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#2041166 - 03/01/13 04:41 AM Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel?
Cmin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 227
Loc: Swabia
I know this is going to be a tough one. Everyone has different preferences, tastes, and so on....
But, I'm talking about the 'feel' of the keyboard action in comparison to let's say a Steinway, Bösendorfer, Yamaha Grand, Kawai. Even these have different feels, but when you have played these you know what I mean. They aren't spongy, slow,... they are just the real thing. Which DP or master keyboard, in your opinion, has the most realistic feel? I mean the feel and not the sound.

I'm actually a piano player, but do not have the luck of trying different DPs or MKs in my area. I have tried some though. Some were quite impressive, others not.
It has gotten pretty close nowadays.
What do you think?

Cheers,
Lenny
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#2041176 - 03/01/13 05:47 AM Re: Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel? [Re: Cmin]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 795
Yamaha AvantGrands, for an obvious reason.
But I fear this answer doesn't help you too much. For less money, it's a tough question and you won't find a consensus here. You should check the best actions from Kawai (VPC1, CA65/95), Yamaha (CP 1/5 or CLP 480 etc.), and Roland (RD700NX etc.) in person. As you say, even tastes in real grand actions (and the actions themselves) are quite variable.

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#2041178 - 03/01/13 05:56 AM Re: Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel? [Re: Cmin]
Cmin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 227
Loc: Swabia
Thanks Maurus.
But that's exactly what I'm looking for here - personal opinions.

Yet, only DPs and MKs, no hybrids.


Edited by Cmin (03/01/13 06:02 AM)
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Lenny

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#2041198 - 03/01/13 06:50 AM Re: Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel? [Re: Cmin]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4951
If 'realism' of feel is the question, I think it's inseparable from the responsiveness of the piano to your touch, and the way you play.

I've played a great many acoustic pianos over the years - good, bad, indifferent and downright awful - but have consistently found that what separates the 'good' pianos from the not-so-good is not the action per se (unless of course the action itself is so loose/sloppy/sticky/stiff that you don't feel in control), but how the piano responds to your playing.
Because there is a great variety of actions out there, even just in good well-regulated grand pianos, that one cannot say what is 'realistic' - they're all real, after all.

And the same applies to DPs. Unless the DP's key action really is too 'artificial' - for me, a key that has a totally smooth travel all the way down is that, because an acoustic (vertical or grand) has escapement system that doesn't allow such smoothness - I'd say that you'll be able to find high-end grands that feel almost exactly like any Roland or Kawai DP that has the escapement feel. Clavinovas and Nords don't have it, and to me, they don't feel realistic. Between the AvantGrands and the NU1, surprisingly, it's the NU1 that feels closer to a real grand: all the AGs (a couple of N3s, and a N2 & N1) I've tried have key actions that feel too stiff and heavy.

But for sheer realism, I'd go for the Roland V-Piano/Grand because it has the most realistic feel and connection between pianist and action and sound.

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#2041247 - 03/01/13 08:52 AM Re: Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel? [Re: Cmin]
anotherscott Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3182
Originally Posted By: Cmin
I know this is going to be a tough one. Everyone has different preferences, tastes, and so on....
But, I'm talking about the 'feel' of the keyboard action in comparison to let's say a Steinway, Bösendorfer, Yamaha Grand, Kawai. Even these have different feels, but when you have played these you know what I mean. They aren't spongy, slow,... they are just the real thing. Which DP or master keyboard, in your opinion, has the most realistic feel? I mean the feel and not the sound.

As you point out, real pianos vary enormously. Out of current models, I think the Kawai MP-10 (and by extension, the VPC-1) is probably most realistic, it feels quite a lot like a Kawai baby grand I played recently. Unfortunately, I didn't particularly like the feel of that baby grand or the MP10. Being faithful to an implementation that you don't really care for may not be a benefit! There are others who love it, though.

If you don't restrict yourself to current models, I briefly played a Kurzweil MIDIBoard that I thought felt very realistic. But they are getting hard to find and may also be difficult to get serviced.

In current models, if you like a heavier feeling piano, look at the Kawai. If you prefer a lighter feeling action than that, I'd look at Yamaha NW (i.e. CP5), Roland PHA III (FP7F), or the new Casios.

I should point out, I don't have any experience with console models, or any of the really expensive (over $5k) stuff. By reputation, the Avant Grand as mentioned feels great, but I've never played one.

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#2041324 - 03/01/13 12:18 PM Re: Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel? [Re: Cmin]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2700
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Realistic involves some of the compromises of real pianos, like graded weighting. For this reason, a really good action like in the CP1 is less "realistic" than, say, a Yamaha with a regular GH action.

Casio's newest action is really good. It doesn't have "escapement" or let off, but that is another pleasant artifice of realistic...like a flaw inherent to the original.

The short list of "best actions" are those from Roland, Kawai and Yamaha in their higher dollar models. In the more affordable range, I think it goes Casio's action is superior to all but the top-of-the-line actions from the other 3. The PX-5S is going to be a beast.
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#2041365 - 03/01/13 01:34 PM Re: Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel? [Re: PianoWorksATL]
Tom Fine Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/12
Posts: 37
Loc: Boston
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL

Casio's newest action is really good. It doesn't have "escapement" or let off, but that is another pleasant artifice of realistic...like a flaw inherent to the original.


I would ask this question: does the escapement feel that's added to the higher-end digital pianos alter the way they can be played in any way? Or is it nothing more than a subtle and familiar vibration in the keys that scratches an itch in our little monkey brains?

tom

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#2041464 - 03/01/13 04:01 PM Re: Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel? [Re: Cmin]
RBMusik Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Philadelphia
I enjoy my Kawai MP6. The action is just slightly heavier than my acoustic grand. It has escapement and graded action and very nice key texture. It's much quieter than the Keystation Pro 88 that I replaced. The built in velocity curves are good. It has a learn function where you play and it develops a custom velocity curve. The defaults work better for me. The Roland action is nice also. I played the 300 and 700s but didn't care for the keyboard interface as a controller, however. Casio I did not like much, especially the overly textured keys and plastic parts. It's cheaper and lighter but didn't suit a professional studio environment. Nord? I wouldn't pick them for their action but the world of Nord is its own animal. For action by price range, I might pick the following: 800-1100: Yamaha/Casio. 1100-2500: Kawai 2500+: Roland/Kawai.

At 1500, the MP6 hit the mark of build quality, action and interface IMO.

I use the board in the studio as a controller for film and session work and for late-night practice. No live gig work, so the heavier weight is not an issue. Hope these opinions help. Good luck.
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#2041465 - 03/01/13 04:05 PM Re: Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel? [Re: Tom Fine]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4951
Originally Posted By: Tom Fine


I would ask this question: does the escapement feel that's added to the higher-end digital pianos alter the way they can be played in any way? Or is it nothing more than a subtle and familiar vibration in the keys that scratches an itch in our little monkey brains?

tom


It certainly scratches, nay, tickles my little monkey brain grin.

The let-off 'notch' on my V-Piano tells me exactly where I can depress the key from a partially depressed position to get the sotto voce sound I'm after. Without that 'notch' it's easy to misjudge how far down the key is and then you could get a silent note. Just like on an acoustic grand.

Of course, if you don't ever (need to) play at this sort of minute ppp gradations, you might well think that the let-off feel is an artifact you don't need.

One artifact that no pianist ever needs is the graded key weight. Which is why the really high-end concert grands (from Fazioli et al) strive to keep the gradation to the barest minimum, if not abolish it completely.

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#2041511 - 03/01/13 05:28 PM Re: Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel? [Re: bennevis]
Tom Fine Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/23/12
Posts: 37
Loc: Boston
Originally Posted By: bennevis

The let-off 'notch' on my V-Piano tells me exactly where I can depress the key from a partially depressed position to get the sotto voce sound I'm after. Without that 'notch' it's easy to misjudge how far down the key is and then you could get a silent note. Just like on an acoustic grand.


This is exactly the kind of functional difference I was talking about. I'm clearly not in the league that can benefit from this, but you've illustrated that it can actually affect how you play, therefore it's useful (to some) and not just candy for our monkey brains.

Originally Posted By: bennevis

One artifact that no pianist ever needs is the graded key weight. Which is why the really high-end concert grands (from Fazioli et al) strive to keep the gradation to the barest minimum, if not abolish it completely.


I'd disagree. I'd say that in this case, the functional difference is obvious. You wouldn't want to practice on a digital with no graded weights, and then switch to a real piano that has them. The graded weight is there so your practice is at least in the ballpark. Of course this does make assumptions about where you are practicing and performing.

tom

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#2041532 - 03/01/13 05:56 PM Re: Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel? [Re: Tom Fine]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4951
Originally Posted By: Tom Fine


Originally Posted By: bennevis

One artifact that no pianist ever needs is the graded key weight. Which is why the really high-end concert grands (from Fazioli et al) strive to keep the gradation to the barest minimum, if not abolish it completely.


I'd disagree. I'd say that in this case, the functional difference is obvious. You wouldn't want to practice on a digital with no graded weights, and then switch to a real piano that has them. The graded weight is there so your practice is at least in the ballpark. Of course this does make assumptions about where you are practicing and performing.

tom


The difference between the 'let-off feel'/escapement and the graded key weights is that the former is a constant: there isn't much difference between high-end concert grands and low-end baby grands.

Whereas with the graded key weights, it's highly variable even within the same brand of piano, and the (acoustic) pianos with the biggest gradation tend to be the cheapest, probably to compensate for the lack of bass. The worst I've ever experienced was a baby grand (probably about two decades old) that I played for two weeks while staying at a holiday resort - I could have sworn that the lowest notes (which gave thuds of indeterminate pitches) were at least twice the key weight of the top notes. Returning home, I went to the Fazioli showroom to reacquaint myself with the F278 concert grand there......and felt like I was back to playing a real piano again.

Personally, I don't think there's any need to practise on a piano (or digital) with graded keys at all. The gradation is barely noticeable on the better acoustics, whereas the escapement 'notch' is always obvious when you're playing softly and slowly. The newest grand pianos I've played on (even the small babies) have less gradation as well as better bass sound than that of the models they superseded.

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#2041579 - 03/01/13 07:34 PM Re: Subjective - Which one has the most realistic feel? [Re: Cmin]
RBMusik Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Philadelphia
It should be noted that for Kawai at least, the graded action is extremely subtle, but true to most pianos I've encountered. I wouldn't put it at the top of a want list, but in the case of Kawai it's part of the overall package.
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