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#1606697 - 01/27/11 12:42 PM Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano.
PianoZac Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1422
Well, as a lot of you guys know, I've been playing Roland keyboards the last almost 2 years. I owned the RD-700GXF, RD-300GX, and very briefly the RD-700NX. I thoroughly enjoyed playing the RD-700GXF. From the action, to the SuperNATURAL piano sounds, to the RPU-3 pedals. It was a fine instrument. My reason for 'attrition' from Roland really came down to the way they sounded live, even the SN pianos. They sounded very anemic, which was completely opposite of the way they sounded with cans on or through monitors. So this sparked my interest in looking elsewhere...to the Nord!

I picked up the Nord Piano on Tuesday morning, got home from work and dug right in to the Nord. It needed an OS update, so since I'm on a Mac, I needed no special drivers, merely a simple plug in of the USB from the Mac to the Nord, and viola...30 seconds later it was updated. This was so cool to update so quickly and easily, and when you read on Clavia (Nord's) website what the OS updates include, it's really quite amazing that these instruments are so often made better and better.

I then turned my attention to the Nord Piano Library, which came included on a disk with the entire Ver. 5 Piano Library. The one sample it didn't include was the new huge Bosendorfer Imperial sample. The available space on the NP88 is 500MB, and the XL size Bosie sample is 196.8 MB...huge, but man oh man, worth it. A simple download from the Nord site, opening up the Nord Sound Manager app, and voila, the sounds I don't want or use or deleted with one click, and with another click the sounds I want are there. This is such a great feature, and I really applaud Nord for offering this level of flexibility.

Now that I've got my Nord setup the way I want on to the sounds. I've got the Steinway D, Yamaha C7, and Bosendorfer Imperial grand pianos installed-all large or XL in sample size. The pianos sound just incredible. All the string/sympathetic resonance is there that you'd expect from an acoustic. The guts of the Bosie is downright impressive. Through my monitors at home, it hits me right in the chest. The Nord pianos have a much brighter and more stringy sound to them, which coming from the darker, pristine Roland SN piano sounds took some adjusting, but I'm fully adjusted already. They can take on a somewhat harpsichordy sound in certain areas of the piano, but nothing that sounds bad at all to my ears. The pianos have imperfections but this helps make them so expressive and organic, and very playable. The Nord pianos are stuffed with personality, and unlike on a lot of DPs, each different piano sound has a markedly different character and tone.

The upright pianos are exquisite. They have that closed in, somewhat de-tuned character so familiar with upright pianos. I have the Petrof upright and Schimmel upright (Romantic) both in large sample sizes. They're both distinctive and full of character like the grands. They are the best sounding upright samples I've ever heard. Nord hit a homerun IMHO with the grand and upright piano samples.

On to the EPs...darn these are good! The effects options and the different amps and compression is so awesome. I've got a 1976 Rhodes Mk 1 at my work, and I brought in my NP88 this morning, and it sound better than the old Rhodes!! That's a first, and coming from the EP sounds derived from some SuperNATURAL sampling in the Rolands, the NP88 also really really shines with its superb EP sounds. The Warlitzer, Sparkletop, and the Low Deep MK 1 Rhodes sounds are what I have installed, and they are fantastic. Just so authentic.

I de-installed my Clav/Harpsichord sounds as I don't use these at the moment and needed to make space for the larger piano samples. However, the NP88 has the best Harpsichord sounds I've ever heard shy of an actual real in-tune harpsichord. I had the French Harpsichord installed up until last night, and it was terrific sounding.

I don't use the electric grand sounds so the those went off right away...never been a fan of the DX-7 or CP80 sound personally, but the Nord does them well.

Action wise the Nord definitely trails the RD-700GX/GXF/NX, but is light years ahead of the RD-300GX I'm selling. The action is light for me, but not too light, and is very responsive. I can play very fast on the NP88 and it picks up all the nuances and dynamic I'm trying to express. I'd personally like it to be heavier, but it is a good solid DP action. Better than a lot, but not as good as the RDs/MPs/CPs.

The pedal modeling is really brilliant. It's adjustable, and can be turned off entirely. I've found this adds a lot to the authenticity of the experience. When I stomp on it, it's there like the real thing. The string/sympathetic resonance is incredible. It's very similar to the sounds I hear on the Yamaha grand I play at one of my gigs. You can tell Nord put a lot of energy and thought behind the modeling for both the pedal and string/sympathetic resonance.

All in all, so far, I am very happy with my decision to go with the Nord. I do miss some features like the rhythm sections I used on my RD to practice, but it's not a deal breaker at all. The weight (39lbs), the sounds (incredible), the flexibility (unmatched and so simple!), the fact it came with 3 pedals (unheard of for a stage piano in it's price range) are just some of the many unique things a love about the NP88. It's not for everyone, but for it's intended purpose, it exceeds above and beyond. I am a very happy camper. smile

For anyone on the fence about purchasing something in league of the RD-700NX, CP5, MP10, Nord Piano, SV-1, etc, I'd strongly suggest playing each one (if possible). The Nord took a little adjusting for me, and if I judged the Nord off of first impressions, I'd probably have gone for the RD-700NX, MP10, or CP5, but I went back and played the Nord next to the CP5/50 and RD-700NX, and decided that because I'm a gigging musician who doesn't always get to play on a grand, the Nord suits my need the best.

Cheers,
_________________________
Yamaha AvantGrand N1
Nord Piano 2


"Be who you are and say how you feel. Because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

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#1606781 - 01/27/11 02:42 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1728
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
.
_________________________
http://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

2005 NY Steinway D, Yamaha CP5, CP4, Nord Piano 2
RCF TT08A & TT22A speakers


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#1606811 - 01/27/11 03:26 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
thomsurf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/01/10
Posts: 153
Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
Great review, Zac! Congrats on your new piano.

How's the decay time on the Nord? I'm always searching for something with that nice long natural slow fading tone. Still haven't found it...
_________________________
Roland RD800, JBL PRX612M.

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#1606830 - 01/27/11 03:54 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Great review Zachary!

Now there's two very happy Nord owners on the forum...

Steve
_________________________
Yamaha CP1

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#1606846 - 01/27/11 04:21 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
thomsurf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/01/10
Posts: 153
Loc: Copenhagen, Denmark
Another question for Zac: Is it possible to download strings or pads as well for the NP88 and is there a layer function?
_________________________
Roland RD800, JBL PRX612M.

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#1606848 - 01/27/11 04:22 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
rickshapiro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/08
Posts: 171
Originally Posted By: PianoZac
Well, as a lot of you guys know, I've been playing Roland keyboards the last almost 2 years. I owned the RD-700GXF, RD-300GX, and very briefly the RD-700NX. I thoroughly enjoyed playing the RD-700GXF. From the action, to the SuperNATURAL piano sounds, to the RPU-3 pedals. It was a fine instrument. My reason for 'attrition' from Roland really came down to the way they sounded live, even the SN pianos. They sounded very anemic, which was completely opposite of the way they sounded with cans on or through monitors. So this sparked my interest in looking elsewhere...to the Nord!

I picked up the Nord Piano on Tuesday morning, got home from work and dug right in to the Nord. It needed an OS update, so since I'm on a Mac, I needed no special drivers, merely a simple plug in of the USB from the Mac to the Nord, and viola...30 seconds later it was updated. This was so cool to update so quickly and easily, and when you read on Clavia (Nord's) website what the OS updates include, it's really quite amazing that these instruments are so often made better and better.

I then turned my attention to the Nord Piano Library, which came included on a disk with the entire Ver. 5 Piano Library. The one sample it didn't include was the new huge Bosendorfer Imperial sample. The available space on the NP88 is 500MB, and the XL size Bosie sample is 196.8 MB...huge, but man oh man, worth it. A simple download from the Nord site, opening up the Nord Sound Manager app, and voila, the sounds I don't want or use or deleted with one click, and with another click the sounds I want are there. This is such a great feature, and I really applaud Nord for offering this level of flexibility.

Now that I've got my Nord setup the way I want on to the sounds. I've got the Steinway D, Yamaha C7, and Bosendorfer Imperial grand pianos installed-all large or XL in sample size. The pianos sound just incredible. All the string/sympathetic resonance is there that you'd expect from an acoustic. The guts of the Bosie is downright impressive. Through my monitors at home, it hits me right in the chest. The Nord pianos have a much brighter and more stringy sound to them, which coming from the darker, pristine Roland SN piano sounds took some adjusting, but I'm fully adjusted already. They can take on a somewhat harpsichordy sound in certain areas of the piano, but nothing that sounds bad at all to my ears. The pianos have imperfections but this helps make them so expressive and organic, and very playable. The Nord pianos are stuffed with personality, and unlike on a lot of DPs, each different piano sound has a markedly different character and tone.

The upright pianos are exquisite. They have that closed in, somewhat de-tuned character so familiar with upright pianos. I have the Petrof upright and Schimmel upright (Romantic) both in large sample sizes. They're both distinctive and full of character like the grands. They are the best sounding upright samples I've ever heard. Nord hit a homerun IMHO with the grand and upright piano samples.

Cheers,



Thank you for the review. I am definitely on the fence with all the models you are talking about. I need organ too so I would have to go with the Stage Ex or the new Stage II when it comes out. It is so expensive though.I was also thinking about the RD-300NX when that comes out. Is there a reason Nord keyboard action does not compare with its competitors? Is there a design decision that the weight on the Nord should be lighter then others?


Edited by rickshapiro (01/27/11 04:23 PM)
_________________________
Music Hack

Nord NP88,Yamaha Motif ES7, Ensoniq KS32, Brodmann 187 Grand, JV2080, GR20, JV90, MKS-20, Sonar S1, Reaper, ACID, Record/Reason, Samplitude, VOX Tonelab, Tech21 Power Engine, NI, Kore, True Piano, Sampletank, Komplete, Bluesky Studio Monitors Yamaha 01X, Line 6 HD500, tons of guitars.

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#1606879 - 01/27/11 04:55 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: thomsurf]
PianoZac Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1422
Originally Posted By: thomsurf
Great review, Zac! Congrats on your new piano.

How's the decay time on the Nord? I'm always searching for something with that nice long natural slow fading tone. Still haven't found it...


I've found the decay to be nice and long, though I do hear some audible looping going on. The Bosendorfer has the best decay, and least amount of looping...the sound of the Bosie sample in one word is HUGE!
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Great review Zachary!

Now there's two very happy Nord owners on the forum...

Steve

Big thanks to you Steve, and Dave Ferris for really giving me some invaluable advice. {thumbsup}
Quote:
Is there a reason Nord keyboard action does not compare with its competitors? Is there a design decision that the weight on the Nord should be lighter then others?

I think it's because Nord has Fatar build their piano actions to Nord spec, so it's probably because Fatar's piano actions generally aren't as good as the new stuff coming out from Roland, Yamaha, and Kawai. That's just my guess though. However, I do like the action of the Nord.
Originally Posted By: thomsurf
Another question for Zac: Is it possible to download strings or pads as well for the NP88 and is there a layer function?

No unfortunately not. You only have access to the Nord Piano Library which only includes Grand Pianos, Upright Pianos, Electric Grands, Electric Pianos, Clavinets, and Harpsichords. It truly is a Stage Piano! I miss some of my rhythm section patches, and the ability to split, but I never ever use those features real time, so for me the NP88 was the best choice. You may want to pick up a Stage EX or wait for the new Stage 2.


Edited by PianoZac (01/27/11 04:56 PM)
_________________________
Yamaha AvantGrand N1
Nord Piano 2


"Be who you are and say how you feel. Because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

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#1606885 - 01/27/11 05:01 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8869
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Thanks for the review Zachary - by all accounts the NP88 sounds like an excellent board, congrats!

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

"Richard, none of us could forget you have a CLP-990." - EssBrace, 2014

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#1606900 - 01/27/11 05:15 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: rickshapiro]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3154
Originally Posted By: rickshapiro
Is there a design decision that the weight on the Nord should be lighter then others?

It probably contributes to the fact that the instruments aren't as heavy to carry around as most others. But in the case of the Stage series, there is actually a further benefit... the keyboard is reasonably suitable for both piano and organ playing, whereas the heavier weighted actions of other brands are often not suitable for organ techniques at all.

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#1606915 - 01/27/11 05:31 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: anotherscott]
rickshapiro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/08
Posts: 171
Right now I'm playing in a jazz situation with a Motif ES7 and am really struggling playing piano patches without any weight. I'm going to assume the Nord is light years ahead from a control perspective then my ES.

I believe they mentioned a new keybed on the Nord Stage II.
_________________________
Music Hack

Nord NP88,Yamaha Motif ES7, Ensoniq KS32, Brodmann 187 Grand, JV2080, GR20, JV90, MKS-20, Sonar S1, Reaper, ACID, Record/Reason, Samplitude, VOX Tonelab, Tech21 Power Engine, NI, Kore, True Piano, Sampletank, Komplete, Bluesky Studio Monitors Yamaha 01X, Line 6 HD500, tons of guitars.

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#1607010 - 01/27/11 07:37 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
kiedysktos. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 425
Loc: Europe, Poland
Thanks for your review, Zahary - it's great.

Looks like Clavia will upgrade Nord Piano pretty soon, just because bigger samples = better sound. It still have too less memory to handle a few big pianos like 200MB, which I'm sure will be released.

What will we see in a 10 years? 500MB or 1GB pianos? smile
_________________________
Roland FP-4

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#1607017 - 01/27/11 07:49 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: kiedysktos.]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: kiedysktos.
What will we see in a 10 years? 500MB or 1GB pianos? smile

I stand by my prediction of NAMM 2020 for the first, real, dyed in the wool, >4GB, unlooped, unstretched, hardware DP. (I'd be ecstatic to be wrong in a less time sense).

May god have mercy on our souls until then.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1607028 - 01/27/11 08:11 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
kiedysktos. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 425
Loc: Europe, Poland
heheh smile
_________________________
Roland FP-4

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#1607053 - 01/27/11 09:08 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: dewster]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3154
Originally Posted By: dewster
I stand by my prediction of NAMM 2020 for the first, real, dyed in the wool, >4GB, unlooped, unstretched, hardware DP.

The Korg Kronos 88 doesn't count?

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#1607325 - 01/28/11 09:48 AM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
dje31 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 08/03/10
Posts: 218

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#1607341 - 01/28/11 10:04 AM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
Rimmer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/10
Posts: 483
Loc: United Kingdom
Nice one Zac! Those machines look so cool as well. I like the fact you can download new Piano samples from them as well.. Smart..!

Be great if you could get the machine involved in the DP Comparison Thread when you have time.

Regards. Rimmer

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#1607360 - 01/28/11 10:18 AM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: kiedysktos.]
rickshapiro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/08
Posts: 171
Originally Posted By: kiedysktos.
Thanks for your review, Zahary - it's great.

Looks like Clavia will upgrade Nord Piano pretty soon, just because bigger samples = better sound. It still have too less memory to handle a few big pianos like 200MB, which I'm sure will be released.

What will we see in a 10 years? 500MB or 1GB pianos? smile


Is there something else that makes you think they will upgrade the Nord Piano?
_________________________
Music Hack

Nord NP88,Yamaha Motif ES7, Ensoniq KS32, Brodmann 187 Grand, JV2080, GR20, JV90, MKS-20, Sonar S1, Reaper, ACID, Record/Reason, Samplitude, VOX Tonelab, Tech21 Power Engine, NI, Kore, True Piano, Sampletank, Komplete, Bluesky Studio Monitors Yamaha 01X, Line 6 HD500, tons of guitars.

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#1607368 - 01/28/11 10:33 AM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: dewster]
Richard Stark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 278
Loc: Hälsingland, Sweden
Originally Posted By: dewster
Originally Posted By: kiedysktos.
What will we see in a 10 years? 500MB or 1GB pianos? smile

I stand by my prediction of NAMM 2020 for the first, real, dyed in the wool, >4GB, unlooped, unstretched, hardware DP. (I'd be ecstatic to be wrong in a less time sense).

May god have mercy on our souls until then.


Korg Kronos, NAMM 2011: ... The SGX-1 Premium Piano sound engine offers two distinctive grand pianos; a rich German D piano, and a robust Japanese C model. Each uses superb, un-looped stereo samples sampled at eight velocity levels for each and every key...

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#1607402 - 01/28/11 11:10 AM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: kiedysktos.]
PianoZac Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1422
Originally Posted By: kiedysktos.
Thanks for your review, Zahary - it's great.

Looks like Clavia will upgrade Nord Piano pretty soon, just because bigger samples = better sound. It still have too less memory to handle a few big pianos like 200MB, which I'm sure will be released.

What will we see in a 10 years? 500MB or 1GB pianos? smile

Honestly, I'd be happy having 2 200MB grand piano XL samples, one upright Larger sample, and the Sparkletop Rhodes and Wurlitzer samples.

I brought my Nord up to my office yesterday because I had a rehearsal with my trio and wow, everyone, including two guys who work at the office commented on how acoustic the Nord sounds in the mix. It's just damn amazing. It sound better through a PA or monitors than it does in headphones! Like Dave Ferris, the Nord sounds better in front of it than it does in your ear coming from a monitor in a live setting. I don't know what it is, but I walked 10 feet in front of the Nord while my drummer was running some licks and I grinned from ear to ear in sheer joy of finally having a really good sounding stage piano in a LIVE mix. Plus I already know it records well thanks to Dave Ferris, so yet another bonus. Live and studio-it's a win win.
_________________________
Yamaha AvantGrand N1
Nord Piano 2


"Be who you are and say how you feel. Because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

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#1607417 - 01/28/11 11:27 AM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: Richard Stark]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: Richard Stark

True that. Though it's more of a workstation than a DP. Just watched the video again, it looks really sweet. The physically modeled guitar and sitar sounds are awesome.
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THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1607468 - 01/28/11 12:31 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: dewster]
Aidan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/08
Posts: 372
Loc: UK
The Kronos guitar in the NAAM demos sounds pretty weak compared to the acoustics in the Motif XS/XF series, and how often do you use sitar? I liked the sound of the piano but many of the other patches demonstrated reminded me of the cheese-laden demos found on 1980s synths.
_________________________
Yamaha CP40 | Hammond SK1-61 | Kurzweil PC361

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#1607474 - 01/28/11 12:38 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: kiedysktos.]
kurtie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 207
Originally Posted By: kiedysktos.
It still have too less memory to handle a few big pianos like 200MB, which I'm sure will be released.

What will we see in a 10 years? 500MB or 1GB pianos? smile


That's the part of DPs that is hard to swallow for me: a 200MB sampled piano is still considered big (and indeed it is in the DP realm) while software pianos commonly go over 4GB and in some cases way, way beyond. And the difference is audible.

2020? I hope we will see wide availability of (at least) 4GB pianos in DPs before 2015 or the next years will be very disappointing for DP lovers.

Anyway is a great feature a DP that allows to load the samples you want to memory. Hopefully other brands will follow the trend. Sometimes DPs seem to be artificially limited... is good to see that some vendors are trying to go beyond the typical DP concept we are used to.

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#1607477 - 01/28/11 12:40 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: dewster]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3154
Originally Posted By: dewster
Originally Posted By: Richard Stark

True that. Though it's more of a workstation than a DP.

Yes, it's a "DP plus." I wouldn't be surprised if it were the foundation of a future version of the SV-1, though... taking out all the "extraneous" stuff. I wish they would make more use of their lighter 88 action, though... the one they use in the SP170. An 88-key Kronos-based piano that weighed around 30 pounds would be killer.

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#1607478 - 01/28/11 12:44 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: Aidan]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3154
Originally Posted By: Aidan
The Kronos guitar in the NAAM demos sounds pretty weak compared to the acoustics in the Motif XS/XF series

As I understand it, the Kronos guitars in the demo are modeled rather than sampled, so they lend themselves to being able to be used and changed in ways that sampled instruments cannot, and that's what's special about them. However, there will presumably also be traditional guitar samples in the "rompler" engine as always, which you can use as well, and might be better suited for some things.

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#1607733 - 01/28/11 07:51 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: Aidan]
Dr Popper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/09
Posts: 1718
Loc: Hancock Park LA (not again)
Originally Posted By: Aidan
The Kronos guitar in the NAAM demos sounds pretty weak compared to the acoustics in the Motif XS/XF series, and how often do you use sitar? I liked the sound of the piano but many of the other patches demonstrated reminded me of the cheese-laden demos found on 1980s synths.


Terrible demos, they are FAR better in reality. Probably as good as a XS/XF out of the board but tweakable beyond imagination. This is a serious board with very un-Korg like sounds. The C7 piano is fabulous. The organs are going to give Nord a fright and the Synth engines are good enough that some people are not going to bother with that Virus Ti Polar hanging on to their third layer on their stands.
I love the Yamaha sound but having had a decent fiddle with the Kronos I'd suggest Yamaha have to be worried.
_________________________
"I'm still an idiot and I'm still in love" - Blue Sofa - The Plugz 1981 (Tito Larriva)
Disclosure : I am professionally supported by but not beholden to various musical instrument manufactures including Yamaha

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#1607791 - 01/28/11 10:23 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: anotherscott]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: anotherscott
As I understand it, the Kronos guitars in the demo are modeled rather than sampled, so they lend themselves to being able to be used and changed in ways that sampled instruments cannot, and that's what's special about them.

Yes, using digital waveguides. They are playing with the dispersion filter (in the feedback loop of the waveguide) in the video.
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#1607825 - 01/29/11 12:24 AM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
Siriosys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 136
Loc: Auckland, NZ
Fantastic review Zac! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience with the NP88. Really appreciated reading yours, Essbrace's and Dave's posts on the NP.

If you (or Essbrace) ever feel you're being stalked online at the moment, it's probably because I"m watching every thread you're both posting on with regards to the NP!

I'm one of those people that's currently sitting on the fence. I may as yet be more than tempted by the upcoming Stage 2 as I really want/need the ability to split the keyboard - something the NP88 doesn't currently do. However, it's seemingly formidable cost may force me to reconsider my options.

As per my sig, I've obviously got a reasonably older Stage Piano and I'm starting to crave for something more. I badly miss the Bosie sound I spent many years training on, but I have no interest in giant sample libraries (I don't like having to turn on a computer just to play the piano) and up until the NP88, I've been unaware of any DP that has a sampled Bosie in it's cache of sounds.

Just a few questions if I may:

How "in your face" is the Bosie when played through headphones? You mention that the Roland sounds are quite "anemic" in comparison. Do you think the NP Bosie is strident in any way?

One thing that does annoy me about my SV1 is the Action. It's frankly quite terrible and although I'm trying to love that keyboard as much as I can, I'm finding myself using my RD700SX's keyboard to play the SV1's sounds - and easy customization of them, via the it's gorgeous front panel. So if you were to sum up the comparison between your RD's keyboard and the NP's, how would you describe it? For me, it's the spongey feeling from the SV1 that really gets to me, whereas the RD is slightly stiffer, but has a definite point at which the key has clearly travelled as far as it's gong to. I understand that the NP is considered a bit light, but what about "rigidity" for choice of words?

_________________________
Nord Stage 2, VAX77

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#1607899 - 01/29/11 04:49 AM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: PianoZac]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
Here's my attempt at answering your questions:

The new Bosendorfer is very bold through headphones, but definitely not strident...I suppose you could say "in your face" but that's not how I would choose to describe it. It is big, bold and quite bright - but smooth, articulate and very musical. A very charismatic sound. The great thing about the Nord is that you get a genuine choice of piano timbres...personally I don't care too much for the Grand Lady D but it represents an entirely different tonal character. Perhaps the most versatile instrument is the Studio Grand 2 (Yamaha C7) - in my opinion this is a phenomenal piano...mellow when you want it to be but it can really explode if you gun it, especially in the bass. It's the kind of sound that when you trawl through a new DP, you might spend a few moments and then move on...but it rewards deeper exploration very much.

That and the new Bosie are the two most enjoyable DP sounds I've ever played...not the most perfect by any means...if it's immaculate, pristine sounds you want then look elsewhere...Roland SN for a mellower timbre and the Yamaha CP1/5/50 for a really clean, brighter sound. Tonally, Kawai is a nice compromise between those two. The Nord voices are less clean than the others but there's a real charm about them.

The Nord (Fatar) action is ok - but not in the league of a decent Yamaha, Roland or Kawai. I've got used to the Nord and find it very positive and medium weighted. The movement of the keys is smooth, crisp and predictable but there is very little sense of anything interesting going on underneath your fingers such as a Roland escapement simulation. The Nord is kind of one dimensional in its keyboard feel. I very recently tried a Korg - well, had a feel of the keys. It was a cheapish home DP and not sure if the action would have been the same as the SV-1. It had the customary uneven key spacings of Korg DPs but actually felt quite nice to me...perhaps a bit more damped than the Nord...perhaps a slight feeling of woolly vagueness in comparison but very acceptable...but none of these other makers have actions that rival the higher-spec Rolands, Yamahas or particularly the Kawais. The lack of sophistication in the Nord action is no problem for me...it doesn't restrict expression or get in the way of a musical performance...the action is quite quiet too and feels robust - and I have always been a critic of Fatar actions in the past.

The Nord is light but rigid and well made...it is of very simple construction and a bit "tinny" feeling...this offended me and I've cured it. I opened mine up and on all areas of plain metal inside I stuck that self-adhesive rubber/bitumen matting that you can use to damp out noise on car panels...when I tap the top of the Nord now, instead of hearing the sound of an empty tin can I get a nice dull thud and this has further quietened the action.

The RD-700SX has the PA-5 Roland hammer action in it...from memory, a very nice action and although different to current Rolands is probably still up there with the best...I can't really remember what the SX feels like though so I can't give you a direct comparison between it and the Nord, sorry.

For what it's worth I really love this Nord - it is far from perfect but does feel like a real musical instrument and I can really connect with it in a way I could not with any previous DP I've owned...in a technical sense there are better DPs - much better - the Roland being the best in my opinion but still, there's something about the Nord.....

Steve
_________________________
Yamaha CP1

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#1607972 - 01/29/11 09:02 AM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: EssBrace]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3154
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
there is very little sense of anything interesting going on underneath your fingers such as a Roland escapement simulation.
...
The lack of sophistication in the Nord action is no problem for me...it doesn't restrict expression or get in the way of a musical performance

I think the second of those two thoughts is key. If lack of escapement doesn't in any way restrict expression or impede performance--and it shouldn't--then there's really no reason to put it on one's checklist,

There is no reason to look for escapement for escapement's sake. Upright pianos don't have it, and they can play wonderfully. The feeling of the escapement on a grand is not considered a positive to actual piano manufacturers... they work to minimize it, i.e. the less you notice it, the better. To me this is like pedal thumps, we're asking people to engineer in the flaws, the things people wish they could take out of their real pianos. I understand, it's about illusion, recreating something "warts and all," and I would not specifically avoid a board with an escapement feeling, it doesn't bother me, but I don't see it as something important to have, either.

p.s. -- I feel the same way about graded action...


Edited by anotherscott (01/29/11 09:05 AM)

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#1608094 - 01/29/11 12:14 PM Re: Review: Getting used to the Nord Piano. [Re: EssBrace]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4339
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
Here's my attempt at answering your questions...

Steve, excellent review, thanks! You should do this for a living.

Originally Posted By: EssBrace
I opened mine up...

Did you snap any pix while it was open on the operating table? If so could you share them with us? I'm always up for a "Nekkid Pikshures" post!
_________________________
The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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