DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano

Posted by: nstaff

DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 10:23 AM

Okay, I know this is all subjective, but I would appreciate any input/guidance anyone has...

I am buying my girlfriend a DP for Christmas. Her favorite acoustic is a Bösendorfer (much preferred over a Steinway). I am looking to spend in the neighborhood of US$3,000 and after reading review after review, post after post, I still have no idea if I should be looking at a Yamaha, Roland, or Kawai. I don't need tons of other voices, I don't need lots of extra techno features (though recording a track or two would be nice as well as some kind of USB connection). I really just want the DP that has the fullest, richest sound, the most realistic feel, etc. As I say her favorite acoustic is a Bösendorfer to give you a frame of reference.

I understand I am playing with fire, picking out a piano for her instead of letting her try them all out - but any suggestions on the best models to get (or at least the best 3 to look at) would be so helpful.

Since sound and touch is so subjective, if you can even just tell me what are considered to be the best models in that price range it would be a tremendous help (let's say the range is US $2,500 - US $3,500)

Thanks for all your input and sorry if my question is that of such a neophyte that it's annoying.
Posted by: nstaff

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 11:05 AM

Follow up question....

Between the Roland RM-700 and HP-207...thoughts? Is there a major price difference? Major sound difference? Thanks again
Posted by: bobbo

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 11:48 AM

You really are playing with fire and should let her chose the piano, its way too subjective.

No DP is going to match a bosey and i would ignore that as a reference and take the DP on its own merits.

207s are good value for money.
Posted by: reza

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 12:30 PM

Within DPs and your budget, you can expect best from these models:

Yamaha CLP-280
Roland HP207 / HP203
and Kawai's new CA93

the later planned to be lunched on October 15, and it includes a true soundboard (like CA111 ), then you can expect a richer sound.

And... as you also realized it may be a bad idea for Christmas gift.

Posted by: Nikola Tulimirovic

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 12:40 PM

I believe three brands you should consider are Roland, Yamaha and Kawai. Roland gives you Steinway sound, Yamaha gives you Yamaha sound, Kawai gives you Kawai sound. If she really likes Bösendorfer that much (I love it), you’re in trouble. smile

You may want to consider this combination (powerful PC needed):
- Kawai MP8II (apx. $1,900)
- ASUS Xonar Essence STX (apx. $170)
- Native Instruments Akoustik Piano ($79 on sale at Musician’s Friend)

It’s all about $2,150 (no speakers, yet) and it will sound like this: NI Akoustik Piano.

After this, you’d probably want to choose stand, chair, etc. It can all fit well within $3,000.

If you like where this is going, I can help you further.
Posted by: nstaff

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 01:21 PM

Thanks Nikola, but I don't think I want to go that route...

Reza/bobbo- Thanks for the links and the suggestions
Posted by: nstaff

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 01:22 PM

Oh and LOL Nikola (Re: the Bösendorfer)
Posted by: Euan Morrison

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 01:34 PM

Originally Posted By: nstaff

Since sound and touch is so subjective,


I think you just answered your own question!

I think letting her pick herself is the best option. It might not seem as romantic as surprising her on christmas morning with the wrapped gift, but at least you guarantee it's the piano she likes best.
Posted by: Johan B

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 02:13 PM

Sound and touch is subjective indeed....I would go for the Yamaha's.......

Roland has a warmer and round sound.......Yamaha is much more bright.......question of taste.....

Take your girlfriend to the music store and find out her prefenrence.............Yes I know,.... there will be less surprise.......but after all you spend some dollars....

Best regards,
Johan B
Posted by: Nikola Tulimirovic

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 02:14 PM

Originally Posted By: nstaff
Thanks Nikola, but I don't think I want to go that route...


OK. In case you change your mind, please let me know. What I’ve written up to now is incomplete and may be a bit misleading. For instance, I recommended NI Akoustik Piano only because it’s on sale at the moment. If it wasn’t, I’d probably recommend Synthogy Ivory.

Originally Posted By: Euan
I think letting her pick herself is the best option.


No doubt. Nstaff may pretend he intends to start playing piano. He could say he wants to buy an instrument for himself and ask for advice. wink
Posted by: FogVilleLad

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 02:37 PM

nstaff, buying a piano as a gift also appears on the acoustic forum. In general it's a lovely idea but not a good one. Because the lady already plays, it'd be a particularly good idea to take her on auditioning dates.

With digitals, touch is more important than tone because touch can't be changed - those Touch Settings are a psychoacoustic illusion - but tone can be, by simply connecting the piano to a computer on which you've stored a software piano. That connection can be done neatly, BTW, so no need to worry about appearance.

Just as with acoustics, it'd be a good idea to plan on making multiple auditions. Choosing a piano is ultimately an emotional decision and we often react differently on different days.
Posted by: bobbo

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 03:10 PM

For a pianist, buying a piano for someone else without audition is akin to setting them up on a blind date or an arranged marriage. I again advise against it.
Posted by: nstaff

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 03:51 PM

Arg...yeah...this is what I was kind of worried about...

Okay, well let's say I am a total arse and an idiot and do it anyway...any thoughts as to the original question?

(please no one take offense to this - I am not misunderstanding or disregarding this advice, I'm just still interested to know your opinions on the DP's...). thanks.
Posted by: 88Key_PianoPlayer

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 05:48 PM

If I remember correctly, the Korg Triton Extreme piano (no longer in production as far as I know) has a Bosendorfer sampled piano.
Posted by: Nikola Tulimirovic

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 05:51 PM

If anyone would spend $2,500 - $3,500 to give me a piano... Total arse? No way! wink

FogVilleLad is right about touch and sound, but you stated connecting to computer is not your route. Still, you mentioned Bösendorfer as her favorite. To have all (also don’t have what you don’t want) is impossible. Therefore, we have to establish priorities. We are talking about an expensive instrument your girlfriend is supposed to use for years.

If she doesn’t want Steinway, you don’t want Roland. I believe she doesn’t like Yamaha very much, either. If she likes Bösendorfer, I’d suggest Kawai CA51. Why? I like both. It’s a bad way to pick a digital piano, but it’s the best I can do with this sort of input. If you wish to wait and read reviews of CA63 and hopefully make some of us try it, you may be closer to finding her favorite.

I urge you to reconsider software piano, because it lessens the risk and offers sound upgrades. Only touch can be wrong that way and your girlfriend probably wouldn’t expect DP to feel exactly like her favorite Bösendorfer.

Now, I think you should tell us more. Do you know how she likes the sound of Yamaha grand pianos? Maybe she hates computers? Can you mention Kawai acoustic pianos in a conversation and deduce what she thinks about the sound of these pianos?
Posted by: nstaff

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 06:10 PM

Nikola - thanks for the great advice. I will say I was fairly tempted to go Roland because I LOVE the way the LX-10 looks and I think she would too (and I think I found a very good deal on one at $4000 out the door)...

I can try to work into a conversation her thoughts on a Kawai (though she is too smart for her own good and will I'm sure get suspicious).

She doesn't hate computers, but the whole digital piano thing is a concern for me because she is very much a "only the real thing" kind of girl - so she may really not like the idea of a digital piano. I just know she wants a piano so much and neither of us can afford an acoustic (nor do we have the room).

The CA63 comes out sometime in the next month?

Thanks again for your input!
Posted by: FogVilleLad

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 06:27 PM

nstaff, OK, you're in tough here. If the whole idea of digitals is objectionable, you might want to start scouring eBay and other outlets for a Yamaha GranTouch. In Europe they were sold in both grand and vertical configurations. I don't know if the verticals were marketed in the United States.

The grand - in a very small baby grand cabinet - came with a modified action for a Yamaha grand. (The pedal part wouldn't function exactly the same, and small weights replaced hammer felts.) Then get a sampled Bosendorfer and install it onto a computer which would be placed under the piano. Desktops make for simpler installations than do laptops.

I currently play Galaxy II's Bosendorfer. (My DP is a digital grand from General Music; has a modified Detoa action for a vertical. The model is GRPT140, I think; got it on eBay.) Galaxy's other instruments are a Hamburg Steinway D and a Bluthner baby grand. All are highly tweakable, tho the only major tweak I've done to the Bosie is to limit its dynamic range. If you go this route, PM me and I'll send you my tweaks.

In the meantime, you might consider a suggestion that Monica K. makes on the acoustic forum: buy the lady a bracelet with a piano charm.



Posted by: emenelton

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 06:35 PM

IMO the Roland sound is the closest to a Bosendorfer of them all.
Posted by: Nikola Tulimirovic

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 07:11 PM

Originally Posted By: nstaff
Nikola - thanks for the great advice. I will say I was fairly tempted to go Roland because I LOVE the way the LX-10 looks and I think she would too (and I think I found a very good deal on one at $4000 out the door)...

I can try to work into a conversation her thoughts on a Kawai (though she is too smart for her own good and will I'm sure get suspicious).

She doesn't hate computers, but the whole digital piano thing is a concern for me because she is very much a "only the real thing" kind of girl - so she may really not like the idea of a digital piano. I just know she wants a piano so much and neither of us can afford an acoustic (nor do we have the room).

The CA63 comes out sometime in the next month?

Thanks again for your input!


PHA II Ivory Feel (LX10 touch part) is good, samples are amongst the best, and this piano truly looks appealing. For a person who likes how Steinway concert grand sounds and appreciates aesthetics, this is probably the best choice close to price range we were discussing here. The only problem is you’ve mentioned Bösendorfer. Actually, it’s not the only problem. The real problem is I understand that preference too well.

Korg Triton Extreme may sound a bit like Bösendorfer 290 Imperial Grand (I guess that’s what they’ve intended), but its touch can’t do the trick. Also, I have a feeling it doesn’t look good enough for what you intend it to be.

Kawai CA63 is supposed to come out in Japan on the 13th of November. I guess it will be available in US short after presentation in Japan... I hope KAWAI James reads this... And I hope they hit Europe soon enough, or I’ll get angry! wink

If you don’t want software pianos, I think we should put Bösendorfer aside from this point on and give you time to find out which of these three sounds your girlfriend prefers: Steinway, Yamaha and Kawai.

One more thing... I know I can be boring, but there’s a reason for FogVilleLad to suggest VSTi and you made it worse by typing ”only the real thing”... If she’s ”only the real thing” kind of girl, VSTi (software piano) is definitely your best choice in terms of sound. You may pick DP by touch and maybe looks (GranTouch is too expensive for the purpose), and add any kind of sound to it. If you are sure you do not like this route, I’ll try not to mention this again. smile
Posted by: Euan Morrison

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 07:28 PM

Another software option which has been released is 'Vienna Imperial' (Bosendorfer Imperial) from Vienna Symphonic Library. From what I gather, it is pretty far advanced of the others on the market (1,200 samples per note!).

It might help with getting that proper Bosendorfer sound, but as I have neither played a Bosie or used this software, I can only speculate. I know you said you aren't after software, so feel free to ignore this!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsZezc4zRqU

FogVilleLand, I would be curious to see your settings for the Bosendorfer on Galaxy 2. I use that software to tone my midi files, but as of yet I've found the Steinway to be the best (to my ears). If you can offer advice on how to get the best from the Bosendorfer I would be glad to hear it. As of yet I've only used the presets (chamber, concert hall etc).
Posted by: nstaff

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 07:47 PM

Hey I just wanted to thank everyone for the great information and for being so helpful and cool. I'm going to digest all of this over the weekend and respond to your suggestions properly on Monday (I am heading out of the office now and will be out of town/away from a computer for the weekend). I just didn't want anyone to think I was ignoring their posts. Thanks again and talk to you on Monday.
Posted by: Nikola Tulimirovic

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 08:07 PM

Nstaff, you’re most welcome. See you soon.

Euan, thank you for bringing Vienna Imperial to this discussion. Demos sound amazing.
Posted by: Geoffk

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 08:31 PM

First, I like Roland best, personally. But the models that reza mentioned are probably the three that you ought to look at. With one exception--the Yamaha CLP-280 is no longer sold new. So unless you want to buy a used DP, you'd have to consider the Yamaha CLP-380, 370 or 340. The 380 is comparable or slightly better than a Roland HP-207, but it's very expensive and probably out of your price range. The 340 and 370 are basically similar except the 370 has wooden keytops (the "NW" action). They are good basic pianos, although lacking in features compared to the Rolands. I personally find the sound of the Rolands to be fuller and richer than the Yamahas.

The RM-700 is comparable to a Yamaha CVP. If you won't use the rhythms, extra sounds and autoplay features, there's no reason to pay more to get one. Other than these, it's almost identical to an HP-207.

If your budget stretches to a CLP-380, than you can look at the Roland LX-10, which is an HP-207 in a mini-upright case. It has a noticeably better speaker system than the HP-207, but it's rather expensive for the improvement.
Posted by: FogVilleLad

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/02/09 09:14 PM

Euan, good timing, I'm getting ready to work on an arrangement.

I've been playing the Galaxy II Bosie for c.1 month. Started by way of taking my own advice on the acoustic forum to try as many pianos as are within reasonable traveling distance. Had to overcome considerable bias against the Bosie sound, based partly on having played Steinways almost exclusively and partly on a previous software Bosie which couldn't be made to play softly.

I've tried to set up this piano as one which would be enjoyable to play at home. (I don't/can't do sound production at all.) In the MAIN menu, Dynamic is set to -31. In the TONE menu, low keys = -5. In Velocity Editor I drew a line across c.the upper 1/5 of the Linear Velocity curve. Offset - which relates to the height of that horizontal line - shows as -30.

The Dynamic setting gets rid of what I think is an unrealistic lowest volume. (That's a criticism of DP's that's sometimes made by techs.) A little compression also seems to make the piano more full sounding. Not sure why. The upper velocity limit was lowered because I usually listen thru Sennheiser 'phones and that max velocity was hurting my ears, particularly up in the undamped notes. This was aggravated by deficiencies of technique.

Slightly limiting the volume of the lowest notes makes this piano sound less bass heavy and also makes it easier for someone with very limited technique to control those notes.

Release Samples, Damper Noises, and String Noises are on. If I try any more than that, I get crackling.

IR Reverb is also On. That'd be a definite no-no for any serious producer of sounds and possibly for knowledgeable players, as well.

That's about it. If I fiddle with anything, it'll be to limit the bass notes a little more.

Oh, I've come to like the Galaxy II Bosie very much as a home piano. The lower tenor still seems a *little* too sweet - I'd like to hear some Placido Domingo down there - but the Hamburg Steinway D now sounds a little too incisive and a little cold. (It'll definitely cut thru any mix, tho;-))







Posted by: Nikola Tulimirovic

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/04/09 01:31 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikola Tulimirovic
Kawai CA63 is supposed to come out in Japan on the 13th of November. I guess it will be available in US short after presentation in Japan... I hope KAWAI James reads this... And I hope they hit Europe soon enough, or I’ll get angry! wink


To read more about Kawai CA63 debut in USA and Europe, follow this link.
Posted by: nstaff

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/05/09 05:02 PM

Hey everyone - thanks for all the help and guidance. I went to a piano store this weekend and listened to the Roland LX-10 and as good as it was I realized that my girlfriend wouldn't like the sound at all (I don't think this would be specific to the Roland, but rather for all digital pianos). So I think I will be going with an acoustic upright instead. Thanks again.

-Nick
Posted by: Tony Lau

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/05/09 06:22 PM

There are even more variations for acoustic uprights smile! So I agree with earlier posts that you should let her pick, unless you feel you are familiar enough about her sound and touch preferences to make the choice.

Good acoustics also cost more than digitals. For example, the Kawai K3 would cost about twice your stated budget ...
Posted by: bitWrangler

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/05/09 06:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Tony Lau
Good acoustics also cost more than digitals. For example, the Kawai K3 would cost about twice your stated budget ...


Advantage of going with an acoustic though is that there isn't nearly as much of a stigma to purchasing used. In this neck of the woods, finding used but in good shape U1/U3's around the OP's price range is fairly easy.

That said, to the OP, I can't state in any stronger words how important it will be to let your GF pick out her own piano. This is now amplified by the fact that you have decided to go the acoustic route. Even two different examples of the same model can be radically different in touch and tone. If your GF is discerning enough to know that she prefers Bosie's over Steinways, then you are doing her a massive disservice by not allowing her to pick the piano herself.
Posted by: Euan Morrison

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/05/09 06:48 PM

Originally Posted By: bitWrangler


That said, to the OP, I can't state in any stronger words how important it will be to let your GF pick out her own piano. This is now amplified by the fact that you have decided to go the acoustic route. Even two different examples of the same model can be radically different in touch and tone. If your GF is discerning enough to know that she prefers Bosie's over Steinways, then you are doing her a massive disservice by not allowing her to pick the piano herself.


cool
Well said!
Posted by: limavady

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/05/09 06:55 PM

Maybe you could let her pick but you shell out the dough-re-mi!
Posted by: PlatonicSolid

Re: DP With the deepest, richest souning Grand Piano - 10/05/09 07:29 PM

My favorite acoustic is also Bösendorfer, but not because it sounds great (though it does). It's the butter smooth response of the keys. There's really nothing like it.

Surprising your GF with a special gift when you know exactly what she wants, is great, but you don't know exactly what she wants. You could easily end up spending $3,000 + on a nice digital or used acoustic that is less than her preference.

While intending to demonstrate the depth of your love, the cost of the momentary "surprise" can easily lead to negative relationship stress. Prove to her that you respect her ability to choose what's best, above your own.

Either tell her before the holidays so she has a piano to play by the time the holidays come around, or (I would do the following) give her a piano jewelry box ( like this one) with a gift card inside that commits $3,000 towards a piano purchase.

Her joy of searching and playing many different piano's far outweighs any momentary surprise.