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#1661539 - 04/16/11 10:06 PM DPBSD-CP80
willi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/16/11
Posts: 4
Loc: Portland, Oregon

Concisely: please help analyze the available offerings for CP-80 type sounds!

While some people are not fond of the Yamaha CP-80 Electric Grand Piano sound, I find it works well with my music and instrumentation. For a while I have owned and occasionally gigged a CP-70B, and it is very large and heavy, somewhat difficult to set up, goes out of tune eventually, and the strings sometimes break. So, I have been looking for a replacement solution. My CP-70B sounds very nice when tuned and has a wonderful keybed with grand piano action. The strings react to resonance and harmonics that vary based upon performance, amplification, room, other instruments, etc. So despite it's shortcomings it is a very nice instrument with a lot of depth and character, and owning the real thing has helped me become more familiar with some of the nuances of it's sound and action. Which, in turn, means I've been somewhat picky in choosing a replacement stage piano. There are a lot of considerations of course, and it seems that all the options available include some sort of compromise.

Enter DPBSD-CP80, an extension of dewster's wonderful DPBSD thread, but focused on the CP-80 sound. The analysis in the DPBSD thread is revealing and useful; as stated, it is not intended to function as the only or final judgement on an instrument. Instead the DPBSD functions as a tool to better understand the sounds and technologies within the instruments, and the approaches manufacturers take with their products.

As the initial offerings for evaluation and comparison I have uploaded the DPBSD2.0 Midi file, rendered by Modartt Pianoteq 3.6.3 and by the Yamaha CP-5. Pianoteq's CP-80 is completely modeled, while the CP-5 relies on samples modified by 'Spectral Component Modeling'. In an attempt to better understand this technology, I've uploaded a dry version of the default preset settings, as well as a version modified with the maximum decay setting (+16, compared to the default value of zero, in a range of -16 to +16), increased keyoff noise (default of 5 increased to 10), and the 'Soft1' hammer setting. With these decay settings, the CP-5 will sustain a note nearly indefinitely while a key is held. The sustain of a real CP-80 will increase as the volume on-stage increases, so this is a neat adjustment to control.

I think the DPBSD-CP80 comparison could certainly benefit from additional entries; I would certainly like to see the results from some other software instruments, sample sets, romplers, workstations (Kronos, Motif), and stage pianos (Kawai MP6, Nord, Korg SV1, etc.). Please feel free to upload and link your contributions, and I sincerely look forward to your input and feedback!

Pianoteq 'CP-80 Original' preset, with reverb disabled

CP-5 CP-80 sound, preamp and reverb blocks disabled

CP-5 CP-80 sound, preamp block enabled for maximum decay (+16), increased keyoff (10), Soft1 hammer setting. Reverb disabled.

Edited by willi (04/16/11 10:16 PM)

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#1661624 - 04/17/11 01:43 AM Re: DPBSD-CP80 [Re: willi]
Kawai James Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 12714
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Welcome to the forum willi - what an interesting idea, too!

So far the DPBSD has focused on AP sounds, however there's nothing to say the same test could not be run for EPs, (is the CP80 considered an 'EP'?) and even other patches.
It would be great to learn how, for example, the Wurlitzer samples of the main stage pianos compare too.

Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.

#1661640 - 04/17/11 02:36 AM Re: DPBSD-CP80 [Re: willi]
sullivang Online   blank
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2722
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Yes, the CP80 is considered an "EP", because it's mentioned in Simon Beck's Hall of Electric Pianos. QED. smile

Middle-aged Jeremy Clarkson acolyte.

#1661652 - 04/17/11 03:55 AM Re: DPBSD-CP80 [Re: willi]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2938
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
I like the CP70/80 too...I've not yet heard a decent rendition in a stage piano. I find Nord's disappointing (given how good their Rhodes types are). I suspect Yamaha CP1 or 5 are the best hardware solutions so far (although I haven't played them). In my experience Roland's attempts are woeful by the way.

One of the problems is that manufacturers treat it as an EP...and so invest little or no time or effort in representing the resonances and harmonics of what is in effect an electro-acoustic piano - in a real CP80 the resonance behaviour must be there because hammers are striking strings which can vibrate in sympathy.




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#1664323 - 04/21/11 05:29 PM Re: DPBSD-CP80 [Re: willi]
willi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/16/11
Posts: 4
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi James. Thanks for the greetings; I've actually been reading this forum for a little while now and find it a great resource. So, thanks to you and all the other forum users! I agree it would be interesting to see other comparisons of electric pianos such as the Wurlitzer and Rhodes of course, although it might be best to start some additional new threads for each since they are such common tones for keyboardists to use, but each is so unique!

Another unit that I would be very interested in is the Kawai MP6, since it has an 'Electric Grand' sound (the manual states that it is patch 3C and 3D in the E. Piano section). It unfortunately is not available to test anywhere here in Portland, Oregon and I can't really afford to travel just to test it. It's use of a graded action is perhaps more akin to a CP80 than the CP1 or CP5 NW action, but I am loathe to purchase a keyboard I cannot play first (this also raises questions regarding availability of local technical support while on the road, but that is another discussion and I digress). It certainly seems like an interesting unit. Would it be possible for you to provide a DPBSD file and audio demo file of this unit?

And please forgive me if I am mistaken here, but I am actually a bit upset by Kawai's decision to not include any 'Electric Grand' sound on the MP10! I have read that the original Roland RD-700 had maybe 3 different Electric Grand patches. Then, with the SX or GX revision, Roland removed all but one patch. Then, with the release of the NX, there are no 'Electric Grand' sounds available at all! Now, Roland never produced a real electric piano with strings and pickups... but Kawai did! The EP-308 and EP-608 even had some advantages over the CP series. Kawai should embrace their history! I had been particularly interested in the MP10 because of all the positive reviews of it's action. It is frustrating to find that there are not any electric grand sounds on the MP10, but that sounds like 'Choir Ooh/Aah' made the list! And yet the 'lesser' MP6 has this capability - it is as if keyboard manufacturers get some sort of secret pleasure out of mixing and matching features across a product line in a confounding manner.

sullivang, I've always loved the Hall of EP's. There are some cool instruments listed in there, and some good info!

EssBrace, I agree that CP1 or CP5 (particularly CP5, for it's greater versatility) are probably the best hardware solutions so far. I had initially been excited about these boards, and then subsequently discounted the instruments because of the non-graded action. Nord's are fun, but apparently feature very little blending between velocity layers based upon the graphics in the acoustic piano DPBSD. Considering that the CP80 samples for the Nord weigh in at about 8MB, I don't see how they can be very detailed. I'm unclear if any of the Nords will support resonance features while using the CP80 sounds, but that might not be worth much consideration anyway compared to blended velocity layers. The SV1 (and probably Kronos) has some nice CP80 sounds, but I dislike the RH3 action. Roland apparently does not give the CP sound much consideration. The Kurzweil units might be able to load a sample set into flash that is larger than the Nord samples, but again there appears to be little blending between velocity layers. The blending or layers, detail of pedal response, and customization of the sound are fairly detailed on the CP1/CP5. And in the end, the NW action seems superior to most others. It certainly seems to have a quick return, despite some interesting 'idealistic' design approaches (light weight, no grading, no escapement, no silent play at 0-1 velocity, etc). I haven't played my real CP70B - with it's heavily weighted, and graded action - in months, though, so I've probably gotten a little less picky... wink

Yes, the real CP has resonance. It reacts in many ways you would expect, and in some that you wouldn't - for example, the harmonics of a note may change over time as feedback sustains the string vibration. Which harmonics evolve, and at what rate they emerge, may vary depending on the shape of the room. Performance from other instruments will interact and affect these resonances. It is all very wonderfully organic.

I am looking forward to more samples and commentary!

Edited by willi (04/21/11 05:44 PM)

#1664353 - 04/21/11 06:01 PM Re: DPBSD-CP80 [Re: willi]
Kawai James Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 12714
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: willi
Would it be possible for you to provide a DPBSD file and audio demo file of this unit?

No, I'm afraid not.

Kind regards,
Employed by Kawai Japan, however the opinions I express are my own.
Nord Electro 3 fan & occasional rare groove player.


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