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#1843735 - 02/13/12 10:24 AM Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
Hello!
I'm in the process of buying a DP, but have no skills in playing. Some days ago I tried Kawai CL36 and noticed a strange thing: I could hear only 4 levels of loudness per a key.
I suppose, this is not enough. But, may be, I did something wrong?
I've read on this forum about problems with dynamic loudness of other Kawai models. But I wonder,
1) how many dynamic levels can you differentiate in the RHA of Kawai CL36?
2) if it's difficult to play from ppp to fff on CL36?
3) I suppose, number of dynamic levels depends on the type of a keyboard (may be, on the sensors used?). Am I right?
4) As far as I understand, the quantity of dynamic levels depends on the chosen sensitivity of the keyboard. Can it be, that when I tested the DP, I discovered only 4 dynamic levels, because the sensitivity was "normal", not "hard"?
I've spent a lot of time trying to find answers, but couldn't... confused
Thank you in advance...


Edited by Tesir (02/13/12 10:25 AM)

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#1843749 - 02/13/12 10:53 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Madlock Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 36
The touch weight of the keyboard does not affect the number of dynamic "levels", only the way they are achieved. However, on very heavy settings it can be difficult to distinguish all the loudest levels, and on very light setting the most silent ones, respectively. The normal setting should be the most linear in this sense. Actually triggering all or even most of the levels requires a lot of finesse and a good ear, and who's to say the mechanics measuring the force pressing the key always get it right even if you had magic fingers and could pull it off.

Not knowing much about the CL36 I cannot say how it operates. Most libraries have a number of samples per key, for a number of amounts of force with which the key is pressed, and the software makes necessary adjustments to the sound for all the levels that fall in between. The software in CL36 should be capable of simulating a lot more dynamic levels than four, and I guess it's likely that your methodology is to blame in this case smile. Of course you can go and try again, or maybe someone on these forums can tell you more than I can.


Edited by Madlock (02/13/12 10:55 AM)

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#1843756 - 02/13/12 11:09 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Madlock]
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
Thank you, Madlock! Now it's clear with correlation of the touch weight and dynamic levels.
As for
Originally Posted By: Madlock
Most libraries have a number of samples per key, for a number of amounts of force with which the key is pressed, and the software makes necessary adjustments to the sound for all the levels that fall in between.

I suppose, this is true, if the construction of the keyboard and the drivers allow exact measurement of ... not the force, but the speed of the key, but if they don't?
Waiting for answers from "Kawaiers" smile

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#1843843 - 02/13/12 01:32 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2232
Loc: UK
I don't have a CL36 but do have a CN33. I don't know how many discrete dynamic levels there are but it's certainly way more than 4. I am surprised you found this - where was you - in a store with noisy background, using headphones, default GP sound, factory reset? Not sure what else, as you say maybe a CL36 owner will chime in.

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#1843996 - 02/13/12 05:13 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8382
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Tesir, as with all Kawai DPs, the CL36 utilises a form of 'Harmonic Imaging' sound technology to adjust both the volume and tonal character of a note depending on the strength of the key press.

There are definitely more than 4 levels of loudness per key.

Kind regards,
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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#1844463 - 02/14/12 12:30 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
James, does the CL36 provide soft volume change from ppp to fff?
I fell in love with this piano, when watched this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGnOiHdWFN8
And it was strange for me to notice only four volume levels per a key. Could think, something was rong with my fingers or ears, but when I tried Yamaha YDP-161, I noticed a lot of volume shades. But I don't like Yamaha's sound. frown
I'm completely lost...

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#1844609 - 02/14/12 04:21 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Kawai James Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 8382
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Tesir, volume changes on the CL36 should be comparable to the YDP-161.

The sound in the YouTube video you link to is the true sound of the CL36, so I'm a little uncertain as to why you can only hear four levels.

Perhaps the instrument is faulty? Is there an opportunity for you to play-test a different Kawai DP? The CN23 shares the same technical specifications as the CL36, so this model should provide a direct comparison of the true CL36 sound.

Kind regards,
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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#1844939 - 02/15/12 12:17 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: spanishbuddha]
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
spanishbuddha, I tried both - headphones and default GP sound, as for the resets - I don't know what they were.
Perhaps, I should try another instrument, as James suggested, and have a closer look on it.
James, as for the sound in the link - I like it very much, but it's difficult for me to guess by it, how many volume lvels a separate key has. The four levels I'm speaking of are those I managed to get by myself.

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#1844940 - 02/15/12 12:19 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
And still, I'm waiting for answers from those, who have CL36 - is it easy to play from pianissimo to fortissimo on this instrument? is the keyboard sensitive enough for it?

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#1845271 - 02/15/12 12:44 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Ocngypz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 75
Since you don't really play, perhaps you might want to bring a friend along who does?

With training your fingers learn to control the dynamics.

I did play a CL36 when I was shopping for my CN43. I played every model in the store. The CL36 was fine.

Even with ap's, if you can't control your fingers your dynamics suffer. Ask any piano teacher what it's like with beginning students.

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#1845500 - 02/15/12 05:48 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Ocngypz]
nameofthewave Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 4
Loc: London
Just thought I would chip in with my two pence worth... I have a CL36 and it definitely has more than four dynamic levels. In fact one of the reasons I prefered it over the equivalent priced Yamahas and Casios was that the keys and touch just seemed more responsive. What volume level did you try? You have to turn it up to half way or more to really hear the subtleties in dynamics. It could also be difficult to really hear this in a busy music store.

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#1845538 - 02/15/12 06:52 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: nameofthewave]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: nameofthewave
Just thought I would chip in with my two pence worth... I have a CL36 and it definitely has more than four dynamic levels. In fact one of the reasons I prefered it over the equivalent priced Yamahas and Casios was that the keys and touch just seemed more responsive.


We should remember what people mean by "layers". There are always at least 127 levels of volume available in a digital piano (it is possible that some use more internally but we can't easily tell because MIDI only has 127). Layers refers to the possible timbres (samples taken from the original piano). Kawai's method of blending the layers makes it almost impossible, even in dewster's tests and analysis, to detect how many timbre layers there are.

I'm not actually the biggest fan of Kawai's sounds overall, but I believe they do this very well.


Edited by gvfarns (02/15/12 06:55 PM)

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#1845784 - 02/16/12 01:26 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
nameofthewave, thank you very much!
Your remark is really valuable. Indeed, the volume level was less than a half (otherwise it was too loud for the headphones).
By the way, nameofthewave, which Yamahas did you try? Did you try GH keyboard or GHS?

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#1845809 - 02/16/12 03:24 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
nameofthewave Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 4
Loc: London
Tesir, I tried several of the Arius and the lower-end clavinovas which I think all have the GH action. I really liked the sound but to be honest the keys just felt like a keyboard rather than a piano if you know what I mean... I also used to have a DGX620 which had the GHS action, personally I wouldn't recommend that either as it is just too light. Pretty fun keyboard though. Just my opinion, of course, as I know that a lot of people do prefer Yamahas.

I would say maybe go back to the music store when its really quiet and there is not too many people about, and try a few DPs then. Also, youtube can be very misleading when getting an idea of the sound of a DP... there is no substitute for hearing the sound in the flesh. As someone else said, taking along someone who can play a little bit, or asking the assistant for a demo, is a really good idea.

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#1858266 - 03/08/12 08:49 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Kawai James]
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
James, you were right:

Originally Posted By: Kawai James
There are definitely more than 4 levels of loudness per key.


I tried the CL36 again with the volume up to maximum and the volume did a big difference in hearing the dynamic loudness.


Edited by Tesir (03/08/12 09:02 AM)

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#1858270 - 03/08/12 08:59 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
And now I have another question: as I understood, the volume of the sound depends on the speed measured by the sensors. Does anybody know (I guess, James does smile ), where the speed is measured in Kawai's RHA? I mean, how much a key must go down till the first sensor is on? And I suppose, the second sensor is on, when the key is pressed till the end. Am I right?

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#1858345 - 03/08/12 11:16 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
All hammer-actions in the digital piano have the sensors associated with the hammer. In the RHA this is located under the key.

The first sensor kicks in somewhere around the middle of the key travel, the second is near the bottom of the stroke. The time between them gives the velocity. To test the location of the first sensor on a two-sensor action, you can play a note and then slowly lift the key. When the sound stops, emulating the effect of the dampers connecting with the string, you have found the location of the first sensor. Just assume that the second sensor is right before you hit the bottom of the stroke.

There's very little difference in how the sensors work in digital piano actions. The above is true of every two-sensor action I know of.

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#1858458 - 03/08/12 02:47 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
Thank you, gvfarns.
I guess, the second sensor kicks when a sound appears when pressind down a key.
I think, the more the key travel is, before the first sensor is on, the better the DP reflects a player's touch.
Now I know how to test DPs smile

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#1858591 - 03/08/12 06:45 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Not a bad thought. In other words, the closer together the two sensors, the better in principle. This is because the velocity computed is equal to the average velocity between the two sensors. What we would actually like is the velocity at the second sensor. So if there is acceleration between the two sensors, the resulting computed velocity will be below the velocity the player expects.

But it isn't actually possible for a two-sensor action to put the sensors closer together because the first sensor also does the work of emulating the dampers, and you don't want dampers to stop the sound when the key is still very depressed. Basically the dampers lift about half way through the stroke, in all pianos (digital and acoustic).

The result of these two facts is that almost all 2 sensor actions are pretty much equal in terms of where in the stroke they kick in and how they work.

Interestingly, IIRC people have looked at how three-sensor actions work and the two bottom sensors are not as close together as you would think they would be (the middle sensor is more or less half way between the other two if not closer to the top sensor). Probably this is because if the sensors are too close together then tiny variations in calibration will cause the keyboard to have an uneven response.

There was a thread about this ages ago and the participants thought--based on their experiments--that Roland's three-sensor implementation (PHAIII) was better than Yamaha's (GH3). I don't know how reliable this is or how the Casio three-sensor actions compare. Kawai only has two-sensor actions.


Edited by gvfarns (03/08/12 06:50 PM)

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#1867344 - 03/23/12 05:04 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: gvfarns]
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
the closer together the two sensors, the better in principle. This is because the velocity computed is equal to the average velocity between the two sensors. What we would actually like is the velocity at the second sensor. So if there is acceleration between the two sensors, the resulting computed velocity will be below the velocity the player expects.

Yes, exactly what I meant.
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
But it isn't actually possible for a two-sensor action to put the sensors closer together because the first sensor also does the work of emulating the dampers,

I think, it could be possible, if the dampers were not emulated immediatly after the first sensor is kicked. I cannot understand, why not to program what is done by the third sensor by using a kind of rogrammed time limitation.
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
There was a thread about this ages ago and the participants thought--based on their experiments--that Roland's three-sensor implementation (PHAIII) was better than Yamaha's (GH3).

I found some interesting threads:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...erally%20h.html
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1559647/Opinions%20Needed%20-%20GH%20vs.%20GH3!.html
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1428184/Re:%20DP%20repeating%20notes.html
But I found nobody measuring RH action of Kawai.
And I'm eager to know, at what depth (from the top of the key, in millimeters) the sensors are kicked.
It's very easy to check, using an organ sound: when the sound is on, the bottom sensor kicks, when the sound is off - the top sensor. Only a DP (like CL 36, CN43, CN33, CN23, MP6) and a ruler...


Edited by Tesir (03/23/12 05:05 PM)

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#1867346 - 03/23/12 05:09 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Tesir
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
But it isn't actually possible for a two-sensor action to put the sensors closer together because the first sensor also does the work of emulating the dampers,

I think, it could be possible, if the dampers were not emulated immediatly after the first sensor is kicked. I cannot understand, why not to program what is done by the third sensor by using a kind of rogrammed time limitation.


No, I don't see how it could be. Such a piano would play horribly. Let's imagine that there are only two sensors and they are super-close together at the bottom of the stroke. Push the key down, everything works just as you would like it to. Now lift the key up. The note cuts out after a certain delay.

The problem is, we don't always lift the key at the same rate. And in general, we may not hold the key all the way down, but we don't want the note to cut off until the key is half way up and the felt comes into contact with the strings. Careful releases of the notes would be essentially impossible because the notes would die a preprogrammed amount of time after the key is lifted off the bottom. And how would such a piano sound when played stacatto?

Some players may release keys slowly so that there is essentially the same effect as a half pedal (the dampers are partially in contact with the key and kill the sound, but not immediately). How would your design know when and in what manner these dampers had been released?

What if we push the key down and then inadvertently lift it just a hair (but enough to pass the second sensor) and then push it back down. Would this be an unwanted repeated note? Would the damper silence the first note after the second is played (because the damper is on a timer)? Any way you cut it, the behavior will not match that of an acoustic.

No, the problems associated with putting both sensors at the bottom of the stroke are very much larger than the problem of having the first sensor be half way through the stroke. The sensor associated with the damper is critical to a functional piano.


Edited by gvfarns (03/23/12 05:16 PM)

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#1867363 - 03/23/12 05:29 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
Agree. Didn't think of holding a key. But then the third sensor is necessary.
But still, I'd prefer to have the top (or the second - in three-sensored keyboards) sensor not higher than 30% from the bottom. Otherwise, correct dynamic in repeats and thrills is unachievable - they will be loud, 'cause you are to play quickly, and there is no way to get pianissimo, if the velocity is average.


Edited by Tesir (03/23/12 05:41 PM)

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#1867412 - 03/23/12 06:59 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Yeah, you are right. We need three-sensor actions (with the sensors in the right place) in all our pianos.

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#1868027 - 03/25/12 02:21 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Tesir Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 18
Loc: Russia
Originally Posted By: Tesir
But I found nobody measuring RH action of Kawai.
And I'm eager to know, at what depth (from the top of the key, in millimeters) the sensors are kicked.
It's very easy to check, using an organ sound: when the sound is on, the bottom sensor kicks, when the sound is off - the top sensor. Only a DP (like CL 36, CN43, CN33, CN23, MP6) and a ruler...

Could anybody make the measurements? Please!!!


Edited by Tesir (03/25/12 02:22 AM)

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#1868110 - 03/25/12 09:03 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Hardwired Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/14/11
Posts: 29
Loc: Sevilla, Spain
I have a kawai CA63, and from what I can see, there are just one sensor for each key, continuously sensing the hammer position .... I think that this is vastly better than N sensors for each key.

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#1868128 - 03/25/12 09:41 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
toddy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1320
Loc: Portugal
How would it sense hammer action if it isn't measuring time events (which would imply more than one sensor)? That would have to be a very elaborate system - or else just pressure measurements, as far as I can see.
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#1868171 - 03/25/12 11:28 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Tesir]
Hardwired Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/14/11
Posts: 29
Loc: Sevilla, Spain
I don't really know ... as you suggest, I think it is some sort of pressure sensor. Theoretically, at any time the system could know directly the position and estimate its velocity, not calculating the position/velocity from just 2 or 3 time events. Another question is what is being measured, the key travel or the hammer travel.
What I wanted to said, is that maybe the sensors in others systems also are more complex. It is not just the number of sensors, what is being measured is even more important.
I don't think that your testing DP procedure would render meaningful results on my CA63. If I press a key slowly it will not produce any sound, and if I press a key to middle and stop, then press hard, it will sound ...

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#1868183 - 03/25/12 11:43 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Hardwired]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Hardwired
I have a kawai CA63, and from what I can see, there are just one sensor for each key, continuously sensing the hammer position .... I think that this is vastly better than N sensors for each key.


That would be nice, but it's not the case. Not for any major digital piano. What you have is a rubber thing with two prongs that trip a mechanism similar to the one inside a computer keyboard. Since one prong trips its switch earlier, the DP calculates the velocity from the time between.

All Kawai pianos without exception have two sensors. All major digital pianos without exception have either two or three. The only sensors I know of that are "better" are on the AvantGrand. They are also three discrete on/off sensors, but they are optical, rather than mechanical. Also, two are on the hammer and one on the key.

Continuous position monitoring is a pipe dream in the world of digital pianos.

(the possible exception to the above is the PNO scan midi strip that can be installed in acoustics. We don't really know how it works in detail, but since it is unable to measure hammer velocity as well as key velocity, it probably does not work well--all major hammer-action digital pianos have the sensor tripped by the hammer, not the key.)


Edited by gvfarns (03/25/12 11:54 AM)

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#1868188 - 03/25/12 11:51 AM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: Hardwired]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3474
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: Hardwired
I don't really know ... as you suggest, I think it is some sort of pressure sensor. Theoretically, at any time the system could know directly the position and estimate its velocity, not calculating the position/velocity from just 2 or 3 time events. Another question is what is being measured, the key travel or the hammer travel.
What I wanted to said, is that maybe the sensors in others systems also are more complex. It is not just the number of sensors, what is being measured is even more important.
I don't think that your testing DP procedure would render meaningful results on my CA63. If I press a key slowly it will not produce any sound, and if I press a key to middle and stop, then press hard, it will sound ...


Also not correct. No major DP has a pressure sensor. The sensor setup of essentially all digitals is shockingly similar to each other. The three sensor actions simply have three prongs instead of two.

As I mentioned in my last post, all major hammer-action pianos have the sensors tripped by the hammers, not the key.

Also the testing procedure you suggest will not work absolutely does work, including on your model.

These speculations you are making are not really in the realm of things that are subject to speculation because we already know how DP's work, including the CA63, which has one of the most looked-at and studied actions of all digitals.

If you want to know how you sound, imagine going to an automotive forum and saying "My Cadillac has a jet engine and shoots fire out the back. It's a much simpler and better design than the internal combustion engines in other cars." It sort of stinks up the forum with its wrongness and makes you seem very silly to anyone who does know how it works, even a little.

In short, it's better if we restrict our posts to either questions, opinions about subjective things, and true statements about matters of fact. Yours in this thread have been none of the above.


Edited by gvfarns (03/25/12 12:23 PM)

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#1868239 - 03/25/12 01:10 PM Re: Dynamic levels of Kawai CL36 [Re: gvfarns]
Hardwired Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/14/11
Posts: 29
Loc: Sevilla, Spain
Originally Posted By: gvfarns

Also not correct. No major DP has a pressure sensor. The sensor setup of essentially all digitals is shockingly similar to each other. The three sensor actions simply have three prongs instead of two.


Sorry. I said that "I don't really know", it was my opinion, and maybe you are right and I am not. Thank you very much for the information. My conclusions comes after inspecting my own keyboard, but I did not remove the rubber thing, so maybe it is true what you said. Maybe you can give some references.

Originally Posted By: gvfarns

In short, it's better if we restrict our posts to either questions, opinions about subjective things, and true statements about matters of fact.


Ok, I'll delete my post then.

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2014 Bradshaw and Buono Piano Competition
by hsheck
04/18/14 01:21 AM
What is the strangest thing you have found inside a piano?
by That Tooner
04/17/14 11:18 PM
Kawai vs Ritmuller
by cromax
04/17/14 11:08 PM
Considering going into debt for a Steinway grand
by joonsang
04/17/14 10:38 PM
Best Glue for Damper Pads
by JMichaelWilson
04/17/14 10:07 PM
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