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#2056835 - 03/30/13 12:14 PM WSJ article on N2
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323605404578384472502632956.html

Franz Liszt, who lived for years with his mother in a modest Paris apartment, might have welcomed a digital piano. The best models simulate the sound and feel of an acoustic instrument, yet take up less space. They also don’t require tuning, are impervious to the swings in humidity that wreak havoc on standard pianos, and can be played silently with the use of headphones.

“For students, a good digital piano is better than a mediocre upright,” said Andrea McAlister, associate professor of piano pedagogy at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where, as at most schools, students learn basic keyboarding skills on digital instruments.

Ms. McAlister recommends that beginners opt for a full-size 88-key model that has a “weighted action,” which simulates the feel of actual piano hammers. She also stresses the importance of a stand that keeps the instrument at the proper height, since good posture is essential to proper technique.

To find a worthy digital model, we enlisted the help of classical pianist and Sony recording artist Simone Dinnerstein, whose latest album, “Night,” was released earlier this month.

“I always scoffed at digital pianos, mainly because the ones I had tried in the past had a very unrefined sense of touch,” Ms. Dinnerstein said. “There wasn’t a connection between how I would press down on the key and the sound that would come out—there was no subtlety.”

She suspected, however, that technology had since advanced. And the prospect of being able to play with headphones appealed to her. “I don’t want people to hear me struggling when I practice!” she said.

According to many of the musicians and teachers we spoke with, Yamaha makes the most innovative digital pianos, so we asked Ms. Dinnerstein to meet at a dealer, Faust Harrison Pianos, on New York’s “Piano Row,” on West 58th Street.

Ms. Dinnerstein started by playing a few passages from the Goldberg Variations on models in Yamaha’s CLP and CVP line, which start at about $2,400. On one model, the resistance of the keys gave her pause. “It feels like I’m having to push through something to get to the sound,” she said. She switched to a Chopin Nocturne. “I can’t play it gently, so maybe it’s not teaching somebody to be as subtle as they could be.” She also found the sound to be electronic and fake.

Ms. Dinnerstein was pleased, however, with the Yamaha CLP-480 (). “The way it sustains is much more similar to a piano,” she said. “It has a lot of variety of touch and sound. I like this one.” Her only complaint: The keys were too stiff. “But you could say the same about an acoustic piano; some are a bit brutal in how they make you play,” she said.

Yamaha’s AvantGrand line is one of the more advanced (and expensive) on the market. The two top instruments in the range simulate the feel of string resonance by sending subtle vibrations to the keys as you play. And the sound reproduction is purportedly state of the art.

Ms. Dinnerstein started on the AvantGrand N2 (), an upright piano with the action and sound of a grand. “I think this is kind of amazing actually. I could probably be fooled that this was a real piano,” said Ms. Dinnerstein. “There’s something a little bit freaky about it—but I love it. I would definitely consider having one of these.” (She noted, though, that while the sound was “really close” to an acoustic piano, the timbre was markedly more electronic when she played with headphones.)

The higher priced model wasn’t necessarily better. The larger AvantGrand N3 () sounded and felt less realistic to Ms. Dinnerstein than the N2.

At Allegro Pianos, a dealer next door, she played a Kawai CA95 (). According to the manufacturer, the instrument has a spruce-wood soundboard that “faithfully reproduces the tonal ambience of an acoustic piano.” But Ms. Dinnerstein was not convinced. “It’s a certain kind of sound that is a bit brittle and a bit nasal,” she said. She was also unimpressed with the feel of the instrument.

Neither the Roland RG-F1 () nor the RG-3F () passed muster. “While the sound is nice,” she said, “it’s kind of thin and a little two dimensional.” The Yamaha AvantGrand N2 was more realistic to her ear, she said.

Ms. Dinnerstein also tested the Casio Privia PX-350 (), a portable keyboard at the lower end of the price range. Casio makes an optional stand and foot pedal ($150 for the bundle) that convert this 25-pound keyboard into an upright.

“The sound is quite synthetic, which is to be expected,” she said, but the piano would be good for novices. “The keys have a nice weight to them—similar to playing on a real piano. Beginners would benefit from this. The resistance in the keys would help strengthen their fingers.”

It might even suit a seasoned concert pianist: “I could easily imagine practicing on this myself in the middle of the night, when I didn’t want to wake anybody up.”


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#2056883 - 03/30/13 01:57 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
Clayman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 300
Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
Thanks for posting this. It's always interesting to see what truly skilled and, shall I say, "renowned" artists think of the latest and greatest in the field of digital pianos. Having said that, I don't think Ms. Dinnerstein has said anything revelatory. It's sort of to be expected that N2 > CA-95 > Privia PX-350. And we all know that tastes in sound of a DP are as varied as people themselves.

The only thing worth mentioning (imo) is that she considers the N2 superior to N3.
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Learning to play the piano since 06/2013 on a Kawai CA-95.

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#2056939 - 03/30/13 03:30 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Clayman]
enzo.sandrolini Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 273
Loc: Europe - France
Sorry but that is not my understanding about the CA95,
it is written "She was also unimpressed with the feel of the instrument."

for me, she seems to be not convinced about the "keyboard feeling"..
while she says good things about the "keyboard feeling" of the casio
Do I misunderstand ?


Edited by enzo.sandrolini (03/30/13 03:57 PM)
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#2056946 - 03/30/13 03:45 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
toddy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1674
Loc: Portugal
Well, it seems she likes the feel of the Casio keys (good weighting), but not so much the sound (though good for the low price).

She dislikes the Kawai CA95 sound (brittle & nasal) and she doesn't like the keyboard feel either - she doesn't specify why, though.

She doesn't like the Roland (SN) sound much - 'nice but 2-dimensional', but does not mention the (PHAIII) keyboard feel at all.

She seems to think Yamaha GH3 action is too heavy (Clavinovas), but really likes both the sound and feel of the Avante Grands - especially N2.
_________________________
Roland HP 302, Yamaha SY85

Reaper / NI Komplete 9 /Kontakt 5// EWQL Sym Choirs/ Sym Orchestra Silver/ MOR2
Mics: SP B1 & MXL V67g/ Alesis MicTube Preamp/ Xenyx302/ Yamaha HS7s .

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#2057223 - 03/31/13 06:31 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
Temperament Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
She has special needs and viewpoints than the broad mass of customer. She has lifelong been playing acoustic concert grands, probably even mostly with by her favoured actions, so her opinion should be regarded as very special and subjective too, despite her highest standing of pianistic eminence. She compared just to her expectation of that background and articulated her first impressions. While very valuable, it is very possible, that for the primary use of a DP and for another person just other preferences are relevant. (Lesser playing skill, older people, beginner, the very young, other genres or just the broader mass of the enthusiasts...) Comes to mind a weight lifting analogy:
No use for me to start exercising with the setting of the world champion (which I cannot lift even half an inch), I have to go with much lighter weights to get some benefits at all.

She probably didn't delved into internal technical details either. I get it with the casio action: it has all but a heavy touch, so when she found the keys weighted on the heavy site, maybe just could have felt only due the relatively (measured to the DPs, but objectively to measure) shorter keys (from the front of the keys to their pivot point, without the geometrical black key pivot shift to the back) - combined with her professional art of playing (using perhaps more the back part of the keys than a beginner).

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#2057226 - 03/31/13 06:49 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Too bad she didn't play a Roland V-Grand Piano with alive, responsive and organic modeled piano sound next to the N2 instead of the old RG models. That would have been an interesting comparison.

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#2057272 - 03/31/13 09:19 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: theJourney]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4957
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Too bad she didn't play a Roland V-Grand Piano with alive, responsive and organic modeled piano sound next to the N2 instead of the old RG models. That would have been an interesting comparison.


Classical concert pianists, when (if) they look at digitals, have one thing in mind: as a practice instrument to get the notes fluent under their fingers, which they can use late at night without disturbing anybody: not just neighbors, but also their own family - listening to even the greatest pianist repeating a 3-measure passage ad infinitum at very slow tempo would drive even their nearest and dearest (or their most ardent fans) up the wall. Quite unlike what jazz pianists do when they practice.

I had a long chat with a well-known concert pianist a few weeks ago, during which he enthused about his AvantGrand (not to mention his six acoustic pianos, most of them old and reconditioned grin). However, when I asked him what he used it for, he said that it was the one (and only) piano he could use after 10pm, and that was when he did his most productive practice, learning new pieces and getting them fluent under his fingers. And that also saved a lot of wear and tear on his concert grand, which he then used (during more social hours) to refine his interpretation. An acoustic that gets thumped hard repetitively for several hours a day requires a lot of maintenance........

When I told him I used a Roland V-Piano at home, he'd obviously never heard of it. And that's the other problem with Roland making inroads into the very conservative classical community - I know, I was one of them, until 2010 grin. Yamaha has widespread respect among classical musicians; to a lesser extent, Kawai also. Even die-hard acoustic classical fanatics can be persuaded to at least try out a Yamaha or Kawai digital. But Roland? (who make stage synthesizers and electronic drums for rock bands??) Roland was the last manufacturer (after Casio, and along with Nord, Kurzweil and Korg) whose digitals I looked at when shopping for my DP three years ago, and that was only because I couldn't find a Yamaha or Kawai that I could live with long-term.

Almost all my classical musician/enthusiast friends and acquaintances have played on Yamaha DPs at one time or another, and all thought that if they had to play on a digital, it had to be a Yamaha. It took a lot of persuasion to get them to at least try out my V: its looks was off-putting enough, let alone the name. But all were convinced - once they'd put it through its paces.

I think that even the V-Piano Grand, which actually looks somewhat like an acoustic, would struggle to gain acceptance among the classical fraternity when put alongside the AG, with the familiar Yamaha logo, and the 'grand piano action'. My situation is different to that of most classical pianists looking for a digital: I'm not a beginner; I don't just want a 'practice' piano - I want an acoustic replacement; I don't have regular access to an acoustic, but I want to keep learning more and more advanced pieces, which my instrument must be able to cope with and give me everything I want in terms of responsiveness - I need to be able to be able to do everything interpretatively on it: nothing worse than to spend a year learning a classical masterpiece, only to be disillusioned when you find you can't get a satisfying experience out of your piano.......

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#2057309 - 03/31/13 11:14 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Quote:
Franz Liszt, who lived for years with his mother in a modest Paris apartment, might have welcomed a digital piano.

Dude's dead, we can't know what he might or might not like. It's hard for me not to see this as a passive aggressive argument from authority, like AP players need the OK to go get themselves a DP or something.

Quote:
The best models simulate the sound and feel of an acoustic instrument...

I really don't think this is all that true yet.

Quote:
They also don’t require tuning, are impervious to the swings in humidity that wreak havoc on standard pianos...

Yes, no tuning needed, whatever. I know it's kind of important, but I get tired of people pointing it out like the DP designers had to go out of their way to accomplish this - it's an inherent feature and goes with the digital territory.

Quote:
... and can be played silently with the use of headphones.

This is the key use IMO.

Quote:
“For students, a good digital piano is better than a mediocre upright,” said Andrea McAlister

Highly debatable. I'm always shocked when anyone makes this sweeping statement, particularly so experienced AP players. Most APs, in whatever condition, are much more responsive and "alive" than almost any DP. And if you want to master the AP, even a top-end DP is not a 100% substitute.

Quote:
According to many of the musicians and teachers we spoke with, Yamaha makes the most innovative digital pianos...

Funneling more money into marketing than product development often pays off handsomely.

Quote:
Yamaha’s AvantGrand line is one of the more advanced (and expensive) on the market. The two top instruments in the range simulate the feel of string resonance by sending subtle vibrations to the keys as you play. And the sound reproduction is purportedly state of the art.

State of the art sound reproduction circa 1990.

Quote:
Ms. Dinnerstein started on the AvantGrand N2 (), an upright piano with the action and sound of a grand. “I think this is kind of amazing actually. I could probably be fooled that this was a real piano,” said Ms. Dinnerstein. “There’s something a little bit freaky about it—but I love it. I would definitely consider having one of these.”

Better listeners please. It's kind of ironic that professional AP players often make quite poor DP reviewers. Sure, the skill sets overlap, but they aren't equivalent.
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#2057364 - 03/31/13 01:21 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: dewster]
Temperament Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
Well said, every single comment I can agree with.

Still, I think she was genuinely expressing her own unbiased impressions. But a Newspaper editor has many other ways to produce such not quite well founded and not very unpartial reviews: pre-selecting the reviewer herself (by knowing her views and biases in advance); or you can let make 3 reviews and selecting the most appropriate from them afterwards, etc.

This kind of presence is the most effective promotion channel, it wan't be unused. The problem is - as with ads in general - these are just for dummies (in that special topic), who are buying after such information instead of building real understanding. I am afraid, they are the majority of buyers.


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#2057566 - 03/31/13 10:15 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
Pedro_Henrique Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/12
Posts: 74
Loc: Uberaba, Minas Gerais, Brazil
I would like to see another three or four classical pianists making reviews of the same pianos. But without knowing the specs previously. And then we would have more material. I doubt kawai have a bad action. Ok, Yamaha make good digital pianos, but come on, only the AvantGrand is a heck of digital piano on that list.
_________________________
"But its got a crap keyboard action Dave ... no amount of great sounds help that."
Dr. Popper

Piano Student at State Conservatory Renato Frateschi - Uberaba - Minas Gerais - Brazil

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#2057589 - 03/31/13 11:39 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Temperament]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: Temperament
This kind of presence is the most effective promotion channel, it wan't be unused.

I would love to be able to follow the money all the way back on these kinds of articles.
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The DPBSD Project!
THE RD-700NX Thread!
DPs Exposed! (nekid pichures!)

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#2057601 - 04/01/13 12:41 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: dewster]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: dewster
Originally Posted By: Temperament
This kind of presence is the most effective promotion channel, it wan't be unused.

I would love to be able to follow the money all the way back on these kinds of articles.


Well, it is pretty easy to imagine this one. All of the Murdoch properties are hopelessly corrupt. The WSJ is Fox News for the business community.

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#2057663 - 04/01/13 06:59 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: theJourney]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1742
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: dewster
Originally Posted By: Temperament
This kind of presence is the most effective promotion channel, it wan't be unused.

I would love to be able to follow the money all the way back on these kinds of articles.


Well, it is pretty easy to imagine this one. All of the Murdoch properties are hopelessly corrupt. The WSJ is Fox News for the business community.


Arrant nonsense.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2057677 - 04/01/13 07:53 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3523
Loc: Northern England.
Why is it I don`t have such problems with my DP? I must be missing out on something here . . .Or the left part o` my brain`s not working right . . .or vice versa
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#2057680 - 04/01/13 07:58 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9014
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Or both?

Sorry, that was a low blow...had to get you back for that warranty nonsense in the other thread. wink
_________________________
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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#2057835 - 04/01/13 03:03 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: theJourney]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Originally Posted By: theJourney
Originally Posted By: dewster
Originally Posted By: Temperament
This kind of presence is the most effective promotion channel, it wan't be unused.

I would love to be able to follow the money all the way back on these kinds of articles.


Well, it is pretty easy to imagine this one. All of the Murdoch properties are hopelessly corrupt. The WSJ is Fox News for the business community.


April fools?

If not, it's so untrue it's nonsensical. The WSJ is one of the most respected newspapers in the world--if not the most--and has been for the entire lifetime of everyone reading this.


Edited by gvfarns (04/01/13 03:10 PM)

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#2057850 - 04/01/13 03:22 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 736
I was going to skip responding to this since I own an N2 and have been very adamant how much I like owning it but I love a good conspiracy theory.

So a famous classical pianist likes the AG so it must be some kind of payola scheme? Show me the proof. Maybe the Casio was her favorite before she got a hefty payout from Yamaha.
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#2057866 - 04/01/13 03:40 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: gvfarns]
Temperament Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
...it's so untrue it's nonsensical. The WSJ is one of the most respected newspapers in the world--if not the most--and has been for the entire lifetime of everyone reading this.
Nobody stated the WSJ is not one of the most respected newspapers. But the moral is at least for me (corroborated by this), that You should not restrict yourself to newspapers, You should go deeper for reality.

I am living in small country, and what I could read about such a distant country was to say the least very superficial. (I count myself to the politically neutral outsider).
If the rest of the geographical world or other themes are presented in such depth, the most you can gain out of the "most respected newspaper" is to learn the common sense which governs the world but to a much lesser degree the world itself...

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#2057870 - 04/01/13 03:49 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: 36251]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: 36251
So a famous classical pianist likes the AG so it must be some kind of payola scheme?

I think we've reached the point where we have to assume we are being marketed to 24/7 via every possible means. Innocence, coincidence, and unbiased opinions are largely things of the past, particularly if money making products are even peripherally involved. The system is being gamed so hard that the foundations of trust are breaking down.
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#2057902 - 04/01/13 04:42 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: dewster]
Temperament Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/10
Posts: 424
Loc: Hun,EU
We don't even have to think in conspiracy categories to get to the same conclusion (a bias towards biased reviews). Prestiged media will always have a tendency to favor best selling market leader products. Have to. To let products of the biggest companies come second would mean turning the market (their favorite playground) upside-down.


Edited by Temperament (04/02/13 06:58 AM)

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#2058084 - 04/01/13 11:12 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: dewster]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: dewster
The system is being gamed so hard that the foundations of trust are breaking down.



...and THAT is the rest of the story...

Good Day!

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#2058086 - 04/01/13 11:19 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: gvfarns]
theJourney Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 3946
Loc: Banned
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Originally Posted By: theJourney

Well, it is pretty easy to imagine this one. All of the Murdoch properties are hopelessly corrupt. The WSJ is Fox News for the business community.


April fools?

If not, it's so untrue it's nonsensical. The WSJ is one of the most respected newspapers in the world--if not the most--and has been for the entire lifetime of everyone reading this.


Time to wake up from your years long sleep.

The WSJ, just like biased, propaganda-spewing, democracy-mocking Fox News, is foreign-owned by the Murdochs' News Corp. The same Murdochs whose tightly-controlled companies have been found guilty of crimes of corruption in countries that still have a semblance of democracy and a working, credible, independent judiciary such as the UK.

Those who still respect the WSJ haven't taken the time to inform themselves.
Quote:

On May 2, 2007, News Corp. made an unsolicited takeover bid for Dow Jones, offering US$60 a share for stock that had been selling for US$33 a share. The Bancroft family, which controlled more than 60% of the voting stock, at first rejected the offer, but later reconsidered its position.[22]
Three months later, on August 1, 2007, News Corp. and Dow Jones entered into a definitive merger agreement.[23] The US$5 billion sale added The Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch's news empire, which already included Fox News Channel, financial network unit and London's The Times, and locally within New York, the New York Post, along with Fox flagship station WNYW (Channel 5) and MyNetworkTV flagship WWOR (Channel 9).[24]
On December 13, 2007, shareholders representing more than 60 percent of Dow Jones's voting stock approved the company's acquisition by News Corp.[25]
In an editorial page column, publisher L. Gordon Crovitz said the Bancrofts and News Corp. had agreed that the Journal's news and opinion sections would preserve their editorial independence from their new corporate parent:[26]
A special committee was established to oversee the Journal's editorial integrity. When the managing editor Marcus Brauchli resigned on April 22, 2008, the committee said that News Corporation had violated its agreement by not notifying the committee earlier. However, Brauchli said he believed that new owners should appoint their own editor.[27]
A 2007 Journal article quoted charges that Murdoch had made and broken similar promises in the past. One large shareholder commented that Murdoch has long "expressed his personal, political and business biases through his newspapers and television stations." Former Times assistant editor Fred Emery remembers an incident when "Mr. Murdoch called him into his office in March 1982 and said he was considering firing Times editor Harold Evans. Mr. Emery says he reminded Mr. Murdoch of his promise that editors couldn't be fired without the independent directors' approval. 'God, you don't take all that seriously, do you?' Mr. Murdoch answered, according to Mr. Emery." Murdoch eventually forced out Evans.[28] Coincidentally, 2007 was also the last year that the Wall Street Journal won any Pulitzer prizes.
In 2011, The Guardian found evidence that the Journal had artificially inflated its European sales numbers, by paying Executive Learning Partnership for purchasing 16% of European sales. These inflated sales numbers then enabled the Journal to charge similarly inflated advertising rates, as the advertisers would think that they reached more readers than they actually did. In addition, the Journal agreed to run "articles" featuring Executive Learning Partnership, presented as news, but effectively advertising

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wall_Street_Journal


Edited by theJourney (04/01/13 11:35 PM)

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#2058160 - 04/02/13 05:41 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: theJourney]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3799
Loc: North Carolina
Q1: And how does this differ from the radical-left socialist, democracy-hating, propagandist MSNBC news?
A1: MSNBC is not owned by Murdoch.
I cannot trust or accept anything in the mass media. Anything lacking analysis and referenced sources is always suspect.
Originally Posted By: theJourney
The WSJ, just like biased, propaganda-spewing, democracy-mocking Fox News, is foreign-owned by the Murdochs' News Corp.
Q2: How is a WSJ article relevant here?
A2: It isn't. You might as well seek a cure for arthritis by reading People magazine, or seek home-decorating tips in Teen Beat.

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#2058173 - 04/02/13 07:18 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Guys, you need to go outside a tad more.

I just passed on this news clipping since Google News automatically calls my attention to any article using the word AvantGrand.

When it comes to any piano, I always make my own judgment. I don't care who likes the piano or who doesn't, my opinion counts more to me. smile


Edited by Dave Horne (04/02/13 11:06 AM)
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#2058175 - 04/02/13 07:40 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
toddy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/30/11
Posts: 1674
Loc: Portugal
I wish it were not so, but I fear dewster & the Journey are right - you must be suspicious of all news sources; even fine ones with an honourable heritage like the WSJ. Exactly the same goes for the Times and Sunday Times of London which have been owned by News Corps since the early 80's. The biases are subtle and difficult to define but they are there in the editorial stance.

But whether the above article is just somewhat ill informed reporting or something more sinister like tie in, it's difficult to say. It looks to me that what you see is what you get, and the pianist was giving a straightforward account of her experiences testing DPs for the first time. And, to the general public, Yamaha does indeed have by far the strongest reputation in electronics and music, doesn't it?

....if it was a placement feature for Yamaha, then heaven help us....but I doubt it.
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#2058255 - 04/02/13 11:03 AM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Meh, The Journey's paranoia notwithstanding, there's nothing special about news corp in terms of political bias. All news sources are biased on way or another--they are written and edited by humans, all of whom have biases. If the particular direction of the bias isn't what you have, then you tend to get crazy with conspiracy theories.

But really none of that's relevant to the article on the N2 (or other popular press articles on digital pianos), which is politically neutral. The fact is that all publications writing about new technology have a bias toward making that technology look good. Positive reviews of new products are the norm in every media. There are two reasons for this. One is that those companies are advertisers and the media don't want to tick them off. I think the more important one is that people overall just aren't interested in reading that a new product on the market is only a very mild improvement over the previous generation. It's much more interesting to read about new and exciting technology.

If then new model is just a repainted version of the old model with some tiny tweaks, as most digital pianos are, it's not really news. Actually, what surprises me about this article is how many negative comments it makes about various digitals that were discussed. That is by no means common.


Edited by gvfarns (04/02/13 11:13 AM)

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#2058298 - 04/02/13 12:44 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: gvfarns]
dewster Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/09
Posts: 4340
Loc: Northern NJ
Originally Posted By: gvfarns
Positive reviews of new products are the norm in every media. There are two reasons for this. One is that those companies are advertisers and the media don't want to tick them off.

I agree.

I once read a book* on the tobacco industry. In it IIRC a fairly neutral seeming magazine was doing an article on health. Their largest advertiser was a cigarette company, who naturally had clout and therefore some editorial input. In a list of healthy things to do, the article had "stop smoking" at the top - which makes sense as it is statistically the single most health damaging behavior you can engage in. The cigarette company suggested they move it to second or third place and they did. It's subtle yet powerful cues like this allow a smoker's head play to mind games with itself and thus enable the addiction (and the deadly revenue stream) to continue.

It's one thing to mess with rather jaded adult heads, it's quite another to target young impressionable minds. If you haven't seen the documentary "Consuming Kids" I recommend it. It's a marketing free-for-all when it comes to our future generations.

The world doesn't have to be this way.

[EDIT]

*"Merchants of Death" by Larry C, White. The censorship described in the book is actually worse than I related above.

Fun fact: If you smoke cigarettes you are likely freebasing nicotine - no wonder the first one of the day is a headbuster, and no wonder you can't quit!


Edited by dewster (04/02/13 09:17 PM)
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#2058309 - 04/02/13 01:23 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Dave Horne]
Ishkabibble Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 79
Loc: Edmonton
There is no doubt that advertising and promotion have crept into every form of media. Even so-called "news" programs have all kinds of news "stories" about charity events, police dictums about drunk driving and driving while distracted, events promoting everything from domestic tranquility to anti-bullying campaigns, etc. Then we have the "news" of the latest Apple device and the long lines of people at stores to buy them. One doesn't know if the produceers of this stuff are getting paid to run it or not, but I for one would sure like to. In short, in many ways, even news programming is degenerating into infomercials of one sort or another. (Not to mention the non-existent Iraqi WMDs and the run-up to the "war". Did anyone want to know the truth of the matter, let alone allow it to be broadcast? Did anyone have an agenda at that time? Do the controllers of the media have an agenda now?)

For a very short time I worked as a sales person in a piano retailer who sold, let's put it this way, the highest end pianos. The one thing I learned very early on is that the piano business is a very cutthroat, no-holds-barred business. So add this to the above deterioration of unbiased "news" reporting and it's easy to be skeptical of just about anything one reads or hears in "the media".

Finally to the WSK article.

First, it would be interesting to speculate on whether the article would have appeared at all if say Steinway was a big advertiser in the WSJ. I would imagine that acoustic piano manufacturers, or the people employed in the acoustic piano divisions of Yamaha or Kawai, were not too pleased with an article in such as "reputable" publication whose effect may be to reduce the number of acoustic instruments that will be sold in their increasingly-precarious future.

Second, I wish that the pianist had had the opportunity to play more of the top-of-the-line, all-in-one-box digital instruments, including the V-piano grand, CA65, etc.

Third, IMO, there should have been at least some attempt made to explore a pull-out-all-the-stops digital-piano "system", such as MP-10 stage piano with high-end sound amplification; a VPC1 with high-end "peripherals"; maybe even some of the all-in-ones with high end add-ons, etc. I mean, after all, these digital pianos are trying to "compete" with 9 and even 10 foot pianos with huge sound boards. That pianist should have been allowed to experience what digital pianos, tone generators and amplification/reproduction systems are ultimately capable of. If the producers of the article had really wanted to find out what "digital" is capable of, they should have hired someone to arrange for the pianist to experience that.

(After all, I understand that a 10-foot Fazioli is fairly expensive. Why would anyone pay such a price? I assume it's because it plays and sounds pretty good to the pianist, and just the latter for the audience. Now, just for the fun of it, let's spend the same amount of money on a digital system and see what we can come up with. How does that system compare with the Fazioli? After that we should find out what a system that costs 1/10th of the money can do. I believe that there is demand for such a high-end system, because at least some pianists are also audiophiles and audiophiles are willing to spend a big pile of money on their audio systems. Domestic and social tranquility are important, even to rich folks. Spouses and family members don't like hearing the same phrase played 10,00o times, even from a 10-foot Fazioli.)

Fourth, I'd like to know just a few things about the origin of the article. For example, the article appears in the "tech" section. Somebody had to originally decide the "need" of the piece and the public's likely interest in it, and likely somebody else had to approve of that idea. Were these people piano onwers who were so impressed with the advance in digital technology that they felt compelled to do that? Did a representative of any manufacturer or store contact the paper and propose such an "investigation" and article?

How many retail stores did the pianist visit, and is she (or was she made, or deliberately not made) aware of other models of digital pianos that may or may not be better replacements for an acoustic grand?

Was the pianist paid? If so, who paid her? Theoretially, at leaast, if she had thought that any of the pianos that she had played were actually "as good as" an acoustic grand, would she have felt free enough to say that?

Yes, one can see many angles and possible conspiracies with respect to the article, but I'm glad it was written, anyway. It's nice to be able to hear the impressions of a concert pianist.

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#2058339 - 04/02/13 02:35 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: Ishkabibble]
36251 Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/12/10
Posts: 736
Just maybe WSJ is read by many non-musicians and hearing about how technology has changed owning an acoustic monolith is interesting reading.
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#2058356 - 04/02/13 03:12 PM Re: WSJ article on N2 [Re: 36251]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1742
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: 36251
Just maybe WSJ is read by many non-musicians and hearing about how technology has changed owning an acoustic monolith is interesting reading.


Now what kind of conspiracy theory can one gin out of THAT? C'mon... Work with us...

Whatever the sad state of the piano market today, it's clear that sales of tinfoil beanies remain brisk.
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