apartment, that would be the piano I would buy. But, since I have room and necessary neighbor separation, I still really enjoy my acoustic.


Edited by j&j (12/18/10 11:07 AM)
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#1579427 - 12/18/10 01:13 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10342
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
It amazes me that, in pages and pages of these "acoustic v. digital" threads, life-expectency is overlooked.

A decent acoustic lasts a lifetime, say 60-80 years. Who here thinks that their digital will last that long?

I'm not saying that this is a compelling argument against digitals, as I too think they are adventagous in many situatuions. However, when discussing the differences between acoustics and digitals, life-expectency is an important factor.
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#1579432 - 12/18/10 01:21 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: Steve Cohen]
MarcoM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 246
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
A decent acoustic lasts a lifetime, say 60-80 years. Who here thinks that their digital will last that long?


I don't think people care much about life expectancy, because with the amount of money you spend yearly on an acoustic piano maintenance (tuning + regulation) you can just buy a new mid-range digital every 10 years or so, even more often if you sell your previous model every time. Acoustic pianos are nice, but I don't think anybody could make a case for them just based on total cost of ownership.

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#1579467 - 12/18/10 02:10 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
terrell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/17/10
Posts: 71
Loc: Georgia,USA
It is for certain that owning an acoustic piano is like adopting a special needs child. Humidity must be correct, not too hot ,not too cold. Make sure the string cover is on correctly. Call a tech when you hear an off sound but when the power goes off your digital isn"t going to work. For every plus there is a negative.
I have a Johannus "Rembrandt" digital organ .I am all for digital both are good.I hope it will live twenty more years , but when the power is down I play my real piano.Life is good in rural Georgia.
terrell

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#1579503 - 12/18/10 03:22 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: Steve Cohen]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
It amazes me that, in pages and pages of these "acoustic v. digital" threads, life-expectency is overlooked.


Brace yourself for further amazement. smile

The heirloom sales approach is used to justify the considerable expense of a piano, either by the sales pro or by the buyer who needs self-justification.

I really don't think any buyer chooses an acoustic because the sixty-year proposed lifespan is a critical factor in his intended use. It's hard to reckon where you'll be and where the world will be in sixty years.

On the other hand, if you burn for an acoustic, it's another log on the fire.
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#1579570 - 12/18/10 05:43 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
bluefoxicy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/17/10
Posts: 19
These are all fascinating responses; but a lot of people are trying to compare a digital piano to an acoustic piano. Here's the facts you're missing:

First, digital piano fancy features are not "pianos," they're keyboards playing strings or chorus or guitar. I find this immaterial for the argument; and the argument that this would "replace the violin" is ridiculous because you're not playing a real violin.

Second, a lot of people reckon that a good piano is a good piano, and has better presence. It does. A $15000 piano has better presence than a $1700 digital piano with a 40 watt amp. That said, a $2000 piano might not sound as good (it'll sound more "real" but more "real not-great piano"), and might not be a satisfactory instrument because of not having piano features (i.e. no sustainuto until the $15000 Kawai K-9).

So the problem I'm seeing is if you want to spend $3500 on a piano, you can get a grand piano action with soft, sustainuto, and sustain pedals as well as a 100W 6 speaker sound system on a digital piano; or you can get a Kawai K-5 upright or something with regular upright action and no sustainuto. The Digital might be a couple thousand cheaper, and might have a larger presence (but not quite as precise comparison with cast iron frame and strings; it WILL have body resonance... from 6 speakers in the wooden frame).

To me it used to be that people would put $3000 into a decent upright to put in their house, and tune it every 6 months for $75ish (sometimes tuning costs up around $200 though!). Now it's like if you plop $3000 down... you can get a better piano for cheaper by buying a digital piano. If you put $15000 you can get a great upright, but the cost-benefit isn't there unless you just have all this money to burn.

So one of two things is going to happen: Digitals will get cheaper, acoustics will get more expensive, the market for uprights will vanish, and only rich people and halls will have grands; or uprights will get cheaper to match the digital piano range, much like acoustic guitars ($500-$5000 typical, some beyond the extremes) and electric guitars ($500-$5000 typical, some beyond the extremes).

I don't see quality acoustic pianos coming down in price. Making an electric guitar is a trick: you have strings, a body, all these acoustics involved to produce vibration and reflect sound to keep up string resonance, plus pickups with magnets to induce current into the strings (resonating by magnetic force with the strings and vibration with the body). Making a digital piano is just cramming speakers and a computer behind a physical keyboard.

Thus I am worried that acoustic pianos are dying out as a common household item. It's no longer your choice: you can't afford it. Already I'm starting to worry that I might be better off buying the $3500 Kawai CA-93 instead of a K2 or K3 for roughly the same price. It's a hard sacrifice if the CA-93 has touch and better sound than the K3 but "I want a real piano." I might look at the K-9 and go "oh YES" but it's $15,000....

I do not like this.

I wonder if the mark-up on the K-9 is just huge; it probably costs about as much as the K-2 to make, except for more material (bigger frame) and slightly more labor to design the sustainuto pedal (more complex). Certainly not $10,000 worth though; the margin Kawai is getting for the K-9 has got to be a LOT more than proportionally higher. So maybe as "technology" improves they'll start feeding down the easy features into "lower end models" and a cheap upright will be worthwhile (and the CE-200 equivalent will have carbon fiber coatings on at-risk action parts rather than exposed wood, and cost less than $1700).

That would be optimal. But possible?

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#1579593 - 12/18/10 06:21 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: Steve Cohen]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5261
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
A decent acoustic lasts a lifetime, say 60-80 years. Who here thinks that their digital will last that long?

How often should a piano be restrung? I have to have a regulation about every five years. The cost of tunings - two, three, four per year. It gets expensive.

I don't spend a cent for tuning ... and I have no plans on keeping my N3 for 60 or 80 years. I'll trade it in in five or ten years.

You're being slightly disingenuous. If every piano owner kept their piano for 60 or 80 years you'd be out of business. smile
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#1579614 - 12/18/10 07:13 PM Re: Real pianos are dying? :( [Re: bluefoxicy]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: bluefoxicy
a lot of people are trying to compare a digital piano to an acoustic piano. Here's the facts you're missing:

First, digital piano fancy features are not "pianos," they're keyboards playing strings or chorus or guitar. I find this immaterial for the argument; and the argument that this would "replace the violin" is ridiculous because you're not playing a real violin.

Second, a lot of people reckon that a good piano is a good piano, and has better presence. It does. A $15000 piano has better presence than a $1700 digital piano with a 40 watt amp.......................[assorted blah, blah, blah]


I do not like this.


......................... [concluding blah blah blah]


There' a bit more to digital fuctionality than violin patches.

What's immaterial to you is a reflection of your personal vlaues. Having read your second post, I can tell you in all sincerity that you personally and your dyed-in-the-wool bitter biases are immaterial to me.

There can be dialogue on the strengths and weakness of each species, but not with your type. It's simply a waste of time.

You should have noted in the opening post that you preferred a soliloquy format.
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