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#1755303 - 09/19/11 12:56 PM Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions
Gomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/14/11
Posts: 132
In an attempt to balance the desires (not demands) of my instructor to have an acoustic piano at home (which isn't currently viable), I've been looking into the mechanics of the piano actions and the synthetic implementation with digital pianos.

Lessons are taught on a Steinway grand piano, so the bar has been set high. Upon further reading, it seems that not all DPs have escapement designed into the action, as well as double escapement (a feature of grand pianos, which in general, isn't available with acoustic uprights).

With that, is there a list (or perhaps someone here can discuss and help to generate the list) of current DPs that have escapement and double escapement designed into their action?

As I'm going to have to use a DP, I'd really like to hone in on an appropriate digital piano action that is a bit more synergistic with the lessons on the Steinway grand.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to any information and/or discussion on the topic of escapement and double escapement.

Cheers!

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#1755307 - 09/19/11 12:59 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
Artur Gajewski Offline
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Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 304
Loc: Helsinki, Finland
What is the escapement feature in key actions?
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#1755344 - 09/19/11 02:16 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
Gomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/14/11
Posts: 132
Quote:
When you press a piano key, two things happen: (1) a damper moves away from the strings for that note so they can vibrate freely, and (2) a hammer strikes the strings.

Now, if the mechanical connection between key and hammer was a simple lever, then the hammer would strike the strings and remain in contact with them as long as you held down the key. That would prevent sustained vibration of the strings. Imagine the muffled "thunk" you would hear if, for example, you pressed your hand down on a guitar's strings and kept it there. To make a sustained sound, you need to touch the strings and then move away.

The piano's escapement mechanism is the clever solution to that problem. Just an instant before the hammer strikes the strings, it "escapes" its connection to the key so that it can strike the strings and then fall away from them, allowing them to continue to vibrate. It's almost as if the key "throws" the hammer, and the hammer bounces off the strings. Bartolomeo Cristofori is generally credited with inventing this mechanism and building the first pianos around 1710. The double escapement mechanism was invented by the Erard brothers in 1821, which allowed the same note to be repeated very quickly.

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_an_escapement_mechanism_in_a_piano#ixzz1YQKEF8Wy

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#1755367 - 09/19/11 02:43 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
hannibal2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 100
Loc: Budapest, Hungary, EU
I wonder if there is any significant importance of the DP escapement mechanism as a whole(Kawaii RM3, Roland PHAIII, and such)

I know what it is but being a student of classical piano for 10 years (uprights+grands) I don't even remember a piece where I was aware of it. I'm not sure if the majority of classical piano players who are not educated in the DP tech arena smile ) could answer such a question.

There are things with higher importance when considering a DP, like connection to the sound, depth, tonal variance (timbre change), sympathetic resonance (pedaling), key resonance (keys held), maybe coating (ivory-like surface and such).

I think majority of piano players can play ppp without any problems regardless with of without the escapement which is a technical/mechanical necessity after all in 'ordinary' pianos.

(Still I loved the escapement on the Kawaii CN33 smile )
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#1755385 - 09/19/11 03:09 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
Kona_V-Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 272
I would definitely consider the V-piano first if you can afford $5,500. It has the best response and sound in my opinion you can get from a digital piano and the fake ivory is pretty neat. Next on my list would be the AvantGrand series followed by my CLP990 which is an old model however it uses real wooden keys and hammers and has the same action as Yamaha's $250,000 grand piano's of the time. Yes I have seen it as a Clavinova repairman came to the house and opened it up. It is the only Clavinova that had it set up that way. It garnered a $5000 premium in price as well over the other CLP900 line of the time and used a completely different sample set as well with 5 layers and each not sampled separately. The Avantgrand looks to be the same action but instead of hammers it has metallic sensors on the ends and much newer technology making it sound even better than any previous CLP. Both my CLP990 and the Avantgrand are capable of very fast repeatable notes (double escapement). So is the V-Piano (albiet better at it). Which is why I recommend it over the others since it is not as heavy feeling. I truly believe I can play more accurately the quicker passages with the V-Piano in my opinion than my 10 year old CLP990 and Avantgrand which I did get to play a couple of times now. The CP1 is very good as well and another option.
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#1755408 - 09/19/11 03:32 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Artur Gajewski]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Artur Gajewski
What is the escapement feature in key actions?


That is where at the last moment the hammer disconnects from the key and continues to fly on it's own momentum until it hits the strings.

"escapement" is a term for the mechanical parts that enable this feature. But in English "escapement" is not confined to pianos. It is a general term used in mechanics. Mechanical clocks have a feature like this too where a mechanical system comes apart briefly to allow free movement.

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#1755422 - 09/19/11 03:45 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
ChrisA Offline
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Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Gomer

With that, is there a list (or perhaps someone here can discuss and help to generate the list) of current DPs that have escapement and double escapement designed into their action?


The only piano like this I can think of is the Yamaha Advent Grand. It uses a real wooden piano action fro a grand piano. All other digital pianos simulate the grand action using much simplified construction.

For example the double escapement system on a grand pinao is there to allow you to play a repeated note without need to fully lift the key all the way back up. That is the reason of the rather complex double escapement system. But, on a digital piano the key height is senses with electrical switches so one does not need many small bits of wood. Digital pianos with three switch/sensors can allow you to play a repeated note without need to fully lift the key all the way back up. So you get the effect you are looking for but with a mechanically simply system. Likewise other parts of the grand piano's action are simulated with with simpler mechanics.

Look at some of the Roland keys and Kawai too. Make a trip to the big chain music stors and try a Roland RD700 or FP7-f and KawaI MP6 and MP10. See which key action you like. That key action will be re-used in many other models of piano. The chain stores are good because they keep many brands under one roof.

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#1755484 - 09/19/11 04:58 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
PianoWorksATL Offline
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Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2630
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Here, terminology is getting the better of us. Escapement is like ChrisA describes, a moment where the linkage is broken to allow free movement. Both uprights and grands have escapement. "Double escapement" is the design feature in grands that allows for faster repetition, a shallower reset, and by necessity, the little catch or bump partway down the keystroke is felt.

On a DP, "escapement" is simplified marketing terminology really trying to describe that little catch associated with a grand piano's "double escapement" design.

So in acoustics, upright has single, grand has double. In digitals, the maker can either simulate the upright (no bump) or the grand (bump).
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#1755486 - 09/19/11 05:02 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
Gomer Offline
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Registered: 09/14/11
Posts: 132
Thanks. Learning more and more!

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#1755489 - 09/19/11 05:04 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
dewster Online   content
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Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4270
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: Gomer
With that, is there a list (or perhaps someone here can discuss and help to generate the list) of current DPs that have escapement and double escapement designed into their action?

DPs that have a '3' or "III" or "triple" in the name of their key action will most likely have three position sensors per key and therefore (if it is implemented well) should have the ability to behave more like an AP with double escapement (i.e. easier to do fast reps & note doesn't damp between reps). For example: Roland has "PHAIII", Yamaha has GH3, and most if not all Casios currently being manufactured now that are not toys have three sensors. I believe an exception to this rule is Kawai RM3, which is not a triple sensor action. Huge caveat: you should test these yourself to see what impact, if any, the third sensor (or lack thereof) actually has on playing.

DPs that say their key action has "escapement" have a simple mechanism that makes it feel somewhat analogous to the hammer slipping off the actuator. I think it's a piece of rubber or something. For the Roland "PHAIII with escapement" you only really feel it when playing the key slowly, and it is pretty subtle. That's the limit of my experience.
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#1755555 - 09/19/11 06:31 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
EssBrace Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/09
Posts: 2324
Loc: Suffolk, United Kingdom
There's a fair bit of misinformation above so proceed with caution.

There are two aspects to consider:

1. The physical simulation of the escapement (a slight click or moment of additional resistance part of the way down the key stroke).
2. The ability of the action to recognise and articulate fast repetitions.

Three examples for you:

Kawai pianos with RM3 action: some (not all) of these pianos have the simulation of the click but do not have the sensor arrangement required to articulate the fastest repetitions. Eg: MP-10, CA-93.

Yamaha GH3 actions and NW (but not NW stage) actions: they have the sensor arrangement that allows the fastest repetitions but do not simulate the physical feel of the escapement. Eg: Most Clavinovas and many other Yamahas.

Roland PHA-III actions: these simulate the physical feel of the escapement AND have a sensor arrangement allowing the fastest repetitions. Eg: RD-700NX, V-Piano, FP7F, HP-307.

But as others have said, there are perhaps more important considerations.

Good luck,

Steve
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#1755582 - 09/19/11 07:11 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: EssBrace]
Kona_V-Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 272
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
There's a fair bit of misinformation above so proceed with caution.

There are two aspects to consider:

1. The physical simulation of the escapement (a slight click or moment of additional resistance part of the way down the key stroke).
2. The ability of the action to recognise and articulate fast repetitions.

Three examples for you:

Kawai pianos with RM3 action: some (not all) of these pianos have the simulation of the click but do not have the sensor arrangement required to articulate the fastest repetitions. Eg: MP-10, CA-93.

Yamaha GH3 actions and NW (but not NW stage) actions: they have the sensor arrangement that allows the fastest repetitions but do not simulate the physical feel of the escapement. Eg: Most Clavinovas and many other Yamahas.

Roland PHA-III actions: these simulate the physical feel of the escapement AND have a sensor arrangement allowing the fastest repetitions. Eg: RD-700NX, V-Piano, FP7F, HP-307.

But as others have said, there are perhaps more important considerations.

Good luck,

Steve


I agree with you 100%. I suggest going to the stores and trying each out yourself before making a decision if possible. If it is not possible, then take our word for it here and you shouldn't be disappointed with any of the top choices from the top brands. However most agree the Roland seems to be the overall winner if not by a small and personal margin of taste.
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#1755703 - 09/19/11 11:24 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: EssBrace]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: EssBrace
There's a fair bit of misinformation above so proceed with caution.

There are two aspects to consider:

1. The physical simulation of the escapement (a slight click or moment of additional resistance part of the way down the key stroke).
2. The ability of the action to recognise and articulate fast repetitions.

Three examples for you:

Kawai pianos with RM3 action: some (not all) of these pianos have the simulation of the click but do not have the sensor arrangement required to articulate the fastest repetitions. Eg: MP-10, CA-93.

Yamaha GH3 actions and NW (but not NW stage) actions: they have the sensor arrangement that allows the fastest repetitions but do not simulate the physical feel of the escapement. Eg: Most Clavinovas and many other Yamahas.

Roland PHA-III actions: these simulate the physical feel of the escapement AND have a sensor arrangement allowing the fastest repetitions. Eg: RD-700NX, V-Piano, FP7F, HP-307.

But as others have said, there are perhaps more important considerations.

Good luck,

Steve

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#1755793 - 09/20/11 03:25 AM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
minimammut Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 12
Loc: Tilburg, The Netherlands
Interesting to read. When I played the CA-93 against some yamahas it was definitely noticeable that the yamahas had better repetition (eg when playing very fast inverted mordents). However even on the Kawai action it was much easier to do these fast ornaments than on the mostly upright acoustics I am used to playing. However little control I put into it, on the yamahas all the notes would come, so I thought the Kawai would make a better piano for practicing.

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#1755803 - 09/20/11 05:05 AM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
macbug Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/11
Posts: 80
Loc: Vancouver
While it's true that escapement is often a subtle effect you would not even notice during normal playing, there are certain times when you play very slowly and softly and it becomes very noticeable in that case. Take for example the beginning of Chopin's Nocturne 20 used in the DP midi playback thread - if you don't feel the escapement playing that on a Steinway then I suppose you probably won't miss it on a DP.

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#1755805 - 09/20/11 05:23 AM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
bennevis Online   content
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4389
The double escapement system in grand pianos is simulated in DPs by the slight feeling of resistance ('bump') just after pressing the key down, before the complete 'give'.

If you're having lessons on a grand, it's worth having on the DP you're practising on, so that the feel is similar, though there're other things on a real grand that cannot be mimicked on any digital, like the lighter keyweight when the sustain pedal is down (which disengages all the dampers), and the way the whole keyboard shifts when you press the una corda pedal down.

The double escapement feature on grands allows for very quick note repetition (even when the key is still partially depressed) and very fine control of ppp which cannot be achieved on uprights. In DPs, this is achieved electronically by the number of sensors. If you aspire to play works like Scarlatti's Sonata in D minor, Kk 141 or (much more difficult) Ravel's Alborada del gracioso and/or Scarbo, all of which requires very fast repeated notes, you'll need this feature in your piano, whether acoustic or DP.

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#1755841 - 09/20/11 08:08 AM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
sullivang Offline
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Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Bennevis,
FWIW, yes, just about everything you say matches my understanding. (although I think it's just "escapement" - not "double escapement" that produces the bump feeling - they are two different things, as was stated earlier in this thread). I've gotta get to an upright to test this for myself!

HOWEVER, I think it would be wrong to assume that every DP that has a tri-sensor action would automatically be better than every DP that does NOT have a tri-sensor action. For example, there may be other more important factors that come into play.

My "cheap" Casio PX-330 has a tri-sensor action, and I'd be a bit surprised if a concert pianist could play those example works better on this DP than a very good 2-sensor DP. (however, just maybe, with enough practice..... ;^)

Greg.

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#1755848 - 09/20/11 08:24 AM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: sullivang]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3076
Originally Posted By: sullivang
My "cheap" Casio PX-330 has a tri-sensor action, and I'd be a bit surprised if a concert pianist could play those example works better on this DP than a very good 2-sensor DP.

I agree with that. I do not find I can do repetitions faster on a tri-sensor Privia than on a good quality 2-sensor DP. Heck, I can do them fastest on a 2-sensor unweighted action!

The acoustic piano effect that the tri-sensor Casio does permit you to do is, when playing softly/slowly, you can lift a key up a little bit, and press it down again to retrigger it again at a softer volume, without having the effect of the damper fall in between the two triggers (i.e. no silence between note triggers, even when not using the sustain pedal). It's cool that it works, but I'm not sure how many pieces require that you to be able to do it.

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#1755917 - 09/20/11 11:02 AM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Anotherscott,
Agreed, however, more importantly, it allows fast and soft playing - especially trills. As I've stated in the past, my piano tuning book makes a point about soft trills. It allows the piano player to trill with less effort - the fingers simply do not need to be lifted as high. This replicates the behaviour of a real grand piano, which is what this is all about.
All this assumes that the action has similar mechanical dynamics to a real piano, of course. (thinking about it, even on an unweighted action, the limiting factor for trills may in fact be the ability of the pianist to lift their fingers high enough for a repetition?)

However, I'm thinking that 2-sensor DP designers may be able to place the sensors in positions that result in an overall performance that is very nearly as good as a 3-sensor action.
I know that some DPs have the top sensor at the 50% return point, whereas my piano tuning book says that the dampers on a real piano damp when the keys are very nearly at the top of their travel. (and for upright pianos, repeats also require the keys to return nearly to the top) So, moving the sensor down may be an example of the DP manufacturers achieving a better overall compromise.

Now, for these rapid partial repetitions, yes, the dampers will not be touching the strings, and there will probably be more timbral changes for each strike, due to the fact that the hammers are striking strings that are already vibrating. As I've said before, a Clavinova I tested did seem to invoke a sustain-pedal like behaviour for slowly repeated partial notes, just as you say. (I realise we've discussed all this at length in the past) 2-sensor actions can't do this directly, although perhaps it would be possible to guess what the player is trying to do, and to invoke the damper-less repeats. ;^)

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (09/20/11 11:12 AM)

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#1755942 - 09/20/11 11:52 AM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
PianoZac Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1418
If you give us a price point, it may be easier to help. If you can spend a lot, but have space and location restraints (neighbors), than I highly recommend the AvantGrand N1. After all, it has a real grand piano action. If touch is important, there is nothing better than the AvantGrands. Although, I'd rank Kawai's RM3 Wooden action to be superior to all other digital piano actions, and second to the AvantGrands in terms of action in a non-complete acoustic.

Have a look:

AvantGrand action
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUsliF47RMU&feature=relmfu
http://media.photobucket.com/image/avantgrand%20action/virtualpiano/IMG_1703.jpg

Real Grand Piano action
http://www.fordpiano.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/action1.jpg

Originally Posted By: dewster

DPs that have a '3' or "III" or "triple" in the name of their key action will most likely have three position sensors per key and therefore (if it is implemented well) should have the ability to behave more like an AP with double escapement (i.e. easier to do fast reps

Interestingly dewster, the RM3 doesn't possess three sensors as far as I'm aware. RM3 stands for Real Mechanism, Real Motion and Real Materials. I may be wrong but I'm almost positive.


Edited by ZacharyForbes (09/20/11 11:57 AM)
Edit Reason: Added thought
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#1755950 - 09/20/11 12:09 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: sullivang]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3076
Originally Posted By: sullivang
Anotherscott,
Agreed, however, more importantly, it allows fast and soft playing - especially trills.

Ah, yes. I never tested to see whether or not that is genuinely easier on a PX-3 than on other (2-sensor) DPs, but at least in theory, I could see where that should be a benefit.

Originally Posted By: sullivang
Now, for these rapid partial repetitions, yes, the dampers will not be touching the strings, and there will probably be more timbral changes for each strike, due to the fact that the hammers are striking strings that are already vibrating.

Yes... though that also depends on whether the tone generator being triggered includes the kind of string resonance feature that actually does alter the sound of a key depending on what other keys (if any) have been depressed and have had their virtual dampers raised. AFAIK, the PX3 does not have that feature, it only has "pedal down" string resonance, not "pedal up, some keys down" resonance, which is what you would need for this to create an audible difference. However, it would presumably work very well if you were to use the PX3 to trigger a piano sound that did have that kind of string resonance, like in a Nord Stage 2.

In fact, as I was discussing on another forum, I think the most "authentic" Nord Piano might be achieved by triggering it from something like a PX3, not only because I think the Nord keyboards don't have the PX-3 style third sensor to permit the "pedal-up but damper-up" retriggering (can someone confirm?), but also because the Nord action does not trigger easily enough to permit the kind of light thumbnail glissando you can do on most boards. OTOH, someone else pointed out that there is one kind of real piano functionality that you can do on a Nord keyboard directly that you can't do on a Nord over MIDI, which is depressing the keys so slowly that they make no sound (but could still be used to create resonances for other notes). Again, I don't know how much repertoire calls for that, but it's cool that it works. It really should work over MIDI as well... the fact that it doesn't means that you can record a performance form the Nord into a sequencer that will not play back the same way it sounded when you first played it. It really should produce no tone at MIDI Velocity 1 received externally, just as it does internally. I suspect the fact that it doesn't is a bug.

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#1756092 - 09/20/11 04:21 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Anotherscott,
I suspect that all the Clavinova does is overlap voices for partial repeats, just as it would do for a normal sustain pedal. I believe that almost all DPs do this, at least, aside from any fancy sympathetic resonance processing, for the sustain pedal, and it would be trivial do replicate this for partial repeats. If you repeat a single note, with the sustain pedal, I'd be surprised if ANY DP you were to test would not produce a subtle "ding dang dong" sound, due to the phasing effects of multiple voices sounding simultaneously.

So, I'll be surprised if my Casio PX-330 doesn't behave similarly to the Clavinova I tested. smile

I think the overlapping voice technique, although very crude, just seems to work well.

You can SEE this behaviour in software pianos that display the voice count in real time.

Greg.

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#1757484 - 09/22/11 04:17 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
Quarkomatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 75
Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
If money is no object, I'd look into a digital with real grand piano action (long wooden keys, with real hammers), rather than just something with simulated escapement or triple sensors.

While triple sensors help with fast repetition as others have noted, the resistance at the bottom of the key makes it feel more like a grand piano. I find playing softly very difficult on a grand piano. I think this is because when you are depressing the key slowly, the extra resistance at the bottom of the stroke can slow down your movement even further, to the point where the hammer is not thrown high enough to reach the strings, and no sound is produced. The digital escapement simulation makes you compensate for this and focus on playing through to the bottom of the key evenly, and while I occasionally fail to produce tone on my digital with escapement, it is still far easier to play softly on it than on a grand.

My teacher is a bit of a piano purist as well. She always forgets that I play on a digital and bemoans it when it comes up... but I guess if she always forgets about it, it must not be negatively impacting my technique, right? wink

This thread has been technically very interesting. I play on a Roland DP-990, which has escapement, but I believe only 2 sensors. I know a note can be repeated without the key fully returning to the top, but now I'm curious if the damper engages between... I will have to experiment.

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#1757529 - 09/22/11 05:20 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Quarkomatic]
dewster Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4270
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: sullivang
Anotherscott,I suspect that all the Clavinova does is overlap voices for partial repeats, just as it would do for a normal sustain pedal. I believe that almost all DPs do this, at least, aside from any fancy sympathetic resonance processing, for the sustain pedal, and it would be trivial do replicate this for partial repeats. If you repeat a single note, with the sustain pedal, I'd be surprised if ANY DP you were to test would not produce a subtle "ding dang dong" sound, due to the phasing effects of multiple voices sounding simultaneously.

So, I'll be surprised if my Casio PX-330 doesn't behave similarly to the Clavinova I tested. smile

I think the overlapping voice technique, although very crude, just seems to work well.

You can SEE this behaviour in software pianos that display the voice count in real time

Greg, I don't often disagree with you, but I would be rather surprised if most DP sound generators overlapped notes of the same pitch like this. Once the looping hit it could statistically sometimes cause drastic phase issues, and it could massively eat into the polyphony. Software pianos have no looping, and so much polyphony to spare (or at least they act like they do smile ) that they can afford to throw some at note repetition.

Originally Posted By: Quarkomatic
My teacher is a bit of a piano purist as well. She always forgets that I play on a digital and bemoans it when it comes up... but I guess if she always forgets about it, it must not be negatively impacting my technique, right? wink

Her toes would curl if she chould see some of the things my wife's students practice on - old home organs, toys, etc. Your Roland DP-990 should be the least of her worries.

Originally Posted By: Quarkomatic
This thread has been technically very interesting. I play on a Roland DP-990, which has escapement, but I believe only 2 sensors. I know a note can be repeated without the key fully returning to the top, but now I'm curious if the damper engages between... I will have to experiment.

You might try those repeated notes at various places on the keyboard. I bet there isn't much difference between two and three sensors on the low end, where (if brief partial damping is realistically implemented) the mass of the heavier strings keeps the note from damping much in between plays, but on the high end it may be trickier on a two sensor.
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#1757772 - 09/23/11 12:10 AM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
sullivang Offline
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Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Dewster - we'll have to remain in disagreement then. DPs have done this practically FOREVER. Go and find the oldest one you can, and test it. You'll hear the subtle phasing. (ok, if it doesn't, then try to find a slightly less old one. ;^) ;^)

The reason they can get away with it is that piano notes fade away relatively quickly. Also, they may limit the number of overlapping voices too.

EWQLP doesn't do any voice aging. It will keep overlapping voices until it runs out of polyphony. (which I think it just silly). Yet, it still sounds ok.

From memory, Pianoteq does limit the number of overlaps. (can't remember the number, but I think it was about three)

The Lounge Lizard EP software is a rare example of one that does NOT overlap, and it sounds very bland. HOWEVER, the early versions MODELLED it, and it had a flaw - every now and then, repeated notes with the sustain pedal would produce a note that was far too loud. As far as I can tell, they simply disabled this aspect of the modelling, but did not implement voice overlapping. I have let them know about the issue.

I hacked in overlapping into Csound a very long time ago. I noticed that repeated notes with the sustain pedal sounded bland, so I coded it in.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (09/23/11 12:22 AM)

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#1757899 - 09/23/11 10:09 AM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
PianoZac Offline
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Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1418
Quarkomatic, the DP-990 is actually a nice DP and I would consider to be one of the better DPs out for piano. Any of the higher end Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, and even the Casios are a heck of a lot better than many of the instruments students learn on, as dewster pointed out.

As far as the money being no object, the Yamaha AvantGrand N1, whilst still quite expensive, is the least expensive digital (hybrid) that comes with a full grand piano action. For around $8,000 it takes up no more space than an upright, sounds a heck of a lot better, plays even better, and costs less than many new uprights.
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#1757906 - 09/23/11 10:45 AM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: PianoZac]
Quarkomatic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/16/10
Posts: 75
Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Originally Posted By: ZacharyForbes
Quarkomatic, the DP-990 is actually a nice DP and I would consider to be one of the better DPs out for piano. Any of the higher end Yamaha, Roland, Kawai, and even the Casios are a heck of a lot better than many of the instruments students learn on, as dewster pointed out.


Yes, I'm quite happy with it. Digitals in general mimic the touch of a grand, which is great - I find the touch on most uprights to be far too light.

It may be that I'm just used to the DP-990's keyboard now, but I was at a piano store recently, and I found the actions on most of the other digitals felt completely different - even other Rolands. One might think the F110's "PHA alpha II" would be similar to the DP-990's "PHA II with escapement," but it seemed vastly inferior to me. There seemed to be more friction in the travel of the keys, whereas key travel on the DP-990 feels smooth and only resisted by the weight of the "hammer." The keys also looked and felt cheaper - more plastic-y and with slightly more rounded edges. My one complaint about the DP-990's action is that the key bed is rather hard, so it is a bit thumpy.

Anyway, it's certainly a good idea to try before you buy. When I made my purchase, I didn't really know what to look for, but looking back with more experience now, I think I made a good choice.

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#1757909 - 09/23/11 10:52 AM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Quarkomatic]
PianoZac Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/10
Posts: 1418
Originally Posted By: Quarkomatic


It may be that I'm just used to the DP-990's keyboard now, but I was at a piano store recently, and I found the actions on most of the other digitals felt completely different - even other Rolands. One might think the F110's "PHA alpha II" would be similar to the DP-990's "PHA II with escapement," but it seemed vastly inferior to me.


Oh yeah. Huge difference. I owned both the RD-700GXF and RD-300GX at the same time. The 700 having the PHA II Ivory Feel w/escapement, the 300 having the PHA II Alpha. The difference was night and day. After playing the 300, going back to the 700 was like going from an upright to a full on concert grand.
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#1757963 - 09/23/11 12:42 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: sullivang]
dewster Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4270
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: sullivang
Dewster - we'll have to remain in disagreement then. DPs have done this practically FOREVER. Go and find the oldest one you can, and test it. You'll hear the subtle phasing. (ok, if it doesn't, then try to find a slightly less old one. ;^) ;^)

OK Greg, I'll definitely be on the lookout for this one!
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#1758116 - 09/23/11 05:20 PM Re: Escapement and double escapement in digital piano actions [Re: Gomer]
sullivang Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 2100
Loc: Sydney, Australia
The first time I noticed the effect was on my Roland RD-300SX (the old Structural Adaptive Synthesis one, about 20 years ago). I thought it may have been some fancy modelling, but someone told me it was likely to be simple overlapping. I'm sure they were right. I had a Kurzweil PX-1000 at the same time, and I'm pretty sure it did it too.

Note that in EWQLP, in general it takes a very long time to actually terminate a voice after a release, so that may be inflating the voice count.

The main piano sounds on my Casio PX-330 do it, however the EPs, and even the "GM" piano sounds, do NOT do it.

What you're listening for is a very subtle "jaw harp" ding-dang-dong when you play repeated notes with the sustain pedal. It sounds very natural - it doesn't spring out at you. However, when you try it with a sound that does NOT do this, it sounds cold and dead.

Greg.


Edited by sullivang (09/23/11 05:49 PM)

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