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#1799765 - 12/03/11 12:26 AM Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano
GoodTimes Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 12
Loc: Texas
I have no idea if this video has been posted before. If so, I apologize. Anyways, looking up videos for the Yamaha P155 and found this.

I listened with Sennheiser 595 headphones. I did turn the volume up some when the digital piano version was played.

You know, I remember when the four function calculator came out. WOW!I thought. Heck, I still have a sliderule packed away someplace. Amazing what technology has brought us.

I suppose a digital grand piano will never replace the real thing. But I am impressed with what these digital piano manufacturers have given us.

http://www.youtube.com/user/nickaboo13?blend=21&ob=5#p/u/1/1JpKjNLA0eI

Les

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#1799772 - 12/03/11 12:47 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Great video. Thanks for sharing. I recently got in an argument with someone who was saying no one should learn on a digital because they sound too different from acoustics. I think people like that need to play some modern digitals, or at least watch this type of video.

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#1799777 - 12/03/11 12:51 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
The reason the two sound alike is because you are hearing BOTH over speakers.

If you were to listen to the grand piano live and then the P155 live you'd find a huge difference. But if you compare recordings the differences is smaller.

I have a P155 and I've played a grand piano. When you are there in person it is dead obvious which is which.

This person who made the video did a very good job. Most times I've seen people try this the grand piano sound poorer than the DP because most people don't have the ability to make good home recordings. It looks like he has a pair of mics inside the piano and from the sound of the recording he knows how to master audio for youtube. That P155 sounds better than just a straight audio dump from the line-out .



Edited by ChrisA (12/03/11 12:59 AM)

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#1799779 - 12/03/11 01:03 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Certainly true. Digitals are limited by speakers in a home live setting and acoustics are limited by mics in a typical home recorded setting. The P155 was sampled from a far better piano, in far better tune and condition, using far better mics, in a far better room, so it would be strange if the acoustic sounded better in the recording.

Still, I thought the P155 sounded good, considering what it is.


Edited by gvfarns (12/03/11 01:33 AM)

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#1799801 - 12/03/11 03:23 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2207
Loc: Sydney, Australia
I agree - both sound very good indeed. I noticed the looping in the digital near the end, when he holds a chord for a long time, though. A piano-worlder posted a Yamaha DP recording a few weeks ago and I really liked it too.

Greg.

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#1799824 - 12/03/11 04:37 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: ChrisA]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 804
Originally Posted By: ChrisA
The reason the two sound alike is because you are hearing BOTH over speakers.

If you were to listen to the grand piano live and then the P155 live you'd find a huge difference. But if you compare recordings the differences is smaller.

I have a P155 and I've played a grand piano. When you are there in person it is dead obvious which is which.


+10!

There is no way the real physical experience would come close, at least in a 'silent' setting, i.e. both played solo without other (amplified) sounds in the room. However, you can make any acoustic sound bad by recording it inappropriately. In fact, in a loud band context where an acoustic gets mic'ed and amplified as well, the differences to a good digital may be much smaller (out in the room at least).

I've never played an Avant Grand with a wooden resonance board so I don't know whether these come closer to the real thing...
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#1799833 - 12/03/11 05:33 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
Dr Popper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 1718
Loc: Hancock Park LA (not again)
Look in recordings and live music in a band situation you really can't tell if its real or not ...but
Putting ANY DP up against my CF6 in a solo live setting ...well there is no comparison.
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#1799847 - 12/03/11 06:21 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Next to each other in a room the choice will be obvious, on a recording less so. I practice mostly with headphones and it is an extremely satisfying experience.

I vaguely remember the first or one of the first piano modules, I believe it was a Roland. That sounded pretty good back then though a sound system. That must have been around 30 years ago.
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#1799860 - 12/03/11 07:09 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
Amaruk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 802
Loc: New England, USA
Great video. Thanks for sharing!!
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#1799876 - 12/03/11 08:30 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3213
It's a shame that someone with such a beautiful piano doesn't keep it tuned... but I've been guilty of the same!

But more to the point, I'm very surprised at all these comments agreeing that, in this context, they sound much alike... I don't think they sound alike at all. I mean really, not even close. Throughout, the P155 does not have the fullness and warmth of the acoustic at all, I think that's partly in the tone itself and partly in the weaker/absent string and body resonances. And the P155's sustains sound are lifeless compared to the acoustic. If it isn't obvious by itself, listen specifically at 3:15 where he switches from one piano to the other, first one channel, and then the other.

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#1799880 - 12/03/11 08:47 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
anotherscott, professional headphones make a big difference in the sound.
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#1799883 - 12/03/11 08:49 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2395
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
I think the DP sounds a bit one dimensional but at least it is in tune! I disagree with those above that say the DP is being played over speakers...to me this sounds like line out + reverb (onboard or external reverb), nothing more. There are no speakers or mics involved in the recording of this guy's P155. The AP is horrible because it is out of tune. DP's decay at the end is totally static and boring but Yamaha's decays are the worst for this, other DPs do that a bit better usually.
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#1799888 - 12/03/11 09:02 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2207
Loc: Sydney, Australia
@EssBrace - I think ChrisA simply meant that WE are listening to this recording with speakers and/or headphones. ;^) I.e - it is impossible for us to hear what the player experienced when he was actually sitting at the piano.

RE: the static decay of the DP - I suspect that's due to looping. That's what I meant when I said I could hear the looping, anyhow. (i.e - I could not hear noticable repetitive warbling or anything like that - it's just an unnaturally static decay)

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (12/03/11 09:04 AM)

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#1799894 - 12/03/11 09:18 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2395
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Doh! Yes I see what he means. But ChrisA did say: "That P155 sounds better than just a straight audio dump from the line-out". I'm saying that is exactly what it is - straight from line out.

Yes, it's Yamaha's looping that is to blame for the lifeless decay; for some reason they use tiny little loops rather than long wobbly ones (like Nord).
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#1799895 - 12/03/11 09:28 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2207
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Yes, I had forgotten about that comment about the line-outs. (I have no idea about that)

I really only noticed the static decay when he holds that very long chord near the end. (I have only listened once, though)

Greg.

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#1799900 - 12/03/11 09:46 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: Dave Horne]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3213
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
anotherscott, professional headphones make a big difference in the sound.

The difference was obvious with my lame built-in laptop speakers, but yeah, the differences were even more clear with my good phones.

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#1799913 - 12/03/11 10:14 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4343
Loc: Northern NJ
Late to this fun party, thanks for posting that interesting video!

I can hear most difference when he switches to the DP (duh!) - the tone changes of course, but as anotherscott says the rich sympathetic resonances are obviously missing. The beginning lower notes on the AP even with light playing ring on for quite a while, doing the same on a DP gives anemic sound with shorter audibly looped decay. The attacks of the higher notes on the DP also sound somehow too uniform regardless of velocity.

The AP being somewhat out of tune is a dead giveaway, I wish I could adjust the individual unison strings on our NX to achieve this effect (the individual note tunings themselves are adjustable however).

The first Ludovico Einaudi CD I heard was "Stanze" which is all performed on harp. I think I prefer Einaudi's style of music on harp rather than piano.

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#1800735 - 12/05/11 09:14 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: dewster]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5111
Originally Posted By: dewster
I can hear most difference when he switches to the DP (duh!) - the tone changes of course, but as anotherscott says the rich sympathetic resonances are obviously missing. The beginning lower notes on the AP even with light playing ring on for quite a while, doing the same on a DP gives anemic sound with shorter audibly looped decay. The attacks of the higher notes on the DP also sound somehow too uniform regardless of velocity.

The AP being somewhat out of tune is a dead giveaway, I wish I could adjust the individual unison strings on our NX to achieve this effect (the individual note tunings themselves are adjustable however).

The first Ludovico Einaudi CD I heard was "Stanze" which is all performed on harp. I think I prefer Einaudi's style of music on harp rather than piano.


As far as I know, the only DPs on which you can adjust the tuning of individual unison strings is the V-Piano/Grand which also gives the sound that extra realism, if not all the notes are detuned the same amount. The DP's sound on that extract is lacking in lots of resonances, giving a sterile effect.

The only recording on a DP by a well-known classical pianist I've ever heard (- quite a few big-name classical pianists endorse and praise a certain model of DP but you won't find them willing to commit to putting out a recording......) sounded so sterile and artificial that I wonder how much he was paid to play it.
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#1800746 - 12/05/11 09:44 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
I'd rather hear an in-tune DP than an out-of-tune acoustic. Otherwise the digitals (good ones) are fine but most certainly do not sound the same, live and in person. But which is better is a question of taste.
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#1800749 - 12/05/11 10:04 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
leemax Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 501
Loc: pacific nw, usa
I hear a big difference, with the AP being the better of the two. One of the main things I notice is the attack. On the AP there is a definite percussive beginning to each note and with the DP I hear more of a "start" to the note, if that makes sense. Also lots more overtones on the AP. The DP sounds fine, but not as good as the AP here. I'm not too finicky about pitch so the out-of-tune issues of the AP didn't really bother me.
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#1800992 - 12/05/11 05:23 PM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
Tim W Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/01/11
Posts: 1
I do a lot of recording from a home studio, and I don't own a Grand. I use a soft-synth from Propellerheads Software called Reason and use the Pianos Refill. There's a complete explanation here: http://www.propellerheads.se/products/refills/rpi/

This gives you the option of controlling the software (running on your controller) with a midi controller (a keyboard with midi out)

The refill which with the software costs around $500, has hyper samples of 3 pianos. The Steinway K upright, The Steinway D, and the Yamaha C7. Many of the samples even capture the pads as they come down when you lift the key or sustain pedal. Also, unlike what someone noted above, the samples are true length samples, meaning that when you hit a key and sustain, the sample is an actual sample at that velocity that will ring until the string stops... not a loop.

That said, these samples are very large and require a fairly recent computer if you don't want to choke the computer for power.

This refill is hyper sampled, meaning that there are multiple samples from separate microphones in different locations, that can be custom mixed, depending on where you want the listener to be located in the room, relative to the piano.

I know, sounds complicated, but the results are amazing, and you can literally use a setup that compliments the piece you are trying to play. There's a set of close-up top mics for a intimate, bright sound. A set of close up bottom mics for a darker intimate sound. There's a set of Stereo Room mics that give the piano more space, and there's a monophonic Ribbon mic that has a classic sound, all its own.

The software allows you to select from the different mics and even has the ability to use multiple sets of mic mixed the way you want them.

Of course, to simplify things, there are different presets that you can choose between.

I like this program, especially because it gives you a wide variety to choose from and opens your options in the future, should technologies improve, allowing you to use your existing midi keyboard controller for another program or sound module.

It should be noted that the Reason program also is a recording package that allows you to record your performance and even play a duet with yourself by playing back your performance and adding a second part. You can also record vocals and other instruments, as well as select from many synthesized sounds in the software (strings, brass, and every conceivable wild sound you can think of.. : )

Hope this helps.

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#1801009 - 12/05/11 06:01 PM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
David Sprunger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/07
Posts: 162
Loc: Oregon, USA
Les - cool concept for the video comparison. But it's not an apples/apples comparison especially because the acoustic piano is so out of tune. Doesn't sound like the temperament is way off, but the unison strings are really beating each other up.
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#1801056 - 12/05/11 08:12 PM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: David Sprunger]
GoodTimes Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 12
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: David Sprunger
Les - cool concept for the video comparison. But it's not an apples/apples comparison especially because the acoustic piano is so out of tune. Doesn't sound like the temperament is way off, but the unison strings are really beating each other up.


Thanks David and others for your replies.

I suppose I was not clear as to the reason for this post. It was not meant to indicate that...well, here is an example of a digital piano on a par with a real grand piano.

It was to illustrate what technology has given us - with a mid-level digital piano. With what it has given us the ability to do; to learn to play, the joy of playing this instrument, in a form factor that is portable, convenient, play privately if need be, cost effective, and all with a good sound. We would have , most likely, far fewer of us enjoying this fine instrument if it were not for the digital piano.


The fella in the video loves to play on the real grand piano -when he can. Most of us (I'm assuming) don't have the opportunity to play a real grand. Or any real piano.

That fella had this to say about his digital piano.

"Now that I am on the move, I got a Yamaha P-155 digital piano. The realistic sound and feel of this instrument has me truly passionate about practicing/playing."

I can't wait till Christmas and get my digital piano. I don't know how to play it. At all! I hope I have half of that fella's passion to practice and play because I've got a lot to learn over the next several years. Of course, I'm assuming again - I hope to be around in several years' time.


Les

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#1801322 - 12/06/11 11:15 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4343
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: GoodTimes
I suppose I was not clear as to the reason for this post. It was not meant to indicate that...well, here is an example of a digital piano on a par with a real grand piano.

It was to illustrate what technology has given us - with a mid-level digital piano. With what it has given us the ability to do; to learn to play, the joy of playing this instrument, in a form factor that is portable, convenient, play privately if need be, cost effective, and all with a good sound. We would have , most likely, far fewer of us enjoying this fine instrument if it were not for the digital piano.

Maybe I'm one of those glass-half-empty people, but to me this video presents the DP as something that is tantalizingly close to an acoustic piano, yet frustratingly miles away from where it technically should be. The portability of DPs is probably their strongest suit, realistic decay and sympathetic resonance their weakest.
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#1801329 - 12/06/11 11:32 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
I'm with dewster, if you need portability then nowadays you can get some mighty nice digital pianos (although in my opinion the ones that qualify as "mighty nice" are also "might pricey"). But it is best not to A-B such instruments with a decent, in-tune acoustic piano because it simply makes it impossible for most of us to mentally filter out the quite obvious shortcomings in the sound of most DP implementations.

I'm frankly a bit amazed that for a couple thousand dollars, there are not DP's on the market which, through headphones, are indistinguishable from an excellent recording of a fine piano. I have yet to hear any that are even remotely in the ballpark. It sure seems doable at the price points you're talking about for a performance-grade DP.

My theory is that so many of these are used in circumstances where they can't be heard clearly that there just isn't a market demand for realistic sound quality.
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#1801333 - 12/06/11 11:40 AM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: Brent H]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2395
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: Brent H
I'm frankly a bit amazed that for a couple thousand dollars, there are not DP's on the market which, through headphones, are indistinguishable from an excellent recording of a fine piano.


I think there are - as a stand alone solution any Roland with the Supernatural sound engine can make good that particular illusion. And for less than $2000 you could equip yourself with a decent weighted hammer action keyboard and play any number of software pianos that would sound just as good as a recording of a fine piano (because that is what they are).

Getting a DP to sound like "an excellent recording of a fine piano" is the easy bit. Sitting down at one and hearing and feeling like you are playing a fine piano there in the room with you is the difficult bit.
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#1801348 - 12/06/11 12:13 PM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: EssBrace]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3213
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Originally Posted By: Brent H
I'm frankly a bit amazed that for a couple thousand dollars, there are not DP's on the market which, through headphones, are indistinguishable from an excellent recording of a fine piano.


I think there are - as a stand alone solution any Roland with the Supernatural sound engine can make good that particular illusion.

I disagree. Or, I guess I should say, at least so far, I have not heard anything from a Roland that I would consider indistinguishable from a real piano when recorded.

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#1801351 - 12/06/11 12:23 PM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2395
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
But indistinguishable from which real piano? They're all different. A properly tweaked RD-700GX or equivalent can sound like a real piano in my opinion.
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#1801389 - 12/06/11 01:18 PM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: EssBrace]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3213
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
But indistinguishable from which real piano? They're all different. A properly tweaked RD-700GX or equivalent can sound like a real piano in my opinion.

As different as real pianos are from one another, they all sound like real pianos... I did not find the Rolands to be convincing, though they can certainly be nice and pleasing to play. For one thing, the difference in brightness between soft and loud velocities was more exaggerated than I think any real piano would be.

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#1801405 - 12/06/11 01:31 PM Re: Listen to Real Grand Piano vs. Digital Grand Piano [Re: GoodTimes]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
I will say the Roland I auditioned at a local dealer (FP7F of something like that) when played through its speakers sounded indistinguishable from how a recording of a real piano played through a similar set of speakers might sound. And for an awful lot of purposes that's plenty good enough. Recorded or with the player wearing headphones the simulacrum is not quite as convincing.

At least the better Roland models' sustain doesn't seem to have that uncanny effect where it sounds very like a piano for the first three quarters of a second and then exactly like someone turning down a volume knob as it decays. I hear that in recordings and just can't get past the mental volume-knob image it elicits. But the basic attack envelop and timbre do get pretty good on some DP's.

The problem is, I can pay a few hundred bucks for a software piano to run on a PC costing at most a few hundred bucks and the simulation of a real piano is terribly close to believable through headphones. Is the storage and CPU capacity needed for that just simply too expensive to bundle into a digital piano?
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