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#2102286 - 06/14/13 04:26 AM Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos
mchammer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 3
Loc: SG
I'm been contemplating to get an acoustic piano after having played with my digital piano(Yamaha P105) which I bought last year. Generally, I'm quite happy with the sound of the P105 with 2 built-in acoustic piano sound. The only problem I have is the lower register notes sound too bassy on the internal speakers when the piano is set to the default CFS grand piano sound.
Since then, I started searching for an acoustic piano like Yamaha U series but I can never find any of them other than the Kawai K-Series sounded as good or better than the default digital grand piano tone of my Yamaha P105.
I'm not a professional musician, but I've been playing pop songs for a while & I do believe my ears that some of these upright acoustic pianos are not really superior in tone than a digital piano. Because of this reason, I can't decide whether should I still get an acoustic piano which requires maintenance & taking up space.
Could someone please kindly share your experience? Thanks.


Edited by mchammer (06/14/13 04:52 AM)

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#2102290 - 06/14/13 04:38 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
imyself Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/12
Posts: 138
Loc: France
if you allow me: music is like Love,
so the best piano, or piano sound, will be the piano, or piano sound, you prefer... wink
_________________________
Kawai VPC1/Synthogy American D/Pianoteq 5 Pro/Galaxy Vintage D

"Remember to take the time ... before time takes you"

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#2102302 - 06/14/13 06:07 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
mchammer, I have read your post, here:

I'm been contemplating to get an acoustic piano after having played with my digital piano(Yamaha P105) which I bought last year. Generally, I'm quite happy with the sound of the P105 with 2 built-in acoustic piano sound. The only problem I have is the lower register notes sound too bassy on the internal speakers when the piano is set to the default CFS grand piano sound.
Since then, I started searching for an acoustic piano like Yamaha U series but I can never find any of them other than the Kawai K-Series sounded as good or better than the default digital grand piano tone of my Yamaha P105.
I'm not a professional musician, but I've been playing pop songs for a while & I do believe my ears that some of these upright acoustic pianos are not really superior in tone than a digital piano. Because of this reason, I can't decide whether should I still get an acoustic piano which requires maintenance & taking up space.
Could someone please kindly share your experience? Thanks.


_____________________________________________

You say: ....some of these upright acoustic pianos are not really superior in tone than a digital piano. Because of this reason, I can't decide whether should I still get an acoustic piano which requires maintenance & taking up space.

Ultimately, it is you who has to make the decision because you have heard the uprights and you have played the digitals.

I have a Yam P95 digital and it is awesome. It doesn't sound like the acoustic, but then it is not an acoustic. But I can play it 24 hours a day with low volume or headphones if I wish. At 25 pounds, I can take it almost anywhere and can certainly move it anywhere in the shack I am living in. My acoustic is a 3 legged acoustic and it is different than the digital and I have to get it tuned every year. I don't record. I have been playing for 2 year. I think there is a difference between the action of the digitals and the acoustics but to some people that may or may not seem like an issue in the same way that how the digital sounds isn't an issue to me because I can play the digital anytime and enjoy it. My living space is very small, 500 sq ft so the digital and acoustic take up half the house and there is no room to sit or have nice chairs, but that is not an issue because I love my digital and I love my acoustic.

I am content with my situation and if you are content with your situation then that is all that matters in the end.



Edited by Michael_99 (06/14/13 06:10 AM)

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#2102307 - 06/14/13 06:18 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
Heh that's your opinion. But I am quite fond of the opinion that digitals and APs are related but ultimately different instruments.

But..

It depends, lots of uprights are battered and out of tune...

But there are some things which a DP just can't replicate. My old AP (which has now been taken back) the sustain would last forever and a day.

It would resonate and you could hear the sounds echoing internally and bouncing around.

Plus the playing style is actually quite different, with an AP you can;t just stick a brick on the sustain pedal, and the escapement which is uncommon on DPs along with the much longer keys makes it feel different.

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#2102314 - 06/14/13 06:41 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3879
Loc: Northern England.
I would like to drive a steam train. I would like to own a steam train. It would cost me to buy. It would cost me to run. It`s fair to say everyone who owns a steam locomotive also owns a toy train set . . . albeit a big one.

Leave acoustics alone.
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2102319 - 06/14/13 07:11 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: peterws]
karlosserio Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 27
Loc: Lisbon, Portugal
And do keep in mind that playing on a acoustic for the first time might be strange to you, so actually the issue might be you can't connect to the instrument itself.
Try also good uprights from different brands not only Yamaha.

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#2102330 - 06/14/13 08:14 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
spanishbuddha Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 2470
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: mchammer
The only problem I have is the lower register notes sound too bassy on the internal speakers when the piano is set to the default CFS grand piano sound.

Most acoustics have a much richer, louder, overwhelming bass than at least your 105.

Originally Posted By: mchammer
& I do believe my ears that some of these upright acoustic pianos are not really superior in tone than a digital piano.

Yes I agree with this for SOME acoustic pianos. Usually the cheaper spinets or badly tuned and maintained ones.

Since you've had the 105 and been playing piano for (only) one year I would not hurry and continue to go with the flow. Maybe a new better DP will grab your attention, and also maybe you will come across an acosutic you really fall in love with.

In the meantime hook up the 105 to some good external speakers via an EQ and adjust the sound weighting to your liking.

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#2102334 - 06/14/13 08:20 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: justpin]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5548
Originally Posted By: justpin

But there are some things which a DP just can't replicate. My old AP (which has now been taken back) the sustain would last forever and a day.

It would resonate and you could hear the sounds echoing internally and bouncing around.

Plus the playing style is actually quite different, with an AP you can;t just stick a brick on the sustain pedal, and the escapement which is uncommon on DPs along with the much longer keys makes it feel different.


Not all DPs are created equal. There are DPs, and there are DPs - just like there are APs....

My DP has sustain that 'lasts forever' (and very convincingly, as it is modelled, so no looping) if I dial that in, and ditto for all the various resonances of soundboard, strings etc. Actually, I just customize it to simulate the levels of sustain and resonances equivalent to that of a concert grand.

And yes, I prefer playing it to most uprights, even perfectly tuned & regulated ones. But I definitely prefer playing a good concert grand to it.....
_________________________
"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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#2102345 - 06/14/13 08:43 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
Daniel Corban Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/13
Posts: 215
Loc: Canada
MC Hammer, I believe you are just very accustomed to your current piano sound. I am not saying that it is not subjectively better than the acoustics you have tried, but that likely any drastically different piano will sound worse to you at this time. If you were forced to play the acoustic for a week, I believe you would eventually find that the sound is overall superior.

Another thing digitals have is pitch perfect tuning, and often unnaturally accurate frequencies. Just as how "auto tune" is raising a generation to believe that anything but perfect pitch is out of tune, digital pianos may be doing the same for us.
_________________________
Playing: Yamaha GC2

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#2102350 - 06/14/13 08:55 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: Daniel Corban]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5548
Originally Posted By: Daniel Corban


Another thing digitals have is pitch perfect tuning, and often unnaturally accurate frequencies. Just as how "auto tune" is raising a generation to believe that anything but perfect pitch is out of tune, digital pianos may be doing the same for us.


Sampled DPs (i.e. almost all DPs) will have their tuning only as accurate as the acoustic piano the samples came from, so I can't see how their tuning is "unnaturally" accurate. Maybe those of us accustomed to playing on less-than-perfectly-tuned acoustics think freshly tuned pianos sound unnatural or synthetic (as a thread in the Piano Forum a few months ago showed - several posters were convinced that the Mason & Hamlin grand being played in the video had its sound substituted with that of a DP.....).

Most of the time, when I play on acoustics these days, they're perfectly tuned, often in preparation for a concert that day (or for selection by a concert pianist), and I've got used to such perfect unisons that I find anything less not very pleasant. Quite a contrast to a few years back, when I could easily put up with worse than honky-tonk excuses for acoustic pianos.....
_________________________
"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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#2102355 - 06/14/13 09:00 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: bennevis]
Daniel Corban Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/17/13
Posts: 215
Loc: Canada
The samples are certainly processed to output at a precise frequency. I doubt any of the sampled pianos, even those with no stretching, output the raw pitch of the original tone.
_________________________
Playing: Yamaha GC2

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#2102377 - 06/14/13 09:29 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: Daniel Corban]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5548
Originally Posted By: Daniel Corban
The samples are certainly processed to output at a precise frequency. I doubt any of the sampled pianos, even those with no stretching, output the raw pitch of the original tone.


If the acoustic grand from which the samples are recorded has less than perfectly tuned unisons (the three strings for each note), that would manifest as a beat and to process it out would make the sound quite unlike any piano. Yes, the global frequency can easily be changed without playing havoc with the inherent sound (which makes it easy to transpose into different keys) - like the auto-tune for pop singers who can't sing in tune - , but not the unisions themselves.
_________________________
"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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#2102386 - 06/14/13 09:36 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12215
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Since you have only been playing a year, I would take some time to try out all different kinds of pianos, even ones out of your price range. Go to a piano retailer and try some nice grand pianos. Then go to their nice uprights for comparison. Maybe do this a few times at different places if you can. I do believe you can get a very nice upright that would be superior to most DPs, but then if you are using a really good DP with something like Ivory II then you will most likely want to compare that with an acoustic grand for the sound purposes alone.

There is something about feeling the vibrations from an acoustic piano, however, even uprights. It's louder and fills the space.
_________________________
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MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2102402 - 06/14/13 10:30 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
torhu Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/12
Posts: 183
If you have the money and space for it, the Yamaha U series are great pianos.

Digital pianos generally use samples of grand pianos, not uprights. So in a (superficial if you ask me) way, they will sound nicer than an upright. But they can't reproduce all of the tonal variation in an acoustic.

The best would probably be to have an acoustic for when you can use that, and a digital for silent practice. There are acoustic uprights that will allow you to turn off the acoustic sound and use a built-in sound module instead. I think both Yamaha and Kawai make those.
_________________________
Roland RD-700NX // Galaxy Vintage D

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#2102416 - 06/14/13 10:59 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
Allan W. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 376
Loc: Michigan
If you use a good software piano package like Ivory or the new Truekeys with your digital piano, then I think an acoustic upright is not better than the DP in either touch or sound. The built-in sound of digital pianos are OK but definitely no comparison to a good PC software piano.

I have a pretty good upright but I was thinking about selling it and getting a grand...

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#2102460 - 06/14/13 12:22 PM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
mchammer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/29/10
Posts: 3
Loc: SG
Thanks for all the feedbacks. I'm getting revelation which really helps me make a more informed decision. Believe me, I've visited many piano dealers to test the sound of the APs-Yamaha U1,U3,Hailun HU122, HU5P, Rosler, Petrof, Kawai K3,K5, you name it. Some of these pianos that I like are beyond my budget. I live in a relatively small apartment with limited space for musical instruments(I own 4 guitars too) so it makes it even harder for me to justify having a AP. I wouldn't want to pay 6-8 grand to purchase a new AP & I'm not convinced that I should get a used cheap piano that I might regret later on.
I guess it would be better for me to give myself more time to get my ears accustomed to the AP & fine-tuned the way I play the AP which is a totally new beast to me. I like to be contented with my P105's sound but at the same time, I have this curiosity that there must be something good about the AP(the tone, the feel, response,etc) that I should explore in my musical journey.

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#2102717 - 06/15/13 12:38 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1539
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
I checked the DPBSD thread for the P105. There's a note that describes the note decay times as "short".

I suspect that DP's, in general, have shorter decay times than most acoustic pianos. So the P105 sounds are substantially quicker to die out than those on an acoustic piano. "a brick on the damper pedal" might be a reasonable approach to pedalling, on the P105. It just muddies the sound on an AP.

So the situation isn't that the P105 sounds _better_ than an AP. It sounds _different_. And you've adjusted you ears, and your playing, to the DP.

My teacher warned me, when I got a PX-350, that a digital piano was a _different instrument_ than an acoustic piano. She's right. The touch is different, the velocity response is different, the pedalling is different (for equivalent target sounds), and the AP sound (including string resonance) is much richer than the DP. So the first few minutes of every lesson are taken up by me "adjusting" to her AP.

Then, I start to enjoy playing it. I expect to put a larger speaker on the PX-350, but it still won't sound as rich as wood and steel.

. Charles

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#2102838 - 06/15/13 09:44 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: Charles Cohen]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
There is an oddity to this brick on a DP.

There is a grand piano I sometimes pass by, it is very old and has some sunken keys (snapped strings).

The killer is the sustain pedal doesn't work you press it and it goes clunk.

Yet playing it kinda feels almost like playing a DP because of the short decays my own DP has!

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#2102842 - 06/15/13 10:08 AM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3879
Loc: Northern England.
Seems to me that the attack on an AP is stronger, and decays rapidly - up to a point where it then sustains - forever as you say. This could cause the "dislike" feature amongst some of us . . .having said that, it would help if they maintained their tune a lot longer ..

Just a thought or two.
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes � but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2102935 - 06/15/13 02:42 PM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
Scott Hamlin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 593
I wouldn't buy an acoustic if it didn't sound better than my digital. You may be happy just upgrading to some nice external speakers - or expanding your search and budget for an acoustic.
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Personal Site: http://DulceLabs.com
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#2102951 - 06/15/13 03:11 PM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
kapelli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/26/12
Posts: 407
Loc: Poland
mchammer,
If you hear the difference between P105 and Acostics DP's only on the best acoustic instruments, that's the sign that you should:
- play the more and more pianos
- start to learning piano in school so you can fell the difference faster
- there's no need to change the P105.

I never played P105, I did played some of <1000$ pianos, and I listened a lot of P105 recordings, and the piano, sounds like typical rock-stage-piano-performing devices, wchich you can find by Kurzweil, Alesis and many other. Just as I call it - typical bright, light sound.

However, If many acoustics are worst for you, and you like 105, just stick to it. Or buy some Pianoteq or True Pianos (the new German and Italian sounds amazing). In that case you will have your Yamaha, a lot of cash in hands, and very good piano sound.
Another thing is action. I agree it's stiff and hard, and do not feel at all like real piano. I am playing on one GSH Clavinova regurarly and I would not buy it for myself.

Another option for you is to for Kawai CA-95 or Roland HP505. Besides I don't know what you mean by "to bassy". The piano needs to have power to move your stomack with bass, literally speaking. I mean, at least the grand piano. The acoustisc most probably sound for you more clean, brighter, and that can be a reason for such thinking. I don't know, pianos are very personal (go to the piano forum, one loves Bluethners, others Yamahas and Kawais, other Faziolis, while all of them are at the top).

So, as I quoted, I would go just with some VST piano which you ilke the most, instead of looking for a new piano if you like yours.

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#2103054 - 06/15/13 09:07 PM Re: Digital Piano sounds better than Acoustic Upright Pianos [Re: mchammer]
personne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/12
Posts: 127
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted By: mchammer
Thanks for all the feedbacks. I'm getting revelation which really helps me make a more informed decision. Believe me, I've visited many piano dealers to test the sound of the APs-Yamaha U1,U3,Hailun HU122, HU5P, Rosler, Petrof, Kawai K3,K5, you name it. Some of these pianos that I like are beyond my budget.


Have you tried Yamaha YUS1-YUS3 models,Vogel, Mason&Hamlin uprights, W.Hoffman, Bohemia? Which sound do you prefer - bright or mellow?
They will cost you as U1-U3 Yamahas, but have different tone and provide with more tonal colour then any digital piano.
I do not think any of them are less superior to P105.
_________________________
Roland HP-507RW | Yamaha U1

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