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#2031271 - 02/11/13 04:15 PM How far is THE PERFECT DP from now?
MVshabeer2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/11
Posts: 86
When will we have a DP that can 100% replace the AP?

I think the action is solved by introduction of Avantgrands.
[But since it use a real AP action it costs as much as an AP (N3) which doesn't follow the motto of DP "A piano at every home".]

Regarding sound what is still missing? What is the bottle neck?

Compared to the growth of technology in other fields, DP's still in stone age.(IMHO)

Will a 2nd/3rd gen of Avantgrand or Vpiano will meet the needs(if any exists)?


Edited by MVshabeer2 (02/11/13 04:17 PM)

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#2031280 - 02/11/13 04:22 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 804
Never?

Even a 'perfect' DP would be a different instrument than an acoustic piano.
The pianoforte has not replaced the clavichord, the harpsichord, etc. Uprights and grands coexist. Acoustic and electric guitars and basses coexist. It's not one or the other, it's both (or all).
_________________________
Shigeru Kawai SK-2, etc.

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#2031289 - 02/11/13 04:29 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
Miguel Rey Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 310
Good question. But I have a better one, when will Steinway enter the game and put their action in a DP box? After all said and done, DP's can not and hopefully never will replace a acoustic pianos. If that ever happens you will probably see vocalists with digital vocal chord implants
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#2031296 - 02/11/13 04:32 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
You mean Renner, not Steinway. Renner provides actions for Steinway, Bosendorfer, and many other famous piano makers.

Far more likely (though not likely in the short term) would be Kawai putting their Millenium III action in a hybrid.

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#2031316 - 02/11/13 04:44 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: Miguel Rey]
KataiYubi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/20/13
Posts: 32
Originally Posted By: Miguel Rey
If that ever happens you will probably see vocalists with digital vocal chord implants


An original thought. Can you sign me up for that, I've always wanted to sing Pagliacci like Pavarotti!

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#2031341 - 02/11/13 04:55 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6344
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Heck - I'm still waiting for the perfect AP.
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#2031346 - 02/11/13 04:57 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: maurus]
Temperament Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
Originally Posted By: maurus
Even a 'perfect' DP would be a different instrument than an acoustic piano.
The pianoforte has not replaced the clavichord, the harpsichord, etc...
There is no perfect instrument. (There is no perfect earthquake, measuring scales are therefore upwards open.)
And yet there IS: one at which you don't have the need to improve upon something. And that feeling can be achieved sometimes even with todays imperfect digital instruments - only play nice music on them....
_________________________
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#2031386 - 02/11/13 05:25 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
KataiYubi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/20/13
Posts: 32
I'd say that the evolution speed of DPs depends on the amount of competition in the market. I see some encouraging signs in an otherwise depressing outlook.

Take for instance Casio. Their PX-850 model (priced at around $1000) has given the big three (Yamaha, Roland and Kawai) a run for their money as the PX-850 offer features found only in the higher-end models at a fraction of the cost: 256 polyphony, 4 speakers (incl. 2 tweeters), and a good variety of in/out jacks. I have no personal experience of how these specs translate to in terms of sound, but we should thank Casio for trying.

Something good **may** come up of China, who's now an emerging player in the market. If they do the Casio trick and sell a **good** model at an affordable price, that will be a huge jolt to the big-3.

The big-3 are in an oligopoly, and largely survive not because of the objective quality of their products, but rather because of their reputation. They have the brainpower and engineering expertise to make their products far better, but no monetary incentive to do so because of low competition. As a result, their products are overpriced and evolve very slowly. Why should Yamaha/Kawai/Roland sound samples be of any lower quality than those of a firm such as Synthogy (the makers of Ivory II)? I'm sure Yamaha could blow Synthogy out of the water overnight if they decided to do so. I haven't tried any Roland product, but some say that their V-piano compares favorably to software pianos - but their prices are outrageous, and so I won't be the sucker to pay for the Roland name.

I vote for 10 years, but that's only a guesstimate. The looming US debt crisis could postpone that for another decade.


Edited by KataiYubi (02/11/13 05:28 PM)

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#2031431 - 02/11/13 06:54 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
xorbe Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/12
Posts: 572
Loc: Mt View, CA
As long as PIANO makers are making the DPs, then never!

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#2031445 - 02/11/13 07:39 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3622
Loc: Northern England.
"When will we have a DP that can 100% replace the AP?"

About fifteen years. Ago. I bought my Yam then , was transfixed by the sound. Wasn`t perfect in many ways. But the following crop o` digitals weren`t a patch. It`s been like rthat ever since imo. I`m looking to change. But the old ones are selling for a very high price . . . and they look BEAUTIFUL!
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#2031476 - 02/11/13 08:51 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
fizikisto Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/12
Posts: 518
Loc: Hernando, MS
If I tell you that you're listening to an acoustic piano when in fact you're listening to a digital piano, there are probably a lot of people who wouldn't be able to tell the difference. I'd wager that most players, well most people with a good ear in any case, would have no problem spotting the fake. There's sample looping, sometimes a certain sterile quality to some of the modeling, etc... I'd say that on one front the question will be "when will you be unable to tell the difference?" or when will pros be unable to tell the difference? It may not be that far off.

You might also make similar arguments about the action of most DP's If you blindfolded most players and put them down in front of a dozen AP's (maybe a mix of uprights and grands) and 1 DP (or vice verse) and had them play something on each piano, would they be able to spot the odd man out just by touch? I would imagine so, but again I think the gap is closing. I think there will come a day when even pros could not tell a DP from an AP unless they knew a priori which was which.
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#2031493 - 02/11/13 09:47 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: peterws]
KataiYubi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/20/13
Posts: 32
The perfect DP will be/have:

A) Affordable - max $3000. And don't sell at inflated prices in some countries just because you can (Canada v. the US).

B) Gorgeous piano sounds - just like some software pianos. No reason why I should buy a bloody expensive box if, in order to get decent sounds, I need to bypass their software by a third-party product at the cost of latency and playability.

C) No sound artifacts - sounds that do not exist in APs. I raised the issue of ears ringing when playing fast notes in the treble range for a high-end model elsewhere. This is totally unacceptable for a price tag of $7000.

D) Acceptable touch. Adjustable to one's tastes would be even better, as touches vary wildly in APs. A 7/8 key size option would be nice, as it would be easier for elderly people or people with small hands.

E) A good soundboard in wood, which would give the DP sound an organic feeling. The CA95 (which I haven't tried yet - not yet available in my area) sounds like a pace in the right direction.

F) Drop the junk features. Music lessons, "Concert magic", dual mode with slow strings (yeech!), split keyboard. These are best left for entry level slab models, for people that are satisfied with their toys since 15 years. Ago.


Edited by KataiYubi (02/11/13 10:23 PM)

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#2031495 - 02/11/13 09:58 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: KataiYubi]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9163
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: KataiYubi
F) Drop the junk features. Music lessons, "Concert magic", superimposed strings (yeech!), split keyboard. These are best left for entry level slab models, for people that are satisfied with their toys since 15 years. Ago.


Which models feature superimposed strings?

Also, many users appreciate these additional features. If a manufacturer was to remove the 'Split' functions from their instruments they would almost certainly lose sales.

Kind regards,
James
x
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#2031501 - 02/11/13 10:18 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: Kawai James]
KataiYubi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/20/13
Posts: 32
Originally Posted By: Kawai James

Which models feature superimposed strings?


Sumimasen for not being clear, James-san: I was thinking about the dual mode in all CN/CA models, for instance concert grand with slow strings. When the dealer turned it on in the shop, my reaction was "Yeech!".

You can make the argument some people want these features, but an equally powerful argument can be made that you are missing some sales because some people are turned off by the higher prices that these features command.

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#2031517 - 02/11/13 10:47 PM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: KataiYubi]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9163
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: KataiYubi
I was thinking about the dual mode in all CN/CA models, for instance concert grand with slow strings. When the dealer turned it on in the shop, my reaction was "Yeech!".


Well, piano with strings is a popular combination.
Please understand that you are not the only consumer in the world.

Originally Posted By: KataiYubi
You can make the argument some people want these features...


Correct.

Originally Posted By: KataiYubi
...but an equally powerful argument can be made that you are missing some sales because some people are turned off by the higher prices that these features command.


Such an argument could be made, however it probably would not apply to a terribly significant number of consumers. Moreover such 'Dual' and 'Split' playing modes are pretty standard features across most digital piano ranges.

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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#2031564 - 02/12/13 12:13 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2709
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: MVshabeer2
When will we have a DP that can 100% replace the AP?
Unlikely to happen. However, I do believe that, if it weren't for the saturated market of underserviced-but-still-functioning used pianos, they would quickly replace entry level uprights. The saturated market brings the price down but new owners continue to underservice and trot out these tired relics. Better uprights and grands will not be replaced by technology though institutions will make monetary decisions when comparing alternative instruments.
Originally Posted By: MVshabeer2
Regarding sound what is still missing? What is the bottle neck?
Speakers morso than anything (not entirely solvable). The next gap is pedal behavior (solvable but impractical for now). The third would require some randomization incorporated into modeling to prevent fatigue. Currently, even the best models are too predictably consistent. Our ears recognize patterns and we break down the complex into simple elements which leads back to fatigue with DP's. Until the speaker issue is solved, this problem may as well wait.
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#2031573 - 02/12/13 12:25 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: Kawai James]
KataiYubi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/20/13
Posts: 32
Originally Posted By: Kawai James

Well, piano with strings is a popular combination.


Seriously, have you ever listened to that particular combination? Putting the YouTube video hype aside, it's plain ugly and unnatural. I would even go as far as to say that this combination is particularly repulsive and offensive to the ears. The piano does not sound like a piano and the strings do not sound like strings. Plus, you have little control on the mix, as you would on an organ with two keyboards plus pedals, as in simulating a concerto for piano and orchestra. The dual mode mix is a half-baked feature that would perhaps interest an absolute beginner for 5 minutes before getting tired of it and never using it again. Idem for the other features I mention. Who else but a total beginner would enjoy "concert magic" for more than 5 minutes? That goes against the very concept of learning piano, which is to learn the skills to produce one very own's creation.

Originally Posted By: Kawai James

Please understand that you are not the only consumer in the world.


Thanks for the pleasantry. If I may say so in my turn, please understand that you're not working for the only company in the world. If a company insists on piling on dubious features in order to justify jacking up their prices, then I'll be happy to buy from other vendors, should they offer solid value at an affordable price. Mada mada desu.


Edited by KataiYubi (02/12/13 12:29 AM)

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#2031599 - 02/12/13 01:40 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
LesCharles73 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 739
Loc: Denton Texas
I highly, highly doubt the piano/strings combo adds much, if anything, to the price. When you produce some actual proof rather than theories, people might listen to you. Until then you're frankly just verbalizing from within your posterior region. wink

The other features, maybe. I never used things like autoaccompaniment, etc and I can't think of many serious applications. If I was do play/record/run a composition, I'd want to go and do it right.

I do like piano/string combos, but I use synthesizers which give me much more control, so I see your point there. However, full programmability in a DP probably would raise the price. Right now, I see the extra voices being a freebie that some people (musical theatre, etc) happen to use sometimes.


Edited by LesCharles73 (02/12/13 01:47 AM)
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#2031610 - 02/12/13 02:25 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: KataiYubi]
peterws Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3622
Loc: Northern England.
"for people that are satisfied with their toys since 15 years. Ago."

That toy got played with. And earned me a lot of much needed cash at the time over four years. . . . People liked the sound o` that piano.
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes — but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2031626 - 02/12/13 04:01 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3819
Loc: North Carolina
KataiYubi: KawaiJames put it perfectly: You are not the only customer in the world. I'll agree that the strings voice could be better, but it still has its uses. If you don't like it, then just don't push that button.

As for "Who else but a total beginner would enjoy "concert magic" for more than 5 minutes?" ... Well, I wouldn't use it, but others would. There are a great many beginners. And your 5 minute limit is absurdly small. So, again, you are not the only customer in the world.

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#2031627 - 02/12/13 04:01 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: xorbe]
MVshabeer2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/11
Posts: 86
Originally Posted By: xorbe
As long as PIANO makers are making the DPs, then never!


This is the perfect answer. When AP makers are making DP's they are forced not to drive technology that far that they lose AP sales.
I agree that Yamaha can blow away synthogy overnight if they are willing to

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#2031636 - 02/12/13 04:27 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2359
Loc: UK
KataiYubi points A - E could equally be applied in the search for a perfect piano.

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#2031659 - 02/12/13 06:17 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: PianoWorksATL]
kurtie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/10
Posts: 207
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
Speakers morso than anything (not entirely solvable). The next gap is pedal behavior (solvable but impractical for now). The third would require some randomization incorporated into modeling to prevent fatigue. Currently, even the best models are too predictably consistent. Our ears recognize patterns and we break down the complex into simple elements which leads back to fatigue with DP's. Until the speaker issue is solved, this problem may as well wait.


+1

This seems to me a good summary of the weak points of DPs: 1. speakers vs soundboard, 2. pedalling and resonance and 3. fatigue dued to predictability

The first problem seems the hardest to overcome. Some DPs now include a soundboard... good move on the right direction but I think that they are still far away. The other two problems are more prevalent in sampled pianos than in modeled pianos, but modelling have other problems on its own (modelled tone is not as good as in samples yet).

In the end, I think we are not going to see pianos disappear in the next decades. DPs and APs will coexist. DPs will improve (I hope... they must). Maybe in a distant future I will sell my upright and play only on the digital... but right now? No way!

Regards,
Kurt.-

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#2031662 - 02/12/13 06:26 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
Nigeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
Perfection is something you can strive for but never truly achieve so there will never be a perfect digital piano let alone a perfect acoustic piano.

Secondly I'd argue that an acoustic piano is by no means a perfect instrument to begin with and that some of the characteristics of an acoustic are really flaws or technical limitations of the instrument that get 'romantisized'.

As for a pretty good aproximation of an acoustic I'd say that all the pieces are there we've simply not seen anybody put them expertly together to form a coherent instrument.

From a technical standpoint building a PCB that could be used to play a Galaxy, Synthogy or any other virtual instrument or even Pianoteq is easy albeit maybe not exactly cheap. The current crop of DSPs is easily capable of processing that and you'd need a few GB of RAM and a decent size SSD.

Basically the HW setup of the Korg Kronos X would suffice, except with a different CPU/DSP setup.

Also from a technical standpoint there are a few great DP actions that come close to the real deal out there. The AvantGrand actions (which are basically modified Renner ones anyway), the Kawai GF and RM3 or even the Roland ones. Replace the three sensor rubber 'button' design with a light or laser based velocity sensing (like in the VAX 77, the Viscount or the Lachnit Studio) and you'd be able to decently map the dynamics of playing.

Then you'd have a very good action, that maps velocity and dynamics with decent solution plus a great sample-based virtual instrument or the modelling of Pianoteq and a velocity curve that could be adapted to the instrument.

Sound reproduction via amps/speakers would be a technical hurdle but not unsolvable and there are already a few great high end DP's out there that excel at that.

The problem is. The companies that have shown that they could tackle the electronics and SW side of things (Clavia, Korg, Casio etc.) don't have access to the best actions and don't exert to much effort to built one. That's because they focus on a different segment of the market - professional or semi professional studio or stage musicians.

In that segment there are certain trade-offs you have to take into account. Portability, price, flexibility and controller functions.

The companies that have shown that they can tackle the instrument side of things (Kawai, Yamaha) don't have the best expertise in electronics and SW or don't exert too much effort in that field.

They focus on the pianist or piano enthusiast in the high end and they also sell real acoustic uprights and grands. A sufficiently good DP would cannibalize most of their high end market which contrary to popular belief is not only made up of professionals but also of enthusiasts and semi-professionals that want a 'real piano'.

I'd assume the number of acoustic pianos that get bought by hobbyists or parents is quite large.

Most professional pianists I know (admittedly not that many) own a grand of course but some of them would rather not. They are touring and need a decent DP to practice on the road and they are usually provided an instrument at the venues they play. If you're not Lang Lang you can't bring your owm grand to a concert hall.

If you play professionally for hours a day an acoustic is also not the most practical instrument if you don't want your neighbours to show up at your doorstep one day with pitchforks and torches that is.

I pretty much agree with xorbe, as long as most DPs are made by instrument companies that also sell 'real' pianos you'll probably not see a 'perfect' digital at least not by them.

If a company like Clavia ever got access to an action with the same level of quality as the AvantGrand, GF or RM3 though they could probably built an instrument that would truly upset the 'balance of power' of the traditional players.

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#2031711 - 02/12/13 08:40 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3819
Loc: North Carolina
I used to think this might be true ...
"I pretty much agree with xorbe, as long as most DPs are made by instrument companies that also sell 'real' pianos you'll probably not see a 'perfect' digital at least not by them."

... but no longer. Roland makes good digitals. So does Casio. Neither manufacture acoustic pianos.

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#2031721 - 02/12/13 08:54 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
Nigeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 108
Good, yes, but not perfect.

Casio and Roland focus on the professional/semi-professional musician that uses instruments on stage/in the studio/live.

They make good instruments but their focus leads them to a different set of trade-offs.

The instruments have to be as flexible as possible:

4 Zone Midi-Controllers, Splits, Layers, lots of different basic sounds and emulations, arpeggiators etc.

The instruments have to be 'portable' so the action has to be light-weight and the form-factor of the boards has to be so that you can easily carry them.

You should be able to play different piano and organ sets so the action will be more light and weighting will be less.

Price

This is s different set of trade offs than the ones you'd take if you wanted to build the best digital piano. They offer a set that is 'good enough' but offers you a lot of flexibility.

But I already mentioned this in my previous post.

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#2031734 - 02/12/13 09:44 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 742
Just because a hover car is not available, should I not go out and buy a car?

I'm quite happy with my N2 as a replacement for an upright. I do consider myself someone that needs an adequate sound and maybe it's the whole experience of the action and the sound system, but it gives me the intimacy to feel creative.
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#2031741 - 02/12/13 10:07 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
toddy Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1687
Loc: Portugal
Nigeth said: I'd argue that an acoustic piano is by no means a perfect instrument to begin with and that some of the characteristics of an acoustic are really flaws or technical limitations of the instrument that get 'romantisized'.


Quite so. In fact, 'fetishised' might be a more suitable word than 'romanticised'. There is nothing inherently good, in a musical sense, about a piano keyboard action. It is just a rather cumbersome means to an end: striking a set of strings. Of course, highly satisfactory ones have developed over the centuries and pianists develop a feeling for them, it is true.

And is there really any use in copying an acoustic piano's sound board? I mean, would a tuba-shaped speaker made of brass really yield a better sousaphone sound than an ordinary high quality monitor or hi-fi? Perhaps, but it sounds like piffle to me.


Edited by toddy (02/12/13 10:08 AM)
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#2031743 - 02/12/13 10:09 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: MVshabeer2]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5131
Why don't we do a poll here - everyone submits what they feel is their dream DP from all the currently available models. Money and space and neighbours and dogs/cats/rabbits are no object. You can have what you want.

BUT - it will be the only instrument you can have (don't forget, it's supposed to be your perfect DP, or as close to one as what is available today), and a DP can't be perfect if you have to have two or three different ones, plus an acoustic grand. So, you can't have an acoustic either.

It would be interesting to see if predominantly very expensive, high-end models are chosen, or whether, simply, people want something very different than purely acoustic emulations, and if so, what sort.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2031780 - 02/12/13 11:34 AM Re: How far is THE PERFECT DP from now? [Re: PianoWorksATL]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3216
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL

Originally Posted By: MVshabeer2
Regarding sound what is still missing? What is the bottle neck?
Speakers morso than anything (not entirely solvable).

I agree that speakers are a major factor. Real acoustic pianos, expertly recorded and played back through a pair of multi-thousand dollar high quality stereo speakers still generally won't fool you into thinking there's actually an acoustic piano in the room. Though the idea of a series of special purposed speakers placed with only the intent of recreating the soundfield of a piano, as in high end Yamahas, is an interesting (if not always practical) approach.

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