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#2189118 - 11/27/13 09:25 AM PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best?
maestro8989 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/13
Posts: 6
Hello. I'm a classically trained 22 year old pianist who is doing a lot of MIDI programming for film scoring.
I've been using Studiologic's Nero Numa keyboard which has TP40 wood keys and graded hammer action. Even though, the company claims that the keyboard has 'realistic' piano feelings, I felt the keys' action is very lighter and softer than that of a real upright or grand piano.

I recently discovered that there are many other companies which are producing keys with similar concept. So, I want to replace my old Nero Numa to one of these keyboards:

Roland - FP-7F (PHA III) $1700
Kawai - VPC 1 (RM3 Grand II) $2000
Korg - SV-1 (RH3) $1700
Studiologic - Numa Concert (TP40 Ivory) $2000
Yamaha - CP4 (GH3) $2000


I'm not interested in the quality of piano samples in the keyboards since I have much better Kontakt piano libraries. I will mainly use it as a MIDI controller. The only thing I'm searching in these keyboards is super realistic feeling & action that is almost exactly the same as that of a real piano. I'm not interested in control knobs or faders either.

I don't have any real piano at home and I don't think I can play it at my apartment where my neighbors can hear me all the time. I want to find a MIDI keyboard that I can practice challenging piano pieces without messing up velocity and dynamics control. For instance, Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata, Chopin's etudes, Rachmaninoff, etc. Many years ago, I had practiced a piece on a bad MIDI keyboard and could never play it well on a real piano due to difference in action weight. Since then, I never practiced on a keyboard again. But, if I can get a MIDI keyboard that is 'really' close to the real one, it would be a good advantage since my college's practice rooms are far from my home.

Please give me some advices! they're all in the same price range. Which is the closest to the real piano's action and feeling? I prefer heavily weighted keyboard so I won't feel much difference when I go back to play a real piano.

Additionally, where is the store which I can play all of these keyboards? I don't see them at music stores near my home.

Thanks in advance!

---------------------
Here's a poll below. Please Vote! :

Poll: Which is the closest to a real piano's keys?


Edited by maestro8989 (11/27/13 09:45 PM)

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#2189176 - 11/27/13 11:54 AM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
gvfarns Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3483
Loc: Pennsylvania
Based on your preferences you might want to update your list to the current best of breeds:

Roland FP-80
Yamaha CP4 (wooden action)
Kawai VPC1

Actually the RD700NX you mention has the same action as the FP-80 but more MIDI functionality with zone sliders and stuff. Will you be using it? That functionality is missing from, for example, the Kawai, so I assume not. Also, as a controller the FP-80 isn't different from the FP-7F in any way I'm aware of, so going with the deprecated FP-7F might actually save you some coin.

Action preferences are pretty subjective so ultimately you will need to try them out yourself. Both the Yamaha and Kawai wood actions have very strong followings here, but that doesn't necessarily mean you will be partial to them. Based on most comments here, you might leave the Korg home, but you might not agree with *most* commenters. I haven't been able to try the Korg myself, unfortunately, so I can't comment on that one. You don't seem to care for the numa you have been using, so I would cross that one off the list if I were you.


Edited by gvfarns (11/27/13 12:00 PM)

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#2189180 - 11/27/13 12:10 PM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
curious14 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/06
Posts: 30
Loc: US
The most common advice regarding actions is to try them yourself, especially given your skill level.

But if you Google the action names or troll this forum, you'll find lots of discussion - a few to get you going:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...eel-S%20vs.html

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1496862/yamaha_GH3_or_roland_PAIII.html

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...20II%20act.html

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#2189193 - 11/27/13 12:47 PM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
maestro8989 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/13
Posts: 6
Thanks. I updated the list. I read many other threads here... I think Kawai's VCP1 has the best reputation so far. I can understand it because Kawai has been manufacturing real pianos since long time ago.
Let me know what you guys think!

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#2189303 - 11/27/13 04:55 PM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 806
You really have to test them in person, no way around this.

Another question is indeed, as pointed out above, whether or not you need additional MIDI- or master keyboard functionality beyond playing the keys.

For pure playing, I found the Kawai VPC1 hard to beat (especially at the price), but that's just me, and not you.

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#2189346 - 11/27/13 06:48 PM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9196
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
The VPC1 has the most realistic piano-like action of all the models you list, and is ideally suited for your intended purpose. It does not feature built-in samples, speakers, or any other sound-related hardware, so you can be assured that all of your money is being spent on the keyboard action.

However, I would recommend play testing these models (or at least instruments that utilise the same/similar keyboard actions) in order to understand their characteristics.

Assuming that you are based in the US, this may mean visiting acoustic piano dealers to play-test their home-oriented digital pianos, as the majority of stage piano/controller instruments are sold by online retailers and big-box musical instrument chain stores. For the VPC1, the CA93/CA63/MP10 and CA95/CA65 will provide a reasonably fair comparison.

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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#2189396 - 11/27/13 08:59 PM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
maestro8989 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/13
Posts: 6
Thanks for all replies.
I'm searching for a keyboard that would not mess me up for practicing a lot of Rachmaninoff's pieces on it. When you practice challenging pieces that require a lot of sensitive and accurate dynamics and velocity controls, you will feel it's also very important to do it on the right keyboard/piano that has a general action and touch so you won't sound much different when you perform on a real upright or grand.

I live in Boston. Do you guys know any stores in Boston which have all of these keys so I can compare all of them at a time?

Thanks


Edited by maestro8989 (11/27/13 08:59 PM)

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#2189402 - 11/27/13 09:17 PM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9196
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
Originally Posted By: maestro8989
I live in Boston. Do you guys know any stores in Boston which have all of these keys so I can compare all of them at a time?


I don't believe you will be able to play-test all of these models at the same time, as different stores will likely deal with different brands.

There is a dealer locator on the KawaiUS.com website - I believe 'Piano Mill' and 'Londonderry Pianos' serve the Boston area well.

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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#2189410 - 11/27/13 09:40 PM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: Kawai James]
Trstan993 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/13
Posts: 86
Hi Maestro,
I live in Amherst MA close to umass with a vpc1 setup with ivory2 American Steinway at home. You are welcome to test it out if you don't mind the drive. I'm not a classical pianist and play jazz mostly but I am very impress with the dynamics vpc1 offers. VPC1 does feel the best in the compared group, but keep in mind it's still a bit lighter compare to acoustic. PM me if you are really interested.

regards,
John

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#2189417 - 11/27/13 09:52 PM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
maestro8989 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/13
Posts: 6
Hello John. Thanks for your offer!
I live in North End, Boston. I don't have a car so it would take 23 hours to get there via public transportation. Sorry, I don't think it will work out frown

So, even VPC1 has still lighter action compared to real pianos. That's the biggest problem I find in MIDI keyboards. The lighter action on these keys make you get used to lighter finger power and eventually make you a bad performer on real pianos which are heavily weighted.

I wonder why none of these companies thinking of putting true piano keys on their controllers? That would be the solution for 'realistic keys' they have been trying to accomplish for the last 10 years!



Edited by maestro8989 (11/27/13 10:00 PM)

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#2189419 - 11/27/13 09:56 PM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
Kawai James Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 9196
Loc: Hamamatsu, Japan
I don't believe the VPC1's action is light.

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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#2189420 - 11/27/13 10:00 PM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
anotherscott Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 3224
Originally Posted By: maestro8989
So, even VPC1 has still lighter action compared to real pianos.

Not true... if for no other reason than that real pianos have a wide variety of actions, some much lighter than others. The Kawai actions tend to be on the heavy side for DPs... and heavier than many acoustic piano actions as well.

Originally Posted By: maestro8989
I wonder why none of these companies thinking of putting true piano keys on their controllers? That would be the solution for 'realistic keys' they have been trying to accomplish!

The realism isn't strictly in the keys themselves, it is the entire mechanism. Some models come closer to that than others. I think the only models with true complete piano mechanisms are the Yamaha Avant Grandes, but I think they start at about $6500. (And are not very portable... real piano mechanisms are heavy!)

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#2189423 - 11/27/13 10:14 PM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
Trstan993 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/13
Posts: 86
In my opinion it's going to be hard to find a digital duplicate of an acoustic action but VPC1's exclusive velocity tailor to its 4 virtual piano brands is probably the best you can find in the market, at least at the moment. Northend is full of noisy Italians, perhaps they won't notice you playing an actual piano there smile I'm in the process of putting PIANODISC into an old acoustic grand, and may be this will be your best solution (and most expensive) if you find tactile feel and midi capability an absolute imperative. Then again, I don't know if optical sensors are comparable to vpc1's triple sensor.

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#2189497 - 11/28/13 02:52 AM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
Hookxs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 247
Loc: Czech Republic
Originally Posted By: maestro8989
So, even VPC1 has still lighter action compared to real pianos.

I have never played VPC1 but I read many many reviews and people generally say that the action is all right or "complain" that it is a tad too heavy. I don't recall anyone saying that it is too light.

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#2189507 - 11/28/13 05:26 AM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
JFP Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/10
Posts: 1336
Loc: The Netherlands
To OP:

VPC1 is best and 'heaviest' in the original list of options you posted. Period.

If you want more work for your fingers , you might also consider a NU1 , which has the mechanism of an upright. That means it also plays like an upright , while the other DP's try to mimic the mechanism of a grand piano. Again referring to your list above , the VPC1 is closest to a grand (CA65/95 with GF may even be better). Avant Grand could perhaps be the best match for your which list, but if you don't need the internal sounds and don't want to spend 10x as much , the VPC1 matches your requirements the most. Provided you get yourself some good piano software, headphones and speaker system.

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#2189933 - 11/29/13 02:44 AM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
maestro8989 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/27/13
Posts: 6
Well, so far, VPC1 earned the most positive reviews... I'm going to buy this one tomorrow!
Thank you all guys.
Happy thanks giving.

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#2189941 - 11/29/13 03:40 AM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1282
Loc: uk south
- Congratulations...let us know how you get on with it!

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#2190028 - 11/29/13 10:51 AM Re: PHA III vs RM3 vs RH3 vs TP40 vs GH3...which is the best? [Re: maestro8989]
reinesos Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/29/13
Posts: 4
Loc: Banned
You really have to test them in person, no way around this.

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